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  • #16
    Re: Reality Hits Home.....

    Reality hits home......
    I must admit, I kind of smirk when I hear people complain about their failing local economy. Welcome to my world.

    Around here the local economy was never good to start with.
    The only ones with money were/are the ones "from away", that come for the summer.

    From the time I was knee high, all remember hearing was , "this mill is closing, that mill is closing" some closed, some didn't, but the threat was always there.

    Maine never saw the "bubble" thats about to pop. I'm not even so sure we ever came out of the last depression, but we survive. And we will survive the next one because we never got a taste of $300,000 homes, $40,000 trucks, and $3,000 shoes. A few did, and those are the one's hurting now, but the majority of us are stuck (and some, fighting to get out of) in the same hole we grew up in.
    INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
    Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

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    • #17
      Re: Reality Hits Home.....

      Originally posted by Gene Bickford View Post
      Maine never saw the "bubble" thats about to pop. I'm not even so sure we ever came out of the last depression, but we survive. And we will survive the next one because we never got a taste of $300,000 homes, $40,000 trucks, and $3,000 shoes. A few did, and those are the one's hurting now, but the majority of us are stuck (and some, fighting to get out of) in the same hole we grew up in.
      I would say that $300k wouldn't buy a crap shack near here, but the foreclosure that is 5 houses away is down to $408k. Two years ago in the south of the county $600k wouldn't buy anything but a crap shack, which is why I live in the north of the county.

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      • #18
        Re: Reality Hits Home.....

        Originally posted by VASandy View Post
        In my work with Help With Housing, I've seen a lot of sad stories. Lots of the older folks are facing some very rough times. In most instances the old guys are veterans that saw action and fought for our country. It's hard to watch this. HWH does what we can, but there's only so much money to go around. I'm hopeful HWH can get some of the federal money and build a place that can house these folks in a respectful environment. They deserve at least that.

        Just as an aside, it's important to remember that when you have nothing, the TV becomes your only escape. These folks don't get vacations.
        I don't know what to do about the older who's circumstances possibly made them illiterate to to their future needs.

        But I disagree that when you have nothing the TV becomes your only escape. I don't pay for TV.

        People can read books. The library is still free. I check out books all the time about all kinds of things.

        There is always something to do. People have forgotten that or just choose not to see it. We used to be so much more physically active because we were forced too be for survival. Now people pay to have there yard mowed, house painted, house cleaned, etc & pay to go to a gym also.

        The majority of America has been taught to live beyond their means in my opinion. I had the statistics at one time of the average size home built 50 years ago & it was around 1000 sq. ft. Now it's something like 1800 sq. ft. with less children on average.

        I've worked in "Section 8" housing where they have new flatscreen TV's & Xboxes. Section 8 is where WE pretty much pay for the rent. Goes directly to the landlord. I personally think it should be outlawed as it teaches learned helplessness.

        I have to force myself to remember to try and not judge because I have not walked in their shoes. But it is hard for me as I live below what people have determined is normal % of ones means.

        J.C.

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        • #19
          Re: Reality Hits Home.....

          It is interesting to me that you mention the threat of the mills closing. My step-father managed a number of mills for IP in Maine and elsewhere. He is dead so I can't ask which mills specifically. But he was a tireless champion for workers and advocated for keeping the mills open against the judgement of IPs Board of Directors. He has told me of heated arguments with the Directors based on, among other things, the quality of workers and the quality of products they produced for the company. How, he would ask, did the company think they could produce a better product for less money, in a new mill built someplace else, when there were experienced paper makers at the existing mill. He also questioned to the Directors how the people in the mill towns would survive if the mills pulled out.

          Somehow he ended up on the Board of Directors for IP for a short time. He wasn't thought especially well of by other members of the Board because of his voicing of concerns for the workers at the mills. Finally he had enough bickering and went to work for another paper company.

          In the little town I grew up in the threat of mill closing was always there also. Two paper mills and another one provided the majority of employment. Whether the mill's owners would start the rumors and for what reason I don't know. But it seemed like every other year or so the threat of one or another closing would be there. The community as a whole was always on edge.

          Tom

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          • #20
            Re: Reality Hits Home.....

            Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
            I don't know what to do about the older who's circumstances possibly made them illiterate to to their future needs.

            But I disagree that when you have nothing the TV becomes your only escape. I don't pay for TV.

            People can read books. The library is still free. I check out books all the time about all kinds of things.

            There is always something to do. People have forgotten that or just choose not to see it. We used to be so much more physically active because we were forced too be for survival. Now people pay to have there yard mowed, house painted, house cleaned, etc & pay to go to a gym also.

            The majority of America has been taught to live beyond their means in my opinion. I had the statistics at one time of the average size home built 50 years ago & it was around 1000 sq. ft. Now it's something like 1800 sq. ft. with less children on average.

            I've worked in "Section 8" housing where they have new flatscreen TV's & Xboxes. Section 8 is where WE pretty much pay for the rent. Goes directly to the landlord. I personally think it should be outlawed as it teaches learned helplessness.

            I have to force myself to remember to try and not judge because I have not walked in their shoes. But it is hard for me as I live below what people have determined is normal % of ones means.

            J.C.
            I think you are wrong JC. I think you would be amazed at the number of people living in Section 8 housing that can't read, young and old. Even if they could read a lot of the section 8 housing complexes have declined to the point where people are afraid to leave thier homes for anything more than is necessary. I have interviewed a number of tenants of section 8 housing and no one would live there if they had the choice.

            I agree that there are low or no cost options for entertainment provided and paid for by municipalities. But for some reason the section 8 housing population doesn't avail themselves of those opportunities. It is an enigma that no one has been able to solve.

            Tom

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            • #21
              Re: Reality Hits Home.....

              Originally posted by Tom W View Post
              I think you are wrong JC. I think you would be amazed at the number of people living in Section 8 housing that can't read, young and old. Even if they could read a lot of the section 8 housing complexes have declined to the point where people are afraid to leave thier homes for anything more than is necessary. I have interviewed a number of tenants of section 8 housing and no one would live there if they had the choice.

              I agree that there are low or no cost options for entertainment provided and paid for by municipalities. But for some reason the section 8 housing population doesn't avail themselves of those opportunities. It is an enigma that no one has been able to solve.

              Tom
              Why are they there? Why can't they read? Why can someone from a foreign country that cannot read or speak the language come here and succeed?

              I've seen people rise above Section 8 & foreigners succeed from nothing and it is always the same way-they work their butts off to do better.

              It is learned helplessness and laziness in the majority of cases.

              J.C.

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: Reality Hits Home.....

                Originally posted by Tom W View Post
                threat of one or another closing would be there. The community as a whole was always on edge.Tom
                And that is how we (most of) have always always lived, we are use to it, it's a way of life here.
                International Paper (IP) has put food in my belly through both union men and "scabs". One day they (IP or the countless others) are our bread and butter and the next day they are the enemy, or gone to China.
                INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
                Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: Reality Hits Home.....

                  JC wrote: "...I had the statistics at one time of the average size home built 50
                  years ago & it was around 1000 sq. ft. Now it's something like 1800 sq. ft. ..."

                  Part of that stems from minimum footage for homes in some zoning areas.
                  Developers were the ones behind that in many cases. They didn't want a
                  1000 sf home going up next to their development of 3200 sf mini-mansions.

                  50 years ago there were no codes or zoning laws, master plans, etc in most
                  areas of the country.

                  2/19/09 Update: Was just reading a piece in National Geographic on energy
                  conservation today that says the avg home size is up 45% from 30 years ago.
                  Last edited by Bob D.; 02-20-2009, 12:12 AM. Reason: added comments
                  ---------------
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                  ---------------
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                  ---------
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                  • #24
                    Re: Reality Hits Home.....

                    Thanks Bob. That is a good point I hadn't thought of.

                    I still stand behind that the majority try live beyond their means.

                    J.C.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Reality Hits Home.....

                      Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
                      Why are they there? Why can't they read? Why can someone from a foreign country that cannot read or speak the language come here and succeed?

                      I've seen people rise above Section 8 & foreigners succeed from nothing and it is always the same way-they work their butts off to do better.

                      It is learned helplessness and laziness in the majority of cases.

                      J.C.
                      Why are they there? The answer to that is as varied as the persons who would answer the questions. Divorce. Single mother at 16. Out of work because of jobs heading overseas to name a few.

                      Why can't they read? That is probably grist for another mill but I will tell you this. In an earlier post on this thread I said my mother was heading to Fairfax VA to live with her boyfriend. Sad to say but one of my relatives, a senior in high school, in as whitebreaded a community as there probably is in the US asked, "What state is Virginia in?" If he can't learn whatever, in a safe, relatively non-violent venue how can students learn in a stressed atmosphere?

                      I think you will find that a number of foreigners who come here don't succeed, although there a number of resounding success stories, the percentage is small. They are on welfare or some other sort of public assistance. Generally the ones who do succeed are second generation foreigners, kids who were born here. These kids have a very strong support network and are bombarded by guilt from their parents. A lot of these second generation kids were raised in non-english speaking homes. The result is that when they enter school they isolate themselves in enclaves with other like speaking kids. These groups generally have an adult leader who mentors the kids, always extolling the value of education. At home kids hear from their parents how they made such a sacrafice coming to America so that they, the kids, could have what they, the parents, never had. So with the combination of an actively involved mentor and the guilt trip layed on them by their parents they learn, go to college and do well.

                      If hard work was all there was to success every black person in America would be a milti-millionaire by now. Those slaves worked hard. As Freemen blacks worked hard. It takes more than hard work to be a success. It also takes education and support and blacks, for a long time, didn't have the opportunity for education or support. A couple years ago I heard an interview with a Chineese historian. He was asked if he thought the US Civil War had been good for the United States. His answer was that it is to early to tell. From 1865 to now seems like a long time to you and me who live the history every day but in the overall scheme of things its not.

                      I agree with you that in some cases there is an element of learned helplessness. One of my clients was a 26 year old single mother of two children. The all lived with the mother's mother in one apartment. I would go to the apartment, try to talk with the mother and the grandmother would answer the questions from another room, most often the kitchen. Finally the mother told me that I would be better off asking her mother, the grandmother, the questions because she was just a child with a child. This woman, at 26 years old, thought of herself as a child who had to be cared for. That is learned helplessness.

                      Tom
                      Last edited by Tom W; 02-16-2009, 01:40 AM.

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                      • #26
                        Re: Reality Hits Home.....

                        Tom W. We are going to have to respectfully disagree. I understand your points clearly. My experience has shown what I post as I'm sure yours does.

                        Thanks.

                        J.C.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: Reality Hits Home.....

                          Originally posted by Tom W View Post
                          I think you will find that a number of foreigners who come here don't succeed, although there a number of resounding success stories, the percentage is small. They are on welfare or some other sort of public assistance. Generally the ones who do succeed are second generation foreigners, kids who were born here.
                          It takes a certain kind of person to uproot themselves from what they are used too, just to come here they are probably more motivated than the average person. Motivated people will succeed. My in-laws barely knew English, yet both are successful at what they do. My father-in-law designs programs for CNC milling machines, which is close to what he did in Russia; my mother in-law designed submarines, now she is a computer programmer-which she had to go to school for while my FIL was a machinist making $8/hr.

                          It does piss me off that there are a lot of old immigrants who get themselves green cards and collect social security and medicare. We should never let those people in, if they do not have a shot of being productive members of this society given their age.

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                          • #28
                            Re: Reality Hits Home.....

                            Originally posted by cpw View Post
                            It takes a certain kind of person to uproot themselves from what they are used too, just to come here they are probably more motivated than the average person. Motivated people will succeed. My in-laws barely knew English, yet both are successful at what they do. My father-in-law designs programs for CNC milling machines, which is close to what he did in Russia; my mother in-law designed submarines, now she is a computer programmer-which she had to go to school for while my FIL was a machinist making $8/hr.

                            It does piss me off that there are a lot of old immigrants who get themselves green cards and collect social security and medicare. We should never let those people in, if they do not have a shot of being productive members of this society given their age.
                            Although it has been a number of years I worked in a resettlement program specifically designed for immigrants from the FSU so of all the immigrant populations that is the one with which I am most familiar. There are a number of issues at play here.

                            Number one I agree with your assertion that motivated people will succeed. The agency for which I worked established an English as Second Language program that was well attended. (I sat in on a few lessons and for me it was an eye opener when everyone, during the classes, including the teacher who was also from the FSU was sipping vodka. I still smile when I think about it.) Immigrants who attended the classes were motivated to succeed. Statistically, based on the interpretation of questionaires, far more of the females assimilated into the society than the males. Females found jobs more rapidly than males. A number of reasons were postulated for that phenomenon, and many made sense but I don't recall that anything was ever agreed upon as a deciding factor.

                            Older persons from the FSU were educated in a system far different from that estabilshed in the US. A number of people from the FSU were engineers but their engineering education was so much different from that in the US that their degrees weren't recognized here. An engineer in the FSU may have an area of specialization in railroad car wheels. There was nothing that they didn't know about railroad car wheels - absolutely nothing. But they didn't have as broad a based education as taught at US engineering schools. The education of physicians, veterinarians and college professors to name a few other professions, was similarly based, highly skilled areas of specialization with no broad base. Many immigrants came here with the thought that they could make a contribution but the rug was pulled out from beneath them.

                            I know a guy who was an electrician in the FSU. It seemed to me that since the trades were in need of workers he would be a good candidate for at least an apprenticeship in a union. I tried a number of times to get him jobs but no one would hire him. He persevered and finally was hired as an apprentice of sorts in an industrial electrician program. In just a couple years he was running the entire electrical department. So trades people didn't have any easier time obtaining jobs than white collar people. But if a job was obtained in a field with which they were familiar the immigrants from the FSU could infer the knowledge gained in their country of origin and be successful.

                            The differences between the socio/political/educational/economic structures of the FSU and US probably contributed significantly to older immigrants from the FSU not working. Not working translated to a personal lack of self worth which precipitated depression. People who are depressed don't present themselves well to prospective employeers so they don't get jobs.

                            I am not so sure I agree with you that older persons who have no skills shouldn't be allowed in. What about older people who are persecuted in their countries of origin for religious beliefs? Should the US turn a blind eye to them?

                            To be sure the issue of immigration is a serious problem. The US can't continue to be a safe haven for the entire world. That policy is bankrupting us. Historically economic power has translated to world dominance or world leadership. Starting with Spain then France then England and now the US the dominance has lasted approximately 150 years each. The reign of the US's dominance is projected to be up in the year 2070 with China as the emerging world leader. The underlying, consistent cause of the downfall, if you will, is overspending. We, in the US, can't continue to give everything away. A line has to be drawn. Someone has to make the difficult decisions.

                            The saying that persons who don't know history are condemed to repeat it is being played out rapidly in the US.

                            Tom
                            Last edited by Tom W; 02-16-2009, 11:37 AM.

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                            • #29
                              Re: Reality Hits Home.....

                              Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
                              ...
                              Originally posted by Tom W View Post
                              ...
                              Here's $0.02 CDN from an immigrant himself.
                              I came to the US in 1987 when some folks were committing suicides due to the market crash at the time. I came with all of $50 (that's fifty Dollars).

                              During those gloomy days when there was such a terrible shortage of work I was out of work for perhaps 5 days. I started living in an old house to be soon renovated. No heat, but running water and electricity. After 6 weeks I was able to rent a 1 bedroom apartment. I worked in construction. Quite a switch for me after two degrees, one of them in English Lit. But hey, nobody waited here for me so I didn't complain. It was my decision to grab the bull by the horns. 11 hour work days, 9 hours on Saturdays, side jobs on Sundays.

                              After a year I was running my own construction business. I never advertised. People like the quality of work. They stopped, asked for a business card and I got new jobs. In 5 years that I lived in NYC I didn't know one single immigrant (and I knew quite a few) who was on any kind of social assistance. In fact the concept was strange to me and it was frown upon by all I knew. In a word, it was a question of honor. I lived among Italians, Greeks, Romanians, Jews, Poles. I am a Pole myself.

                              During that time (around 1990 or so) there was a big news item in NYC. Riots ensued after a Korean store owner got hold a local African-American fella who tried to steal something from the store. There was a fight and some bruises. African-America "leaders" in the city tried to convince all that immigrants get $50K to start their businesses. Bull$hit. All we got was the permission to come and either end up in some slums or work our rear ends off before we could catch a breath. It was up to us to fail or survive.

                              Eventually I decided to move on to Canada and get back to school. After another couple degrees I happily settled down as an IT fella. I haven't achieved success one reads about in newspapers, but I live reasonably comfortable married life with 2.3 kids.

                              I have been always wondering - how come millions of Americans and Canadians, who have been given such a great opportunity to live in somewhat normal countries could screw it up for themselves so badly. I never had this kind of a chance growing up in a communist country but I knew from early years - it all starts in school. With the embarrassingly low level of spelling skills I see every day in Canada the US, where I come from I wouldn't have been able to graduate from a primary school, let alone high school. Simply impossible. Three spelling or nine punctuation errors on the final exam and you were back to school for another year.

                              I have been asked by some customers of mine whether those Polish workers of mine really read the newspaper during lunch breaks. "Can they read at all?" I was surprised with the question, so I asked - how can you NOT read the moment you turn 8 or 10 years old?

                              Yeah, I know quite a few Polish jokes how you can't get a Polish sausage in Home Depot. The funny thing is that the way the so called Polish saussages taste around here, the only logical place to look for them is some kind of a lumber department of a hardware store - all sawdust. Often though, what people say about others speaks more about those who utter the myths. The joke's on them.

                              Not all will move on to become PhDs and that's good. We need craftsmen too. But what school teaches, or should teach (among others), is the discipline, the sense of duty towards oneself and one's future family, and, at the risk of sounding pompous, towards the society.

                              Since the thread is about home repos - between me and my wife we thought long and hard before buying a house. The bank said our monthly mortgage payment shouldn't be higher than 30% of our combined gross income. To us that wasn't good enough so we went for a house that costs us 20% of our net income monthly. We have about $300K in credit lines. Tempting to some, but to us this is a "just in case" situation, not a source of income. Strangely, millions in the US and Canada don't see the treacherous correlation between the ability to borrow and the ability to repay the debt.

                              I think there are many reasons why some people fail, but I believe one's fate is in one's hand. If I fail I have two options - stay down and give up, or get up and go. I did fail a number of times. Life is not all roses. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It won't come to me, I have to make the effort to get to it. About the only difficulty, at times, is the length of the tunnel
                              Last edited by darius; 02-16-2009, 12:14 PM.
                              In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion.

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                              • #30
                                Re: Reality Hits Home.....

                                Darius,

                                I am happy to hear you have achieved the level of success you have. There are notable exceptions. It is as CPW says, motivated people will succeed.

                                Most of my writings in this thread have been statistically based, not 'from the hip' assertions. I hope it is clear which is statistically factually and which is opinion. In some cases I was included as writer of the original research papers. Research papers are mathematically replicable assertions. Everything is reduced to statistics so that the results are able to be universally scrutinized and interpreted.

                                The vignettes I included are of course not statistics but cases from my practice.

                                In my answer to JC the answers as to why people are living in section 8 housing is factual. Social anthropologists research and follow these things. The result of the research is available to anyone interested.

                                The answer to CPW is also fact. It dealt almost exclusively with how the old education system in the FSU was viewed by the US education system and the reasons why. I also attempted to show how immigrants educated under the old system may have been the victim of educational circumstance. Not lazy.

                                I didn't mention anything about the current education system and how it dovetails with the current US educational system primarily because I have been away from that arena and wouldn't feel qualified to comment.

                                Tom

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