Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sunny Wednesday. Hibiscus. Peppermint. Lavender. Rosemary. Fukushima. Funding higher education. American Dream.

We didn't get any more rain yesterday.  We don't expect any today--the weather people say maybe a 10% chance.  I have a full dehydrator to empty and three different kinds of mints to grind.  Yesterday I pulled out the peppermint and will cut it back to dry.  I found one of the Amish paste tomatoes blushing nicely.  It will be ready to pick soon.  No others yet.  But several bullnose peppers are definitely ready to pick and freeze.  We looked out on the patio and saw two dinner plate sized hibiscus blossoms.  They are really pretty.  We visited the farm market yesterday.  Mom wanted a couple of turnips to supplement what Brother gave us and needed a couple of onions.  I found a couple of new lavender plants.  Mine simply decided to die and did.  I have no idea why.  The attendant said she heard the same thing from several other customers.  I plant to transplant them into other pots and bring them inside.  Although lavender, generally, is hardy in my zone, their survival is chancy.  They may survive a mild winter but die during a severe one--as my original plant did.  So I think the best plan is to put them in pots that can be moved inside when necessary.  My newest rosemary needs to be trimmed also. I got it as insurance when my older plant looked a bit unhappy.  It has since perked up and looks really nice.  I think I need some new pictures.

Two years on and the disaster continues.  I have always been skeptical of nuclear power.  I consider it an example of human hubris.  The notion that our society today could dispose of waste that would be dangerous for thousands of years in the future seemed to me the hight of arrogance.  After all, it is only a bit more than 1500 years since the "fall" of the western Roman Empire; two thousand years since the birth of Christ; 2300 years since the founding of the city of Rome.  And somehow our leaders think they can secure nuclear waste for 10000+years!!??  But Fukushima should underline a lesson we should have learned with Three Mile Island and Chernobyl: some technologies are simply too dangerous to use on any scale.

Katrina vanden Heuvel has some good thoughts on higher education but I think she, like most of our pundits, start too far along the chain of thought.  We do definitely need to have a different way of funding education at all levels.  The system of funding primary and secondary education with property taxes primarily isn't working any more.  But the system of funding higher education on student debt is a catastrophe.  Encouraging students to incur debt they may never be able to pay off considering the labor markets today and into the likely future for an education that appears less and less useful in finding jobs that will pay for both the loan debt and any kind of a life is, to my way of thinking, criminally deceitful.  But, as I said, her arguments start from the premise that higher education, as it is now, is desirable.  All our pundits and politicos are pushing college for everyone.  Not all jobs need such education and not all people are suited to it.  We have a long history of pushing square pegs into round holes and for continuing policies that are no longer working.  We do need better ways of funding higher education but we also need to think seriously about what higher education we fund.

This article expresses a sentiment I can thoroughly endorse.  As I said above we have a habit of pushing square pegs into round holes or endorsing a one-size-fit-all programs.  Once upon a time I bought this idiocy without thinking about it.  Married to a man who desperately wanted to own a home (until he actually was buying one), I was cured of the whole notion.  I much prefer renting.  We need new "American Dreams" that don't rest on the notion of accumulating more things, getting a high-paying job that involves pay increases every year or so and has health and pension benefits attached, and everything else about the current social/economic system that is rapidly disappearing.  And I did intend to make that plural.  We need a multitude of dreams that fit a multitude of different people.  What we have had over the last sixty or so years is an American Straitjacket that has become an American Nightmare for all too many.

Where there is a roof, here is a way.

No comments: