Friday, October 01, 2010

3110 The Road to Hell

Thursday, September 30, 2010

You should not confuse your career with your life.
-- Dave Barry --


Becs has a recent post about how this country seems to be going to Hell in a handbasket, with examples. I agree with her for many of the same reasons, and at the risk of joining the tin hat crowd, I think a lot of it is carefully orchestrated - a conspiracy. I've already mentioned what I think is wrong with education - that children are being discouraged from developing anything resembling critical thinking, and are being trained to become worker sheep. An easily managed herd. Critical thinkers ask questions about what they are told to believe. Sheep do not. Sheep are very easy to control.


I paid my school taxes yesterday. The bill says that the state contributes $14+ million to the district, and we taxpayers contribute $27+ million. That's a total of over $41 million a year. This district has one high school, one middle school, and one elementary school. The high school has a hair over 700 students. I couldn't find a total number of students in all three schools, but let's be generous and assume it's about 2500. That's $16,400 per kid. I don't know whether that's high or not, but it's a lot lower than New Jersey.

The local high school brags that 80% of their graduates go on to 2- or 4-year colleges, which doesn't really mean a lot, because I know from my mediation days that young folks gaming county services know that as long as they're "in school", they get money. I knew 24-year-old never-married mothers with three kids from three different fathers who had been enrolled at the county community college for six years, with no certificate in sight. And no plans to actually get one.


Becs worries about loss of privacy. Yeah, I've seen it, too. I had a CVS card which I assumed was the same as the old check cashing cards (remember them? They were just a "we know you are ok" cards), and then I discovered that they were keeping track of everything I bought. You have to use the card to get discounts on various products, but the cashier has a "store card" that she'll use if she likes you. Lately I have refused to use my card.

If privacy worries you, check out this story from Switched: Your android phone is sending information about your location to who knows whom. For money. Which you don't even get a cut of. Betcha didn't know about that one.


Becs complains that people don't go to city council meetings. Yeah. There's no point.

The last time(s) I went to a town meeting, it was about the planned new mega-grocery store. Citizens were concerned about a whole bunch of wasted opportunities, traffic issues, and a historical house the builder planned to raze.

The meetings were huge, loud, and passionate. In the end, the council absolutely assured the citizens' groups that the new store would be connected with the old mini-mall with paths, the historic house would be saved, and the entrance would be through the old mall and NOT off the main street (creating a traffic-jamming intersection where another road met the main road). They absolutely promised that this would be the town's contractual demands before giving approval, and there was no overriding reason for the town to back down, so no, no referendum would be necessary.

Town council approvals were given almost immediately, and the store was built.

It is not connected with the old mini-mall, not even with a footpath. The entrance is not only not through the old mall, but is smack dab at the intersection as the citizens' groups feared, requiring a traffic light, which meant the speed limit had to be lowered. The historic house was not razed, but the land was sold to the grocery store people, and the house has not been maintained, and is now falling down. There are a few 2x4s propping up the porch, but that hasn't prevented the roof springing leaks.

I guess they figure that if 1,000 people in a sleepy rural town show up to object, there's still 2,000 who didn't, so therefore 2/3 of the people "approve". So, verbally appease the loudmouths, and then do what you want. After all, they know best, right?

So yeah. Why bother. Of course that entire council was voted out at the next election, but nothing has changed.


"They" say that travel is broadening, and that much of the problem with Americans is that so few of them have any experience beyond their own borders, and if more Americans visited other countries, maybe they wouldn't be so arrogant, insular, and ... well ... conservative.

Nah. Not from what I've seen of Americans in other countries. They're too thick to learn anything. Most are loud, arrogant, and uninterested in other cultures. Anything they aren't familiar with is "bad", "wrong", or "stupid". Regardless of whether it works or makes sense.

Or maybe realizing that requires critical thinking....


I get angry at politicians who want to kill the health care bill, and "let the free market regulate health care". Um, doesn't that translate as "let the insurance and pharmaceutical companies determine what care you can get, who can get it, and how much you pay for it"? Their purpose is to make money, not to provide health care, and it's not like they would get competition from start-up mom-and-pop insurance companies who could figure out how to do it cheaper, as in a real free market. Their only competition in a REAL "free and fair" market would BE the government!


I am not as angry or upset as Becs, partly because of my life situation, but also because I'm sure we've gone through these cycles before. Past generations saw deterioration. Man, imagine what the 50-60 year olds thought of the beatniks, or the hippies, or various past administrations or legislatures that seemed determined to plow us under. But somehow the wheels continue to turn, things get righted, and we swing another direction.

Somehow it always works out.


the queen said...

I have been trying to broaden my thinking and understand why the French feel deporting the Roma is acceptable. I haven't found much to support it, except that "they have no permanent address anyway."

~~Silk said...

Heh. Queen, I've followed your posts on your Paris trip, looked at the photos, and from what I gathered while salivating, it's probably more than your thinking that got broadened!

(Bad Silk! Stop that.)

[My word verification is "bratimp" - really!]