I don't know how many of you have seen the 2006 film entitled "Idiocracy". The wife and I have said for some time with everything going on these days this movie should be reclassified as a documentary rather then comedy satire.
Now apparently the co-writer, Etan Cohen, feels the same way. He said, “I never expected Idiocracy to become a documentary,” What follows may demonstrate some perfect examples of why this may be so.
The U.S. Has Lost Its Damn Mind
One of the many things that annoy me..
Visiting sites on the internet that have constant popup ads along with hunting down hard to find autoplay videos buried deep down in their all too busy pages. Popups can block the entire screen until you hit the little X to close them. Yeah what else does hitting that X do? I never fall for them. Instead refresh the page and if that doesn't do it, I'm outa there!
Windows 10 Users Start Seeing Full-Screen Ads As Screen Savers. There's a way to avoid it. Read the link. Point is the internet and operating systems have become way over commercialized. Could "Smart TVs" soon become like those portrayed in the movie as well?
Trade, another example of Idiocracy-- "Under NAFTA, cheap American grain shipped to Mexico without tariffs destroyed peasant farming. And that prompted migration north. Meanwhile, American factories saw desperate Mexicans willing to work for a pittance, a government unwilling to pass or enforce environmental laws, and because of NAFTA, no tariffs when the goods were shipped back to the United States. That propelled factory migration south. Before NAFTA, the United States had a small trade surplus with Mexico. That disappeared within a year, and now the annual trade deficit is approximately $50 billion." In my opinion the new TPP agreement is like NAFTA on steroids.
Takata Airbag Recall Could Expand-- "Federal safety regulators are currently discussing the possibility of expanding Takata’s shrapnel-shooting airbag recall to cover another 70 million to 90 million inflators." Seems there's a lot of bullshit going around when you consider Volkswagen admits 11 million cars worldwide fitted with suspect software. My common sense makes me want to question if any one of the damn things work the way we were told. What do they think, we're idiots? Yeah maybe. (reference the film)
Russia Wants To Start Flying Surveillance Planes Over U.S.-- "Russia and the United States are signatories to the Open Skies Treaty (2002), which allows unarmed observation flights over the entire territory of all 34 member nations to foster transparency about military activity and help monitor arms control and other agreements." Read who were the idiots who thought this'd be a swell idea. Screw em'. Let Russia use Google's Earth maps like everybody else does.
IN LOCAL NEWS
The Allentown School District is going to court to argue for collecting property taxes for Allentown's arena. BUT as Michael Molovinsky points out on his blog, "This case is being heard by Judge Douglas Reichley... Reichley didn't mention that previously he was a state representative, who passed the NIZ."
Officials representing the arena's interests say it can't afford the taxes and they'd be in serious financial straits if they were forced to pay. Thank God none of us property owners face the same problem. I'm certain each and everyone of us can easily afford and are more then willing to make up the property tax loses from the previous 40 or so business owners who once paid theirs before they were removed.
Looks like the $282 million state taxpayers spent for "the most expensive minor league complex in the country" plus the $2 million (2014) we spend for extra police down there isn't going to produce a "return on investment" for taxpayers anytime soon. It never may. In my opinion we got Milli Vanilli'd on this deal.
WFMZ-TV is reporting, The Allentown School District, teachers union is being sued<. At issue is "a contract provision that allows the AEA president to work for the union while drawing a publicly funded salary and benefits.. current salary is $81,608, according to the Fairness Center. With other benefits, that totals $126,723 in the 2015-16 school year.".
In the classroom or not I question if it should cost taxpayers $10,560 a month for any teacher. If you factor in snow days, holidays and the summer months this adds up to less then 9 months of work.
In 2015 the average teacher in the Allentown School District received $62,694. Although some could earn up to a maximum of $132,259 + Benefits.
I believe the $62,694 is very reasonable but I do question if it's reasonable to pay someone over twice as much just because they grab a few college credits every summer so they can increase their pay. I don't see how someone teaching some elementary kid his colors and ABC's is going to do a better job holding a masters or doctorate then a 4 year degreed educator. Let's be realistic.
The other issue I have is what the hell are these school board members doing and why are they even there. They were supposedly elected to represent the interests of taxpayers who elected them and to fulfill the students educational needs. Both in the most effective and efficient way possible. I'll let other decide if the board members fulfilled that mission.
As for me they get a big fat F for failure. Although teachers played a part, board members have left union negotiations get out of hand. I realize their hands are tied in many ways, but who other then Scott Armstrong came out in public and strongly spoke about both what was going on and what his positions were. Board members may be restricted what they can or cannot do. One thing they have always been allowed to do is SPEAK OUT. Any board member who doesn't try to inform and rally public support for their positions needs to leave.
Holding a seat on the school board is a public position. There can be no greater means to make change then to court public opinion behind him or hers' views. While I appreciate members aren't being paid to receive a lot of flack.. anyone who isn't willing to fight for students and taxpayers interests publicly need to go. They don't belong there. Especially if they are beholding and so inclined towards teachers' interests only. Teachers have a union representing them for that.
Who, if not the board members, should represent the main interests of taxpayers and students?
Something has got to change. Otherwise change will continued to be forced on the school district through back door means by both courts and legislators. I'd much rather board members take a much more active public role. Hiding behind meetings and keeping silent the other 29 days out of the month isn't going to take us where we need to go. They either can continue as they always have or get the public involved by speaking out as many times as they possibly can.
These aren't the same kind of secret decisions large corporation boards can make. Whatever decisions the school board makes will eventually become well known to the public whether it attends meetings or not. Why not run them past the public first well in advance and as much as possible? It sure could save members a lot of flak down the line.
Communication is the key. A good start would be recorded meetings posted online. School District website press releases by individual board members along with their email address would also go a long way in achieving this end. At the very least it would give the public less excuse to become upset by claiming they had no knowledge. There's no such thing as too much information when it comes to CYA in my opinion.