WTF are we doing?

I am generally a good mannered and jovial guy who likes to have fun and laugh.  Lately some things have been bothering me.

Fall Sports have begun, school started for the kids, and the 2012 election cycle about to really get moving there are things that need to be discussed.  I apologize if I offend anyone.

We have 2 voting tribes in this country.  Republican and Democrat.  We also have a non tribal faction.  Call them Libertarian or Independent.  Whatever you call them, they sway our general elections.  People on the left and right are going to vote like they always do along tribal lines.  That much we know.  The people in the middle are a different stripe.  They can shift directions.  Kudos for their voting efforts.

Voters are generally apathetic and uneducated on issues and policy.  They tend to be especially uneducated on how policy directly effects them.  Too many voters in the middle fall prey to attack ads (notice how these ads show up the final day before the election) and issues that don’t really matter in terms of policy that makes this country great (social issues).

I would implore people to stop watching real housewives and start reading up on your candidates and the issues.  There is no excuse in this information age.  The information is readily available.  Read both sides of the issue.  Avoid blogger and opinion pieces.  Don’t read material that supports your preconceived thoughts/opinions.  If you’re a lefty, don’t watch MSNBC.  If you’re a righty, don’t watch Fox News.  Watch and listen to the other channel.   …this is just an example.

Where are we headed as a nation?  We are slowly creeping toward an unsustainable entitlement driven society.  We have labor that is too expensive because of unions who bully the process and neglect to train and educate their own ranks.  We expect the top wealth to support the bottom 50%.  We have a mentality to help the less fortunate at any cost while not investigating the paths to help those who can help themselves.  We have an education system that throws money at the wide range of problems without holding parents and students accountable.

Feeding this is a generation of coddled kids who lack a work discipline, an inability to compete while thinking they are “competitive”.  Video games, helicopter parents who gush over their kids, and excessive participation trophies do not lay a decent enough foundation for creativity, the ability to deal disappointment and failure, or a drive to make something out of nothing.  Sprinkled into all of this is a hair trigger on playing the victim card in life.

Times are tougher economically.  People are out of work.  Business is not hiring (draw your own conclusion why).  They are not dire and will improve.  We see those with less than they had in the 90’s but yet more than those had in WWII.  There are enough programs to tide us over until we pull ourselves up.

We have a banking system holding toxic assets that has shrunk credit and lowered interest rates.  This helps upper end borrow at nothing, invest, and produce decent returns but the same banking system is not lending to small business.

What can we be doing?

Start with an education.  We need less emphasis on liberal arts and more focus on technical skills.  Accounting, science, and trades are the key.  Empower a generation with skills that solve problems and build something.

Healthcare is not going to improve because everyone pays an insurance premium.  Health only gets better by eating right and exercising more.  I know this sounds simplistic but it is largely true.  A healthy society is a happy and capable society of workers.  Less disability thus less entitlement spending.

Politics will change if everyone understands the issues at hand and stops blindly following their tribe.  This is the information age.  We can elect true representatives if we work at it as much as we do our devotion to little league.  60% turnout during elections is shameful.  Those 40% have no right to complain about government when they are unhappy with the results.  Cast an educated vote and not an emotional vote.

No matter where you lean (left of right), you have to figure out a way to pay for your program.  If you want everyone to have free healthcare, free retirement, you have to fund it somehow.  If you want businesses to go unregulated, you have to find a way to fix any collateral damage of unemployment, crime, and environmental issues.

My name is Craig Hope and I can use your vote.   😉

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Dear Super Rich guys, donate.

If you’re interested in helping to alleviate Uncle Sam’s debt load one small donation at a time, you may do so online at Pay.gov. Or write a check payable to the Bureau of Public Debt, with “gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public” in the memo section, and mail it to:

Attn Dept G
Bureau of the Public Debt
P.O. Box 2188
Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188

Ironically, your donation would be tax-deductible, if you itemize.

Yearbook 1984: Final thoughts

As I read through the posts in my 7th grade yearbook, I have some thoughts and observations.

To give a quick perspective of how long ago this was, Michael Jackson was still black… and his music was still pretty good.

Here we go…

– Girls write in cursive much better than guys.  Except for Brad May, he wrote like a girl.

– I must have been “going with” Carrie Cosner at the time.  Apparently “Nicole” (I don’t recall who this is), wants Carrie and I to come over and swim and “she will leave”.  Huh?

– Kathy (?) “enjoyed me in art most of the time”.  Very diplomatic of her.  Dear Kathy, Julie Wolf and Lisa somebody think I am “cute and sweet”, so there.

– I never knew “John Hancock” was in my class.

– “hyper” was a popular adjective to describe something.

– Paul Shrout had hair.

– Mia Floyd thought I was “strange”.  I felt the same way about her and her owl sized glasses.

– I got more phone numbers on the back cover than I ever got in my dating life.

Oh, finally.   To Jeff Dahmer (to those outside the Pleasant Lea Fam, not the killer)…  Jeff, I did not get eaten by a killer tomato.