Pay it Forward, Pay it Back: Making College (Debt) Free in Oregon

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How will you pay for college?

How will you pay for college?

“The United States has a third of the world’s colleges and universities and nearly all its best teachers” proclaims John D Kasarda.  With these words I feel great pride in American higher education and abject sorrow concerning the student-loan crisis.  The United States might have the best schools in the world, but increasingly costly bachelor’s degrees are out of reach for widening swathes of America’s middle class.  Those who can still afford college are often drowned in debt, forced into jobs they hate just to pay the bills.

This endemic problem must be solved; it is in Oregon that we find a likely solution.

Under the “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back” plan, students in Oregon public universities and community colleges can pay their tuition by promising three percent of their future incomes in the twenty-four year period following graduation.  No money down, no strings attached.  Everyone benefits.  Students of the humanities and other frugal majors will be able to rest easy and be able to pursue their passions without nightmares of debt. Those pursuing lucrative careers will have drastically fewer rivals, jobs will be easier to obtain.  Unemployed beneficiaries of this program will not have decades of credit-scores ruined, they will have not debt to haunt them.  And the specter of student-loan debt is banished, giving a new era of financial freedom for America’s youth.

Education is the cornerstone of the American Dream, in Oregon that glorious promise is rekindled for the twenty-first century.

The bill erecting the pilot program for “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back” was elected unanimously by Oregon’s state legislature on July 1, 2013.  They will evaluate the program and vote again in 2015, to improve it and provide a role model for the rest of the country.  One little state has kept the flame of the American Dream alive, imagine what fifty states could do.  Or even a functional federal government.


7 Words For Bigot

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I hope you dont have to use these, but if you do know what they mean.

Sometimes you get to talking to someone who is just a bigot.  However, calling people such a word is a notorious faux pas; however, if you could detail the bigots specific sins instead it is more acceptable, even heroic depending on the level of intolerance.  Thankfully, the English language has a plethora of words that can fit all the most irksome antagonists.  Be sure to add these words to your lexicon for the next time your frenemy/debate buddy/quirky grandparent/ Queen of England get under you skin:

Chauvinist– one who has an attitude of superior towards members of the opposite sex.  Generally this word describes guys looking to score and have forgotten their manners.  However, recently I have also seem chauvinist emerge as a synonym for the feminists who are most critical of patriarchy.  Ironic.

Xenophobe – one unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin.  These people generally desire to suppress or turn away other people from other nations.  Anyone with anti-immigrant bumper stickers is asking to be called a xenophobe; often these generally nice individuals have logic gaps that cannot be explained.  Be courteous with those bigots of this sort, they often don’t know how unacceptable their manners or.  Or they have a gun.  Regardless, maintain your etiquette.

Jingoist – extreme nationalism marked especially by a belligerent foreign policy.  Similar to xenophobes, Jingoists prefer to elevate their own nation rather than putting down or excluding other nationalities.  Europeans everywhere has been completely riddled with this pandemic.

Homophobe – one who has an irrational fear of, or aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality.  Only in the last decade or so has LGBT rights been a hot-button issue; with the rise of homosexuality in culture and in legal stature homophobes keep coming out of the closet.  More often the word homophobe should be used to shoot down distasteful jokers and overly religious zealots.

Supremacist  – an advocate or adherent of group supremacy, highest in degree or quality.  A broad word, attaching adjectives to Supremacist tailors this evolution of bigot to any situation.  White Supremacist and Aryan Supremacist or two common examples.   The word supremacist has been loosely linked Nazism, so beware skinheads!

Racist– a believe that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.  This word generally describes those who favor one skin complexion over another.  They are around the world, generally using the darkness of skins to justify genocide or systematic isolation.  While in America segregation has ended, the noxious odors of racism still exist along constricting class lines.

Dogmatist – characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as if they were facts.  While dogmatists usually have good intentions they tend to bend facts and figures while openly ignoring any critical flaws in their theories.  These people are not always bigots, but they do often shut down other commentors ideas on baseless grounds.  Of all the words, this one is arguably the nicest because it is not always a faux pas.

Use these terms with care; sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can send you to therapy for thirty years.  However, if some intolerant fool crosses your path, spill social dribble everywhere, strike him down with whatever word fits best.  Expected results are sulking, stunned-silenece, and the bigots taking a hard look at their outdated opinions.  Be being forced to confront their reality they might change who they are.  And if worse comes to worse, you can always use the B-word to stop them in their tracks:

Bigot – one stubbornly or intolerantly adherent to his or her own opinions and prejudices.  Wide sweeping and social damning, this word is the atomic bomb of the heated conversation.  Careful how you use it, the fallout could be cold shoulders for weeks.  Of course, if you need to use the word than the cold shoulders are a blessing in disguise

Making Martyrs: How Capital Punishment Encourages Crime

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Last words are a poignant  mix of religious zealotry, bitter denial, and pained regret; now, the State of Texas posts the last words of every criminal they execute online for your pursuing.  Taylor Lee, one death row inmate, signed off lecturing, “I hope you don’t find satisfaction in this, watching a human being die.”  I do not find any satisfaction, but not because I mourn the passing of a thief and murder.  I am concerned that publicizing the last words of the most malevolent criminals provides role models for future killers, creating more crime.

My paradoxical theory is rooted in the psychological fact that  one of the deepest desires of every individual to feel important.  Self-proclaimed religious martyrs can become idolized by future fanatics looking for absolution and historical significance.  Starry-eyed youth see cold-blooded criminals alongside other celebrities and aspire to chase fame with murderous intent.  Don’t follow my logic?  Nineteen suicide bombers killed twenty-five hundred Americans on September 11, they have inspired an increase in suicide bombers around the world.  Criminals rarely commit sadistic crimes just for monetary and emotional reasons, they have a pathological need for acknowledgement from society.   By publicizing these death row criminals crimes and rhetoric Texas is manufacturing martyrs and crime role models  for America’s errant youth.  This is the opposite of capital punishment’s intention.

I admonish the state of Texas plastering the last words across the Internet like billboard posters for a cool-kids concert.  Capital punishment is one of the most primitive and senseless punishments left in the United States.  Elevating capital punishments status through digital  publication gives a megaphone to the dregs of society pollute the impressionable minds with their sadistic wisdom.  I am not saying that last words should not be open to the public, I am saying they should be somewhere where they would not instigate future terrorism and crimes.  Perhaps eliminating capital punishment all together is the best solution to reducing extreme crime.  After all, there cannot be martyrs if criminals are forbidden to die.


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