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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Idle End Year Thoughts

With two and a half hours left in 2013, here are some stream of consciousness thoughts:

Sports
The things people complain about are still rampant: HUGE salaries, PEDS (the substances formerly known as steroids), bad behavior, lackadaisical play, scandals - 15 minutes listening to sports talk radio will complete the list.  Yet, the people keep showing up to games.  Attendance is high, franchise values are skyrocketing (especially in the NBA), and the sports money machine keeps rolling along.  For something that people are fed up with, they sure have a weird way of showing it.

The NY basketball franchises are a laughingstock.  The Carmelo Anthony trade ruined the Knicks, as did deviating from the Donnie Walsh, D'Antoni, Stoudemire, Gallinari plan.  The plan was working.  It took a year and a half, but now the team is ruined - again.  The Brooklyn Nets gutted the future and blow up the payroll for a bunch of old guys (they called it 'leadership') past their prime.  I guess having Kevin Garnett scream and pound his chest every two weeks (about the rate he dunks nowadays) was worth it.  Their salary cap situation is horrible, they gave away all of their draft picks, and the future is grim.  When the Celtics are great in two years, you'll know it is because of the Nets lack of vision.

Politics
The political scene hasn't altered at all.  Government gets bigger, debt and deficits expand without any kind of brake, and the people seem to like it.  Congress, which seems to always have an approval rating of 9%, keeps getting reelected.  We're watching a slow motion train wreck called 'Obamacare' get implemented.  It is simply a transfer of wealth from the middle class to corporations and those on welfare.  As it is probably the last large government program to get implemented before the Great Default, it might be worth watching.  Jon Stewart has been having a field day with the cloddish incompetence with the Obamacare rollout…

A few people have recognized the the "Republican vs. Democrat" Show is a sham and a farce, but not the numbers to affect any change.  Only the bankruptcy of the Federal Gov't will truly show people how badly they've been duped.  I predict it happens sometime in the next 8 yrs or so.

Social Media
A big story for 2013 - the raging digital universe that is social media - Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Tumblr…  Facebook is the big one on this list, but I think that social media is going to be very faddish.  MySpace, which was huge few years ago, collapsed quickly.  I think the same will happen with Facebook - already the young people are veering away from it and going with other venues.  The Facebook app on my students phones is just one of many.  I think FB's dominance is over.

Education
School, where I work, is on life support.  The culture of the building was bad, now it's just nonexistent. The trends never work - the latest one is Common Core.  The shame of Common Core is fourfold: 1 - it funnels tax dollars into for profit education corporations, who are more than happy to feed from the taxpayer trough.  2- It is borderline incoherent, and teachers are told what to teach, when and for how long.  The required literature (at the HS level anyway) is incongruous and bereft of any relationship to classical learning or literacy.  3 - It is another example of one size fits all.  The organizations who destroyed public education now have the answer, and you have to follow their plan.  Teacher freedom?  Gone.  4 - Establishment Hacks are jumping right on board with common core.  They expose themselves with long winded blog posts about student skills and literacy and then - - wait for it - - they say that this is why we must adopt common core!  It's certainly getting easier to spot those who don't, or can't think for themselves.

At least some things have gotten better...

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