Senseless Knife-Violence does not stir up Knife-Control Debate

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 12th, 2014

Week in Review

There was another senseless act of violence in our schools.  Giving the pro-knife control lobby further ammo to take away our knives.  Actually, no.  Only senseless gun violence shifts the discussion away from the perpetrator.  And onto the thing the perpetrator used.  The gun.  And not the underlying cause for this violence.  Mental health issues.  Which is why no one is talking about taking our knives away now after this senseless act of violence (see After Pennsylvania school stabbing, authorities and community ask: ‘Why?’ by Pamela Brown, Mary Kay Mallonee and Chelsea J. Carter posted 4/11/2014 on CNN).

A day after a Murrysville, Pennsylvania, teen allegedly rampaged through his high school’s hallways, stabbing wildly with two kitchen knives, the first hints of a possible motive began to emerge.

The attorney for 16-year-old Alex Hribal raised the specter that his client may have been bullied, telling CNN affiliate WTAE in Pittsburgh on Thursday that it looks like some kind of “bullying event” may have played a role.

“I think a lot of things have happened. I don’t want to comment specifically, but I think there are some things that occurred that led to where we are today,” Patrick Thomassey said.

But an FBI official, familiar with the investigation, discounted bullying as a motive.

“He was disaffected but not bullied,” the official said on condition of anonymity…

Some classmates at the school describe Hribal as having few friends and being quiet but also as a “really nice kid,” a description that contradicts the image of a knife-wielding teen offered by authorities…

Another student at the school who witnessed the attack said the attacker didn’t utter a word.

“He was very quiet. He just was kind of doing it,” Mia Meixner said. “And he had this, like, look on his face that he was just crazy and he was just running around, just stabbing whoever was in his way.”

According to Dan Stevens, the county deputy emergency management coordinator, Hribal had a very minor Facebook presence and didn’t have much experience on Twitter…

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck has argued against bail, saying that there could be no conditions that would protect the community and that Hribal made “statements when subdued by officials that he wanted to die.”

Mentally healthy people don’t do things like this.  So it is safe to say that this person has a mental health issue.  The FBI says he was ‘disaffected’.  Which means he was resentful and rebellious.  Perhaps having a problem with authority.  He might have been bullied according to his lawyer.  But his fellow classmates say he was quiet and really nice.  Even though he had a minor Facebook presence.  And little experience on Twitter.  So he was a loner.  Perhaps lacking social skills.  Had he been bullied you’d think they may have said something like, “Yeah, I’m not surprised he did that with the way he was bullied.”  But they didn’t.  Another student said he looked crazy when he was running around stabbing people.  Perhaps cracking after years of suppressing whatever he was suppressing behind that quiet and nice facade.

No one knows why he did what he did yet.  But one thing for certain, you can’t blame this on easy access to guns.  In fact, if the government took away all of our guns this would have still happened.  Because the one commonality to all of these senseless crimes isn’t guns.  It’s some underlying mental health issue.  Because mentally healthy people just don’t do things like this.

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“Figures don’t Lie, but Liars Figure”

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 5th, 2014

Week in Review

There’s an old saying by Mark Twain that goes like this.  “Figures don’t Lie, but Liars Figure.”  Which basically means you can make statistical figures say anything you want them to say.  For example, here are two statistics that make it sound like black fathers are better parents than white fathers (see Harper’s Index posted April of 2014 pm Harpers Magazine).

Percentage of white live-in fathers who help their children with their homework daily : 28

Of black live-in fathers who do : 41

Almost half of all live-in black fathers help their children with their homework.  While only 28% of white live-in fathers do.  So black fathers are better parents than white fathers.  At least, these statistics would seem to say so.  But it’s what these statistics don’t say that will change the conclusion these two statistics appear to make.

First of all, children who receive more help with their homework will do better in school.  For their children will be doing their homework if their dad is there helping them.  So the homework is getting done.  And if children have trouble understanding something their dad is their clarifying and explaining things.  So these children are going to do better in school.  And a larger percentage of them will graduate from high school.  As students who work hard and do their homework are more likely to graduate than those who don’t.  So, do the statistics for high school graduation rates show that black live-in fathers are doing a better job helping their kids with their homework?  No.  According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (see National public high school graduation rate at a four-decade high by Lyndsey Layton posted 1/22/2013 on The Washington Post), high school graduation rates were 83% for whites and 66.1% for blacks.

Learning abilities are the same for both blacks and whites.  So you can’t say that whites are smarter than blacks.  So is there something else that can explain the difference in graduation rates?  Yes.  The inability to make kids do their homework.  For if they’re not doing their homework they’re not progressing through high school.  And many just drop out.  But according to the statistics more black live-in fathers are helping their kids with their homework than white live-in fathers.  So how is it that blacks have a lower high school graduation rate?  Because of something the statistics don’t show.

According to Census data (see Social and Economic Characteristics of Currently Unmarried Women With a Recent Birth: 2011 posted on census.gov), the percent of out-of-wedlock births was 29.2% for whites and 67.8% for blacks.  Less than a third of white children are born out-of-wedlock.  While just over two-thirds of black children are born out-of-wedlock.  To single mothers who struggle to both work and raise their children.  Leaving them little time to help them with their homework. And because these mothers are single and working their children may be home alone.  And more likely to get into trouble.  Not do their homework.  And drop out of school.

So the higher rate of children born out-of-wedlock would explain the lower high school graduation rates for black children.  While the percentage of black live-in fathers helping their children is skewed.  For it’s only 41% of the 32.2% (100% – 67.8%) of black fathers who stayed in the home to help raise their children.  While it’s 28% of the larger 70.8% (100% – 29.2%) of white fathers who stayed home to help raise their children.  (Assuming born in-wedlock means the same as live-in father.  Of course a child could be born in-wedlock only to see his parents divorce later making his or her mother a single mother.  However, with child support and alimony payments a percentage of these single mothers would not have to work and thus be able to spend more time with their child.  So a divorced mother probably would not have to struggle as much a single mother who was never married.  Especially if the divorced parents are older when they start their families and the husband has an established career providing the financial resources that allows the divorced mother to stay at home with the children).

Crunching these numbers for 1,000 fathers you get about 131 black fathers and 779 white fathers (blacks are approximately 13.1% of the population and whites are approximately 77.9%).  Of these 131 black fathers about 42 (32.2%) are live-in.  And of these 779 white fathers about 552 (70.8%) are live-in.  Bringing us to approximately 17 (41%) black live-in fathers who help their children with their homework.  And approximately 154 (28%) white fathers who help their children with their homework.

So, if you look at the total number of live-in fathers helping their children with their homework (17 and 154) the number of white live-in fathers doing so is approximately 793% greater than black live-in fathers.  Or for every black live-in father helping his child with his or her homework there are about 9 white live-in fathers helping their children.  Which sounds like white fathers are spending more time helping their children with their homework.  Which they are because there are more white fathers than black fathers.  In a random sample of 1000 fathers there would be approximately 6 white fathers for every black father.  Based on the demographics of the population.

So we have looked at statistics in numerous ways.  Proving once again that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”  Or that you can make statistics say anything you want them to say.  So you should always be suspect when people use statistics to support their argument.  Because there is a lot of interpretation the number crunchers make with the data.  A lot of assumptions.  And are often a selective and subjective in their use of the data.  Especially when it’s the government uses those statistics to justify new spending, new taxes, new regulations, etc.  Because these are the people who truly figure with the numbers.  They did it in the days of Mark Twain.  And they still do it today.

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The Democrat War on Women leads to Young Single Mothers and Abject Poverty

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 19th, 2014

Week in Review

Doctors don’t just treat symptoms.  They order tests and procedures to find the cause for the symptom.  Because if they don’t the underlying problem may get worse.  Causing greater medical problems for the patient later.  Or worse.  This is how medicine works.  Because it’s not a government bureaucracy making medical decisions about the patient.  Now contrast that to how government programs operate.

When a government program shows symptoms that something isn’t right what do government bureaucrats do?   Address only the symptoms.  By throwing money at them.  While never addressing the underlying cause for those symptoms (high chronic unemployment, families below the poverty line, rising federal debt ceiling, etc.).  Instead they just politicize those who are struggling.  And blame everything else but the underlying government policies for their suffering (see Why you can’t “bootstrap” yourself out of poverty by Nicole Goodkind posted 1/17/2014 on Yahoo! Finance).

When money is at its tightest, cost-saving choices are often impossible to make, digging impoverished Americans deeper and deeper into the pit of day-by-day living…

A car…is a necessity for many jobs but the down payment can be insurmountably high. And even after the down payment poor drivers still face monthly payments, high gas prices, and the fact that low-income car buyers pay 2% more for a car loan than affluent people. Low-income drivers can also pay up to $400 more annually than wealthier drivers to insure their cars (for a car of the same model and with the same driver risk).

A lack of capital can also make it impossible to afford the security deposit on an apartment causing those in poverty to live day-to-day in expensive hotels…Those in poverty who are able to rent or buy homes are also more likely to get household appliances through rent-to-own companies and end up paying more due to added interest.

…banks often charge large fees for those who don’t have a minimum amount of capital in their accounts—this makes cash checking establishments, who charge incredibly high interest rates on pay-day loans, the only choice for many.

Ben Hecht, CEO and president of Living Cities, an organization that works to revitalize impoverished areas, joined The Daily Ticker to discuss why it costs so much to be poor.

“Many of us are salaried employees and many poor people, if they’re working, are hourly employees,” explains Hecht.

If you’re an hourly employee who needs to apply for benefits or even see a doctor, you’re missing out on vital pay, Hecht points out…

One of the biggest disadvantages that those in poverty experience is a lack of broadband Internet. “One of the fundamentals about poverty is a lack of access to economic opportunity,” says Hecht. “And we all know that the number one factor in economic opportunity is education and we know that in today’s world much education, even in public schools, is done online.”

A lack of broadband access is not why kids are doing poorly in school.  It’s because they spend too much time online with their social media.  Or spend too much time having fun with sex and drugs instead of doing their homework.  And those who do buckle down and study are being taught things like global warming and the unfairness of capitalism.  Instead of the math and science skills high-tech employers need.  It’s so bad that they have to hire foreigners in the visa program to fill their high tech—and high paying—positions.

What is this about being able to take time off with pay to run errands if you’re salary?  Every salary job I had didn’t work that way.  You were hourly until you reached 40 hours.  Then you were salary after 40 hours.  So if you worked only 36 hours because you took a half day for personal business you got paid for 36 hours.  But if you worked 65 hours to bring a project in on time you got paid for 40 hours.  Because you were salary.  And were expected to put in the hours necessary to get the job done.  The hourly guys laugh at the salary guys.  For if they work 65 hours they’re paid for 65 hours.  With 25 of those hours paid at a time-and-a half premium.

Banks have employees who don’t work for free.  And how does a bank pay for their employees?  In one of two ways.  From the interest they earn in lending your money.  Or the fees you pay when you don’t deposit enough money to lend.  Just look at the numbers.  If someone has an average balance of $3,000 the bank can earn about $4.62 a week on that by loaning it out.  Whereas if someone has an average balance of $25 the bank can only earn about 4 cents a week.  And 4 cents a week isn’t going to help pay anyone’s paycheck.  Even if you have 100 depositors.  Which would give the bank about $4 each week to pay their bills.  While having 100 $3,000 depositors would provide $462 each week to help pay the bills.  So they must charge fees for low balances.  Or lay off workers.

The reason why people can’t save for down payments and security deposits is because they don’t have the job skills to earn a larger paycheck.  Either they didn’t graduate from high school.  Or they are a young single mother who became a mother before getting higher-paying job skills.  For the path to a higher paying job is to graduate from high school.  Go on to college.  Establish a career.  Go to church.  Then get married and start raising a family (see Strong families steeped in Conservative Values and Traditions do Well in America posted 1/11/2014 on PITHOCRATES).  Whereas the people most mired in poverty are young women who have children out of wedlock.

The system isn’t unfair.  The system works very well for those who do what’s best for their future instead of what’s the most fun right now.  We need to take care of the children born into poverty.  But we need to address the cause of this poverty.  The breakdown of the family.  And the abandoning of our culture and traditions.  Those things that made America great.  For the left can talk about the War on Women and Christian oppression all they want.  But it is their libertine attitudes that are putting young single mothers into poverty.

We need to listen to the wise words of Cary Grant in Operation Petticoat.  When the women came aboard the submarine accompanied by a ‘wow’ from the crew Grant’s character said, “Mr. Stovall, Lt. Holden’s influence upon you is starting to worry me. I suggest you “wow” less and “tsk tsk tsk” a little more.”  As a society we need to ‘wow’ less and ‘tsk tsk tsk’ more.  Promote marriage and family over the casual sex that so often results in abject poverty.

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FT186: “Liberals are so bad at economics because they had no one in their lives to undo the bad education they got.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 6th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

Minimum-Wage Workers in Fast-Food and at Wal-Mart want a Living Wage for their Minimum-Wage Jobs

Wal-Mart workers are now demanding a living wage.  (Or people hired to protest the company the left loves to attack.)  Awhile back it was the fast-food workers demanding a doubling of the minimum wage.  So they could have a living wage.  Because they can’t raise their families with a minimum wage job.  So they want a pay rate beyond the pay rate of a minimum wage job.

So how much is earning $15/hour?  Well, if you work full-time and get the usual (2 weeks of vacation and holiday pay) that comes to 2080 (40 hours/week X 52 weeks/year) payroll hours a year.  At $15/hour that comes to $31,200 annually.  Which is the ‘living wage’ the fast-food workers want.  And no wonder.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (see May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates) here are some other jobs that pay around $31,200 annually with what they do as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Medical Assistants (Perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of a physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding information for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by physician).  Medical Equipment Preparers (Prepare, sterilize, install, or clean laboratory or healthcare equipment. May perform routine laboratory tasks and operate or inspect equipment).  Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians (Cut, grind, and polish eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other precision optical elements. Assemble and mount lenses into frames or process other optical elements. Includes precision lens polishers or grinders, centerer-edgers, and lens mounters).  Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation (Mix or apply pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides through sprays, dusts, vapors, soil incorporation, or chemical application on trees, shrubs, lawns, or botanical crops. Usually requires specific training and State or Federal certification).  Pharmacy Technicians (Prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. May measure, mix, count out, label, and record amounts and dosages of medications according to prescription orders).  Phlebotomists (Draw blood for tests, transfusions, donations, or research. May explain the procedure to patients and assist in the recovery of patients with adverse reactions).  And Substitute Teachers (Teach students in a public or private school when the regular teacher is unavailable).

Some have worked Two or More Fast-Food/Retail Jobs so they could get the Education and Skills for a Higher-Paying Job

These are not entry-level jobs.  You just can’t walk in when you’re still a high school student, fill out an application and expect to get hired in any of these jobs.  They all take training/education beyond high school.  And require a license or certification.  Which requires an investment of time and money to get.  Usually including night school at the least.  And more often at least 2 years of college.  None of which is required for a minimum wage job.

So it’s no wonder people with minimum wage jobs want a pay rate that is beyond their skill-set.  Who wouldn’t?  Wouldn’t you want to get that higher pay without putting in that schooling?  That investment of time and money?  Things you probably can’t even do if you’re raising a family on a minimum wage job.  Or two.  But does that mean we should just pay these people more?  Would that be fair to the Medical Assistants, Medical Equipment Preparers, Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians, Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation, Pharmacy Technicians, Phlebotomists and Substitute Teachers?

No.  It wouldn’t be fair to them.  For they would have made great sacrifices in their life to get those better paying jobs.  Because that is how you get a better-paying job.  In fact, some may have worked two or more fast-food/retail (such as Wal-Mart) jobs so they could get the education and skills these jobs required.  A lot of people working in fast-food/retail today may be doing the same thing.  For fast-food and retail offer two great things that allow these people to acquire these skills.  They will hire people without any skills (i.e., entry-level workers).  And fast-food and retail have many working schedules available.  Allowing single-parents to work when they have other arrangements for their children (school, daycare, parents, etc.).

The Hippies of the Sixties became Professors and then Moved on to Write the Curriculum

Instead of protesting fast-food and Wal-Mart we should be happy that at least someone in this horrible economy is actually hiring people when so few others are.  As President Obama’s economic policies have made such an anti-business environment.  The economy is so bad that just this past month another 516,000 have left the labor force (see Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age).  Which is the only reason why the unemployment rate fell.  Because of discouraged workers who couldn’t find a job just quit looking for a job.  But the government puts a positive spin on this by lauding the 169,000 new jobs the economy created.  Saying it’s further proof that President Obama’s economic policies are working.  Despite 516,000 who quit looking for jobs that are just not there.

If people are unhappy with their low-paying jobs in fast-food and retail they should be more upset about this economic destruction being waged by the Obama administration.  Which is the reason why fast-food and retail are the only businesses hiring today.  But there is no outrage.  Why?  Because most don’t understand economics.  And there is a reason why most people don’t.  It’s because of our education system.  Which the left has taken over.  Who write a curriculum that teaches students that capitalism and profits are unfair and bad while government and income redistribution so the rich pay their fair share is good.  And just.

A professor at Michigan State is the latest professor to illustrate the indoctrination of our young going on at our public schools and colleges.  Parents had to deal with their kids coming home from high school to hear how they were killing the polar bears because they drive cars.  But when these kids go to college this is the kind of stuff they encounter on a daily basis.  And he’s not the worst offender.  The worst offenders are those who don’t say outrageous things.  But who do it more subtly.  A smile, a smirk, a condescending remark—things that tell a young impressionable mind out from under their parents’ control for the first time that their parents were wrong.  Unless their parents were liberal.  They will believe almost anything these professors say.  Because they are very smart and must know far more than their parents.  And they treat these kids like adults.  And there is nothing that high school/college kids want more.  To be grown up.  It’s why they smoke cigarettes.  And have sex.  Because that’s what grownups do.

So is it any wonder that people have a poor understanding of economics?  Ever since the hippies of the Sixties couldn’t change the country from the outside they became professors to change it from the inside.  And then moved on to write the curriculum.  These people who hated capitalism.  And admired communism.  Which is why so many of them lived in communes in the Sixties.  These are the people writing the curriculum for our children.  Making sure our education system creates like-minded people.  To keep them voting Democrat until wisdom and experience opens their eyes.  And undoes the bad education they got.  This is why people think that it’s fair to pay minimum wage workers the same as Medical Assistants, Medical Equipment Preparers, Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians, Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation, Pharmacy Technicians, Phlebotomists and Substitute Teachers.  Just to see how pervasive this indoctrination of our children is—and why people keep voting for those who keep trying the failed economic policies of the past—we should put a webcam in every classroom and lecture hall.  So parents—and the rest of America—can see the liberal dogma being fed to the young.  Making them think, and vote, the way they do.  Then we’ll know whether these are isolated incidences.  Or that it is in fact pervasive.  Explaining why so many people today have no understanding of economics.  That minimum-wage jobs are entry-level jobs.  And that if you want to raise a family you probably shouldn’t be voting Democrat.  Whose policies are making the only available jobs in this horrible economy those entry-level jobs.

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Self-Esteem is out and a Useful Education is in at Schools in Perth, Australia

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 26th, 2013

Week in Review

I’ll never forget this classic episode of Gomer Pyle – USMC.  Sergeant Carter was feeling old.  Which depressed him.  Gomer wanted to help him recapture the vigor of his youth.   So on a long march Gomer emptied Sergeant Carter’s pack and filled it with straw.  Late into the march his men were fatigued.  But not Sergeant Carter.  He was fresh as a daisy.  Until he went into his pack and saw it was filled with straw.  Which made him feel old and depressed again.

Gomer’s mistake was making the pack lighter instead of heavier.  For if he completed the march and learned he had carried a heavier pack than everyone else he would have felt strong again like in his youth.  For making it through things when they are hard builds confidence.  Even if you fail once or twice along the way.  This prepares you for whatever the future has in store for you.  But making it through something because you had it easy or never faced criticism or suffered a failure doesn’t really prepare you for anything.  But extreme frustration as you are unable to handle adversity.  Or recover from failure (see Students to learn about failure by Bethany Hiatt posted 5/25/2013 on The West Australian).

One of Perth’s most prestigious and academically successful schools is cutting back on praise and rewards for students.

It has concerns that society’s focus on boosting self-esteem leaves many struggling to cope with failure on leaving school.

St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls wrote to parents explaining why it introduced strategies this year to minimise praise, reduce reward stickers for participation and provide work that was deliberately too difficult so students could experience failure.

Junior school head Julie Quansing-Rowlands said the prevailing wisdom in schools for many years had been that building up children’s self-esteem would lead to high achievement.

But recent research showed this simplistic approach backfired.

Over-praising meant children were less able to cope with disappointments they faced later in life…

Heaping praise on students also gave them a false sense of their ability and led to a sense of entitlement…

“We’re beginning to understand that it actually damages children to constantly praise them, constantly tell them they’re special and build up their self-esteem,” he said.

“New research is demonstrating that it’s not self-esteem but self- respect and self-control that really are the best predictors of how well kids are going to perform in high school…”

WA Primary Principals Association president Stephen Breen said schools and parents had probably gone too far in puffing up children’s self-esteem by praising everything.

“As a consequence, a lot of kids don’t accept criticism,” he said.

This is what liberals did to the American public schools.  Ruined them by trying to build self-esteem instead of preparing our kids for life.  Which has fed into an entitlement mentality where kids today expect life to be handed to them without having to work hard to get ahead.  That’s why so many go to college and get worthless degrees.  Because they just expect to get a good job when they graduate. Even though they learned no marketable skills in college.  But they had a good time.  And have the student loan debt to prove it.  Which they’ll never be able to pay back working a service job that they could have gotten without a college education.

If you’re looking to move and you have kids you may want to consider Perth, Australia.  For I hear if your kids go to school there they’ll learn how to work hard.  They’ll earn good grades.  Maybe a bad one or two.  But they will be able to complete a degree program at a college that will have real market value.  Preparing them for the real world after school.  No matter what life throws at them.  So they won’t be coming back home to live in your basement.  But they will have you move in with them so they can take care of you in your golden years.  Because your parenting and a good Perth education allowed them to achieve more in life than you did.  The way it should be.  Not having future generations achieving less than their parents.

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FT156: “Government needs to help us make the right decisions because we can’t…unless we’re a teen girl choosing an abortion.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 8th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

We don’t adapt to Our Environment we adapt our Environment to Our Needs

In the springs birds mate.  The female lays eggs.  She sits on them in the nest to keep them warm.  When they hatch she feeds her babies.  The mother chases away predators that get too close to her babies.  She teaches them to fly.  And then boots them out of the nest.  Where they go off to become adult birds.  Then the mother does it all again next spring.

Birds are very smart at being birds.  And the skills they need a mother can teach her offspring in a few months.  It’s not quite the same with human offspring.  Who receive more parenting than any other animal on the planet.  For humans need about 20 years to reach full size.  And even longer to gain full maturity.  And knowledge.  Taking 12 years of public education.  Then a trade school.  Or college.  And real life experience.  Years of knowledge and experience before they can leave the nest

Birds live in their environment.  And adapt to it.  Whereas humans are far more intelligent.  We’re able to think.  And use tools.  We have grown wiser over time.  Such that we don’t adapt to our environment.  We adapt our environment to our needs.  We mastered fire.  Built shelter.  Made clothing.  We learned how to farm.  And how to domesticate animals.  We created tools.  And built machines.  Simple machines like levers and wheels.  And advanced machines like airplanes and computers.  Advancing our quality of life.  We lived longer.  And healthier.  Things birds haven’t done.  Which is why they can raise their offspring to adulthood in a few months.

At our High School Graduation we Probably Know only Half of what we will Learn in Life

Some people mature quicker.  Some gain knowledge faster than others.  Some people keep learning new knowledge.  While some specialize in one area of knowledge.  Like a skilled trade.  Or medicine.  And while focusing on mastering these areas of knowledge they may spend less time learning other things.  Like history.  Or economics.  It is a complex world.  Where highly learned and skilled people do remarkable things.  But it takes time to learn the knowledge and skills to do these remarkable things.  And there is always more knowledge to learn.  No matter how learned and skilled we become.

There is a learning curve.  We’re born with a blank slate.  We learn a lot when young.  How to eat.  Drink.  Go potty.  Dress ourselves.  Tie our shoes.  Recite the alphabet.  To talk.  To obey.  Learning the consequences of our actions.  Things to help us in school.  Where we learn the three Rs.  Reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.  And how to think critically.  To solve problems.  To manage a household.  We learn history.  And rudimentary economics.  To help us live in the real world.  After we leave the nest.  Some of us get a job out of high school.  Some go to a trade school.  While others go on to college.  Or serve in the military.  And even after we’ve left the nest we still have a lot to learn.  And lot of experience to gain.  Which is why we go to trade school and college.  And the military.  To keep acquiring knowledge.  If we graphed this learning curve it would look something like this.

Average Knowledge

Note that the learning curve is steep in our youth.  Before school our parents teach us everything they can.  Then we continue our education in school.  By the time we graduate from high school our learning curve begins to flatten out a little.  As we may be settling on a career path.  And focusing on the education for that career.  But even at our high school graduation we probably know only half of what we will learn in life.  Either from further education.  Or real world experience.  Also, few of us acquire all the knowledge we have the potential to learn.  Which is why the learning curve flattens out in the 70% range.  No one can learn everything there is to learn.  But everyone can learn the maximum they have the potential to learn.  Sadly, a lot of this forgone learning is history and economics.  The kind of knowledge that makes a person less susceptible to a politician’s lies.  Explaining why so many bad politicians win elections.  And why they pass so many bad policies into law.

Young Liberals who still have so much to Learn vote as if they Know Everything

The learning curve flattens out in our twenties.  And even more in our thirties.  With our formal education complete we gain knowledge through experience.  And from studying things that interest us.  For our own enjoyment.  Or to help us make better decisions.  We read newspapers.  Watch the news on television.  Listen to AM radio.  In our forties we are well established in our careers.  And have long given up the idealism and childish pursuits of our youth.  As we are raising our own children.  Who are beginning to think they know everything.  Who don’t want to listen to their old and out of touch parents any longer.

By our fifties we have lived a long life.  And have seen a lot.  We’ve heard the same political arguments through the years.  And no longer fall for them.  We come to learn that our parents were right about a lot of things after all.  We become more conservative in our old age.  Because we’ve seen what works.  And what doesn’t.   Often times it’s always the things that are less fun that are best for us.  Of course trying to explain that to our children who know even more after earning a degree from a liberal college is next to impossible.  So we accept that they, too, will have to learn this as they raise their own family.  And get wise with age.  Like we did.

The Left labels conservatives as a bunch of old people living in the past.  Out of touch with the modern world.  Something young liberals want no part of.  So they naturally gravitate towards the Democrat Party.  These young people who still have so much to learn.  Who vote as if they know everything.  The fact that the Democrats win elections based in large part on the youth vote says a lot about the Democrat Party.  For they are the party of the uninformed voter.  Which the Democrat Party acknowledges by expanding the role of government into our private lives.  Because left to our own devices the Left believes that we won’t make good decisions.  Unless, that is, we’re a teenage girl choosing to have an abortion.  Then she is wise and knowledgeable beyond her years.

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Autocorrect masks Poor Job Teachers are Doing in Teaching Two of the Three Rs

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 26th, 2012

Week in Review

What the calculator did for our arithmetic skills autocorrect is doing for our spelling skills.  Well, autocorrect and bad teachers (see Over-reliance on technology is undermining spelling skills by Graeme Paton posted 5/22/2012 on The Telegraph).

Around a third of people in Britain are unable to accurately spell words such as “definitely”, “separate” and “necessary”, it was revealed.

The study found that just a fifth of over-18s could properly pick out a series of potentially tricky words from a list. Teenagers and those in their early 20s were the worst spellers, it emerged…

“With over two-thirds of Britons now having to rely on spell check, we are heading towards an auto-correct generation,” he said…

Females aged over 65 were officially the best spellers, while men aged 18 to 24 were the worst, the study found.

The conclusions come amid growing concerns over standards of literacy in schools.

This is not a British problem.  It’s everywhere.  The quality of teaching has declined.  Our technology hides the horrible job they’re doing teaching spelling to our children.  Computers, smartphones and other electronic gadgets that can correct our spelling are making up for the deficient teaching in our schools.  But when we find out how poorly our children spell we blame these devices instead of the people tasked to make them good spellers.  The teachers.

Why is this happening?  Two of the three Rs in reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic involve the written language.  So what are our teachers teaching in school if they’re not teaching the three Rs?  Well, in the U.S. they’re teaching our kids to become Democrat voters.  They may not know how to read or write but they know that capitalism is evil.  And that government is good.  They also learn how to hold a picket sign when their teachers go on strike.  This is the stuff they’re teaching in our classrooms.  Not how to spell ‘definitely’, ‘separate’ and ‘necessary’.  Like they did when our grandparents went to school.  When school was school.  And not political indoctrination.  Today they worry less about teaching their students how to spell correctly.  And more about teaching their students how to vote ‘correctly’.

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The Government makes our Kids eat Dog Food in our Schools

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 10th, 2012

Week in Review

The Obama administration has declared war on unhealthy foods.  Because we’re too fat.  And are in general poor health.  Because our mothers aren’t packing healthy enough lunches for their kids.  And McDonald’s and Taco Bell are killing us with unhealthy ground beef (see Seven Million Pounds of “Pink Slime” Beef Destined for National School Lunch Program by Sarah B. Weir posted 3/8/2012 on Shine from Yahoo).

McDonald’s and Taco Bell have banned it, but now the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is buying 7 million pounds of beef containing ammonium hydroxide-treated ground connective tissue and meat scraps and serving it up to America’s school kids…

According to TheDaily.com, the term “pink slime” was coined by microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein, formerly of the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service. He first saw it being mixed into burger meat when he was touring a Beef Products Inc (BPI) facility in 2002 after an outbreak of salmonella. “Scientists in D.C. were pressured to approve this stuff with minimal safety approval,” Zirnstein told The Daily.

“Pink slime,” which is officially called “Lean Beef Trimmings,” is banned for human consumption in the United Kingdom. It is commonly used in dog and chicken food…

Another issue is the ammonium hydroxide, a chemical that is used to kill pathogens such as E. coli. The FDA considers it safe for human consumption but a 2009 expose by the New York Times questioned its safety and efficacy.

Well if that ain’t the pot calling the kettle black.  It turns out that McDonald’s and Taco Bell hold themselves to a higher standard than our government.  For our government will feed dog food to our children in school.  McDonald’s and Taco Bell won’t.  Even though the government will.  But they heard public opinion.  And they’re going to give the public what they want.  Unlike our government.  Who takes a high moralizing tone when it comes to healthy eating.  But then tells our kids ‘dog food is good enough for you’.  At least, when they’re paying for it.

This is an important lesson here.  The private sector wants to please us and gives us a higher quality food.  The government wants to change us and make us take what they give us.  A lower quality food.  And their snarky criticism about our poor eating habits.  Now just imagine the level of quality we’ll get under Obamacare.

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First the State Destroys Public Education then they Destroy the Family

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 10th, 2012

Week in Review

The US is not the only country having problems with their public education.  The public education in the UK is getting so bad that parents are hardly seeing their kids anymore.  Their kids are either spending long days at school that include 2 or 3 school-provided meals.  Home work clubs.  And after school activities.  Or they’re simply going away to boarding school.  So their parents can work the extra hours to pay for a better education in a private school (see Private schools ‘acting as parents to middle-class children’ by Graeme Paton posted 3/6/2012 on The Telegraph).

Teachers are effectively acting as surrogate parents for thousands of pupils who often eat breakfast at school and remain in extra-curricular activities until the early evening, said Andy Waters, chairman of the Society of Heads of Independent Schools.

He said “more and more responsibility” was falling on schools during the economic downturn because of the sheer rise in parental workloads…

“Our often beleaguered parents need us to provide wrap-around care, breakfasts and evening meals, homework clubs and extra-curricular activities so that they can work the hours needed to earn the wherewithal to pay school fees,” he said…

The comments were made after figures showed an increase in the number of young children being enrolled in boarding schools as a result of the pressure on family life.

No doubt some in government like this trend.  The disintegration of the family.  For the sooner they can get these kids the sooner they can make them proper Social/Liberal/Democrat voters.  So these high-spending governments can keep spending.  Creating greater budget deficits.  And greater stresses on the family.  Until the family will be no more.  And we live in that socialist ‘paradise’ envisioned by George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Where the state is supreme.  And its citizens suffer abject despair.  Living a life of subsistence in a grey world.  While those in the government do quite well.  As they always do. 

For awhile, though, there was a time when the people lived well.  And the government served the people.  It was a good run.  Kicked off in England when they introduced us to representative government.  (Which reached back to Ancient Greece.)  Which makes this development in the UK particularly sad.  A great nation in decline.  As are all the social democracies of Europe with their crushing debt burdens.  All of them clearly on the wrong path.  Yet it is the path the current US administration has chosen.  To follow these nations like a lemming to that financial cliff.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #69: “Democrats bank on the youth vote because they’ve lost the wise vote.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 7th, 2011

Republicans are Greedy, Stuffy Old Farts

The perception is that the Democrats are for the working man.  Or woman.  And the Republicans are for the rich.  Which isn’t exactly true.  For there are a lot of wealthy who vote Democrat.  And a lot of working men and women who vote Republican.  But in politics perception is key.  Like it is in real estate.  I’m sure you’ve heard the one about the small agent who people perceived as the biggest agent in town.  Of the few properties listed, the agent had one on the road into town.  And one on the road out of town.  The agent owned two signs.  Each property got one.  And everyone saw these signs as they drove in and out of that town.  And thought, “I see these signs everywhere.  That agent must be the biggest agent in town.”  The agent isn’t.  But people perceive this because of the signs.

And there is a perception in politics.  It starts out when we are young.  In school.  And see our favorite teachers go on strike.  We love them so much we want to help them.  So we stand in picket lines with them.  Hold signs.  Blissfully ignorant of the underlying issues.  But teachers are good.  They’re not rich corporate types.  Some even have to buy their own school supplies because the school is so impoverished.  They deserve better.  Even though they get the summer off.  And don’t pay a dime for their health care or retirement.  If your parents had the same deal when you were a kid, they would have given you a lot more presents on your birthday and at Christmas.  Gone to Disney World a few more times.  And bought you that bike you always wanted.  But kids don’t understand this.  And the perception is that people are greedy because they don’t want to pay more in taxes to help their favorite teachers.

As these kids grow people hammer this message into them again and again.  On television.  In the movies.  In books.  In college.  Republicans are greedy.  Democrats care for the little people.  They don’t explain how.  It is just an article of faith.  Which the kids accept.  Without question.  Especially when they start getting politically aware.  And they feel special when people start initiating them into the political process.  They don’t understand anything yet.  They’re still self-centered kids.  But they like the attention.  It makes them feel good.  And when they learn that the Democrats are for fun, why, that’s even better.  For it is the Republicans that are against fun.  They disapprove of sexual promiscuity.  Drugs.  Birth control.  Abortion.  The greedy, stuffy old farts that they are.

Democrats are Enlightened and Care about People

It’s all part of the generation gap.  The kids against their parents.  Who don’t know anything.  In the sitcom Happy Days, ‘enlightened’ high school kids campaign for the Democrat candidate Adlai Stevenson while the parents support Dwight Eisenhower.  In the sitcom All in the Family, the ‘enlightened’ Meathead supports George McGovern while the bigoted Archie Bunker supports Richard Nixon.  In the sitcom Family Ties, the parents are caring liberals while Alex Keaton is a greedy, unfeeling young Republican who worships money, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. 

Since the Seventies the message has been clear for kids watching television.  Bigoted, greedy, unfeeling, dishonest, out-of-touch people are Republicans.  Enlightened people who care about other people are Democrats.  That’s a powerful perception.  And it works.  The majority of young people typically vote Democrat.  Mostly for the social issues.  Which they believe are enlightened on the Democrat side.  Which is all they really care about at their age.  When their hormones are raging out of control.  They’re not thinking about economic or foreign policy.  They’re thinking about the weekend. 

I mean, let’s face it.  Kids aren’t that smart.  They’re young.  Have little experience.  Which is why they do a lot of stupid things.  Smoke.  Work on deep sun tans.  Drive recklessly.  Drink before they’re of legal age.  Do drugs.  Drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.  Have unprotected sex.  Catch a sexually transmitted disease.  Give a sexually transmitted disease.  Accidentally get pregnant.  And the list goes on.  Their concerns are not long term.  Their interests are not long term.  It’s all about having fun now.  So despite this poor judgment we need to get out the vote and get these kids into the voting booth.   Why?  Simply because they will vote Democrat.

The Problem with Young Voters is that they Grow Up

So who votes Democrat these days?  Besides ignorant kids?  Mostly people who benefit from a large and growing government.  The poor who want more welfare benefits.  The elderly who want more Social Security and Medicare benefits.  Unions who get favorable legislation restricting lower-cost competition.  Public sector unions who we pay directly with our taxes.  And the smattering of single-issue people.  Environmentalists.  The anti-nuke crowd.  Gays and lesbians (rejected by some religious groups).  Feminists.  The pro-choice people.  Etc.

It’s a lot of people.  But America is still a center-right country.  Which leans conservative.  Which makes the youth vote so critical.  That’s why they get them while they’re young.  It’s the whole point of public education.  To make good Democrat voters.  That’s why they focus on things like environmentalism.  The theory of evolution.  Multiculturalism.  Sex education.  Birth control.  Things that will drive wedges between kids and their parents.  Should their parents be Republicans.  So after graduation they understand some fundamental truths of life.  Republicans bad.  Democrats good.  Until they start working and raising a family of their own.  At which time they will start complaining about the school curriculum at their own kids’ school.

Again, this is why the youth vote is so important.  For the youth have one fatal flaw.  They grow up.  A large part of that center-right America was once far left.  Kids who voted Democrat.  For the social issues.  Who then grew.  And stopped being ignorant.  Stopped thinking about short term fun.  And started thinking about long term consequences.  About their kids.  And their kids’ future.  A lot of these people changed their views on the social issues.  And started paying attention to economic and foreign policy issues.  Even went back to church.  Because they wanted their kids to go to church.  And they didn’t do these things because they became a bunch of greedy, stuffy old farts.  It’s called being responsible.  Which is what happens when kids grow up.  And have kids of their own. 

Indoctrinating and Dumbing Down

Once they do grow up the Democrats have to replace them with the next batch of kids coming of age.  And they take this seriously.  First it was 12 years of public school.  Then they added kindergarten.  And now there’s been talk about state-paid pre-school.  So the state can get to these kids sooner to start driving that wedge between them and their parents.  And they’re virulently opposed to school vouchers.  The ability to use your school tax dollars on the school of your choice.  For a couple of reason.  It thins the classes at the public schools.  Worst, private and charter schools often make smarter kids.  Who may think for themselves instead of just becoming good Democrat voters.

This attacks the primary mission of public education.  Indoctrinating kids into the Democratic Party.  And dumbing them down.  Teaching them things like global warming and multiculturalism.  While the Chinese and Indians are teaching their kids science and engineering.  So is it any surprise that the Chinese may soon surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy?

This is another reason why America is a center-right country.  Jobs in the private sector are important.  And pay for all those state benefits people vote Democrat for.  The costs of these programs are huge.  Too huge.  And we can’t sustain this kind of government spending anymore.  Grownups with jobs understand this.  Kids don’t.  So they may lose more of the grownup vote if they cut these benefits.  Which makes the youth vote even more important.  Because they are losing more and more of the wise vote.  The responsible ones with jobs.

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