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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

July, 2007



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EDITORIAL

Graduation On The Moon
Every June hundreds of Marin County teenagers graduate from high school. For a few gifted students, high school is a snap. But for two thirds of the graduates it's a lot of work. Long days in school; getting to and from; followed by burning the midnight oil to get hours of homework done, can leave a young mind and body depleted. After all, if you were to hear the bragging of most high school administrators and board members, almost everyone is college bound. This isn't true, but that's another subject.
For the other third of students, graduation is a bit of a miracle. You see, besides the wonderment and stress of going through the end of adolescence, and working hard to get good grades for college, there are other sometimes-fatal stressors.

Broken families, parental substance abuse, learning disabilities, emotional challenges, and teen drug or alcohol abuse can have devastating consequences for a teen going through her high school years. And when circumstances beyond a kid's control result in out of home placement in a foster home or group home, the challenges become huge and often overwhelming.

Having no parent or guardian able to provide care and supervision is the biggest single reason kids end up in out of home placement. When these kids get to the other side of high school with a diploma they should receive huge recognition for the achievement. It is comparable to taking a walk on the moon.

Congratulations graduates! And for those who didn't graduate, you can still do it with a General Education Diploma or through programs in junior colleges.



AT&T-Anyone; Alive?
Question: How did the AT&T; monopoly, broken up in the 80s into the baby bells, come back together to form another monopoly?

The best thing that came from the breakup was a grand improvement in customer service. The competition drove prices down.

Now AT&T; is back together and is feeling like its old monopolistic ancestor. AT&T; of today is the old SBC out of Texas, which is gobbling up baby bells at a rapid rate.

The Coastal Post and Smiley's Schooner Saloon have relied on a satellite hookup for Internet services for the last few years. But Hughes Directway Internet Satellite became so slow in our location we decided to try AT&T; high speed Internet.

It was a lot faster and had the capacity to handle many computers simultaneously, but when the router went down and we tried to get an AT&T; router that would work reliably with the AT&T; system, we found that there were no live people at AT&T.; There are many recorded messages and many recorded prompts but no live people.

We're not saying there are dead people working for AT&T;, just no live people. Maybe we should call them recorded people or Canned People.

The guy who installed the service at the office said to just call him if anything went wrong, if there was a problem. He doesn't answer his cell phone or return calls. Maybe he's on vacation.

The 611-repair service has a whole series of recorded messages and number-punching choices which eventually lead to a looped-never-ending number of choices, which brings you, back to the beginning, over and over again. Same thing happens when you try to get help from the operator. Only the operator plugs you into the never-ending loop instead of having to do it yourself.

We're not saying AT&T; sucks; it just sucks when you try to get it to work when it isn't working. It's a lot like a bad marriage on the installment plan. There are probably live people working for AT&T;, we just can't find them.


Newspapers
Welcome to the West Marin Pilot or whatever the name of the new West Marin newspaper will be when its readers name it. Three newspapers in West Marin! Now that's something and I'm not even counting the Hearsay News in Bolinas. The Hearsay publishes three times a week. The Pt. Reyes Light and the new newspaper publish weekly, and the Coastal Post publishes monthly.

Almost everywhere else in the state larger newspapers or conglomerates are buying up newspapers and the number two becomes the number one.

The number of newspapers in America is shrinking. The number of readers is becoming smaller. Some media pundits say most people under 35 are getting their news on TV or the web, not newspapers. Newspapers are an endangered species. Independent newspapers are even more endangered.

So enjoy the abundance West Marin! Support them all. Newspapers are good for the health of communities and good for democracy. Rest in Peace, Andrew.

Don Deane
Editor-Publisher

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