Please Pardon The Mess…

If you have tried logging into RJsCorner this weekend you will likely find yourself confused. I am currently bringing up a new theme and that is most easily done in real time. I have had the old theme (layout) for about a year now so it is time for a change.  Nothing stays the same much in life or on RJsCorner.

2016-12-03_15-26-07.pngI really like this new theme, I think it gives you more options for your visit. The “Featured Posts” at the top of the blog are the most recent six that I am probably particularly proud of. Often times they will likely be “In Search of America” or “Just Life” categories and  pictorial in nature but I will also put some of the “Question Everything” posts there as they seem appropriate.

I promise I will be done with this construction in a few days…

Our Times – The Cities vs Hinterland

OurTimes Banner.png

One of the major splits in the current American society is between the cities and the rural areas. This is obvious when you look at the latest election map. There are vast geographical areas of red with blue concentrations spread out around the country. Obviously the blue dots are concentrated around the cities and large towns while the red is mainly sparsely populated areas.

I am not really sure what the “red” folks hope to achieve with their selection of an extreme narcissist billionaire as president? Maybe it has something to do with one of the below categories?

Abandoned small towns — I have literally traveled thousands of mile on local and State highways in this country.  For the most part they are littered with thousands of abandoned small towns. They were once enclaves for the people of the surrounding area but as the farming populations naturally decreased they lost their purpose. All that remains in many of them is a local post office.

I’m really not sure what they think can revive them. I guess “making America great again” means putting things back to where they were 50 years ago.  Surely they must realize that that is impossible unless you somehow demand the farm corporations who do most of the farming to use manual labor instead of automated stuff. Even tractor will soon be self-driving with satellite control.

Metropolitan areas get all the attention —  Most of the attention and dollars go to sustaining the big population areas.  People in the rural areas just feel neglected and sometimes with good purpose.  A personal  example is Internet services in my area. I continue to struggle with 1 -2 mps Internet speeds while my metropolitan neighbors get speed 20 time faster and for less than half the money than I pay. There is no cable TV or other viable competition for AT&T to force improvements. I feel neglected… but I don’t see Mr. Trump is very concerned about that.

The pace of life is just too fast —  How is Mr. Trump going to solve that?  Maybe make an hour 90 minutes instead of 60?  If you want a slow pace of life then you can by all means have it. Just don’t move too fast…  But don’t force the rest of us to go by your timeframe.

Intellectuals control the country — Intellectuals have been a primary target of less educated populations forever.  But surely my hinterland neighbors know that this is a complicated world we live in and it takes people with intellect and wisdom to manage it.   I love the quote below by Isaac Asimov:

Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’

Isaac Asimov

For the most part I image that intellectuals did not vote for Mr. Trump to take control of the world. They were knowledgable enough to know that just because he turn a few million dollars given to him by his father into a few billion (at least by his own account) by having dictatorial control over a family owned business does not mean that he is up to the task of being the leader of the free world.

It will be interesting to see what becomes of the Trump administration as it slodges through the management of a country of over 300 million diverse people. I just don’t buy into the “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”.

I don’t know maybe none of my guesses are what made the hinterland so outrageously vote an extreme narcissist for their leader??? It just makes no sense to me…

About Life Long Learning 

If you were an employee on Henry Ford’s assembly line in Detroit in the 1920s, you received a high degree of training and preparation before you ever set foot in the factory. You learned what your role was, and were given all the tools you needed to accomplish your job from Day One. From then on, your role never changed—you did your part to move a product forward along the assembly line, from the day you began until the day you retired, 40 or 50 years later.

Since those days, the business world has transformed — everything that can be automated has been automated. The fourth industrial revolution is upon us, with the forces of AI, robotics, and 3D printing disrupting the status quo and pushing outdated processes into oblivion. The Ford factory workers’ jobs have largely been turned over to machines.

But the workforce training process hasn’t kept up with the pace of change.

The education that the workforce received was designed in the previous industrial age: front-loaded for first 20 years, and expected to apply to their jobs for the next 40 to 50 years. Today, we are in the knowledge economy, and there is new knowledge we are required to learn and apply daily. How can we future-proof our workforces to help them prepare for the rapid pace of business transformation?

Source: In a knowledge economy corporate learning is necessary to survive | TechCrunch

Like many things in the world today our education system needs a major overhaul. To assume that education stops after the first twenty years or so just doesn’t jive with our now ever-changing world. Education is still in the mode aligned with getting a good “factory” job out of high school and then settling down into a comfortable middle class life.  That philosophy might have worked fifty years ago but not now.

Despite what many Trump supporters believe living today requires us to be in the constant learning mode. One good thing about all of this is that opportunities for the most part exist for those willing to put in the effort to accomplish them.

But even discussing the good times of the past seems out of kilter to me. It seems that almost everyone around today have much more than I did growing up in the 1950s and 60s. Back then it was rare to see more than one car in a household and especially for teenager to have his own car. The student parking area in my high school was about twenty feet wide as almost all of us took the bus to school. Our clothes comfortably fit in the three feet wide or narrower closets of that era. Fresh fruits and vegetables were limited by season. And coffee came in only two varieties and cost a dime a cup. We simply didn’t tear out totally functional kitchens because they were out of style.

Getting back to education issues, even though I worked for the same company for thirty years I basically had three quite different occupations that required a much different knowledge base. Except for the first one I equipped myself with the necessary tools to do the job through self-learning. I kept my skills up with the times.

Yes, accomplishments might require more personal work today than they did in the past but if you are willing to do the work they are there for you.

Part 4 – How Did We Get Here — It Was All About Impatience… And Money..

GetHere Banner  Watergate was the scandal of my generation and the phrase by “Deep Throat” to “follow the money” rings as true now as it did then. How could a person with such a flawed character become president.  The answer is to “follow the money”.

2016-11-28_14-55-22Yes there is definitely a racist part of the Trump base but they alone could never have elected our future president. The majority of the 20% of our population who put him in the office were people who felt they have been wronged by the world for the last twenty years or more. Some are the ones who once had lucrative factory jobs that have since been replaced by foreign labor or robots. Their primary goal was to change the status quo, or to “drain the swamp” as they put it. I definitely am aligned with that thought but I was not willing to use Mr. Trump as my change agent.  I was waiting around for a better possibility.
I am not really a patient person in almost any regard but I saw the current outsider as just too unstable to meet the task at hand. I was willing to patiently wait until someone else came upon the scene who was better suited to sit in the Oval Office.  Maybe that person was Bernie but since the Democratic establishment had already crowned Hillary as the heir apparent he was brushed aside. A Sanders vs Trump election certainly would have been an interesting one!

It seems that my patience was not shared by many out in the hinterland. They had been waiting long enough and were willing to take a change, an enormous chance in my mind, with what was in front of them. So they teamed up with some very unlikely allies to make that happen. It would not be the first time that radicals such as the KKK or white supremacists aligned with rural EvangelicalChristians in the political arena. It has happened numerous times in the American South.

We shouldn’t pretend that this election was about walls, minorities, or people in the country illegally. It was primarily about money, that was income lost by those in the rural areas due to automation, climate change and global sourcing and general movement from the countryside to metropolitan areas. It was about them watching their small towns disintegrate while the big cities got all the money.  I do find it strange that most who voted for him probably buy things made in China instead of buying American made items that inevitably cost more.

That unwillingness to spend a little more caused jobs to leave for lower cost foreign labor. In the beginning of this offshore migration there were several American companies who fought hard to stay in the country but when they were cut out of markets due to foreign made  goods it was either join them or go out of business. I was employed by one of those companies who waited too long before  moving their manufacturing process off shore.  My division lost so much money trying to compete that it were eventually sold to foreign competitors.