Detroit has the right idea

I just read an article in National Geographic Magazine about Detroit’s revitalization.  It’ a really well-written article and I recommend you read it.

Anyway, from what I read, it’s the people living in and moving into Detroit that are the impetus behind the positive changes.  They are the ones cleaning up neighborhoods, creating businesses that fuel the economy and fixing up the dilapidated buildings.  The government is really doing very little to improve things.

So, why can’t this happen everywhere? Why don’t people in other run-down towns take charge of their own homes and fix things up.  It costs nothing to pick up litter or pull weeds.  Mow the lawn of the elderly lady with the overgrown property.  Yank out a nasty, rusted old fence.  Plant some flowers or vegetables.

Do something to help yourselves, people!  Don’t just complain about the government.  They can’t do everything.  Money doesn’t fix everything.  Take a risk and move.

Plus it’s good exercise, so you get a bonus!

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welfare-to-work

It’s been a while since I felt the need to post anything. I only post when I have something I think really needs to be said…or when I’m really bored!
Anyway.. it occurred to me that we could reduce welfare spending by spending it on subsidizing daycare instead. I’m sure many people on government assistance are getting it because the amount of money they can make working is less than the cost of decent daycare for their kids. If daycare costs could be expensed for anyone making less than, say, $25000.00 a year, more people could go back to work.
Of course, that assumes that there are jobs to be had. That goes back to a prior post about using tax breaks to bring manufacturing jobs back to the states.
I don’t know if this would actually work, but I know I don’t like my hard-earned tax dollars paying for people to stay home with their kids, when I know that if I had kids I would have to work.

Could this end the debate?

OK, so I have in mind a really controversial topic today. I mean, everyone seems to have an opinion on this. Are you ready? Are you sitting down? And today’s topic is….

ABORTION

That’s right I’m going there. Keep in mind I don’t have kids, so I am speaking (I think) objectively. So here goes..
First of all, killing a child of any age cannot be right. However, sometimes circumstances just don’t align right for a child to be born. It is a parents right and responsibility to make decisions on behalf of a child, right?

Anyway, here’s my idea to end the debate.

We start by making (or keeping) abortion legal…for now. Meanwhile we work to improve the adoption and foster system. Adoption needs to be faster, easier, and above all, cheaper. Yes we need to ensure a safe home for children, but does it need to take years? The best option should not be a foreign adoption. Prospective parents should consider adopting older children as well. There are thousands of children waiting for a home while you wait for a baby. Adoption should be socially acceptable, financially convenient, and physically easier. There should be massive tax beaks for foster parents. Maybe even scholarships and grants set aside for foster children. (There may be already, I haven’t looked into it.)
At the same time we need to be working on improving contraception. If we can find a way to make vasectomies completely safe, they could be mandatory at a certain age, then when a couple wants to get pregnant, they can be reversed. I know any surgery has risks, but maybe that won’t always be true, and then, who knows? And vasectomies are safer even now than a woman getting her tubes tied. In the mean time, condoms and pills need to be easily available. Yes, even to teenagers. Face it, teenagers will have sex. Keeping them ignorant and unprotected won’t stop it, it will just lead to teen pregnancy and disease. Contraception of any kind should be completely covered by insurance, even surgical contraception.

Once prevention has been as close to perfection as we can get it, and adoption/foster care is improved so children are never without a family, then, and only then can we talk about making abortion illegal.

Now, while I think it should be legal, I don’t think abortion should be easy. There needs to be mandatory counseling both before and after. It should not be covered at all by insurance. Assuming the father is known, both parents need to consent. If, however the father does not consent, he should have to take responsibility, physically and financially for raising the child. After all, the mother is the one taking all of the risks and dealing with the physical consequences for the rest of her life.

Abortion shouldn’t be cheap or easy, and it should NEVER be the first choice, but until some very important changes are made, it shouldn’t be illegal either. Sometimes horrible things are also necessary, or at least, they are the lesser of two evils.

Bring Our Jobs Home!

manufacturing

There are a few US companies that actually operate entirely within the US, but most outsource at least a portion of their operations to save money. The problem, of course, with this is that it reduces jobs here in the states and creates underpaid, overworked jobs overseas. But companies need to make a profit, right? And the more of a profit they make (presumably) the more they can expand and improve the business, thereby creating more job opportunities.

So what’s the solution?

I think the best way to fix this is to give tax breaks only to companies that operate solely and completely in the USA. Eliminate all tax breaks for companies that are outsourcing. Maybe if the companies see that they save more by opening plants and factories here, they will bring the jobs back, and our countries’ economy will improve. Government funds would improve if businesses have to pay all of their taxes. We may have to work on the offshore account loopholes, though to make them pay all of them.

If we want to really hammer this opportunity home to company execs, we could even go to the extreme of eliminating taxes altogether for all US operating corporations. At least for a limited time, for example, if a company can show that they only employ US citizens in the US, within one year of the law going into effect, all taxes are eliminated. If they can do this within two years, taxes are reduced by half, etc.

Let’s use the ridiculous amount of taxes that are being paid these days to our advantage, for once. let’s bring jobs home and cut unemployment down. let’s bring back the days of prosperity and good old-fashioned American craftsmanship. Let’s end the days of cheap Chinese junk.

Prison music

We should only allow classical music in prisons.

Music affects emotion. That’s the point. Right? I’ve never been inside of a prison, and hopefully never will, but on every show I’ve seen that shows a prison environment, they are listening to rap music. I don’t know about you, but that style of music agitates me, it makes me feel angry. The last thing we need to do is to make murderers and rapists, etc. angrier and more violent.
Classical music tends to be calmer, more peaceful. If the only music a criminal listens to is designed to calm them, maybe it’ll reduce future violence, reduce the rage inside of them.
We could add to this rehabilitation by pushing them into calmer pursuits. Their exercise, instead of lifting weights, should be yoga, tai chi, gardening (they could grow their own vegetables) and other similar methods that are calming and peaceful.
Prison walls should be painted in soothing colors–lavender, pale blues and greens, even pink! It’s hard to feel tough and dangerous in a princess pink cell.
All prisoners should be in intensive therapy. I know many are, but it should be required.

These changes are minor, and I know they wouldn’t help everyone, but if we can rehabilitate even one person, than some simple inexpensive changes should be made. I’m not suggesting anything drastic or a massive overhaul of the system, just small simple things that could make a big difference.

Teenagers, right?

It seems to me that more and more often it is teenagers getting into trouble and committing crimes. I think I’ve figured out why. They are bored.
Now in today’s world, there is no reason whatsoever for kids of any age to be bored. If I had a teenager that said they were bored, I’d pack them into the car and take them to a volunteer organization to volunteer. I’d take them to an elderly neighbor to offer help. I wouldn’t give them a choice. They say the word bored, I’ll find them something to do.
The real trouble, though, is when a bunch of kids get together without adults to be bored as a group. They psych each other up into doing stupid things. What can we do about this? They are nearly adults and need to be given freedom to be who they are, and to figure out how they want to live their lives, but if we know or even suspect that they are making bad decisions, shouldn’t we intervene? Shouldn’t we, as adults, be steering them onto the right course? How do we find a balance between freedom and guidance? Is it too late to try by the time they are teens?
I’m not even going to get started on teens and the internet. That’s a whole other post. I’m just talking about teenagers that are out and about in the world getting into (and causing) trouble.
The only solution I can think of is to keep them so busy, they don’t have time or energy for mischief. Sign them up for jobs, volunteering, camp, sports, SOMETHING! Anything to keep them from wandering the streets with their buddies being bored. given a choice, most kids choose doing nothing over doing anything. Laziness has become a way of life. Don’t give them that choice.

Maybe volunteering should be a high school requirement.

It’s difficult for parents working too many hours at too many jobs for not enough pay to be as involved with their kids as they would like. By the time they are teenagers, most parents are just glad to be able to send them out of the house and get some rest. But when kids become teens, they need guidance more than ever. They are being told to make major life decisions before they even get to experience life. To choose a career for the rest of their life without ever trying anything on for size. It’s stressful and difficult, and schools should be preparing them. Expecting students to work or volunteer as part of the curriculum would give them a taste of the real world before those decisions need to be made.

Corporations could offer internships as a class! (This, literally, just occurred to me as I was typing!) The business gets fresh minds and perspectives, the students gets a dose of reality and confidence, the parents get a break, and the world gets better, stronger smarter adults. The students also get a day out of school once a week or whatever, which I’m sure they would love. Who isn’t bored with the daily grind of classes by the time they’re in high school?

If anyone is still reading this ridiculously long post, I would love to hear your ideas.

Please?

News?

What’s up with the ‘news’ these days? All it seems to be is who’s been shot, which house burned down, and celebrity scandals. Does anybody really care about that stuff? I think there are too many news programs and too many news channels nowadays. I have to turn to foreign broadcasts to get any actual world news.
Are Americans so lazy that even reporters don’t want to go beyond their own little cities to track down real news? Isn’t that their job? Maybe reporters should spend more time on in-depth stories so I don’t have to hear about every stupid little thing that happens in Philadelphia just because I want to see the weather report (which also airs far too often in a half-hour program).
I want to see reports on the ground in Africa, the middle east, and anywhere something important is happening. Hear from real people living through those events. Obviously the reporters would need to be safe, but the best ones historically have been willing to take a risk.
I’ve never been much for following current events, but maybe if I’d been exposed to real events, instead of the same stupid non-news everyday, I might have grown up feeling differently about it.
Does anyone have a local news station that does better? Is it just me?