I had really terrible time in grade school, even though I was in an excellent school system. The kids I was with became a notoriously difficult group as they passed through the school system, many of them ended up in the alternative education system for our school district a few ended up in jail.
My mom is a teacher and she values education quite a bit. This caused a lot of friction between us over the years as I was a terrible student.
My first grade teacher was in her first and last year of teaching. We broke her will, got yelled at a lot and didn't learn much.
My second grade teacher was about to retire and was a mean old lady who hated boys. She ruled with an iron hand and wrote my mother notes about what a disruption I was in the classroom every week. I was on punishment most the school year. I went into that grade an extrovert and came out an introvert, any social activity in the classroom resulted in negative consequences. I scholastically entered a shell that I wasn't going to come out of till college.
I learned how to read in third grade. I went from a first to a sixth grade reader over the course of the year. My teacher was trying to keep a bad classroom in order, I just read so She liked me and tried to keep me supplied with quality reading material. I love her for that. I read all through third grade, gave my introversion some direction. Went back as an adult and found her teaching at the same school. I told her how letting me read was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
for fourth and fifth grade I had tough guy teachers. They spent a good amount of time yelling and dispensing discipline. Wasn't a very appealing learning environment.
Past that I was just checked out. I did enough homework to pass, but got many bad grades. I I would read books in class, only paying attention if it was interesting. I even slept in classes. I had three great high school teachers who got 100% of my focus. A few more decent teachers who I generally towed the line for. I was generally on punishment at home or getting hassled at school for my behavior and grades.
Went to college seriously more than a decade later and I found it pretty enjoyable. Don't know if I just shed all my shitty school baggage or if college is that much better than an excellent high school.
Now that I have a kid who needs to learn how to learn and will also need to be a student someday.
I realize that I have to keep my shitty baggage about school being a shitty prison where learning how to get by is good enough and let her decide how she feels about it for herself while I paste a big supportive smile on my face.
I know that I need to help her realize how valuable reading is. Most of my education came from reading whatever interested me. I really think that reading is one of the most enriching things in life. Friends, family, books and food is all I really need to get by. We have tons of books, our kid has something like 100 books and digs reading, so it seems to have started out well.
As long as she cultivates a love of learning then she will be a good student of life. I see people who don't know how to live all the time, talking on their cell phones at the cash register, letting who 'won' the latest debate have a bigger impact on the way they will vote then ideas or values, not realizing a $0.50 tip will get em a shorter pour on their next round after they bitched about the price of the drinks on the round before. So I'll provide a stimulating environment for my kid, take her to the museum, art shows, musical events, the theater and give her plenty of books and hope it teaches her how to learn, think and observe.
I guess my guiding principle for being a student is to cultivate a love of learning, nice when teachers do that was well. I think I learned that 'cultivating a love of learning' was one of the highest values in Analects of Confucius while reading under my desk in some godawful high school class.
I don't really care for most of their solutions but a few seem worth looking at.
Their proposals. 1. Cap food stamp spending. Ehhhh, seems like the goal is to make sure people in the wealthiest country in the world don't go hungry, I guess if you don't care if people go hungry because they can't afford food then this makes decent sense.
2. Transfer food stamps from the USDA to HSS. I don't see how the money that trickles down to farmers would be changed by if HSS took control. As long as you can buy food with food stamps then the program is still a food welfare and farm welfare program. Votes on the food stamp program often pulls bi-partisan support from farm and urban legislators for exactly this reason (less so now a days with the Tea Party, they actually put their money where their mouth is and vote contrary to their constituents best interest for ethical reasons). Maybe I don't understand the how this would change the program, it isn't obvious to me. Seems like changing who is control would add costs to the program during the bureaucratic shuffle so I hope there is some kind of compelling theory for what this will achieve. I found the paper this was quoted from and the authors in no way explain what the bureaucratic shuffle do to change the incentives.
3 and 4. Close loopholes in food stamp enrollment, reduce fraud. Probably the best argument for reform in the program. I have known people who have gamed the food stamp program by lying about their income or who have plenty of money socked away in the bank but are out of a job for the moment who are taking advantage of a free lunch. It would be best to do a CBA to see if the money it would cost to means test applicants would be worth the savings of weeding people out, otherwise it's just another layer of bureaucracy.
5. Not everyone on food stamps is a position to seek work. People who are caught up in a medical emergency or who have chronic heath problems or are caring for family members with the same are reliant on the program as much as you might want to make this a work incentive program I think there might be better ways to accomplish this goal.
6. Drugs, drugs drugs!!! I don't know, seems like a personal preoccupation of the foundation or authors. Maybe they didn't buy them, a friend passed the joint, whatever. Should pedophiles also be banned from the program? What about people who have cable? Cable always seems like an unreasonable luxury for someone who needs my money. Maybe we can have the food stamp gestapo go around and make sure they aren't drinking liquor, smoking cigs, going to the movies, doing drugs ect. Plenty of hardworking Americans go to their job each day so they can buy drugs. I did some searches on the topic of drug use, income and welfare, all the sites that used data showed that drug use is about the same for welfare recipients and non-welfare recipients. Let me caution, the only sites that supported this view were the ones that used data to support their assertions, so take it with a grain of salt. I'm guess that
- With welfare users twice as likely as the general public to use illegal drugs
Personally I favor the idea of a means based welfare system that gives people a flat cash amount that will provide a meager substance life. It's an idea put forth my Milton Friedman that has been discussed on Hubski a few times. Make every two dollars earned on the job reduce benefits by one dollar and it's a work incentive program. It would strip all kinds of needless government spending and bureaucracy out of the system. There is probably way to much paternalism/big brotherness on both sides of the isle for this kind of proposal to ever be taken seriously.
I have worked as a bartender for a while, I'm good at it. I'm not good at keeping up on the latest drink's, I could really give a fuck about stupid shots. But I am good at glad-handing, management and running a business efficiently. So I have decided to buy a bar. I have a partner (who has a complementary set of skills) and we have enough funding to buy a low budget bar that is on the ropes and nurse it back to health. While I'm good at "bars" I don't really like them all that much, and to tell you the truth not liking bars a lot is a great quality in a bar owner. I don't want to have a personal party zone, I know that it's more work then fun, I am not a drunk or a coke head (these are pretty much the core values of the average person who wants to open a bar, and it's not a winning formula).
While owning a bar isn't something especially laudable, I don't think I really mind. After about five years of hard work I hope to own two bars with my partner and have a pretty decent income and some management in place so that my work consists of problem solving for my staff, not running myself ragged with late nights. This will hopefully allow me to do the stuff that really matters, spend time with and provide for my family.
I could write and essay about qualities that I would like to see in a bar, but I won't. I'll just say that my model is of a neighborhood place, good visibility from the outside, so people see that it's an open and friendly space. No TV's or screens of any type visible from the street or the main seating area, TV's kill socialization. A staff that honors all patrons regardless of class or race. Hopefully I can remember what it's like be in a workers shoes and not become bourgeois filth, unable or willing to relate or respond to the concerns and valuable observations of my staff (this would be the big downside of my current job, it's not that the people who own it are bastards, they just don't relate to the actual work going on and are missing out on a number of efficiencies and comforts that could make their bar a happier more profitable place).
I know so many people with larger life goals then "to own a bar," and owning a bar isn't really the goal, it's just a means. I'll never help push forward the goals of human understanding, be a captain of industry or help shape public policy and I feel like I should feel guilty for this. I will be able to send my kid to a good school, let my wife do work that she finds more meaningful then what she is doing now, provide decent jobs in an environment that appreciates the value of hard work and dedication to customer service, provide a comfortable environment for people to socialize in and also to give back a fixed percentage of the profits to pro-social community causes.
I wrestle with the fear of putting my financial ass on the line (this is my families ass as well) and not doing work of significant perceived social value but it's where I am right now, I hope it works out. I think I'll have a space by the end of the year, I'll keep you all updated, and buy you a drink someday if you ever make it here.
- Please, please, by whatever god or force you believe in, restrain yourself in the comments.
Everyone's pain is equally valid, even if what they have suffered through isn't equal. The spoiled teen who doesn't get a car for Christmas when they turn 16 can feel more pain then the kid growing up unloved in a poor household who gets nothing. This doesn't mean that the spoiled teen has gone through greater tribulation then the unfortunate teen, it's just how they are/have been wired.
I have known people with normal problems who suffered to a much greater extent then people with totally fucked up horrible problems. I have known normal problem high suffering people who killed themselves and thought that it was probably the right move, life just wasn't for them. I don't say that cynically, I say it with compassion. I have been fond of and continually pained by these individuals inability to live the lives that I thought they could have realized.
- However, the common assumption about me, portrayed by the media (both "independent" and more conventional), is that I am a pig; that I am racist, sexist, constantly horny, and unable to express emotion.
- I am told, both by special interest groups and by society at large, that I am a bad person.
- the fact that I have not suffered as much as others should make me feel bad; the fact that I'm the "majority" means that I am wrong. This is an inherently flawed viewed; its just as sexist, racist, and bigoted as any other type of discrimination.
- Do you think that perhaps victimization is the new way to compete?
Brief aside. I remember sitting around drinking and smoking with some people I met near my work. Every one was going around that table telling the stories of and showing the scars from their most sever misfortunes, laying it on thick. after four or five people told their embellished tale this one fella reaches under the table and whips off his prosthetic leg, slams it down on the middle of the table. No one know he was shy a flipper walked/ran as smoothly as anyone. Guy was pleased as could be at the reaction, he "won".
Anyway. You can be bummed out about your "normal" problems and how people portray your normalcy or you can get on with what ever it is that helps you happily while away the time. If you are worried about how the media (toothpaste and car salesmen to a man, nothing to do with any significant truth for the most part) are representing you then you should probably try and find a way to free yourself of that bullshit. You might want to realize that you are living in a relatively easy place to get along in, and are one of the blessed White males. Sure life is hard even for us the chosen people at times, but mostly harder to be other then what we are.
I am sorry that I forgot to capitalize Brown when referring to people, I don't feel like going back and finding every lapse, my academic habits are a bit rusty and it's lazy and poor form, but I'll let it stand. I probably missed a few Whites as well, but hey we don't really need the extra capitalization, were doing alright as it is.