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Sunday, May 23, 2010

People of Color

    Meet Trevor Richards
  Trevor was a  high school student in Nebraska.  Trevor is an African American.  A few years ago Trevor and a couple of his friends were suspended from school for mounting a campaign to recognize him as an African American.  Trevor really and truly is an African American having come from South Africa and becoming an American citizen in Nebraska.  Some people were offended by the campaign on the basis that the term African American should be used exclusively and only for black people.  How strange is that?  A person from Africa can't be an African American but a person who might have difficulty finding Ghana on a world map can be.

    Of course we know the answer.  It has to do with political correctness.  We have labelled people as black, brown, yellow, red, and recently some people have even "gone green" making me wonder if once you go green you can ever go back.  People in our parents' generation commonly referred to black people as colored people.  Today that term is unacceptable but somehow "people of color" is OK.  How strange.  Colored people at least is grammatically correct.  People of color is not.  You can be of Eve or of Adam but you can't be of fuchsia.

    Maybe we should just stop labelling people.  I think that the ones who try to come up with politically correct ways to apply labels are really the racists.  Who cares?  I just want to know a nice guy or a nice girl or a nice neighbor.  Perhaps we should end the practice of adding check off boxes at the end of various surveys that ask you to check of what color or race you are.  Let's just replace that with two choices namely, terrorist or not a terrorist.  We'll use the honor system for now.

    After all, we have had a number of black leaders over the years who when defined by the term African American would have difficulty defining their ties to the former word in the phrase.  And I'm not sure if the proper word would be irony but how interesting is it to note that today our most prominent black leader, the current President, seems to have some difficulty in defining his ties to the latter.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Public Employee Unions Should Stop The Deception

    Over the weekend I saw a commercial sponsored by the State of New Jersey teacher, police, and firefighter unions.  The commercial made an emotional appeal to citizens claiming that the budget cuts being proposed by Governor Christie would mean that these poor beat up unions would no longer be able to provide their communities with the educational and public safety services that local communities so desperately need.  The advertisement was so disingenuous and so self serving that if I was independently wealthy I think I would have thrown something through the TV screen.

    The fact of the matter is that yes we want and need teachers.  Yes we want and need public safety employees.  What we are tired of however is paying $100,000/year salaries to 180 day a year gym teachers, art teachers, music teachers and other non essential employees who essentially work part time.  We are also tired of paying policemen and women $100,000+ salaries who hide in the weeds to make sure that we their employers do not fail to achieve zero inertia at some stupid stop sign.  And we are tired of paying six figure retirement pensions to police who retire at the age of 45 who kite their benefits by inflating their overtime to achieve high salaries during their last few years of employment.

    Just so I give equal time to firefighters, they love to talk about what great heroes they are and why they deserve highly inflated early retirement packages.  From what I've seen, and I know this is not politically correct to say, the real heroes when it comes to residential and commercial fires are the insurance adjusters who make decisions that allow home owners and commercial property owners to obtain the finances to rebuild.

    Teachers unions simply refuse to renegotiate contracts that pay gym teachers the same amount of money as advanced physics teachers.  Let's get real.  At $100,000/yr most stay at home housewives would be happy to teach a bunch of 10 year olds to play kickball for $30,000/yr and consider it to be a part time job.

    The truth is that none of these unions are interested in the education of our children.  None of them are interested in public safety.  All they are concerned with is advocating unwarranted high salaries, unwarranted high retirement pay, and taxpayer paid benefits for their employees.  Those days are gone.  Over the last 20-30 years and while public unions have continued to get their 3% and 5% annual increases, those of us in the private sector have had to sacrifice benefits, salary increases, and put in longer work hours just to stay employed.  It's time to pay the piper since there simply are not enough of us around to keep supporting all these selfish self serving jerks.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hey Barack, Fix the Problem Not the Blame!!

    Although there are many things that disappoint me about the performance of our current President, there is nothing as irritating as his apparent disinterest in actually fixing problems.  More and more he has shown that he is just another run of the mill politician who is more eager to pontificate on politically motivated dogma than he is in actually creating coalitions of knowledgeable people who can come up with plausible solutions.

    The Gulf oil spill is a classic example.  In Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, he states on page 10 that "I wish the country had fewer lawyers and more engineers".  I was reading this lying in bed one night and when I read that sentence I damn near stood up to applaud.  OK so here comes a test and instead of sending engineers and scientists who might be able to come up with solutions he sends a team of lawyers.  Given the serious nature of the event, the uncertainty surrounding its cause, and the potentially devastating consequences, why can't we have a leader who just once could do his best Bill Parcells or Tom Landry impersonation and rally up the troups to accomplish a task?


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Young Adult Infantilization

And so we begin the annual process of infantilizing young adults.  I am speaking of the event that occurs each year when newspapers across the country publish articles right around graduation time about why we should raise the age for young adults to acquire drivers licenses.  They quote statistics and publish headlines along the nature that 15% of all accidents involve 16 year old drivers.  Or, in states where the age has been raised to 17 the headline remains the same but the age is raised.  I would submit to you that if the age was raised to 18, 21, or 42 the statistics would remain the same but with a different age.

Let's face it, young adults tend to live up or down to our expectations.  If we expect them to act responsibly by and large they will.  But if we keep telling them how unable they are to achieve one thing or another they come to believe that as well.  Here's a suggestion.  If 16 year olds are involved in 15% of all car accidents, let's let them drive and ban everyone else.  That would eliminate at least 85% of accidents and probably reduce the 16 year old accidents as well due to all those other cars being off the road!!

Let's face it.  Airplanes cause death and injuries, lawn mowers cause death and injuries, and although I'll leave it to others to research the data I would suspect that 150 years ago horse drawn plows did the same.  Admittedly, young adult driving can result in tradgedies but so can lots of other activities. The fact is that this is not an intrinsically safe world that we live in.  Shit happens but get off their backs.

Increasing driving ages only makes young adults more dependent and that is not something we should be working toward.  I want those kids to learn to be independent and to learn to make decisions on their own.  In most states young adults under the age of 18 can be legally married with parental consent.  Raising the driving age might be a boon to cab and limosine businesses since young adults won't be able to drive to their own weddings but in today's economy it will be tough to fill those jobs since people can make more money by being on unemployment but that will be a topic for another day.

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