Search Results for: Belle Rieve

Arapaho is a Rights Restorative State, which means that felons get back their right to vote and participate in the system once their sentence is complete. In my view, this should be the case in all states. I might be more sympathetic to barring felons to vote if felonies were still limited to only the worst of the worst crimes. I was on the fence on this issue until I lived in Belle Rieve for a while and got to know people that would never again be allowed to vote or run for office (in Deseret, anyway) because of a mistake they made when they were 18 or 19.

I only know about Arapaho’s law because there is a local state assembly race that has garnered some statewide attention. One of the candidates, Steve O’Reilly is on something called the Violent Offender’s Registry. Arapaho’s sense of forgiveness apparently only goes so far. Far from being a fringe candidate, he has been endorsed by some powerful conservative groups in the state. The current assemblyman, who happens to be the brother of the first real estate agent we talked to in the area, has a reputation for being something of a squishy moderate.

O’Reilly attributes his crime (the equivalent of a bar fight, except that he found something within arm’s reach to use as a weapon) to an alcoholism he has since conquered. In addition to being an independent businessman, he has apparently been doing some good works in the area. He can appeal to be removed from the VOR, which he evidently plans to do.

I haven’t decided whether I am even going to vote in the next round of current elections. I haven’t really been in the area long enough to know the issues at play. But the Rights Restoration issue is another in a string of rather pleasant things I have discovered with regard to state law that make me feel better to be an Arapahoan than I expected.

The notion that all men are created equal and that results are determined by effort, discipline, and so on is what my former boss Willard referred to as “one of the great noble myths.” The subject came up shortly after two of my coworkers, Edgar Braughton and Charlie Belcher, were let go. While I had, up until that point, always known that raw intelligence varied from one individual to the next, and that there were people we euphemistically called mentally handicapped that biologically lacked the intelligence that most people have, I never fully appreciated the wide spectrum of intelligence out there until I met, worked with, had to checked the work of, and eventually had to team-lead Edgar and Charlie.

Edgar and Charlie were not mentally retarded in the obvious sense. There were some questions about Edgar, but a lot of those were attributable to a speech impediment on his part that gave the false sense of retardation. Willard, too, had a speech impediment, but is among the smartest of the guys that I know. Edgar could easily have been in that category if he were, well, less dim. But he was the dimmest bulb in our shop. Charlie was a little bit smarter, though not much.

Edgar’s and Charlie’s job was really what I would call straight-forward. For much of the teach, it was mundane. Tedious. Perhaps the hardest part of the job was staying interested in the job enough to do it right. It required an attention to detail, though as Freddie demonstrated you could get away with a lot of inattention if you were simply fast. So really, all you needed was some combination of careless speed or slightly more time-consuming accuracy.

Most of the OSI Team did not have a whole lot in the way of external motivation. I was one of only four longish-term OSI Programmers that was married or in a committed relationship though the only one without children. Simon had kids to support but they were his girlfriend’s kids and he was not under any legal obligation to support them. The other two married OSI Programmers were Edgar and Charlie. On top of that, Edgar had a whopping four kids with a wife that didn’t work and Charlie had a chronically ill wife whose medical bills (by his own telling of it) were considerable. Further, they had less in the way of marketable skills than did many of us and therefore needed the job at Falstaff more than the rest of us did. In other words, these were two people that had the most motivation out of any of us.

And yet, despite all of this motivation, they simply could not get the job done. They could not get it done quickly. They could not get it done right. We tried vigorously to teach them how to do it. We patiently worked with them and looked over their shoulder and tried over and over again to teach them. They had the background that suggested that it wasn’t beyond their grasp. Edgar had a couple years of coursework from DeVry and Charlie a degree from the local vocational school. So it wasn’t completely alien to them. Charlie had a bit of an attitude problem, but his problems far surpassed that.

At the end of the day, despite each of their motivations and despite the easy nature of the job, it was simply beyond their grasp to do it right. Though I had always known of variable intelligence, it just never fully occurred to me that something as simple as that job would quite plainly be beyond people that were able to otherwise live independently. We may squish and squeak and slide a bit and say that they didn’t have the right kind of intelligence. There may be some truth to that in that I could see (maybe, possibly) Charlie being successful at fixing cars or something else that melded one’s mind with one’s hands. But the job itself is so easy to achieve basic competence with that it seemed to me and others that even if your real skills lay elsewhere, it’s not something that somebody shouldn’t be able to at least do right. It’s not an easy job to excel at… but to do? There isn’t a reader of Hit Coffee that couldn’t figure it out in a week.

Of course, Hit Coffee has a self-selected audience. It primarily appeals to people of a pretty basic level of intelligence. To people that like to think about things. People with college degrees (which I think all of you that I know about have) or at least the intelligence to get one. And some of my surprise at what should have been bloody obvious is that I have for most of my life been surrounded by such people. I went to an upper-crest high school. Then I went to college and hung out with the Honors College crowd. My career is mind-based. And even those I knew from outside my circles tended to be self-selected. The people I knew that went to more working-class schools tended to be the smarter people there (I met many of them through a computer network). The warehouse workers at my first job that I talked to tended to be team leads and the odd young man or two that were simply working their way through college. In that sense, it’s no surprise that my relatively sheltered existence lead to a sanguine view of the strength of human intelligence.

And so I gradually had to accede the notion that even within functioning individuals that don’t require special care and that didn’t ride the short bus and weren’t ill-educated and that weren’t just lazy, there can be some pretty basic limits as to what they are capable of. These limits include things that I would have been capable of doing in the seventh grade. Maybe earlier.

A lot of people come to this realization. Some wash it away with notions that it was really how people like Edgar and Charlie were raised and educated that are the problem. That’s historically what I’d done. Even though there were always people that couldn’t do things that I considered pretty basic and that in some cases it might take more attention and tutoring, that they could get there. A lot of whether someone accepts it or declines to accept it depends on ideology. To the extent that it dovetails with what they already believe about people (that, say, poor people are poor because they’re less intelligent), they believe it more readily than others where it presents some uncomfortable truths that contradict the way that they see the world.

For some people, it adds a stronger element of libertarianism because it adds more a sense of justice to the segregation of the haves and have-nots. For me it does slightly the opposite. If people that are at the bottom of the economic latter are so because they made less of an effort or made poorer life choices, I have far less sympathy than someone that is stuck manning a convenience store with little hopes of making it into management simply because they were born with fewer neurons firing quite as vigorously as the next guy. In fact, it almost starts to make a socialist out of me in that I believe that people that lack brain-power (assuming that they work somewhere doing something!) are deserving of, if not everything that their sharper peers that contribute more to society, as respectable a standard of living as we can afford. In short, it makes the notion of wealth redistribution bother me less. It makes the wheat-and-chaff of capitalism overall less appealing.

On the other hand, my experiences at Belle Rieve, that occurred at the same time, which come to think of it included a number of people that probably wouldn’t have been able to do OSI programming work, counteracted this somewhat by demonstrating pretty clearly the dangers of subsidizing lifestyles that aren’t going anywhere. It may be too much to expect them to get jobs that pay well, but it’s pretty important that they work. If idle minds are the Devil’s Workshop, idle lives partake in a never-ending buffet of counterproductive habits. Further, on the subject of crime-prevention, if people that live among the poor are not just limited to those that made poor lifestyle choices, trying to keep those zones as free as possible from crime becomes all the more important.

But mostly, it gives me a little more sympathy for those that haven’t made it. Not enough sympathy that I want to move back to Belle Rieve or that I would raise children where we lived in Estacado or where we live now, but enough to feel a sense of sympathy rather than simply frustration when I bump into them on a daily basis.

-{Note: The setting of most of this post is Deseret, where 90% of the population is white (96% including white-Hispanic). The racial aspects of IQ are discussed at length elsewhere and I would prefer them not be discussed here. This post is about IQ. Not about IQ and race. Not IQ and immigration. Or welfare mommas. Or about how people that are not like you or don’t think like you are ruining our country.}-

So below are some GoogleEarth images of various places that I’ve been. It was kind of fun to compile, though a big time-consuming. Some of the pictures may not be up terribly long. The images they had for Deseret were really bad. Which is odd because I don’t think that they used to be that bad. Anyway, if you’re interested, click below: (more…)

Category: Server Room

Via Dustbury and Autoblog, here is a video of a news reporter who doesn’t know how to use an ice scraper:

She takes the correction in really good humor. And in her defense, she apparently made her way up to Washington State by way of Los Angeles, where you don’t have to deal with this sort of thing often.

I can relate. I remember when I first moved to Deseret from Colosse. It’s not that there was never ice in Colosse that needed to be scraped off, but you never needed more than a credit card and taking anything more than a hand-scraper was a waste of automobile interior real estate. Snow? The last time I had seen snow that was still snow when it hit the ground was 1987.

So it was a bit of a shock.

Also, I had to learn quite a bit about these things. Including the ubiquitous design of those scraper-brushes, and how they worked.

Another thing I learned was that below a certain temperature, even cars that are otherwise in good working order won’t start. I remember my shock when I arrived and people would go into the convenience store while leaving their cars running. Back in Colosse, that was asking to get your car stolen, it seemed to me. But people there did it all the time. Was crime really all that non-existent? Not the case, it turned out. It was just that the comparative risk of a car failing to restart versus the less common but more severe stolen car… well, the frequency of the former trumps the severity of the latter.

What I’ve discovered since, I’ve determined, is that the concern over the stolen car is most likely pretty foolish to begin with. It’s just something you only notice when stopping your car and taking the key out of it takes some risks. This goes into a bit about the regional and generational differences in how we think about crime and the risk of crime. A subject for a post at a later date. Right now we’re talking about ice scrapers.

As it turns out, the scraper-brush is almost a perfectly sized broom for Lain to push around the outside deck when she wants to mimic me pushing around the deck broom. It is every bit as cute as you imagine.

Category: Downtown