MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

March 30, 2011

Why I Do What I Do.

Why does MasterPo write this blog?

Why does MasterPo engage so vigorously on a variety of topics on many forums?

Why does MasterPo spend so much of an ever decrease amount of free time concerned over a range of issues and topics?

Why does MasterPo care what others think/say on this or that subject?

Very simple: It’s not about MasterPo.

If MasterPo were alone in the world – no Mrs. MasterPo, no little Po’s – that would be different. MasterPo would have himself a real nice time in life (not that MasterPo has lived as a monk all these years either). Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse.

Even if it were only MasterPo and Mrs. MasterPo the same would, more or less, be true. Plan well for the totality of life but enjoy and leave the world as you came into it.

But it’s not just two people any more. It’s ones that will grow and be left here after the two are gone. And it is for them that MasterPo speaks out.

The goals that many of the people MasterPo speaks to (and often against), if allowed to be implemented, would have a significant and detrimental impact on the lives of MasterPo’s children both now and in the future. It is for them that MasterPo cannot remain silent.

Though often it does seem like arguing with idiots and head-to-wall banging there is importance to the effort. The hard-core people will not be convinced otherwise. But for every person who posts to a blog or forum there are countless more who simply “lurk” – read without posting or commenting. It is to those people MasterPo is addressing.

Those are the people who read and often get an idea.Those are the people who need to hear the other side of the argument.Those are the people who can and do make a difference in our country. Whether or not they accept MasterPo’s point of view isn’t always important. Just being aware there is another point of view backed up by a logical argument is enough.

Silence is taken as acceptance. And MasterPo doesn’t accept it.

March 24, 2011

Is Welfare “Necessary”?

Recently MasterPo read a rather disturbing exchange on one of the forums over at Craigslist.

The topic was about young (often teenage, often unwed) mothers, either pregnant now or with infant/young children now, who by the nature of their situation are financially poor and have low prospects for significant improvement in their lives. At least for the nearer term. 10-15-20 years out who knows, but surviving to get to that point is the challenge/issue. As such, the debate was over the woman keeping the baby/child, placing it for adoption, or abortion.

A certain poster said the U.S. should follow the Australian model of keeping the family together at any cost. That, according to the poster (MasterPo has not been able to verify this), including significant financial support to the mother – welfare!

Another poster expressed strong disagreement at the idea of expanding welfare! Especially in light of making the State a substitute for the role of” family provider”.

In response to that comment, a third poster expressed agreement with the Australian model and added that quote “Welfare is not bad. In fact, it is a necessary part of our society.”

A “necessary part of our society”?!?!

While the opinions expressed on this Craiglist forum are in no way a scientific polling of American opinion (and frankly are very skewed opinions overall), MasterPo fears they may have stumbled on to a preeminent fact of 21st century American (world?) life – a permanent social group that is dependent on the State for all provisions – and this case, literally from the cradle!

Is this the America you knew and grew up in?
Is this the America you want your children growing up in?

An America where welfare is a “necessary part of our society”?

If this is so – and looking around it seems to be – then we are doomed as we have come to know and love America.

March 19, 2011

Chasing Your Tail?

Pick your news: Summer of Recovery? Or, Rapidly spiraling down the drain?

Both sides have merit and have mountains of economic data and armies of “expert” opinions on why it is or is not so. So what else is new!

MasterPo has stated this years’ goal is a quest for the truth about which way the American economy and, to a broader extent, the direction of the country as a whole. So far, the search has been as successful as a blind man in a fish market.

Not for the lack of available information. Not at all. In fact, quite the contrary.

Information overload.

If you read some websites and listen to some sources we are standing in the doorway of the unknown about to step off into the abyss of economic insanity and ‘Beyond Thunder Dome’ sociology!

Other websites say we’re doing just fine, only a few minor bumps, but we are so clearly better off now than we were 2 years ago.

So which is it?

Part of the problem is: No one really knows!

Economies don’t perform like trained seals for the fish. And people’s economic behaviors are best guesses at the most. At the same time, people have a knack for making their dreams (or nightmares) come true. The proverbial self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you want to believe the country is about to dissolve into a post-apocalyptic ‘Road Warrior’ scenario there are plenty of source that will vindicate your beliefs.

Similarly, if you believe this is all just a speed bump on the road of life and it will be lobster and Champaign again in a few years that point of view is equally well supported from many sources.

So which is it?

MasterPo still doesn’t know. But gets the feeling time isn’t on the side of waiting to see.

The quest continues…

March 15, 2011

Closing The Divide

Today, on the eve of President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address (as of writing this), a certain well known radio commentator took a caller to the show that put forth one of those lovely yet intangible concepts which seem to be the castles in the air approach all too fashionable today. The caller said he wanted to see quote “…an America no longer divided by “poor” and “rich” (no definitions of what constituted either group).

A sweet fluffy clouds idea.

But the proverbial fly in the proverbial ointment is: How do you “close the divide”??

By “divide” it is presumed the caller means simply the fact of having two groups of people – “rich” and “poor” – with in society.

The commentator (and MasterPo) presumed the approach would be to pull down “the rich” to be more on the level of “the poor” rather than make an environment for “the poor” to work and earn up to the level of “the rich”. Now that’s a good social policy – not!

For all of human history, let alone American history, there has always been a “divide” between rich and poor in so far as some people are rich and some people are poor (the concept of middle class is very much a mid-20th century idea). There are as many reasons for this as there are stars in the sky. And not all, indeed very few, are because of nefarious reasons. Just as no two people are alike, the life paths and therefore successes and failures of any two people are going to diverge greatly.

This is not a new concept. MasterPo has written about this many times before. Yet now more than ever it seems just too many people are pinning their own successes, defined as being “rich” (whatever they think that means) not on a life time of hard smart work and achievement, but on taking the achievements from others.

Growth and prosperity of a society can not come from spreading it around. It only comes from the members of a society all contributing together to the overall growth of the society and economy through their own work. And the more you work, the better you are at your job, the better you are at recognizing opportunities and taking chances with them, the more likely you are to benefit in life.

It’s that simple. And just as not guaranteed.

If you want a guarantee, buy a TV with an extended warranty.

March 10, 2011

Backing Into a "Career".

"That's the field in which we choose to work." – Joseph D., (former) IT Project Manager

That line was a common phrase used by a manager I worked under many many years ago. He often used it when we (the staff) would gripe about having to work OT, the weekend, change project direction in mid-effort, etc. I knew Joe wasn't being a ball-buster (he could be but if he was it usually was because he was getting flack from above and just passing it down the food chain). Overall, Joe was a great manager. One the best I have ever worked with. He long ago retired and in the fullness of time passed away. He was a good egg in a basket of many rotten ones. But that's a topic for another time.

This line, however, does encompass a lot more than it seems on the surface. That is, the idea of "choice" in the work we do to earn a living.

While it is true that great many people, surely the majority of people, who work (seemingly a smaller number these days) do so in a job or field that have chosen to enter.

Some do the work because it interests them.Some because they have a passion for the work.Some because they want to learn skills they believe will be useful later in greater efforts.

But for some people what they do for a living is more a default answer rather than one of wanting or chosen decision. For a great number of reasons life can twist and turn a person and they end up in a job or a place they don't want to be but have little choice (at least for the time being).

Even in a chosen field or industry, while you may have chosen that vocation it doesn't mean to wholly wanted to practice your work at that specific company or venue. Perhaps that was the only job you could get at the time. Perhaps it's a 1-horse town you live in.

The idea that you guided your life and efforts to specifically be at the very place you are right now out of pure choice and wanting to be exactly there doesn't always hold true. Many people spend their entire lives never really finding what they like to do as their life's work. Or, they are unable to find a way to make their passions into their life's work (at least not to the point it will pay the bills).

Yet at some point while you are searching for yourself you still have to pay the bills. It is regrettable too that sometimes that cold reality gets in the way of finding your true purpose in life. But that's also reality.

So when Joe used to say about the "field in which we choose to work" I often had to laugh inside. While I did choose IT, it wasn't for a great passion but rather a lack of other options that could reasonably pay the bills. And I certainly didn't choose to work that that screwed shop (Joe not withstanding) but rather was about to get laid off due to a merger (more like take over) and had nothing else to fall back on.

A choice isn't always chosen by you. Sometimes it's chosen for you.

March 7, 2011

In The Blink of An Eye

MasterPo normally doesn’t us this forum to express personal events but MasterPo feels this is important to relate.

MasterPo got some sad news the other day.

A friend and former co-worker said he had cancer. Doctors found a growth on his bladder and it will need to be removed as well as undergoing chemotherapy. He’s still a relatively young man for this kind of cancer but it happens.

He’s taking it well, very positive outlook, and has chosen to do more of the “tomorrow” things today.

It is ironic how life changes so fast at time. Events like these should make us all stop and smell the proverbial roses before we or someone we care about is ill (or no longer with us).

Life comes at you fast.

Slow down a bit.