Service of Who Are We Fooling?

October 18th, 2010

Categories: Deception, Disappointment, Dissatisfaction, Excuses, Failure, Technology, Uncategorized

NY Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio told Joe Bartlett on the WOR Radio 710 “Saturday Morning Show,” October 16, that there are 100,000 children who had  failed the New York State Regents math and English exams though orignally, they were told they’d passed.  Inflated grades were the culprits. What is worse than this news: These children who failed won’t be brought up to speed which is standard.

Instead, according to what I took away from the conversation, the system will start fresh and do better in future, more accurately grading the tests and having those who fail them immediately tutored.

A situation involving people shouldn’t be treated as I handle my checkbook, where I add or subtract to adjust a discrepancy that won’t go away when I [try to] balance the numbers. My fiddling concerns only me. The school debacle affects an enormous number of the city’s children who need help. To brush them off as though they are no more than an accounting adjustment broils and is wrong.

And what inspired the inflated grades to begin with? The answer lies in previous posts on inflation. What’s the point of grades if they don’t identify who needs help? Why cheat the children, citizens and state by making things appear better than they are? Who are we fooling?

The City has what I consider another head-scratcher going on in the form of an experimental system for express busses. Known as “limited” busses, because they stop on avenues only at crosstown stops, they are wonderful especially if you travel on 1st or 2nd Avenues, quite a distance from the Lexington Avenue subway. The limiteds leap through traffic, as much as any vehicle can, and get you to your destination quickly.

The purpose of the 1st and 2nd Avenue experiment [and before that, in the Bronx]–is to help move people in and out of a bus quickly by allowing them to enter all doors, instead of only the front door where the MetroCard swiping machine is. The concept is good; the execution pathetic.

The City has placed machines on the street by the bus stops. They dispense paper receipts after you’ve slipped in your MetroCard where the machine subtracts the cost of the fare. Police are making spot-checks of the busses to confirm that everyone has a receipt. Trouble is: You never know when the limited bus is coming. If you pay for a receipt, it won’t work on a standard bus so you’ve lost the cost of the fare if a local comes and you don’t want to wait for the next limited bus.  Who knows when it will come? And if there is a crowd, you can miss the express bus if you’re in a line for a turn at a machine that, you can bet, won’t work in freezing weather or if it’s been vandalized. [One of the machines takes coins.]

Last, I tried to buy pretty commemorative stamps for a mailing at a country post office where I’ve bought hundreds of seasonal stamps for 15+ years. The branch had only 45 decorative stamps in the safe and in any of two workstations–none matching. This is scary: Feels very third world. It’s costly to design a stamp and once the art is in place, printing a good number at first printing is de minimus. Why bother designing them? Where is the lobbyist for the greeting card industry? NOTE: I dropped into the Grand Central Station post office and they had plenty of stamps. So are we closing small town post offices and giving them little to sell? Is it so nobody will miss them when they are gone?

What are your thoughts about these examples? Do you have other “Who are we fooling” stories to share?

3 Responses to “Service of Who Are We Fooling?”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    Caveat emptor is just as true now as it was thousands of years ago. The education system, as mentioned above, is only one sad example. The public has bought into a shoddy bill of goods, the costliest, but one of the worst on the planet.

    On a personal level, attempts to coax dollars out of ones pockets seem to be more numerous than the population. While the ad industry is clearly the largest legal culprit, it must share the blame with those who fall for its claims.

    Sorry about the stamps! My post office usually has a fine supply, and it’s one of the few shopping events I enjoy.

    Fooling others is a game. The better one plays it, the greater chances are one eludes the consequences, which can be costly.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Trouble is, the game becomes exhausting when it is unnecessary. Most people have real stresses to deal with; I object to the manmade kind, the way we trip up one another, lose site of goals and rely on flimflammery.

  3. Hester Craddock Said:


    It’s interesting that you picked to illustrate your point, three entities, which are government owned and operated.

    As a former federal government employee, I can affirm that no matter how hard a few brave souls try to do a better job of running things in their particular piece of the government, the entrenched bureaucracy will always defeat the do-gooders because of their powerful unions and the vast social legislation now on the books. These make it virtually impossible to fire obstructionists and incompetents.

    In the case of the schools, I have sympathy for the teachers who must attempt to tame and motivate often semi-parentless children inculcated with TV and consumerism.

    The bus company has no excuse, from the top – even to Mayor Bloomberg – to the bottom. Obviously some corrupt manufacturer paid off city officials to have them spend our money buying this stupid product. If no one uses the busses, the new system will go away, but not before wasting millions in taxpayer dollars.

    I also have sympathy for the post office, despite its gross inefficiency. The politicians not only get free mailing privileges, but also, in order to get campaign contributions from fat cat corporations, they force the post office to charge well below cost to distribute junk mail. Who is supposed to pay the difference, we the taxpayers are, and we don’t use the mails much anymore. Postal workers must realize that most of them will soon be unemployed, unions or no unions, and must be anxious as hell.


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