Our industrialized school systems were instituted to produce factory workers — obedient, understand (read, write, math, social awareness) and follow instructions carefully, respond well to authority, punctual, and trained to work by the clock.
Then, after WWII, the government and big business became invested in scientists and engineers (and universities started receiving all the money, if they would just graduate more students). And elementary and secondary education systems began siphoning off all the “college” prospects, redirecting them from serving their community, to “bettering themselves”, “serving their nation”, or just “because a college education is important“.
Now, as the industrial age comes to a close, how is a resilient community going to take charge of their children’s education. The purpose? First, to assure that the values and experience that nurture and grow the community are indeed passed on to following generations, in such a way that that knowledge base remains reasonably intact despite the opposing needs of competing special interests.
Next, if we worry about local food security, how much more important must it be, for a sustainable answer, to assure a sustainable body of people growing up and investing in the needs of the community, first? How can any social structure survive, without assuring that progeny are educated and raised to serve the community first?
Or should Transition continue to contribute their children to national (special) interests?
Archive for the ‘Life style’ Category
But she does outline some important lessons for living a frugal and sustainable life. “Little House on the Prairie” stories nicely illustrate the 10 lessons she found.
So I got to thinking. How much sod does it take to make a sod house or sod hut? If you life in a sod house, do you bite your tongue instead of observing, “Dear, there seems to be something growing on the wall.”??
Can you use straw bales for insulation and structure with a sod house? If you drop a bit of sod, and it breaks, does that make you a sodbuster?
Should the roof on a sod house be sod, thatch, or should it be rock (slate)?
Do you paint a sod house, or water it?
Yes, I am being facetious. Well, mostly. The questions might sound silly, but I do kinda want to know. And I figure the amount of sod needed “depends”. Like, how thick the sod is where you dig it up. Like how wide you make your walls. Like how big you want the structure, and how many rooms, I guess.
And is building sod houses where the phrase comes from, “Oh, sod it all!”??
The article is great, and covers a lot of topics which expand even further in the comment, including the impact of choosing industrial-style farming – right down to imported, Irish butter – over finding and choosing locally produced butter.
“I suppose farming will keep on going how it is”
I think that is pretty obvious. Climate and economic instability make our ability to feed our neighbors, our nation, and the world an issue worthy of concern. The current affluent-era, industrial style farming currently meets that need. I don’t see anyone winning anything if industrial style farming were dismantled before local, sustainable, superior food quality production is ready to replace it.
The currently aging industrial farm population, without an incoming legion of apprentice and journeyman farmers supporting, learning, and preparing to continue the practices make such a transition not just desirable, but pose a looming threat to food security.
The current debt deflation crisis (eroding the affluent credit market that makes industrial, Monsanto-style farming feasible) and rising energy costs, as well as threats to oil availability as world demand continues to erode the ability to produce enough oil to meet demand (that is, erratic availability and rising prices of all classes of energy) contribute to that looming threat.
I think looking at so-called “modern” farming practices, and farmers, is the wrong focus. Yes, there will be some fringe few willing to experiment and change. One focus might be to influence state agriculture colleges to investigate alternative practices and promulgate better ways through state extension services. Unfortunately, the focus on what a small farm can do doesn’t relate well when an operation is already at the level of 500 head of livestock, or several thousands of acres under cultivation.
One thought I had was a form of homestead program. An area of an existing, large farm might be set aside, and leased out in a rent-to-own proposition to “homesteaders” – people that would occupy and farm the land, perhaps a 10-40 acre parcel, for 10 years at modest rent (much below industrial-style farm land rent!). County extension or some similar service would be ready to educate, equip, and counsel the occupants on low-energy, sustained fertility, sustainable farming practices. The donor farm and occupants should receive tax benefits during the “settling” years. At the end of the 10 years the occupant would acquire clear title, the county tax base would increase, and hopefully the local food security would improve. Possibly applicants could be targeted to those with backgrounds or interest in farm life – or just desperately unemployed but educable. Farm life, after all, is scary as all get out, for those used to a highly structured corporate or union life.
I don’t see getting all the pieces ever getting put together for such a scheme. But there may be opportunities, where a local farm ceases to operate on the death of the operator – and China and other nations are kept from buying the land for producing food for their own people.
Many of today’s farmers have families that provide ballast that keeps them on the track they are now. Convincing an adult’s mate to choose chores over convenient shopping, making do over the latest advertised fashion or widget, or tearing up part of the yard for (more) garden space goes way beyond the issue.
It gets all the way back to how we choose a mate. The “pioneers” that took wagon trains from their beginnings back east picked a mate, for the most part, that was capable of and willing to work for security and survival. Many mates today are chosen for willingness to cuddle or whether they dress and act like Playboy or Chippendale icons. I can see revering a school football team – with a success record of providing a high number of armed services soldiers and sailors. The local acclaim that is the most any teams today boast is pretty petty and transitory – but it gets a lot of couples together, that have little cultural guidance or values established that emphasize respect, honor, and character. Or service. Too many people in the last several generations have known only the relatively forgiving, affluent life we see eroding around us today.
The real place to start for change, is going to be with the children. This is something the government in the 1950s and 1960s convinced my parents and grandparents not to do – that the nation needed every child to be an engineer (or fashion model or trophy wife), not to learn the culture and craft of their family and neighbors.
Check out Matron‘s delightful photography and presentation of her various small farming techniques – all chosen to maintain and improve the fertility of the soil, improve the quality of the beef and produce she raises, and joy in her life.
The girl and the camera
The little girl, maybe four or five years old, was dressed very nicely, as if just returned from church services with her family. She was bright eyed, impeccably groomed, and very respectful and energetic. She rushed to the Wal-Mart Santa, had her picture taken with a great smile – and rushed to the back of the camera to view the results. She hovered there, watching what the camera captured as her siblings took their turns with Santa.
I was moved. I intervened to speak to her mother. “Please consider a camera for her (indicating the girl). She has been all over that camera.” Mom looked surprised at the suggestion, as if the thought of camera and that girl had never come together for her. I was satisfied.
I was satisfied with my intervention, not because I got that girl a great camera, or even that I was glad her mother was now considering a camera for a Christmas present.
I was satisfied because now I was sure that her mother *noticed* that her daughter *noticed* cameras, capturing images and information. Mom now saw more than just another little girl.
I don’t know that the camera was the seat of the girl’s attention and interest. Perhaps a sketch with charcoals or water colors – or crayons – would have expressed the core of what drew her attention. So the correct response should not have been an expensive camera, nor one much beyond her current knowledge and skills. I imagine that underestimating her abilities to use a camera is more likely, but still, any basic $12-30 camera should do.
Because the real gift should be the parents’ time. Time to be sure the girl knows how to use the camera – and begin to see how to view the world and capture that image. Her parents should take the time to help explore the things that camera images can build and contribute to – from documenting accidents and injuries, to furnishing family trees, to capturing portraits, to building a portfolio of images that express her feelings and appreciations for some aspect of life, nature, and belief (that is, art).
The gift should be recognition that the camera and the images it captures are a way to view, express, explore, and share the world. Recognizing that kind of gift of the spirit of that girl is an immense treasure. Appreciation by the parents of that sensitivity and artistic flourish is expressed in attention and participation – time – and not in dollars.
Peak oil is a looming crisis for the world, as current oil fields lose productivity as they empty, as world demand for oil grows with additional nations approaching the oil consumption rates per capita that made the United States wealthy, and as newly found and developed fields promise new sources of oil – at one fourth the rate that oil is being consumed today.
The Peak Oil crisis is hitting now, as demand outstrips – now and forever – the ability to produce oil, on a day by day basis.
The risk: Shortages and rising prices for energy
Whether or not the climate change movement’s contention that burning fossil fuels returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere that was removed ages ago – unbalancing the content of the air we breathe, and that traps more heat against the Earth that in decades and centuries past – we are facing shortages and volatile prices for oil and other energy sources.
The personal, private automobile is one of the symbols of America’s wealthy lifestyle. The car runs on gasoline, or diesel fuel – oil, that is – or increasingly, electricity from coal-fired power plants (which are still being built, even as Peak Coal approaches). One way to lessen the impact of short supplies of oil, and increasing energy costs, is to – reduce commutes.
Instead of investing heavily in exquisitely energy intensive roadways, or rapid or mass transit, one way is to abandon the concept of commuting to work, to school, or for shopping.
Many urban areas contain housing “communities” – regions, some vast in size, built by a single or small group of builders or investors, some at significant distances from stores, employers, worship centers, and schools. Other cities have seen vast shopping centers and other shopping districts “consolidate” – and expect the community to travel tens of miles to shop. Employers build offices and factories and other business facilities in areas remote from where most of their workers live. I think a “commute” tax on employers is needed, to gain understanding about how far workers commute each day, and the community infrastructure burdened by employers not being engaged with the community, and not taking responsibility for how much commute each employer imposes on that community.
But today the idea is – recognize the impact of letting “city planning” stray, and encourage long commutes – and the attendant costs of providing and servicing the infrastructures and private and public vehicles needed to support the commuting lifestyle.
Social engineering through taxes
What I recommend, is an excise tax, a Residential Excise Tax on the purchase of an existing residence or materials, land, and attendant costs of building a residence. The tax would be calculated for every residence purchased that isn’t located on, or adjacent to, a farm.
The Residential Excise Tax (RET) would be 2.5 percent on the accumulated and total cost of purchasing a residence the first year, increasing by 2.5 percent per year, to an eventual (20 year) target of 50 percent of the cost of buying.
The RET would be forgiven if the following conditions are met:
- Schools. Public school (grades K-12) within one mile walking distance
- Stores. Grocery and hardware stores within one mile walking distance, or qualified combination grocery/hardware store
- Sufficient employment. That is, the total of all employees employed and working within one and a half miles (1.5 miles) is greater than one half (0.5) of the population within one mile of the residence.
- Sidewalk. Whether or not the property borders a street, if the property includes any land surface, it includes a sidewalk for general pedestrian traffic in the direction of general traffic (vehicle or pedestrian) flow, that connects to sidewalks on adjoining properties.
- Parks. Parks, play areas for children, and green zones within 1.5 miles, containing at least 1 square yard of area for each adult living within 1 mile of the residence.
- Retirement. Or, the residence might be sworn to be a retirement residence where no commute or school is required by any resident. The retirement exemption would need to be re-sworn every year, and the first year that a resident commutes to work or school, the RET is due on that year, and the Retirement exemption would be set aside. For the Retirement exemption, all above requirements must be met, except Sufficient employment and Schools.
The Residential Excise Tax might be tailored to also encourage supplemental local food production, by requiring every resident have access to a minimum of space for a garden. Customary certification that water is available for the next century before the residence may be occupied should certainly be required. Certification about whether sufficient electricity can be provided might be worth implementing.
An alternative to calculating the sufficient employment factor might be to impose a factor relating distance to employer for each adult in the household, though that would be subject to abuse (fraudulent claim of distance to employer, fraudulent employer identification until after the RET is paid, etc.). These concerns would be covered by the Employer Commute Tax above.
The intent is to make the choice to live near one’s work cheaper than otherwise, or at least put a halt to the practice of planning communities requiring commutes of more than 20 minutes, or distances too far to walk, for work, shopping, and school. Secondarily, as energy costs rise, the current practice of living way over ‘thar, and working way over ‘hyar, will become increasingly a factor destabilizing employers, communities, and the lives of workers. Limiting the long commutes to the decidedly more wealthy will, in the future, leave fewer people stranded by an unsustainable planning bias toward accommodating big developers.
Communities have to understand the burden imposed by developments, by employment, and by centralized schools, shopping, and employers.
Billll’s Idle Mind mentions 20 questions on the Common Gunsense (anti) gun ownership blog. japete posts 20 questions with the stated goal of a dialogue, “I am aiming for common sense and some coming together of minds and hearts to keep people from being shot. ”
My own personal feeling is that the guns that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution refers to is precisely the guns used to defeat – kill – opposing British soldiers, mercenaries on the other side, etc. Battle field weapons, even if they are ad hoc hunting rifles and officer’s pistols. The reason the 2nd Amendment is there in the Bill of Rights was because the states that ratified the Constitution, that became the United States, were worried. They had survived a Revolution, and wanted assurance that their neighbors and this new government they were forming would not become yet another tyrant. The 2nd Amendment preserves to the people and to the states the ability to resist tyranny. In event that all diplomatic and legal forums fail to check and address tyranny, yet the people would still have the power to overthrow the government. Not the legal means, that is carefully not included. Thus, this force that the 2nd Amendment protects – an armed citizenry – is a “remedy” only of last resort. It is in my mind that the existence of one more “check and balance” of government a and governed is in no small way one of the reasons that the United States government has survived this long. I am convinced that if the 2nd Amendment, right to bear arms, is compromised that the loss of that check on overweening, tyrannical abuse by the federal government that that so-called “gun control” would directly result in the end of constitutional government in the US, and likely also create the environment that other nations would be attacking the US in short order. Pearl Harbor would be as nothing, compared to foreign armies occupying what we still call today, the United States.
So. My take on the 20 questions.
1. Do you believe that criminals and domestic abusers should be able to buy guns without background checks?
Background checks provide the government with a list of gun owners – a short step from gun confiscation, as South Africa just showed the world. Background checks are excellent PR for political candidates, and notoriously ineffective in hampering criminals. We have laws that forbid criminals and domestic abusers from owning guns.
Lists of those that should be denied any civil right or permission, that isn’t a direct result of open court verdicts where the accused can face and refute his/her accuser is a direct violation of due process, an invitation to corruption and abuse.
No, I don’t think background checks work, and no, I don’t think there should be such an expense or restriction or even government involvement in purchasing a firearm.
Background checks have proven, over time, to stifle ownership by law-abiding citizens, while not hampering the so-called targets, criminals and such. The effect is clear to me – anti-gun people are smug at the same time their communities see increases in violent crime as law-abiding citizens disarm. The latest FBI reports show uniformly that states implementing Concealed Carry programs see decreases in violent crime. Some years ago one report checked back on several communities that required every head of household to obtain and have a firearm – and crime went down in those communities.
Nope. I don’t want to put guns in the hands of criminals and abusers. But I sure as heck don’t want to keep guns out of the hands of their next victim.
2. What is your proposal for keeping guns away from criminals, domestic abusers, terrorists and dangerously mentally ill people?
A citizenry and community that is disciplined and armed. Post signs at a schools, shopping malls, and work places that ban weapons: Warning – Entering Disarmed Victim Zone. Mass Shootings happen in Disarmed Victim Zones. The Management takes no responsibility for your safety in a Disarmed Victim Zone.
Terrorists and criminals typically get their weapons from clandestine and criminal sources anyway. Domestic abusers and dangerously mentally ill people are under surveillance, or should be, because they have needs over and above the averages citizen. It isn’t responsible to ignore those in identified need. Merely screening them from purchasing firearms from mainstream vendors only turns the to alternate weapons and alternate vendors. Worrying about domestic abusers and dangerously mentally ill people getting guns is overlooking the fact that you have already failed to protect your community and face your responsibilities to them and their families. In this case, you are looking at the weapons when you should have been seeing the persons.
3. Do you believe that a background check infringes on your constitutional right to “keep and bear arms”?
Yes. It hampers citizens while not hindering undesirables.
In addition, it creates lists of owners that can be abused, either to confiscate firearms to harass owners.
The Constitution makes clear that he government is to have no role in limiting, monitoring, or barring anyone from owning guns. Note that racial bigotry barred African Americans from owning guns that would have protected innocent lives from depredations by vigilantes and such as the KKK. Any restriction is political and subject to corruption and abuse.
4. Do you believe that I and people with whom I work intend to ban your guns?
I just found your blog today. From the questions so far, you are intent on barring those you don’t want to have guns from owning them, and that is a dangerous position to take. It is easy to stretch from “domestic abusers” to “those that don’t need a gun.” And that disowns the assumption of the writers of the Constitution that freedom requires every citizen, regardless of their civic or criminal status, to stand ready to defend against lawlessness, against invasion, and against domestic tyranny.
Did you know that during World War II, there was at least one unit, I believe there were more, made of convicted murders and other violent criminals? I spoke to the survivor of one such unit. They were given assignments that new recruits would be unable to face – difficult odds, hand to hand killing.
When you limit, artificially, the subject of guns to our local neighborhood, you close your eyes and your mind to the myriad Islam sects and others that violently hate the United States, and that would welcome and opportunity to plunder and destroy our government and our worship. You also disregard one of the responsibilities of US citizenship – to hold the government accountable for violations of trust, and of the Constitution.
You are aware, I hope, that the Supreme Court has held that police and sheriff’s departments are not expected to provide protection to any citizen, are you not? That police protect a community in a statistical sense. Some gun enthusiasts express that with a bumper sticker or t-shirt “When seconds count, the police are minutes away.”
Any move to limit and restrict weapons that might be used against a corrupt and tyrannical government, against an invading force, including terrorists, or against domestic criminals, is a move to ban weapons.
And I think you do indeed support part or all of the ban that Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama have been working toward since the Obama inauguration. Instances? The recent consideration of the EPA to ban lead in bullets, ultimately rejected. Last spring the bullet manufacturers were informed that while they had expected to purchase spent bullet casings from the military, henceforth, and despite existing contracts, all such brass would be shredded – making what should have been the basis for civilian reloaded ammunition, instead scrap metal for the Chinese. This attempt to eviscerate the civilian ammunition market was revised after intervention by Senators and Congressmen. At one point the OSHA proposed extending their control over sale, manufacture, and transport of black powder. Again, withdrawn. The international treaty to ban civilian gun ownership and possession is an open secret that pops up in the news every few months that Sec’y Clinton and Obama are negotiating.
5. If yes to #4, how do you think that could happen ( I mean the physical action)?
a. Ban sales of guns and ammunition except to registered police departments and uniformed services.
b. Make it illegal to own, store, or transport a weapon by civilians.
c. Sign the UN treaty that Obama and Clinton want (civilians with weapons can resist tyrants. Tyrants and criminals don’t like armed opponents. Law abiding rulers worry, but are confident in the rule of law.)
d. Make carrying a weapon or something that looks like a weapon illegal – defined as armed and dangerous, and an automatic “shoot on sight” offense.
e. Set up a confiscation program. They have the lists of people that have requested background checks – even though keeping records of who requested a background check is illegal. These lists of checks have been used in court any number of times. Funny how keeping illegal records is supposed to reassure gun owners that even though the officials break the law, gun owners don’t need to be worried that their rights might be violated. Wait – didn’t keeping those records just violate those rights? Yep.
f. Make it illegal for a moving company to move weapons or weapon lockers or gun safes. Make it illegal to carry weapons in a motor vehicle, or to have one in a residence. Ban civilian gun stores and shooting ranges.
6. What do you think are the “second amendment remedies” that the tea party GOP candidate for Senate in Nevada( Sharron Angle) has proposed?
I don’t know. The only instance I know of that the 2nd Amendment preserves, is the illegal use of firearms against a tyrannical government, when the rule of law has broken down and no lesser remedy is available than full and outright revolt against a government operating outside the limits of the Constitution. We may be getting closer to that kind of situation, but I hope we are still a long way off. I am disappointed that the Housed of Representatives has abrogated its responsibility to review and check the President when he exceeds his authority – as when he interfered in the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler, to the detriment of lawful stock holders and the rule of law. The President’s actions had the appearance of violating the Constitution, yet the House failed to investigate, let along censure or impeach. That is a clear failure of the rule of law – and a step closer to 2nd Amendment kind of remedy. As I say, I hope we aren’t there, yet.
Another is the Coates testimony to Congress that President Obama has forbidden any prosecution or investigation of voter abuse or interference with voters – unless the voters are minorities. States identified with voting roles that aren’t current, and thus more liable for voting abuses, also happen to be minority and Democratic party strongholds – and President Obama has again forbidden any investigation or review.
7. Do you believe in the notion that if you don’t like what someone is doing or saying, second amendment remedies should be applied?
See #6 above. The 2nd Amendment applies when the rule of law has broken down, when there are no meaningful remedies under the law.
If the someone is in a position of authority, and claims that the Constitution, and civil liberties, no longer apply to the government, nor protect the peoples of the United States, then I would say, yes, the kind of remedies the 2nd Amendment preserves might be applicable. But that is a lot of caveats.
8. Do you believe it is O.K. to call people with whom you disagree liars and demeaning names?
A person that deliberately utters words and statements known to be false, intentionally and with the intent those words and statements should be used as a basis for actions and decisions by others, should be openly and clearly challenged for lying and deception, for fraud and for misleading. Lying is rude as a minimum, and can be criminal. Lying does not earn, nor deserve, any respect.
As for demeaning names – that gets into cultural values. At times one earns a reputation with a certain label. Objecting to the label when the reputation has been truly and honestly earned is failing to take responsibility for one’s actions. At the same time, deliberately using a term for someone that is intentionally demeaning is rude.
Respect for ones self demands that courtesy be extended, except where courtesy is being manipulated or exploited unfairly. Difference of opinion, or even being wrong, is not the same as a lie.
9. If yes to #8, would you do it in a public place to the person’s face?
If they are lying, and actively, intentionally earning labels that are considered demeaning? Yep.
10. Do you believe that any gun law will take away your constitutional rights?
Yes. Either the federal, state, and local governments abide by the Constitution, or they don’t. It is a bit like being just a little bit not pregnant. Either your rights are interfered with, or they are intact.
11. Do you believe in current gun laws? Do you think they are being enforced? If not, explain.
No. Background checks demonstrate how easily amassing data is abused, regularly. The secret “Prohibited persons” list is another such example. I am convinced that law abiding citizens are harassed and exploited, and subject to current and futures abuse – without controlling guns in the hands of criminals. I also believe that gun control laws intimidate law abiding citizens, reducing security in communities and states.
Enforcement of gun laws is spotty and ineffective. You did read of the plastic guns confiscated, and gun license revoked, for a shipment of paint ball guns to the West Coast, didn’t you? The store importing the weapons was told by an ATF agent – that they could be made fully automatic. Except no one can figure out what the agent meant, or how the plastic guns could be made to shoot a lethal round. Most violations consisted of filling out complicated report forms incorrectly – information in the wrong box, or left out.
No, enforcement is easily manipulated to suit political agendas, and seldom increases community security.
12. Do you believe that all law-abiding citizens are careful with their guns and would never shoot anybody?
I think if anti-gun activists and gun laws weren’t so deliberately intimidating, more law abiding citizens would be more aware of responsible and safe gun handling practices.
Most gun owners never do shoot anyone – even those that go to war in uniform, many times, never shoot anyone. And you assume that there is a difference between law-abiding and shooting someone. Many times it is legal to deliberately defend your self, your property, and your community. In fact, protecting property and family often leads to fewer criminal killings, even when (especially when?) no shots are fired.
People get killed in cars. I see no laws about domestic abusers or criminals getting cars – even though some small portion of all motor vehicles is used during the commission of a crime.
Not all law abiding citizens are gun owners, and some would not handle a firearm. I think more gun owners than car owners are careful with their weapons, and avoid accidents. I am sure that most gun owners have never shot anyone, nor do they intend to, by their dearest wish. But a certain number prepare and train to defend themselves and others – possibly you! – at need.
13. Do you believe that people who commit suicide with a gun should be included in the gun statistics?
Yes, correctly identified – and appropriately compared to other forms of suicide, other defensive, accidental, and criminal killings.
14. Do you believe that accidental gun deaths should “count” in the total numbers?
Yes, as long as they are compared to defensive and criminal deaths.
15. Do you believe that sometimes guns, in careless use or an accident, can shoot a bullet without the owner or holder of the gun pulling the trigger?
16. Do you believe that 30,000 gun deaths a year is too many?
I don’t know. How many were suicides, that would have succeeded using some other agent if the gun hadn’t been available? How many were defensive, and the death was to a perpetrator during a crime? How many were police and sheriff, or other authority actions at what was perceived to be a crime scene? Do you count the gentleman in Colorado last spring, that three police shot to death with no provocation or cause? (OK – one of the cops on the same force, but not present, was dating the guy’s ex-girlfriend. That doesn’t seem sufficient to me.)
How may traffic and pedestrian deaths a year are too many? How many gang-related deaths – gun and otherwise – are too many? How many smoking, inactivity, and bad eating habit deaths are too many? How many backyard pool deaths are too many?
If your numbers – 30,000 are correct, that amounts to about 1 in 10,000, right? Where does that put shooting deaths on leading causes of death in the US? And again, it is frightfully disingenuous and manipulative, to throw out the gross number, when most deaths during a crime are preventable – if the criminal had just stayed home. Counting shooting deaths by criminals is rude and demeaning – many of those could be reduced simply by better informed and wider ownership of guns by citizens.
17. How will you help to prevent more shootings in this country?
Advocate repeal of gun registration and background checks laws, and Disarmed Victim Zones.
18. Do you believe the articles that I have posted about actual shootings or do you think I am making them up or that human interest stories about events that have happened should not count when I blog about gun injuries and deaths?
I think you overlook what security for the community and the nation involve, and the responsibility of citizens to be ready do defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
The details that play out around any violent or accidental death should bother any thoughtful person. Falling off a ladder, falling into a bathtub or swimming pool, none is more heartbreaking for those involved than any others. Did you know the most common motor vehicle/pedestrian death, is backing over a toddler in the family driveway?
Commenting on the Santa Claus killer in California, where eight people were killed – most with burning racing fuel in an improvised weapon – someone pointed out that eight people were killed not because the killer had a gun, but because the killer had the only gun.
19. There has been some discussion of the role of the ATF here. Do you believe the ATF wants your guns and wants to harass you personally? If so, provide examples ( some have written a few that need to be further examined).
I think the ATF thinks their job would be simpler once all citizens are disarmed – and the only weapons in America were in the hands of the police – and criminals. Note that that approach isn’t working out all that well in the United Kingdom.
20. Will you continue a reasonable discussion towards an end that might lead somewhere or is this an exercise in futility?
Probably futile. Where you are convinced that Barry Goldwater was wrong when he said, “You cannot legislate morality,” I am convinced that history has proven him correct.
I look at the issues of defending the constitution, of keeping government honest by the possibility of, but not the threat of, armed revolt in the event of failure of the government to abide by the Constitution, and thereby assuring continuity of government and no need, at present, to exercise that responsibility. I look at the need to stand ready to assist in time of crisis in restoring order or repelling invaders. You might look at how the Swiss manage to avoid being attacked. The Swiss keep their arms after service, and their battlefield rifles are used for regular reserve training, kept in pride of place in their home gun locker.
If your reservation is the number of gun owners that don’t handle guns safely, then the remedy might be universal service, as in Israel, where everyone serves a couple of years.
Did I mention hunting? Some regions depending on hunting to maintain a healthy balance of game animals. Left unchecked, there would be more deaths from driving into deer, etc., and from diseased animals affecting livestock and urban areas.
Frank W. James at Corn, beans, spent brass, an empty page and a deadline, writes about the Death of Service – how franchise fast food joints don’t care about serving the customer.
My son actually got me to thinking about this some time ago and I’ve been checking in terms of personal experiences ever since, but he believes besides the lack of culinary excellence associated with all fast food enterprises there is also the accompanying complete lack of service.
His theory is these businesses work off ‘numbers’. All fast food ‘restaurants’ are built for volume and that’s how their individual success or failure is graded. If they screw up your particular order (because maybe you DON’T want cheese on your burger, or pickles or Gawd knows what else) they don’t care. They know there will always be someone else standing in line to take your place and your complaint or momentary discomfort is meaningless to their profit at the end of the day.
In short, they could give a shit if you come or go.
My first reaction is to think, well, if the employee wants to see the job as an opportunity to serve the public, working in a fast-food joint won’t prevent her or him from providing service.
But, you know, there are a couple of things that complicate the issue. One is turnover. When you take a new job, all your attention is on learning to read your boss to find what is expected. Two businesses can give the same instructions, in the same words, and mean different things. A new hire takes time to figure out what the words mean. When the environment is geared to lots of turnover, then that “learn the formula” distraction is going to be a powerful motivation for the entire work force there.
Established franchises have a formula for success. The franchise owner, the store manager, the shift leads, the worker at the cooker or register or dumping trash all have a job description defined to avoid errors. Meeting daily metrics and reports gets to be the major hurdle of the average work day. It can be easy to view this as “the goal” of the day.
High volume eateries often assign each sale a number to track the order, so they can track the order and hand the correctly assembled tray to the right customer. Hopefully. Unless one is careful, it becomes simple to transform the customer, in the employee’s mind, with the order or order number.
The immediate task of the cashier is the order – get it taken correctly, meet the manager’s or computer’s demand for specific information, in a specific order. Especially when trying to work through a line of visitors waiting to place and order, it is easy to let the attention focus on procedures, on money handling, on serving the computer. And the job slips from serving the community or the customer, to serving the computer, or perhaps the cash register or cash drawer.
I have walked out of various fast-food joints, when it takes too long to get someone’s attention, to get a cashier to take my order. I find that taking 45 seconds or more, with people “busy” behind the counter, to get someone engaged in my order is about as long as I intend to wait. I have been disappointed in food quality, and angered by further unneeded delays each time I put up with shoddy business practices like that. Supposedly there is someone, on each shift, every day, to be working an order-taking station. Whether they are being over-tasked and used for additional functions by an inept manager, whether they are ignorant about priorities of various tasks – I don’t care. Watching people bustle behind the counter, but not prompt at taking the next order is a sign, to me, of a manager failure. The manager fails to keep the work force in discipline, fails to keep the focus on actual service instead of looking busy, or fails to train people to meet primary assignments before working on secondary tasks.
When I moved to Phoenix (west of town, Goodyear, AZ), I had been a long-time customer of Taco Bell. But in Phoenix, I found that with a few exceptions, service was dead slow. Something like 10 or 15 minutes slow, in almost all stores. The exceptions occurred at a couple of stores, on certain shifts. The shift lead at certain stores could achieve a good quality product, without the ghastly delays. But evidently the district manager set the tone for the whole region – slow.
In part I agree with Frank. The nature of franchised fast food relies on newly-hired employees, and prescription workplace rules intended to keep quality high in the presence of green employees (which stifles the ability of the store to benefit from experienced employees).
But I think there is reason to consider the employee, too. Many are at their first job, or haven’t worked anywhere but in fast food. Others are working part time, or are working there because nothing else is available – that is, this is a last resort, not a cherished career goal. And many do not got to work with the intent to serve the community.
I know that having a dating partner that relies on emails, texting, or even lots of phone calls for “communication” in the relationship – is a big red flag and sign of a strong reason to leave. Electronics interfere in communication. Think of voice mail, those annoying “press 1 for sales, press 2 for technical support ..” automated replacements for people. Letting the computer define taking an order asserts an abuse to the customer in the name of “quality control”. Instead of an employee working to understand what the customer needs, the task becomes impersonal, translating what the customer needs into what the computer will accept. And defining the customer as an order number.
Combine the computerized interface with an employee paradigm of an assumption of using new hires in a consistent fashion – and Frank’s criticism of the industry pretty much holds true.
I suggest that the single greatest force for dehumanizing service, is an electronic order system. When I walk up to the counter at Wendy’s, and I am thinking what I want to eat – but the person taking my order cannot get to what I want to eat, until I answer the computer’s “Is this for takeout or dine in?” – that feels abusive. Even if the cashier is prompt and order taking runs quickly there.
Hip Mountain Momma writes on One Small Change about going No Poo – that is, no commercial shampoo. She shows a nice video clip about mixing a couple spoonfuls of baking soda into a quart of warm water for washing, then a finger or so if apple cider vinegar in a glass – filled with water in the shower – for a rinse.
A couple of issues bother me.
First, HMM (re-)uses a quart glass jar for the baking soda mix. That seems risky to me, in the shower. Any surface solid enough to stand on is solid enough, at the right angle, to break the jar if it slips. I understand about not encouraging plastic containers. HMM mentions not having to buy commercial shampoos in additional plastic containers each time you run out – but there is a reason for the plastic. It won’t shatter and slice feet and skin.
When I grew up we had aluminum pitchers that were reasonably robust, and wouldn’t shatter if broken. I don’t see them much anymore, plastic seems much more amenable to mass production. But they still show up in yard sales and the Salvation Army thrift store. I recommend a non-rustable metal container in the shower, or just reuse the dreaded plastic. Same with the vinegar rinse; keep glass away from bare skin and wet hands.
Then there is the part where HMM mentions pouring the baking soda mix over her hair, let it set for a minute or so, then rinse “really well”. Then pour on the apple cider vinegar mix, and “rinse really well.”
Is this “organic” and “plastic free” and “dangerous chemical elimination” approach – using more water?
Is she using the “rinse with water, towel dry, and brush it” form of intermediate care? Or is her hair longer than necessary – that is, is her long hair an ostentatious, conspicuous display of affluence?
Over the past couple of weeks I have learned a couple of things, learned while responding to John Michael Greer’s Archdruid Report articles on Peak Oil, the economic decline and speculation on the coming post-industrial society/culture. JMG refers to the current changes in America as “becoming a third world nation.”
- Affluence. This is the distance between a person and rote labor.
- Efficiency. This is the elimination of waste that affects return on investment, almost always measured in currency, and taken from the perspective of the owner/investor in a commercial or industrial venture.
The Archdruid Report.
JMG uses the term household economy to describe the production, exchange, and consumption of goods and services amongst the home and family, that doesn’t involve a cash flow. This is somewhat akin to Sharon Astyk’s informal economy, which I prefer. Setting an informal economy in relationship to a formal, cash-based economy makes the distinctions easy to label and to comprehend. The term informal economy has the additional benefit of identifying why it is disparaged by those involved in maximizing profits for employers, investors, and tracking cash flow for governments.
Can there be affluence in an informal economy? Yep. If affluence is avoiding the need to perform physical labor, then have kids. As the children mature, put them to work. Presto. Work gets done that Mom and Dad don’t have to do – affluence.
Today JMG advocates many families re-evaluate the cost of that second income. He points out that, in pure cash terms, it makes sense for many families to abandon that second income, and keep one adult at home. Reduce paid child care and housekeeping costs, qualify for a lower income tax bracket, and garden and cook from scratch instead of ready-to-eat dishes and meals.
And JMG laments that no one will take this eminently sensible advice.
There have been people in recorded history that turned from a cash-based affluence to lead a “simpler” life. Others refuse to leave enlisted ranks in the military, or advance into supervisory or management roles, because they prefer the craft and skills they exhibit every day, to the affluence and isolation of a strategic, rather than a tactical, definition of their work life.
But most people are driven to accumulate more assets than they consume this week. The taste of “running out” or sometimes lessons from elders that survived shortages of food, water, shelter, and other necessities of life, warns us that in bad times, we may need to rely on things saved in better times, when more assets were available.
Formal economy forces turn this cultural drive to conservation into . . ambition.
Ambition comes in many forms. Ambition is the need to build up the pantry, so that low-cost food is available when needed. Ambition is investing in a growing business, so that more money is generated for later times. Ambition is a community or business recognizing that good managers and supervisors are able to increase the efficiency (rate of cash return to the investor) of an organization. And convincing people that they are worth more to the community and business in advanced levels of responsibility and authority – and thus ambition has come to be a societal imperative to advance one’s career. To improve the efficiency of the company. For more efficient returns of cash to the investor, the owner.
A change in perspective.
A couple of points JMG overlooked, in advocating single-family incomes. While he acknowledges derision about becoming a house-husband or house-wife, he only recognizes that choosing to abandon outside-the-home income is a sacrifice. That is, choosing to live with less cash and greater home autonomy now because the need is coming soon anyway, and getting a head start while society still provides lots of options while gathering tools and implements to better survive coming harsh times just makes sense.
At the same time JMG describes his household economy he doesn’t make plain that it is described in different terms than the formal, commercial and industrial cash economy. Sharon’s informal economy, however, makes fairly plain that the services and goods are evaluated on a barter system, on an ad hoc basis. Applying my own, new word – I would contend that affluence, avoiding rote work, is present in the formal economy by hiring or buying necessities. What affluence there is in the informal economy is expressed by doing work one enjoys, or that can be traded for what is desired.
A different affluence.
What JMG suggests – reducing unemployment, reducing the clutter and waste of pre-packaged, pre-prepared foods and goods, reducing out-of-home costs by choosing one partner to function at home, is nothing less than redefining affluence from dollar terms, to a more fundamental “distance from rote labor” – and recognizing that we aren’t really all that affluent today.
I wish all that participate good luck on making your food quantity match your needs, budgeting anything can be a challenge. Luck to all of us to do better, too!
Reading Crunchy’s article, it occurred to me – if you have too much food around, does that mean you aren’t feeding friends and neighbors often enough?
Which brings up Sharon Astyk’s concern about community building as a necessary part of Peak Oil preparation. How can you balance a tightly planned menu with trading meals – having guests, or eating elsewhere – at either planned or spontaneous events or invitations?
In the last few decades many of us have come to think of meal time as the family only, when we should also be considering sharing hospitality and meals. I can remember, years ago, recipes always came with suggestions on how to stretch the unexpectedly for an extra plate or two.
My Dad farmed. When trading work, if you were at the neighbor’s place at noon, or they were at your place for shared work – mid-day meal was provided and expected. And was almost as substantial as a social event related to the work, as a substantial “hungry man’s” meal.
I would like to see adding a guest invitation per week to the reduce waste challenge.
Because I think that what is needed isn’t just parsimony – using the bare minimum. I think we need to use that frugality to amass useful and usable surplus – wealth. Wealth, or surplus, allows us to be generous. You cannot give when you don’t have a needed asset.
When growing up, I recall spending weeks visiting cousins and my grandparents from year to year. This kept the extended family together, expanded our awareness of the world and different ways to live, and exposed us to different kinds of discipline and even different ways to prepare food.
Eating at a neighbor’s house happened at least monthly, if not every other week or so, more often in the summer. You know, when you could send someone to the garden for an extra bowl of peas and tomatoes for the dinner already on the stove.
I see Crunchy’s mid-winter food waste challenge as being a great exercise in planning and values. But I would hate to have someone overlook keeping a well-stocked pantry, and using it well to offer hospitality and build relationships and community. Or even just to brag a bit on canning, gardening, and cooking skills. Because that happened a bit, too. Anyone could feel just a bit content, for a reputation as setting a “good” table.
I am thinking my plans for a garden are even more important than I thought, if I can use it to stretch food resources to cover more shared meals. Now if I can just get the clutter off the pile where I think I left the kitchen table. . .