06.04.08

Education: 10 most useless college majors?

Posted in educational rant, irrational thought, Language at 2:35 pm by angela

Yeah, lists are popular. It’s fun to poke fun at stuff, especially if you have little or no understanding what it’s about.

But they’re often really off the mark, like right here. As many of the commenters have pointed out, some of these jobs really can lead to stable jobs and/or lucrative careers.

I think part of the problem is in viewing the bachelor’s degree as vocational training, which, in most cases, it is not. I don’t want to sound like one of those guidance counselors or college recruiters who is going to hide the fact that the classes you take do not prepare you to plunk down and do a particular job that first day, or claim that your degree will open magic doors for you, no matter what you major in. Some of the degrees profiled here that sound the most career-specific are for “careers” that actually have few or no openings, fair enough. But it’s hard to believe that anyone who decided on a degree in philosophy or art history had any expectation of finding a career in it.

Seriously, computer programmers studied programming because they liked it and were good at it. Abolishing dance majors will only mean that people who like dance and are good at it won’t study it. It definitely does not mean they will suddenly like programming and become good at writing computer applications.

The thing is, there are lots of jobs out there that have the requirement that you have a degree. They only require this because they can, and because there are so many people with degrees floating around aimlessly. But the degree requirement is to save them from having to screen you to see if you can read, write, and understand enough arithmetic not to make a complete fool of yourself on their dime in front of clients. Do you need a degree to do the job, to actually perfom its functions? No, but human resources people being way too much like the evil human resorces director Catbert, are basically lazy. Let you spend $100K so they won’t have to ask the real questions that determine whether you can do the job.

Philosophy? Not a major that attracts worker bees anyway. But Latin? A career for life teaching Latin in high school.
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04.14.08

Bitter — or outraged?

Posted in irrational thought, Language, Modern life, What's with Hillary? at 11:40 am by angela

When I heard Obama make the original “bitter” remark, I said to myself, “Yeah. People are bitter about how life’s been treating them, especially when the people in power have made all the rules and don’t seem to be suffering a bit.” But then the HRC machine took over and put spin on it, as though the average middle-class and working-class Americans are pleased as punch at how things have been going for them and the country in particular.

Obama had a response for this, which was characterized by his “Annie Oakley” comment in this speech in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania doesn’t even seem to feel that being called “bitter” is some kind of an insult. Story They’re plenty bitter at how things are going, and they’re not in a state of denial.

But here’s another perspective, from a blog posting in the Daily Kos by One Pissed Off Liberal. Do all Americans feel exactly the same way? Nope. Guess what? We are still able to think for ourselves, in spite of the actions of the national propaganda machines that the media have become.

The person who wrote this is not “bitter”, he’s outraged at what this country has become, and what has been perpetrated in our name.

How do I feel? Bitter? A bit. Outraged? We’re getting closer. How about, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take anymore.” Getting closer…

11.11.07

50 of the dumbest things Bush has said

Posted in Bush as an idiot, irrational thought, Language, neocon crackpots, Political rant at 7:48 am by angela

OK, so I was going to entitle this “The 50 Dumbest Things George W. Bush Has Ever Said”, like the original from which I am excerpting. But it occurred to me on reading it again that in fact, it’s really only the opinion of the author that these are the dumbest things he’s said. I’ve heard so many dumb things that didn’t make the list…

Unfortunately the literature of dumb things Bush has said is too vast to even make a dent in it with something less than a “500 of the dumbest things…” or “5000 of the dumbest things…” list. And lifetime achievement? 50,000 dumbest things? 500,000? If I started a list and allowed people to contribute, how long would the list grow to? And what really whacky quotes have been lost to posterity because nobody could figure out what he meant when attempting to link that noun and verb?

It’s really sad and embarrassing for our country that we have a President who continually spews nonsense from his mouth, whether or not people are listening. He should find this humiliating, but regardless of how many of us are laughing at him, he cannot, as he has no shame.

But laugh we must. Not only is it a matter of making lemonade with the lemons life allocates us, but hey, in times like this we need to laugh. Besides, god wouldn’t given us idiots like the President to laugh at if we weren’t supposed to laugh. If there is a god, then the current administration is god’s gift to comedy writers and bloggers with absurdist streaks, like me.

So, on to a few favorites of mine on the list:

47. “I am here to make an announcement that this Thursday, ticket counters and airplanes will fly out of Ronald Reagan Airport.” –Washington, D.C., Oct. 3, 2001

44. “You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.” –interview with CBS News’ Katie Couric, Sept. 6, 2006

40. “Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties.” –discussing the Iraq war with Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson in 2003, as quoted by Robertson

36. “Do you have blacks, too?” –to Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2001

33. “My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we’re going to run out of debt to retire.” –radio address, Feb. 24, 2001

13. “I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.” –Washington, D.C. June 18, 2002

3. “You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.” –to a divorced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005

Read all 50

07.06.07

Study: Women don’t talk more than men

Posted in Communications breakdown, Language, Science at 10:40 am by angela

No, women don’t talk more than men, a recent study reveals. The often-quoted figures saying they do are strictly an urban legend.
Story

04.01.07

Newt Gingrich – Abolish bilingual education

Posted in Language, Miscellaneous, neocon crackpots, Political rant at 11:48 am by angela

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich equated bilingual education Saturday with “the language of living in a ghetto” and mocked requirements that ballots be printed in multiple languages.

It’s clear where he’s coming from. He’s convinced that Hispanics live in ghettos, where we teach them a pidgin similar to ‘ebonics’, but somehow more ‘debased’.

According to Peter Zamora, co-chair of the Washington-based Hispanic Education Coalition, which supports bilingual education, “In 1995, for example, he said bilingualism poses “long-term dangers to the fabric of our nation” and that “allowing bilingualism to continue to grow is very dangerous.”

So he’s opposed to the learning of foreign languages in general. The ability to speak a foreign language is a threat to the very fabric of our society. The only explanation I can think of is that he thinks xenophobia is the glue that holds our society together.

What Gingrich has to say is wrong on just so many levels that it’s hard to respond. Suffice it for me to make the observation that he’s starting to look like Ted Kennedy.

Coincidence? I think not.