Archive for the ‘printed media’ 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.

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Freedom of Speech! Freedom of Press! Obviously NOT in Columbia, South Carolina

April 24, 2013

Last week I saw a letter by a fellow homeless person in the Columbia Free Times newspaper under the topic of “Sound Off.”  This column is basically a letter to the editor item and the Free Times is of course a FREE newspaper in Columbia.  Does this mean that they believe in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States?  I guess not.

Compare the following copies of the same letter.  The first is the original that I typed up to submit to the “Sound Off” column.  The second is what was published today.  You be the judge yourself.

My version:

Dear Editor,

I’m writing in follow up of “Treat the Homeless as “You’d Treat Yourself” April 17-23rd issue.  Along with Mr. Brown (and I’m sure others homeless or not), I couldn’t have put it better myself.  A lot of these programs who benefit the homeless and needy are NOT  run by our illustrious mayor or city council.  No matter what they do, they’ll Never find a way to free downtown of those in need or the homeless. First of all, there are at least three local businesses that this city will find in disagreement with their thoughts.  They are businesses whom the city collects taxes from.  If they were to move with the homeless population out of town, then you’d lose those taxes as well as taxes the homeless DO pay into the system.  Of course this doesn’t count the other businesses who DO hire the homeless. Every year I’ve been here (that will be 13 years as of June 2013), I see the same thing no matter who is in city council.  City council, the mayor, or any other politicians ignore their constituency all to fill their own re-election coffers and hope they can fool the voters into re-electing them into another term just like those other politicians around the country.  In the almost thirteen years I’ve been here, I’ve been homeless for almost half of that or better.  The other half has been either living with a friend or in an extended stay motel.  I’ve witnessed each year the city council has GONE BROKE and had to raid some other fund (namely the water and sewer fund) to pay for schemes that didn’t bring downtown any business at all.  Prime example is the ice arena in downtown (which has been committed to again next year).  No one really has heard the total cost of that fiasco.  Your paper printed a story on the cost but left out one key expense.  That was the electricity bill the city paid for that rink.  I personally heard from a city employee who will go nameless that the rink was costing the city $10,000 per month in electricity that it was open.  This is just one of the many mismanagement issues I’ve witnessed. This city is in major trouble and not just locally.  Its infrastructure is a train wreck.  The city council and mayor are only interested in two things (lining their re-election pockets as well as their own).  What this town needs is three major items that will get EVERYONE off the street and help fill city coffers.  First of all, the city needs to rebuild its infrastructure (that means resurface roads, fix sidewalks, rectify the bus issue, as well as fix the sewer (using water and sewer fees instead of using them for other expenses).  You know it’s bad when the Environmental Protection Agency comes down and has to fix something that the city IGNORED.  Secondly, bring full time jobs (both technical and otherwise) into Columbia by completing the first item.  Third, educate those you have in the city instead of importing more and more people to perform the jobs that are brought into this city.  Fourth and last item, direct the police into their proper roles of protecting the citizens of this city instead of CONSTANTLY harassing the homeless.  The city could be wealthy if they were to properly enforce their traffic laws.   Every day I see people running red lights or stopping on the heavy white lines on the road meant as stopping points to protect the pedestrians of this city.  I’ve seen this happen not just when a police officer was not around but right in front of an officer and the officer never did a damn thing.  The more the Columbia police harass the homeless, the less time they have to do their appointed jobs.  Judges are getting pretty tired of the same thing year after year in their court rooms.  One judge was even quoted as saying to an officer a couple of years back, “Bring me someone who can pay their fines, instead of the homeless who can’t.” As to your other article “Councilman Calls for Homelessness Dialogue as Issues Boil Over” (same issue), you miss stated who actually ran the city’s winter shelter.  It was run by Christ Central and Jim Jones.  USC had nothing to do with that to my knowledge.  Also mentioned in this article are two meetings that city council has planned to hear in the near future.  I’ll lay odds that there might be one or two actual homeless people who show up.  The problem is they WON’T be heard by city council.  Matter of fact, I’d lay odds that city council won’t have more than one or two members show up for these meetings and they again will do what they want to do and everyone else be damned. If anyone is truly interested in the insights of homelessness in the city of Columbia, South Carolina, I personally invite them to my blog.  Just search for “touringfrog” via any search engine and click on the link with WordPress in it.  You’ll find a number of articles about homelessness there and what is actually happening in the city with the homeless and those that purport to help those who are on the street or those in need. Now I’ve stuck my two cents in, its someone else’s turn.

Sincerely,

Terry L. Parris (Homeless Veteran)

Published version:

I’m writing in response to “Treat the Homeless as You’d Treat Yourself” (Sound Off, April 17). I couldn’t have put it better myself. A lot of these programs that benefit the homeless and needy are not run by our illustrious mayor or City Council. No matter what they do, they’ll never find a way to free downtown of the homeless or those in need.

In the almost 13 years I’ve been here, I’ve been homeless for about half of that. The other half I have been either living with a friend or in an extended-stay motel.

Each year, I’ve witnessed the City Council going broke and having to raid the water and sewer fund to pay for schemes that didn’t bring downtown any business. Prime example is the ice arena in downtown. No one really has heard the total cost of that fiasco. Your paper printed a story on the cost but left out one key expense — the electricity bill. This is just one of the many mismanagement issues I’ve witnessed.

This city is in major trouble. Its infrastructure is a train wreck. The City Council and mayor are only interested in two things — lining their re-election pockets, as well as their own. What this town needs is four major items that will get everyone off the street and help fill city coffers.

First of all, the city needs to rebuild its infrastructure. That means resurface roads, fix sidewalks, rectify the bus issue, as well as fix the sewer — using water and sewer fees, instead of using them for other expenses. You know it’s bad when the Environmental Protection Agency comes down and has to fix something that the city ignored.
Secondly, bring full-time jobs Columbia by completing the first item.

Third, educate those you have in the city instead of importing people to perform the jobs that are brought into this city.

Fourth, direct the police into their proper roles of protecting the citizens of this city instead of constantly harassing the homeless.  The city could be wealthy if they were to properly enforce traffic laws. The more the Columbia police harass the homeless, the less time they have to do their appointed jobs.

If anyone is truly interested in the insights of homelessness in the city of Columbia, I personally invite them to my blog. Just search for “touringfrog” via any search engine and click on the link with Wordpress in it. You’ll find a number of articles about what is actually happening with those who are on the street or those in need.

Terry L. Parris
Homeless veteran
Columbia

As you’ll note, there was some restructuring of my letter as well as some severe deletions.  I’m not entirely displeased with the restructuring.  However, I’m very annoyed with a publication who is unwilling to reprint the original material I sent without chopping it all to hell in order to make me look like I didn’t even have an education.  It’s quite obvious that the publication is either checking my claims on some of what I wrote or they are just too damn scared to publish it in it’s entirety.

For the record, I’m a high school graduate who majored in English, Math, and Sciences in high school.  I attended Southwestern Michigan College for computer sciences (dropped out due to funding as well as burn out and grades).  I’ve also attended Florida Technical College (diploma in C++ and Java programming).  And this DOESN’T count my twelve years serving in the United States Navy fighting for the rights granted to me an all the others under the Constitution of the United States.  As if this isn’t education enough.

What happened here strikes me of George Orwell’s 1984.  Yeah, you guessed it.  No freedom of speech here in Columbia, South Carolina.  You have to mark your speech very carefully when talking about politicians in the press or pointing out errors in the press itself.  Maybe that is why I spend more time reading news on the web instead of reading the printed (filtered) publications.

Now I have no animosity toward the editor of the Free Times.  He has a job for which he is paid for irregardless of what he feels is right and what his publication requires of him.  However, it’s his publication for which I seldom read anymore that I find myself at odds with.  Obviously the “Free” in their title only refers to the cost of their publication and not to “freedom of speech.”

Thanks to the “Free Time’s” I’m now in wonder of just how corrupt the press really is.  I could understand something like the “State” newspaper in South Carolina just flat not publishing my letter.  Their a corporate entity.  I’m unfamiliar with who owns or operates the “Free Times.”  However, if they were unwilling to publish my letter as a whole due to some things I investigated, then hold it till they investigated it themselves.  Don’t butcher it.  In most cases, I don’t speak unless spoken to and I don’t say anything I don’t KNOW to be fact.

I’ll end this with but one thing.  It’s an age old saying.  I may not get it quite correct but it applies here.  “If you can’t talk nice about others, then don’t talk at all.”  In this case if you can’t print something due to unsubstantiated facts that you haven’t investigated, then don’t print it at all.  At least send me an email and explain why you won’t publish it.