Selective Ignorance--Practical Tips for Developing a Low Information Diet



Tim Ferriss advocates the practice of selective ignorance. Selective ignorance is where you edit out information in your life that is useless and irrelevant to your projects in order to free up more time. A low information diet is great advice until you try to implement it. Then, you have to make decisions, and that sucks. So, I will help you out with these practical tips.

A person's media consumption is person relative. What is valuable to one person may not be valuable to another. For instance, information on weight training is valuable to someone who is into bodybuilding but not so valuable to a marathoner. A history professor will subscribe to blogs on history but not blogs on astronomy. For the most part, people have no problem selecting and keeping the info that is really important to them. It is the clutter that becomes an issue. Here is a list of the most obvious garbage that most people can live without:

1. CELEBRITY GOSSIP

Entertainment news is great. This helps you discover movies and music you might like. Celebrity gossip is just trash. Besides, most of the really juicy stuff makes it to the mainstream media anyway. But, for the most part, you will live perfectly fine not knowing what so-so is doing with so-so under the influence of their drug of choice.

2. SPORTS

Sports is not much different from gossip except the celebrities in question are in shape. Otherwise, it is the same drama. Hard core sports geeks get into stats and the minutiae of the west coast offense. But unless you make your living in this area, this is a waste of life. You can live without sports. Play some sports instead.

3. BUSINESS NEWS

This is one of my favorite areas of news, but it really is a waste of life. I believe in passive investing and using index funds, so you don't need to keep up with CNBC or watch tickers all day. Just invest your money in index funds and forget about it. This benign neglect will give you a good return while freeing up your time to do the things you really love.

4. LEFTARD/FASCTARD BLOGS AND MEDIA

It doesn't matter if you read Daily Kos or Red State. They are both pretty damn useless. This is because these outlets and others like them only do two things. They distort the facts by putting spin on them, and they are no different than people rooting for opposing teams in the same sport. For the most part, both sides want big government except they want it to be the big government of their respective party. The best way to ignore this nonsense is to wise up and become a libertarian. Libertarians don't believe in a side. They believe in freedom.

On a sidenote, I think being up to date with news and current events is worthwhile. They affect your life, and you should at least know what the hell is going on with people who wield so much influence over the conduct of your life.

5. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

I love science and technology but reading about it makes no sense. The major stuff hits the major news while the minor stuff can safely be ignored. Tech news is a big part of what is on the internet, but that is because we have so many nerds on the internet. Unless you work in these industries, you can ignore this area.

That's it for my list of information to ignore. These recommendations may not fit everyone, but they certainly fit me.

Thoughts on Consumerism, Vanity, and Enrichment




To enjoy life, you don't need fancy nonsense, but you do need to control your time and realize that most things just aren't as serious as you make them out to be.
TIM FERRISS

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a cheapskate. What this means is that I don't buy a lot of consumer items on credit. The reality is that if I won the lottery tomorrow (which I never play) my lifestyle would not change at all except in the most marginal sense. Basically, I would upgrade the things I already enjoy now. I would not buy a Ferrari or quit my job.

I have definite ideas about the concept of enrichment. I am influenced by the voluntary simplicity and minimalist movements but also by the writings of economists like Tyler Cowen and philosophers like Alain de Botton. I minimize the material aspects of my life, but I maximize the immaterial with no regard to status.

We buy things for the sake of other people. This is how the Subaru becomes the Hummer and the simple house becomes the McMansion. Maintaining this higher lifestyle requires additional work and added stress which actually impoverishes your life in the immaterial sense. You don't have time to read a book or go for a run or what have you. There is a reason evolution eliminates the nonessential like legs on a snake. If you don't need it, it makes sense to get rid of it. The caloric expenditure of having useless body parts is too much. So, nature edits them out. Similarly, if you don't need a Ferarri, you should edit that out. Considering the speed limits we have, a Ferrari is a waste of horsepower and your money.

I believe in frugality but not austerity. Live in a decent home. Drive a decent car. But leave it at that. When I read that Warren Buffett drives a Cadillac DTS that has some miles on it and lives in a stucco home he bought in the 50's, this tells me that there is a limit to the amount of happiness money can buy. Money is very overrated.

For me, a rich life is one that is culturally and intellectually and experientially rich. Anyone familiar with Tim Ferriss will learn that this can be had for very little dough. In fact, it costs less to travel abroad than to live at home. The irony of today's world is that to enrich your life in any meaningful way requires that you get rid of things you don't need.

People are vain. But I find people are way more impressed by you knowing a foreign language or your pictures from hiking in Yosemite than they are by what you drive and where you live. The people I envy are the ones who have knowledge and skills and live simple lives in the pursuit of more of the same. Owning more or flashier stuff is no substitute. The treadmill of acquisition yields diminishing returns. If getting more money doesn't bring you greater freedom in your life to do the things that are truly enriching, then you are wasting your time.

Frank Rich on the Racist Sexist Xenophobic Homophobic Tea Party

The Rage Is Not About Health Care
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/opinion/28rich.html?ref=general&src=me&pagewanted=print

If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.

***

Gee, I thought this whole time the reason I was against Obamacare is because I oppose big government, big deficits, and value freedom. Instead, I am told that I oppose Obama because I hate on black people, Mexicans, women, and gays. How did Frank know?

The fact is that Frank Rich doesn't know. As a libertarian, I support human rights for gay people. I believe in immigration especially for Mexican immigrants wanting a better life. I'd like to see an end to "don't ask, don't tell." I am antiwar. But Frank Rich is right. These aren't principled stands. I'm just hating on Obama because he's black.

This ad hominem type thinking is why leftards like Frank Rich don't get it. I listen to Tea Party people, and they are monomaniacal about one thing--government spending. That's it. And this is why they aren't too pleased with a lot of Republicans either who pursued big government policies. The error that Rich makes is because Republicans supported a lot of Obamacare proposals before they were Obamacare proposals that tea party people were in favor of big government programs so long as they served the interests of whitey. But I can tell you from talking with Tea Party people that they despised what Bush did. They despised what Newt did back in the nineties. And like me, they give praise to Bill Clinton for abandoning the big government agenda.

What changed things is the candidacy of one man--Ron Paul. Ron Paul woke people up to a lot of issues. He challenged Republicans, and then those Republicans watched as Bush then Obama brought out bailouts and stimulus packages. The Tea Party crowd is a diverse lot and includes conspiracy cranks, closet racists, homophobes, Bible beaters, and the rest. But this is why you deal with the issues instead of the people. The issue is a government that is eating away at prosperity and diminishing our lives with tomfuckery. Why is this considered crazy?

Frank Rich epitomizes what is to be the standard leftard response to the Tea Party:

-You went along with this big government shit before.

-You are no longer going along with it because Obama is black.

It's not much different than pro-Israeli people condemning critics as being anti-semitic. It is a neat trick, but the reality is they are wrong. They are simply trying to change the subject. It won't work.

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects

1. HIGH INFIDELITY

The recent scandals involving Tiger Woods, Jesse James, Mark Sanford, John Edwards, etc. provokes a lot of questions and debates. The reality is that most men cheat and so do most women. Monogamy is a myth. What makes it absurd is that people still keep getting married. This is dumb.

Marriage is an outdated and unrealistic institution. All it does is mix sex and money in a deal that is more than likely to go sour. Prostitution is renting. Marriage is ownership. Trust me, you are better off renting.

Readers may wonder what my girlfriend thinks of these comments I make on a regular basis, and I can tell you that she blisters my ass when she reads them. But I don't cheat on my girlfriend. That is because I love her. If you love someone, you don't hurt them. These philanderers don't love the women they married.

For me, being with my girlfriend is a daily choice. Marriage is the mistaken belief that you can make love permanent. You can't. People change. They move on. And it is a two-way street. My girlfriend can drop me like a bad habit, and that's just the way it is. If I want to keep her, I have to work at it or else get fired.

Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon recently broke up after decades together. No controversy there. They went their separate ways. This is the way it should be. There are rumors that both of them cheated on one another, but it isn't quite as scandalous as Tiger and Jesse because no ring was involved. They never bought the fairy tale, so there was no illusion to shatter. This is honesty and sobriety.

I know a married couple that practice polyamory. Basically, she fucks every guy (and girl) she can find while her cuckold husband stays home, tends to the child, pays the bills, and tries to put a stoic nonchalance on a shattered ego. I can agree with them that monogamy is a myth but so is the idea that you cannot be hurt or be jealous knowing your partner is out fucking someone else.

I follow a middle path. Be monogamous but never marry. This works. Women will hate this, but I will point to Oprah and Stedman. Oprah does not marry. She is no different than George Clooney or Gene Simmons. She is brilliant on this.

As for guys who are married, I can't help you on this. Most men who are married find their women stop trying anymore. This is "permanence." Once the guy is stuck, the women lets herself go to shit, and he has to put up with it. It's like the difference between a government worker who belongs to a union and a temp hoping to land a full time gig. Performance and incentives are tied together.

You should never be too secure in life. Marriage is the lie that you can take the other person for granted. You can't.

Goldie Hawn who has been happily unmarried to Kurt Russell for 25 years had this to say:

We both have independent finances, we’re both independently well-off. We have raised our children brilliantly; they are beautiful people. We did a great job there and we didn’t have to get married to do that. I like waking up every day and seeing that he is there and knowing that I have a choice. There is really no reason to marry.

Another brilliant woman.



2. OBAMACARE AND THE AFTERMATH

People ask me all the time what was in the bill, and I can't tell them. No one has read the damn thing. Any law that is longer than the Constitution is a bad law. You don't have to read it to know that you shouldn't vote for it.

Obama is gambling that the American people will end up liking this in much the same way that they ended up liking Social Security and Medicare. The sad thing is that Obama may just be right. It is said that drug dealers give away free samples to hook future users. Politicians are no different. Once people are hooked to that government handout, they never willingly give it up and will even fight to keep it. If you doubt this, look no further than the AARP or the Republicrats who will do anything to ensure and expand their entitlements. The same is also true of subsidized farming, defense contractors, etc. Uncle Sugar has many teats for eager mouths to suck on.

It will take an economic collapse to restore sanity. People don't want to be deluded, but they don't want to be shocked into reality either. Reality always has the last word.

3. ICELAND

Iceland went from a rugged economy built on industry and fishing to a bullshit economy built on international finance. When the bust happened, Iceland went straight to shit. With newfound sobriety, they are now returning to industry and fishing. This is a national scale example of my blue collar revolution in action.

America is not much different than Iceland was. Everybody here wants a bullshit job in a bullshit economy. They want to wear a tie, have a position, and garner huge salaries for providing absolutely nothing in terms of value. These people are supposed to be paid for the quality of their knowledge and their decision making. Yet, why are they all so goddamned stupid? And where is the leadership?

The beauty of a recession is when a bullshitter has to go and get a real job.



4. POLITICAL VIOLENCE

In the aftermath of the Obamacare Assrape, politicians claimed they were spit on, threatened, and called all sorts of ugly names. There were also gunshots and acts of vandalism. I'd like to get a few things straight on this shit. I'm not down with political violence. I can categorically condemn all such activities regardless of the politics. There is a time to use violence but only when the other side pulls out their guns. This is done not to make political points but to defend yourself. As much as I despise the fucktards in DC, they haven't sent out the death squads yet. Until then, citizens should keep it civil.

With that said, it is no secret that politicians embellish any and almost everything that happens to make political points. The fact is they receive hate mail and threats on an almost constant basis. This is the price for being in public. Celebrities, athletes, and even bloggers like myself get some nasty shit sent their way. You take it with a grain of salt. I remember a guy who wrote to me that he would like to come and fuck my shit up with a pipe bomb. I told him his brains would look good covering my wall. I didn't hear anything back from him anymore.

Leftards really like to push the idea that Tea Party people are just a bunch of violent hate filled rednecks who need to be put down by the jackboot of "enlightened" government authority. Remember, there have been tons of violent leftwingers from the Weather Underground to the Earth Liberation Front to the luddite treehugging Unabomber. To lump in the Sierra Club and Greenpeace in with ELF is disingenuous, and I don't do that. But leftards lump in Tea Party people with neo-Nazis, the KKK, and Timothy McVeigh without a moment's hesitation. This is all part of their setup to step up a violent counterstrike against their political opponents or at least marginalize anyone who disagrees with their socialist agenda. What a bunch of fucking idiots.

I endeavor to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others even if I disagree with them and denigrate them with profanity laced zeal. This even includes camel fucking jihadi terrorists. But at the end of the day, when the government takes money from you and gives it to someone else, this is theft. When the government tells you what you can and can't do when those things hurt no one else, this is tyranny. And when the government murders innocents abroad, this is evil. Maybe I'm too simpleminded to grasp the "complexity" of these issues.

The truth is not complex. It is simple. Truth does not need fine print. It does not 1000+ pages of legalese. Truth does not need to apologize later when the shit comes out. The truth is the truth.

People in America are mad as hell. It is easy to dismiss a militia member or some wingnut conspiracy theorist. But ordinary Americans are seeing their lives diminished. Their taxes are going up. The prices for goods and services are going up. Deficits and the national debt are growing at an alarming rate. Pessimism has taken hold as people see their futures as nothing but a dark cloud. Meanwhile, bailed out banksters are enjoying windfall profits at the expense of working class Americans. This is the fault of the politicians. This is the hope and the change they talk about. The speak to us like we were children and fools. They piss down on our backs and tell us to enjoy the rain. I am amazed that this country hasn't turned violent against these motherfuckers. The protests you see now are actually a restrained reaction to the outright looting and theft politicians are doing.

There is a boil festering in this country, but it will be lanced this November. As much as the public may hate those motherfuckers in DC, they voted to put them there, and they can vote to fire their asses. When democracy is abolished, that is when the revolution will begin. But so far, patience and peace trump force.



5. THE LEFTARD "COMPLICITY" ARGUMENT

To be fair, no Republican ever endorsed violence as a way to express opposition to health-care reform, and they undoubtedly regret what's happened. On the other hand, many stoked anger over the past few months by employing staggering hyperbole over a document they cast as tyrannical and totalitarian. Boehner, for example, called the vote on the bill “Armageddon,” and said Ohio Rep. Steve Driehaus could be a “dead man” in his largely red Cincinnati district. I can understand if he and other Republicans are upset about being grouped with the extremists chucking bricks through windows. But by condemning violence and blasting Democrats in the same breath, Republican leaders implicitly validate the anger spurring these incidents. Instead of defusing the situation, this sort of response escalates it.

http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2010/03/25/the-gop-response-to-the-intimidation-campaign-against-democrats/?xid=rss-

You gotta love a completely shitheaded argument like this. This is the dumbest thing I have read all week. Basically, Republicans are to blame because they stoke the anger of people. Amazing. It has nothing to do with Democratic tomfuckery whatsoever. Heck no. If those damn Republicans would just shut up, then everybody would be happy about being sodomized by Barack Obama. Fucking amazing. In other words, there would be no violence or anger if critics would stop pointing out how the government is taking away our money and our freedom. They would probably go along with what Hugo Chavez said about the internet:

The Internet can't be something free from rules, where you do and say whatever you feel like. Each country needs to make its own rules and norms.

This is from a man with dictatorial aspirations, is an avowed socialist, and has shut down television and radio stations for being critical of him and his policies. Trust me, all leftards think alike. They all adhere to the Marxist inevitability doctrine that we will all live in the future communist utopia of central planning. Obama admits as much when he said that the healthcare bill was not perfect but a step towards the ultimate goal of universal healthcare which we all know is code for socialized medicine. Pointing out that Obama is a socialist is derided as "hate speech." That is a neat trick there. Words are equated with violence in a sort of precrime fashion. Republicans don't advocate violence, but they make people angry which leads them to advocate violence. Why is socialist legislation not a slippery slope to socialism but calling it socialist is a slippery slope to violent revolution?

The reality is that leftards like Obama want socialism. They got overexcited by having a majority and skipped the foreplay and went straight for the sphincter. With the rape already underway, Obama and his leftard ilk now have to ride it all the way. In short, they know they are fucked, so they are going to enjoy the crime while they can. They just want to muffle the cries a little longer before the cops come with the pepper spray and the handcuffs.

It is tyranny. No other word can describe it.

6. MARCH MADNESS

I'm going to be unbiased and not declare a favorite for this year's tournament.

SOC

I only have a few minutes, so I'm dashing this out quickfast. I'll get right to the point. I am having trouble coming up with material for this blog. Most of the time I write about what is happening in the news or the last DVD I watched or the last book I read. That shit writes itself. But as far as having great new ideas or insights, I have none.

I don't know what to do about firing up the creative juices. I'm not ready to do the LSD/peyote thing. I like the real world just fine. But I feel that I am at a creative dead end.

The one essay that gets the heaviest traffic here is the one where I ask if Tim Ferris is a scam artist. The other one deals with brokenhearted people who love reading the one about love being bullshit. I remember writing that one after being brokenhearted myself. I wrote that one a long time ago. My girlfriend asked me if I still believe in that essay, and I do. I will always be a cynic on that issue.

Another popular one is "How To Get Your Shit Together." Clearly, a lot of people want to straighten themselves out. And I get traffic and commentary from inbred Georgians with "Fuck Georgia." After five years of writing this blog, these four articles are the only ones anyone really gives a damn about. Most of the stuff I write here has a shelf life of a day.

With a million blogs out there, I have a very insignificant place in the blogosphere. But ultimately, I write for myself. I just don't know how much longer I can keep doing this gig.

Should I Clean It Up?



People wonder why Jay Leno is so damn popular. Why does he kick Letterman's ass night after night? And why does every other comedian hate his guts? The answer to that is obvious. Jay Leno is the least offensive guy on TV. Even Carson had more edge than Leno. The result is that comedians and late night hosts have zero respect for Leno for selling out. Meanwhile, viewers tune in heavily to Jay because he is the least likely to piss them off.

Comedy falls into two traditions. The first tradition comes from the circus with the clowns. These buffoons made fools of themselves and merely entertained. The second tradition is the court jester who could get away with telling the truth. The first tradition performs an exercise in escape from reality. The second performs an exercise in holding a mirror to reality. This is why many people say they get their news from The Daily Show and find Stewart's presentation more honest than traditional news.

Jay Leno is more of a lovable clown. He is a nice guy, and people like him. I like him. I don't think he's funny, but I like him. But I've always liked Letterman better. Dave makes me laugh. He isn't nearly as edgy as he was back on Late Night, but he definitely belongs to the court jester tradition.

Recently, I received this message from a Facebook reader:

I'm writing this in memo form so others don't c it and think I'm taking a jab. I wanted to tell u I have really enjoyed your political opinions when they post on my screen but have stopped reading them because of the language. I'm not trying to tell u what to do, but, I think u make a lot of great points that others need to hear and I think that u could reach a larger platform by cleaning it up. Once again, I'm a fan of most of your opinions, just not the language. U seem like a smart guy and we need more like u to help right the wrongs w/ 2days political situation but I don't think people will listen as well when said in a vulgar way. Just my opinion. That and a $1.09 will get u a sweat tea @ mcdonalds.

I tend to agree. I would reach a wider audience if I didn't do things like equate Obama with a jailhouse rapist. In fact, I could blunt my edge completely and become like Jay Leno. But I don't want to do this. I don't want people to read my blog and leave feeling comfortable and reassured. I want them to leave disturbed and angry.

My style is not the same as everyone else's. I don't think everyone needs to be or should be as raw as I am. But I'm not going to change on this. I think Obama is a shit-for-brains fucking idiot. I hate the son of a bitch because he is destroying the prosperity of this nation with his tomfuckery. I don't care if I may hurt his feelings or piss off his leftard followers with their tongues buried deep in the guy's asshole. I can't respect thieves and idiots.

The other aspect of my offensive language is that it makes this blog NSFW. I'm fine with that. The dirty secret of the internet is that office drones, academics, and other people with bullshit jobs waste their time goofing off online while the rest of us real workers go out and get shit done. Nixing the cussing would help get this site past all those firewalls and filters that prevent offensive content. But my real fans read this site on their iPhones during their lunch hour. The rest of the time they are working like they are supposed to be doing.

Finally, those who share my opinions may feel they may share in guilt by association. I hate to break it to you, folks, but South Park has already beat me on this. If you are a libertarian, you are in league with two guys who make cartoons about singing poo.

Nobody pays me to do this gig. I do this for me. I work for a living, and writing this blog is what I do in the evenings while the rest of you watch American Idol. I write this shit out of a compulsion and a need to get it all out. It is cathartic. The Cblog is my middle finger of defiance to a world that can kiss my ass. A thousand extra readers each month is no substitute for the good feelings I get from saying exactly what I want to say. Besides, for every offended person who sends me email or leaves comments, there are others who want me to keep doing exactly what I am doing now. I suspect they are also big Howard Stern fans, but that is just a theory of mine.

I'm keeping it dirty. Sorry 'bout it.

WEDNESDAY

1. The US and Russia reach a new nuclear arms pact. But that may just be the vodka talking.

2. Republicans in Congress and across America are doing their best to derail the new healthcare LAW (not bill, folks.) I appreciate the effort, but I think it would be better to stew in quiet anger until November.

3. Robert Culp is dead. He was that token white dude on I Spy.

4. Another Jesse James bimbo!



I am beginning to see a pattern here. Tiger got all the good looking chicks while Jesse got all the ones that look like the wall of a men's restroom.

5. Tiger at the Masters--a heckler's dream.

6. Marijuana legalization is on the ballot in Cali. Hide the Dorito's!!

7. "Tiger, who washes your balls these days?!"

8. I'm going to open up a private postal service that delivers only on Saturday. We will not deliver junk mail just Netflix DVD's.

9. Google gets the fuck out of China. Good move. The porn is better in Hong Kong.

10. "Yo, Tiger, how deep do you hit it?"

Authentic Work



I've been using the same hypothetical scenario with various people to see how they would respond. Imagine you are a novelist, and a publisher agrees to pay you one million per year to write novels. Being broke and unknown, you agree to write one novel per year for one million dollars per novel. It seems like an unbeatable deal. You write the novel, and the publisher cuts you a check for one million dollars. But you notice your books are not in the bookstores. You ask the publisher why there are no books. He tells you that he burns your manuscripts as soon as he has paid you for them. The man is literally insane. What would you do in this situation?

I have received various responses from copying books to refusing the deal or keeping copies or whatnot. But not one person has told me they would just keep writing those novels for the one million dollars for each book. Maybe I should sweeten the scenario with a ten million dollar offer. I don't know. What is obvious is that no one wants to engage in useless labor no matter how much it pays.

My hypothetical scenario does exist in reality, but it doesn't involve a novelist and a publisher and millions of dollars. Instead, it involves office drones, middle managers, and five and six digit salaries. I am reminded of a woman I dated who was paid $45K annually to be a corporate trainer. She read magazines all day and pressed the play button on a DVD machine. She hated her job and called out often. It got so bad that she was written up and threatened with termination.

People want authenticity in their work. They want their lives to mean something. I don't think it has to mean something in a transcdendant sense. It doesn't have to change the world. In fact, it may only make a marginal improvement in the life of one other person. But the work has to make sense. That is the bottom line. You can pay people just about anything, but if they don't believe in what they are doing, they won't keep doing it. Conversely, people will take pay cuts or work extra hard for the things they believe in.

It seems that we live in a world today that is dedicated to getting over on people. Work is for suckers. It is all about the game and being on the top of the heap instead of the bottom. We praise the white collar thieves while denigrating the blue collar man who puts in an honest day of work. The white collar people think they are smart and slick because they have lied, schemed, and connived to get where they are. You have managers with MBAs and their corporatespeak who snow their companies and the world into believing they are valuable and contribute to society. But they contribute nothing but fodder for Dilbert. They are high paid slackers and con artists.

You have rich financiers, traders, stock brokers, quants, and all the rest who believe they are doing "God's work," and they are "blue collar." But who believes any of this shit? And if they are so damn valuable, why do they need to suck up the tax dollars of working folks to bail them out of their jams?

You have lying politicians who spend all day talking about "hope" and "change," but this is just the sales pitch of bullshitters who destroy the incomes, livelihoods, and the hope of the people they supposedly are trying to help. The earnest hope of working people today is that these lying parasites will just stop what they are doing. But these fools are incapable of leaving people alone. You will get their hope and change whether you want it or not.

These people don't have real jobs. Real jobs make the world a better place to live in. When a short order cook whips up a meal, someone leaves full instead of hungry. When an auto mechanic fires up that engine he fixed, there is one less person having to walk or catch a bus. When a carpenter frames a house, he is providing more hope and change than a thousand politicians ever could.

This is authentic work. It is not enough to get paid. It isn't about getting paid. It is about earning what that pay signifies. It means that the work we do is valuable to someone else. We have made our living by improving the world in some way. The honest working man or woman can go home with a feeling of pride and satisfaction in what they do.

The parasite class does not have this same enjoyment. They go home wondering what the fuck it is that they do. It seems they spend as much time trying to convince themselves as much as the rest of us that what they do is worthwhile. I call bullshit on this.

People need to realign their priorities and their values. Instead of asking how they can get paid, they should ask how they can provide value and be useful. How can I make the world a better place in some way? No one asks this question. People have all these various schemes for getting rich, but no one ever counsels hard work, thrift, and giving value for the dollar. We get bullshit instead. Yet, where does wealth come from in the first place? It comes from the work and creativity of people making the world a better place.

These things have been on my mind a lot lately as this recession has taken hold. I see people taking unemployment checks while seeing help wanted signs in storefront windows. There are jobs out there, but it is easier to get a government check than to earn a living. Businesses hire people who are good for about a week and immediately turn to shit until they don't even bother showing up anymore. The bosses aren't any better lying to prospective employees and jerking them around with promises they will never fulfill. Then to add insult to injury, the boss's work ethic is often worse than that of the slackers they hire. We've made a joke of work, and we wonder why no one gives a shit. Then, we have the thieves in Washington to steal the fruits of additional labor while extending unemployment benefits over and over again to a whole bunch of slackers. How can anyone work in this cynical environment?

I can ignore all this bullshit because I know work is integral to happiness. As much as I love a fat paycheck, I never think about the money when I am working. I just lose myself in the rush of doing. There is a lot of satisfaction in getting things done. In a world of slackers, it is easy to shine out. People wonder why I do it. Am I looking to get paid? Am I looking for a promotion? Nope. I just love making a difference in the world. This is not altruism. It is pure selfish pride in what I am able to do.

You may think I am crazy for being like this, but I go back to my original scenario. Would you let a man pay you to burn your work? For all the cynicism in the world, I can't find anyone who thinks getting paid a million dollars to let a man burn his work to be a good deal. I think people would rather have their work be read and possibly rejected and earn not a penny than to have it destroyed for a sum that most people will take a lifetime to earn. People care less about getting paid than they do about being appreciated and feeling that what they do makes a difference. Separate money from appreciation, and you only have misery. The absurdity of our times is that we have made this scenario possible.

inspiration

TUESDAY

1. Obama still has to sell the bill he already got passed. That is a first. He rams this thing straight up our collective ass, and now, he is going to convince us to like it. It's like a rapist wanting to cuddle after the rape.

2. Bart Stupak is not a baby killer, but he will certainly be responsible for a lot of poor kids and grandkids. It would help if pro-lifers also considered the lives of those on the other side of the womb.

3. Chris Evans agrees to put on the Captain America constume and look like a complete idiot on the big screen. Afterwards, he will be available for used car commercials and the Liberty Tax Service.



4. The mistress of Jesse James turns out to be a Nazi. I am really shocked at this.



This clinches it for me. This is definitely not the girl to bring home to meet the parents.

5. Biden gets caught saying, "This is a big fucking deal." You said it, brother. It will be a big fucking deal when you have House Speaker John Boehner to deal with next year.

6. Now would be a perfect time for Obama to go the way of Tiger and Jesse. Obama getting caught on the receiving end of a blow job would be a victory for freedom.

7. Virgin Galactic is booking spaceflights. One day, going to the moon will be cheaper than getting an appendectomy. Of course, if Obama nationalizes the space industry as well, I will be wrong.

8. Hospitals will soon be using a picture of Nancy Pelosi as an emetic. Goodbye, syrup of ipecac!



9. If Pelosi got some tattoos, Jesse James would fuck her.

10. I have a tattoo, but I already got fucked by Obama.
Bite the pillow, America. You voted for that son of a bitch. Now, he is returning the favor-hard and deep.

Quotable Quotes


Matthew Crawford quotes from Shop Class as Soulcraft:

The question of what a good job looks like — of what sort of work is both secure and worthy of being honored — is more open now than it has been for a long time. Wall Street in particular has lost its luster as a destination for smart and ambitious young people. Out of the current confusion of ideals and confounding of career hopes, a calm recognition may yet emerge that productive labor is the foundation of all prosperity. The meta-work of trafficking in the surplus skimmed from other peoples’ work suddenly appears as what it is, and it becomes possible once again to think the thought ‘let me make myself useful.’

* * *

The popularity of Dilbert, The Office, and any number of other pop-culture windows on cubicle life attests to the dark absurdism with which many Americans have come to view their white-collar work.

* * *

The visceral experience of failure seems to have been edited out of the career trajectories of gifted students. It stands to reason, then, that those who end up making big decisions that affect all of us don’t seem to have much sense of their own fallibility, and of how badly things can go wrong even with the best of intentions (like when I dropped that feeler gauge down into the Ninja). In the boardrooms of Wall Street and the corridors of Pennsylvania Avenue, I don’t think you’ll see a yellow sign that says “Think Safety!” as you do on job sites and in many repair shops, no doubt because those who sit on the swivel chairs tend to live remote from the consequences of the decisions they make. Why not encourage gifted students to learn a trade, if only in the summers, so that their fingers will be crushed once or twice before they go on to run the country?

* * *

An economy that is more entrepreneurial, less managerial, would be less subject to the kind of distortions that occur when corporate managers’ compensation is tied to the short-term profit of distant shareholders. For most entrepreneurs, profit is at once a more capacious and a more concrete thing than this. It is a calculation in which the intrinsic satisfactions of work count — not least, the exercise of your own powers of reason.

* * *

Given the moral maze inhabited by managers, we can understand why those higher in the hierarchy must absent themselves from the details of the production process: such abstraction facilitates non accountability.

* * *

Ultimately it is enlightened self-interest, then, not a harangue about humility or public-spiritedness, that will compel us to take a fresh look at the trades. The good life comes in a variety of forms. This variety has become difficult to see; our field of aspiration has narrowed into certain channels. But the current perplexity in the economy seems to be softening our gaze. Our peripheral vision is perhaps recovering, allowing us to consider the full range of lives worth choosing. For anyone who feels ill suited by disposition to spend his days sitting in an office, the question of what a good job looks like is now wide open.

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects

1. OBAMACARE

You have to admire persistence, and Obama will persist until he has rammed his healthcare plans down our throats. I have resigned myself to the fact that he is going to get a bill he can sign. It can all be undone in the next Congress, but they won't have the votes to override a presidential veto. It is what it is.

2. JESSE JAMES

Sandra Bullock is an idiot. I'm sorry, but someone has to say it. Tiger's wife can be excused because she along with the rest of the world had no idea. But Sandra should have known. Jesse James loves whores especially whores with tattoos. It is what he is. He will not change.



3. PEDOPHILE PRIESTS

The Pope offers his apologies to all those Irishfolk that were molested and raped as children by Catholic priests. I'm sure that makes it all better.



4. TEA PARTY RUSSIA

The Tea Party is happening in Russia. I hear they are doing the same in England. People want economic freedom, and it is international now. As government continues to fuck with our lives, this revolution will only grow and get stronger. You have to speak out and fight back. There is no choice because government will not stop until it has starved you into oblivion. This is what governments do.

5. RAND PAUL

Rand is going to win. That guy has all the momentum in a state very receptive to his message. I don't know what Schiff can do in Connecticut, but I know Rand will get it done in Kentucky. We will have a Dr. No on both sides of Capitol Hill.

6. AMANPOUR

I am glad that ABC went with Christiane Amanpour for This Week. She will bring a focus on foreign affairs to what she does there, and this is an area that is utterly overlooked in the national news media. Unfortunately, it won't be on the level of what I get at Antiwar, Empire Burlesque, or Mondoweiss. But the American people are utterly clueless as to what is going on overseas with the two wars and the atrocities that occur in Israel. Amanpour is a move in the right direction.

What the Sunday morning shows need are guests with a libertarian viewpoint. I would love to see Nick Gillespie mix it up on one of these shows. He would make them all look like retards. Instead, we get the token liberals and conservatives who merely put a partisan spin on the issues. The reality is that these shows are not hard hitting journalism but a more serious and unfunny variation of late night TV where guests appear to sell something. In this case, it is politicians selling their policies. The MSM is nauseating as fuck.

7. JORDAN AND THE BOBCATS

Michael Jordan is a fierce comeptitor and arguably the greatest basketball player ever. But can he run a franchise? Probably not. Now, that he is owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, he will get his chance to fail. But I want him to succeed. The best way he can do this is to let Larry Brown do what he does best--build a blue collar basketball team.

8. MARCH MADNESS

The business world grinds to a halt as people focus on the only thing in the universe that truly matters--the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. Just be smart and don't bet money.

PRINT-Create Your Own Economy by Tyler Cowen



Tyler Cowen is an economist at George Mason University and a co-blogger at Marginal Revolution. He tends to be libertarian in his viewpoints, but he can be "heretical" at times. Nevertheless, I enjoy his unique perspectives, and Create Your Own Economy is one of those unique perspectives.

It is difficult to know where to begin with a review of this book, so I will begin with the subtitle of the volume-- The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World. That one is a bit of a head fake for people who come to this book with a monetary expectation. This book is about escaping the monetary and material world we live in and escaping into the virtual world of the internet. In the material world, we have scarcity which is a constant and neverending problem. In the digital world, we have abundance which creates its own problems. Basically, we have a torrent of virtually free culture and information. We face such an overload of free information that it is overwhelming to the cognitive faculties of most people. How do we find order in all this chaos?

Cowen looks to autistics for the answer. The average person overwhelmed by the internet experiences the same thing an autistic person experiences in the world. The autistic struggles but learns to order and arrange his or her world in a much different way than the rest of us. Cowen praises this neurodiversity as holding the key to dealing with our information onslaught. By adopting the characteristics and traits of autistics, we can better handle and adapt to this cultural abundance at our fingertips.

Cowen goes on to describe his own economy, and how he deals with the adundance. His most famous quirk is how he will choose to put down a book or walk out of a movie citing opportunity cost. Because time is scarce, we should not waste it on books and movies that suck. There is always something better, and time spent finding it is better than time wasted on suboptimal cultural experiences. I tend to agree. I usually finish books I start, but I will quit with a movie if I think it sucks.

The rest of the book deals with how others are coping with this problem of cultural abundance, social networking, and the like. All in all, this is a thought provoking volume and was worth the time I spent reading it.



http://www.marginalrevolution.com/

WEDNESDAY

1. Rumor has it that Sandra Bullock and Jesse James are having marital problems because the former husband to a porn star is alleged to have had an extramarital affair. I am shocked. SHOCKED!

2. Who marries a porn star?

3. Any congressman who votes for ObamaCare is telling you that he doesn't need to be a congressman anymore. Remember this come November.

4. Seriously, who marries a porn star? That is like buying a rental car that everybody else gets to drive, but you get to pay for the oil changes.

5. Who marries a man who would marry a porn star? What the fuck was she thinking?!

6. Windows Phone 7 looks sharp, but what happens when there is no keyboard to press CTRL+ALT+DEL?

7. Bill Gates's first sexual experience was dry humping his book bag in middle school.

8. They have discovered a new exoplanet like ours except for one key difference. Their iPhones have removable batteries.

9. Fox is talking to Conan. They are making plans to bury his new show on the Fox Business Channel.

10. Blockbuster is preparing to file for bankruptcy. Where did things go wrong? Two words--LATE FEES.


BONUS!

McQuillan walked into a bar and ordered martini after martini, each time removing the olives and placing them in a jar. When the jar was filled with olives and all the drinks consumed, the Irishman started to leave.

"S'cuse me," said a customer, who was puzzled over what McQuillan had done. "What was that all about?"

"Nothing," said the Irishman, "my wife just sent me out for a jar of olives."

Happy St. Pat's Day!

endangerment

prosperity

Why Leftards Are So Damn Nauseating



Being a libertarian in a non-libertarian world can make you a pissed off individual. It seems that every person is a would-be dictator eager to police the lives, liberty, and property of all those around them. Since not everyone gets to be dictator, they settle for electing tyrannical fools to do the job for them. These busybody people can be divided into two large groups--fasctards and leftards.

Fasctards are those who lean to the right in their political thinking. I call them fasctards because they are stupid and also tend towards fascism which is socialism for the elite. Every type of policy they advocate is aimed at subordinating some other group usually with dark skin. This is why they advocate the Police State, the Warfare State, American imperialism, and denigrate social welfare not for economic reasons but racial reasons.

As foolish as fasctards can be, I do not find them that irritating. I am not sure why this is the case. I encounter plenty of them and can always watch them on Fox News. I disagree with them, but excepting Bill O'Reilly, I feel no urge to punch them repeatedly in the face. I have tried to understand my tolerance of them, but it boils down to this. At heart, a fasctard is a pessimistic libertarian. They believe in freedom but only for those who have the virtue to practice it responsibly. It does not take much for me to make them rethink their worldviews as I point out the futility of the drug war or how many of our present enemies used to be on our payroll. The way to turn a fasctard is direct his pessimism towards the inescapable reality that efforts to make people better will fail, and you are better off letting them suffer the consequences of their own actions.

Leftards are much different. I can't be around one for very long without heaping derision upon them. This is because leftards imagine themselves brilliant which gives them the right to run your life for you. In other words, you are stupid. I am smart. Let me make your decisions for you because I can do it so much better than you can. Naturally, we can trust their brilliance because they are so damn benevolent. I find this nauseating as hell.

Leftards are the ultimate busybodies. They believe that as long as an idea is good this gives them the right to use force for your own good. They have a creeping logic that leads to dehumanizing people as individuals. The most recent example is their argument that we should not have free markets in healthcare because consumers are too stupid to know what is in their best interest. Therefore, we should turn over our medical care to the technocrats and the experts because they are so much smarter than us. But as Hayek points out, these people who imagine themselves so brilliant are actually idiots.

In a free market, people make wise choices and poor choices. Some people will go to a real doctor. Others will go to a chiroquack. Others will resort to witch doctors and faith healers. Now, it is unfortunate that people fall into quackery, but it is better than having a potential quack being in charge of our medical decisions. Leftards will argue that they are smart about such things, and I will merely point out the quackery being peddled on The Huffington Post, a leftard blog.

The fact is that leftards think dumb shit all of the time. They are not nearly as brilliant as they suppose themselves to be. They are merely smug and arrogant in their own opinions. They are not unlike teenagers who have yet to amass enough wisdom to know anything but are quite convinced that they are the smartest people on the planet. Essentially, leftards are trapped in extended adolescence.

I have a field day with these morons. Their arguments amount to trying to equate me with Rush Limbaugh, and then, they bash on Limbaugh as being a fat windbag. Of course, we have that fat windbag called Michael Moore who is as stupid as Rush but in the other direction. But I am not Limbaugh. I believe in social liberty as well as economic liberty. I have yet to meet a leftard that can get his or her mind wrapped around that concept.

The reality is that leftards are more close minded than their fasctard counterparts. I find this ironic since they imagine themselves as such champions of freedom of speech and the downtrodden. But this is a sham. In the breast of every leftard beats the heart of a tyrant. Freedom for them is the opportunity to go along willingly before they opt to drag your ass kicking and screaming. They are not unlike Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Behind their "benevolence" is sheer horror.

I don't like being around these people. I don't debate them so much as bait them. I turn them into the butt of the joke. I'm not able to be in a room with them without heaping derision on them. I can't help myself. I mock them because it is the only positive thing I can do with the absolute revulsion that I feel around them.

MONDAY

1. Toyota does not buy my story about unintentional acceleration and the crash I had because of the presence of PBR cans and sent text messages during the time of the accident.

2. They should give me my own wilderness survival show. It would be way greater than Man vs. Wild. It would be called Neck Deep in Shit, and I would have to survive with only a knife and a zippo lighter. I would have to accomplish three tasks: kill an animal and eat it, build a shelter, and make moonshine. Yes, Bocephus will sing the theme song.



3. Imagine a country that segregates its citizens by race and routinely demolishes the homes of these "inferior" people and maims and kills them. This country exists today. It isn't Nazi Germany. It isn't South Africa. It isn't the Jim Crow South. Who could it be?



4. I have just been informed that I will no longer be welcome on MSM outlets because of my anti-semitic viewpoints.



5. Peter Graves is dead. That is a loss. Despite a large body of acting work, he will be remembered primarily as Captain Over in Airplane.

6. Uh oh!



7. Check out this anti-semitic blog.

8. Charlie Sheen pleads not guilty to everything and promises not to do it again. On the safe side, he should go ahead with the farewell episode of Two and a Half Men. Besides, the "half man" looks a bit full these days. The little bastard wasn't all that cute to begin with.

9. Will sexual tension derail Tiger at the Masters?

10. Oh, shit! Some Americans got killed by Mexican druglords. This changes everything. 18,000 Mexican deaths is a statistic. Two Americans is some serious shit. Something needs to be done. Unfortunately, it won't be ending the war on drugs.

Education vs. Training



I once read an interview with actor Jodie Foster who graduated from Yale in 1985 with a degree in literature. She made the distinction between her education and going to a trade school for training. The target was not actual trade schools but business school, law school, engineering school, and the like. In essence, she was defending a liberal arts education as something distinct and valuable apart from landing a job after graduation.

Another great defender of the humanities is Steve Jobs who credits the success of Apple from being at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts. Essentially, Apple marries right brain and left brain thinking to make the most elegant devices you will ever use. Plus, they work. For comparison, try out the rip off products of Microsoft.

The liberal arts are derided because they don't make any money. Degrees in these areas are considered worthless especially by left brain thinkers. These are the people who could never grasp how useful the GUI would be. Seriously. Why use a mouse when you can type commands at the prompt?

Left brain thinkers are the ones who make life work. Right brain thinkers are the ones who make it interesting. One is not necessarily better than the other, and I would argue that we need both. It is especially important that we have people who possess both sets of skills in the same person. I think these people are the true revolutionaries, and the thinkers I admire the most are skilled as both left brain and right brain thinkers.

Thanks to the higher ed bubble, right brain college graduates are no better off than their left brain counterparts. The difference is that the left brain people end up working at RadioShack instead of Starbucks. But this divide is not the point of my essay.

Education is not the same as training. Training is learning aimed at a purpose. The purpose is to develop knowledge or a skill to be applied in the world. The value of tha training is usually determined in economic terms. How much money do you make?

Education is different. The liberal arts borrows from the Renaissance ideal that was inspired by Aristotle. I always take special glee in pointing out that Leonardo da Vinci made more as an artist than as an engineer and being an artist in those days was the real job. The fact is that Leonardo had wide ranging interests. He was endlessly curious and creative.

Aristotle said that all paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind, and there is some truth to that. The fact is that many paid jobs today would not exist except for those endlessly curious and creative types who sought knowledge for its own sake. Education is the founding of training and not vice versa. Consider that an electrical engineer has greater job prospects than a physics major and will probably pull down more money. Yet, electrical engineering is physics.

In terms of money, 99% of education is a waste. But education is pursued for its own sake. Consider someone who works out at the gym. Are they professional athletes? Are they getting paid to lift those weights or hit that treadmill? Heck no. But is this a waste? I don't think so. We value physical fitness for its own sake. Similarly, education is valued for its own sake as well. Going to the library is every bit as valuable as hitting the gym.

In the past, people learned and dipped into the humanities. It was considered vital for every educated person to have considerable knowledge of history, literature, philosophy, and the like. Nowadays, a degree is considered valuable according to branding. I rub shoulders with many college graduates, and I always come away amazed at how stupid they are. A degree is supposed to signify that you are a person of learning. But today, the degree signifies nothing.

People note that I am educated. I can fake people out about my age. They habitually think I am a decade younger because I don't have hair, act immature in many ways, and retain my enthusiasm for living. But I always fail to fake anyone out on my bullshit story that I dropped out in middle school. No one has ever bought this. I have tried the high school version, the college dropout version, and the like. Everyone guesses that I have at least a bachelor's degree and possibly a master's degree. Why is this?

When I talk, people realize that I know shit. I am not mindful of it. I don't think about it. But my education is who I am. My life is fuller, deeper, and richer because of this education. And this education did not stop with college. It has continued beyond the halls of academia such that I have learned tremendously more now than I knew then. It also makes me want to keep living. I don't know where I will be in ten years, but if I am alive, I will certainly be smarter than I am now. This is because knowledge and wisdom take time to accumulate, and unlike fitness, it is not lost. And if you write, it lasts beyond your own lifetime.

A job is something you do to pay the bills. Training is the knowledge you gain to perform a job. That's it. It results in a paycheck. This is valuable because it pays the rent, the mortgage payment, the car payment, the cable bill, the credit card bill, and the like. At some point, people with training and no education wonder why they do it all. They feel like hamsters in a cage. But these are questions of value that cannot be answered by economics or a fat paycheck. Often, the solution for these people resides in some drug.

The humanities answers these questions of value. Life is not mere existence. It is not simply about earning and consuming. It is also about exploring and creating. The purpose of life is to be happy, and it is impossible to be happy without this deeper understanding of the world. I think older people have this intutive understanding of things which is why they are happier than middle aged people. Wisdom brings happiness.

Today, it is fashionable to deride the liberal arts as a waste, and I agree but only halfway. The waste is the money people spend for knowledge that they can acquire for little to no cost by going to the library or hitting the internet. It is a waste of money to go to college, but I cannot agree with the implied assumption that is a waste of life. It isn't.

I remember being in a bad place when I was in my late twenties. I had a job, but I had vacated the house where my friend had committed suicide because it was so traumatic. My only place to stay was an unfurnished apartment being painted. I slept on the floor beside paint cans and drop cloths. It was a low point in my life, but it was made endurable by reading The Count of Monte Cristo. That book made an impact on my life. It helped me to carry on. I don't think I would have gained the same inspiration from an engineering textbook.

It is the dream of many people to be paid to do what they love, but I think there are a lot of misconceptions packed in to that dream. I think you can love anything you do as long as it is honest and valuable. What people need to reconsider is the concept that enrichment is literally about getting rich. It isn't. When you consider that the cultural riches open only to the aristocracy of previous ages are literally at my fingertips, I live in the richest time imaginable. I can listen to Debussy, read Proust, and peruse Michelangelo works all in the next hour. Or I can watch ultimate fighting.

My whole life I had what I did for a living, and I had what I did for my mind. Those two have never met, and I believe those two will never meet ever. I don't think they are supposed to meet. They are opposite sides of a coin. They are inseparable, but they also never meet. There is what you do for a living, and then there is the life you live.

My recommendation for people is to develop both vocation and avocation to equal measures. Develop your skills but also develop your mind. Realize that riches are not just purely material but also the immaterial life of the mind. Read, explore, and create. Earn a living but also learn to live.

Quotable Quotes

The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.
ALBERT CAMUS

Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one's government is not necessarily to secure freedom.
F.A. HAYEK

The ideas which now pass for brilliant innovations and advances are in fact mere revivals of ancient errors, and a further proof of the dictum that those who are ignorant of the past are condemned to repeat it.
HENRY HAZLITT

The great non sequitur committed by defenders of the State, including classical Aristotelian and Thomist philosophers, is to leap from the necessity of society to the necessity of the State.
MURRAY ROTHBARD

Well I looked in my moms closet and saw what I was getting for Christmas, an ultravibe pleasure 2000.
CARTMAN

The NYT on For-Profit Trade Schools

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/business/14schools.html?pagewanted=print

Jeffrey West was working at a pet store near Philadelphia, earning about $8 an hour, when he saw advertisements for training programs offered by WyoTech, a chain of trade schools owned by Corinthian Colleges Inc., a publicly traded company that last year reported revenue of $1.3 billion.

After Mr. West called the school, an admissions representative drove to his house to sell him on classes in auto body refinishing and upholstering technology, a nine-month program that cost about $30,000.

Mr. West blanched at the tuition, he recalled, but the representative assured him the program amounted to an antidote to hard economic times.

“They said they had a very high placement rate, somewhere around 90 percent,” he said. “That was one of the key factors that caused me to go there. They said I would be earning $50,000 to $70,000 a year.”

Some 14 months after he completed the program, Mr. West, 21, has failed to find an automotive job. He is working for $12 an hour weatherizing foreclosed houses.

With loan payments reaching $600 a month, he is working six and seven days a week to keep up.

“I’ve got $30,000 in student loans, and I really don’t have much to show for it,” he said. “It’s really frustrating when you’re trying to better yourself and you wind up back at Square One.”


* * *

This is a really good article on how people are getting ripped off by these schools, but they dance around the real issue here which is the availability of easy credit and government grants that is making a bubble out of this section of the economy. The other question they fail to ask is whether or not the same thing is happening at four year schools. The reality is that this is part of the bubble in higher education.

I liked this comment from a reader of the article:

You think this type of indentured servantry is ruthless?

Wait until students at traditional colleges and universities realize they've been had . . . sold on the cultural assumption that a college degree (which amounts to nothing more than the myth of credentialism) is an absolute imperative to leading a meaningful, respectable life. The students at these traditional schools are, indeed, treated like customers, and--as we know from Marketing 101--the customers are always right. Hence, grade inflation is rampant, and schools compete to enroll students with lures like state-of-the-art gyms and upscaled student housing.

Higher education is THE next bubble to burst.


The remedy for this situation is simple. Quit giving out the student financial aid especially Pell Grants. Unfortunately, the NYT focuses on these for-profit schools because of the profit angle. But with all this government money in the system, the costs of the educations exceed the financial rewards. Supply is exceeding demand in a big way in much the same way the housing bubble formed. The culprit is the same--cheap money from the government.

When it comes to the trades, you can learn many trades from on-the-job training especially those in the culinary arts mentioned in the article. Anyone who pays for a cooking school is wasting their money. You can go work in a kitchen for pay, and they will teach you all you need to know. Rachael Ray never went to chef school. Other trades require some degree of training like auto repair and the like. My recommendation is radical, but here it is. Never go into debt for training. Spend money you earned and saved. And you might as well go to a public institution because your taxes are already paying for it, and they will have accreditation.

The problem isn't a lack of jobs or jobs that don't pay enough. It is the expense of training for these jobs that kills people. Being in debt is the problem. I like this comment someone posted to the article:

This article would be more accurate if it included "non-profit" colleges and graduate schools. Many law and other graduate programs lure students with promises of wealth and stable careers; these students typically graduate to unemployment or part-time, dead-end jobs (adjunct teaching, document review, long-term temping). Today's ordinary college graduates face daunting odds at finding stable employment.

I went to my state's top public university, graduating Summa cum Laude with a liberal arts degree. It took two years of retail and P/T work, $3,000 of additional training (a certificate program), and a lot of job hunting just to land an entry-level position, and this was before the 'Great Recession' even got rolling. Some of my classmates are in far worse positions than I am.

We are told to attend college because a BA/BS is necessary to compete for an entry-level job that until recently was manned by high school grads. Ambitious students, or those who couldn't land an entry-level job, flood professional and graduate schools, taking on more debt.

BTW, student loan debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Salle Mae can send you through multiple collection agencies, adding fees each time. Should you default, the lender is repaid by the US gov't. Graduates trying to service over $100,000 in debt on near-minimum wage are not going to be able to make purchases, buy houses, raise families, or otherwise participate in this society.

This is not sustainable. You can't have tens of thousands of MBAs, MFAs, PhDs and JDs defaulting on their student loans because Starbucks won't give them more shifts. Like the subprime market, at some point the higher education bubble will burst, either because students stop participating or because Uncle Sam can no longer support bailing out Sallie Mae et al.


Sallie Mae is the next Fannie Mae. Government tomfuckery in this area creates the economic distortion as people train for jobs not available in the free market.

This is another great comment:

I never went to college and instead worked in the trades. I learned my craft and made money at the same time. After 27 years, work goes up and down but there is always work to be done. I am a licensed General Contractor in California, every two years I pay my $250 to renew my license, keep my bond and liability insurance up. Sorry to hear that people have to take on so much debt load for low paying jobs.

There's stealing with a ski mask and a gun, and then there's stealing with promise and hope and lies....
.

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects

1. OBAMA'S LAST PUSH ON HEALTHCARE

Obama cancels his Asia trip to try and get his shitty healthcare legislation passed through machination. Will he succeed? I suspect he will. Spend spend spend. Obama's next priority? Education. Spend spend spend.

2. LEHMAN BROTHERS

It turns out Lehman Brothers was cooking the books Enron style, and Ernst & Young was the accounting firm that rubber stamped the shenanigans. Naturally, we are looking at SEC regulation to cover their asses because we all know the SEC is a joke. Criminal prosecutions will follow so some DA can establish himself for a run at governor. Ernst & Young will be lucky to stay in business.

The number one protection against these shenanigans are short sellers and vulture capitalists. Both groups are maligned unfairly, but they keep the market in check. Unfortunately, the rules are written to hamstring both. This is "regulation." Basically, it is a law outlawing headlights because they might blind other drivers steering around in the dark. Dumb.

3. THE TEA PARTY

The Tea Party has one focus--fiscal responsibility, and it should stay this way. Not being tied to a party, a candidate, or divisive issues like abortion, immigration, and the like, the Tea Party is making a huge difference. No single leader has emerged, but the single issue of keeping government within the bounds of fiscal common sense has emerged as the unifying cause. No matter what your politics you must acknowledge that we can't have out of control government spending and survive as a republic.

4. MORE MINIMALISM

I have radically cut down on the CBlog's features on the sidebar. I'm done with links, greatest hits, categories, the twitter feed, the lists, etc. I'm adhering to the Steve Jobs design philosophy which adheres to the belief that the best aesthetic decision is to leave it out. If you liked these features, I am afraid you are fucked. I like having my shit look clean as possible and be as simple as possible.

5. LINDSEY GRAHAM AND NATIONAL ID CARDS

I don't think I can go far enough in describing how much I despise Lindsey Graham. His latest travesty is to spoon with Chuckie Schumer on a national ID card. Why stop there? Why not just fit us all with a radio transmitting collar? Graham needs to go. MEMO TO GRAHAM'S DEMOCRAT CHALLENGER--You can run on a civil liberties platform and get my vote.

6. NIKKI HALEY AND GRESHAM BARRETT

The polls don't look good for Nikki. My only hope for avoiding a McMaster-Bauer Republican fistfuck is Gresham Barrett. He will get my vote. Sorry, Nikki. Sanford's penis brought you down. He fucked all of us, dear.

7. THE DEMISE OF NEWSPAPERS

Despite what you may read in the newspapers, you are still reading newspapers. Newspapers are very popular especially when they are FREE. I see people snatch up free papers in Columbia all the time. They are jam packed with advertisements for local bars, restaurants, and attractions. Then, there are those mugshot papers that people pay a whole dollar for. Paper is convenient. But is there good news in these papers? Nope. When I want news, I hit the internet.

The lifeblood of newspapers is advertising and readership. But the ads are going to the free papers while the readers are going to the internet. Newspapers are done. I'm woth Marc Andressen. Burn the boats and head online completely. As for paywalls, they are a joke. Those will never work. Newspapers need to establish themselves completely online and reach the new generation of readers that will come when the iPad changes the world.

8. PINK FLOYD

Pink Floyd wins their legal battle to keep their albums intact and not have the songs sold individually on iTunes. So, as a result, Pink Floyd fans will steal the songs on Limewire instead of paying for them. (As someone who does not believe in IP, I have to laugh.)

9. CONAN O'BRIEN

Conan is going on the road doing the show he can't put on TV. But we all know he will be on TV. We just call it YouTube. In fact, Conan should get his lawyers to work out a deal with YouTube or Hulu for an official sponsored channel. But this might violate the agreement he made with NBC. I don't know. But Coco will be all over the internet.

In other news, Leno is back kicking Letterman's ass. That is some weird shit. I don't know a single Jay Leno fan. Not one. Who the fuck is watching this guy?

10. TRANSACTION TAX

Labor unions want a tax on financial transactions and bleed firms like Goldman Sachs in much the same way that Goldman bleeds its clients. On principle, I oppose all taxes including this one. OTOH, I understand the populist anger behind the proposal. Working people hate Wall Street. They want their pound of flesh, and I hate to say I told you so. But I told you so. Wall Street has the dollars, but the unions have the votes.

gonorrhea

PRINT-Shop Class As Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford



Matthew Crawford is a political philosopher with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He is also a motorcycle mechanic. He has worked on both sides of the white collar/blue collar divide. He has written a book called Shop Class As Soulcraft, and it is fantastic.

For generations, our society has venerated white collar work and denigrated blue collar work. Crawford challenges this. He questions why high schools have scrapped shop classes in favor of computer classes. He points out that he made more money as an electrician than he did with his master's degree writing abstracts as a "knowledge worker." Fixing a Honda is more mentally engaging than you might think. By the time you get to the end of the book, you are so stoked you want to go buy a set of tools and open up a shop.

I gleaned a lot of insights from this book:

-Skilled blue collar work is every bit as demanding and even more rewarding than white collar work.

-Knowledge work is easily outsourced even more so than manufacturing. Jobs like plumbing, carpentry, and auto repair can never be outsourced. They are location dependent.

-Blue collar work pays well.

-There is a growing number of college graduates turning to trade and technical schools to learn marketable skills in blue collar professions.

-The Honda Magna is a crap bike but still fun to work on.

I know in my own experience that most white collar jobs are bullshit jobs which is why they are so unsatisfying. The objectives are vague. It is more politics than work. At the end of the day, you feel like a failure. I have never felt this way with the blue collar work I have done.

It is one thing to be a blue collar worker. It is another thing to be a blue collar worker when you don't have to be one. Crawford doesn't have to work on motorcycles. He chooses to do this. He can speak authoritatively in a way few others can. I enjoyed the hell out of this book, and I think you will, too.



http://www.matthewbcrawford.com/
http://shockoemoto.com/

THURSDAY

1. Big Ben likes to play with Little Ben, but sometimes, Little Ben gets Big Ben into big trouble.

2. Obama is going to give his Nobel Peace Prize cash to various charities. Conducting two wars eats up a lot of time, so it may be awhile before he completes his list.

3. I have an idea for a great charity--TAXPAYERS FUCKED IN THE ASS BY OBAMA. They have been hit hard and need all the help they can get.

4. Reports indicate that many Americans have pared down their debt. This will better enable them to pay for all the borrowing and spending the US government is doing.

5. 48% of Americans now believe that Al Gore is completely full of shit.

6. Tiger Woods hires Ari Fleischer to handle his PR. You may remember Ari. He was the guy who did such a wonderful job being the PR guy for that twit George W. Bush.

7. SURPRISE! SURPRISE! Gamecocks arrested for alcohol possession. I am shocked. SHOCKED!!

8. Uh oh! Little Ben wants to come out and play!



9. Gamecocks get an assbeating from Bama. There is no way they are going to the dance.

10. A Conway man pleads guilty to running over his girlfriend and killing her while attempting to run over the man who broke his jaw. He was sentenced to six years, but the sentence was suspended. I swear I am not making this shit up, folks.

11. BONUS!

Saw this on a bumper sticker today: