Friday, February 17, 2017

America and the power of immigrants--you were welcomed: welcome forward!

I teach literacy to Americans and immigrants and refugees alike.

We have 60 million people in the United States who don't have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Nobody in government or in any other organization truly addresses the gravity of this problem.

[And no, there were never any Chinese or Mexican companies stealing anyone's job. Those jobs got shipped to Japan first and then to Vietnam and China by American companies trying to save a buck on not paying US workers the true value of their work.]

In Omaha, where I live, there are 36,500 people without a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Only about 2,500 of those go to school somewhere to get that GED high school credential. Without one you can't really have any job of any kind these days.

Today [February 16, 2017] is "a day without immigrants." I am an immigrant. My daughter is an immigrant. My dear bride is an immigrant. Steve Jobs's father was an immigrant from Syria. I type this on a MacBook. Sergey Brin is an immigrant. I just googled his name;) If I don't go to teach my students will miss a lesson and they'll be even further away from learning and knowing basic math that they need to work, live, pay taxes, and raise their children. If I do what I feel I have to do I may hurt even more those who need help the most.

Yet, how do I show those who may not understand how much America always depended on immigrants, without hurting those who shouldn't be hurting at all in the first place?

I went and I taught and I raised the issue in critical thinking class fashion. Everyone understood. Everyone contributed. I almost cried speaking. I hope it didn't show. Then I came home for lunch. There was circus on TV. The government still doesn't acknowledge the existence of the 60 million American people who need help with basic literacy skills--to get a high school diploma equivalent.

I'll go back to school to teach now.

I hope that some day the dream of an educated nation, one that Benjamin Franklin had, and he created universities and public libraries towards that goal, will be fulfilled. One (adult) learner at a time. If that is what it takes.

[Ah, wait, Mr. President. You benefit from something that Benjamin Franklin did. He was American. You were immigrant. Give back! Learn who America is and what it needs. And work on those...]

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy" (Sir Ernest Benn)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography--One of the greatest most inspiring for innovation stories ever written.

Follow in the footsteps of the great: "learn English"--advanced persuasive mode.

"While I was intent on improving my language, I met with an English grammar (I think it was Greenwood's), at the end of which there were two little sketches of the arts of rhetoric and logic, the latter finishing with a specimen of a dispute in the Socratic method; [31] and soon after I procured Xenophon's "Memorable Things of Socrates," wherein there are many instances of the same method. I was charmed with it, adopted it, dropped my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer and doubter.

And being then, from reading Shaftesbury and Collins, become a real doubter in many points of our religious doctrine, I found this method safest for myself and very embarrassing to those against whom I used it. Therefore I took a delight in it, practiced it continually, and grew very artful and expert in drawing people, even of superior knowledge, into concessions the consequences of which they did not foresee, entangling them in difficulties out of which they could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining victories that neither myself nor my cause always deserved.

I continued this method some few years, but gradually left it, retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced anything that may possibly be disputed, the words "certainly," "undoubtedly," or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather saying, "I conceive" or "apprehend" a thing to be so and so; "it appears to me," or "I should think it so or so," for such and such reasons; or "I imagine it to be so;" or "it is so, if I am not mistaken." This habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engaged in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning, sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those purposes for which speech was given to us,—to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure. For if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fixed in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And by such a manner you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire. Pope says judiciously:

'Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown propos'd as things forgot;'

further recommending to us to

'Speak, though sure, with seeming diffidence.'

And he might have coupled with this line that which he has coupled with another, I think, less properly:

'For want of modesty is want of sense.'

If you ask why less properly, I must repeat the lines:

'Immodest words admit of no defense,
For want of modesty is want of sense.'

Now, is not "want of sense" (where a man is so unfortunate as to want it) some apology for his "want of modesty?" and would not the lines stand more justly thus?

'Immodest words admit but this defense,
That want of modesty is want of sense.'

This, however, I should submit to better judgments."

Excerpt From: Benjamin Franklin. "Franklin's Autobiography / (Eclectic English Classics)." iBooks.

Enjoy! Follow in the footsteps of the great. Look inside. You will be successful.

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy" (Sir Ernest Benn)

Even complex things are very simple. Simple is pretty

There are only atoms and empty spaces between them. Everything else is opinion (Democritus of Abdera)

As it turns out, sometimes even the empty spaces matter. When there is a void it will be filled eventually. The pressure to fill that void matters. Yet, all of this is opinion!

Once the void is filled it will feel as if there has never been any void at all.

Let's see. Can we conceive of a world without internal combustion engine powered vehicles that were mass produced? Everyone Henry Ford tried to convince about his business loan needs laughed in his face. That was opinion.

What about a world without our smartphones? Who would've imagined? Phone use penetration in Africa is at 80% or better. It got there in the last 10 years or so. Meanwhile sanitation in Africa is at 25% or so and it's only been growing slightly for the last fifty years. My opinion: make having sanitation as cool as having a phone. Because the former is healthier!

Water desalination plants are expensive. They are hard to maintain. Why not follow nature instead? The Albatross has a nose gland that allows it to drink salt water and desalinate it. Sometimes following in the footsteps of the great just works. Nature is great. Look inside. You never know what you may find but you will find success.

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tell truth to power.

Stay honest. Risk to tell the truth. No matter what. No matter what they say & do to you. Don't give up truth for fake fame/power. Persevere.

Galileo Galilei did it. He suffered his entire life for it. We owe him to do the same.

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Read about the awesome power of local rule

We are building the soul into the school and "Government, could you please take your dirt hill away now? We would like our children to play here before they outgrow playing!"

Gifford Park Pride Newsletter (published in Omaha Nebraska, January 2017)