Free Forum Friday October 15 Edition

Nothing much new this week other than the bazillions of dollars in campaign ads flying about. The biggest item seems to be the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ruling and the subsequent appeal. Then the Air Force voluntarily saying it was done with DADT.


More silliness from the Tea Party.

Rescue of the miners in Chile was the feel good moment of the week.

What’s on your mind?


About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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115 Responses to Free Forum Friday October 15 Edition

  1. Jeff says:

    “Then the Air Force voluntarily saying it was done with DADT.”==========I haven’t seen this yet in the news, but if it’s true, it’s fascinating. I always thought the military chain of command went to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and that the civilian chain of command went through the various service secretaries to the Secretary of Defense, to the President.What kind of breakdown of the chain of command would allow one service to go in one direction, while the others don’t? It’s not quite the same thing as deciding what color to paint the mess hall.

  2. Mule Rider says:

    Interesting thing about the miners was that they’ve had them protect their eyes with sunglasses once they surfaced. I never thought about that and what it means for your eyes to be “in the dark” for over two months. So glad it had a happy ending.

  3. filistro says:

    Yay! FFF!Now I can ask the question some of us have been waiting all week for.How did you get where you are, ideologically speaking? What was your personal political journey? Have you always been right or left, or did you evolve?The right likes to say that people grow more conservative as they age, but that certainly wasn’t the case for me. When I was young and knew everything (and lived and went to school in the US) I was very conservative. I was an Ayn Rand capitalist, opposed abortion, and thought capital punishment was just and right. As I got older I began to see some uncomfortable truths. I saw that capitalism has an ugly dark side.. which is exploitation. I raised daughters and knew I could never force one of them to bear a child she didn’t want and wreck her life thereby. I saw that innocent people were sometimes executed.I have become a moderate in fiscal matters, and very liberal socially. I volunteer, donate and work for the Democratic party because I think the whole world is a better place when they are in power. So… what about you?

  4. Mr. Universe says:

    I liked the miner who brought all the resuers a rock from below. Colbert mentioned that the gift shop down there was probably pretty limited.

  5. Jeff says:

    filistro wrote:Yay! FFF!Now I can ask the question some of us have been waiting all week for.How did you get where you are, ideologically speaking? What was your personal political journey? Have you always been right or left, or did you evolve?===========First, as a Canadian, how do you “volunteer, donate, and work” for the Democratic party? Sounds like foreign money going to influence our elections. I’m shocked, SHOCKED!Anyway, to answer your question: Grew up in a suburban Republican community. Parents picked themselves up by their bootstraps and had very rigid social ideas — you dressed properly at all times, ALWAYS were polite, (yet I called them by their first names). They didn’t care about your religion or race — I recall the first minority family who bought a home in our neighborhood and some neighbor came over to complain. My father said, very dismissively, “I don’t care WHAT they are as long as they keep the lawn mowed and the house painted.” They believed in hard work and taught that there was no such thing as honest work that was beneath anybody — and that’s the way they treated waiters and plumbers, etc. They believed in thrift and living below your means, and that education was the most important gift they could give. I had my first paying job in 5th grade, and have worked pretty much all my life since then. I’m the guy who comes to your party and at the end, you’ll find me in the kitchen helping wash up. I’ve picked up most of my parents ideas, but have mellowed them considerably. I’m socially liberal, but believe in strong societal standards. I think that while we have the “right” to be jerks, people shouldn’t tolerate it in others, because it breaks down the culture, and a strong, cohesive culture is essential for a successful nation. I also believe that cultural failings in individuals and families is the major determinant of success or failure. Like my father, I’m a finance guy. I think you can tell a lot about people and politicians by their attitude towards money — especially other people’s money. I know that government accounting, if employed in the private sector, would rapidly send the perps to jail. It’s fundamentally dishonest and it is leading us down the primrose path, and I loathe and despise the people doing it to us.My bottom line is that I don’t care what you do, so long as it doesn’t affect me. Lead your own life, but let me live mine. If you decide to be a fuck-off, don’t come whining to me about how life is unfair and how I owe you. I don’t.Finally, I’m wary of ideologues and people who “KNOW THE ANSWER.” When I’m around conservatives, I point out their errors and omissions. And I try to do the same here — there’truth on both sides.I also think it’s my duty to give my time and money to help others less fortunate, and give thousands of dollars a year to selected non-profits, and have been a community volunteer on non-partisan projects most of my adult life.

  6. shiloh says:

    Col. Jessep: You want answers?Kaffee: I think I’m entitled.Col. Jessep: You want answers?Kaffee: I want the truth!Col. Jessep: You can’t handle the truth!~~~~~>You want political moderation ~ I think I’m entitled πŸ˜‰ ~ Son, you can’t handle political moderation!Current Affairs Moderation er Rules and RegulationsFor your edification and viewing pleasure …>My first political forum on the net 2003/2006. Joker’s started in 2000 as a Big Brother reality tv site and quickly expanded. Believe it was 2001/2002 they added a political forum called Perspectives it was later changed to Current Affairs. I joined in 2003 because of Big Brother. Became a regular in CA 2004, as mentioned, noticed some of the posters really, really didn’t like each other.They had gigantic threads re: evolution, abortion etc. approaching 1,000 posts during its heydey. There were 3/4 conservatives whom I really enjoyed the yin and yang. πŸ™‚ But as previously mentioned, after the 2006 mid-terms, most of the really good Rep debaters left and after the 2008 election, they all left, go figure!Originally they had left leaning moderators, so progressives got away w/a lot more as far as pushing the envelope. And as one can imagine conservatives did a lot of whining re: said moderation. My last year a conservative administrator, not moderator, ruled the roost, so it was touch and go for liberals. I was banned from CA in 2006, it was pretty much a lifetime achievement award πŸ˜‰ but the final straw: I was making a post in a very heated thread and the Rep administrator was deleting the entire thread as I was making my post, so I was totally pissed as my post entered the time/warp continuum.Accordingly, I started another thread and made my post. The Rep administrator was not pleased πŸ˜‰ and we exchanged pleasantries. That was that.btw, entire threads were zapped/deleted on a regular basis. Recently mentioned they had several calm down periods as the heat often reached critical mass! B)>As you can see by the rules and regulations it was basically like being back in grade school. But having spent time in the military knew how to play the game, which is why I lasted (3) years.Mule would have lasted a coupled hours as bad language was a definite no-no period, end of story.>But it is fascinating knowing Joker’s is basically a reality tv site ie BB, TAR, AI, Survivor, Dancing w/the Stars, etc. how much time and effort the powers that be put into CA moderation. No stone unturned, eh.btw, used the notify button once as my 1st (2) years didn’t know it existed lol. Also, they had private messages which weren’t so private, but it was a very popular feature as who doesn’t enjoy talkin’ behind someone’s back!If you can’t say anything nice, then sit next to me. ~ Dorothy ParkerYou want me on that wall ~ You need me on that wall!carry on

  7. GROG says:

    @fili,Every fiber of my being has always been politcally conservative. I’ve never wanted or asked anything from anybody. I have never expected my government to do anything for me. When I have more time I would like to expound. I’m interested in what your take is on todays Ras presidential poll. It’s at -13. Gallup has Obama at 44% approval. Near record lows. I thought they were trending in favor of Obama and the tsunami would be averted.

  8. DC Petterson says:

    @filistroHow did you get where you are, ideologically speaking?1968.Do I need to elaborate?

  9. shrinkers says:

    @GROGI have never expected my government to do anything for me. I assume you never eat meat. I hope you never need to call the police. You probably never drive on a highway. Most likely, you didn’t go to a public school. I’m certain you’ve never seen the inside of a library. You probably don’t watch television (regulated by the FCC) or fly on an airplane. You probably don’t have a driver’s license or drink city water. Most likely, you’ve never visited a public building. No one you know has been protected by America’s military. Never had an inoculation, either. And probably never used electricity, or bought any product that was transported by rail car. You most likely live alone on a Pacific island, and never use the Internet.

  10. WA7th says:

    How did you get where you are, ideologically speaking?Y’all all previously forgave my starting out as a Reagan/Gramm/Barton Texas Republican, so I don’t wanna dredge up all that again. My folks took me to church on Sundays until I was old enough to receive all the indoctrination a series of St Olaf Minnesota Lutheran pastors had to offer, so I was doomed to have at least some wishy-washy moderate lurking in me somewhere.Between Sept 1984 and Dec 1986 three things caused my attitude to do a 180. In chronological order:1. I read Slaughterhouse Five. That did it.2. As a freshman I had a conversation with the Texas A&M Corps Commandant, an active U.S. Army General, in his office, which included the following exchange:he: Son, you know plenny a Luthruns have prodly borne arms and given thur lives in service a thur country. So, what’s bein’ Luthrun gotta do with bein’ a consciensious obbjector?me: Sir, I agree with your statement, Sir. To answer your question, Sir, Lutheran doctrine encourages me to think for myself using the brain God gave me, Sir.he: Are you a communist?That did it.3. In between accounting and finance classes, I watched all of the Iran-Contra hearings, most of it while tripping my balls off on some really good acid. That really did it, for good, for at least three lifetimes.Admiral Poindexter and Larry “Bud” Melman are the same person. He’s a face-melting, fire-breathing, multicolored-sparks-shooting-out-his-sweaty-temples alien monster from hell, and I voted for the sumbitch who made him a national security advisor, but y’all all forgave me for that, no tap-backs.

  11. dr_funguy says:

    You know there is a web site somewhere that lets you score yourself on a caretesian (2-dimensional) political grid; I don’t recall that it is exactly social by fiscal but something like that. I came out with the Dali Lama. How I got there? Well Dad was an atheist, retired (WWII, Berlin, Korea) Major in Army Intelligence (sic) who became an elementary school principal and mom was a Unitarian.

  12. filistro says:

    @Jeff… I also believe that cultural failings in individuals and families is the major determinant of success or failure. I’m trying to puzzled out what this means.Like… if you don’t appreciate opera, you’re bound to be a screw-up?

  13. Mainer says:

    Maybe if you don’t like Wagner fili. I think for some it would not being a born again that would be seen as an unforgivable cultural divide.My own little political trek would include being born a Republican. I worked on the Goldwater local GOTV then voted for Nixon twice. Along the way I started working in education and dealing every day with hungry kids and dysfunctional families. So I became a Democrat but the Dems over time became less and less progressives and more and more the Republican party I had already left. So I became what I guess is a progressive pragmatic Indy and boy oh boy am I Independent. Kosti Rahoma had a great picture to define a local saying as being Independent as a hog on ice (one should look it up it is a classic) took a Finn to understand that. I still vote for some Republicans that are more interested in fixing problems and effective governance than ideology and would probably be listed as fiscaly conservative and socialy liberal. I also have my Libertarian streak. Keep the government out of my home, screw spying on me to keep me safe and no one in business has any damned business thinking they need my SSN.I have worked the public sector but I have also worked the private sector. I have 3 decades in the military as a citizen soldier. So I am pretty pro military. When one is a very senior enlisted for years they get very protective of the troops. I am mostly likely a composit built of experience, and the fact that I have lived my life in one of the poorer areas of the country.So what am I? Apparently a rectal migrain to many……and I kind of like it that way for even my good friends think I can be an anoying SOB……one has to work hard to attain such status but I hate simplistic answers and those that revel in ignorance.

  14. Bart DePalma says:

    Last day in Verona. Eating a gelato and reading the new Battleground Poll showing solid GOP lead in 52 Dem districts and a tie in over 30 more. Undecided usually break for the challengers so ties are small GOP leads.My wife is telling me it’s time to go…Surf’s WAY UP!Ciao

  15. Monotreme says:

    Some here may have missed this most excellent Nick Kristof column in the New York Times which explains how we might be predisposed to “conservative” or “liberal” political beliefs.Of especial interest to me, given the current state of this blog, was the paraphrase from Jonathan Haidt, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia:Simply exposing people to counterarguments may not accomplish much, [Haidt] said, and may inflame antagonisms.Given that the column was written in May 2009, four months after President Obama’s inauguration, the last paragraph is especially poignant, I think..

  16. Monotreme says:

    Back in the olden days of yore, I used to hang out in the Usenet newsgroup alt.folklore.urban.There, we had a running joke (probably based on someone’s poor word choice from long before) that used the word “voracity” instead of “veracity”.With that introduction, I have no idea of the voracity of this information but if genuine, it says volumes about the state of politics in our country today.In the interest of full disclosure, my SAT scores (from about seven years earlier) were 670 verbal, 710 math.

  17. shiloh says:

    @Monotreme wrote:Some here may have missed this most excellent Nick Kristof column in the New York Times which explains how we might be predisposed to “conservative” or “liberal” political beliefs.Of especial interest to me, given the current state of this blog, was the paraphrase from Jonathan Haidt, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia:Simply exposing people to counterarguments may not accomplish much, [Haidt] said, and may inflame antagonisms.~~~~~hmm, diminishing returns ~ a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest …~~~~~A study by Diana Mutz of the University of Pennsylvania found that when people saw tight television shots of blowhards with whom they disagreed, they felt that the other side was even less legitimate than before.~~~~~We need more studies, surveys, statistics, polls …Probably true for the irrational, which is why being a lifelong, unwavering liberal independent, I don’t pay much attention to right wing media or watch fixednoise anymore, again diminishing er no returns. btw, right wing media’s job is to be outrageous, over the top, stoke the flames as to attain ratings, the bottom line ie Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Billo etc. and yes Olbermann and Maddow are sarcastic and over the top as well, but a lot more factual than fixed, limbaugh et al, plus they are entertaining as well, again, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest …This is why Huffington Compost stealing this from a former 538 poster, can’t remember who and since Nate has deleted the comment section … anyway this is why HP also has an entertainment section, etc. = more ratings/viewers.This is not rocket science as a cardinal rule for politics/political blogs is to be entertaining. Most things people are involved in away from work or not dealing w/work are personal/leisure, eh. And one has to really enjoy politics to waste πŸ˜‰ their spare time on it.>Most of Kristof’s article focusing on scientific studies could have just said it’s human nature as regards to conservatives and liberals.>Indeed, as Obama is also the first African/American president in a country w/a 300/400 year history of racial oppression, I would wager πŸ˜‰ there may be a few books written about him now and until the end of time, 3797 or 3786, if one believes Nostradamus, about his presidency, both political and societal.Again, Obama is interesting/fascinating and relatively new, kinda like palin, hmm did I just say that lol as the new kids on the block tend to gain the most attention for a time, until the next new kid on the block shows up ie Britney, Lindsay, Paris …And as always, no charge for my keen grasp of the obvious as we need more pundits to decipher the transparent!>btw, as well as being entertaining, a political blog must also have interesting/intelligent posters, even some conservatives, otherwise what’s the point …

  18. Jeff says:

    Saw something in the news today that reminded me of an argument on an earlier post. Basically, the other guy was repeating Krugman’s argument that Christie was a terrible governor because he wouldn’t “invest” New Jersey’s $6 billion “fair share” for a tunnel under the Hudson to New York. My counter argument is that New Jersey is stone cold broke and it didn’t matter that this “great investment” would ease Krugman’s commute from Princeton to NY, you don’t spend what you don’t have.And the counter-argument of course was “think of all the jobs this would create.”===================Anyway, the news item I saw was this:The drilling of the longest railway tunnel in the world has been completed, earlier today, opening the 35.4-mile Gotthard Base link through the Swiss Alps. The Β£624m tunnel through the Gotthard massif….Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1320456/Swiss-tunnel-breakthrough-imminent-worlds-longest-Alps-Italy.html#ixzz12XnyQOht================Umm, let’s see. The Swiss do a 35 mile tunnel through the Alps for 624 million pounds sterling, or about $1 billion dollars, yet it will cost $10 billion dollars to dig a 1-mile tunnel under the Hudson. Guess the Swiss don’t have to deal with American bureaucracy and construction workers unions….. Guess the Swiss know how to make effective investments in infrastructure.Guess this shows why conservatives think the “shovel-ready stimulus” was a boondoggle….

  19. shiloh says:

    Gallup’s Implausible Likely Voter ResultsIt’s a shocking result. According to the Gallup Poll, a generic Republican candidate currently leads a generic Democratic candidate by 17 points among likely voters in a hypothetical House matchup. A margin of that magnitude on Election Day would almost certainly result in a Republican gain of at least 80 seats in the House of Representatives and the largest GOP majority since the 1920’s. But how plausible are their results?An examination of some of the internals from the latest Gallup survey of likely voters leads to the conclusion that these results are wildly implausible. First, Gallup shows a much larger percentage of Republicans (55% Republican identifiers and leaners vs. 40% Democratic identifiers and leaners) and conservatives (51% conservative vs. 28% moderates and 18% liberals) than we’ve ever seen in a modern election. They also show a smaller percentage of voters under the age of 30 (7%) and a larger percentage of voters over the age of 65 (27%) than we’ve seen in any modern election. But that’s not all. The candidate preference results for some subgroups of voters are just wildly implausible.Their latest likely voter survey shows a generic Republican leading a generic Democrat by a whopping 28 points among whites, 62% to 34%. To put those numbers in perspective, in 1994, according to national exit poll data, Republicans only won the white vote by 16 points, 58% to 42%, and that was their best showing since the advent of exit polling. Gallup is telling us that right now the Republican lead among whites who are likely to vote is 12 points larger than the GOP margin among whites in 1994.But that’s not the most implausible result in the latest Gallup likely voter survey. Among nonwhites other than blacks, a group that comprises about 13% of likely voters, a generic Republican is leading a generic Democrat by 10 points, 52% to 42%. That’s a group that voted Democratic by a 2-1 margin in the 2006 midterm election. Moreover, it’s a group that has never given a majority of its vote to Republican candidates for Congress in any election since the advent of exit polling. According to the 2006 exit poll results, about two-thirds of these “other nonwhite” voters are Latinos. How plausible is it that at a time when the Republican Party is closely associated with stridently anti-immigrant policies that Latino voters are moving in droves toward Republican candidates? Not plausible at all, especially when Gallup’s results are directly contradicted by other recent polls of Latino voters.The Gallup Poll should be commended for making their internals available to interested observers for secondary analysis ~ few other polling organizations are so generous with their data…. only a snapshot of current voter attitudes.~~~~~Emphasis Mine.

  20. dr_funguy says:

    Jeff,What a great example of filtering something through your ideological blinders. The difference in cost must be due to “beaurocracy and …unions”. No evidence is presented, no data comparing wage differences, differnce in tunneling through rock vs. underwater… You do nothing with this sort of claim but trumpet your bias.

  21. Mainer says:

    Nice try Jeff. Go look it up again or get it some where other than fox or Drudge. The tunnel the Swiss are actually still working on is 10 Billion and not done….I repeat not done. The Swiss wage scale is quite comparable to the wage scale in NY for similar work. The Swiss wll have sunk the amount of 1300 dollars each into the project and most likely more by the time it is done. Oh and it has only taken them 2500 workers and 20 years to power bore through self supporting rock two much smaller tubes then is required for the NY/NJ tunnel. Plus both ends come out into pretty much open areas to mate up with rail lines. No getting in under and through some of the most densly built up areas going, through not so nice substrate. The Swiss purpose for all of this. To get all the damned trucks off the road before it ruins their environment (yeah I waiting to see that here) now this is still not a slam dunk because some of the needed work in say Germany may not be done because the conservtives don’t want to spend the money to move a station and make the whole thing work well.Now Christie doesn’t want to make an investment like this because he thinks he can keep all the jobs in NJ. You know yet one more example of conservative beggaring of thy neighbor because you know it is all about business.Jeff have you ever used the tunnels in NY as I have and wondered at how the hell they did it? Best damned sand hogs in the world but to you they are just a bunch of union pukes and you seem to echo GROG at seeing no place where the government has a place to promote the common good if it involves spening/investing 8 one damned dollar you could squirrel away. Why the hell do you stay here if being part of this society upsets you so much…..just don’t think going to Switzerland is going to help……by the way they pay 5.7% tax to get universal health care..

  22. robert verdi says:

    May everyone have a nice weekend, its gorgeous over here in New York.

  23. Mainer says:

    I just don’t get it. Gallup does put out their internals (I struggle with them but others don’t)so didn’t hey even check to see if their results matched population demographics? Really sad that now the sad ass excuse we have for reporting will run with this and never look to see if any of it will actually hold water. I have said it on here and the NYT site that Nate may have just hit the big time when that which got him there turns into complete garbage. So what will Nate study next should all of the poll input turn out to be no better than this? But hey why do I feel that this will have accomplished just what it was meant to accomplish? With enough money one can buy any thing and in my mind it now looks to include Gallup.

  24. shiloh says:

    Remember early ’60s going through either the Downtown Tunnel or Midtown Tunnel maybe both, in Norfolk, VA as my dad liked to travel, Civil War battle sites, and also liked tunnels. Went through the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel many times when stationed at NAS Norfolk, late ’70s.When I was stationed in Va. Beach, early ’80s, took the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel B) one time to visit my sister on L.I. Also been through the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels. The PA Turnpike has a few tunnels as well.Roads/passages that go thru Sequoia Trees in CA are pretty neat also.Thus concludes my post on tunnels …

  25. Mainer says:

    Working in NY and NJ and never being able to get decent connections to the right/closest airport I have of late become very familiar with the tunnels in the area as well as the bridge net work. I am told the actual tunnel part of the considered project is not the major obstacle but all of the approach work. I have seen the rough plans and can not imagine how they are going to route existing traffic arteries into and out of the project. That is where much of the expense is I would suspect. A great amount of business has relocated to NJ of late just to avoid some of the travel hassel. For now though it just means the existing tunnels and bridges will continue to be clogged at certain times and the water taxi outfits must be liking it too.In many ways we have done many of the easy infrastructure projects. Those that are left are going to in many cases be the harder more expensive solutions to existing or growing issues. I would like to hear the howls of out rage if those of us in the nation that have not and never will benefit from things such as the TVA or more recently the Tenn/Tom barge works threw up blocks to those because you know they are just pork and might benefit those damned unions. It appears to me that ones view of the value of infrastructure upgrades and improvements is directly related to ones proximity to it or what they will make off it or save by it. In todays world the Interstate high way system would have most likely only existed in those states with high electoral vote numbers and places such as Maine and other rural areas with out political clout would have been left whistling.

  26. Jeff says:

    filistro wrote:@Jeff… I also believe that cultural failings in individuals and families is the major determinant of success or failure. I’m trying to puzzled out what this means. Like… if you don’t appreciate opera, you’re bound to be a screw-up?================No, I’m talking about the types of cultural influences people receive from family and community. For example, Chinese and Jews culturally place a very high value on education. This is less so the case when you look at urban black ghetto culture, or Appalachian white culture. Germans tend to be more respectful of authority and “order” than Italians.Basically I’m saying that if your family and community have productive values and traditions, you’re better off than if they have less optimal values. And before there’s an outraged response, I’ll also admit that “good” values and “bad” values are culturally determined, and that almost every culture has some elements of both good and bad.

  27. Jeff says:

    Mainer wrote: Nice try Jeff. Go look it up again or get it some where other than fox or Drudge. The tunnel the Swiss are actually still working on is 10 Billion and not done….I repeat not done. The Swiss wage scale is quite comparable to the wage scale in NY for similar work. The Swiss wll have sunk the amount of 1300 dollars each into the project and most likely more by the time it is done. ============I quoted and gave the link to the Daily Mail report on the “breakthrough” of the tunnel. It’s quite clear the tunnel is not complete. The cost figure quoted in the Daily Mail was in pounds — at today’s conversion rate it came to $994 million. If you have different cost figures, you should advise the Daily Mail. Perhaps there’s another $9 billion to go in dealing with the approaches. Dunno. If so, that would bring the cost for 35 miles of Swiss tunnel in line with the cost for about a mile or so of NY/NJ tunnel. But the Swiss can afford it — they have a budget surplus and aren’t tens of billions of dollars in debt. =======You also say: “Now Christie doesn’t want to make an investment like this because he thinks he can keep all the jobs in NJ. You know yet one more example of conservative beggaring of thy neighbor because you know it is all about business.”My original point remains: New Jersey is bankrupt. They can’t even make their annual employee pension contribution ($3 billion), their pension fund is tens of billions underfunded, the state is drowning in debt, services are being cut. They’re one of the highest-taxed states, and the SEC cited them for bond fraud. And you think they should borrow $6 billion more?And by the way, I’m SOOOOO glad you know what’s on Christie’s mind and understand his inner motivations. It’s so much more convenient to believe the worst of somebody in the other party, than to accept that he might actually be telling the truth about not being able to afford it.That’s about as logical as saying that poor people who claim they can’t afford healthcare must be lying. Or do you think that while people can be poor, government has some bottomless wallet filled with money, and it’s just those mean cruel conservatives who don’t want to spend it?=============You also say: “Jeff have you ever used the tunnels in NY as I have and wondered at how the hell they did it? “Yup. I’ve used the tunnels. I was born and raised in NY, and for a number of years commuted between New Jersey and Long Island. Nasty, difficult trip.

  28. shiloh says:

    Christie’s song and dance er disingenuous bluster re: said tunnel aside. Bottom line, NJ unemployment 9.6% ~ U.S. unemployment 9.6% as of 8/2010, soooo if NJ’s unemployment hasn’t improved considerably in (3) years, like Corzine, Christie will be toast in 2013.The yin and yang of politics.Although Christie may (((ironically))) πŸ˜‰ benefit from NJ folk moving out of the state in the interim lol to look for work elsewhere. The catch-22 as most states are in the same shape.And then there’s my fav, South Carolina, w/11% unemployment and hiking the Appalachian Trail down Argentine Way governor Sanford ie a laughingstock state, and yet it remains solidly Rep! :DWhat makes a state conservative/liberal.State poverty level ranking:# 1 Mississippi: 21.6% # 2 Louisiana: 19.4% # 3 New Mexico: 19.3% # 4 District of Columbia: 18.9% = 5 Arkansas: 17.9% = 5 West Virginia: 17.9% # 7 Kentucky: 17.4% # 8 Texas: 16.6% # 9 Alabama: 16.1% # 10 South Carolina: 15.7% # 11 Oklahoma: 15.3% # 12 North Carolina: 15.2% # 13 Georgia: 14.8% = 14 Tennessee: 14.5% = 14 Idaho: 14.5% = 16 Montana: 14.2% = 16 Arizona: 14.2% Most educated:# 1 Vermont: 17.58 # 2 Connecticut: 15.88 # 3 Massachusetts: 14.48 # 4 New Jersey: 12.55 # 5 Maine: 9.33 # 6 Minnesota: 8.97 # 7 Virginia: 8.47 # 8 Wisconsin: 8.45 # 9 Montana: 8.3 # 10 New York: 7.53 # 11 Pennsylvania: 6.76 # 12 Nebraska: 6.55 # 13 Kansas: 4.79 # 14 Iowa: 4.75 # 15 New Hampshire: 4.59 # 16 Rhode Island: 3.11 # 17 Wyoming: 2.39 # 18 South Dakota: 2.29 # 19 Maryland: 2.23 # 20 North Dakota: 2.06 Healthiest:# 1 Vermont: 22.67 # 2 New Hampshire: 21.4 # 3 Massachusetts: 18.69 # 4 Minnesota: 16.3 # 5 Maine: 16.06 # 6 Iowa: 14.57 # 7 Utah: 14.19 # 8 Hawaii: 13.71 # 9 Nebraska: 12.82 # 10 Connecticut: 12.63 # 11 North Dakota: 11.47 # 12 Rhode Island: 10.51 # 13 Washington: 9.87 # 14 Wisconsin: 8.07 # 15 Kansas: 7.85 # 16 New Jersey: 7.71 # 17 Virginia: 6.74 # 18 California: 6.51 # 19 Oregon: 5.92 # 20 Idaho: 5.42 # 21 Pennsylvania: 5.33 hmm, wonder where most teabaggers reside.and so it goes …

  29. filistro says:

    @Jeff… . This [“valuing education”] is less so the case when you look at urban black ghetto culture, or Appalachian white culture…two of the most impoverished cultures in America.So in your opinion does the “cultural failing” cause the poverty, or does poverty result in this “cultural failing”… or are they just coincidental?

  30. Mainer says:

    Jeff, you are again missing the point and you might want to check your numbers. I will work to find the several links to the 10 billion figure and then figure how to get them in here. The actual boring is while technically challenging not what is jacking the price for the NY/NJ tunnel and neither is it some vast union/bureaucractic comspiracy. It is really really expensive to get every thing to connect with all those damned buildings and crap in the way.I have no idea what is in Christy’s mind if any thing but any govenor that isn’t doing all he can to get jobs is toast. What sucks is the fact that more and more places seem wiling to beggar their neighbor to get any jobs. Industry loves it, workers not so much and usually the moves are done with public money so double suck.I do not know what NJ should do. The sad thing is one place is going to be hurt by the present situation and maybe both.With education you and I do agree. Those areas and cultures that do not value education or that even revel in ignorance will long term be doomed. I spent many years in the education business (still am in one interesting way)and areas with low regard for education can be brought around with top notch leadership and many many sessions with parents selling the concept but privatizing in poor areas is not going to work. And please don’t go off on some tangent with this. I have too many friends that work in the private education sector and even they admit many students in the public sector are not wanted in the private sector. So what so we do start deciding at birth who gets what for an education? That to me isn’t America and understand I still think Horace Mann was right.As for Maine we are at present educated, healthy and poor by many standards. Our being poor is caused way too much by a number of factors. We have lost all of our military bases because any one knows it is easier to patrol the North Atlantic from Jacksonville Fla or bomb Russia or the middle east from Lousiana or Texas. And being on the end of the line is devestating. You had a comment about trade with Canada earlier. If we lost our trade with Canada we would cease to exist.Oh and did you know that one can get from JFK to Newark in 45 minutes by car if they hit it right? Or 3 hours going the opposite direction when they hit it wrong……why oh why do I always hit it wrong?

  31. Justsayin says:

    Sorry I’m late to the discussion, I had to work all weekend. Grew up in a very Catholic republican family. Read alot of St. Anthony’s Messanger as a kid, “who knew Jesus was such a socialist”. Watched the Watergate trials with my soon to become, an east coast liberal elitest cousin. He would soon become employed by Brandeis, NYU and Temple. As an adult I have never wavered from my social liberal views, have always been quite fiscally conservative. Education is a political science degree that pretty much reinforced everything I already knew and an economic minor that shaped my fiscal views. On a side note, there was a very unscientific study done for over 30 years where preschool children were observed and they were contacted when they were adults to see what political leaning they held. It seems that the more clingy fearful children were conservative, and the more extraverted social children were liberals. So there you have it.

  32. Jeff says:

    filistro wrote:@Jeff… . This [“valuing education”] is less so the case when you look at urban black ghetto culture, or Appalachian white culture…two of the most impoverished cultures in America. So in your opinion does the “cultural failing” cause the poverty, or does poverty result in this “cultural failing”… or are they just coincidental?=============I don’t think it’s coincidental. They may be mutually reinforcing, a chicken and egg thing, but I would put my bets on culture first.There are some very interesting statistics out there — I don’t have time to find my reference books, but I’m pretty sure both Sowell and Murray look at the issue.One statistic that I think I remember is that blacks from British Caribbean islands substantially outscore American blacks in income (income is a good proxy for education), and are actually even with whites, and ahead of many white sub-groups. White sub-groups also have wide variations that seem to persist over generational time, so to some degree, differences between European cultures seem to have had their effects.I think the problem is most apparent in the inner city ghetto. Many kids are brought up by un(der)-educated, young mothers with no strong, consistent male presence. Growing up in a chaotic home environment isn’t conducive to doing well in school! And if you grow up in a neighborhood where that’s the primary family structure, and your parent and grandparents grew up in that culture, it’s going to be really tough to escape. When you look at prominent middle-aged blacks, many come from economically poor environments, but had very strong familial influences that pushed them to be educated.Many Asian families have come to the US. They often come from low-status, low-income backgrounds in the home country, but have a strong family system and a fervent belief in the value of education, despite obvious racial differences. Even through they generally come with no English, the second generation is often very successful.I’ve also heard the problem described as connected to “deferred gratification.” On the basic level, there are very few families in poverty where there are two parents who both graduated from high school. Getting thru HS and deferring childbirth requires deferring gratification. Most high-income people defer marriage and child-birth until after college, or after college, grad school, and getting established in a career. Again, it’s far easier to defer gratification if you come from a family and social/cultural background that expects that of young people, than if you come from one that doesn’t. There are obvious policy implications to this, most of them discouraging. And of course I’m talking about statistical correlations. There will always be successful people who come from horrible family and cultural backgrounds, and drugged out failures who come from the top of the elites. Nobody is doomed for failure or guaranteed to succeed.

  33. Jeff says:

    Mainer said: Oh and did you know that one can get from JFK to Newark in 45 minutes by car if they hit it right? Or 3 hours going the opposite direction when they hit it wrong……why oh why do I always hit it wrong?”========You probably hit it wrong because you make too many left turns.

  34. Jeff says:

    Mainer wrote:Jeff, you are again missing the point and you might want to check your numbers. I will work to find the several links to the 10 billion figure and then figure how to get them in here. The actual boring is while technically challenging not what is jacking the price for the NY/NJ tunnel and neither is it some vast union/bureaucractic comspiracy. It is really really expensive to get every thing to connect with all those damned buildings and crap in the way.I have no idea what is in Christy’s mind if any thing but any govenor that isn’t doing all he can to get jobs is toast. ================I’m willing to concede that the Swiss project will amount to $10 billion by the time all the connections and upgrades are done, and that a $10 billion estimate for NJ/NY is reasonable given the environment (although based on recent infrastructure jobs from the Big Dig in Boston to the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, the initial estimate is likely to be WAY less than the final bill).But for the sake of argument, let’s say the NY/NJ tunnel will “only” cost $10 billion, with NJ paying roughly half. Should they do it?Christie only has so much money to spend. He already has a very high tax state — raising taxes would drive out business and probably make matters worse. His state is in dire financial condition — he should be making a $3 billion contribution to a horribly underfunded pension plan, but isn’t doing it this year. He can issue bonds (despite the SEC fraud charges against his predecessor’s government), but that’s just borrowing more money that has to be repaid, by a state that is already deeply in debt.So I keep on asking — where does the money come from? Does he cut education? Close down the criminal justice system? Let all the existing roads fall apart? No government can “have it all.” They cannot pay for all the good things they COULD do, although they can borrow and borrow and borrow for a while, and make future promises of payments without setting aside the money to pay for them. At some point, the bill comes due. We can disagree as to whether we’ve hit that point now, or if it’s still somewhere in the future, but eventually the bill comes due. There are a lot of people who borrowed and spent way beyond their means, who bought too much house, figuring the value could only go up, and used their house as an ATM. They bought the expensive cars and the expensive TV’s and did it all on credit, and moved their balances from one card to the next, paying only the minimum. That describes most governments as well. Before criticizing Christie, like Krugman is doing, somebody has tell where the money is going to come from.

  35. filistro says:

    Jeff.. I don’t want to get into all the really unpleasant generalizations and social/racial stereotypes in your particular view of poverty and success (because I want to keep the conversation civil) so I will just ask this:Given that these large pockets of poverty and low achievement are undeniably costly for the nation, both in the outright cost of social programs and the less quantifiable (but nevertheless real) waste of human potential… what do you think should be done to improve the situation?

  36. shiloh says:

    My sister has lived wayyy out on L.I. since 1970 and during rush hour on the L.I. Expressway she once mentioned you just get out of your car and make friends πŸ˜‰ ’cause traffic ain’t moving.Left her house in 1983 the Tuesday after Thanksgiving at 2:00AM and there was still constant/congested traffic on the Expressway.L.I. is a nice place to visit, but …It was the year the Grucci fireworks factory had an explosion the Sat. after Thanksgiving. She lived in Patchogue at the time and remember hearing fire trucks all morning and afternoon as they converged on the mishap.

  37. Jeff says:

    filistro wrote:Jeff.. I don’t want to get into all the really unpleasant generalizations and social/racial stereotypes in your particular view of poverty and success (because I want to keep the conversation civil) so I will just ask this:Given that these large pockets of poverty and low achievement are undeniably costly for the nation, both in the outright cost of social programs and the less quantifiable (but nevertheless real) waste of human potential… what do you think should be done to improve the situation?=======I agree that what I said was really unpleasant. The waste of human potential, the pain and suffering of poverty, is horrendous. And yet we have to look at why things are as they are. Second, “stereotype” is a negative and emotionally charged word. I tried to be very clear that I was talking statistical correlations, not stereotypes, and that it’s not an issue of race, but of culture. Statistically, there is a very strong correlation between born in a 1-parent house to a 17 year old dropout, and growing up to be low-income and low-education. There are always exceptions to statistical generalities, but I don’t predict Bristol Palin will go on to get a masters degree.This is a topic that is frequently taboo to liberals, because it smacks of blaming the victim. I’m emphatically NOT blaming the victim, I’m trying to describe what creates the victim. It would be comforting if all we had to do was give poor people money, but that is not enough.You do ask the right question — if the diagnosis is correct, what is the cure? I honestly don’t know, except that I think there is no silver bullet. My opinion is that we need to focus on the children, because adults are almost impossible to change. This is also a huge area — it would take books, and I have only 3000 characters. But since I have some knowledge and experience in K-8 education, I’ll focus on that.First, the school year is too short. Studies show that all kids lose about a month or two worth of what they learned in the previous year, and that low-income kids lose more (middle class kids have parents who often send them to enrichment classes over the summer). Second, the school day needs to be considerably longer. Ideally, low income kids could have 3 nutritious meals at school. Third, schools need to be much more rigorous and demanding. That means rules, uniforms, etc. Parochial schools seem to be relatively more successful than public schools, and I think that it’s at least partially because they are more strict (and can expel hopeless cases). Kids from chaotic family backgrounds need order in their lives. Obviously this is just an outline and there would be huge obstacles (starting with the teachers unions!)And although not strictly a kid issue, I’d also encourage churches. To the extent the problem is immediate vs. deferred gratification, religion is good because it is all about deferred gratification.

  38. Jeff says:

    I just wrote a detailed answer, and it’s vanished into moderation. If it can be retrieved, it would be good, because I have a lot of other work I should be doing.

  39. Jeff says:

    Shiloh,I grew up on Long Island and the expressway used to be called The Big L.I.E. (Long Island Expressway)It hasn’t changed

  40. Monotreme says:

    I retrieved your post, Jeff.However, I hate you, because GoDaddy (the blog host) has a splash page featuring Jillian Michaels. That woman scares the crap outta me.About half the time, I get Danica Patrick and that’s merely okay, and then the other half of the time I get Jillian Michaels and I want to quit what I’m doing and cry or something.I found a justsayin post in the Spam filter too, and approved that as well.I’ll be out of touch for a while tomorrow (Sunday) morning. Mrs. Monotreme and I and the dogs are in Moab, Utah. I’m running in the half-marathon tomorrow and it might surprise you to know that I don’t read the blog while I’m running. This is a tough but really beautiful course which follows the redrock canyons of the Colorado River along Utah 128, with a spectacular view of the spires and hoodoos of the Castle Valley and LaSal Mountains.So that’s what I’ll be seeing tomorrow, though the photographs don’t do it justice. You can’t imagine the scale and grandeur of these canyons unless you’ve actually been there.

  41. Mr. Universe says:

    it might surprise you to know that I don’t read the blog while I’m runningOh come on! Bartolio reads it while he’s on vacation much to Senora DePalma’s chagrin.half the time, I get Danica Patrick and that’s merely okayWow. That’s some high standards. Good luck on the run.

  42. dr_funguy says:

    I used to live in Moab.You’re a lucky guy to go there when the weather is so nice.Check out the Mondo Cafe for some good coffee. Do you get to do any sight seeing while there?

  43. Jeff says:

    Monotreme wrote:I retrieved your post, Jeff.However, I hate you, because GoDaddy (the blog host) has a splash page featuring Jillian Michaels. That woman scares the crap outta me.=============Many thanks. As filistro has said, you can never get it right the second time around.I had never heard of Jillian Michaels before. She shouldn’t scare you — unless you’ve done something to piss her off. Jeez, she’s intimidating!Enjoy the run.

  44. filistro says:

    Jeff… I agree with many of the solutions you propose (except for “more church” as a cure for social problems, but that’s another discussion altogether.)The specific remedies you propose for dealing iwth generational poverty… a focus on children, with longer school days, a longer school year, and “three nutritious meals a day” served to poor children at school… those are all excellent suggestions.My question… how do those proposals square with a Tea Party vision of government cut to the bone, eliminating federal education delivery, and lower taxes for everybody?

  45. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:Intergenerational poverty is almost completely cultural in a relatively free economy such as ours. The solutions are relatively straight forward:1) Society should demand children be born into married households. The children of divorced and even worse single parent households are far more likely to engage in antisocial and criminal behaviors and thus be poor than those raised in married households.2) Society needs to value education. The idea that education is “acting white” and other such pernicious nonsense follows the destruction of e family as a leading determinant of intergenerational poverty.3) Society needs to give its citizens responsibility. I have seen kids from the worst ghettos turned completely around into outstanding soldiers in the army by simply being challenged to succeed for the first time in their lives. There is no such thing as a hopeless person. Everyone can succeed if they are placed into a situation where failure is not excused.The only role for the government here is to reinforce these social standards.

  46. filistro says:

    @Bart: The only role for the government here is to reinforce these social standards.Okay. How?

  47. filistro says:

    I wish Walker were here. I’ve just discovered edamame (a favorite of his) and I don’t know how you serve it.Does everybody eat it cold? Do you shell it and then heat it to serve like peas? Do you serve the warm pods and make people pop them at the table? (the kids love doing that, but nobody else is enthused about the process….)Or is it just for soups, stir fry etc.? Please advise. I’m marooned in a part of the world where steak burned to a charcoal lump is “medium rare,” and ketchup is a vegetable.

  48. Realist says:

    @filistro,Edamame can be eaten in all of the ways you mentioned. Most commonly it is served hot or cold in the pods at the table. Think of it as being like peanuts in that regard.They’re good tasting, and good for you, although some studies suggest that too much soy can negatively impact memory. I forget where I read that. πŸ˜‰

  49. Jeff says:

    filistro wrote:Jeff… I agree with many of the solutions you propose (except for “more church” as a cure for social problems, but that’s another discussion altogether.)The specific remedies you propose for dealing with generational poverty… a focus on children, with longer school days, a longer school year, and “three nutritious meals a day” served to poor children at school… those are all excellent suggestions.My question… how do those proposals square with a Tea Party vision of government cut to the bone, eliminating federal education delivery, and lower taxes for everybody?===============First, a quick comment: I’m not a church-goer, except for weddings and funerals. However, the moral virtues taught are helpful. In the inner-city black communities, churches tend to be the single strongest pro-social force.However, you’re missing the broader point. The TP isn’t against government, but against inefficient, centralized government and bureaucracy. The Federal Government doesn’t deliver education, it tells people how to deliver it. To me, it’s a state and local responsibility that should fill the needs of the local students. As for how we accomplish the various school reforms: I don’t know. The teachers unions have a stranglehold on education. But when you manage to get rid of the bureaucracy and the unions, amazing results can happen.Read about Kipp schools (charter schools) and their record of success, and their funding is comparable to that of public schools. From their website: “KIPP schools share a core set of operating principles known as the “Five Pillars”: High Expectations, Choice & Commitment, More Time, Power to Lead, and Focus on Results.” http://www.kipp.org/schools.Schools can always use more money, but this is from the Kipp website: “KIPP schools generally spend less per student than many large school districts, due to their low overhead and administrative costs. For example, the KIPP schools in New York City spend less per pupil every year than the average middle schools run by New York City’s Department of Education.”Kipp is just one model, but it’s a perfect example of what can be done when the teachers unions are pushed out and the focus moves away from the adults and directly onto the kids. It doesn’t have to take more money to do better; the money just has to be spent better.(stereotype coming) There’s a general belief among liberals that when you spend money on something and don’t get the desired results, you didn’t spend enough money. Among conservatives, if you spend money and don’t get results, you try something different. There’s general agreement that public schools are failing kids from poor backgrounds, so the call is to spend more on them — which usually translates into paying teachers and administrators more money. I say that if the model doesn’t work, CHANGE THE MODEL and don’t pump more money into something that’s broken.

  50. dr_funguy says:

    Steam till hotserve in the pods and pop them open to eatyum!common as an appie at better japanese restaurants

  51. shiloh says:

    Bartles1) Society should demand children be born into married households.~~~~~hmm, how does a free society remain free then …A question for all the Libertarians out there, since Bartles is obviously not a Libertarian.And don’t mention this to your sweetie pie mama grizzly as her cub Bristol fell a tad short re: your hoity-toity social standards.Family values indeed as therein lies the rub for the hypocritical family value teabagger er Republican er teabagger party.Bartles don’t you dare tread on me as let freedom reign.btw, Society should demand children be born into married households So you must be in favor of abortion as it’s kinda hard to change human nature er the birds and the bees.>Indeed, as I have a suggestion:Since the (family value) Republican party has such a disconnect w/The Bible and societal behavior er vitter, sanford, ensign, paladino, ms lipstick on a pig’s darling daughter, etc. etc. …4) We are our brothers keeper! ~ Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. ~ Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of GodJust for starters …Life is a tad more complicated than Bart in his ivory tower can grasp …>Double-checking post for sarcasm as I may πŸ˜‰ have violated several of Joker’s rules and regulations re: debate like respect and makin’ it personal. Which makes one wonder, how did I last over (3) years loland I did use the word “you” a couple times as it is almost impossible not to use that word.>And it goes w/out saying as again, if Bart didn’t exist, 538 would have to create him!Checking wiki πŸ˜‰ for famous/important illegitimate babies throughout history: Beethoven, myself πŸ™‚ as the list is endless …Alas, I was not born into a married household, so using Bart’s A+B=C I am America’s main problem.You Bet’cha!be afraid, be very afraid!

  52. shiloh says:

    And oh the irony of someone who doesn’t have children and probably never will makin’ demands …

  53. GROG says:

    Jeff said:(stereotype coming) There’s a general belief among liberals that when you spend money on something and don’t get the desired results, you didn’t spend enough money. Among conservatives, if you spend money and don’t get results, you try something different. There’s general agreement that public schools are failing kids from poor backgrounds, so the call is to spend more on them — which usually translates into paying teachers and administrators more money. I say that if the model doesn’t work, CHANGE THE MODEL and don’t pump more money into something that’s broken.Well said. This is one of the main differences between liberalism and conservatism. Liberals solution to almost every problem is to throw more money at it.

  54. Jeff says:

    @filistroTalking about education tends to push my buttons — I left the private sector 15 years ago to work in education because I’ve always been passionate about it. I may foam at the mouth when talking about Nancy Pelosi, but it’s nothing compared to how I feel about the educational disaster created by the “education establishment.”In 2009, the national average for per-pupil expenditures was $9963. http://www.edweek.org/rc/collections/stat-of-the-week/index.htmlTeachers will say “not nearly enough.” Are they right?Round spending off to $10,000 per pupil. Figure 25 kids per class (parochial schools often have 40), and that’s $250,000 per class. Allot $100,000 per teacher, and you have $150,000 ($6000 per pupil) left over. That covers a whole lot of books and overhead. And remember, capital costs (buildings) are typically paid for separately, though bond issues, and those costs. The school where I worked was an independent non-profit. We spent about $20,000 per student according to our income statement. We provided music, art, cooking, gardening, computer, gym, sports teams, learning specialists — and higher salaries than the local school district. Kids in grades 4-8 went on 3-5 night “outdoor ed” trips that don’t come cheap. Also included in those per-pupil expenses were many items which wouldn’t even apply to public schools, such as financial aid (average of $3000 per pupil), mortgage, admissions office, advertising, facilities, etc. We also had an average class size of 19 kids per class. By design we didn’t “skim the cream” of students and had a wide variety of learning styles and learning differences. We had a huge range of socio-economics, from kids who had been homeless, to kids from multi-millionaire families. 22% of families received financial aid; 40% were “diverse.” Put it all together and we delivered one of the best possible educations, with the richest possible content, in one of the highest-cost regions of the country (SF Bay Area) at a cost roughly comparable to what the average national cost per pupil of public schools (after adjusting for class size differences). God only knows what a public school would have to spend to match what we provided. We can do what we do, because we can focus on the job of providing the best possible education, instead of taking care of bureaucrats and spending money to follow nonsensical rules.I believe the Tea Party exists because the adherents believe we pay far too much in taxes for what we get, coupled with way too much regulation, complexity, and the cost of the attendant overhead. Obama ran on “change,” but so far he’s been the bulwark of the status quo. The Tea Party also wants change — and far more radical change — because what we have now either isn’t working, or works only because we spend far more to do it than we should.

  55. Jeff says:

    Damm!ANOTHER comment into moderation. This is getting frustrating. Can’t discuss an issue if your comments disappear.

  56. WA7th says:

    @Bart: The only role for the government here is to reinforce these social standards.Okay. How?Taking a page from Alexander Hamilton the Great, we should send the babies from unmarried households overseas to fight in the Crusades against Islam, which tried to kill us all on 9/11. Then we should leave them there to intermarry, produce Christian babies, and create a strong central banking system.Wasn’t that easy?

  57. Monotreme says:

    Jeff, I rescued your comment. Jillian Michaels scarred my corneas. I hope you’re happy.One of the cool things about modern techology is that all this happened 100 miles from the nearest city on I-70. (Mrs. Monotreme is driving.) Internet from a moving car. Who would’ve thunk it?

  58. Jeff says:

    @filistroTalking about education tends to push my buttons — I left the private sector 15 years ago to work in education because I’ve always been passionate about it. I may foam at the mouth when talking about Nancy Pelosi, but it’s nothing compared to how I feel about the educational disaster created by the “education establishment.”In 2009, the national average for per-pupil expenditures was $9963. http://www.edweek.org/rc/collections/stat-of-the-week/index.htmlTeachers will say “not nearly enough.” Are they right?Round spending off to $10,000 per pupil. Figure 25 kids per class (parochial schools often have 40), and that’s $250,000 per class. Allot $100,000 per teacher, and you have $150,000 ($6000 per pupil) left over. That covers a whole lot of books and overhead. And remember, capital costs (buildings) are typically paid for separately, though bond issues, and those costs. The school where I worked was an independent non-profit. We spent about $20,000 per student according to our income statement. We provided music, art, cooking, gardening, computer, gym, sports teams, learning specialists — and higher salaries than the local school district. Kids in grades 4-8 went on 3-5 night “outdoor ed” trips that don’t come cheap. Also included in those per-pupil expenses were many items which wouldn’t even apply to public schools, such as financial aid (average of $3000 per pupil), mortgage, admissions office, advertising, facilities, etc. We also had an average class size of 19 kids per class. By design we didn’t “skim the cream” of students and had a wide variety of learning styles and learning differences. We had a huge range of socio-economics, from kids who had been homeless, to kids from multi-millionaire families. 22% of families received financial aid; 40% were “diverse.” Put it all together and we delivered one of the best possible educations, with the richest possible content, in one of the highest-cost regions of the country (SF Bay Area) at a cost roughly comparable to what the average national cost per pupil of public schools (after adjusting for class size differences). God only knows what a public school would have to spend to match what we provided. We can do what we do, because we can focus on the job of providing the best possible education, instead of taking care of bureaucrats and spending money to follow nonsensical rules.I believe the Tea Party exists because the adherents believe we pay far too much in taxes for what we get, coupled with way too much regulation, complexity, and the cost of the attendant overhead. Obama ran on “change,” but so far he’s been the bulwark of the status quo. The Tea Party also wants change — and far more radical change — because what we have now either isn’t working, or works only because we spend far more to do it than we should.

  59. Jeff says:

    Monotreme said: I rescued your comment. Jillian Michaels scarred my corneas. I hope you’re happy.============Happy? Doesn’t begin to describe it. There’s nothing worse than laboring over something and having it disappear.Thanks….. and Jillian is somebody we can all aspire to (if we’re male).

  60. filistro says:

    It’s a lovely Sunday so I’m going to ignore all the education talk… AND the lazy stereoyping of lib’ruls (though those have been duly noted and will be discussed at a later, less salubrious time…)Right now I need to concentrate on edemame.So… heated and served in the pods, and then popped open to eat. I assume, then, they are not intended to replace a conventional vegetable like peas or broccoli? Because I can’t quite visualize them served warm on the plate with the baked potato and braised mushrooms, but eaten out of the pod as finger food?Please advise.

  61. filistro says:

    Okay, I guess Jeff has worked hard to express his views on education, and it would be discourteous to ignore them…. So Jeff.. do you believe every child born in America has the right to receive an education regardless of circumstance or ability to pay?

  62. shiloh says:

    My mom’s father, who was an alcoholic the last (40+) years of his life and died at age 83, said to my mom the only time they saw each other during that time frame as he he lay in a hospital bed a couple mos. before he passed …Food will kill ‘ya!

  63. filistro says:

    Oh… and one more thing..Shiloh, the questions you asked Bart were exactly the same ones that occurred to me when I read his little Screed From An Ivory Tower.Well done!If we just made sex illegal for everybody except married Republicans (who will promise not to enjoy it) the world would be so much nicer, wouldn’t it?

  64. filistro says:

    @Bart… Society needs to give its citizens responsibility. I have seen kids from the worst ghettos turned completely around into outstanding soldiers in the army by simply being challenged to succeed for the first time in their lives. So I assume, Bart, that you are in favor of Obama’s plan to require 2 years of mandatory national service for every Aemrican youth, either in the military or in community work?Because the Freepers are totally freaked out over this. They call these kids “Obama’s Brownshirt Troops” and think they will be used to round up conservatives and put them in internment camps.

  65. shiloh says:

    Mahatma Ghandi who said, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”Churchill said that you measure the degree of civilisation of a society by how it treats its weakest members.Truman said a society will be judged by how it treats its weakest members.”Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.” ~ Cardinal Roger Mahony, In a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of LifeIt is said that the worth of society can be measured by the manner in which it treats its weakest member.”The greatness of any city can be judged by the way it treats its weakest member.” You can judge the character and quality of life in a community by how it treats its weakest membersIt is said that a civilization is measured by how it treats its weakest members – including, of course, it children.The greatness of America is in how it treats its weakest members: the elderly, the infirm, the handicapped, the underprivileged, the unborn. ~ Bill Federer”The test of any society is how it treats its weakest members.””The moral test of any society is how it treats its weakest members.””A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying,” ~ Pope John Paul IIIf one considers the observation that the worth and dignity of a civilization is judged by the way it the treats its weakest members, we cannot help but look back in shame at our past. ~ Social Justice Yesterday – Today – Tomorrow, A Critical Reflection, By Rudolf RickesWarren Buffet’s take (more about how things should work) which I’ve always loved: “Let’s say that it was 24 hours before you were born, and a genie appeared and said, ‘What I’m going to do is let you set the rules of the society into which you will be born. You can set the economic rules and the social rules, and whatever rules you set will apply during your lifetime and your children’s lifetimes.’ And you’ll say, ‘Well, that’s nice, but what’s the catch?’ And the genie says, ‘Here’s the catch. You don’t know if you’re going to be born rich or poor, white or black, male or female, able-bodied or infirm, intelligent or retarded.’~~~~~Again, you’re either part of the solution, or part of the problem …

  66. Jeff says:

    filistro wrote:Okay, I guess Jeff has worked hard to express his views on education, and it would be discourteous to ignore them….So Jeff.. do you believe every child born in America has the right to receive an education regardless of circumstance or ability to pay?==============Thank you for acknowledging my efforts to express my views. I am curious as to your opinion on them. But since you asked a followup question about whether students have a right to receive a free education, my answer is: Within limits – yes. And last I checked, we had laws providing for free public school education through 12th grade. The shame and disgrace of it is that we do such a terrible job in too many places. Limits? Children shouldn’t have the right to CONTINUE to offered an education if, for example, they are disruptive in class or if they are violent. In addition, I don’t think this “right” applies to college. Many students just are not college material. Germany does a terrific job with apprenticeship programs. We have a terrible concept in this country that working with your hands is somehow “beneath people.” Learning to be a craftsman is also education. I think college should be widely available and affordable, but it is not appropriate for everybody.I disagree, however, with two unspoken premises you make, although I answered your question on the basis of those assumptions.The assumptions are that children have the RIGHT to RECEIVE an education….Education is a privilege, not a right, and is something that the majority of humans have never had the opportunity to have. The difference is subtle, but important. A privilege is something that is earned — you have to put forward some kind of effort in return. You value privileges, you accept rights. Education needs to be valued. Similarly, you don’t “receive” an education, you get an education. It requires affirmative acceptance. If you sit in a class and refuse to listen, you won’t receive an education. If you’re persistently disruptive, you’ll deprive others of their right to accept instruction. Education can only be offered.

  67. Alki says:

    It’s Official: More Private Sector Jobs Created In 2010 Than During Entire Bush YearsThe September jobs report was just released and demonstrates that America is on a far slower path to recovery than anyone originally predicted. Despite this, the shedding of government jobs cloaks a glimmer of hope: more private sector jobs have been created this year than during the entire Bush administration. Read that again: 2010 has had more private job creation than during the entire 8 year tenure of George W. Bush.This is the 9th straight month of private sector job growth in the midst of a devastating recession that has put a serious strain mostly on the poor and middle class. There has been a total of 863,000 private sector jobs created in 2010, exceeding the total created under the Bush/Cheney regime.The numbers are not all good however. Companies added 64,000 jobs last month, but after the loss of 159,000 government jobs at all levels, there was a net shedding of ~95,000. The fading influence of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA or the economic stimulus) is causing much of the strain on the job market, as state and local governments still strained by poor revenue are cutting positions, particularly in education.This is also the central agent that has caused the overall net job loss for the last four months, following a net gain for the first 5 months of the year. The net jobs gained during 2010 stands at 613,000, which is over half of the 1,080,000 jobs were created during the entire time George W. Bush was in office.2010 Total Jobs Gained or LostJanuary 14,000February 39,000March 208,000April 313,000May 432,000June -175,000July -66,000August -57,000September -95,000After modest gains in January and February, March was the month with the greatest job gains in 3 years (since March 2007), and April 2010 was the biggest monthly job gain in 4 years (since March 2006). Beyond this, the increase in jobs from March to April is counter to the jobs trends of the last 10 years, where according to the average, March has gained 61,000 jobs and April only 32,000. The huge gain of 432,000 jobs in May 2010 is the largest net gain of jobs since March 2000 when Bill Clinton was president.A commonly cited article by conservative pundits to soften the blow on this data is a Wall Street Journal piece titled, Bush On Jobs: The Worst Track Record On Record, which inaccurately states that Bush created 3 million jobs. The actual figure is 1.08 million (all jobs added minus jobs lost), but the conservative leaning WSJ has yet to issue a retraction, correction, or clarification.In the chart below found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, find the monthly statistics of total jobs created or lost since January 2000.More charts to read……….http://newsjunkiepost.com/2010/10/08/its-official-more-private-sector-jobs-created-in-2010-than-during-entire-bush-years

  68. filistro says:

    Jeff… I am trying to address all your points, I just want to make sure we understand the terms we are using. The problem is, I think we are (as usual) talking across the yawning chasm that separates “Galt’s Gulch” from “Real Life.”So your major point seems to be that education.. which we both agree is the cure to much that currently ails society… can be more effectively delivered though private for-profit organizations than public ones. How do you see this happening? Do you propose to bypass government-managed schools in favor of private contractors?Which brings me to the question I asked you… is education a universal right? What about those who cannot afford the services of the private contractors? To which you reply (and I confess to being both surprised and appalled by this) that education is a PRIVILEGE, and furthermore… A privilege is something that is earned — you have to put forward some kind of effort in return. You value privileges, you accept rights. I spend much of my life surrounded by people less than ten years old, and while dear to me, these little buttons are not entirely capable of “putting forth some kind of effort” with regard to their education. (Several of them are not yet even fully housetrained.) How do you determine who is “putting forth an effort?” Will you deny an education to a 6-year-old who is not sufficiently effortful?It seems to me your lofty and rather draconian views will only GROW the impoverished underclass that you deplore… not diminish it.

  69. shiloh says:

    Republicans, as they only want to conquer and rule, acceptable πŸ˜‰ casualties will always be left in their self-righteous conservative tide.Survival of the fittest!Which is why a young African/American Muslim, born in Kenya being elected the 44th President of the United States of America! πŸ™‚ is such a difficult concept for wingers to accept as they cannot process this actuality, eh.>ok, this post may have gotten me instantly banned at Joker’s lolas Reps can’t handle the truth! and it may πŸ˜‰ have been considered a generalization.Let’s hear it for freedom!

  70. Jeff says:

    Alki:I never quite understand you when you start citing numbers. You’re oh so excited about Obama’s job creation record, but let’s look at the facts. You can go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and pull up employment by month at:http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymostHere are the numbers:January 2001. Bush takes office. Total employment 132,469,000January 2009. Obama takes office.Total employment 133,549,000. (net gain in 8 Bush years of 1,080,000.September 2010 (preliminary unadjusted) Total employment 130,201,000. (net loss of 3,348,000 in 20 months of Obama).Now, I understand you’re celebrating 2010. After all, it takes a while to push the car out of the ditch, as Obama keeps on reminding us. Here are the statistics:December 2009: Employment 129,588,000September 2010: Employment 130,201,000Net gain: 613,000.However, if you look at the detail, you’ll find that employment dropped in June over May, dropped in July over June, dropped in August over July, and dropped in September over August. In other words, increases in the first 5 months of the year, decreases in the last 4 months. Excuse me if I don’t feel happy and rosy about the employment picture….

  71. shiloh says:

    JeffreyAlki is talking about Private Sector Jobs as surely one can’t count FBI, CIA, Homeland Security job increases, etc. ie govt. jobs in the total.Hope this helps as I’ll let you both now continue the discussion.

  72. Jean says:

    Jeff,re: In addition, I don’t think this “right” applies to college. Many students just are not college material. Germany does a terrific job with apprenticeship programs. We have a terrible concept in this country that working with your hands is somehow “beneath people.” Learning to be a craftsman is also education. I think college should be widely available and affordable, but it is not appropriate for everybody._________I agree; college is not for everybody. Aprenticeships and education learning craftsman skills should be widely available and affordable, as much as a college education is. Higher education, whether it be college or learning a trade, is neither a right nor a privilege. It is a necessity.My youngest son, age 29, is a welder, working for a company that does large custom welding jobs, and he has done so since completing a high school apprenticeship and trade school instead of college. As a result, my son has owned his own home on a MN lake since age 21, and is by any definition a successful middle-class adult. In addition to his full-time welding job, he is also now beginning to parlay his welding skills towards his own business – building a base of customers (farmers, small businesses, homeowners) with various welding needs. Craftsman and trade jobs such as my son’s often lead to incomes that exceed that a college graduate is able to command. If we as a country do not help our youth learn what their individual talents and skills are and work with them to gain that education or craft – whether that be college or a skilled trade – then we as a society will pay dearly for that lack of investment in our youth.

  73. Jeff says:

    filistro said: So your major point seems to be that education.. which we both agree is the cure to much that currently ails society… can be more effectively delivered though private for-profit organizations than public ones. How do you see this happening? Do you propose to bypass government-managed schools in favor of private contractors?Which brings me to the question I asked you… is education a universal right? What about those who cannot afford the services of the private contractors?===============I said nothing of the kind. For example, Kipp schools are charter schools. Charter schools are public schools that are not required to observe union contracts, etc. The school I worked for is a non-profit. The correct term is an “independent” school (ie, not part of either the public system or a religious system. “Private” schools are for-profit, and relatively rare).What I am saying is that the one-size -fits all model does not work either in theory or in practice. Under the approach I would like to see, we would continue to have public funding, but many more choices.

  74. Jeff says:

    filistro said: To which you reply (and I confess to being both surprised and appalled by this) that education is a PRIVILEGE, and furthermore… A privilege is something that is earned — you have to put forward some kind of effort in return. You value privileges, you accept rights.How do you determine who is “putting forth an effort?” Will you deny an education to a 6-year-old who is not sufficiently effortful?It seems to me your lofty and rather draconian views will only GROW the impoverished underclass that you deplore… not diminish it.================It’s very rare to find a 6-year-old who doesn’t want to learn. I think it is hard-wired into children. And I certainly wouldn’t abandon a 6-year-old because (s)he isn’t putting forward the “right” amount of effort. Part of providing a good education is encouraging that desire, which is why elementary schools are so important, and why it’s such a disgrace that so many of them are terrible. But I do think that when you get to 16 year old children that things are different. School shouldn’t be a place where they have to go, knowing that they can stay no matter how disruptive their behavior or how little attention they pay. Ask any teacher in high school, and they will tell you that just one disruptive kid can ruin a day’s lessons for the entire class. Those kids need to understand that school IS a privilege, not a place where they can go to hang out and amuse themselves. All to often, we warehouse kids in schools where they aren’t being served and where they don’t want to be. This is why I’m a strong believer in the German apprenticeship system, and in other options.

  75. Jeff says:

    @filistroYou’ve asked me for answers, now it’s my turn. Do you think that the American system of education is serving children well, especially children from low-income neighborhoods?Do you think the solution is more money, or changing how we do things?Are you for or against charter schools and providing parents with choices, and the ability to select a school that is appropriate for their child, or do you think that educational decisions should be made by public employees in state capitals and Washington, DC?

  76. Jeff says:

    Jean said:”Craftsman and trade jobs such as my son’s often lead to incomes that exceed that a college graduate is able to command. If we as a country do not help our youth learn what their individual talents and skills are and work with them to gain that education or craft – whether that be college or a skilled trade – then we as a society will pay dearly for that lack of investment in our youth.”============Exactly correct. There are different types of intelligence and different ways to contribute to society and be successful. The academic path is one way, but other pathways should be equally honored. Unfortunately most academics view the academic pathway as the best (and many, as the only) way. After all, it worked for them!I’m delighted that your son was able to escape being forced down a pathway that wasn’t right for him.

  77. Jean says:

    Jeff,re: Those kids need to understand that school IS a privilege, not a place where they can go to hang out and amuse themselves. No, Jeff. It is not a privilege or a right. It is a necessity, as I mentioned earlier. So what’s YOUR solution? Just charter schools? Increased funding for college and/or craftsman/trade schools? Speaking of charter schools . . . http://www.democracynow.org/2010/5/7/juan_gonzalez_big_banks_making_a

  78. dr_funguy says:

    My 2 cents:There should be good vocational ed along with other good post secondary options that are affordable. Along with the option to change paths throughout life. Learning never ends.I’m a strong beleiver in the community college system have an A.S. in General Studies as well as a science Ph.D. from a major research university.I blame parents at least as much as unions for poor educational outcomes.If we think education is important we should pay enough to attract the best teachers to take up that career; I don’t think that grade school teachers are paid well enough in the poor school districts.As to supporting Charter Schools, depends on what that means. If teachers want to unionize are they not allowed to do so there? That seems rather totalitarian…

  79. Jean says:

    Jeff:re: I’m delighted that your son was able to escape being forced down a pathway that wasn’t right for him.It isn’t a matter of escaping being forced down a pathway that wasn’t right for him. It was someone knew him and was willing to be an advocate for him. I am an educated, shall-we-say-self-confident mom who has never been imtimidated having to go up against school officials in order to advocate for my children. That, sadly, is not the norm, and I am well aware there are a lot of parents, for whatever reason, who are not able to be effective advocates for their children. Hence, my belief that money well spent would be to allow educators the time to learn their students’ strengths and weaknesses, and stear their students down an appropriate path – whether college or a specific trade. That would be money well spent – regardless where that money came from.

  80. filistro says:

    Jeff… here’s what I think.I don’t believe in teacher’s unions with the power to strike. Twice during my teaching career I worked at schools that went on strike. Both times I crossed picket lines and endured some abuse for doing so, but I felt my first duty was to my students, not my colleagues. I believe in merit pay for teachers… not as base pay but as a bonus for excellence. This should be determined not just by student test scores but by their enthusiasm for a certain teacher’s classes. Kids know who the good teachers are.I think students should be grouped according to their ability and interests, not their age.I think EVERY CHILD child has the right to an excellent education to age 16. I have no objection to private or charter schools… but I think EVERY student has the right to excellent teachers and a first-class school.I believe an enormous amount of additional money is needed to improve the educational system. I think it shoudl be taken from the military- industrial complex (which is currently manufacturing weapons systems that nobody wants and building new schools in Afghanistan and Iraq) and put into the nation’s schools because unless education standards improve… and FAST… there will be no country to protect.I think all schools.. even in the poorest ares… shoudl be clean, bright, well-managed and full of stimulating, interesting work areas and equipment.I think parents should be more involved in every aspect of education, and called on to provide extra-curricular supervision, plus providing their unique talents to enrich the student experience though elective classes in everything from needlework to wilderness training. And teachers who do the same should be paid extra for their time. I think students at the age of 16 should be streamed into courses preparing them for whatever post-secondary training and careers they will eventually pursue. This should be combined with meaningful internships in the community with the co-operation of local business people.I think the government is best equipped to manage the delivery of a top-quality education, but the administrators will need a free hand and a ton of money. If we are not willing to bear the huge expense of investing in our kids… ALL of them, not just the privileged few… then we will deserve the inevitable decline that lies in store and in fact is already happening as other nations surge past us.

  81. filistro says:

    And an addendum… I think the ultimate downfall of America may well be laid at the feet of people who don’t want to invest in education for fear some of their tax dollars might be spent on little black and brown kids.I’m not just saying that…. I truly believe it.

  82. Jean says:

    Fili,From one gimp to another, how are you doing? Are you on the road to recovery after your foot injury? So far as my hopping up on a slipperly stool wearing nylons adventure: I’m doing okay; I’ve learned (the hard way) that the orthopaedic doc’s opinion that after an injury such as mine, it will take a minimum of one full year before back to baseline- where I was before my injury, is accurate. As optimistic and rose-covered glasses as I would prefer things to be, they are right. I call it the “lost year”.

  83. filistro says:

    Jean… thanks for asking. My foot is slo-o-o-o-o-owly healing. I’m being really good… I do the stretches, limit the walking, wear orthotics in my cross-trainers, no running… it still gets inflamed if I overdo things but the pain gos away quicker than it used to. I expect to be back to sort-of-normal by Christmas. (touching wood…)BTW… my son is also a welder, just started in business for himself running off his truck and servicing the oil patch. He can make more money in a few good weeks than I made in my whole first year of teaching…. (but that was a long time ago) So… motorcyclists, welders, sore feet, lib’rul leanings… is there anything we DON’T have in common? πŸ™‚

  84. Jeff says:

    filistro said:1) I think students should be grouped according to their ability and interests, not their age.2) I think EVERY CHILD child has the right to an excellent education to age 16.3) I have no objection to private or charter schools… but I think EVERY student has the right to excellent teachers and a first-class school.4) I think all schools.. even in the poorest ares… shoudl be clean, bright, well-managed and full of stimulating, interesting work areas and equipment.5) I think parents should be more involved in every aspect of education, and called on to provide extra-curricular supervision, plus providing their unique talents to enrich the student experience though elective classes in everything from needlework to wilderness training. And teachers who do the same should be paid extra for their time.6) I think students at the age of 16 should be streamed into courses preparing them for whatever post-secondary training and careers they will eventually pursue. This should be combined with meaningful internships in the community with the co-operation of local business people.=============1) Glad you’re against social promotion. However, how do you group according to ability if, for example, a student is 3 grades ahead in English, but 2 grades behind in math?2, 3, 4 and 5) These are goals, and nobody is going to argue with them. The question isn’t whether we want good teachers and good schools and involved parents, but how we achieve that. 6) A reasonable approach and I doubt if there’s much objection outside of academia, which potentially stands to lose job slots. There may be implementation issues — for example, how do you develop the millions of “meaningful internships” that would be needed, especially since US wage and hour laws prohibit unpaid interns from doing work that paid employees would otherwise do. Or should businesses be forced to hire and pay 16-year-olds? Would there be an increase in adult unemployment? To be continued….

  85. Bart DePalma says:

    Shiloh:Libertarians believe in limited government, not a complete absence of social norms. You will note that I said society should demand children be raised in married household, not that government should require it.Filistro:Government slave labor is not required for children to be challenged to meet standards.

  86. Jeff says:

    filistro also said:”I believe an enormous amount of additional money is needed to improve the educational system. I think it shoudl be taken from the military- industrial complex (which is currently manufacturing weapons systems that nobody wants and building new schools in Afghanistan and Iraq) and put into the nation’s schools because unless education standards improve… and FAST… there will be no country to protect.I think the government is best equipped to manage the delivery of a top-quality education, but the administrators will need a free hand and a ton of money. If we are not willing to bear the huge expense of investing in our kids… ALL of them, not just the privileged few… then we will deserve the inevitable decline that lies in store and in fact is already happening as other nations surge past us.”==================Here’s where we disagree. I believe we need specific reforms to change the status quo of how we operate. You believe in spending a “ton of money” and giving “a free hand” to administrators who currently don’t perform very well. According to the NY Times, in 2007 “Asbury Park (NJ) schools, for instance, are spending $19,102 per student this year, according to the survey, and Newark schools $17,974 per student.” http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/24/nyregion/24spend.htmlCurrently, Newark is spending more than $20,000 per pupil, roughly double the national average, yet it’s one of the worst-performing school districts in the country. In 2008, Washington DC spent about $24,600 per child.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/04/AR2008040402921.htmlThe problem isn’t lack of money, but rather a operating model that is failing. The United States spends more per pupil on primary and secondary education than any country in the world except Austria and Switzerland — more than Germany, Scandinavia, France, etc. Japan and Korea aren’t even in the top 20. The countries that you say are “surging past us” are doing so with less money. http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_spe_per_sec_sch_stu-spending-per-secondary-school-studentThis is a real liberal/conservative divide. My observation is that when something isn’t working, a liberal usually says “spend more money on it.” A conservative tries to analyze WHY something isn’t working, then fix the problem. You and I are both appalled by how poorly schools perform. I believe the problem is structural — schools are run for the benefit of the adults who work there, and not for the benefit of the kids. (Teacher “credentialing” and “The March of the Lemons” are the most obvious examples) The goal is to fix the problem, not to create a more expensive problem by rewarding the system and people who created the problem in the first place. The classic definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result. Spending another “ton of money” on a broken system doesn’t fix the system or help the kids.

  87. mclever says:

    With all the “blame the unions” and “blame liberal spending” and “blame the teachers” for education’s troubles, I think we’ve got a serious problem with how we treat teachers. Teachers are treated like second-class citizens rather than the professionals that they are. Parents have no respect for teachers and want to pay them minimum wage. Students have no respect for teachers, because they’ve learned from their parents that teachers are worthless.I often hear complaints about quality of teachers. But if you’re going to pay a teacher half what the typical college graduate can get, then attracting the most intelligent and most capable teachers becomes difficult. You might get some saints who just want to help kids, no matter the pay, but most of the top-skilled people will look elsewhere, where their talents are valued. If it were a difference between $3K-$5K between jobs, it probably wouldn’t be a big deal. But I’m talking about beginning teachers who look at the job market and can get 3X the money in an entry-level business job where they won’t have to submit to the extra certification requirements and other “qualifications” for teachers.Now, I’m not saying that we should do away with teacher certification and qualification procedures (although some states place too much emphasis on tests), but rather that teachers who’ve often taken an extra dozen classes just to get their undergraduate degree in education should be treated and paid like *professionals* and not like minimum-wage, unskilled babysitters.Sure, cap class sizes at 20. End social promotion. Provide better early education, especially in troubled neighborhoods where parental involvement is likely lacking. Provide better alternatives for kids that are outside the normal range. (I think our current schools do better with those who are farthest behind than with those who are farthest ahead, which isn’t saying much. We have a real societal aversion to brilliance, and we tend to hold back our best and brightest while pushing ahead those who are ill-equipped. I think this is a disservice to both.)I will agree with Jeff that the German apprenticeship/tracking model could be effective for secondary and higher education. However, I think the Germans make it too difficult to move between tracks after the age of about 11. Not every 12-year-old future physicist has figured themselves out yet, and if they get tracked into the trade skills track, then there is little or no opportunity for them to jump up to the other track if they later show a higher aptitude than initially expected. (Dropping “down” tracks is easier.)Perhaps controversially, I also think that higher ed through a Bachelor’s degree should be paid for (or at least heavily subsidized) by the government due to the higher economic and social output that is accrued from college grads and/or skilled workers. I also support government subsidies of trade schools and community/tech schools (subsidize it the same as university).

  88. Bart DePalma says:

    Remember those voters filling the town hall meetings and surrounding Congress on the days before the Obamacare vote chanting “kill the bill?”They are casting ballots with their Obamacare verdict as we type.http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/10/18/dems_find_careers_threatened_by_obamacare_votes_107599.html

  89. shiloh says:

    @BartlesLibertarians believe in limited government, not a complete absence of social norms. You will note that I said society should demand children be raised in married household, not that government should require it.~~~~~Bartles one needs to extend your vacation a couple more mos. ’cause that was a very, very lame/pathetic song and dance deflection.As intelligent! folk would say, a distinction w/out a difference …and let the record show Bartles did not disagree w/anything else in my post iemama grizzly’s hypocrisyhypocritical family value teabagger er Republican er teabagger party.Society should demand children be born into married households So you must be in favor of abortion as it’s kinda hard to change human nature er the birds and the bees.Again, oh the irony of someone who doesn’t have children and probably never will makin’ demands …>btw, it was easily determined some time ago one is nowhere close to being a libertarian!Indeed, maybe a “permanent vacation” would be best.>hmm, I demand govt. er cheney/bush not be allowed to start bogus/misbegotten/illegal wars where hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers/Iraqi civilians may needlessly die or become permanently injured. And I demand govt. er Reagan/Bush41/Bush43 not be allowed to run up trillions of dollars in national debt!Deflection is elementary, eh …take care

  90. shiloh says:

    Bart, one can stop hyperventilating at any time …Or not.

  91. shrinkers says:

    I wasn’t here much of yesterday. I missed a lot. At one point, Jeff said,Obama ran on “change,” but so far he’s been the bulwark of the status quo.Now, Jeff supports the Tea Party. Bart also supports the Tea Party. But Bart maintains that Obama is perhaps the most radical leftist President we’ve ever had, and has been pushing a Socialist agenda.I’d like to see Jeff and Bart argue over whether Obama is a radical leftist, or is a bulwark of the status quo. (And let’s not have either of you claim that the status quo in American government actually is a radical leftist agenda, because that would simply be silly.)I think this is an indication of the irrationality and inconsistency of Teaper rhetoric. They’re angry at “Washington business as usual,” yet they’re also angry at the radical leftward march of the Obama Administration. It doesn’t seems reasonable to believe both of these things at one time. So, Jeff and Bart, please get your Obamas straight. Let us know which version of Teaperism you subscribe to.

  92. shrinkers says:

    I wasn’t here much of yesterday. I missed a lot. At one point, Jeff said,Obama ran on “change,” but so far he’s been the bulwark of the status quo.Now, Jeff supports the Tea Party. Bart also supports the Tea Party. But Bart maintains that Obama is perhaps the most radical leftist President we’ve ever had, and has been pushing a Socialist agenda.I’d like to see Jeff and Bart argue over whether Obama is a radical leftist, or is a bulwark of the status quo. (And let’s not have either of you claim that the status quo in American government actually is a radical leftist agenda, because that would simply be silly.)I think this is an indication of the irrationality and inconsistency of Teaper rhetoric. They’re angry at “Washington business as usual,” yet they’re also angry at the radical leftward march of the Obama Administration. It doesn’t seems reasonable to believe both of these things at one time. So, Jeff and Bart, please get your Obamas straight. Let us know which version of Teaperism you subscribe to.

  93. Eusebio.Dunkle says:

    If everyone was as awesome as me there would be no need for government (or business). My ideology of conservative anarchy fails me. A Marxist ideology fails me for similar reasons. Thus, I settle for a social democracy based on rigorously researched policy that ultimately bends to the will of measured results as something that most closely resembles the scientific method as possible. Policy is based on positive outcome, not rigid ideology. Consequently, I’m either extremely leftist or extremely rightist depending on the company.I support a few democrats, here and there, but mainly vote third party given the choice. I’ll generally chose the minor party candidate that promotes reform of two-party politics, campaign finance, or corporate lobbying. I refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils. I will not engage those politics. I’d rather watch the nation burn. At least then we’d get to start from the ground up.I want a strictly secular government and I would take Burger’s argument (correct attribution?) a step further. In addition to requiring a secular justification for all policy, no religious appeals can be made for policy. e.g. No campaigning or promoting policies or candidates for religious reasons.That ought to marginalize me enough for one thread.

  94. dr_funguy says:

    Here is an example of how easy it is to be a Bart:Tea Party Support withers when their true nuttiness is revealedhttp://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/18/alaska-race-may-make-for-long-election-night/#more-2261

  95. dr_funguy says:

    Jeff said:”… My observation is that when something isn’t working, a liberal usually says “spend more money on it.” A conservative tries to analyze WHY something isn’t working, then fix the problem.”Several of us have pointed out that part of the problem with elementary education is poorly paid teachers. Our analysis of this problem includes that solution. Fili even suggested where to find money for this…But conservatives are not interested in increased spending on social programs or decreases for the military.Tax cuts is the answer, what was the question?Clearly money is not the only answer and only part of it. And, like health care, spending excessive amounts on adminstrative overhead could be part of the problem as well. But conservatives can’t handle complex solutions that include shades of grey.

  96. dr_funguy says:

    I find much to agree with in what you wrote there.But I rarely vote for candidates that might increase the chances of social conservative victories (at least since I voted for John Anderson).We have already lost too much of the Bill of Rights to the Reagans and Bushes.As for policy based on positive outcomes, I’m all for it but might have a different idea as to what constitutes positive. Positive for whom? The Bush II years were very good for the wealthiest 1% and for Haliburton, Blackwater, etc. For the rest of us, not so much.

  97. Jeff says:

    dr_funguy wrote:Jeff said:”… My observation is that when something isn’t working, a liberal usually says “spend more money on it.” A conservative tries to analyze WHY something isn’t working, then fix the problem.”Several of us have pointed out that part of the problem with elementary education is poorly paid teachers. Our analysis of this problem includes that solution. Fili even suggested where to find money for this…========Be careful about making assumptions about the other side. There are plenty of conservatives who think we overspend on the military. One frequently sees weapons systems that the Pentagon wants to kill, but which Congress keeps alive because of jobs. Defense contractors are very adept at spreading out sub-contractor work to as many states and influential congressional districts as possible. As for teachers — the average school year runs somewhere between 170 and 180 days, and the average school day is around 6-7 hours per day. If we use 175 days and 6.5 hours per day, we have about 1140 hours per year. If we assume the average corporate manager gets a very generous 10 holidays off per year, and gets — and takes — 15 days of vacation, and works 8 hours a day, that’s 1880 hours per year, or 65% more hours. The answer I’m going to hear is that “teaching is very intense.” Yup. MOST jobs are very intense, particularly in management. How many teachers have to carry Blackberries and are at the beck and call of their jobs nights and weekends and on vacations? How many teachers (once they have a few years of seniority) worry about downsizing or mergers that put them out of a job?The next argument is that teachers have lots of work to do at night, such as correcting papers, tests, and homework. However, some of this can be done during work hours (free periods, etc). Also, there’s not a lot of papers and homework in elementary schools (and all too often, middle school and HS have too little homework). More importantly, managers rarely work just 8 hours a day — they stay late at the office and bring work home.Finally, there’s the retirement issue. Teachers typically get defined benefit retirement plans with a guaranteed income for life. Managers get 401(k) plans, with no guarantees. A good chunk of their higher income has to be saved for retirement. Furthermore, that higher income needed for self-funded retirement is taxed at a higher bracket during their peak earning years, whereas monies put into defined benefit plans aren’t taxable until received. People make lifestyle choices. Some people choose to go into the private sector, where the rewards aren’t guaranteed, but which can be higher. Others choose teaching, which provides job security, fewer hours of work, and a guaranteed retirement.Teaching is honorable work. But please don’t try and tell me that the profession is horribly underpaid, and that the solution to the problems of inadequate school performance is throwing money at the problem.

  98. Jeff says:

    As an interesting observation (at least to me)is that in several posts I’ve argued my point with numbers and citations (NY Times and Washington Post, not the Free Republic).Perhaps there is data that contradicts my data — that’s usually the case when you analyze data on complex issues. However, I find it very revealing when people respond to numbers by ignoring them. I maintain that there is a liberal tendency to want to fix problems by throwing money at them (as well as to write yet more laws and rules and regulations), while the conservatives want to find out WHY something isn’t working, and focus on figuring out the necessary changes. Take the argument over school performance. I’ve demonstrated that spending more money doesn’t necessarily bring good results. Newark, NJ, has one of the highest per-pupil expenditures in the country, and one of the worst outcomes. The US spends more on primary and secondary education than any country except Switzerland and Austria, yet there’s a consensus that our outcomes are not good, and one (liberal) poster said that other countries were eating our lunch. Why is it so wrong to suggest that the problem may not be the amount being spent, but the way the amount is spent?There was another argument about Krugman’s New Jersey tunnel. “We need the infrastructure and jobs!” I kept on pointing out that NJ is essentially bankrupt, and asked where the money would come from. Never got a single answer. The same thing applies to Rasmussen, the pollster that liberals love to hate. The objective answer — to me — is that he does a lot of political polling as a loss leader, because the real money is in commercial polling where he gets paid. Getting a reputation for inaccurate polling doesn’t get him more paying clients! Every pollster has different assumptions as to the mix of voters and how to weigh them. There’s a general consensus that likely voters tend to be more conservative than registered voters. Rasmussen only reports what he considers likely voters, and until recently, most pollsters looked at registered voters. Based solely on that, you would expect him to show better results for Republicans.Yet on another thread I posted his July vs current numbers for the Senate. His “likely D” numbers have hardly budged. The major change has been from “too close to call” to leaning R. This is what other pollsters have shown — and it should be expected that races become better defined as election day approaches.Forgive me for saying this, but it frequently seems to me that the liberal mindset is “Don’t bother me with a bunch of facts because my opinion is made up.”In real life, we have to make choices. We can’t afford to do everything we want to do, or everything that makes us feel good.

  99. shiloh says:

    @JeffreyForgive me for saying this, but it frequently seems to me that the liberal mindset is “Don’t bother me with a bunch of facts because my opinion is made up.”~~~~~Conservative disingenuous generalization(s) aside, are you asking for forgiveness! >In real life, we have to make choices.Choices indeed, Reagan/Bush41/Bush 43’s humongous national debt and cheney/bush’s Iraq War when they could have been focusing on fixing health care and the economy instead of fear mongering to help them get re-elected.You’re either w/us or against us!hmm, not much compromising in that absurdity, eh.America, love it or leave it! ~ The more things change, the more winger rhetoric marches on …take care

  100. dr_funguy says:

    But Jeff, some of your data are just wrong.For example I don’t know any teachers who work a 7 hour day or only work during the school year. I suspect that teachers work more unpaid hours than most profession’s.I also notice that the US is 21st, not third, in spending per GDP.Re. gauranteed retirement income, I could be wrong, and am certain it varies by state, but if its like the Federal Gov. that went the way of 8 track tapes at about the same time.As for “Don’t bother me with a bunch of facts because my opinion is made up.”Many say the same about conservatives, see Iraq, invasion of, evidence for chemical warfare program; or more recently costs vs. benefits of of health insurance in various countries.FWIW I will say more plainly since apparently finding agreement in a liberals post is beyond your attention span, I agree that spending on education could doubtless be more efficient. I have no experience in the primary education but in post secondary pretty much everything gets cut before administration. Have you considered that we could spend more on teachers and less on overhead?

  101. Jeff says:

    dr_funguy wrote:But Jeff, some of your data are just wrong.For example I don’t know any teachers who work a 7 hour day or only work during the school year. I suspect that teachers work more unpaid hours than most profession’s.I also notice that the US is 21st, not third, in spending per GDP.Re. gauranteed retirement income, I could be wrong, and am certain it varies by state, but if its like the Federal Gov.===============I didn’t say teachers only worked a 7 hour day. I said the average school day was 6-7 hours. I also said that teachers do work additional time — but so do other professionals. Whether teachers or other professionals spend more or fewer unpaid hours is an open question. I don’t think the average 1st grade teacher spends a lot of time correcting essays…. But even if you assume that all professionals put in lots of unpaid time, the point is that teachers have a shorter paid day, and way more vacation time. What the hell does “spending per GDP” have to do with anything? Does that mean that a very rich country with only 1 child should spend billions of dollars per year (much as their homegrown liberals would like it)? I would assume that to get the same amount of resources per student, that a poor country would spend more of GDP than a rich country. Why wouldn’t “spending per pupil be the right measure?” As for defined benefit plans — most state and local government employees have them — it’s why state and local governments are going bust. And I think you’ll find that most career Federal employees also receive defined benefit plans, although I’m less familiar with Federal pension schemes.

  102. dr_funguy says:

    as a former federal employee I can assure you that no who started after about 1983 gets a defined income (well a very small amount) over 90% is from a 501c3.

  103. filistro says:

    @Jeff… Perhaps there is data that contradicts my data — that’s usually the case when you analyze data on complex issues. However, I find it very revealing when people respond to numbers by ignoring them.Sometimes, Jeff, the only appropriate response is an eye-roll, a face-palm or a vulgar noise… and all are difficult to transmit via print.Like all your risible crap about teachers’ working hours and pensions…. I’ve BEEN a public school teacher, Jeff. A number of my friends have worked as teachers all their adult lives and are now retired. I KNOW how many hours teachers work, and how tiny their pensions are. But what’s the point in refuting your numbers with my real-life experience? Your mind is clearly made up, and nothing is going to change it. You need your “facts” to remain unchanged or you would have to adjust your entire world view and none of us… you, me anybody… none of us like to do that.As to people ignoring what you obviously feel to be strong debating points… all of us do it from time to time for various raesaons. You do it yourself. Recently you said “Canada rations health care” and quoted data taken from the discredited writing of Dr David Gratzer to prove your point. I provided you with a link to a congressional hearing showing Gratzer’s “facts” on the myth of Canadian “rationing” of health care being utterly eviscerated by Dennis Kucinich. You never responded.But I didn’t announce to the world that your silence was “proof conservatives are unable to deal with reality.”I took it mean I won that round… and quietly enjoyed my triumph. πŸ™‚

  104. Jeff says:

    @filistro:Like all your risible crap about teachers’ working hours and pensions…. I’ve BEEN a public school teacher, Jeff. A number of my friends have worked as teachers all their adult lives and are now retired. I KNOW how many hours teachers work, and how tiny their pensions are. ===========And I spent 14 years working in education and looking at the numbers. You live in Canada — I know nothing about the Canadian education system or their pension plan. I know a great deal about the US education system and the US pension plans for teachers.As for “how hard” teachers work…. Yes, teachers work hard. PEOPLE should work hard. Yes, teachers work long hours “off the clock.” Guess what — so do most professionals. But please, go ahead and tell me that “most professionals” get a week or two at Christmas, a week in spring, and a couple of months in the summer. Please, make my day! And tell me that teachers routinely get e-mails and phone calls about work on weekends and while on vacation. Ain’t so, and we both know it.I’m not knocking what teachers do — I hope it’s clear that I value education greatly. But don’t try and tell me that teachers have the same workload over the course of a year as managers and other types of professionals.

  105. filistro says:

    @Jeff You live in Canada — I know nothing about the Canadian education system or their pension plan. I also have a vacation place in Nevada and have spent a fair amount of time there over the past 15 years. I have family scattered from Pennsylvania to Hawaii… and a surprising number of them are teachers. Many of my American colleagues (all professional writers) were teachers before being published. But don’t try and tell me that teachers have the same workload over the course of a year as managers and other types of professionals.I’ve been a teacher, I’ve been a manager, and I’ve been a professional. I KNOW which of those jobs was the hardest and most time consuming. But you’re not interested in my actual experiences, or anybody else’s, for that matter… or anything but your own carefully guarded preconceptions. So I’m giving up on trying to tell you anything.As Bart would say… “Ciao.”

  106. mclever says:

    Jeff, your perception of a teacher’s typical workday is skewed.Every hour of classroom time typically takes an hour+ of prep time. Elementary teachers are in front of the class the entire 7 hours, minus lunch but plus ~30 minutes before and after school, which means there’s another 6+ hours of prep time each night getting ready for the next day, even if there isn’t anything to grade. That makes for a 12-14 hour day, easily.Middle-school and HS teachers often get a free period or two during the day, but that still means 5 hours of teaching time, plus 5+ hours of prep time, plus grading time for all those essays, homework, and tests. Newer teachers or those teaching a new syllabus obviously require more prep time than experienced teachers teaching a familiar course, but those experienced teachers often fill time by sponsoring clubs, coaching, and unpaid tutoring.Furthermore, your perception of the summer off is distorted. That’s when teachers take those required courses that they have to take to keep up-to-date in state licensing laws. That’s when they teach summer school or camps. That’s also when they prepare each syllabus for the upcoming year for each class that they’ll be teaching. There’s material to review and more.I’m speaking from experience. I was an ed major (among my 3 undergrad degrees), I’m the child of a teacher married to the progeny of two teachers who followed parental footsteps into academia. But I’m not presently a teacher. Instead, because the public schools in my area laid off 25% of their teachers the same year I graduated which made the competition for the scant teaching jobs particularly fierce, I started my career temping as a data entry clerk (no degree required) which incidentally paid better than being a teacher would have, and the hours were shorter. Let that sink in. When we moved to Texas about a year later, I considered teaching again. It would have required an additional $5K+ to take “update” courses because there wasn’t reciprocal certification with my prior state, and I’d have been paid 1/3 what I was now making working as a financial/tech consultant for a major consulting firm. Although I’ve always gotten outstanding reviews when I’ve taught, I will probably never be a full-time teacher. I can’t justify the pay cut plus “re-certification” costs.So, I think there are a couple of things that can be learned from this. 1) If the problem really is “bad teachers”, then underpaying and undervaluing them will not attract better teachers.2) Most teachers must really want to teach, because there are many things they could do that pay better and are less work and less stress, including jobs that require no professional certification or training.No, the solution isn’t just “throw more money at it”, but there are places where money can be wisely spent. I could write another essay on the ways the current system stifles student creativity and over-relies on testing… But that’ll have to be a future post.

  107. filistro says:

    Thank you for that illuminating report, mclever.Now that Jeff has heard the Truth from the Trenches, he will of course be popping in any minute now to apologize.Or not.

  108. shrinkers says:

    One should also be aware that more than have of the States do not have teachers’ unions. And the states that don’t generally have worse student performance. So no, teachers’ unions are not “the problem”; where they exist, they are clearly part of the solution.

  109. shrinkers says:

    have = half.I need a proofrreader.

  110. Monotreme says:

    A new political party: I’m joining up.Warning: sound is loud. Maybe turn down your speakers before clicking on this link.

  111. Jeff says:

    @filistro:Not.I worked 14 years in a school. My mother was an elementary school teacher, and my father taught briefly as well. You have your basis of comparison, I have mine. There’s no point in continuing to argue about workload, pressure, etc. You won’t convince me, and I won’t convince you. But the original point was the concept that the solution to bad schools was to spend “tons of money” more. That’s a wonderful solution if you’re a school employee, but it doesn’t solve the problem. The US already spends more on education per pupil than any country except Austria and Switzerland. Filistro has pointed out that other countries are eating our lunch educationally. If our teachers and administrators are so talented, and our educational philosophy was so incredibly wonderful, how come a country like Korea, which doesn’t even make the top 20 on per-capita spending, is doing so well? If money is the answer, then we’d be surpassed only by people who live in the mountains. If spending was the answer, why are we increasing per-student spending over time (on an inflation-adjusted basis), but getting in return high school “graduates” who can’t read at the level of an average 8th grader 50 or 75 years ago? If money is the answer, why are all these countries who are doing so well, spending so much less?Your answer seems to be “We spend more money and do worse, so we need to spend even more money.” My answer is that we have a disfunctional educational system and until we fix the root of the problem, throwing more money at it is throwing good money after bad.

  112. shiloh says:

    @JeffreyThere’s no point in continuing to argue about workload, pressure, etc. You won’t convince me, and I won’t convince you.~~~~~Indeed, but let the record show you continue to argue re: money er mentioning if money was the answer while providing no, let me repeat no documentation to back up your hypotheticals, as per usual. Also, you provide no solution to the problem in your never ending rant …>You mentioned uninformed/lazy voters in the latest thread as it’s interesting which states rank lowest in education:# 33 Utah: -3.69 # 34 West Virginia: -3.77 # 35 Kentucky: -4.28 # 36 Florida: -4.41 # 37 Arkansas: -5.19 # 38 Oregon: -7.43 # 39 Oklahoma: -7.74 # 40 Georgia: -8.04 # 41 Tennessee: -8.48 # 42 Hawaii: -9.67 # 43 Alabama: -11.11 # 44 Alaska: -11.25 # 45 Louisiana: -11.56 # 46 California: -12.57 # 47 Nevada: -13.11 # 48 New Mexico: -13.37 # 49 Mississippi: -14.31 # 50 Arizona: -17.81 >Highest poverty level:# 1 Mississippi 21.6% # 2 Louisiana 19.4% # 3 New Mexico 19.3% # 4 District of Columbia 18.9% = 5 Arkansas 17.9% = 5 West Virginia 17.9% # 7 Kentucky 17.4% # 8 Texas 16.6% # 9 Alabama 16.1% # 10 South Carolina 15.7% # 11 Oklahoma 15.3% # 12 North Carolina 15.2% # 13 Georgia 14.8% = 14 Tennessee 14.5% = 14 Idaho 14.5% = 16 Montana 14.2% = 16 Arizona 14.2% = 16 New York 14.2% # 19 Oregon 14.1% # 20 California 13.3% # 21 Washington 13.1% # 22 Rhode Island 12.8% # 23 Nevada 12.6% # 24 Ohio 12.5% = 25 Maine 12.3% = 25 Michigan 12.3% # 27 Florida 12.2% # 28 North Dakota 12.1% # 29 Illinois 11.9% # 30 Missouri 11.8% # 31 Pennsylvania 11.7% # 32 Colorado 11.1% = 33 Nebraska 11% = 33 South Dakota 11% # 35 Utah 10.9% # 36 Indiana 10.8% # 37 Wisconsin 10.7% # 38 Hawaii 10.6% # 39 Kansas 10.5% # 40 Wyoming 10.3% = 41 Delaware 9.9% = 41 Iowa 9.9% # 43 Virginia 9.5% # 44 Massachusetts 9.2% # 45 Vermont 9% # 46 Maryland 8.8% # 47 New Jersey 8.5% # 48 Minnesota 8.3% # 49 Alaska 8.2% = 50 Connecticut 7.6% = 50 New Hampshire 7.6%

  113. Jeff says:

    Shiloh:Your first list, on education, needs an explanation. What does “Utah 3.69” mean? I doubt if it’s average grade level completed.As for poverty levels — there are a lot of other factors to consider. For example, Connecticut and New Hampshire are tied for lowest poverty levels. Connecticut is one of the higher-tax states in New England, New Hampshire one of the lowest,I’m argued all along that education is absolutely vital — there has been no argument on that score, only on whether our first priority should be to spend more money on it, or if we need to change it.

  114. shiloh says:

    Jeffrey, using my source link:DEFINITION: “This fourth Smartest State designation is awarded based on 21 factors chosen from Morgan Quitno’s annual reference book, Education State Rankings, 2005-2006. Featuring four new factors, this year’s award de-emphasizes spending for public schools and instead measures states based on student achievement, positive outcomes and personal attention from teachers.” – Morgan Quitno PressAs you have to buy their book to get the breakdown ~ why’s and wherefore’s.>Obviously, several factors as to cause and effect ie richer states er the highest average income citizens, as a rule have better educated students. Then you may ask why is one state richer than the next ie their children’s education. Sort of a catch-22.But it is interesting many studies have indicated many southern/red states fall in the categories of least educated, least college grads, most obese, most poverty, most unhealthy, etc. etc. having to do w/quality of life.Again, cause and effect.but, but, but the SEC has the best college football! πŸ˜‰ and that’s really the only thing they care about down there. πŸ™‚ Outside of politics …No easy answer to America’s problems as Reps continue to be totally discombobulated/flustered er disingenuous when asked: What programs will you cut? to pay for your tax cuts for the rich …

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