Friday, May 21, 2010

The purpose of education

When the economy goes down, when people are scared, when the elite don't want to look in the mirror to find the problem what do they do? They blame the workforce. People just don't work hard enough, they're lazy, they want things handed to them, they're soft, too many are going to college, not enough are going to college, college's aren't teaching the right things, and on and on. The solutions then are to run it more like a business. As the previous post suggest, we just need serious people to get under the hood and fix this education thing. Stop teaching silly stuff and make sure everybody learns a trade. May I simply suggest... bullshit.

Do the elite prep schools that our leaders attended like Phillips Exeter Academy and Andover teach trades? How about the curriculum at elite schools like Brown, Bennington, or Wesleyan? Compare the curriculum's of these "nontraditional" collegeshere with the focus of the nearest university to you...

And apparently we've got too many unqualified students going to college, why aren't they just content to work at WalMart?
Plan B: Skip College
“College degrees are simply not necessary for many jobs. Of the 30 jobs projected to grow at the fastest rate over the next decade in the United States, only seven typically require a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among the top 10 growing job categories, two require college degrees: accounting (a bachelor’s) and postsecondary teachers (a doctorate). But this growth is expected to be dwarfed by the need for registered nurses, home health aides, customer service representatives and store clerks. None of those jobs require a bachelor’s degree.”

Is the purpose of an education to meet the current demands for workers? Over the last 5 years how many of these new jobs on the demand occupation list paid a living wage?

Perhaps as historian, Lawrence Cremin says, “…the aim of education is not merely to make citizens, or workers, or fathers, or mothers, but ultimately to make human beings who will live life to the fullest.”

Advertising as reality...

We need "REAL MEN" in Washington... like this guy

As my friend John points out, this is the type of political ad we have to look forward to over the next few years, hearkens back to Perot days, just get under the hood and fix it... disturbing stuff, people apparently have forgotten that professional wrestling is fake, any chance then that Linda McMahon doesn't take Chris Dodd's seat?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

It's the Chemical's Stupid

Great piece by Nicholas Kristof in the NYTimes this week.

"Traditionally, we reduce cancer risks through regular doctor visits, self-examinations and screenings such as mammograms. The President’s Cancer Panel suggests other eye-opening steps as well, such as giving preference to organic food, checking radon levels in the home and microwaving food in glass containers rather than plastic.

In particular, the report warns about exposures to chemicals during pregnancy, when risk of damage seems to be greatest. Noting that 300 contaminants have been detected in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, the study warns that: “to a disturbing extent, babies are born ‘pre-polluted.’ ”"

While I'm on the subject, I've lived 12 years now in places where I can't subscribe to the New York Times, in that time people stopped reading newspapers. And all I wanted to do was subscribe... once again I'm well behind the curve of most Americans. But, let me make a plea, if they deliver the Sunday NY Times where you are, subscribe. Spend some time reading the paper, cup of coffee in hand, and think about those of us who wish we could.

I understand how bookies work... not legalized gambling

So… during Thursday's nose dive of the stock market one companies stock, apparently because of computer error, fell dramatically.

“For individual stocks, the drops were mindboggling. Procter & Gamble tumbled from $61 to $48. It closed at $60.75. At least for a short time, Accenture plummeted from $41.50 to 1 cent — meaning someone was forced to sell for $0.01. The buyer was more fortunate, because Accenture closed at $41.09.

Note the Accenture piece of this… Accenture went to as low as $.01 penny a share. So if you had bought $500 dollars worth at a penny a share, you would have had 500 x 100 shares or 50,000 shares. Friday morning that stock was worth $41.09, so for your $500 investment you would have had $2,054,500. Just imagine for a moment if you had done $5K instead of $500, or were feeling really wacky and rolled over the entire $100K in the 401K plan… ah to dream… BUT

Is this a tale of opportunity lost? Or is this a tale about how most Americans are banking their entire future by investing in mutual funds and stocks… oblivious to the fact that crazy ass stuff like this can happen at any moment and the experts have absolutely no idea what happened?

Ultimately, I think there is a lot of bullshit in these two books, but at their core, I think, is brilliance. Poor Dad did what he was supposed to and stayed vested and had mutual funds and Ferris is absolutely right, most of us do the same and live a deferred life...

The pursuit of happiness...

Yesterday as my son and I were driving through the neighborhood, my son pointed to the 2 biggest houses on the block and said, "Those people are rich", today I came in this afternoon and he was watching "Cribs" on T.V. He's 7 years old and already understanding what it means to be successful. The great Joe Bageant, author of "Deer Hunting with Jesus", in his most recent blog post writes:

"The brutal way Americans were forced to internalize the values of a gangster capitalist class continues to elude nearly all Americans. Most foreigners too. This is to say nothing of how our system replaced our humanity with ideology, our liberty with money, and fostered fascist nationalism through profound degeneration of the people's mind and spirit. It's not as if one can ever escape that sort of thing, either by going to a place like Mexico, getting drunk or whatever. We are made in Americas' image, whether we admit it or not, and America's image is the face on a ten dollar bill

Liberal or conservative, money is what we care about -- period. From birth, the empire has made one thing very clear to us: If you do not produce or acquire enough of the green stuff, meet the quota, you will be ground beneath the heel of the machine we call a society. No universal health insurance or higher education, no guaranteed minimum income, no worker rights, nothing for you suckers but the tab. So keep humping."

When I look and listen to my son and his friends and think back to when I was his age... it's easy to see how we are made in Americas' image...