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Friday, February 15, 2008

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

A quick

This is a test.

There is one question: How much time each day do you spend paying attention to something that actually matters?

To answer the question we need to define two things: “paying attention” and “something that actually matters.”

By “paying attention” I mean, reading, thinking, talking with someone, or even watching a video of some sort.

Now what does ”something that actually matters” mean.

Well, there are a lot of things that might actually be important to our existence as human beings: science, God, math, philosophy, engineering, love, politics – the list is pretty long when you think about it.

So, rather than trying to make a list, lets exclude things that surely are not all that important.

Here is my list of things that just do not matter:

The daily life of any celebrity, from movie stars to sports stars to super models, and all in between.

.9 percent of anything that appears on television – from soap operas to sit-coms and most movies as well.

Most of what we call popular music.


I’m going to take some heat for listing sports here. Just for the record, I love sports – I love playing them, and I even like following them. Playing sports has many benefits, and following sports can be fun. But, in the big picture, who the best forward is in the NBA is not nearly as important as understanding the structure of our Constitution, and why it deliberately prevents pure democracy.

So, let’s throw out anything associated with sports, popular music, television programming, and celebrities in general.

Last, we probably have to throw out what we do for work, whether we are newspaper editors or scientists. We all think about work to some degree, or at least we probably should.

So, outside of work, how much time each day do you spend thinking about something that matters?

For most of us, the answer is, “very little,” sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for not-so-good reasons.

Good or bad, the result is the same.

We are one of the most uneducated, unthinking nations in the history of the modern world.

We have universal public education, and nearly universal ignorance.

Most of us know the details of Brittany Spears’ latest tiff with her parents and the police, but have no idea what Keynesian Economics is, and how the theory affects our lives, and our children’s lives. (And it is quite simple and has everything to do with the inflation rate).

We will discuss the last Super Bowl for hours, but won’t spend ten minutes researching a presidential candidate on our own. Instead we accept the 45-second sound-byte delivered by FOX ( aka FAUX) News or CNN (aka Clinton News Network) (and they both lie).

We will spend more time researching which cell phone or car to buy, than we do researching how our own economy works.

So, take the test.

How do you score?

Do you know more about Brittany Spears than your own system of government, or the various theories of economics?

If so, then you know the answer the following question that I hear pretty often regarding our nation’s general state of affairs:

“How did we get into this mess?”

Our View

County handing out free rides for buddies

Did anybody pay attention to the last County Commissioner’s meeting? The Enterprise covered the story in its February 1st edition.

This is the part that was priceless: Danny Rodriguez, retired school worker and current city councilman, gets a $40,000/year job, with benefits, created for him by County Judge Sam Contreras, who used to work for Rodriguez when Contreras worked for the city, under a city council dominated by former and current public school workers.

Sounds like the plot from a grade B comedy about government corruption at low-levels to me.

How good a boss do you have to be to later have your former employee create a 40-grand-a-year job for you to supplement your retirement?

What kind of favor do you call in to get this kind of free ride?

Even if this silliness is somehow legit, do we really need a county-paid, $40,000/year “coach” in the county-funded recreation department?

Is this why we have county government – to burn $40,000/year in taxpayer money to hire a coach? Do real coaches make this much money?

Somehow, Reeves County survived all these years without this expense, but now, suddenly, we need it?

I’m betting there are some fine individuals in Reeves County who would coach these kids for a lot less money, or even as absolute volunteers.

This is an absolute waste of tax money in the least, and absolute corruption at the worst. The Reeves County commissioner’s court ought to be impeached and replaced with some folks who understand their duty to their constituents.

Handing out freebie, make-work/no work jobs to their buddies and cronies is not in their job description.

Well, not yet.

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