Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Literacy!

February 27, 2015

Stop right there.  Think about what you’re doing when you come here.  Why did you come here?  It wasn’t for pictures was it?  Well you didn’t come here for anything other than that.  It’s obvious.  You came here to read what words I may post.  You do this everywhere you go.  Not just here or online.  You read everywhere.  Signs, books, newspapers, even text on your phone.  But have you ever thought of just how literate you or anyone else is.

Dictionary.com gives three separate meanings for literacy.  They are as follows:

1.     The quality or state of being literate, especially the ability to read and write.

2.     Possession of education.

3.     A person’s knowledge of a particular subject or field.

Let me go one step further here.  Without the first you will NEVER have the latter two.  If one can not read nor write as I’ve shown you here then one does not have even the barest of education nor do they have knowledge of a specific field or subject (well in some cases this can be learned without reading in the case of on the job training).  Both skills are taught in school or at home.  In the case of the later, we usually learn that in school.  In the case of the prior, we should ALL know how to read at least by no later than four years of age.

Reading is by far the most important part of literacy.  If you can’t or won’t read then you’re missing out on an entirely different world view and distort your own perceptions of the world.  We as adults should foster the need for reading and literacy in children when they are of the most impressionable years of age (usually from three to twelve and I’m just guessing on the high end).  Even if you can’t read yourself seek help learning.  You’ll be glad you did.

I did some interesting research prior to writing this.  I’ll give two particular sites here for information:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/number-of-american-adults-who-cant-read/

http://world.bymap.org/LiteracyRates.html

The first site gives a pretty appalling report of literacy in the United States alone (as of 2013).  The second is a map that shows the literacy of the world.  Overall, our world looks good for reading and writing.  Now take into account the levels at which you, your children, and myself read at.  Today’s children can read no better and in many places worse than those that grew up when I was a child.  The best most people can read at is a 6th grade level and often times there are places where people can’t even do that.

There are things we can do to stop this backwards slide of illiteracy.  Parents must spend more time reading to their children till they are of an age to understand symbols (a.k.a. the alphabet) so they might be able to read on their own.  If this can’t or doesn’t happen, then perhaps the grandparents could assist.  I personally know one grandmother who has all her grand kids reading alone by three.  I’ve met some of her grand kids.  They are very bright indeed.

Alas, corporations as well as government attempts to dumb down our society in order for them to better control your lives (it’s part of a POWER play).  Even the newspapers (corporate owned) only print to a sixth grade level and some even print articles at a fourth grade level.  It’s no wonder people are not learning nor are they capable of learning if you’re reading comprehension is at that level.  It follows that your quality of life will suffer as well.  It’s also no wonder that companies are either outsourcing or screaming bloody murder about the lack of education in new employees.  We must do better than this.

As a child, I for one spent more time with books than most kids my age.  By the time I was twelve I read at a college junior’s level.  Funny thing was I was understanding those books as well.  If I were reading a book you would find a dictionary nearby in order for me to find out something about a word that puzzled me.  Even now that I’ve aged, I still read pretty heavily.  A lot of life’s lessons can be found through reading.  I’ve read from fantasy, science fiction, biography, as well as technical manuals to self help books (transcendental meditation).

Reading has a vast affect on society as well.  Those less learned than even myself find themselves out of touch or just plain ignored by the more learned.  The bad thing is people who are learned should instead of turning away and ignoring the issue should be less rude and more pro-active in helping those that can’t read.  We (due to the fact we can’t read) are sliding down a slope we need NOT be on to begin with.

The philosophy here is to spend more time reading and less time on the television (boob tube is the aptly given name for it because of the low quality of it’s educational purpose).  Spend that time researching the web or with a good book for an escape.  You’ll be better off for it and may just develop into a good human being instead of devolving.

Police state!

April 11, 2012

It’s George Orwell’s 1984 in South Carolina.  This reference is to the vast many of police forces withing South Carolina.  Being in Columbia, the states capitol, I’m reminded of it every day.  Only this morning did I witness yet another state government police force.  Is this what our country is becoming?  Wasn’t this part of what we fought to be rid of from the British?

It’s funny.  Every city in any state has it’s own police force.  Each state has it’s own “state” police force.  Yet South Carolina is the only state where I’ve lived where they think they have to have more than just the state police, county police or city police.  This doesn’t even count college police forces.  Below are some examples:

Department of Protective Services

Security and Employment Commission Police

South Carolina Education and Welfare Police

South Carolina Department of Transportation Police

South Carolina Housing Authority Police

Department of Protective Services

The list goes on and on and on.  Yes, I can see specialization.  But there is no need for all these petty fiefdoms.  Many of these so call police force jobs could and should be handled by the city, county, state police forces.  For instance, When does the Security and Employment commission need a police force for?  No other state have I seen this ever.

It’s truly interesting to see all this madness work.  It’s bad enough that this state is ranked 5th in the list of “most corrupt” governments.  This kind of madness breeds corruption from the lowest levels to the highest.  Sad thing is that with all these police forces, the crime rate remains the same.

I was born and raise in the state of Michigan.  Yes, I’m a “damned Yankee.”  The state of Michigan doesn’t have all this graft going on.  If a state agency needs police backup they contact the local city, county, or if necessary state police force.   With all the police the state of South Carolina has there is a greater likelihood of corruption.  And no my birth state isn’t any better than here.  They failed the last check at governmental transparency as well.  However, they do convict more people per capita than this state for corruption.

It all boils down to one statement:

“Who’s watching the watcher?”