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Thread: U.S. elections thread

  1. #81
    No. OTOH, I don't know if the advancement of teacher's unions can necessarily be equated with education. That's not to say that the answer is to cut education (by no means), but the situation certainly needs examination. Anyway, I only meant to "prove" that the left is not free from "excesses".

    I wonder if anybody here has examined the case of California, for example? I.e., where does all the public money go? Is the right correct in criticizing the inefficiency and waste perpetuated by public employees and those that represent them?

    (Speaking of California, I'm sure that the high speed rail project would be a better example of government waste.)

  2. #82
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    Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about here.

    If you're a new teacher, you can expect to earn around $25,000 pa. A new software developer can earn $80,000 pa. You think your kids' high school computer science teacher is qualified to do his job?

    Yeah there's a lot of waste in government. imho a good place to start looking would be checking the books at government contractors, because pretty much any marriage between the public and private sectors is a disaster waiting to happen.

    Blaming a labor union, though? Really? They have a bad reputation because the right wants them to have a bad reputation.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 11-08-2012 at 01:56 AM.

  3. #83
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    Note that Scott Walker et al. weren't trying to cut education funding or teacher pay, they wanted to eliminate the right of collective bargaining. The key difference being, while they don't necessarily object to paying teachers more money, they do object to the idea of being forced to make a compromise on any issue. These people truly believe negotiation is beneath them, and if they can't dictate the solution to a problem on their own terms, they will simply make the problem illegal. That's one of the main reasons your political system is so dysfunctional today.

  4. #84
    Thanks, Jon`C.

    I think that crucial private jobs, however sad this may be, will always be more highly valued by our private system of production. I'm also certain that this situation is irrational even from the long-term perspective of private industry, since it is the sudents that will comprise the future workforce. (Non-monopolistic* private industry has a very hard time acting selflessly or in their own long-term interest.)

    There was an interesting story today about the radical disruption of education by the likes of Udacity and other computerized educational tools that are moving quickly toward offering certification in addition to learning, perhaps for a fee. MIT and Harvard have recently jumped onto the bandwagon with their own offerings. I think that with such a large geographic country like the US, with its traditionally inefficient government, may be better served by these kind of radical advances from entrepreneurs.

    Of course, if we could only go back to the early cold war days when people were actually afraid of being overtaken by the Soviet Union, there would also be public support for pouring vast public resources into schools and things like project ARPA....

    About your second point: I imagine that the reason private contractors are so terriblly wasteful is the inherent lack of transparency / oversight. Another reason to never vote for a political party that thinks that "markets" (undefined catch-all) can do no wrong. C.f.: Bush and his corporatist cronies.

    *ATT is an example of a monopoly that worked to advance long-term technological progress; see Bell Labs.
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 11-08-2012 at 02:41 AM.

  5. #85
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Note that Scott Walker et al. weren't trying to cut education funding or teacher pay, they wanted to eliminate the right of collective bargaining. The key difference being, while they don't necessarily object to paying teachers more money, they do object to the idea of being forced to make a compromise on any issue. These people truly believe negotiation is beneath them, and if they can't dictate the solution to a problem on their own terms, they will simply make the problem illegal. That's one of the main reasons your political system is so dysfunctional today.
    I tuned into AM radio for a bit today to see the reaction from the right. The leaders of this alternate reality have essentially brainwashed their audiences (and themselves) into thinking that anything less than a thorough implementation of their twisted interpretation of the constitution (which is somehow related to their unnatural worship of private property) is worse than abandoning Jesus. The crux is that they believe in property rights over democracy. Just like how FA Hayek said that he preferred dictatorships like Pinochet if they are necessary to preserve "economic freedom"
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 11-08-2012 at 02:34 AM.

  6. #86
    The tail end of this interview from today might be germain.

    N.B.: The guy is at the AIP, but he's not a Republican.
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 11-08-2012 at 02:50 AM.

  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    I tuned into AM radio for a bit today to see the reaction from the right. The leaders of this alternate reality have essentially brainwashed their audiences (and themselves) into thinking that anything less than a thorough implementation of their twisted interpretation of the constitution (which is somehow related to their unnatural worship of private property) is worse than abandoning Jesus. The crux is that they believe in property rights over democracy. Just like how FA Hayek said that he preferred dictatorships like Pinochet if they are necessary to preserve "economic freedom"
    Well, this has pretty much been the attitude of the owner class throughout history. They have no genuine interest in freedom, whether you're talking about civil liberties or laissez-faire economics. What they're really interested in is establishing a system that will keep them in power. In classical times it was considered the privilege of the nobility to build such a system, so long as they maintained the right to rule. In modern times they have no such privilege, but they don't see anything wrong with taking it anyway.

    Second-generation money is the worst. Sometimes I really think the reason Bill Gates is giving away all of his money is so his kids aren't the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes.

  8. #88
    Well I guess Romney won't be able to repeal the estate tax now that Obama won.

  9. #89
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    ok, here's is a short and probably very poor rundown on California. When I say unions in reference to California I am talking exclusively about public sector unions. Public labor unions (not necessarily "employees", but the union itself) directly bankroll a lot... a LOT of what goes on politically in California. ok, i am tired and this is not coming out right. lol. basically bottom line, California is more or less bankrupt or quickly heading in that direction very quickly, and in a very literal sense. There is a 500 Billion dollar unfunded pension liability for state employee unions( <this is real, not some fairy tale talking point.). largely union backed politicians will almost without fail, every 2-4 years go straight for threats to cut education. you think that would be the absolute last place they would look to make cuts, but no. It is invariably almost always one of the first. They go directly for cuts to education because they know it is one of the few places they can threaten and the public will still put out even more money. There just flat out is not enough money to tax out of people to cover all the spending in California.

    and that high speed rail is such a ****ing joke. If it ever actually went from San Diego to San Fran like it was advertised then maybe, MAYBE it would have been a good idea but it looks like it will never actually hit either of those cities. And the price tag has and continues to skyrocket on it. Seriously this place is a ****ing mess.
    Last edited by Darth_Alran; 11-08-2012 at 03:35 AM.
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  10. #90
    (BTW, I wasn't kidding... it was part of his platform.)

  11. #91
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  12. #92
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Second-generation money is the worst. Sometimes I really think the reason Bill Gates is giving away all of his money is so his kids aren't the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes.
    I don't think there will be one. The ability of the rulers to hide what they do is waning every day. In my opinion, we have already been seeing them make some concessions out of necessity.
    "it is time to get a credit card to complete my financial independance" — Tibby, Aug. 2009

  13. #93
    In my opinion, we have already been seeing them make some concessions out of necessity.

    Are you totally sure about that? In that Terry Gross interview I linked to, for example, the guy mentions that the Koch Bros. have been buying out LOCAL elections in a small southern state (I forget which). Whereas the big time elections seem to have proven somewhat immune to the effects of nefarious campaign contributions, in many local races, millions of dollars can easily overwhelm a small-time candidate.

  14. #94
    Thanks, Darth.

    I think it's funny that the train is estimated to cost 7 times as much as the LHC.

  15. #95
    Quote Originally Posted by Zell View Post
    I like to come to Massassi every now and then to feel dumber than a bag of nails
    sit down and eat some glue with me
    He said to them: "You examine the face of heaven and earth, but you have not come to know the one who is in your presence, and you do not know how to examine the present moment." - Gospel of Thomas

  16. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freelancer View Post
    I don't think there will be one. The ability of the rulers to hide what they do is waning every day. In my opinion, we have already been seeing them make some concessions out of necessity.
    "When the revolution comes / up against wall" is just my crass way of saying that the overwhelming majority hates a person for deep social or political reasons. I don't actually think a revolution is coming. At least, more the 1991 kind than 1917.

  17. #97
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    A velvet/orange revolution in America would be amazing, but I don't see how that sort of mass drive for change could happen with the current hyper-partisan political climate.
    Everybody wants change, but not the same change the "other" guys want.

  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Thanks, Darth.

    I think it's funny that the train is estimated to cost 7 times as much as the LHC.
    lol, you're welcome. sorry that was so poorly written! But yeah, originally the High speed rail system was projected to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-ish Billion. The projected cost has ballooned to nearly 100 billion. So far I am finding conflicting reports as to if ANY construction has even started yet. Also because of budget problems there is also a possibility that some of the segments may not even be "high speed" but just incorporate existing stretches of railway. Awesome stuff we got going on here!
    Welcome to the douchebag club. We'd give you some cookies, but some douche ate all of them. -Rob

  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tibby View Post
    A velvet/orange revolution in America would be amazing, but I don't see how that sort of mass drive for change could happen with the current hyper-partisan political climate.
    Everybody wants change, but not the same change the "other" guys want.
    yeah, i think the "occupy" movement is as close as you will get to that here, at least as long as the population is this evenly divided.
    Welcome to the douchebag club. We'd give you some cookies, but some douche ate all of them. -Rob

  20. #100
    I haven't read the discussion at all, but I saw Jon C said that teachers can expect to make $25,000/yr. Is it really that low where you guys are? In my county, public school teachers make between $38k and $62k, with most in the $40,000s.
    It took a while for you to find me; I was hiding in the lime tree.

  21. #101
    It varies from state to state, but even so that's still pretty bad.
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  22. #102
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    My mom makes between 30-40k with 10+ years of experience, a master's degree in education and having taken every salary-bumping certification and exam available.
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  23. #103
    It varies from state to state, but even so that's still pretty bad.
    It's above the per capita income here (Tampa) and in line with the median household income. For comparison, I've got bachelors degrees in economics and political science, and I'm making ~$42k a year.

    My mom makes between 30-40k with 10+ years of experience, a master's degree in education and having taken every salary-bumping certification and exam available.
    That, however, does sound pretty bad.
    It took a while for you to find me; I was hiding in the lime tree.

  24. #104
    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Are you totally sure about that? In that Terry Gross interview I linked to, for example, the guy mentions that the Koch Bros. have been buying out LOCAL elections in a small southern state (I forget which). Whereas the big time elections seem to have proven somewhat immune to the effects of nefarious campaign contributions, in many local races, millions of dollars can easily overwhelm a small-time candidate.
    50 years ago we may not have ever heard about the Koch brothers. Today, we know all about their motives, wealth, and shady deals. Almost everyone who follows politics and has a level head on their shoulders hates them and are watching them like a hawk. Could it be better? Yeah. But it could be worse.

    They have definitely had to hold back because of the scrutiny.
    "it is time to get a credit card to complete my financial independance" — Tibby, Aug. 2009

  25. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by Tracer View Post
    It varies from state to state, but even so that's still pretty bad.
    No it isn't. 26k is the median American wage. The teachers in his county, if what he said is true, are doing splendidly and should dial back their expectations.
    "it is time to get a credit card to complete my financial independance" — Tibby, Aug. 2009

  26. #106
    Quote Originally Posted by Freelancer View Post
    No it isn't. 26k is the median American wage. The teachers in his county, if what he said is true, are doing splendidly and should dial back their expectations.
    What? http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i...ucation+in+USA

  27. #107
    I'm not American, but according to wikipedia about $50,000 is the median American wage. $26,000 is if you include kids age 14 and up, which is a stupid comparison in this case.

    Regardless, the issue with teaching is that the pay for someone with 5 or 6 (or even more) years of postsecondary education is quite low.
    COUCHMAN IS BACK BABY

  28. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by UltimatePotato View Post
    I haven't read the discussion at all, but I saw Jon C said that teachers can expect to make $25,000/yr. Is it really that low where you guys are? In my county, public school teachers make between $38k and $62k, with most in the $40,000s.
    Median entry-level teaching salary in the United States.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cool Matty View Post
    This probably includes summer and second jobs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tracer View Post
    I'm not American, but according to wikipedia about $50,000 is the median American wage. $26,000 is if you include kids age 14 and up, which is a stupid comparison in this case.

    Regardless, the issue with teaching is that the pay for someone with 5 or 6 (or even more) years of postsecondary education is quite low.
    $50,000 is the median household income. $43,000 is the mean income for full-time employed males, which over-estimates income because it excludes the under-employed. $26,000 is the median household income per working-age person.

    A high school graduate earns about $350,000 more than a high school drop-out, or around $30,000 of value added to the economy per student for every year of primary and secondary education. If you teach a full courseload at 25 students per class, that's $750,000 per year of economic activity that can be directly attributed to education.

    Maybe if teachers were paid for more than 6% of their contribution, some good people would actually want to become teachers?

  29. #109
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Median entry-level teaching salary in the United States.
    Yea... beginning teachers down here start off at $38,000 a year, plus benefits. Florida also has some of the lowest teacher salaries in the US (http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2011/...6-teacher-pay/, http://www.tampabay.com/news/educati...nation/1152211), although we also don't have a state income tax.
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  30. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Note that Scott Walker et al. weren't trying to cut education funding or teacher pay, they wanted to eliminate the right of collective bargaining. The key difference being, while they don't necessarily object to paying teachers more money, they do object to the idea of being forced to make a compromise on any issue. These people truly believe negotiation is beneath them, and if they can't dictate the solution to a problem on their own terms, they will simply make the problem illegal. That's one of the main reasons your political system is so dysfunctional today.
    For the record, Walker's bill has been a success on the teacher side. Except for districts where union leadership was strong and got in multi-year contracts before Walker took office, many are seeing the benefits of the savings. The fact that districts don't have to bargain with WEA Trust, a union created health insurance org, is saving money for a lot of the districts. Say what you will about his method of passing the act, which was atrocious, but when it comes to teachers here in WI, it's been a pretty good system. WEA Trust is an evil, EVIL, organization. I'm hearing this from many superintendents as well (education researcher here at UW). Again, in districts that had "lesser" union influence, they are seeing big savings with either constant level of employment, or more hiring.
    Last edited by mscbuck; 11-08-2012 at 09:09 PM.
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  31. #111
    Quote Originally Posted by Tracer View Post
    I'm not American
    You can always be my American.

  32. #112
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    Also, for those who were talking about education and liberalism, I'm pretty sure Jon'C is right on this one. The most educated cities in the country are often Democratic. Again, the causation might not be there, but the correlation is almost too striking to discount.

    For the record, at least in this election:
    "His Will Was Set, And Only Death Would Break It"

    "None knows what the new day shall bring him"

  33. #113
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    Hee hee hee.

    -Ahem. Also, the puerto rico thing is exciting me.

  34. #114
    Something bothers me about that 'Educated States and How they Voted' chart. I think it has something to do with using the cutoff age of >= 25 years. I'm guessing 25 years old is some sort of 'average' age of College graduate. I mean obviously its difficult to obtain a 4yr degree before age 21, but I don't understand why you wouldnt just count college degrees of all eligible voters - age 18+. Sure your 'Educated Averages' would be lower because there's a higher amount of people age 18-24 without degrees, but they should be almost equally lower among all the states. I guess I don't like seeing statistics generated off a data range thats already limited by an average value, feels like double rounding to me. But I'm not a statistician, this practice might be fine.

    Or maybe I'm just bothered because Pennsylvania didnt make the top10 Educated states.

  35. #115
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarl View Post
    Also, the puerto rico thing is exciting me.
    I can't say I share your excitement. If it really goes through, it'd force me to edit all U.S. flags in DXN so that they'll have 51 stars! And that means decompiling the original Deus Ex Unreal packages!

    THE OUTRAGE.

  36. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by EAH_TRISCUIT View Post
    Something bothers me about that 'Educated States and How they Voted' chart. I think it has something to do with using the cutoff age of >= 25 years. I'm guessing 25 years old is some sort of 'average' age of College graduate. I mean obviously its difficult to obtain a 4yr degree before age 21, but I don't understand why you wouldnt just count college degrees of all eligible voters - age 18+. Sure your 'Educated Averages' would be lower because there's a higher amount of people age 18-24 without degrees, but they should be almost equally lower among all the states. I guess I don't like seeing statistics generated off a data range thats already limited by an average value, feels like double rounding to me. But I'm not a statistician, this practice might be fine.

    Or maybe I'm just bothered because Pennsylvania didnt make the top10 Educated states.
    Probably because whoever made it didn't have a source for younger people.

    It also shows correlation but not causation. Living in a flyover state, being old, and being white evangelical all correlate with voting republican too.

    I based my claim on a study of academia only.

  37. #117
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    Fun fact, the Republican governor of Florida - yeah, the one who is currently being sued for voter suppression - wants legislation in his state to raise the opportunity cost of taking a non-STEM major in college. The argument is that STEM degrees are more marketable, even though many of those useless majors do quite well in the market (like communications, which is well and truly useless, but has a lower unemployment rate than CS graduates for some reason).

    The actual reason he wants this is because the conservative hotspots of the academic world are STEM undergrads and college dropouts, and this legislation is a way to create more of both.

  38. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    The actual reason he wants this is because the conservative hotspots of the academic world are STEM undergrads and college dropouts, and this legislation is a way to create more of both.
    It's asinine to assert speculative motivations for policies that you disagree with. It's enough to disagree; building up a moral high ground on weak conjecture destroys any credibility your real argument might have had.

    The trouble with the "useless" majors is that they tend to function as a really, really bad method for judging the potential competence of entry level workers in fields no have no real education requirement. Asking people to spend four years and incur crippling debt just to prove that they aren't totally useless is a really stupid thing to expect of people entering the work force, especially for relatively low paying careers. We need to come up with more reasonable, less exploitative methods for allowing these sorts of workers to distinguish themselves.

  39. #119
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    Having a really fancy sounding major does indeed get you a job easier. I should know....

    But atleast my fancy sounding major actually required me to bust my ass and learn. It also made me a better mechanic. Just need to pay for those exams..

  40. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    It's asinine to assert speculative motivations for policies that you disagree with. It's enough to disagree; building up a moral high ground on weak conjecture destroys any credibility your real argument might have had.
    Governor Scott has spent the last two years on drug screenings for welfare applicants that cost more than the welfare does, instituted laws deliberately to suppress the minority vote for which he is being sued, fought a redistricting amendment to eliminate gerrymandering, and is now executing a direct attack on liberal arts educators and students. But, oh yeah, it's asinine to say that his motivation is to directly punish democratic voters. Thanks for helping me check my privilege, sunshine.

    The trouble with the "useless" majors is that they tend to function as a really, really bad method for judging the potential competence of entry level workers in fields no have no real education requirement.
    Are they actually a bad method? You have any proof for that?

    You live in a country with a 70% post-secondary continuation rate, where employers and employees routinely select for these "useless" degrees. Maybe they know something you don't? I'm not a fan of most liberal arts programs, but they do teach critical thinking and literacy in a fairly interchangeable way. Considering that your census considers 40% of Americans to be functionally illiterate in a business setting, maybe having a degree is an important benchmark.

    The only trouble with "useless" majors seems to be if you don't have one.

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