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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Thinking is fundamental; or, Everything I Needed to Know I Learned by the Eighth Grade

First of all, read this.  And props go out to the Black Youth Project.

I applaud Jada Williams for calling it as she saw it.  That took guts, as well as the kind of honesty you can only get from a child.  It was an analogy that I never even thought of, yet is so scarily appropriate.

One of the more poignant comments to that article raises the issue that we don't teach kids critical thinking anymore, so that they don't grow up to challenge anything.  I was having this very conversation last night at work; the system has become less about education and more about training middle management.  Creating cogs for the machine.  And (inflammatory statement alert) part of the machine is creating inmates out of our underprivileged.  This isn't just a black issue, this is a middle/lower class issue that isn't going to go away.

Until we stop listening to the people who want to phase out quality education at public schools, the people who can't afford private schools, charter schools, or the like will continue the cycle that does nothing for our society but keep cops and corrections officers employed.  Don't get me wrong, students and parents have to do their parts.  The information is out there, and in this day and age there is no excuse for not getting it.  But we the working class have every right to demand a quality education from our system.


Friday, March 2, 2012

You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth? (short post)

Whoa.

I don't get it.

I don't get the assault on the rights of women to control their own reproductive system.  A woman requiring birth control pills to inhibit the growth of a cyst is not all that much different from, say, a man needing to take medication to retard the growth of a testicular tumor.  And yet, this fine citizen Limbaugh suggests that in return for having that paid for, we should get to watch her have sex.

That's just wrong.  It's this kind of talk that drags our openness about the concept of sex further and further behind the rest of the world.  Should we hand out scarlet letters at Planned Parenthood too?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Are you f***ing kidding me?!

Before I get into the meat of my little rant today, let me give you some backstory.

I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, a little neighborhood called Flatbush.  Flatbush in the late 1980's to the mid 1990's was, for lack of a simpler term, intermittently violent.  Gunplay was not a totally uncommon occurrence, and neither was frequent visits by New York's finest.  My little neighborhood was -- and still is -- heavily Caribbean, where large families stuffed all their kids into apartments too small to accommodate them.  We were a working-class family, where wages didn't rise quite as fast as the cost of living.  I eventually struck out on my own, and circumnavigated the humbling process of apartment hunting by simply taking over the lease of my brother's 1,000 square foot place in Sunset Park.  And after four years of scratching out a living with a salary that would be MUCH more than adequate anywhere else, I left New York, being priced out of the city in which I was born.

So when I hear Wall Street executives bitch and moan about how their $350K paychecks aren't enough for them to live comfortably, I call bullshit.

When Andrew Schiff, the communications and marketing director of Euro Pacific Capital gripes about "feeling the crunch," and how his 1,200 square foot place is too small, and complains about his lack of a dishwasher, I know we're dealing with someone who can't possibly be from the same New York I'm from.  He talks about adding a 600 square foot extension to his place, and having a room for each of his three kids plus a guest room.  What, your kids are too good to share a bedroom?  He talks about other such travesties of substandard living, like having to do dishes by hand.

"The New York I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach."  Well, boo-friggin-hoo.

How about hedge fund manager Alan Dlugach, who is quoted as saying "People who don't have money don't understand the stress."  Really?  His biggest stresses are whether to pull his kids out of private school, or whether or not to give up his motorcycling habit, or to cut back on the $17,000 a year in expenses for his dogs.  Or to sell his beloved Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet.  Seriously.  A drop-top sportscar in New York that you can only use half the year.  As opposed to riding the goddamn subway.  Hmm.

These are the types of people directly responsible for the economic crisis that we are now suffering.  These are the people who feel entitled to excess, and are somehow slighted when they don't get it.  I washed dishes by hand.  I went to public school.  I never owned a car in New York.  I rode the subway.  I busted my ass every day I lived in New York.

Mr. Schiff thinks that the New York he always wanted is just outside of his reach.  He should walk a mile in my old shoes.

PS: all quotes from this blog post are from a Daily Mail article. Read it here.