31 January 2007

It's Those Darn "Dems"....AGAIN

Last week, the House of Representatives approved a plan that will INCREASE federal higher-education funding. This measure moves onto debate in the Senate.

I found this on the OP-ED page and without going into ALL the details, I am giving the "long-story-short" version of it, as I feel this needs some scrutiny.

Labeled the COLLEGE STUDENT RELIEF ACT OF 2007 (impressive title, no?) cuts the interest rate on subsidized student loans IN HALF over five years, effectively shifting the balance of the cost from the students to (...are you ready?)...the GENERAL PUBLIC!This will cost taxpayers (that would be you and I) nearly SIX BILLION DOLLARS, according to the CBO.

The legislation won't REALLY CUT student loan interest rates; it WILL cut the portion paid by GRADUATES (incentive to finish school at last).

Now I'm ALL for higher education, and I know it's gonna cost something, because NOTHING in this world costs...well, nothing (except annoyances...we DO seem to get THEM for free). It was cited that college grads earn a lifetime average of $1 million more than people without college degrees (love to get THAT "paid forward", eh?). Critics of this measure counter that the "plan" won't really expand ACCESS to college. An Arizona Republican rep stated that "It is unclear whether the burden on the taxpayers would help make college MORE AFFORDABLE". Well, now...there's person that seems to be looking out for me (and my branch of the "HIP-NATIONAL Bank").

College costs have rapidly out-paced inflation...that's a given. And there appears to be no relief in sight to repair that problem. Private college costs have risen 52% since the 91-92 academic year; public college costs have increased by 86% in the same time span. Since 2001, direct student aid has ballooned from $9.6 billion to a whopping $48 billion, with the number of students receiving such aid jumping by a third. And if the $6 billion cost estimate is correct (for this interest rate cut), it will eventually cost TWO THIRDS AS MUCH as all DIRECT federal student aid a mere SIX YEARS AGO.

So, this democrat-proposed "College Student Relief Act" is in reality the "College GRADUATE Relief Act", because we all know that college students don't start paying BACK the loans until at least 6 months AFTER graduation.

Maybe the legislators should look LONG and HARD at the reasons WHY college costs are spiraling upward...out of control. This would appear to be a much better method of progress than just expanding entitlements that will invariably lead to higher tuition costs.

Gee..it's good to know that the Democrats still think bigger is better (as in larger taxes, more taxes, and new taxes)...some things just NEVER change.

Nancy, put down the Kool-Aid, and start thinking with your brain, instead of your glands, OK?

(From original article by Leslie Carbone-adjunct scholar/Lexington Institute)

30 January 2007

Indiana Makes Yet ANOTHER List...

Yessir, the state of Anemia....I mean INDIANA has made a rather "arrestive" (no pun intended) list, that being the "top ten" states regarding the homicide rate for blacks.

After reading About this, it was more anti-climactic for me than surprising. The two states that beat us (how dare they?) were Louisiana at #2, and Pennsylvania holding the #1 spot (and I know where the trouble is THERE).

The list is as follows: (per 100,000 people - compiled by FBI/DOJ for year 2004)

1) PA -29.52

2) LA - 29.48

3) IN - 29.30

4) CA - 28.95

5) MO - 28.63

6) MI - 28.27

7) MD - 24.64

8) MN - 24.45

9) NV - 23.67

10) AZ - 21.54

** Note - The national rate was 18.71 for black homicides The national rate was 2.97 for white homicides The national rate was 4.96 for ALL homicides.

website link: www.ojp.usdoj.gov

Now I COULD go on some (well-placed) tirade about how culling the herd in many cases is a good thing...like drug dealers shooting ONE ANOTHER, but I won't. Nor will I mention that around my neighborhood, it's not happening fast enough.I promise. What I will state is that Indianapolis is "averaging" about ONE homicide per EVERY THREE DAYS (they have EIGHT already). Fort Wayne/Allen County reported 19 homicides last year...and it was thirty the year before (thanks to Mr. Ramos killing his family and the Guitierrez girl). Sadly, tragedies such as that will tend to skew stats, and not properly elude to actual rates. Pennsylvania (my birth state and commonwealth that I still love) has only TWO major places that homicides regarding blacks would be an issue. Pittsburgh and Philly (and the immediatly surrounding areas) have the two greatest concentrations of blacks in the entire state. So there's where the problem is.... As to Louisiana, well, we ALL know the situation during and post-Katrina. It became blacks preying on blacks at the Superdome...nice, huh? You turn to killing when you should be HELPING one another...nice testament to the "human condition" (better to move to Darfur and practice your "trades"THERE). In all these numbers, about SEVENTY NINE PERCENT were killed with guns. And EIGHTY PERCENT of those deaths involved HANDGUNS. Now I'm a real big 2nd amendment guy, so this doesn't enter into MY equation. Rather it should send a message to those trafficking guns illegally. It's never about people LEGALLY owning guns of any sort...it's about those that skirt the law, straw-purchase, and steal guns to obtain them. THAT is the issue that needs to be addressed, and not MY right to own a few, and purchase them legally, so we won't even get into that. According to the Violence Policy Center (which supports gun conrol) EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT of the homicides caused by handguns were black MALES. SO I guess the numbers really ARE on my side by living on the S.E. side...interesting.

If one were to peruse the DOJ website and check stats for the cities with the largest concenration of blacks AND the highest crime rates...there would be a very nice correlation between them. Almost city for city, the statistics reveal such glaring similarities.And is it such a surprise to us? Cities with drug problems, high poverty levels and large minority populations...it all comes together. But why? If I were to take another one of my "inside looking in" perspectives, I could see that a lack of MOTIVATION spurs much of the problem pertaining to poverty (see previous post about "poverty"). It's not really about not having enough money...it's about having to do actual WORK to get some. Why punch a CLOCK when you can punch a CLERK? That seems to be the mindset in many of these areas. The Walgreens (here) on E. Creighton was robbed TWICE within the past 7 days...and a customer just stood by and LAUGHED. The store is located in a predominantly black area of the S.E. side (as is most of it anymore).

I honestly feel for those in the black community that see this homicide rate as totally unacceptable. I grew up with friends of color, and they would be (and should be) appalled at the situation as it stands today. Now I suppose this type of self-inflicted genocide works well in a thrid-world country, but damn it, this is AMERICA, and we all should be a tad above this.. But I guess the lure of drugs, fast money, fast cars, and fast women is too enticing a carrot to let dangle.

It's long past time that the black community start DOING something about it...put an end to all this "stop snitching" crap, get PROACTIVE and take back YOUR neighorhoods, YOUR community, YOUR children, and YOUR future, because you don't like it when "whitey" intervenes. The police can't be everywhere and do everything...that much is a given.
What CAN be done is having citizens taking an ACTIVE part in changing the status quo in their community. It's not all about prayer meetings..it's about being responsible.

And let's face it...when things go wrong in your community...EVERYONE becomes "responsible"...real fast!

29 January 2007

And We're Going To Hear The Truth....When?

Sunday's paper had a very good article about the downtown area, and was replete with all the great pie graphs, pictures and obligatory praise one would come to expect from developers with huge dollar signs in their eyes (like the Hardball Capital member and owner of the Wizards seen here)....all this closely on the heels of so many debates, "task forces" (there's that damn word AGAIN), informal polls, and plain old taproom talk concerning the Harrison Square (aka Costaplenty Field) project. And let's face it...when you're trying to sell something so many people DON'T really want, you've just GOT to dress it up any way you can (building it with ZERO tax dollars would be a damn good start...) right? Sorry, but if it LOOKS like crap, SMELLS like crap, and yes, even TASTES like crap, don't try to BS me into believing it's a T-Bone (medium well) with onions and mushrooms, OK?

Anyone else recall the "field trip" those city and county leaders took to South Carolina a few months back to see how one (sister) city THERE handled it's downtown revitalization? Well, now Fort Wayne *must* want to become like ATLANTA, because that's our new "benchmark" for downtown improvement. Setting our "standards" higher now, are we? Personally, if one considers the amount of crime in Atlanta (alone), I wouldn't want to emulate that on ANY scale. But if statistical patterns and "trending" are any barometer of where Fort Wayne "wants" to go, I suppose we could always do WORSE (I'm thinking Detroit)...but not by much. Adding to the crime rate, the fact that Atlanta also has one of the top ten largest minority contingents, and it's a no-brainer as to why "we" want to be like them so badly (apparently). Since Atlanta is the 11th largest city in the nation, where exactly does Fort Wayne (pop. approx. 254,000) fit into the mix? It looks a bit incongruous from a myriad of vantage points.

Now I promise not to go off on some tangent relative to crime and minority populations or demographics (a topic for another post?), but I do see similarities, as would anyone with two working eyes and half a brain would in this case.

Still, this "complex" slated for downtown Fort Wayne (and you just KNOW they're polishing up the ramrods, and buying up petroleum jelly by the boxcar) isn't really about the PEOPLE of Fort Wayne...OR the businesses...OR even the future of the city. Be honest, you know this is just more smoke and mirrors. It's all about (all together now) M-O-N-E-Y....cash coin of the realm, dinero.....lotsa dollars (with no sense)...!

We HAD businesses downtown...we HAD people downtown, and we even HAD a future (for) downtown, but somehow..."it all got away", and no one saw fit to look for it, or even attempt to bring it back...until NOW. Sorry, but you just can't reinvent the wheel (or even IMPROVE upon it) in this instance. The SAME city and county that allowed developers to come in, set up all those malls AWAY from center city (to "cater" to people living AWAY from center city) weren't thinking of ANYTHING but the dollars they were making (at the citizens' expense). We've got areas SO inundated with retail, it's pathetic...and there are people that bought property there becasue it was "out in the country"...now they're surrounded by shopping on all sides. Convienient, yes...practical...no way. Certain areas of the city have become more TOP-HEAVY (with shopping and eateries) than Dolly Parton! Other parts of the city have virtually (and actually) nothing! And all these developers are "gone with the wind", never to be seen again...and what does our center city have to show for it? A few (small) businesses downtown, some office space (vacant too), a few government buildings...gee, sounds like most every other large city's downtown area. And here I thought Fort Wayne was TRYING to be like OTHER cities. Looks like we did just FINE to me.

The city wants a vital downtown. A nice idea. Hell, I want some neighbors other than non-working, drug-dealing, boomcar driving, disrespectful morons, but I don't see the city leaders bending over backwards to lift one damn finger to help ME (and others that feel likewise), so what makes the city feel I should "toss my hat" into the ring to support something I would have less use for than an electric dog-polisher? There is too little downtown to attract me, and even "if" this project comes to fruition, it would still not be enough to have me there regularly.

Think about who really needs the downtown TODAY....basically those going through the court system, that's who! Well, that and a few lovers of the cultural arts, but little else is there in the downtown proper for the masses.

They want to put a new HOTEL down there....cripes, they can't EVEN fill the rooms in hotels they have NOW...what makes anyone thinks a NEW hotel will attract SO many more people (maybe the curious tourists from Japan who want to see idiocy on display?) when we can't attract enough people now?

They want to put a new ballpark there too....I'll make this real simple...NO F$CKING WAY...kapesh? We don't NEED it. The Wizards are a MINOR league team, and can't even produce SRO receipts as it is NOW with their 13 year old stadium. Should Fort Wayne have a "new" downtown, how much of a "flash in the pan" would it become? How long before the "novelty" wears off? And then we're right back to square one, right? Except the taxpayers would be out that money...almost forgot about that. It's just a "White Mastodon"...waiting to be born. Can we honestly afford it in the manner it's being presented to us, or can we do better with less?

I think we can...and should.

I really don't see this downtown project as revitalization, as much as I see it as "damage control" for decades of denial, disbelief, and disregard for the citizenry. Isn't it just a tad late?.

So if you people (read city & county "leaders") are going to LIE to us...at LEAST be more creative. We've heard a LOT of this crap SO many times before.

If ANYTHING needs revitalization...it's the TRUTH.

26 January 2007

Friday's Odds And Ends...

Now in a handy SPRAY CAN...for all those impulsive "tagging" moments! Bringing to you all the informative (anything but obscurant) news that never seems to make it to the FRONT page (wonder why that is?) is my passion. So buckle up the kids, put down the trans-fat filled foods, and put out those smokes...

NYC To Give Out "Branded" Condoms
Coming from a city hall in Manhattan to YOU...condoms with a "jazzy wrapper" (thought they were only found on BET?) perhaps printed with a colorful SUBWAY MAP (or another city theme). Sure...that's JUST what the world needs..think about it.
You're in NYC, you're lost, and need to get from the upper west side to Battery Park....what'cha gonna do? Call Ghostbusters? Nah...just find some homeless bum sleeping in one of the numerous subway stations, rifle through his pockets for a condom...and VOILA...you've got a map of entire NYC subway system right at your freshly soiled fingertips. How novel is that?
Imagine if we do that in Fort Wayne? Condoms carrying our latest "logo" - ROOM FOR DREAMS. Actually, that's not a bad slogan FOR a condom company (as in dreaming of getting 'lucky' tonight at a local club)...LMAO!

Elmhurst High Gets "Reprieve"?
The Yellow Ribbon (more like a dorsal STRIPE) Task Force has begged off on recomendations about closing Elmhurst. Gee, I guess some folks ARE reading my blog after all! This "task force" is leaving the decision up to the FWCS board. Any projects to Elmhurst will be an adjunct (separate) from the "hostage deal" of (up to) $600 MILLION DOLLARS. Of course the CEO of Schmidt Assoc. (contractor) said the building needs SERIOUS attention (he wants the contract all for himself). The cost to demolish Elmhurst and renovate Wayne to accept the Elmhurst students would come to approx. $10.4 million, while the cost to renovate Elmhurst could be as high as $40 million. North Side and South Side were also removed from the "bottom line", as they were BOTH renovated with the past decade.
See...that $600 MIL is getting SMALLER, isn't it? I said that the ACTUAL costs would be lower, and that these "arbitrary" numbers were so much BS (as did jon Olinger, but not quite in the same manner). This whole fiasco, in this person's opinion is much worse than the rancher who decides to fix his gate AFTER the horses have all gotten out. In this case, not only is the gate broke, and the horses gone...the rancher is under chapter 11, the "back 40" has been plowed under, the home and barn have been deemed unfit for habitation, and the rancher's wife has left him for the landscaper. I can't see how FWCS could not have forseen ANY of this....must have been all those "feel-good" programs acting like BLINDERS...'ya think?

City Takes Homeless Survey
Volunteers in Fort Wayne braved the cold weather in an effort to "count the homeless" (sounds like a new gameshow). HUD (the people who bring you disheveled neighbors and urban blight in abundance) requires cities to survey the homeless population every other year to receive money from the department (talk about good money tossed after bad, eh?), as this survey helps social service agencies with needs and gaps in service to the homeless (noble sentiments IF the money ever got to them in the first place). Numbers for Fort Wayne will be available by next week.
(You're really going to like this....)
This is a difficult task in Fort Wayne, as many who ARE homeless STAY WITH FRIENDS OR FAMILY (then they're NOT really "homeless", are they?) and may not consider themselves homeless (thought I just SAID that). The cold weather also drives the homeless into abandoned houses (maybe NCE can secure a few officers and check the several HUNDRED houses we have mainly on the SOUTH side out, hmm?) or into homes of family and friends. The survey doesn't ask what CAUSED the homelessness (overblown property taxes?), and doesn't ask what services would HELP them (uh...maybe a HOME????). The Homeless Task Force (how many of these damn things ARE there?) found out the homeless want heavy-duty trashbags and duct tape (as do I) for shelters (I use them for what they're DESIGNED for instead). Reasons cited for homelessness were inability to pay rent (we're supposed to have jobs...so where are they Mr Mayor?), and being released from prison (thought we had re-entry programs as well as other facilities to reassimilate these felons BACK into the community?). Funny, I thought they could always get a "job" as a neighborhood COKE MULE...that should pay enough to find a cheap crib. I mean we DO have drugs coming into Fort Wayne, right? Also makes me wonder (since half of those counted were Spanish-speaking) how many are LEGALLY here?

There you go...all the news that's not fit for the front page...BUT is damn good enough to incite debate, discussion, and discourse right HERE...

...And provide a smattering of pungent social comment....(that would be ME). LOL!

25 January 2007

Full-Day Kindergarten = Universal Panacea?

The state of Indiana is moving a bit closer to having this full-day kindergarten gig becoming a reality. I for one am NOT amused. I usually like to stick to three basic topics here: Crime, Education, and the Human Condition. But once in a blue moon, two of these three topics overlap. Such is the case with full-day kindergarten. It's a crime as well as an educational topic.
But it's mostly a crime. Indiana already has school systems in disrepair, students with ambiguous I-Step+ scores, and now the politicos want the school systems to manage an ALL-DAY baby-sitting service. Sorry, but that's a criminal act against the taxpayers of this state.

Just here in Fort Wayne, we're ALREADY looking at the FWCS's "hostage situation" whereby the taxpayers of the city are being held for ransom to the tune of no less than $600 MILLION dollars. Sure, so let's ADD to that mix a price tag of about $135-$285 MILLION required by the state to RUN an all-day kindergarten scenario ANNUALLY (as to what Fort Wayne taxpayers might have to shell out for it every year, we don't have a clue yet). The state has admitted to having NO IDEA how they *plan* to pay for it as it stands. But they already provide money for HALF-DAY kindergarten. Lord knows how much of our money is fronting this.

Of course one Democrat state senator says: "Early learning and full-day kindergarten is a way to GIVE (at a huge price, right Bub? ) children in the state of Indiana (or is that the state of DENIAL? ) the chance and ability to excel in school (even if they don't want to? ) and in life. If we don't GIVE (who's this *we* crap? ) them the tools early enough (in vitro wouldn't EVEN work for SOME of these kids ), we will lose them "(how many will lose anyway due to the lack of parental accountability? ). State education superintendent Suellen Reed was excited to see this dialogue moving forward (doesn't take much for her these days I guess ) and promised to provide any research needed to get lawmakers on board (ANOTHER gravy-train? ).

Da "Guv's" master plan will phase in the kids who are eligible for FREE or REDUCED-PRICE lunch FIRST (and if the former post about POVERTY is any indication of who SHOULD be receiving this program...it would be most ALL of us....LOL)! Some kids would have to leave midday because of disqualification (can you say "cluster-f$ck"? ) for the free meals. And this would surely affect lesson-planning as well as logistics such as lunch and transportation. Of course, even though this comes with a price (and a huge honking one at that), the state feels the benefit to the children is priceless (as in not worth a dime, or as in a DaVinci painting? ).

The Democrat state senator added: "When it comes to full-day kindergarten, we have to continue to be innovative". (as in more ways to spend ALL our money for baby-sitting services...gotcha, Bub). Of course the Republicans voted against the resolution.

Again, we see the result of allowing parents to become L-A-Z-Y. When mom & dad (or mom and whatever boyfriend is living there this month) can't actively take any sort of role in shaping a child's life BEFORE entering school, that is a crime. Hell, there are those people that (falsely) believe that education is an "instrument of the white man" and therefore has no relevence with THEIR children. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have those people that see this as yet anohter way to "free up" their day so they can sit at home, or otherwise do relatively nothing all day while the "state" takes care of the kiddies. What's ironic is that these are the SAME people who would cry "foul" whenever the "state" intervenes elsewhere in their lives. Since many of the people who will be shipping their charges into this full-day kindergarten will no doubt be classified as "poverty level" (erroneously as well), we SHOULD expect these kids to have such a large leg up in the educational system as to put all others to shame. Well, I don't see that happening any time soon. It's not about THAT.

What it IS about is good parenting, not taking the kids and doing the "shuffle off to Buffalo" thing at such a high price. The cost of good parenting should FAR outweigh any other monetary venues, however contrived. And the net result of good parenting CAN be felt for generations. Setting a price tag on that would be impossible, yet it IS able to be realized, at a far less financial strain on the already beleaguered taxpayers of this state.

There were SO many kids that never went to kindergarten, started school at the first grade, went on to excel far past grade 12, becoming successful in life.

It must have been those darned parents and the skills THEY provided.

24 January 2007

Like The Old Saying Goes....

"If it ain't broke...don't fix it". Elmhurst High School students and parents gathered last night, pleading their case with Dr. Wendy Robinson (FWCS superintendent) NOT to close their high school, citing that there was no need to close the facility and tear it down. With the $600 million price tag FWCS wants to saddle the citizens of Fort Wayne with, it's no surprise that the supporters of keeping Elmhurst open were looking for their own way to cut costs...namely by REPAIRING things at the school (what the FWCS wants to do in the first place). Dr. Robinson says the school is too old (the boiler system is ONLY TWO YEARS OLD), and that the school needs too much work. But by the empassioned pleas from those in attendance, it would seem as if they were willing to perform the work THEMSELVES...they felt THAT strongly about saving their school (and it's traditions). And who can blame them?

Even one member of the Yellow Ribbon Task Force (Kyaw Soe) told the crowd he would rather remodel the school than close it. But the rock quarry adjacent to the property plans to expand, and with that, the noise and dust levels might increase. Would it not be prudent to preserve a fine educational facility than to allow a quarry to impede the educational process?

If there is ANY problem with Elmhurst, scuttlebutt has it that the principal (and not the building) could stand being replaced. Informed sources say she has been OVERLY brusk when dealing with both students staff, AND parents.

Now there are 'interesting" facets to all of this. Wayne High School is under capacity (thanks to it's own expansion), while Elmhurst is at it's limit. The "plan" by FWCS would be to MERGE the two schools (what the hell IS this...SURVIVOR OUTBACK?). People opposed to the merger cite a decline in achievement scores for the (former) Elmhurst student population. The students and parents like the "small school" venue at Elmhurst, and the test scores seem to bear that much out. But Dr. Robinson says that "The size of the school has nothing to do with student achievement" (Gee Wendy, and here all that talk we've heard over the decades about OVERSIZED classrooms being an impediment to learning was just so much BS, right? ). Not to mention what happens to the school "spirit" that once was part of Elmhurst? Does it just gets "assimilated" like so many Borg drones, into some cookie-cutter assembly line scholastic "collective"?

"If Elmhurst goes...the neighborhood goes", stated one person that has lived across the street from the school for 35 years. This person plainly sees what the future holds. Same can be said with many of our inner city neighborhoods (on the south side) when their schools closed. As the schools left...the "neighborhoods" left...at least the spirit that kept them alive and thriving. It's no surprise to see such neighborhoods in the state they find themselves today. This doesn't just apply to Fort Wayne, but to ALL larger cities across America. And in some perverse manner, it was quietly planned this way. Having our kids bussed to the "nether-regions" for schooling took something from our neighborhoods...something we're not soon to recoup.

In the twelve years I attended schools in Philly, I was only bussed to ONE school...and it was quasi-rural in nature. the rest of the time I WALKED...the schools were THAT close together, public AND parochial.

If the parents AND the students feel as strongly as they do about keeping Elmhurst open...and by "saving" Elmhurst from the wrecking ball FWCS can further lower that $600 million pricetag they want to hold the citizens of Fort Wayne hostage with, I say go for it.

If our school system wishes parental & student involvement, well by God (at Elmhurst) they GOT it!

Maybe FWCS ought to be careful what they wish for...'ya think?

23 January 2007

Now Here's A List *We* DIDN'T Make...

Fort Wayne has been the target of many lists over the years. We've been called the DUMBEST city and the FATTEST city. We have been called the city of churches, and most recently, we're becoming a city of DREAMERS (at least that's what the city leaders want us to believe). But there's one list we're probably not going to be making anytime soon (in spite of ourselves)...that being the list of WORST CITIES FOR UNEMPLOYMENT.

Sure, we've got plenty of "jobs"....if you like flipping burgers...I (personally) much prefer flipping off idiots in my neighborhood, thank you. We've got to be on some list for MOST low-paying jobs, but I don't see it yet.

Curiously enough, if you were to drive around the confines of my neighborhood, you "could" probably argue the "unemployment" fact, as it would appear that NOBODY works in our area (excluding the few that pay for all those that don't). On any given day, you see strong, healthy young men (and women) in ABUNDANCE with "nothing to do".....simply amazing, eh? Now that's NOT to say that we're all so damn independantly *wealthy* as to not HAVE to work....such just isn't the case. Take a long, hard look at most of the houses and cars, and you'll see what I mean. Take a gander at the way the neighborhood itself LOOKS...it's not some high-end, $200K+ housing addition in some marvelously landscaped corner of the city....not by a longshot! Hell, people around HERE think FiOs is some new brand of ATHLETIC SHOE...lol!

But I digress....

Fort Wayne is not on the "endangered species" list (yet) as far as employment goes. Sure, we're keeping pace with the national average, but isn't almost EVERYONE? There are a lot of LARGER cities with worse unemployment rates than us. Take Detroit (please). Their downtown, once a huge hub of activity, looks more like a GHOST TOWN...at RUSH HOUR! Many of the larger cities, once home to bastions of industry and innovation, have gone the way of the Passenger Pigeon. It's all about the suburbs now. And even they are starting to feel the rumblings of fewer jobs.
The cities on the top ten list are mostly from the "left-coast" area, That surprises me. But see for yourself:

TOP TEN WORST CITIES FOR UNEMPLOYMENT
10) Yakima, WA - 7.5%

9) Flint, MI - 7.7%

8) Hanfiord-Corcoran, CA - 7.8%

7) Yuba City, CA (tie) - 8%

6) Merced, CA (tie) - 8%

5) Fresno, CA (tie) - 8%

4) Sumter, S.C. - 8.1%

3) Visalia-Porterville, CA - 8.4%

2) Yuma, AZ - 13.3%

1) El Centro, CA - 16.2%


I know Fresno is LARGER than Fort Wayne, and used to have a HUGE IRS service facility (I guess they "cut back"?) right nearby with a few THOUSAND people working there. Flint doesn't surprise me, as the industries I talked about have all gone "bye-bye". South Carolina was a sort of surprise, as the history alone should warrant job creation. I suppose if you're not in the LOGGING business (in Yakima)...you are out of work. Not much else there BUT logging.

One thing about all of this that you should be aware of....when the "unemployment rate" DROPS...don't take that (necessarily) as a sign that MORE people ARE working...that just means more people "fell off the dole", and are no longer getting benefits. It's all about "numbers", people. And we KNOW cities LOVE to futz with numbers, don't we?

So, fellow citizens of the Fort Wayne area, don't worry, be happy, and rest assured you will have some sort of JOB here. The way things are going, the thriving DRUG TRADE can always use a "few good mules". God KNOWS the city needs people who can REALISTICALLY plan things (such as a vital downtown, and not some pie-in-the-sky ballpark). The FWCS can use some good, strong people willing to work for almost free to help with the school building repairs ('cause the school system won't be getting anywhere near ALL that dinero they "want" out of OUR pockets anytime soon if the people have anything to say about it).

And the FWPD could uses some auxilliary help with those in the aforementioned DRUG TRADE....a case of citizens arresting citizens...(how novel in concept)...a virtual self-perpetuating "job market"...(wow...who'da thunk?)!

But at least *we* (Fort Wayne) won't wind up on that UNEMPLOYMENT list...right?

22 January 2007

How Do YOU Spell "Relief"?

There are those who have quietly redefined what poverty "relief" is SUPPOSED to mean (not what it actually means) while the rest of us were out working our tails off. And if that alone were the Alpha & Omega to ONLY help those that NEED assistance, all would be well and good. But sadly, it is not. After posting at AWB's blog, I had to expound on my personal take on this.

Websters defines POVERTY as:

a) The state of one who lacks a USUAL or SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE amount of money or "material possessions".
b) renunciation as a member of a religious order of the right as an individual to own property
c) scarcity, dearth
d) debility due to malnutrition.
e) lack of fertility (of the soil)

synonyms: indigence, penury, want, destitution

Poverty may range from extreme want of necessitites to an absence of "material comforts".

Indigence implies seriously straitened circumstances. (like a neighborhood changing for the worse).

Penury suggests cramping or oppressive lack of money. (like Ft. Wayne TAXPAYERS)

Destitution implies extreme poverty that threatens life itself through starvation or exposure.(How many playaz fit that bill?)

Now surely we DO have those people who honestly CAN be placed somewhere within the definitions above. But if we carefully examine what the synonyms further tell us, you will see many people that are not in any danger of a cessation of life, but rather are seeking to garner more for themselves (material comforts). Surely, we're not talking about the staples of life here. If MY idea of a "socially-acceptable" amount of money is...say, a MILLION BUCKS...well, I don't have that much, so I MUST be in "poverty". I also don't have a huge honking plasma TV with surround sound on my wall, OR a LEXUS in the garage, so since my "material possessions" don't come up to speed, I MUST be in "poverty". See how easy it is to mistakenly convince onself (and the government) of a false perception?

As I commented at AWB's, the lines that define poverty are rapidly becoming blurred. It would appear that many circumstances that would have not been labelled under "poverty" in the past are now part of that lexicon. And they are there erroneously.

For example...when I see a mother with FOUR kids (by three fathers), with no visable means of support (as in she never goes to a job, and no job is coming to her door), being able to RENT a house (not an apartment) AS WELL AS have a NEW (or almost new) car or SUV (and the obvious fuel costs and insurance that accompany it), with that 60 inch big-screen TV, THAT is NOT poverty, by ANY stretch of ANY imagination. So what if the kids sleep on mattresses on the floor, and the windows have bedsheets instead of curtains? It's NOT poverty. And anyone that believes otherwise is either a fool or a liberal (maybe both?)...
This same woman (with those four kids) that has the random "man of the week" stopping by with his cadre of notable flotsam is (somehow) manging to keep her head ABOVE water, while flying UNDER the radar (being able to tap any and all services designed to help the NEEDY). She doesn't seem TOO NEEDY from where I stand. In fact, she's doing better (with no job) than many people are doing WITH a damn job (and that goes for healthcare workers and educators....people with COLLEGE degrees). How the hell can this be?

As I say, the definition of poverty has now (apparently) come to include those that have NO DESIRE to do anything with their lives (we call that being L-A-Z-Y). And someone must think that's OK because they keep getting food stamps, free school meals,welfare checks,HUD housing monies, and whatever else really needy people deserve. Many families have become multi-generational recipients of this "system playing", and have no qualms about fostering it to their future progeny. Talk about "reparations". How can so many people have the funds (with no job) to purchase drugs, guns, booze and new vehicles, while dodging taxes (and civic responsibility)? Why should decent working people have to keep paying for programs that are not helping those honestly "in need", but rather these minions of mayhem instead?

Something is dreadfully WRONG with that picture.

When people with more resources tap the taxpayers to fund their lifestyle by fraudulently playing the system like a cheap-ass violin...something's wrong. When truly needy people get less and less because more and more is going to those that already have (and want STILL more)...something's wrong.

The median income is somewhere between $35K-$45K (give or take a thousand), so in fact, that alone would place MANY of us WELL into this "realm of poverty" the way it is currently realized. Hell, my wife, a HS teacher could be a borderline case, but let her go and try to apply for any "assistance"...she makes too much (probably the wrong ethnicity and NOT pregnant).

The entire poverty issue needs a drastic OVERHAULIN', and if it winds up pissing off some people out of their current "E" ticket ride on the government Gravy-Train...oh, well...get off your lazy ass and get working, dirtbags! All these "support systems" that are currently in place need to be looked at long and hard. We have jobs out there, and we have schooling avaliable...for those WILLING to get off their butts and make a serious go of it. You can't learn by OSMOSIS, and you shouldn't be able to have the "good life" by sucking goverment programs (and the taxpayers) dry as the Sahara. Anything worth having is worth getting...and holding onto. The best way is to EARN it....it's more appreciated that way.

Today, poverty has come to mean "something for nothing". To sit back, do nothing but rake in all these material possessions and STILL cry "poverty" though makes the argument for the way the word itself (poverty) has been bastardized to fit the "times"...that has to change, for everyone's sake. You want poverty...go to Appalachia country....or Sudan. THAT is poverty, and NOT what a lot of people "perceive" it to be here (i.e. not having that Lexus).
But don't let me hear someone cry "POVERTY" where none is present. Put down the Crunch N Munch and orange drink, get off your lazy ass and become a PRODUCTIVE member of the community AND society....

It's high time we stop redefining words....It's costing us too much money & too much of our future!

19 January 2007

Friday's Odds And Ends....

It not only comes in a bottle, but in DIFFERENT COLORS to boot. Yes, it's FRIDAY....welcome to the weekend. And with it comes the tidbits of pages 3-8 news you might never find, because the media loves to "bury" these stories ASAP, so you can get POed at something on the FRONT page instead.
But we just LOVE dredging up the things you SHOULD be cheesed at...the things that affect YOU.


Ten Jobs Shrinking Faster Than A Wool Sweater -

1) Cashiers (self-scanning of UPC codes...have fun tying up the lines)

2) Couriers-messengers (why ride a bike when you can FAX or EMAIL...sorry Kevin Bacon, those "Quicksilver" days are GONE)

3) Inspectors-testors-sorters-samplers-weighers (all the menial work done by everyone from the disabled to illegal immigrants...sorry, we have MACHINES we don't have to pay "under the table"...or feed..or provide health care for)

4) CSRs (customer service reps..THANK GOD...finally....a mechanized voice routing system WITHOUT a live person OR a HINDU accent...YES!)

5) Book binders (again...all done by machines...and cheap-ass foreign slave labor)

6) Film processors ( Two words...DIGITAL CAMERA).

7) Fishers & fishing vessels operations (seems there's a GLUT right now ...habitats are disappearing faster than pork products at Michael Moore's house)!

8) Electronic home entertainment equipment installers & repairers (OK...we don't FIX this crap anymore...we just go & get ANOTHER one...got it. We used to call that "planned obsolesence")

9) Procurement clerks (better than 2 words here...just one...AUTOMATION)

10) Power plant operators (automatic control systems and monitoring devices, ergo, fewer "button pushers" needed)

This doesn't mean these jobs will totally disappear...people will ALWAYS want some film procesed, or "need" a cashier...

FWCS Hostage Situation "Not As Bad"? -

A meeting of the YRTF (yellow ribbon rask force) has come to the conclusion that repairs to all 53 bulidings in the district will ONLY come to a maximum of $600 MILLION. Well, that just makes me breathe that sigh of relief...and here I thought we'd be fronting a BILLION bucks....(whew)... Wait a minute.....I see what's going on here...they're going to be giving out Preparation H instead of Vaseline...verrrrrrry sneaky, people. Very sneaky.

Maysville Rd. (Cheap-Ass) Housing to proceed -

The County Plan Commission (read head ramrodders) is going AHEAD (oh, big surprise here, eh?) with this low(er) income housing (apartments) along the 9300-9400 blocks of Maysville Rd. The neighbors wanted a fenced buffer zone between the facility and their properties, but instead "settled" for an earthen abuttment with trees (oh yeah, that will DEFINITELY keep all those low-lifes OUT of YOUR backyard...sure it will...when pigs fly). Hope your homeowners and personal insurance if paid up, 'cause you're going to be needing it. Oh, and expect the city/county to reassess your property HIGHER, so you can help PAY for the "section 8'ers". But just TRY and sell your home (because you WILL want to soon enough with those new "neighbors") for that assessed value. Good luck.

TAB Hearing -

Allen County Council heard the pros & cons (not THOSE cons..they're still in lockup) over reinstituting the TAX ADJUSTMENT BOARD (gone since the late 80s). What this board used to do was oversee the budgets & levies of ALL local taxing bodies (those 30+ entities talked about in previous posts). They would review total dollars property owners must pay and then would decide how to EASE (love that word) the burden if needed.

Such has not been the case for over 15 years...and we can see the result....overly assessed values of properties in blighted areas, and a cavalier attitude with taxing homeowners to defray the costs of any and all "desirous" projects the city or county wanted to impliment.

Our own Mitch Harper (of FWOb) was there, pressing home the need to reinstate the board...good for you, Mitch! The TAB could not increase taxes, nor could it delete specific budget items, but it could instruct an "entity" on how it could reduce it's budget. This board can provide oversight, because governments should NOT function like a "non-profit" by trying to garner as much of OUR money as they can.

So there we are....all the news that's fit to type....(or print to fit).

It's what I do. No applause, please......just throw money (...and later we'll show you how to take that spare change and turn it into FOLDING money...)

;)

18 January 2007

Making Punishment Fit The Crime...

Unless you've been on a sabbatical to Nepal, you've probably heard about this Fort Wayne couple that have been charged with child neglect and abuse. It's a situation of shall we say, less than stellar parenting or guardianship (and that is a huge understatement). But if you haven't heard about it, here's the *411* on the incident.

Seems that 22 year old Juquita (I know what you're thinking about the name) Pledger and her 19 year old "boyfriend" Christopher Woods don't know the first damn thing about being a parent, or even a responsible caregiver of small children. Her 6 year old girl was bound with duct tape, hit with a TV cord, stuffed into a clothes dryer, and threatened with drowning. The girl also told police her mom TRIED to force her to drink bleach (that's right...you read it correctly). The girl's 3 year old brother was burned (by the boyfriend) on the stove, and was made to go around with no diaper or underwear, and to wear clothing with dried feces on it.

Now I don't know about you, but being incensed over this doesn't quite fill the bill for me. I'm a tad beyond that after reading this on other blogs, the paper, and seeing it on the news. What breed of monsters are we creating these days? Dr. Frankenstien's creation pales by comparison...he was a creature with a damaged brain, and not capable of rational thought or action (as these people are "supposed" to be). How dysfunctional can be considered dysfunctional enough?

The mother claims the 6 year old girl was "getting under her skin"....OK, well that makes perfect sense now. Your daughter bothers you, so you TORTURE her. Because whether people want to believe it or not, what these children were subjected to goes way beyond abuse....THIS IS torture. Cripes, the detainees in Gitmo (and even Abu Ghraib) are treated far better than these "people" treat their small children. In this person's opinion, this duo of human flotsam isn't fit to have a pet cockroach, let alone rear a child or two (with another on the way). And therein lies the irony in all this... this woman is PREGNANT AGAIN with her THIRD child (lawdy, lawdy have mercy). Where do we, as a CIVILIZED society simply say "Enough is enough"?

Again, my personal take on this would be to take ALL the children as far away from these two creatures ASAP (already done by CPS, except for the fetus, which should be taken as soon as it's born), and THEN have the both of them get their respective tubes TIED. I'm all for burning the guy's jewels off on the same stove, but that's just me. Bail for them is set at ONLY $5,000, which means they could most likely make bail (10%), and "book outta Dodge" to start this all over again somewhere else. I hope such is NOT the case. And at this point, I don't honestly know what any sort of "counseling" might do. It woukld be interesting to hear from Pledger's and Wood's PARENTS on this (my baby wouldn't DO such things...yeah right).

And you know what the SCARY part about all this really is (you mean it gets worse)? This scene (or many like it) is being played out in most every major city across the nation, and they're getting "under the radar" on a daily basis. So who is going to help THESE kids when they're part of this "invisible" society? Damn good question. Wish I knew the answer.

Now there will be those who will claim it's all about POVERTY, and I will simply retort with a hearty "Bull$hit"! Claiming poverty has nothing to do with this. Generations of kids grew up with a lot less than kids get (for free) today, and they made it through childhood just fine. It's all about this "lifestyle" the older kids embrace. And I say older kids, because who the hell is MAKING all these babies in the first place? We have kids raising kids, and since the older ones don't have a frigging clue as to HOW to handle life and it's vicissitudes, how the hell can we expect them to raise kids with concepts they cannot grasp, nor ever achieve in their current state of development?

THIS is exactly the type of situation I expect the community leaders to act upon, LONG before it ever gets as far as the incident with these two local kids. The police knew about this woman, the neighbors knew there were problems, and yet NOTHING was done...CPS had apparently never been notified until NOW. That is simply just NOT acceptable to me, the kids, or society as a whole.

Again, we see the lack of the word "RESPONSIBILITY". And face facts, bringing a child INTO this world (and raising them to adulthood) IS a HUGE responsibility. Being able to instill a sense of self-worth, morality, ethics, and integrity is something (hopefully) every parent strives to foster in their children. But not in this case. Here we have two of society's dregs, obviously falling through more cracks in our system than we can shake sticks at. They have played the system to make it work for THEM, and them alone. Forget the small lives they are in charge of who depend upon them for most everything in their lives at these ages. Again, not an option in MY book.

If there is a silver lining to this cloud of depravity, it can be said that these children WILL have the chance they are MEANT to have in this life....a chance to be so much more than they have been to date...and much better people looking out for them than those that failed miserably in the past.

It would be interesting to revist these children in say, twenty or thirty years. Who knows, one of them might just wind up winning a Nobel prize.

At least the chance is there...NOW.

17 January 2007

A Case Of Art Imitating Life....

Curiously enough, in spite of the myriad of channels avaliable for viewing these days, I find myself actually watching LESS television than in years past. Now since we're not "fortunate enough" to have our cable bill paid for us or have satellite, we get by with the basic plus from our favorite monopoly: COMCAST.

Still, there's just not that much worth watching these days, aside from some Sci-Fi Channel, History Channel and a (very ) few other shows on various stations (TCM comes to mind). I myself rarely watch network except for the local news and some CBS shows (The Unit, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Shark). But one show that has grown on both me and the missus of late has been Boston Legal. I tuned in for the sci-fi connection (Shatner/Kirk & Spader/Stargate), but wound up getting "hooked" because of relevant social issues that were being presented in their various cases.

Shatner portrays wonderfully eccentric and overly libidinous law firm partner Denny Crane, while Spader plays the subdued (but equally overly libidinous) and eruditic cohort Alan Shore. Last night's episode provided the impetus for today's posting.... Long story short...Denny Crane (Shatner) was going to fly to Maui to be with (yet) another "girlfriend" (he's the resident poster boy for testosterone), and found out he was on a "NO FLY LIST" according to Homeland Security. In fact, it was explained to him that ANYONE with the name Denny Crane was unable to board a plane to or from anywhere, because of a "potential" threat. He could have gotten on the eligibility list if he filled out a form which would take (in typical governmental terms) an "indeterminate time" to process.

Suffice it to say, Denny took the FEDS to court, with Alan defending his right to be able to fly, and that Homeland Security was arbitrarily prohibiting law-abiding citizens from flying while not being able to catch the "real" criminals intent on terroristic activities. As a marvelous Coup de Grace, he presented to the court a ROOM full of people with the name Denny Crane, stating that all of them were not allowed to fly as well, and for no good reason, other that THEIR names were on this "list". Yet Homeland Security was "unable" to just srike the names from this list.

Denny won the case, and his name was removed from the NO FLY list, by order of the judge. But there was a fantastic reasoning behind Alan Shore's closing argument to the court. Alan stated that with ALL the techniology abvailable today (his iPod could hold 20,000 songs in the size of a cellphone), surely the process that had selected Denny's name could be streamlined. It was further argued that with ALL the "brains" developing the latest gadgetry in AMERICA, maybe the government would best be served by hiring THEM to fix the problems...ask THEM to help with Homeland Security. The best thinking "outside" the box might be found WITHIN the box itself.

Now all that made me think of a more microcosmic scale in Fort Wayne regarding the recent 900 Mhz problem in the FWPD when they switched over their comms systems. There was some sort of computer foul-up, and a lot of the software was unusable. It took Lord knows how much time (and money) to correct the problems, but how much easier would it have been to "recruit" some computer honor students from a local TECH COLLEGE to advise the departments how to best proceed and how to fix their problems? Or what about a professor (or two)? I wonder how many businesses have owners with the "chutzpah" to come forward (if asked) to assist with city problems (the FWCS repair fiasco comes to mind....as in maybe some contractors could help with this AND reduce costs).

How many more problems does our city face, and why are the leaders wasting so much time, effort and money looking outside for someone to come IN and help(at typically higher costs), when we surely must have a vast well of talented individuals who could possibly see things with a fresher perspective RIGHT HERE in "River City"?

I can hear Robert Preston singing now.....

"That's Talent...with a capital *T* which rhymes with *P* and that stands for POOL" (of untapped local resources, that is).

And the state worries about our Brain Drain?

Hell, it seems they're the ones CAUSING it , when the "cure" is as obvious as the noses on their pudgy little faces!

16 January 2007

We've Got Competition....

Good, healthy competition is always welcomed...it keeps us in shape, on our toes and at the ready. But in THIS case, the news is less than stellar (even though it's ON a stellar scale).

In the realm of squandering the Earth's natural resources, the people of DUBAI (UAE) are right up there along side us with their insatiable consumption of everything and anything. With their chilled pools, quasi-bigfoot 4x4s, and air-conditioned malls, this small desert land is equal (in energy consumption) to the entire US of A. Curiously enough, since this nation is considered a "developing country", the protocol of the Kyoto does not apply to them, and on average each citizen is responsible for the largest "ecological footprint" on Earth.

Here's a nation that has an INDOOR SKI SLOPE that produces artificial snow even when it's 120 degrees outside....how ridiculous is that? How many ski enthusiasts are there in the UAE (apparently ENOUGH)? They've created artificial resort islands that have all but devastated coral reefs. Add to that...Dubai has one of the world's BUSIEST airports in the world. Energy consumption in the UAE runs high for all the same reasons it does here in America; that the "good life" dictates huge air-conditioned houses and cars, with a disdain for public transportation.

Now aside from the obvious impact all this is having on good old Mother Earth, it should be known that we are just as guilty as this small country. America is also not bound by the Kyoto protocol. We have many of the same narcissistic perks at our disposal. And if we don't have them...we manufacture them. We do it all for the sake of a better "quality of life".

Sorry, but I've just got to toss some water on this "electric blanket" of hedonism.

If there's one thing America might need a dose of...it's appreciation. Not to hug any trees, but this old Earth has been damn good to us, and how do we show our "appreciation"?

If a nice Aunt were to give you a nice expensive toy as a child, would you repay her by kicking her in the shins, or slapping her face? certainly not. You see where I'm going with this?

Sooner or later we're going to start paying the price for our blatant mistreatment of the resources alloted us by this planet. Many would say we're ALREADY paying...and will continue to pay more and more in generations to come.

As insidious as this increasing harm to the planet appears, there are just so many long-term effects we've yet to see. And maybe Mother Earth is getting a bit tired of "bailing our asses out" year after energy-demandng year. There may just come a time when what we are doing to the Earth will no longer be able to reverse itself.

As the David Bowie Song "SPACE ODDITY" goes... "Planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do...."

Now I'm not for going up and giving Al Gore a pat on the back...hell no, but I would say that preserving what we have so our grandkids can enjoy it, DOES come with a price. And it might be as simple as NOT tossing that plastic bottle or potato chip bag on a person's lawn....or perhaps having that car or truck tuned up more than every 5 years. We can hold governmental agencies responsible for demanding that companies tow the mark regarding pollurion (in any form). We can demand better for ourselves...every one of us.

All we have to do is WANT to make it happen.

Besides, couldn't a few of us stand to "sweat off" a few pounds now and then?

;)

15 January 2007

The Dream....

I've always been an admirer of Dr. Martin Luther King, and to this day, I embrace his words with a passion. They are great words spoken out of a deep sincerity that everyone CAN "just get along". And to sustain ourselves for our posterity...we MUST become able to get along. But what has happened to Dr. King's dream after all these years anyway?

Much of the progress that was made in the aftermath of Dr. King's very untimely death has (imho) been negated, and in many cases been turned back upon itself. There ARE those people who took Dr. King's words to heart, and made a difference if not for the masses, then at least for themselves. And that by itself isn't such a bad legacy.
My primary question should be: Where are the standard bearers that have taken up the banner of Dr. King and marched FORWARD?

Have we become so complacent as to think that "things will work themselves" out? I cannot think for a moment that we could ever be THAT presumptuous. Or have we merely supplanted other "devices" in lieu of the real meaning of Dr. King's "dream"?

Does affirmative action work? Would Dr. King even approve of this, or would he say that EVERY man (or woman), black OR white MUST stand on his (or her) OWN MERITS and let THAT be the example for others to emulate? Do free government programs "designed" to get people "back on their feet" serve to actually make this a reality, or do they promote a multi-generational dependancy system solely for it's own self-perpetuation? Is becoming a role model for the black youth today dictate that they have "sold out to the white man"? They used to call that "being an oreo", or even an Uncle Tom.

When brawling, overpaid sport figures, as well as so-called musical "artists" (with more hate in their hearts and in their "music" than ever before) become the icons for the newest generation of youth, is it any wonder that the downward spiral we see in society cannot be tracked back to a lack of REAL role models? Why are so many blacks wallowing in this "victimology" mindset that "whitey is out to get them", when they have heard the truth (and that being they must learn to help THEMSELVES first and foremost, striving for self-betterment), and THAT TRUTH HAS (already) set them free? If there are still any shackles about the wrists, they have become more self-imposed than anything.

One example we see is that marriage is becoming more of an anachronism, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in black families. With a divorce rate at over 50% for all races, we see that many more blacks are just plain outright NOT getting married (just cohabitating), to anyone from any race. The lack of responsibility (to another) must be the overriding factor to this way of thinking. We see in a lot of black music the denegration of women, the glorifying of a thug lifestyle, and an overall hedonistic view of life in general. THIS is NOT Dr. King's dream being realized by ANY stretch of ANY imagination. If anything, it is the antithesis. Yet, this is NOT to say that similar things do NOT happen in other ethnicites...they DO. But it's Dr. King's dream for HIS people that we're focused on...and where it all disappeared to.

Thankfully, there are those who STILL believe in the dream.....holding fast to Dr. King's messages and his fream. Some have succeeded...many have yet to realize the dream. And still more aren't even interested any longer. Yet it's for ALL THESE people that his dream holds a modicum of hope. Someone once said that "Dreams are great...they don't cost anything". I would counter that by stating that to ACHIEVE one's dream...much work is not just expected, but REQUIRED. And therein lies much of the problem with Dr. King's fulfillment of THE DREAM. There are those that expect something for little (or nothing).

Racism still exists, but although it has been proven that reverse racism is thriving even more than typical racism, we barely hear about that. We only focus on things done to blacks by whites. Now we're seeing racism towards those of Middle Eastern ancestry. Each new generation brings it's own unique problems...and still, the problems of the former generations have neither been fully addressed NOR solved (to any significant degree).

I would maintain that all of us look to the bigger picture....and to the values that Dr. King believed in. He saw the potential in every one of us, black OR white, and our failure to strive for that diminshes Dr. King's teachings in so many ways. This we cannot allow to happen, if we ALL are to evolve as a race...the HUMAN race.
Without these values applied to our rights granted us by our Constitution, Dr. King's DREAM fast becomes a NIGHTMARE...
...one we may never awaken from.

Perhaps Dr. King summed it up best when he wrote:

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous as sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity".

13 January 2007

A Ray Of Hope....

No, it's not the title to another STAR WARS episode....just an observation regarding something near (too damn close mostly) and dear (as in trying to understand stupidity when it's masquerading as diversity) to my heart.
The new fireworks law that went into effect LAST year is going to be tweaked (that'll match a lot of the "neighbors" in my neighborhood). Actually, this is going to be a DRASTIC change in the laws regarding fireworks....and about damn time, too. Last year's law was a sham, plain and simple.

In Philly, the ONLY legal "fireworks" anyone can have without a license or permit are SPARKLERS....period. Of course you can always drive into NJ and grab some of the "good $hit", but if you're caught back in Philly with them...it's "off to the hoosegow"!
Here in Indiana (as of 2006), they've allowed those MEGA rockets to be shot off almost ANY day of the calendar year....(yeah, I love celebrating BOXER DAY with some Roman Candles and Pershing 2 missiles...don't you?). And a lot of people are cheesed off over this. Seems the NOISE and potential for fires and injuries are making some folks a bit antsy...and deservedly so. Let's face it...how many people do YOU know who are certified to handle pyrotechnic material? I didn't think so.

I've seen all too often, irresponsible people setting off these "scud-busters" in the middle of the damn street (with traffic passing by). And since my neighborhood is largely black-raced, guess who is doing all the stupid crap? Right again. Now I like setting off a few small firecrackers (can I say the "C" word in tis context?), but I'd much rather go see a FREE show set off by EXPERTS, and not some drunked or drugged-up homeboys trying to intimidate everyone within 3 city blocks. They do enough of that already JUST be driving and walking around the area.

But I digress...

The "New" new law will severely limit the detonation (and that's what you do to them...DETONATE) of large fireworks to SPECIFIC days, such as New Years' Eve and the 4th of July. The rest of the year is going to be taboo. I for one could not be happier. I've seen small children in too close a proximity to these "bunker-busters" to make me feel at ease. I guess the "parents" think it's OK to place these kids at risk. I'm not even related to them, but I DON'T think it's OK...so sue me.

Not to mention that this bill (when passed) would also cut down the number of people injured or maimed by improper use of this type of "ordinance". Any way you shake it, it's a win-win, except for those selling the fireworks (oh, well boo-frigging hoo). This is one of those "serving the greater good of the populace" moments, and I'm ecstatic over it.

Now I would say that I would just love to have a few bricks of C-4 or some thermite grenades just to get rid of some of my blight in my area. We've got too many empty houses that have had no one in them for YEARS, and these are prime areas for doing drugs, prostitution, and even arson. Any decent citizen wouldn't want to put up with that for such a long period of time.

But in any event, the "new" new law should take care of a plethora of problems created when the (old) new law was enacted last year. Of course the fire departments might not receive all the funds they were initially promised (from last year's law), but they'll manage well with grants and such anyway. So, they're not going to be hurting.

And that might even make MY neighborhood a bit more tolerable.

I suppose I just need some more ROOM TO DREAM...!

12 January 2007

Friday's Odds And Ends

Wow...I didn't KNOW this stuff came in a BOTTLE? What WILL they think of next, hmm?

Latest Low-Income Housing Meets resistance -
An $8 million apartment complex just outside of Fort Wayne along Maysville Road is getting the big NIMBY treatment...and who can blame these neighbors? Residents there cite flooding and traffic as their worst fears. But let's be politically INcorrect here...they fear the CRIME that will (most likely) result from these apartments. Of course the developer states "there's a real need in this area". What, we don't have enough crime...we have to spread it around? What about ALL the several HUNDRED HOUSES on the southeast and southwest sides that are sitting VACANT (in some cases for YEARS)? Where is the impetus to move ANY of these renters out from being a "tenant" into the realm of homeOWNER? There's a lot more here than meets the eye!

Financing Fort Wayne's "Hostage" situation -
FWCS's Yellow Ribbon Task Force is setting about to figure out HOW THE HELL they plan to finance this HUGE honking repair bill for the system's 53 school buildings...and it's not going to be easy (for once). The "task force" wants to recind or significantly modify the state's "circuit breaker" legislation (which caps property tax increases at 2%)...I'm sure that will go over with the taxpayers like a pregnant pole-vaulter! They go on to say that: "steps should be taken to reconstitute the interaction between the Capital Profects Fund and the Racial balance Fund to discontinue the practice of reducing the CPF property tax levy by the amount of the RBF, but no action should be taken to jeopardize the RBF levy, as this plays a crucial role in maintaining the district's desegregation plan". (And where I live, that "plan" has failed miserably over the years). The 2% circuit breaker means the maximum amount a taxpayer would pay on every $100K of assessed value comes to $2K. And this will result in budget restrictions by FWCS as well as all other local units of government (and those 30+ private sector entities such as the FWIA). But the circuit breaker will result in property tax CREDITS not normally targeted for specified property owners (yay for the homeowners...sorta). So those living in $1mil+ MANSIONS will benefit the MOST, with us moderate schleps getting little if ANY "real relief" (as usual). I'll bet FWCS is doing the "shoulda-woulda-coulda" dance right now.
This could get real nasty...real fast.

Indy Workplace Shooting Injures Four -
Jason Burnam was charged with 4 counts of attempted murder and 1 count of carrying a handgun without a license was arrested without incident in the lunchroom of Crossroads Indusrial Services. This shootings were "about respect" (yeah, who needs courage to walk away and be a man, when you have a GUN?), and apparently Mr. Burnam had issues with coworkers. Funny thing is, this guy has NO criminal history (no small accomplishment for his people). But he IS taking antidepressants (who wouldn't living in Indy these days?) due to bipolar disorder. His mother told him to ignore the "teasing" he said was going on at work (I guess mother STILL knows best). The company is a division of Easter Seals Crossroads, and 85% of the production workers have phyiscal or developmental disabilities. I guess it IS easier for people with mental problems to get guns (they're NOT supposed to have them in the first place for JUST this reason) ...that would explain a LOT about the shootings and firearms violations in MY part of town. Must be all those DRUGS killing off all those brain cells......

There's some food for thought, and unlike the south side of Fort Wayne (where starvation is measured NOT by how few FOOD STAMPS you got from your "uncle" this month, but rather by how little these people care about anything or anyone thanks to a lack of CIVILITY), we like to share our intellectual and educational bounty with anyone and everyone.

Just take your elbows off the table and chew your food....LOL!