Invest In Me (#investinme) – A reply to Virginia21

Today Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell tweeted “Students w/ @Virginia21 brought 10K signatures to GA with message for higher ed: #investinme — watch on @NBC29

Virginia21 is an organization of college “kids” who want the Commonwealth to “invest” in them.  So I watched their 15-minute video to see what they had to say.

Mind you – I favor a college education <b>for those who are interested, and who can accept the intellectual rigor</b> (sometimes) <b>found in academic programs</b>. No matter my personal opinion of the value of some degrees; I’m treating all students alike in this post.

Every student should understand some basic concepts.  One shouldn’t get to college without knowing them:

– People make “investments” with the expectation of receiving some personal benefit.  Some believe a benefit to society is a personal benfit.

– People usually make “investments” with no <b>guarantee</b> of return.

– Those who are “frightened” of an investment will avoid it, mitigate it, or accept the fright as a learning experience.

– Investors have a variety of choices.  They select those where they believe the outcome will be worth the cost.

– Choices have consequences.

– Negotiation is a part of life.

So, let’s talk.  Why should I invest in you? No, not a group of “kids” – or even young adults – YOU.  What’s your end of the bargain?

Will you agree to remain in Virginia – or to pay Virginia taxes anyway – for 10 years after graduation?  Will you agree to work for Virginia-based companies, or to add another percentage point to the loan for its life if you don’t? Will you agree to pay Virginia income taxes no matter where you live and work? Will you agree to take any work for which you are physically capable and which doesn’t cost you more than you earn?  Can you answer “yes” to at least one of these – can you make it worth the taxpayers’ money?

You see, I didn’t hear any of that in your speeches today.  I didn’t hear “invest in me and I’ll return xxx to Virginia.”  I didn’t hear anything but vague promises of economic prosperity – politician words.

I heard individual issues.

One student said after parental contributions, jobs and loans there are “no other options.”  That may be true, if he included grants in with loans, if he accounted for scholarships, and if somehow he accounted for part-time education, delayed education, 0r military service (that carries with it an education benefit).

One student, perhaps the same one (I listened; I didn’t watch) said it’s “frightening” to know that jobs are scarce and income is not promised, while he has massive student-loan debt.  Welcome to adulthood.

Face it.  There have been better times to enter adulthood, and there have been worse.  It’s not personal; no one’s out to “get” today’s young people.  You live in a world of challenges.  If you can’t face the first, what makes you think you’ll face others without appealing to someone else to bail you out?

What are you investing?  Your time and brainpower?  If you want the degree, you’ll do that anyway.  Is the outcome worth the cost to you?  If not, why are you there?  If you can’t articulate what the degree will do for you AND FOR SOCIETY, don’t expect society to get generous.

Protect me? Oh, really?

In Warren v. District of Columbia, DC’s highest court ruled it is a “fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.”

The Supreme Court has upheld such decisions.  Police have no duty to protect individual citizens.  (See here for several citations; the Wikipedia citation is down on SOPA protest day.)

So why do they rule that speed traps and drunk-driving checkpoints are legal?  Aren’t those designed to protect individuals?  Some states get it right, and either prohibit them or don’t conduct them because police lack the statutory authority.     I like this page about the legality of the checkpoints, noting the “DUI exception to the Constitution.”

What could possibly be the states’ vested interest, other than – wait for it – protecting individuals?

So what the courts are really telling us is that governments (police forces) don’t have to protect individuals unless they can potentially make money from it.

What Cox knows about customer service

is precisely zero.

Some may remember some time ago when Cox lost several years of my archived e-mails, with nary an apology or, for that matter, ever actually understanding the issue.

Last week, they brought me a new (software updated) cable box.   Why they can’t do SOFTWARE updates remotely is another completely different issue.  It was probably some combination of software and hardware, but who knows.  The technician left before the box came on line, then I had to call him when it never did.  Apparently he had to call in and have a signal sent to it.

From that point, the thing re-booted two to three times a day.  When it came back from the re-boot, it did so at FULL VOLUME (yes, very loud).  On Sunday, it went into re-boot and never came out.  I called Sunday night for help, and was told I’d need a new box.  I told them I expected it on Monday.  Monday comes and goes; no tech.  When I called Monday night, they said “between 12 and 2” on Tuesday.  I had a doctor appointment, but arrived at home on the stroke of 12.  The tech had been here 15 minutes earlier, and left a message for me to call and reschedule.  Yes, I have to reschedule for their error.  (What if I’d been in the bathroom?)  When I called at 12:10 saying I wanted a tech here today, they said they’d send an e-mail to dispatch and someone would call me.  At 3, no call so I called back, only to be told I’m on the schedule for  tomorrow.  I don’t know what Cox thinks it is, but this is NOT customer service.

On to billing – I want credit.  Agent gives me a small credit, then offers me a premium package free for four months.  I’m complaining that they’re losing a customer, and they’re trying to upsell.  When I told him I had no desire for that premium package, his next comment was “It’s only two mistakes in eight years.”  Two ginormous mistakes, but he can’t see that.

All it would have taken for them to keep a customer is “Yes, Ma’am, we were early.  We’ll have him there before 5.”

To switch services, I have to change e-mail addresses with countless numbers of people.  Again, I pay for their error.

Customer service my ass.

What is a right?

Someone hand me a copy of the new Constitution, please?  The one I haven’t seen yet.  I didn’t get the memo it had been changed, but I’m seeing pieces of evidence.

Apparently, there’s a right to own a house.

Apparently, there’s a right to television reception.

And a right to broadband internet service.

And now, some say a right is being abridged if a student group isn’t recognized on a campus.  If the school doesn’t give them perks, like access to mass e-mail lists, or meeting rooms, or money.

What?????

So, a group isn’t recognized.  Free choice.  There are sound, valid reasons for not admitting everyone to every group.  (I know; I joined a sorority in college.  I don’t now, as a matter of principle, join all-female groups, but I took an oath back then, and I believe in the organization.  For some known-only-to-the-gods reason, fraternities and sororities are exempted, by law.  Another issue altogether, for another time.)  Of course, Young Republican groups don’t want a fervent group of Democrats to join, take over, and re-focus the organization (replace titles as you choose, the point is the same).  And religious groups want their leaders to be followers of that religion (silly as that may be, but again, another topic for another time).

But schools insist to get recognition as a student group — with the perks — you must accept everyone who chooses to join as a member.

Where’s the beef?

This is not a case of the group’s rights being trampled.  There are no rights being trampled.  The group is free to form, organize, meet, whatever.  It is not entitled to perks.  Perhaps the students should focus on learning logic; they might then be able to see the difference.

Hypocrisy

You can’t rail against rationing health care, then pass laws that outlaw medical procedures because you don’t like them.  That’s rationing the health care people can get.  Or if you decide your medical plan can’t cover certain procedures, that’s rationing health care.

You can’t argue that the “other party” will stand between a doctor and patient, then define which medical procedures that doctor and that patient have as options.

You can’t insist your tax dollars won’t pay for one thing without allowing there are lot of things that are an anathema to many, even most, taxpayers.  Therefore, you can’t single out abortions without singling out plastic surgery, war, congresscritter staffs, bailouts, government takeovers of private industry, and myriad other things.   When you’re ready to present a menu from which ALL Americans can pick and choose, you’re free to not fund health care.

More logic (?).

There is such a lack of logic in this “response” that it’s hard to know where to begin.

Brady Campaign Responds to NRA

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has issued a statement responding to the National Rifle Association’s endorsement of Bob McDonnell for governor. According to Helmke, the “one critical issue” that separates Virginia’s candidates for governor on gun rights is the tightening of rules for buying weapons at gun shows–the so-called gun show loophole.

“Creigh Deeds agrees with the families of the victims of Virginia Tech that the most dangerous people, prohibited by law from purchasing guns from federally licensed gun dealers, shouldn’t be able to get around those laws by buying them from non-licensed gun sellers at weapons bazaars,” Helmke said in his statement. “Bob McDonnell, who now refuses to acknowledge that this gaping loophole in Virginia gun laws even exists, appears eager to do whatever the gun lobby wants him to. That’s playing politics with public safety, and the voters should judge the candidates accordingly.”

– The gun show “loophole” (which is not a loophole) is that an individual citizen can sell his or her privately owned firearm without following rules that were enacted for federally licensed firearms dealers.   In other words, you’re not subject to laws that don’t apply to you.  Current Virginia law says you can sell a privately owned handgun to a buyer as long as you know he’s a Virginia resident and you have no reason to believe he would not be prohibited from owning it.  This law doesn’t change by geography; it remains consistent whether you’re in your living room or at a gun show.   (Now, if you wanted to sell something, doesn’t it make sense to be where there’s a congregation of people who want to buy that thing?  Think of growing produce; if you want to sell produce, a farmers’ market is a logical place to be because that’s where buyers will be.)

– The families of the Virginia Tech victims would be in no different straits today if the law were changed; the VT shooter did not buy his guns at a show, and in fact did pass the federal background check.  The loophole is that his mental health records were never entered into the databases checked by the NICS.  That loophole was closed almost immediately by Gov Kaine.

– Creigh Deeds has admitted that he changed his mind on this issue due to emotional pleas from families of some of the VT victims.   He wants to legislate to “respond to grief“.  This is absolutely the wrong reason to pass any legislation, and is more reprehensible coming from someone who knows that the legislation would change nothing.

Deeds, who owns several firearms and has hunted since he was a child, said he understands the importance of the Second Amendment and has no interest in working for broader gun controls except for the gun show loophole.

“For me, everything changed on April 16, 2007,” Deeds said in an interview Sunday. “As a father, I felt just a need deep down in my soul to respond to their grief somehow.”

Note, the Brady campaign is not endorsing Deeds.  Instead, it’s relying on its old “evil NRA” mantra.  Instead of doing something positive, they’ll badmouth the NRA at every turn.  It says to me the Brady Bunch can’t think very deeply (well, I already believe that).  The NRA happened to make this endorsement, so it gave the BB something to rail about.  There are more grass-roots gun-owners groups in Virginia, each of whom will make or not make endorsements in its own time, and many of which include significant numbers of gun owners who dislike the NRA for various reasons.  In many ways, the BB blaming the NRA for all evils of the world are like the protesters who blame Obama for the nation’s ills.  Point at the leader, and let him/it take the blame.

What’s wrong with this picture? Or, Logic 101 ….

racist:  racial prejudice or discrimination

rac·ist \-sist also -shist\ noun or adjective

(merriam-webster.com)

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From the Washington Post, September 14, 2009:

On Saturday, tens of thousands of protesters thronged to the U.S. Capitol to angrily accuse President Obama of taking the country in the wrong direction.

A day later, in the shadow of the Washington Monument, many participants at a much smaller gathering — the 24th annual Black Family Reunion — said the level of hostility toward the nation’s first African American president had little to do with policy differences over health care or taxes and everything to do with race.

We’re expected to bow down to a charge of racism because people disagree with the direction a black president is attempting to take the nation.  Never mind that the quote comes from a participant at the BLACK Family Reunion. Never mind that the incumbent is half white.  Never mind that participants in Saturday’s march, while not all protesting the same thing, can generally point to specific policy decisions or stances with which they disagree.

I saw photos of the march on Saturday.  All races and ages.

I saw photos of the reunion on Sunday.  I can’t say the same.

I’m not naive enough to think that some Americans wouldn’t like anything the current president does, simply because he’s black.  Of course we have not wiped out racism.   But I can’t help but think “racism” is a handy label, one that doesn’t require thought.  If you dislike something suggested by someone raised by whites, whose skin happens to suggest black, you’re racist.

Nor am I supporting those who liken Obama to Hitler.  I despise the man’s ideas, but refuse to be drawn in to ad hominem attacks.  There’s plenty to debate without assuming someone is evil.  I presume Obama really believes some of the crap he’s proposing; I don’t think he’s evil, but terribly, terribly wrong, and proposing to help our nation further down a wrong path.

I really don’t care who proposes the idea of government intervention in health care; I’m out.  I really don’t care who proposes the ideas of government bailouts of American corporations; I’m out.  I really don’t care who proposes raising my taxes, or considers me “lucky” instead of “talented” or “hard-working”, and then gives the money to others; I’m out.

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Oh, yes — another logic flaw:

“On Saturday, tens of thousands …”

“A day later …”

And later in the story:  “As they left the rally, many of those with opposing views walked through the Black Family Reunion, some stopping to eat at the booths. ”

Many of those with opposing views must be rather talented … walking through a Sunday function on Saturday.  Who says they aren’t ahead of their time?

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What if they *had* to read it?

In a video of today’s 9/12 march on Washington (the one a White House spokesman “didn’t know about?*), there was a sign that said “Repeal that which you have not read.”

I have to wonder.  IF our legislature really did that, how many of them would have to vote to repeal the Constitution?

The point, though, is that some legislatures admit they don’t read the legislation on which they vote.  They rely on staffers to brief them, or they vote the “Democrat’s proposal” or the “Republican proposal” without truly understanding what they’re doing.

Wouldn’t it be utopian if they had to take a test, first, on the legislation before they could vote on it?

*If the White House staff doesn’t care enough to attend or listen to security briefings, so be it.

“I don’t know who the group is,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters with a shrug.

They are routinely briefed on gatherings/protests/happenings that could affect their convenience (that is, they might have to detour to find a route where they don’t have to face real people).

Published in: on September 12, 2009 at 7:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

What next … “for the children”?????

There’s a news report on one of the local TV stations that DC is considering banning smoking in playgrounds.

Outdoors.

In covered areas.

But “it’s for the children” who “shouldn’t have to breathe secondhand smoke”.  Frankly, unless there are a boatload of smokers around, Mother Nature will take care of it.

More laws.

We know what’s good for you.

When will it end?

US Anti-piracy Strategy

Give ’em what they want, and wait for the Marines.  At least, that seems to be it.

Of the nonmilitary options, including allowing sailors to defend themselves, the US is bowing to “unions, insurers, and foreign ports”.

Am I to presume we’re bowing to the idea that our ships in foreign ports are foreign soil?

And since unions apparently can’t figure out how to make shooting ability rise with seniority, they can’t justify, even in their own minds, pay for actual performance.  If we could somehow ensure the 10-year guy shoots better than the 5-year guy,  maybe they’d wise up.

And insurers are afraid they’d have to pay out for a lunatic lawsuit that says all firearms manufacturers are guilty if in the process of repelling a boarding, a pirate got killed and now they’re being sued?

For a nation that thinks we should “punish” North Korea or Iran for acting in what it presumes to be its best interests,  we certainly are proving ourselves a bunch of wimps.

Hand the sailors firearms  if they have proven to be non-violent, law-abiding citizens (and why are we hiring them if they aren’t?), declare US ships to be US soil, require sailors to follow the rules, and see the piracy of US ships abate.