We have a moral obligation to not cancel student debt

Hey-o. ‘Tis official – I will be shutting tol’ Galloblog down in a few months (I’m not renewing my plan or my domain this year). What shall I use this blog for in the meantime? To share my unpopular opinions, of course. I’m not the first one to speak on this subject and soytenly not the most eloquent, but.. some of this stuff needs to be said by a young educated female instead of grumpy Bill O’Reilly types. Or maybe not. The 6 people who still read my posts can decide.

So – student debt. It’s out of control. Should we cancel it?

I say no. My main reason for saying this is that it’s simply not fair.

  1. No one is forced to go to a 4 year college
    •  Ever since.. oh let’s say the 80s or 90s, it was kind of assumed that everyone who wasn’t in extreme poverty or had an inkling of intelligence would and should go to college. High schools do try to prepare their students for college and push them to apply. But at the end of the day, no one put a gun to your head and told you that you had to go to college. It’s not as if a government mandate got students in their current position.
  2.  Going to a 4 year college is not necessary for success
    •  On top of that, there are many trades that are very lucrative and in high demand – electrician, welding, plumbing, etc. They may not be glamorous or cushy but they are good options for young people to consider. Dignified options. They may require a tad of debt but it’s much more likely you will get a lucrative job and actually be able to pay it off in a few years, instead of having a lifetime payment that is equivalent to a second mortgage.
  3.  Going to a 4 year expensive college is definitely not necessary for success
    •  I knew from the time I was 16 that I was going to get my PhD. So a trade school wasn’t a good option. Did that mean I needed to go an Ivy League or private school? Nope. I went to a good ol’ state college. I worked ~30 hours for a small business while I was a full-time student. I took advantage of the HOPE scholarship (thank you, Zell Miller!) and kept my grades pristine so that I would stand out to grad schools. I graduated with $0 in debt and I got my PhD at Emory University. While not quite as prestigious as Harvard or MIT, it is very respectable and many PhDs in my program have gone on to get jobs at Stanford, Harvard, etc. I could have gone into debt to pay for a $25k/year college, but it was 100% unnecessary.
  4.  What about people who made sacrifices to pay off their debt already?
    •  Believe it or not, there are people out there who actually lived below their means for a long time to make great strides toward paying off their debt. My sister and boyfriend, for example. 10s of thousands of dollars paid. What about their peers who haven’t made as much progress? Does it make sense for them to suddenly get a write-off? That is completely not fair, unless you’re going to retroactively reimburse everyone who was prudent enough to pay off their debt, which would become absurd. It’s morally repugnant to punish people for being responsible.

 

So what’s the alternative? I’m not sure… but I like the idea of student loan forgiveness programs like the United States military is doing. Maybe the government could offer incentive for businesses to institute similar programs. Or perhaps we could convince businesses to stop insisting that every single job they post require a minimum bachelor’s degree education for jobs that are 95-100% learned on-the-job, anyway. Better yet, maybe we could make the legally required public education actually teach the youts anything useful so that the first two years of college “core” classes in which they cover things like basic writing skills and the 3 branches of government could be done away with, and only the two years of actually major-relevant courses would be required. That would slash loans in half! There are many options, but canceling student debt like Academic Santa Clause is the least moral.

 

Georgia drivers could be ticketed for even thinking about their phones

By: Rebecca Hale

Updated: Jul 2, 2018 – 1:07 PM

ATLANTA – Even as Georgia drivers are still adjusting to Georgia’s new hand free law, some lawmakers are still not satisfied.

driving
This man could be fined up to $200 if he doesn’t keep his head out of the iCloud.

Daniel Shapper, spokesperson for Heads UP Georgia, explains.  “Although HB673 was a step in the right direction, we now want to get to the root of the problem.”

There is a new amendment proposal to HB673 that is gaining traction among public safety advocates. If the proposal passes, Georgia drivers will be penalized for even thinking about their phones, text messages, or even thinking about people who have texted them in the last 48 hours.

“We have to cut the snake off at the head.” – Daniel Shapper, Heads UP Georgia 

Proponents of the HB673 amendment hope to utilize cutting edge neuroscience techniques and innovations in bioengineering to install roadside brain scanners that will be able to identify – within 0.2 milliseconds – whether or not a driver is thinking about anything related to their phone with up to 97.3% accuracy. If any phone related brain activity is identified, the driver will receive a $200 ticket in their mailbox within 24 hours.

trafficcam
This ain’t your grandma’s traffic cam, folks.

 

Many Georgians have bristled at the idea of live brain scans that are paid for with taxpayer dollars. “This is a level of invasiveness that far exceeds the responsibilities of the state as originally outlined by the Georgia constitution,” said state representative Benny Hall (R- district 18). A group of activist mothers who call themselves Mothers Against Driving Scans (MADS) worry that the live brain scans will give their children autism, severe disobedience, and spontaneous diarrhea. Others are apprehensive that this could expand into other areas of public life, so that brain activity related to any illegal activity could be tracked and used for data sharing, or worse, become grounds for arrest. “What if I accidentally remember a scene from the movie Logan, and it’s perceived as excessively violent ideation? It’s a slippery slope,” asserts Patrick Louise, a full time student at Georgia State University. At the time of the interview, Louise was protesting just outside the Georgia capitol grounds, and held a sign that said “Keep Georgia Off Your Mind!”

Shapper and Heads UP Georgia anticipated backlash against the HB673 amendment, but are committed to pushing it through the next legislative session. “If we’re going to keep our neighborhoods safe, we have to cut the snake off at the head,” Shapper says.

One thing is for sure, Georgia drivers better buckle in for a bumpy road of political warfare.

Rep. Allen Peake casts vision for GA Thanksgivings: “Some Pot in Every Turkey”

ATLANTA- State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) is becoming a household name for being a trailblazer for legalizing medicinal marijuana. Earlier this year, he scored a major victory when GA Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill expanding which diseases could be legally treated with oils derived from marijuana.

But in a recent speech, Rep. Peake revealed a bigger, more radical vision he has for the role of marijuana in the lives of Georgia citizens.

 

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Remember, everyone – anything and everything that grows from the ground is healthy to put into your body!! #science (pixabay free image)

 

“Just imagine,” he cried, waving his arms excitedly, “if every citizen in Georgia had the freedom to stuff their turkeys with pot!”

 

 

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Imagine if instead of parsley, that was a little marijuana sprig!!!! (pixabay free image)

 

In a follow-up interview, Rep. Peake revealed it was his love for children that drove his vision. He hopes that all children in Georgia will have the chance to smoke the wacky tobaccy before they graduate high school.

“It’s about them,” he insisted, tears welling in his eyes. “Everything I do is for the children.”

Rep. Peake disclosed that stage 1 of his plan will be to infiltrate elementary schools with information on what a natural and healthy alternative that marijuana is to Ritalin, a common drug used to treat ADHD. “Can’t focus in school? Throw out that synthetic poison and pick up some giggle sticks instead! Your grades won’t improve, but you won’t care!”

It will be interesting to see how this new plan will be received by his conservative base, but Rep. Peake  is hoping that he can still any objections by slipping them some of the good stuff. “If you can’t beat ’em, joint ’em!” he giggled. I giggled too.. not sure why, and I don’t think I care anymore. Also, does anyone have any Oreos?

 

 

A middle class and over-educated white woman shares her brilliant thoughts on racism

As the title may suggest, I feel unqualified and almost idiotic for posting about racism in the aftermath of Charlottesville. But I also feel weird not saying anything, because silence in these cases makes it seem like I’m apathetic at best, and a closet white supremacy sympathizer at worst. So here are a few rambles I have. If you see issues with any of this, I welcome respectful dialogue. My point is not to say “I’M RIGHT!” but “This is where I’m coming from.” But I’m a life-long learner, so .. fire away.

Human lives were lost 

As soon as a tragedy happens, each political side eagerly points out how the ideology and policies that the “other side” promoted caused the problem. It’s so predictable I would think it was funny, except it’s also sickening. Look, I even give myself space to grieve for a while after I put down my little research rats. Can we not do that for a human life? Would we really rather downplay or ignore the loss of a human life than accidentally express support for a political view we don’t share? Eck.

Signal-to-noise

Let me be clear – white supremacy is both terrifying and infuriating. I 100% condemn this strange neo-Nazi uprising. Now, is my experience with mainly upper-middle class and overly educated people of all races especially relevant to the racial discussion? Probabblyyyyy not.  So when stuff like this happens, one of the most respectful things I can think of is to just shut up for a day or two (reduce the noise) and let other people’s voices be heard (increase the signal).

Trump is an orange herring

Did I vote for Trump? No.* Do I resent the blanket accusations toward Trump supporters? Um, yes. Many people I know and love voted for Trump – some hesitantly, some enthusiastically. And guess what? Many of them are vehemently NOT racist.** Demanding that Trump supporters bear the responsibility for each and every one of his buffooneries is asinine. Moreover, blaming Trump generally for racial conflict is asinine. Remember how everyone stopped being racist when Obama was the President? Oh yeah.. me neither. Look –Trump’s rhetoric seems to have emboldened some extremist groups to organize and “go public,” and that’s not okay. But he didn’t create racism, and he’s one orange man. Over-focusing on him and everything he tweets is a waste of your emotional energy. Even more so, funneling your frustration and hatred over racism toward Trump voters at large is counter-productive. Racial harmony is going to require the cooperation and heart-change of people of all races. Antagonizing, accusing, and insulting an entire group of people (a sizable proportion of which hated Hillary more than they loved Trump, I’d wager) is going to further alienate them when we need to bring them into the fold. As a final point – if Trump supporters, white males, or whoever are obligated to post something so that people don’t think terrible things about them, is it really meaningful?

Embracing the tension

I’m afraid that if I “scratch that itch,” by posting something about Charlottesville – it will give me a false sense of accomplishment. I will soak up the approval of my anti-racist friends, and we’ll pat each other on the back for not being “part of the problem.” And then what next? I will sip my tulsi tea and serenely read a theological book in the safe confines of my gated apartment complex. So I rather know that I’m not doing anything than feel self-satisfied at doing something that cost me nothing and actually gained me some social media cred.

What to do?

That being said, I would really rather do something. But what? This may shock you, but many people in PhD world – where I spend 90% of my time – are not racist,** or at least not openly so. I could be wrong, but I would guess academia is one of the friendliest environments for people of all types of racially diverse backgrounds. Academia is basically a meritocracy, sprinkled with affirmative-action type of policies. So it’s not like I have many chances to say, “Hey! That racist joke isn’t funny!” And University policies seem to be rather friendly toward people of diverse backgrounds, especially those who are traditionally underrepresented in certain fields (like STEM). So besides aggressively posting anti-racist status updates on social media – which only other anti-racists will read – what should I do? I’m not trying to absolve myself of responsibility – I’m genuinely curious.

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*I didn’t vote for Hillary, either! But I did vote! Write in, baby!

**In this context, I mean racist as in “gee golly, wish we could go back to the good ol’ days of Jim Crow!” Everyone has nasty prejudices and snobberies and divisiveness in their own hearts, which I truly believe only Jesus can heal. But on a political level, I (maybe naively) think you can advocate for change that leads to equality and opportunity for people of all races to flourish — even before every single person’s heart is 100% pure.

You Can Keep the Change

Remember when you were a kiddo, and you used to play make-believe? Wasn’t that jolly?? Okey, then! Let’s play make-believe for une minuto.

soup
A gross looking pot of soup, from pixabay images.
***
Connie is making a pot of soup for a large crowd of people. There was a general consensus after the early taste-test that the soup really needed salt. So, Connie starts adding one grain of salt at a time.
Then Libby storms the kitchen, shoves Connie away from the stove, and screeches, “This isn’t progressing like it should!” She proceeds to dump an entire cup of salt into the soup and serves it to the guests.
When asked to explain her brash actions, Libby snorts, “Connie wasn’t getting anything done. We needed that tasteless soup changed NOW!” But many guests grumble about the salty disaster they were served. When Libby hears them, she huffs, “You just love tasteless soup! Plus, I prefer over-salty to under-salty.”  Some of Connie’s closest friends snap back testily, “But we prefer under-salty to over-salty!”
****
The point of this dynamo story, dear readers o’ mine, is that getting behind causes or movements that call for general “change” or “progress” is lamé. When you’re dissatisfied with a situation, don’t get on board the Generic General and chug toward Change, Otherwise Unspecified. Maybe the change suits your personal tastes, but that doesn’t mean that it will taste better for everyone. As the youths say, it’s still “extra.” It’s just extra in a different direction.
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Outstanding artistry of coins, also from pixabay images.
 So don’t be an Extra Eliza. And don’t advocate for change or progress solely because it’s different from now, even if now kind of sucks. Let’s get behind smart changes – with an actual end-goal in mind  – instead of simply, “anything but this!” That will be progress. Then we can all eat a tasty, nicely salted soup. Hmmm.. delicious.

Evil Triumphs When Men Do Bad, Stupid, or Ineffective Things

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ~Edmund Burke

This quote has begun to annoy me immensely. I’ve seen it used by conservatives and liberals alike as a rallying cry for political action. Yet usually the call for action of conservatives is to counteract whatever cause liberals want “good men” to act on. So who is good, and what is evil?

There are so many assumptions in this quote that are almost hardly ever true —  1) They, (the quoter) are good 2) Their followers / friend groups are good 3) They know what’s evil and what isn’t evil 4) action of any kind by good people can defeat evil.

Prob numero uno: what makes people good? Well… what they do!* So if good men are doing nothing, are they really good? And if good men do something with good intentions that has unintended consequences that end up producing bad, are those good men now bad? Ack, the circularity! Prob numero dos: If good men do “something” that is just all-round ineffective and ends up changing nothing, wouldn’t evil still triumph? Ack, the incompleteness!

Let’s put some of this in more concrete terms and use gun control activists and 2nd amendment supporters as a relevant example. Pro-gunners say “Rise up good men and defend our 2nd amendment rights so we can protect ourselves against the tyranny of government and rando criminals!” and anti-gunnerssay “Rise up good people** and add constraints to the 2nd amendment so the government can protect us from rando criminals!” Both of these groups think they know what the greater evil is, and both of these groups think they are the “good” ones.

Let’s be as generous as possible, and agree that the majority of people that belong to either group truly want a safe society. So who’s evil? Probably neither, really. But if one of those groups does “something,” the other group will very likely see the outcome as evil. And if one of those groups does “nothing,” the other group will think they have defeated evil. Also, let’s say either is right. What do they do? Should pro-gun people run around town shooting their AR-15s in the air to prove a point? Should anti-gun people raid people’s houses, steal their guns, and melt them down to use as gardening tools? Even if neither pro-gun people or anti-gun people are evil, surely you can appreciate how they could both start acting in ways that many people on both sides would see as evil. And evil would triumph.

I guess the main point of this ramble is that there has to be a balance somewhere between passive apathy and taking the time to think about and research 1) what’s really “evil” in any given situation and 2) what sort of action would actually be “good.” There is a difference between stubbornly refusing to act in the face of evil – when there is an obvious good action – and taking time to learn and understand at least *some* of the facets of a really complicated issue. Similarly, there is a difference between acting emotionally, passionately, “spinning your wheels,”etc. and actually doing something effective.

Now the main point of the main point: I want to be willing to consider that the outcome of my actions, no matter how well intended, could be evil. And if I’m going to act, I want to take some time to think about the best course of action — and that will likely involve having non-antagonistic convos with people who do not see the world exactly as I do.

Btdubs I’m not trying to be wishy-washy and say there is no truth or no evil or whatever, but I have Christian friends who would be disgusted by the political actions of my Christian parents, and my parents would be appalled by some of their activism. So especially within this community – which should be empowered by the same Spirit and working toward the same end goal – we should be willing to at least entertain the idea for 30 seconds that we could learn something from our sibs in the Lort!

This is good stuff y’all. I’m going to applaud myself.

😉 Dr. Galloswag out!

— EDITORIAL NOTES —
*I actually think that someone’s heart makes them good or evil. But as Jesus said, “you will know [evil men] by their fruit,” and as James said “I will show you my faith BY my good works.” The point is- only God knows what’s truly in our own and others hearts and so we can use people’s behavior as a proxy for where their heart is.
**Because pc, yo

#galloendorsement

It is not my apathy for conservatism, but my ardent love for it’s purest form, that makes me want Trump to lose with all of my heart

 

mcmullin

This is my first and last political post of the season. I’m voting (in GA, writing him in) for Evan McMullin. I respect his background, like his policies, and consider him qualified to be commander in chief.

Do I think he will win? No. Do I think he will take votes away from Trump? Yes. Am I wasting my vote? No, because 1) I can look my future grand-nieces and nephews in the eye and justify my voting and 2) future candidates and election teams can take note of how many conservatives rejected this Trump idiocy.*

I still believe that conservative principles and policy are the best way forward for our country. Trump doesn’t support those principles or policies, at least not for more than 1 week at a time. It is not my apathy for conservatism, but my ardent love for it’s purest form, that makes me want Trump to lose with all of my heart— and for this to be a horrible nightmare that we remember and learn from, but move on from.

Will this mean Hillary wins? Maybe. Probably. But as others have also said recently, I rather deal with “the enemy” for 4 years than watch the “good guys” become so twisted, confused, and hypocritical that they’re not good anymore.

So there you go. Shake your head in disgust, blame my 9+ years in higher education for liberalizing me — Claire Bear Don’t Care.

#galloswag out.

Evan McMullin for President

*I don’t think everyone who is voting for Trump is an idiot. Or a racist. Or a sexist. Trump though, truly is the most incoherent idiot I have ever seen in any political scene, going all the way down to the student government association at my university.