I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
March 27, 2015 - 12:02 p.m.
It's funny how you adjust to things. Microsoft finally made it so you can't open Word in draft view. I have no idea why they think this is important? Does it give them a feeling of power making people do things the way the engineers like not the user? I work around that by having a button on the quick access toolbar to put it in draft mode. I am supposed to be able to make the default style not skipping a line when you hit return. It does that after the first line. But it still skips the first time. So my work around is to start by hitting "return" and then deleting it after I've written the rest.
I know how fascinated everyone is with my adventures mastering Word. Of course to some extent people are as we all go through this kind of thing.
Yesterday was another bad day. I'm having a lot of bad days. Bad means I do not master myself. That's what bad mental health days are for me. I can't get myself to do the things I need to do.
But I'm not going to write about that. I have problems but I am not my problems. There's a lot more to me. Even at my worst my mind spends most of the time racing around in all sorts of directions. One problem I have when blogging is that when I sit down to write I so often can only remember a few topics that I don't want to make public. I'm not quite as open as I might seem. I just have a different notion of what's private than most people. I will freely discuss my health and even my mental health. I just realized I shouldn’t even tell you the topics I avoid or why I avoid them. Let's just say that like the Giant Rat of Sumatra that it's a tale for which the world is not yet ready. I wonder how many times I have invoked the GROS here. Enough that I am now going to use the acronym to go along with ROUS. If you are one of the unfortunates that does not get the GROS reference look it up, without the acronym. Then read all the associated works. I guess you all get ROUS.
I decided what I'm going to write about, one of those things that often races through my mind that I haven't written about yet. But first I'll deal with something dominating the local news, New York Explosion Ignites Fire, Fells Buildings and Injures at Least 19. These kinds of things usually affect me less than most people. I know that tragedies happen every day, worse tragedies, and we can't spend our lives in mourning. For me reading about it or having it happen in my own city doesn’t make it personal. But in this case I know the buildings so well. They were part of the Gordon Tour of New York. 125 2nd Ave is the home of Pomme Frites, my favorite Belgian fry place that I've been going to for 20 years. I love Pomme Frites. They serve poutine! No article mentioned them but I saw the pictures and saw that's where the fire was. Then they mentioned on their Facebook page that everybody is OK but they'll be closed till further notice. The building collapsed, so of course they have to find a new home.
119 2nd Ave was the home to Love Saves the Day, my favorite weird tchotchke store. I went there many times with Carey. and I took Saburah and Emilie there too. I don't know if I ever bought anything there. I just enjoyed the weirdness.
Above 123, where the explosion occurred, there was this Japanese import store. I went there with Carey to buy kindereggs and Buffy action figures. So I have been to all three buildings that were affected the most.
Many of my friends are talking about the Germanwings crash. Two of the passengers were opera singers and of course that resonated among my friends especially Emilie who is a European opera singer. These are her people. We can't feel the immediate pain for everyone who dies or we could never function. But it's different when there is a connection, when you lose one of your own. It's about empathy.
And that is what I had planned on talking about, at least to some degree. Empathy towards children, children we don’t know.
There is a lack of empathy for other people's children in so much of the political debate. We would never fund our schools the way we do if we did. I have heard people who made sure to live in well-funded school districts with the best paid teachers and facilities talk about "what matters is equal opportunity, not equal results." Do they really think that there's equal opportunity? Why do they live in high tax school districts or send their children to expensive private schools if they think that doesn't help them.Jericho, NY on Long Island $40,533 is spent per pupil. In the impoverished General Brown District in impoverished upstate Jefferson County only $13,557 is spent per pupil. Many districts just don’t have the tax base to raise more money. As housing is so segregated on the basis of income these results are inevitable. Equal opportunity is a lie. And it goes beyond that. In a city like New York so many of the students have special needs, English is not their first language, they come from disrupted homes, they are malnourished. More money should be spent on them, not less. And it goes beyond that. Impoverished children live in impoverished developmental environments. The child of a single working parent hears half as many words spoken before she starts school as a typical middle class child. Again they need more money spent on them not less. And it goes beyond that. Our social welfare system tries to punish the "undeserving poor" to motivate them. When we ended "Welfare as we know it." Millions stopped getting vital help. People say they don’t want their money going to moochers and takers. Does that include their children? They are punished too. People try very hard to not think about that. The main reason American children do worse on measures of educational achievement are not primarily due to differences in teaching but to social structure. Our rich and middle class kids do as well as other countries. It's that we have more poor children and we treat the poor worse.
And let's say that there were two school districts that have the same wealth and one just chooses to spend less money on education, that's fair right? Of course it isn't. The children didn't make the choice their parents did.
It effects things that are broadly popular like school choice. Everyone is for school choice. I'm not and I'll tell you why. Who goes to the poor schools, the ones with the bad teachers and bad facilities? The ones with the least able parents. The parents who are overworked and don't have the time to research all the schools, or perhaps they have substance abuse problems, or perhaps they are just lazy and don't care. It doesn't make a difference why? Their children need the most help and get the least. With school choice the parents with the time and capabilities and interest defend the interests of their kids' schools, not the others. It goes even more with voucher programs. It means too many parents don't have skin in the game. It's natural and right to care above all else what's best for your kids. But public policy should be geared to what's best for all children.
Kids suffer from parents that due to circumstances or character are not capable of performing necessary parental duties. The state should be looking out for those children. We should all be caring for the children that are not cared for.
OK I'm going to get off my soap box. A day doesn't go by that I don't think about this. Read the newspaper and you'll find stories where this is relevant. The standard in family court is "the best interest of the child." For the rest of us it should be the best interest of the children.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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