Monday, April 9, 2012

Turn, Turn, Turn (Monday LINKS)

I sometimes wonder if community involvement is like bell-bottom jeans.

At a recent CA Board meeting, one of my fellow Board members expressed a concern that "kids these days" don't talk to one another face to face anymore.  "They text.  They Facebook." (Aside for my friends in the older contingent -- Facebook has not yet reached verb status [Follow-up Note:  You'll see in the comments that some disagree with this assessment.  Regardless of your position on this matter of great controversy, if you say "They Facebook" you sound old.])  "They Twitter." (...unclear whether Twitter has)  "But if the person is on the other side of the room, they won't say anything to them.  They're all caught up in their machines."

I've often found myself thinking those same thoughts about my generation, but from a different angle.  We've become lazy in our friendships.  I don't have to call you about your new baby because I checked out all of the pictures on Facebook, liked one of them, and wrote a Congratulations note on your wall.  I don't have to keep track of your birthday, because Facebook will tell me, and I will again busy your Wall with my Feliz Cumpleanos.  It is an admittedly convenient way for a busy person to stay in the loop wherein previous generations that same person would fall off the "news circuit", never to be heard from again.

And this isn't necessarily bad.  Many of you, having grown up in a different world, will instinctively think it is bad because it is different.  But I might remind you of "that play" you attended last year that you would not have known about but for Facebook.  Or "that friend" you met with up with after twenty years distance.  There is some bleeding into real life between the lines.  Unfortunately, it has become the exception.

My greatest concern is what 21st Century tech has done to community involvement and activism.  I have "liked" so many non-profits that have never seen a dime of my money or a minute of my time.  I read about community issues and discuss their complexities without ever having met the players in the dispute.  Technology has enabled passive delegation, whereby the whole world is one big TV set and we are just surfing the channels.  The more channels we are allowed, the less depth we provide to each interaction.

But shouldn't we expect a boomerang reaction?  Won't their be a recoiling from our screens at some later point where attending meetings and shaking hands is "cool"?  I don't think that is so idealistic.  Think of bell bottom jeans.  Their greatest functional purpose was making it nearly impossible to wear one pair of jeans twice without washing them.  Those "bells" were dirt magnets.  But they came back, however briefly, in the 90's and I don't think we've heard the last of this fashion detour.

And if going to meetings is cool, consider me Miles Davis.


Orioles sweep the Twins as Jason Hammel flirts with a no hitter.   The Twins are a truly horrible team and one of their starters was skipped due to food poisoning.  I don't want to take anything away from this, but...I'm not taking anything away from this.

"I read somewhere that the best way to make tax policy is at the last minute under extreme pressure." Said no one ever.  I was delighted to see that I am already in line for a tax increase and presumably most of you are there with me.  As I'm sure my Republican friends will be quick to point out, "This is what we get."

This is a really neat program that connects at-risk students with veteran mentors in conjunction with the Dropout and Truancy Prevention Network.

Baltimore City is giving residents 30 days to pay back-taxes on credits that were not requested, but later found to be applied in error.  These amounts range from about $2,000 to $5,000.  I am horrified for these folks.  Kafka turns.

Here is an interesting article showing how two different principles of the Republican platform are fighting against one another: Preeminence of Local Government v. Small Government.  In an effort to lessen overlapping laws and regulations, GOP state legislatures are stripping local governments of power.  The local governments are responding that this is favoring "big government over small government."  While I've always felt that the government closest to the people governs best, it is an interesting question as to whether a powerful local government may simply create redundancies with an active State government, such as what we have here in Merri-lan.

TJ Mayotte has a very good piece about the final six Board of Education candidates and his concerns about the HCEA's influence on future Boards.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: WB questions the methods of the HCEA in making its endorsements and wonders why a more "democratic" method was not used.

Definitely looks like this will be an issue to follow over the next seven months.

Have a great Monday doing what you love!!