Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Toolkit Complaint

This time, I'm really mad!
Not just average mad, but livid, outraged and angry.

The whole idea of the City Council giving lip service to the idea of adopting a TOOLKIT is ludicrous.
Why are they wasting time on something like this?
It's unnecessary, unworkable and maybe even un-American!
And to debate this worthless concept in public just demeans people who can't be at the meeting, or don't want to go.
Putting it on public TV is the icing on the cake, and that really frosts me, too.

First, why is any toolkit necessary?
In the old days, folks used to find a cave, or live in a place where the climate was good and food plentiful.
I resent having to pay for something that isn't needed, won't work and is too complicated.
That seems so artificial and wasteful.

Besides, to be affordable, most toolkits are probably made in another country, using inferior materials and workmanship, and having unintelligible instructions!
I resent that, plus having to understand every tool and how it is used.

Take a hammer for example. Why not use a rock?
Rocks are cheap, abundant and usually hard enough -even if they aren't exactly the right shape and size.
Besides, having access to a hammer tends to make folks think that every thing starts to look like a nail!
Why have people running around with tools designed to hit things?

Then, there's screwdrivers; whoever invented them?
And why did someone even carve the first screw? Didn't they have to use another tool to do that?
There are so many kinds and sizes of screwdrivers, too. Excessive!
Plus some idiot decided that screws need to turn to the right to work, most of the time.
Why right and not left? Some right-wing wing-nut probably thought that up to lord it over the rest of us.

Pliers are too dangerous for public use.
Why one could really pinch oneself, if they aren't careful.
And who wants to go around being careful all the time?
Its just another form of government meddling, and loss of individual rights!

There's a few other tools I've heard about, too, but resent having to learn how to use them.
I tell you, this country is going to the dogs, and fast!
Let people invent their own darn tools, I say.
Real folks just don't need 'em, and never did.

This city's already got too much stuff that it can't take care of.
I say stop this toolkit foolishness and save the money.
Heck, it didn't even seem like most Council members understood what a toolkit was for, either.
Who elected them to adopt a bunch of toolkits anyway?

Do they think they are rulers or something?
Are they on the level?
I don't trust 'em, and anyway its unfair to let them have tools when the rest of us have to make do with our hands and feet.
But, these elected officials will find out that we the people do have the ultimate power.

What I'm talking about is the right to run our mouths.
Anytime we want to, but especially after the fact, and fact-free.
And, we are free to do that whether somebody thinks we know what we're talking about or not!
You don't believe that? Just wait and see!

Hey, this is Amurica!

'Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit.' - Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

Cheap Versus Free

An article in the current issue of New Yorker magazine by the insightful author Malcolm Gladwell discusses eloquently the difference between something that is cheap and something that is free.

Here's a hint; the difference is huge!
Gladwell first points up the problem with the rapid demise of traditional newspapers, which too long relied upon a business model that no longer applies.
As a result, people now rely upon free information from the Internet instead of buying newspapers that are quickly dated by fast-happening events.
News now costs little to nothing, but lost in this decline is the ability to even create in-depth news reports!
That sounds like a mixed bag to me.

Another example is the fast diminishing cost of producing transistors for use in electronic equipment of all types.
This trend does reduce the costs of electronics, but also the profitability of the very companies responsible for their R&D and production.
Another mixed bag.

But, the parallel I want to make is about taxes and the public services they provide for.
Everyone is as concerned with value received for taxes as they are with their own incomes, because the two are directly related.
And, there is no certain litmus test for determining who 'owns' this issue.
It isn't only rhetoric for political parties to bicker about.
It is a real social and economic issue that impacts everyone.

That brings me to the subject of the 'TEA Parties'.
Born of frustration and desperation for political traction, the deservedly diminished Republicans have seized upon taxes, yet again, to attract public attention and more importantly, public passion.
Even with the terrible economic climate -largely caused by irresponsible R spending on Iraq, the Wall Street bail-out, etc. - and the serious City budget crisis, they are willing to go there again!
Why, it's a wonder the words don't wither in their throats!

Do you think the R-TEAs see this as their best chance to whack the local 'guvmint' again while its already down, thereby paring services and programs they have resisted all along?
Things like Parks, Museum, Library are sitting ducks right now, not to speak of slimming down those over-staffed and over-paid Fire & Police Departments.
While being out of power, the Rs will be claiming a major victory by slashing the City's budget AND its services.
How about that for a strategy?

But, wait.
Remember the difference between cheap and free?
When things are free, people flock to get their share, plus maybe a little more.
Just being cheap won't work when something can be had for free.

Breaking news:
Nothing is free!
Especially those things that are valued cannot be provided with zero revenues.
Like water, we will know its cost when the well is dry.

So, let's don't go there.
Don't even think about it!
Keep the things that are necessary and carefully pare down those that are only 'desirable' for quality of life.
These times will pass and better times will come again.

Listening to the siren call of the TEA Party crowd is a loser for this town and most people already know that.
If we opt for 'free' and do not expect to pay for things that we need or want, we will lose them.
It is just that simple.
Read the New Yorker article, then draw your own conclusions on this.

Last time I checked, the average home-ownwer's annual General Fund costs for City services was about $500, excluding the Greenways Levy which was voluntarily passed by the voting publc.
That seems pretty reasonable to me.
At least that's my opinion.