Spring to Winter

Age, what does it entail? Life changes with age starting with being born into circumstances. We each have a unique set of genes but not totally different and much in common with our parents and descendents.

“Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution” by Peter J. Richerson

Wisdom comes with age, experiences and knowledge. Historically older people gave the knowledge to the younger. In today’s world I am not so sure this system still is as important. Population growth has diluted the older knowledge base and then we added the internet. Many of the traditional ways such as books and stories handed down are being corrupted by the media and ability to psychologically manipulate populations in mass.

Why do people retire today? Do they lose their inspiration to work on their goals or is it a matter of ending life long slavery? I suspect that depends on the person and should not be a national standard. Many leaders have made mistakes that ended their life long work. Mistakes are part of learning and if you are a life long learner you fix the problem and go on.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming “ Wow! What a Ride!”  -Hunter Thompson

Self Destructive Government

Has the uncertainty of the United States destroyed ambition? We live in a country that makes laws at the drop of a hat or the latest media manipulation. Then our government cries it does not have the money or the will to enforce laws it has made. The government representatives spend like a drunken sailor for campaigns to get elected and carry on that spending when in office. The public is so gullible that it votes for who spends the most.  Consumption seems to be the new God as the public envies spending and getting but the trill is short lived as they look for the next fix.

The government is going to juggle the books for the next few months as the new congress jockeys for its prizes. In the end it will be kicking the can down the road again with a few bones tossed to the public at the expense of those that have the advantage of the system.

Systems fail when people lose faith in government. Our system has stretched its good will to near a breaking point. The media has filtered the truth to a 30 second sound bites to entertain the masses who spend most of their time trying to survive.

Would it make any sense to reduce the work week to 30 hours so everyone could work and each person would do with less consumption? Perhaps then they would have the time to participate in the community. It would make room for growing ideas as each would have more time to create. Why are we not trying creative ideas in changing the way we live?

Airport Blues

The airport seems to be a window to the workings of Tupelo power structure. Just in the news I see that the city attorney Mitchell McNutt and Sams filed to dismiss Terry Anderson’s law suit. Terry is suing for age discrimination due to the Airport authority hiring a much younger inexperienced Manager to replace him.  The Airport board dismissed him without legal cause which is Terry‘s case. That same group of attorneys also represents CDF and Create that promote economic development for the city but are private organizations. I would call the cozy relationships between the government and private groups that are not bound by the open meeting laws or the freedom of information act a sort of local Mafia. These same people have a strong hold on the paychecks of many who live and work in Tupelo.

The City attorneys say Terry lied, but is he not entitled to his day in court to prove his case?  I have seen many times how the city has lied to the public and or manipulated both the public and the Create owned Daily Journal. How does the same Attorney get to collect money from both the city and the local Newspaper that is supposed to be a check on city corruption? Do you think there would ever be investigative journalism looking into the cozy questionable relationships in Tupelo?  Where does Terry Anderson get to present his side to the public?

What If?

I was sitting and watching the flames in the fireplace and had a question. What if the Government Welfare department was totally successful and no one needed support of the Government?  Perhaps the roles were reduced by 90%, what would become of all the employees that spend each day serving long lines of waiting people?  Would they be out of a job?  I question many government departments’ incentives to do away for their own needs. Why would any Government employee want to be so successful that they do not need them anymore?  The incentive is to create greater need so more opportunities for advancement open up.

Back to the regular programming, thinking can be fun.

The Cost of Government

How should we measure the cost of government? Should it be by materialism such as the dollar or should it be by how much of our personal time we contribute to it? Maybe there is another way to divide up the responsibilities we put on government among the citizens.

The citizens have a few responsibilities in a Democratic Republic such as voting; obeying the law, taxes, jury duty, etc.  We had a military supported by drafting men and we switched to a voluntary paid force. Is there a difference in the attitude of the people in the armed forces when they have to be motivated by benefits and cash especially when the private sector is difficult to make a living?

Does forced charity bring a better result than a voluntary giving to those that have not achieved the American dream? Has the dream changed more to materialism than a philosophy of freedom and liberty?

Where do we go from here?

Tourist Trade

I stood in front of the City Council one evening and was giving reasons why Tupelo should not try to attract the low pay jobs such as the tourism brings with restaurants and hotels.  Part of my reasoning was that low pay jobs cost the government money with subsidizing food stamps and Medicaid. Also that low paid workers do not have much to spend on lifestyles real-estate and education.  The City Council was dazzled by the fact that they get a 10% sales tax from those services. Here is a quote from the web from one of those workers.

I’ve been serving for about 20years. I come from a fine dining restaurant recently moved to tupelo got a job at a restaurant by the mall I have never experienced such terrible tips. I’m an excellent server! Last nite for example .30 on a 26$ check( nothing wrong) 2.76 on a 57$check again nothing wrong. 2$ on a 42$ check 5$ on 90$ check. I make 2.41 an hr. I have to pay taxes and tip out on a percentage of my sales not what I have in my pocket. Tipping is not a city in china. You people can do better this is ridiculous if you can’t afford to eat out or to cheap to tip go to Micky d’s. Stay home. Servers have to make a living too. One of my co -workers was in tears the other nite she received 5$ on 159$ check and 5$ on 100$ check again nothing wrong. It’s costing us money to wait on you on some occasions, it’s the holidays! 10% of check for not great service 15% if everything was ok 20% if everything great.Com e on Tupelo I have faith we can turn this around do the right thing! “

If Tupelo is to change it has to be the attitude of those business people that take advantage of those that they have poorly educated. We can not afford to create an industry that takes advantage of people and makes them live a poor life even if they are working hard to survive by the rules.

“With Liberty and Justice for Some”

Yes that is the title of a book I have been reading. Glenn Greenwald, is the author of “How Would a Patriot Act”, a “Tragic Legacy” and is a constitutional lawyer and writer at Salon. As I read thru the pages I became more and more outraged. And today’s Wall Street Journal (Dec.13) headline “U.S. Terrorism Agency to Tap A Vast Database of Citizens” would not have been as interesting if I had not been reading the book. In the chapter entitled “Elites Conspire to Protect Their Own” Greenwald chronicles the extent the communication industry went to in protecting themselves from prosecution for breaking the law. Our Constitution vests the judicial power in our courts not the Congress. In December of 2005 a New York Times article reported that President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eves drop on Americans and others inside the United States…..without court-approved warrants” required by law. For several years the NSA illegally monitored telephone calls and emails from possibly thousands of citizens without warrants. In the Foreign Intelligence Act  there is a legal process to go thru to get a warrant for this action. But the President secretly authorized the NSA to eves drop on Americans and others inside the United States without a court-approved warrant. the President went on television and admitted as much and said he wold continue doing so. The law provides a special judge appointed to hear these requests and not one had ever been denied. But under the guise of national security it became possible to ignore the law by PresidentiaL fiat. Then some people began to question the actions and sued the communications companies for invasion of privacy and ignoring the law. The defense by ATT, Verizon and others was they were turning over the documents in cooperation with the request of the President. Of course the President’s “request” that the companies turn over the information without going thru the process of obtaining a warrant violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA. FISA was passed in 1978 as a means to protect citizens from political spying and to restrict eves-dropping to those judged to be an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist group. The law was very clear in that violations, eves-dropping without a warrant, was a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Not only was Bush and his aides implicated in this criminality but so were the communications companies.

In a May 2006 USA Today reported that  Verizon, Bell South and AT&T were providing access on all of their customers communications to the government. In fact they were guilty of breaking four laws protecting Americans. FISA, The Wiretap Act, The Communications Act and The Stored Communications Act. One company refused to comply, Quest, and asked NSA to get a ruling from the FISA court. NSA declined and the Bush administration suggested to Quest that they might loose some government contracts if they refused to go along. They did not. When the corporate guys realized that just cooperating with the President was no defense, they went to Congress to ask for retroactive legislation making what they had done legal so all the lawsuits could be dismissed. Remember, no man is above the law in the U.S. unless you are President Nixon or communications companies that contribute to campaigns. The Constitution vest judicial power in the United States in our courts, not Congress. The long and short of this was that the FISA law was revised by Congress under the guise of new technology and new info about terrorism. Millions of dollars were spent on lobbying and campaign contributions and letters were written to Speaker Pelosi demanding amnesty for communications companies and so it was to be. Amnesty for all retroactively, criminal and civil in the revised and updated bill.

From the front page of the WSJ Dec 13th.

” Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House situation room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counter terrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens-even people suspected of no crime.

Not everyone was on board. “This is a sea change in the way the government interacts with the general public”, Mary Ellen Callahan, Chief Privacy Officer of the Department of Homeland Security argued in the meeting according to people familiar with the discussions. A week later, the attorney general signed the changes in the law. Now, the National Counter Terrorism Center can examine files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them”. The NCTC can copy entire government data bases– flight records, casino=employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign exchange students, education applications to universities or for loans and mortgages applications. In short if the government has a file on you, it is available. Data can be kept for up to five years.”  This information can be shared with foreign governments. The Fourth Amendment says searches of “persons, houses, papers and effects” shouldn’t be conducted without probable cause. Sounds all to familiar to me. Since when can a signature change our Constitution and do away with our rights?

Education Assessment Tools

Much of the flaws in the educational system are in the ways the system assesses itself.  Exactly what are the vision and mission statements?  Do those goals conform to the parent goals for their children or the children’s goals? Do the parents and children get to evaluate the teachers, administration, and bus drivers?

Does multiple choice tests measure thinking outside the box or do they give a false sense of the world in clear limited tricky worded questions and choices. Rarely is life choices split into 5 choices with one correct way to go.

We have a long way to go before we look to money as the problem in education.

What does age have to do with it?

From the minute of birth, we begin to be programmed-coded with data about what’s right and wrong, good and bad, stylish and geeky, funny and not. As infants, we begin a series of programming experiences that create the filters through which we see the world-especially the world of work-for the rest of our lives. A generation is a group of people who are programmed at about the same time.  What gives each generation its unique character is set of programming experiences they shared during their most formative years.

Tupelo is so focused on race it has forgot age differences.

Charter Schools

The national statistics show on average charter schools no better than public schools. It comes down to adding a middle man and taking regulations away. The middle man profits from less regulations.

What makes a successful school? What makes successful students?

Regulations handicap educators, teachers and students because one size does not fit all.  Money is the target in the education industry not the end product our children. To attract top notch teachers to poor areas you have to pay to compensate for the poor living conditions. A successful special education teacher in better educated areas makes over $100,000 for a school year and can still pick up more if they work in the summer. Mississippi is not prepared to fund education as too many administrators have their hand in the pot to satisfy federal and state regulations.

Fix the political problems before adding another middle man to ride the educational industry gravy train.