Shrinking Cities

The preliminary census data is out and a trend spotted in earlier censuses was confirmed.  People are fleeing cities in droves.  

Take Missouri for example.  St. Louis is now the 3RD largest city in the state.  According the 2010 census figures, St. Louis has a population of 319,000.  St. Louis is unique in that the city and county have the same borders.  In comparison, Kansas City has a population of 460,000 and St. Charles, once a St. Louis suburb, has a population of 365,000.  St. Charles is now the 2ND largest city in Missouri.

St. Louis isn’t alone.  Chicago’s population has shrunk to 1920s levels. In 1950, Chicago had a population 3.6million. By 2010, its population has fallen to 2.7million.

There are many theories why this shrinkage has occurred.  All of them have, in some aspect, population flight away from the urban city government, high crime, high taxes, poor services, and governmental corruption. What is surprising in Chicago is that it isn’t white flight of people fleeing Chicago, it’s BLACK flight!

The exodus took a big chunk out of the city’s black population in particular, shrinking it to 887,608 from 1,065,009, according to William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington. “The black decline is really powering the city loss,” Mr. Frey said, calling it “part of the great reverse migration to the South.” 
There’s been shrinkage here in Kansas City as I posted in March of last year in a post, “Darwin Lives! KC School District Evolution in Action.”  
The bare facts are that the enrollment today is the same as that in the district in EIGHTEEN EIGHTY-NINE! The same number of students as were in the district 121 years ago!

How had this come about? There are many versions and responses to that question. The core reason is that parents, over the last forty years, left the district. They fled the district for the suburbs and further out. They fled the governmental intrusion, the union takeover, the liberal agendas aimed to improve attendance by emphasizing “self esteem” and other social theories that all failed to accomplish the basic goal, the basic reason for the district’s reason for being—educating the children.

Our cities are shrinking but the overall population of the country is increasing.  Where is this occurring?  I’m not sure but I saw this blurb on Drudge over the weekend.

February 24, 2011

Texas demographer: ‘It’s basically over for Anglos’

Looking at population projections for Texas, demographer Steve Murdock concludes: “It’s basically over for Anglos.”
Two of every three Texas children are now non-Anglo and the trend line will become even more pronounced in the future, said Murdock, former U.S. Census Bureau director and now director of the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University.
Today’s Texas population can be divided into two groups, he said. One is an old and aging Anglo and the other is young and minority. Between  2000 and 2040, the state’s public school enrollment will see a 15 percent decline in Anglo children while Hispanic children will make up a 213 percent increase, he said.
I’ve often wondered if our country would still exist in a hundred years and if it did, what would it look like?  I think we’re see trends.

Ripped off….again!

I love my job…it’s a great place, interesting people and surroundings, and always something new happening. That’s lucky for me since I plan on staying there until they carry me out. I can’t afford to retire as we still enjoy eating and I can afford paying for health insurance while I’m employed. When I do give it up I’ll be able to receive my pension (it’s a non-profit so there is no 401K available to us) and, by that time, I ought to be able to get about $200 per month. If I’d been there longer, of course, the pension would be better. I’ve also been able to put a little away each month in the annuity system we can use. There’s not a lot there, either.

We live in a community with a dandy, highly-rated school system–considered one of the better ones in the state. I try to remind my husband that the value of our home is enhanced by the availability of that good school system but he still grouses about the high real estate taxes and the perpetual campaigns for more bond issues, more tax increases, more schools, more expansion, in this system. In the last go-round where the district was looking for more money they didn’t get it…..the first time in a very, very long time. Folks are finally realizing they are taxed-out and there’s nothing to be done when they are underemployed, their homes are worth way less, and they are in fear of never being able to sell those houses and move up or along.

So the high drama of Wisconsin is very arresting and compelling as it seems to be a long-awaited collision between a group of folks who feel very entitled (public sector workers) and another group who just don’t feel they can continue satisfying that entitlement. [I never imagined I’d agree with FDR about anything, but he was right about public unions.] The focus of the drama is the teachers union but they are likely the ‘front’ for the aggrieved because they are always the most sympathetic. Who, after all, doesn’t appreciate the work that teachers do? Where would we be without them? What would become of the American Way Of Life without teachers? I think many teachers are underpaid, depending on their locale, but it seems obvious to me that the Madison teachers don’t fall into that pitiable group. And yet, they don’t seem to recognize that they are doing considerably better than many of the people who pay their salaries via real estate taxes and other means. They quibble about paying a greater percentage of their salaries for their pension and insurance–and most folks in the private sector must pay all toward their retirements and oftentimes half or more of their health insurance costs.

But the true sticking point, it appears, is the seemingly innocuous provision that union members make their own dues payments to their union. It’s a sweet deal they have had going and I didn’t ever really think it out before. The union members have their dues withheld from their pay by the school district, town, etc., and that entity then sends the money off to the union. I don’t consider those entities the ’employers’–as I believe the citizens/taxpayers are the employers. The union, in turn, takes the money and ships it back as contributions to political campaigns to those politicians who will do as they are asked on behalf of the union members. Meanwhile it’s our hard-earned money that gets ‘laundered’ through this system. I am afraid I don’t see the basic ‘right’ in this system. If I wished to join an organization it would be my responsibility to send in my money.

I know, I know…..things are different than in the olden days when I was in school. Miss Elizabeth and Miss Virginia and Miss Carpenter didn’t have a union ‘working for the children’ and they didn’t have air conditioned classrooms and I know they didn’t make big bucks, either, and if they had pensions I’d be surprised. I also know that my classmates were a varied crew from middle to lower-income families–not all Cleaver families–and yet somehow those ladies managed to give us all very good educations in a wide variety of subjects. They didn’t have to contend, either, with whole armies of vice-principals, assistant vice-principals, and reams of Washington-required paperwork while they were teaching us. We didn’t have high-tech gizmos in class and yet we learned stuff. How can that be?

This whole system is out of whack and the public union idea is not going to be tolerated by the taxpayers any longer. I, and many others, will be working into our 70s (good thing I love my job!) so that we can handle the real estate taxes to pay the pensions of 55-year old retired public workers while they travel, play golf, or just have time to putter in their yards. They need to start thinking about that.

So….now I’ve complained about the gub’mint to excess, let me rant about my filthy rotten lying thieving co-citizens (at least one)! I got paid this week (Yay!) and today was the day for ’rounds’–hardware store, Costco, grocery #1, bank, grocery #2, gas station. When I completed the transaction at the bank I noted the receipt looked a little ‘off’ but not enough to alarm me. After all, I’d been cutting a swath through all those stores.

After I had settled back in at home I checked the bank website and noted that yesterday someone bought themselves a ticket on Caribbean Airlines with my money. You talk about adding insult to injury! You’da had to have seen the weather here today to realize the true irony of a ticket to the Caribbean! Not only am I out $400+ for a couple of weeks until the bank can restore it to me, but I am inconvenienced greatly by having to wait to receive a new debit card and remembering all those places that have that number for regular recurring bills each month. The last time this happened, it caused havoc for quite a while. I just hope that it rains on the jerk the entire time he’s vacationing and that some exotic bug takes a liking to his gut for the duration.

It was great finally meeting Crucis and Mrs. C! We likely could have sat and visited for many more hours than we did, but it ensures that we will have to do it again. One of these days spring will show up and perhaps we can can go shoot some things!

Reaping what Obama has sowed

The price of a barrel of oil has tripped over the $100 line several times this week. That’s the highest it’s reached since 2008. The price of gas is hovering around $3/gal here in the midwest. There are reports that in CA, it’s hit the $4/gal mark.

The dems are already screaming about gouging and price fixing by “big Oil.” The truth is that we reaping the results of our oil exploration and drilling policies from the last 30 years. A few decades ago, the US was an oil exporter. Today we’re an oil importer.

There is still plenty of oil within the US and off-shore. China and Cuba are drilling in areas where our rigs once stood. How has this happened? EPA policies and those of the leftist White House. Now those wackos occupy the policy positions in the EPA and other government bureaucracies. We are now paying the price of our laziness.

The EPA has crippled our oil production since the 70s spurred on by eco-wackos. The leftists in the White House has taken advantage of the Gulf spill last summer and are ignoring Federal Judicial orders to begin issuing permits for the Gulf.
The editorial below from the Investors Business Daily confirms my point.

Editorial: $100 Oil Is Devil’s Due For Drilling Bans

Energy: President Obama talks much of moving to sustainable energy. But as he blocks domestic drilling, the reality is he’s outsourced U.S. oil needs to mad-dog dictators like Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi. That’s even less sustainable.
Oil prices hit $100 a barrel Wednesday as thousands of Libyans marched in Tripoli. The crazed Gadhafi vowed to fight to “the last bullet,” denouncing his own countrymen as “greasy rats” and turning his weapons of war on 1,000 of them.
He also threatened to incinerate his nation’s oil wells as he goes down, an unsubtle suggestion to Big Oil companies operating in his country that they should act to save his regime.
As a result, oil is soaring because markets worry that a string of petro-tyrants will go down like Gadhafi and energy may soon become scarce.
How did it come to this? U.S. dependence on imports — from dictators like Gadhafi — is a big factor.
The problem is that we have no political will to drill. The U.S. has plenty of oil resources. Yet our president seems set on pursuing boutique alternative energy schemes dependent on huge public subsidies.
As that happens, U.S. dependence on imports grows.
It’s not just Gadhafi who supplies oil, but so many others — from the oligarchs of Saudi Arabia, to the satraps of the Gulf, to the lunatic running Venezuela. All are at high risk of ending up on the business end of revolution, making them unreliable suppliers.

“The situation in Libya and the Middle East should serve as a wake-up call to the Obama administration to stop its uprising against domestic oil production,” said Dan Kish of the Institute for Energy Research.
“Instead of rushing towards expensive and unreliable ‘green’ energy sources that rely on American taxpayer dollars,” he said, “it is time to stop the embargo against our own American oil supplies.”
This includes Obama’s moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, and his subsequent refusal to issue Gulf permits, putting him in contempt of court.
America’s energy needs are 17 times greater than they were 50 years ago, according to the Energy Department. But U.S. output of domestic energy has fallen by 40% in the same period.
That’s a sorry picture given that the U.S. is surrounded by offshore oil and has 200 years’ worth of shale oil on the mainland. Fact is, Obama’s suppressing oil production here. And whether he knows it or not, he’s outsourcing our energy future to the devil. Now we’ve been handed the bill, and the devil wants his due.
Energy: President Obama talks much of moving to sustainable energy. But as he blocks domestic drilling, the reality is he’s outsourced U.S. oil needs to mad-dog dictators like Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi. That’s even less sustainable.

It’s obvious what must be done—if we have the courage and guts to do it.

Reaping what Obama has sowed

The price of a barrel of oil has tripped over the $100 line several times this week. That’s the highest it’s reached since 2008. The price of gas is hovering around $3/gal here in the midwest. There are reports that in CA, it’s hit the $4/gal mark.

The dems are already screaming about gouging and price fixing by “big Oil.” The truth is that we reaping the results of our oil exploration and drilling policies from the last 30 years. A few decades ago, the US was an oil exporter. Today we’re an oil importer.

There is still plenty of oil within the US and off-shore. China and Cuba are drilling in areas where our rigs once stood. How has this happened? EPA policies and those of the leftist White House. Now those wackos occupy the policy positions in the EPA and other government bureaucracies. We are now paying the price of our laziness.

The EPA has crippled our oil production since the 70s spurred on by eco-wackos. The leftists in the White House has taken advantage of the Gulf spill last summer and are ignoring Federal Judicial orders to begin issuing permits for the Gulf.
The editorial below from the Investors Business Daily confirms my point.

Editorial: $100 Oil Is Devil’s Due For Drilling Bans

Energy: President Obama talks much of moving to sustainable energy. But as he blocks domestic drilling, the reality is he’s outsourced U.S. oil needs to mad-dog dictators like Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi. That’s even less sustainable.
Oil prices hit $100 a barrel Wednesday as thousands of Libyans marched in Tripoli. The crazed Gadhafi vowed to fight to “the last bullet,” denouncing his own countrymen as “greasy rats” and turning his weapons of war on 1,000 of them.
He also threatened to incinerate his nation’s oil wells as he goes down, an unsubtle suggestion to Big Oil companies operating in his country that they should act to save his regime.
As a result, oil is soaring because markets worry that a string of petro-tyrants will go down like Gadhafi and energy may soon become scarce.
How did it come to this? U.S. dependence on imports — from dictators like Gadhafi — is a big factor.
The problem is that we have no political will to drill. The U.S. has plenty of oil resources. Yet our president seems set on pursuing boutique alternative energy schemes dependent on huge public subsidies.
As that happens, U.S. dependence on imports grows.
It’s not just Gadhafi who supplies oil, but so many others — from the oligarchs of Saudi Arabia, to the satraps of the Gulf, to the lunatic running Venezuela. All are at high risk of ending up on the business end of revolution, making them unreliable suppliers.

“The situation in Libya and the Middle East should serve as a wake-up call to the Obama administration to stop its uprising against domestic oil production,” said Dan Kish of the Institute for Energy Research.
“Instead of rushing towards expensive and unreliable ‘green’ energy sources that rely on American taxpayer dollars,” he said, “it is time to stop the embargo against our own American oil supplies.”
This includes Obama’s moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, and his subsequent refusal to issue Gulf permits, putting him in contempt of court.
America’s energy needs are 17 times greater than they were 50 years ago, according to the Energy Department. But U.S. output of domestic energy has fallen by 40% in the same period.
That’s a sorry picture given that the U.S. is surrounded by offshore oil and has 200 years’ worth of shale oil on the mainland. Fact is, Obama’s suppressing oil production here. And whether he knows it or not, he’s outsourcing our energy future to the devil. Now we’ve been handed the bill, and the devil wants his due.
Energy: President Obama talks much of moving to sustainable energy. But as he blocks domestic drilling, the reality is he’s outsourced U.S. oil needs to mad-dog dictators like Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi. That’s even less sustainable.

It’s obvious what must be done—if we have the courage and guts to do it.

Quicky for today

This will be a short post today.  My car has been in the shop since yesterday morning getting a variety of ailments fixed.  All-in-all, it’s expected to cost me $1,000 before everything is finished.  One nagging problem that will cost half of the bill was tracking down a computer alarm—emission failure.  

Apparently there is a leak in either the exhaust or fuel lines and is being picked up by a sensor.  The good part is that they’ve narrowed the leak down.  The bad part is that they’ll have to drop the gas tank to get to it.  $200-250 for labor plus parts, maybe another $200-250 for the parts.  Then add on a new water pump (leaking coolant) and new brake pads on the front.

That’s a lot of money on a car I plan to trade in a few months.  However, I’d rather spend $1,000 now that lose $2,000-3,000 in trade-in value in a month or two.  When you look at from that point of view, the cost is worth doing.

At the moment, I’m waiting for the phone to ring from the shop.  It’ll be a race. Will the car get finished before the freezing rain and 3-5″ of snow forecasted for today arrives?

I’m not like Og or Carteach0.  I know zip about repairing cars.  I do know how to care for autos and get them repaired when needed.  Frankly, I’m glad I’m not like those two.  I don’t have the aptitude for grease (unless it’s for my pistols.)

In the mean time, here’s a cartoon for your enjoyment.

Update: (9:34AM).  I’ve lost the race.  The freezing rain and sleet has already arrived.

Signs of a failing nation: Education

This post is the third of the theme of the trend towards failure of our current civilization. Monday’s post was on the subject of factionalism. Yesterday’s post was on the failure to secure our borders. Today’s subject is the failure of education.

The failure of education is not solely a US issue.  We see the same trends in Europe and other “first world” countries.  There is opposition of this trend in southern Asia (India) and coastal Asia, Taiwan, Japan and portions of coastal China.

Anyone here in the US over the age of 50 can see how education has changed.  When I was in elementary and high school, we were taught, reading, US and global geography. We were required to memorize all US  and Canada state capitols, European geography, borders, major rivers and national capitols, the same for the Mideast, Africa, Asia and the major Pacific Islands.  Surprisingly, we didn’t study the territory of the former USSR because, “the Soviets kept changing the city names and internal boundaries and we can’t keep up.”  That statement was from one of my high school teachers—a WW2 and Korean War disabled veteran.

We were also taught writing—handwriting specifically, grammar and composition along with government, US and Western History.  

We were required to take and pass state examinations on our state (Illinois) constitution and US constitution for graduation from high school. If  you didn’t pass, you re-took that test until you passed or you didn’t graduate.  Many students took the class in their Junior year. The class was taught again during summer-school for those who failed the first time.

My mother was a teacher. She started teaching me to read when I was four years old. I was able to read the comics in our local paper when I was in the first grade.  I wasn’t unusual, many first-graders could read enough to read the comics. 

It was the stated goal in my country school that every child would have the reading skills to read and comprehend the newspaper—not just the comics, but also the front page.  We were taught phonics to enhance reading. We were taught the relationship between letters and combination of letters and sounds. And, we were taught to use the dictionary. Every third-grade student was required to have a dictionary in their desk.  If parents didn’t have one at home, one could be purchased through the school and the parents would be billed.

Now take a look at the list above and compare that with our current school curriculum.  Reading? Sight reading, no phonics. Spelling? Not in my local school district. When I was in grade school, we posted our spelling, math, drawing, and samples of our handwriting on the school room’s walls. We had monthly PTA meeting—at night so everyone could attend. If a parent worked at night, the other parent attended.  Parents roamed the school rooms and closely examined their children’s scores and compared those scores to others in their class. Kids who scored low often received a spanking when they got home.

Returning to the comparison between then and now. We were taught geography. Not today. We were taught writing and composition, not today. We were required to take and pass state tests on US and state governments. Not today. We were taught US and World/Western history.  If taught today, the lesson must adhere to socialist philosophy and has been heavily altered to conform to political correctness—regardless of the validity of those changes.

The Wisconsin teachers are upset with changes proposed by Scott Walker.  Earlier this week it was revealed the 66% of Wisconsin 8th graders did not score as “proficient.”

In the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009—the latest year available—only 32 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned a “proficient” rating while another 2 percent earned an “advanced” rating. The other 66 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned ratings below “proficient,” including 44 percent who earned a rating of “basic” and 22 percent who earned a rating of “below basic.”    

Those of us who are old enough to remember the education of ourselves recognize the failure of education of today.  Today, we have “social” promotions in school and graduate students who are functionally illiterate.  We have the education system who supports open registration for our colleges and universities regardless of test scores. The failure rates of first and second year university students is astounding and largely ignored.

How can we expect our future generations to be capable of self-government when they have no understanding of our representative republic and how that is different from mobocracy democracy?

Civilization requires an educated populace. When my generation passes, that will no longer exist.
             

Signs of a failing nation.

As I wrote yesterday, one of the signs of a failing nation is factionalization. When the sense of national unity is broken it is nearly impossible to be repaired.  We’re seeing some signs of attempts to repair unity with the rise of the Tea Parties and conservative states confronting union socialism.  That’s a good start.

Another sign of a failing nation is the failure to secure its borders. A nation who has no clear borders is no longer a nation. Territory, land that we can say, “This is mine. I will defend what is mine,” is the core component of a nation.  Without land, the people of a nation are no more than nomadic tribes.

The Obama administration is purposely failing to establish and defend our borders.  They want the nomads to come in to increase the size of their faction. That is another step towards barbarism.  Factionalism is inconsistent with civilization.  One one hand you have a group that places its faction over that of the nation. On the other hand is a group that places its nation over that of its faction.  The military is a prime example of the latter while the democrat leadership is an example of the former.  The two are not compatible.

The republicans are not guiltless in factionalism either.  George Bush only gave lip service to protecting our borders.  He wanted to sweep illegal alien issue under the rug, to hide the issue by granting illegals amnesty.  He thought it was a no-win situation. Regardless, it was another step towards barbarism.  When you refuse to protect what is yours, you are weaker to resist that next barbarian that comes onto the scene.

A number of states are actively confronting this issue.  Arizona was the first to begin to protect their state borders after the failure of the FedGov to uphold it’s constitutionally mandated directive and the active assistance of the FedGov to circumvent its constitutional requirement.

We, in the US, are fortunate that we do have a constitution. We are also fortunate that the 2nd Amendment provides us the means to resist barbarism—even when that barbarian is our own federal government.

As I  write this comes the news that Indiana state democrats have fled to Illinois and Kentucky to block a vote that would make Indiana a Right-to-work state.  Those democrats, as well as those in Wisconsin, are holding allegiance to their faction, to their fellow barbarians at the expense of civilization. 

It will be a long battle.