Episode-738- Listener Feedback 9-6-11 — 42 Comments

  1. @Jack,

    What I heard in that food-stamp news report, was that dependency is a horrible, horrible affliction that has been created in our society.

    You said it exactly–this is a CREATED problem…worse than the underlying problems this is supposed to solve (hunger, poverty, etc). Why? Because, this has apparently created a unbreakable condition from which people aren’t just NOT escaping, but don’t even have the idea in their heads that they CAN escape it.

    • Just think if we didn’t have food stamps today we’d have the food lines of the 1930s showing all over the TV and in the media as a real tragedy. It’s hidden in a card to swipe at the stores today!

      • I wonder if Georgia’s state benefits department got hacked by some kid with too much time on his hands.

        Or maybe one state employee made the Mother of All Accounting Errors.

        Or maybe someone very high up in the state’s comptroller office saw a huge hole in the budget, but knew they couldn’t tel anyone, So they decided manufacture an untraceable error which would result in delaying welfare benefits for people for 5 days. And then that way they could skim 5 extra days worth of interest off of $20 million.

      • My first thought was why didn’t the manager of the center make a call to the local food bank and get them down there to help get them short term food aid while the staff tried to fix the problem?

        Six kids with out food? not acceptiable in my mind, so the priority would be get them food for now, and then work on getting them food for the longer term (in this case food stamps).

        • @Top W. Kone

          Because it wasn’t just her, there were plenty of other people there that have squirted out 6 or more kids that they get food stamps, welfare, section 8, medicaid, wic, etc, etc, etc, etc for. The real question should be how can a person living totally on the dole not handle one or two days with out having her food stamp card filled back up?

          If you really want to feed your six kids, go to a church, they will be happy to help. This system is a disaster and this is what it is creating.

  2. Jack, EXCELLENT! as to the quality and Editorial awareness of this podcast.

    I would almost suspect you took a class or maybe read a book on journalism, back when Walter Cronkite was doing radio/tv broadcasts as to balance, caveats and when need make awareness of possible bias or not.


  3. @Jack

    Hey there I applaud yet another great episode. Could you or anyone who has
    a link to that article about culinary school post that?

    My girlfriend recently decided against going to culinary for that exact reason…she did not want to spend all Cathie money just to come home and still only get the same jobs due to lack of restaurant experience. I would love to share that article with her.


  4. @Jack,

    People who are tired of being attacked by government idiocy are being systematically made into villains. The public face of this is the Tea Party. Now, I realize that WE (preppers) aren’t necessarily Tea Partiers (maybe some are), but that is the group that Propaganda machines can attack. There is a never-ending torrent of attacks on “the Tea party” despite the fact that it isn’t really a singular organization.

    You’ve got the DNC, members of congress, Labor Unions, and all their parrots all attacking “the tea party,” as well as members of the Republican establishment. Well, that’s just because they don’t know enough to attack individuals who simply reject an ever-increasing government. Make no mistake–every single one of us who opposes expansion of government are considered these peoples’ enemies.

  5. @Garrett (hoping I spelled that correctly)

    I would have to agree with Jack overall. Although CO2 would likely be beneficial to your plants, the risk of concentrating CO (Carbon Monoxide) to dangerous levels and then entering the greenhouse is a recipe for severe injury or death. I have a friend who lost huge chunks of their memory in a similar accident. They barely remember who I am. Using a heat-exchange method like jack mentioned would be much safer!

  6. “Anti-social behavior” is a generic umbrella term used by psychologists for any behavior which either a) repels people from your presence, or b) is destructive to your community rather than helpful to it. And it doesn’t mater if you are aware of the impact of your actions or not. As far as law enforcement officers go, it’s a term SOMETIMES used by law enforcement as a tame, watered-down, all-encompassing way of saying “mentally ill behavior.”

    Being a hoarder is anti-social. Vandalism is anti-social. Failing to bathe regularly is anti-social. All forms of violence are anti-social. Constantly using profanity, no matter who is in your presence, is anti-social. And (IMO) calling the cops on a pair of 7-year-old little girls who are using chalk (which washes away in the rain) to doodle pictures of flowers on a public sidewalk is anti-social. Maybe even calling the cops on your neighbor for planting veggies on their front lawn is anti-social as well.

    Technically, certain forms of self-mutilation are deemed anti-social. Such as, extreme tattooing of 90% or more of your body (especially if the tattoos cover the majority of your face) can be classified as anti-social because it tends to repel people from you –depending on where you are. Shaving your entire body –not just your head but ALL of your body, including your eyebrows and even plucking out your eyelashes– is also deemed anti-social because it weirds people out and repels them from you. Ditto for extreme and excessive facial piercings and permanent facial implants (like horns implanted on your forehead).

    Check out “Bartleby the Scrivener” by Herman Melville.

  7. I’m thinking perhaps there was no “glitch” at all regarding the food stamp issue in Georgia. Just maybe somebody “higher up” wanted to get a reaction and see exactly what kind of response they would get. I believe it is kind of like corralling the sheep into the pen you want them in, when you know you’ve got them where you want them it’s much easier to control them.

  8. I’m not entirely convinced that the wide spread riots across Britain had very much to do with the increase in tuition fees.
    The type of people who are at the moment being convicted of rioting and looting are not the type of people who are going to be affected by increases in the cost of education.
    There will always be a token number of protesters who have – what they believe is – a legitimate reason to protest but what we saw a month ago was just normal common thugs who saw an opportunity to run amok and steal from and vandalise the homes and businesses of normal law abiding, tax paying neighbours.

    Understatement of the year must go to Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke who revealed that “almost 75 per cent of those aged over 18 charged with offences committed during the riots had prior convictions”

    Really Ken! You think! WTF?

  9. On the greenhouse heating… one way to consider would be to duct the heater vent into a 50gal drum filled with rocks then vent the drum outside. The hot air would be captured in a heat sink and radiated into the greenhouse even when the heater is not running. No CO and you still get the heat.

  10. Thanks for asking for a withholding of judgment on food stamps recipients.

    The fact is 47 million of US residents — including me — receive this benefit. I am 55 and am new to the system. I’ll tell you this, without it — with 47 million starving people, including many millions of children, there would be riots. Lack of job opportunity is not our doing, it comes from up on high, through “free trade” agreements like NAFTA, etc.

    Additionally corporate welfare eats of trillions of US tax dollars. But it’s much easier for many complacent middle class Americans to put a ‘poverty’ face on a “welfare mom” and be contemptuous of her. She’s “the Other”.

    Walk in her shoes for a bit before you judge her, folks.

    I figure that this is a natural consequence of what has happened with the economy, and the evil/stupid/short-sighted policies perpetrated on the average working person by the banks, congress, senate and huge corporations. Now it’s time for them to pay the price. You can not continually ship jobs out of the country without putting people out of work.

    I’m sick of middle class people using terms like “the type of people”, or “those people”. Guess what — you can be “those people” one of these days.

    Jesus said “judge not”.

    • …and yes, that rant illustrates the rage that’s out here. I come from a coddled middle class background. My farm is about to be taken from me, I’m about to be in a homeless shelter. I haven’t seen a doctor in years. I’m one of millions.

      Jack, you are 100% right, we have to take control back—in my mind, from our corrupt government officials who have let this happen. I’ve gardened for years, preserved food, been self employed, put 65% cash down on my house/farm when I bought it. That’s my bit of personal responsibility — and it wasn’t enough.

    • @The Optimist,

      Well, my first reaction is against the people who have created this system that traps people in this sort of dependency. However, I’m not being unfair when I think that there is something wrong with these people as well. They’re dependent, and I’m NEVER going to pretend that’s a good thing. Do I want them to starve? No, but I also don’t want them kept in a state of perpetual dependency where they are likely to starve the moment reality hits and their support is cut off.

      I think it is very easy for people (most all people) to become indoctrinated into the dependency mindset, and ALL participants in that are to be “judged” in my view, because denial of that insures that they remain in that sad state.

      However, I believe one of those people in that report said something about not being able to feed her six children. SIX children that she cannot support. When does personal responsibility come into play? I’m not going to cast off children as “problems” to have money thrown at them or food stamps given to their mother. They are undoubtedly being indoctrinated into the same system that their mother is a victim (and participant) in.

      But let’s be clear about one thing–the only reason that government officials are able to perpetuate this sort of serfdom is because they have succeeded so wildly in indoctrinating people like we heard here into voting for these politicians who dole out this pittance.

      Can anyone be one of “those people” who are in need. Sure, but not everyone will adopt the mindset of dependency. So, no, I will not EVER willingly “walk in these people’s shoes” if I can help it. I never want to be a victim like that. If I do end up there, then God Help me realize that I’ve failed, because Government isn’t responsible for feeding, housing and providing me healthcare. What I need from Government is to stop pretending that they have this right or authority over me or anyone else. Government needs to stop CREATING situations that push people into this state. Bottom line–that’s where we’re all being pushed, but we have to fight against it.

      Lastly, I believe in helping those in need, but also realize that this government-run system of enabled dependency is an abomination. People should help out their neighbor (if they wish), and take a role in their community rather than allow politicians (and others) to use “oh these poor people” emotional blackmail on us, forcing us to participate in this shameful scam that traps people and encourages this dependency mindset.

      Have people been screwed by government idiocy? Sure. Does it mean we aren’t responsible for ourselves? No. Does it mean we should adopt a dependency mindset? No. Well, unfortunately, that’s what many people have done, and it is very sad.

        • @Jack,

          Sure. It sounds as if ‘the optimist’ is feeling pretty victimized by the system that we’ve allowed to develop, and in many ways, I sympathize, but at the same time…we can’t adopt a victim’s mentality.
          Do people get screwed as the result of government idiocy…sure they do, but the answer isn’t MORE government. The answer is LESS government.

          That Penn and Teller bit illustrated the downward spiraling nonsense of government. The same applies to food stamps. They create all sorts of regulation, taxes, and other burdens that help drive people into poverty, and then they say “have some food stamps”–which puts even more burden on those still working, pushing them towards poverty too.

          But if we give in, and say…well, I’ve been victimized (even if we have been), then the spiral continues down.

  11. As for those culinary stidents …….

    About 3 years ago I started to take notice of a add for a culinary institute where they showed all these wonderful images of happy culinary students in white in commercial kitchens deftly making masterful dishes. And the highly enthusiastic voice-over announcer was saying totally ludicrous stuff like “With the increasing popularity of cooking television shows, the demand for culinary professionals is sure to grow in the coming years!” And I thought, HOW STUPID! Basing an expensive career decision on the existence of a few reality TV shows! And I imagined we’d be hearing in another few years about disappointed culinary students.

  12. to the person wanting to heat a greenhouse google: “solar greenhouse pdf” You’ll get resources on innovative ways to build a greenhouse that stores it’s own heat. Then add to that the idea of the gas heating you are interested in.

  13. @ Jack
    You and I agree on so many things. I’m of the exact same opinions on the investment gurus you talked about here for the same reason. I’ve never been a fan of Dave Ramsey’s advice on investing and also noted his dissing of Peter Schiff nailed the market and real estate collapse. And I wish preppers would stop talking about some Mayan 2012 calender doomsday stuff. We have enough problems with the financial markets and rising energy demands.

  14. Jack, not sure how closely you follow Penn and Teller, but they’re staunch libertarians in addition to being entertainers. They even do a comedy/magic act based on the Bill of Rights from a liberty point of view. They’re research fellows and columnists at the Cato Institute, which puts out a great podcast.

    Penn’s recent interview on the Cato podcast:

  15. Unschooling, at one time there wasn’t a term for such. My kids were in the gifted/talented program and I’d meet other parents of bright kids, and they’d be signing them up for chess clubs and such, pushing them to to skip grades, extra tutors etc. So what are you doing so your kids will stay at the top?

    Nothing. Letting them be kids. They grow up too fast as it is.

    One teacher asked what did I do with my kids, they were so creative and bright, what was I teaching?


    We provided them with a yard to play in, a garden to help with, various kinds of building blocks, craft stuff. My house wasn’t spotless, and often projects being worked on here and there. Often they worked together on their own or by themselves. A fort in the back yard from scavenged pallets, later a room built from wood and tarps. Not the prettiest thing, but there for several years, the boys had great fun with it. One son planted grape vines and made his own jelly. They can all bake bread. Another son taught himself how to program using dialup internet and created Python apps others were using before high school. Music lessons would have been fine, but didn’t fit our budget nor spreading time between all 7 kids. My oldest daughter learned to play by ear on an electronic keyboard, both hands. She won an award in a middle school talent show for a song she created and played, later she did get piano lessons and joined band. Wood shavings from pinewood derbies, glitter, strings were often swept up. They also helped paint walls, lay tile, pour cement. Babysit younger siblings.

    I explained to the teacher that I didn’t do anything other than supervise, referee, and enlist help in house chores. They decided what they wanted to work on outside of school.

    Texas started the standardized testing to grade their teachers. Teachers were now graded on how well kids did on those tests with unlimited time. My youngest hated school. Homework was horrible, she knew the answer to the problem but was stressed because she couldn’t remember to whether to draw a circle or a square around that part of the word problem, if she missed a step her teacher marked it wrong even if she had the right answer. We started checking into homeschool, but next year was better. She had that wonderful teacher that asked me those questions.

    Her room was no longer as neat and orderly as before, projects in various corners, bean bags in a reading corner, computer area, craft tables. She skipped the teaching to take a test, kids enjoyed school again, she put them in groups to work together, get your basic work done and work on a project. They created a play together, wrote the script (American history), created customs, made the props and scenery. And you know what? her class always scored the highest on all the tests, yet her students were never went through the insanity of studying for the test.

    My two oldest have little ones of their own now. They will be home schooled and where looking at various methods. Unschooling came up. After trying to make sense of it, my son said, Oh, I get it now, what we did at home after school.

    • @txmom,

      You make some great points. However, what I don’t want for kids to be trapped in a one-size-fits-all system where they burn years of their life on repetitive learning for 13 years (or more). I guess with homeschooling you avoid that.

      So “skipping grades” is a good result, but “grades” is an artificial concept in learning anyway. That whole system is built around categorizing children into manageable groups, rather than letting them learn at the speed that is best for them.

      Personally, I see no reason many children have to waste YEARS of their young lives droning through “Grades” because it fits some median students theoretical need.

      • @Kam I understand. Difference between learning at your own speed vs parents who wanting bragging rights as to how many grades their kids skipped. I also believe schools would be better if not segregated by age.
        I didn’t feel like I had the resources to homeschool my kids, and several teachers were doing great a great job of keeping my kids learning. One of my favorites teaches architectural design and seniors have an opportunity to draw up blue prints for someone in the community. Gives them satisfaction when they see it built. That teacher’s motto is to get out of the way, not to slow down learning. When the same kids go on to college they are completely bored 1st couple of years. Colleges it seems aren’t in a big hurry to give college credit for elective high school courses.

        • @txmom,

          On segregation by age. Well, I definitely think schools could benefit by mixing students together–at least in some settings. For that matter, straight classroom learning is also limited in usefulness.

          Naturally colleges wouldn’t want to acknowledge that kids can learn things before they get there–that would ruin the mystique that they’ve worked to hard to build around “the college experience.”

        • @txmom, that reminds me of john Gault’s line in Atlas Shrugged when the socialists keep badgering him about how to fix their problems: “Get the hell out of my way!”

  16. link to Paul Wheaton Cheese Video.

    Note from Jack – Lew I edited your comment and make the link clickable by taking out the spaces. Links are permitted in the blog comments, two or more will hold the comment in moderation but they are always permitted if relevant to the conversation.

  17. Dear Jack,

    Your remarks on ”One step beyond homeschooling – unschooling” are completely wrong and disturbing, not that expected you to be perfect.

    Let the ”children discover what He like” is nothing more than parents skipping their parenting responsibility to educate their children and a petty excuse.

    Parents have the responsability to orientate their children because they do have live experience, in contrast the Children have almost no experience and lots of romanticism … how does the Children discover what He want ? By analysing his own ignorance ?

    Another problem is that it opens the door for Children to escape reality by studying ”cool”, but ultimatly irrelevant subject, in order to escape their petty lives. This going to create a lot of little Nicolo Machiavelli, who become a philosopher because his life sucked.

    In short : Unschooling is a petty excuse for parents to escape their responsability, Children have not enought life experince or stability to do important life decisions and this will certainly result in Children escaping reality in BS studies, just like the example of your article studying ”exo-geology”.

    • @sams,

      First clearly you speak about something you have no experience with. I think if we teach basic reading, writing and math we certainly can let any person (please remember kids are PEOPLE with their on minds and will) self direct their learning. So you think exo geology is a BS study, that says a lot man, that says a lot. I find that to be a lot less BS than 90% of what I was asked to learn in school.

      Here is a fact, I was bored to death in school, I did only what I had to do to get through. Yet by 14 I could list ever species of snake in North America, why, it interested me. TSP is the 5 business I have started and the 4 successful business. Do you think I learned about business in high school or do you think my learning was self directed.

      Do you know that for many years in this nation we taught kids in school to read, write and do math, that was pretty much it. They got to choose most of what they read and wrote about and the math most people need can be taught to them by about 12 years of age.

      You say exo-geology is irrelevant, really, what do you base that on? Your limited view created by your conventional and limited education? How many 12 year olds in our Public Schools are taking college course and saying the placement tests were “surprisingly easy”.

      To me your comments are just like all the conventional media types that seem to have the need to bitch about twitter and IMs once a month. They mock our youth for internet short hand and improper English on a platform they don’t understand with a 140 character limit. You know why? Because they are screwed, people listen more to those kids today than to them. A 19 year old with a cool site and his twitter account might be a young millionaire with millions of readers. They hate him because they know their day in the sun is over, old media is dying and new media made up of real people is taking over.

      People like you that want to defend the old educational system I see in the same light. You are so vested in the current system (for what ever reason) the changes coming to it frighten you. Don’t fear change dude! And let me just say if I pull 50 home school kids at random and 50 public school kids and test them on fundamentals, I KNOW who will win EVERY time.

    • @sams,

      You said “In short : Unschooling is a petty excuse for parents to escape their responsability, Children have not enought life experince or stability to do important life decisions and this will certainly result in Children escaping reality in BS studies, just like the example of your article studying ”exo-geology”. ”

      While some “unschoolers” are idiots…so are some teachers. What makes you believe that a good parent is going to want to “escape responsibility” regarding their child’s education?

      You talk about children “escaping reality” with “BS Studies.” Funny, because that’s exactly what I think about many things taught to them in public schools.

      Most of what I’ve seen about “unschooling” has been hit pieces with some dim-wit parents letting their kids run wild. I saw one where they basically let the kids do anything–in all aspects of live not just school. That’s something I like to call “crappy parents.” That is different from unconventional learning.

      I find your use of the phrase “Children to escape reality” to be curious, because modern classroom schooling is HIGHLY disconnected from reality as I see it. REALITY would be to have a kid actual DO something, and EXPERIENCE something, as part of learning.

      You think that pushing kids into college (for example) to study Poetry or political “science” is more “reality” worthy than studying “exo-whatever-ology” Hardly.

      We have “science” teachers preaching anti-science. We have history teachers mangling history due to their political preferences, in attempts to indoctrinate children into “proper” social ways of thinking.

      People are looking into different ways to educate their children, because conventional education has become a joke in many ways.

      • I like your response- “I find your use of the phrase “Children to escape reality” to be curious, because modern classroom schooling is HIGHLY disconnected from reality as I see it. REALITY would be to have a kid actual DO something, and EXPERIENCE something, as part of learning. ”
        -that is exactly what school needs practical application of what is learned, so you can see what you are learning matters and that inadequate problem solving skills have consequences.

        • @Brent,

          Yes, it seems that some “educators” have lost track of what learning is for.
          I think there is a real arrogance in those who deem themselves “educated’ and this includes many teachers. Well, you’ve got a degree and are educated, so you need not dirty your hands with the practical matters–that’s for the uneducated.

          Now, naturally that is an extreme version of this attitude, but you can be sure this exists in varying levels. When one adopts this level of arrogance, it is very easy to lose track of reality.

    • “studying ”cool”, but ultimatly irrelevant subject”

      As opposed to studying uncool and irrelevant subjects? Having students give input into direction of study is more than reasonable. On the scale of a species, it seems to me it would likely result in greater learning efficiency. We should encourage interests instead of wasting energy and resources forcing people to wade through crap they don’t care about.

  18. Re: Dave Ramsey’s investment advice: As a Financial Peace University graduate, I can summarize his advice pretty well. Equal amounts of “growth” (mega-corp), “growth and income” (mega-corp that pays dividends), “aggressive” (small cap), and international. I’ve found it easier to combine income and non-income because there’s almost no difference. Also it’s extremely difficult to find a small cap fund that’s worth a darn. So I have about 50% international and 50% domestic mega-corp. Checked to make sure the fund managers have some basic common sense, used Morningstar tools to look for overlap and regional exposure. Of course this is just my Roth IRA. I also paid attention to Peter Schiff when setting this up – note the broader geographic coverage.

    Dave also strongly encourages people to get into debt-free real estate. I looked into that. But other than my paid-for home, I really don’t have time to mess around with it right now. Renters, evictions, maintenance, property managers, taxes, paperwork…

    I’ve had to deprogram myself a little from Dave’s take on gold and silver. He really doesn’t seem to understand the concept of a currency collapse and why it could happen here. But I figure if he thinks it’s okay to buy (with cash) silly gold cuff links and depreciating jet skis for fun, then my silver coin collection is none of his business.

    Most of his other advice is excellent. Especially pay attention to what he teaches about the spender / saver / nerd / free-spirit dynamic found in most couples. That right there can do wonders for a family.

    But do your own thinking when it’s time to start investing.

    On business debt, a lot of his point of view comes from talking with caller after caller who borrowed a fortune for a business that didn’t work out. Then they were left with the debt after it folded. Same story every day. Personally, I could argue the subject both ways…

  19. Good point on the way school is done needing to be changed. I found school difficult at times because of the boring nature in which it was presented, everyone probably remembers math questions like if Sarah has 7 apples and Tim had 3 apples how many more apples did Sarah have than Tim? With math being presented this way I was far more interested in what real life Sarah was doing the next row over which may be another flaw in the system.

  20. On the food stamps issue, on the few US stations I get I see that there is a big push for the fast food giants to get there hands on them too. Fast food is definitely better for people, cheaper, and they can build a pantry out of the stuff there. Though we wouldn’t want people to have to change their diet from what they are used to to have too cook for themselves.

  21. On the greenhouse heating issue one option is solar greenhouses (sounds like an oxymoron). The chinese use these to grow vegetables. From the presentation:
    “China has over 650,000 acres of solar greenhouses 90% of Northern China’s winter vegetables are grown in solar greenhouses”

    Also a simpler link to view on them.

  22. One of the reasons the government started subsidizing farmers was to stabilize the food prices. Before they did that, food prices were on a roller coaster. The problem is that farmers have come to expect the subsidies, even though many don’t need it. The government always shows the poor American farmer as the reason for the subsidies. But the poor farmers are the ones with small acreage and the programs pay by the acre. So the large farms who don’t need the money are the ones getting it and the little farmer gets none. The big farms use the money to get bigger. The little farmers are getting squeezed out of the market because the can’t compete for more land. I don’t know what the best way to handle this, but we need to find a way to keep food prices stable without the government getting involved.