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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:53 am 
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WHAS Channel 11 wrote:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The Jefferson County School Board is moving forward with its search for a new superintendent. At Monday's meeting, the school board approved a contract for a search firm that will help find Sheldon Berman's replacement.

The board voted last month not to renew Berman's contract, which is set to expire at the end of June. The board says it wants to find a leader who can show immediate progress in dealing with low test scores and the district's controversial student assignment plan.

In multiple news stories on the air, WHAS repeatedly quoted the board as not renewing Berman's contract because of his lack of urgency in dealing with low test scores combined with the debacle of the student assignment plan.

One could easily assume that the two were connected. In other words... waste precious resources (millions) doing something stupid in a time of scarce resources and guess what? The important things don't get taken care of. Go figure!

This is why voters such as yours truly vote people out of office who don't put first things first.

Oh and while were at it... Here's someone I voted into office, and someone who successfully responded to my wishes. This news is hot off the press.
Wall Street Journal wrote:

RICHMOND, Va.—A federal court ruled Monday that a key part of the health-care overhaul violates the Constitution, dealing the first legal setback to the Obama administration's signature legislative accomplishment.

A federal judge ruled that a central plank of the health law-the requirement that most Americans carry insurance-violates the Constitution, dealing the biggest setback yet to the Obama administration's signature legislative accomplishment. Ashby Jones discusses.

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson said the law's requirement that most Americans carry insurance or pay a penalty "exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power."

The 42-page ruling doesn't mean states or the federal government must stop implementing the law. But it is expected to give ammunition to a broad Republican assault against the overhaul, which includes efforts in Congress to chip away at it.

Requiring Americans to buy insurance "would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers," wrote Judge Hudson, a George W. Bush appointee in the Eastern District of Virginia. "At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance—or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage—it's about an individual's right to choose to participate."

The Obama administration said it was confident higher courts would rule the law constitutional, and said it was weighing an appeal. "Challenges like this are nothing new," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Monday. "I don't think the decision today and how he decided it was a surprise to anybody here."
Guide to Health-Care Rulings

The lawsuit, brought by Virginia Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, is the first court ruling against the law since President Barack Obama signed it in March.

This in my opinion has to be the dumbest time ever to be wasting our resources on social engineering. You cannot vote in and/or maintain big and costly social engineering programs when your economy is faltering, unless you happen to hate your kids and want to saddle them with an impossible economic burden.

Never mind it isn't the business of government to be doing these sorts of things.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:57 pm 
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"The board voted last month not to renew Berman's contract, which is set to expire at the end of June. The board says it wants to find a leader who can show immediate progress in dealing with low test scores and the district's controversial student assignment plan."

Bill, Bill, Bill... do you not remember my reply? You wrote a paragraph asserting he was being launched for his student reassignment stuff and mentioned almost as a side note that performance was suffering. My reply? I wrote that it sounds like he is being fired because of low test scores. Is that not what it still, at least in large part, sounds like? You might assume that the issues are clearly linked, but you know what happens when we assume right? Maybe yes, maybe no; maybe the parents just wanted higher scores and the controversy of the student assignment plan was merely that it was less important than the performance aspect. I just wanted to suggest to you that the SCORES might have been the key driver, and there's nothing here to suggest otherwise.

As for the healthcare stuff, tell me so all you want. I've always stated that I wished the focus had been more on cost and quality rather than coverage right away. Meanwhile, your favored solution, gridlock, is ALSO a death sentence for efficiency in healthcare as well as long term fiscal disasters awaiting your children. They ARE being saddled with an impossible burden; Obama was just changing the color of the saddle.

As far as the Constitutionality of it, well, we'll see, I guess. It is no stretch to imagine that healthcare affects interstate commerce. It is not stretch to imagine that almost everyone participates. Even those who seek no care and have no insurance ARE participating, already; they have backup plans guaranteeing them emergency care that we already pay for, and I think we therefore need to let these people die and suffer when their mistakes come due (fat chance!) or we get to have a say in how that coverage is provided and what obligations ensue.

As for healthcare being the role of government, i'm reminded of that scene in Indiana Jones 3, when the young Indy exclaims, "Everyone's lost but me!" What does the entire rest of Western civilization do with healthcare, hmmm? Did you know the US government already spends more per person than most other countries that provide complete care? We just get a lot less back.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:11 am 
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Ian:

On the JCPS school superintendent issues...

You don't have first-hand access to daily news from the area, discussions with school parents, etc. Furthermore, you're not bringing any facts to the discussion - facts which you could easily collect if you try just a little bit of Google.

You're just arguing.

I stated a political position and I have a running hypothesis. I know the way you get when you don't want to hear something. So I'm not going to try anything like logic and causality with you. I'll just keep it stupid-simple. Here is just enough in the way of facts to blow holes in YOUR assumptions.

This is from the regional (Louisville) paper.
Louisville Courier Journal wrote:

JCPS board members discuss votes on Sheldon Berman's contract

***

The 5-2 vote came after an interim evaluation of his job performance in a three-hour closed session, which is allowed under a state law that took effect in July.

The Courier-Journal interviewed all seven board members about the vote on Tuesday.

***

Hujo, who represents District 7, said he was undecided about how he was going to vote when the session began.

“I had a lot of mixed emotions,” he said. “Dr. Berman has a lot of good qualities, but I also had a number of concerns.”

Among them, Hujo said, was Berman’s stance on the student assignment plan, which had caused so much controversy this year. “I didn’t see any willingness on his part to make any changes to student assignment,” Hujo said.

***

Joe Hardesty, one of five board members to vote against the contract renewal, said he believes that Berman is a “brilliant educator,” but was “not a good fit for our district.”

Hardesty, who represents District 4, said he simply was not convinced that Berman’s management style would lead quickly enough to increased student achievement.

***

Duncan said she believes Berman wasn’t given enough time to improve test scores and suggested that it was political pressure over the district’s student assignment plan that sealed his fate.

“The bottom line? He’s a casualty of student assignment,” said Duncan, who represents District 5 in southwestern Jefferson County.

“I think the political pressure from the community played a large role in this.

***

“Student achievement and student assignment were the two biggest things that I feel need the most improvement,” said Carol Haddad, who represents District 6.

***

Imhoff called Berman an “extraordinary advocate for diversity.”

***

Hardesty said his decision to not renew Berman’s contract had nothing to do with the student assignment plan.

***

School board chairwoman Debbie Wesslund said the board is committed to diversity in the schools.

But she added, “We need to take a deep look at this current plan and make changes, if necessary, to meet families' concerns and to shore up community support for our assignment plan.”

Like Hujo, Wesslund and Haddad said they felt Berman was reluctant to make any changes to the student assignment plan.

“He was insistent on staying on course, he thought nothing was wrong,” Haddad said. “He thought it was working well when so many other people felt that it wasn’t working well.”

***

Porter, who represents District 1, said her concerns with Berman were primarily about student achievement.

***

The district also began facing a push for a return to neighborhood schools, including a proposed state law that would allow them, after mistakes and confusion on the first day of school resulted in hundreds of students spending extra hours on buses, with some not getting home until 9 p.m.


Bill

Source: JCPS board members discuss votes


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:17 am 
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IJ wrote:

Did you know the US government already spends more per person than most other countries that provide complete care? We just get a lot less back.

Did you know I drive a silver Mercury Villager van?

What do either of those statements have to do with a one trillion dollar boondoggle passed through the House and the Senate by Democrats only?

Primum non nocere. The Democrats ignored their constituents' urgent needs, and chose instead to ram a partisan agenda through Congress. In doing so, they did harm. That's why they got 'shellacked.' *

That's why many states' attorneys general (Virginia first) chose to file suit against the legislation as soon as it was signed.

- Bill

* Source: Barack Obama


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:20 am 
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Lots of paper and exams to grade so I'll be brief

Superintendent:
Quote:
Imhoff called Berman an “extraordinary advocate for diversity.”

***

Hardesty said his decision to not renew Berman’s contract had nothing to do with the student assignment plan.

***

School board chairwoman Debbie Wesslund said the board is committed to diversity in the schools.

But she added, “We need to take a deep look at this current plan and make changes, if necessary, to meet families' concerns and to shore up community support for our assignment plan.”

Nothing new in what you are posting Bill. Like I said before, his contract was not renewed because of board disatisfaction with public disatisfaction with the changes made to the 30+ year busing policy. These articles also reinforce the board's position I posted last time that there will still be busing, they just want a superintendent who is better at selling it. And I notice you did not pick up my challenge to actually find solutions to the underlying problems Bill.

Health Care:
You conveniently forgot to mention that the judge is Republican. Was anyone not predicting that after the Republicans shopped around for a judicial district favorable to their position and filed a lawsuit in that district that the judge is not going to rule in their favor? Then again, when the Dems included the mandatory provision in an attempt to appease the Repubs they apparently did not foresee that the Repubs only wanted it as a means to shoot down the bill through lawsuits if it passed.

Quote:
the law's requirement that most Americans carry insurance or pay a penalty "exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power


Quote:
The lawsuit, brought by Virginia Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Quote:
in Virginia, if a driver opts not to have auto (insurance) coverage, he will owe the state an annual fee of $500

At least Virginia doesn't believe in double standards :roll:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:51 am 
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Glenn wrote:

I notice you did not pick up my challenge to actually find solutions to the underlying problems Bill.

Neighborhood schools, Glenn.

I still have my home in Glen Allen, Virginia because I can control where I send my kids to school there (if I choose to go public) and my kids go to schools close to their home. The bus ride to and from school is short. Their school friends are their neighbors. The communities rally around their neighborhood schools. And not surprisingly, my son's high school is ranked nationally. Western Henrico County schools are some of the best in the nation. (And it has the most ethnically and culturally diverse population, FWIW.)

I will not buy property in Jefferson County the way things are. It's a mess. And if they keep that mess, people will flee Jefferson County to the outer suburbs the way they fled Richmond for Henrico and Chesterfield County. Right now Oldham County looks like a definite possibility. Many of the new folks to our company from outside Kentucky (many folks who don't have English as a first language by the way) are encouraging me to come out there. The places they are settling look eerily familiar to my home. For instance... I have a Hindu temple within a mile of my home in Virginia. I have Asian neighbors. My son has many hispanic friends. Etc.

Richmond is still fighting "The War of Northern Aggression" and arguing about whose statue can be on Monument Avenue.
Glenn wrote:

Health Care:
You conveniently forgot to mention that the judge is Republican.

Wrong. He was appointed by a Republican. And you conveniently forgot to mention that a Clinton appointee ruled differently in another district. So what's your point?
Glenn wrote:

"in Virginia, if a driver opts not to have auto (insurance) coverage, he will owe the state an annual fee of $500"

At least Virginia doesn't believe in double standards :roll:

Driving is a privilege; living is an inalienable right.*

- Bill

* Thomas Jefferson, John Locke, and others


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:30 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
Neighborhood schools, Glenn.

OK, that helps what, 25% of the kids? What about the majority of the kids who are not lucky enough to go to wealthy schools and are stuck with schools that have been underperforming for decades? The ineffectiveness of neighborhood schools for everyone is what busing replaced after all, going back to the ineffective system that was replaced by busing is not necessarily the best solution.

Quote:
I still have my home in Glen Allen, Virginia because I can control where I send my kids to school there (if I choose to go public) and my kids go to schools close to their home. The bus ride to and from school is short. Their school friends are their neighbors. The communities rally around their neighborhood schools. And not surprisingly, my son's high school is ranked nationally. Western Henrico County schools are some of the best in the nation. (And it has the most ethnically and culturally diverse population, FWIW.)

I will not buy property in Jefferson County the way things are. It's a mess. And if they keep that mess, people will flee Jefferson County to the outer suburbs the way they fled Richmond for Henrico and Chesterfield County. Right now Oldham County looks like a definite possibility. Many of the new folks to our company from outside Kentucky (many folks who don't have English as a first language by the way) are encouraging me to come out there. The places they are settling look eerily familiar to my home. For instance... I have a Hindu temple within a mile of my home in Virginia. I have Asian neighbors. My son has many hispanic friends. Etc.

Richmond is still fighting "The War of Northern Aggression" and arguing about whose statue can be on Monument Avenue.

My original question from a month or so ago is still being ignored, what about the schools in your Virginia district that are not ranked nationally? What is being done to improve them? Your kids are lucky enough to go to one, great, not everyone is. You, like those who have been fighting busing in Jefferson County for the past three decades, are engaging in tunnel vision that focuses only on your kids. It becomes a case of the wants of the few outweigh the needs of the many. The ultimate issue still remains, if busing is not the answer for the wealthy and neighborhood schools are not the answer for the poor, then what is a solution that can bridge that divide?

Quote:
Wrong. He was appointed by a Republican. And you conveniently forgot to mention that a Clinton appointee ruled differently in another district. So what's your point?

The same point you just made, that the Republicans shopped around and that these decisions are being based on politics and not legal merit. And do you really think a Republican would appoint a Democrat and vice versa? I know you do not have that much faith in political parties!

Quote:
Driving is a privilege; living is an inalienable right.

The intent and the effect of both laws are the same though. And your statement makes an argument for why it would be more important to have mandatory health insurance.

Glad you're back by the way, nobody keeps debate stirred up on here quite like you do! :D

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:12 pm 
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Glenn wrote:

Bill Glasheen wrote:
Neighborhood schools, Glenn.

OK, that helps what, 25% of the kids?

It helps 100% (one hundred percent) of the kids, as every community is given an opportunity. Community creates a sense of ownership and participation. There is no "community" when you destroy it with government intervention. There is just the government. You are left with more and more dependence on that government - at great expense - because individuals cease caring and stop participating.

And in this case, the government has failed to help anyone, Glenn. If this isn't obvious, then you are just conveniently ignoring the facts here in front of us.

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

Primum non nocere. The "cure" here is worse than the disease. People of means will just escape the system, and move where there is opportunity (e.g. Henrico in Richmond, and Oldham in Louisville). You create what we in the insurance industry call a death spiral.

It's already happening. They're about to spend billions here on a bridges project which will - among other things - make it easier to live farther out and commute into the city to work.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
Glenn wrote:

Bill Glasheen wrote:

Driving is a privilege; living is an inalienable right.

The intent and the effect of both laws are the same though.

The intent is indeed the same, but the legal realities are miles apart.
Glenn wrote:

Glad you're back by the way, nobody keeps debate stirred up on here quite like you do! :D

It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it! 8)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:32 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
People of means will just escape the system, and move where there is opportunity (e.g. Henrico in Richmond, and Oldham in Louisville). You create what we in the insurance industry call a death spiral.

It's already happening. They're about to spend billions here on a bridges project which will - among other things - make it easier to live farther out and commute into the city to work.

But that's been going on for decades, for example we moved from Louisville to Hardin county in 1976 after busing was first introduced. And yet the Louisville-Jefferson population grew by almost 3% over the past decade to 569,135 this year, bumping it up above Atlanta to the 31st largest metropolitan polity in the country. Sure when you look at the Louisville MSA, which includes Oldham county, the suburban counties are growing faster than the central city, but that has been occuring with cities all across the U.S. whether they have busing or not. This surburban growth at central city expense has dominated demographic restructuring in the U.S. since the late1940s, and led the Census Bureau to develop the MSA classification.

By definition, the fact that Oldham County is part of the Louisville MSA means 25% or more of the population of Oldham county already works in Louisville-Jefferson. How much the latest issue will affect the overall, ongoing, multi-dimensional trend remains to be seen and will take high-level stats to tease out.

Quote:
Right now Oldham County looks like a definite possibility.

The Louisville MSA:
Image
Plenty of options besides Oldham. My parents currently live in Shelby County and like it there, and with I-64 running through it they are just a short drive from Louisville. I've heard that Southern Indiana is also not bad, but the bridge traffic can be a bear during rush hour...nice view of the river and city when it is not rush hour though.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:26 am 
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It all depends on what you want, Glenn. It's partly the land, partly the location, partly the schools, and partly the people. Oldham right now just fits the bill.

Right now I-71 is no more difficult in terms of ingress and egress than I-64. The latter is a bit of a mess in the morning. It needs AT LEAST one more lane, and Kentuckians need to learn to get their butts in the right lane when going slow. Two lanes and ponderous driving habits just don't cut it.

If pigs fly and the JCPS leaders get their heads out from where the moon doesn't shine, well I'll reconsider. But I don't see it getting any better. Schools are a priority, and the JCPS system doesn't cut it for me. The only option in Jefferson County would be the parochial school system. And FWIW... a not insignificant portion of the upper management of my company are St. X and Trinity grads. That should tell you something about where the movers and shakers go.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:41 am 
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I-64 between Louisville and Lexington does need widening, and I think eventually it will be it's just a matter of time. It really should be as wide as I-65 is between Louisville and E-town.

I'm not too familiar with Oldham county, other than LaGrange being home to the state prisons. Oldham is the only district in the MSA ranked in the top 10 of Kentucky school districts provided on this site
http://www.schooldigger.com/go/KY/districtrank.aspx
while four Jefferson and one Oldham high schools rank in the top 10 for KY high schools
http://www.schooldigger.com/go/KY/schoo ... px?level=3
No clue as to the quality of the site, the rankings may or may not be worth anything.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:42 am 
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Bill, I think you continue to miss my point. Which is cool. Makes for fun threads. To review: you posted a while ago that scores were dipping and that the guy was thus in trouble for his busing scheme. It sounded like you were emphasizing the busing over the scores, so I wrote in that it sounded like the scores might actually be pretty important. You give me a toldyouso where your own source mentions the key role of the scores so I remind you YEAH IT'S NOT JUST BUSING. You come back with a bunch of quotes where the players explain that it was a combination of busing and SCORES. Which has been my POINT. And I am arguing just to argue? WE are just arguing to argue, so let me be the one to concede: you're right; it's not about busing and scores, it's about busing and scores. Whatever :)

On to something important which is health care.

1) You failed to comment on my point that all of our Western friends believe it IS the role of government to bring healthcare to the people.

"If we can't persuade nations with comparable values of the merits of our cause, we'd better reexamine our reasoning." --McNamara

I should add here that basically every American feels the same way, including the tea party, and the conservatives and republicans. Exactly which politicians have been suggesting, seriously, that the government disband medicare and medicaid? None, to my knowledge (please educate me). Government is already the biggest purchaser of healthcare and no sizable objection exists. Remember all those scared-by-republican-lies-about-death-panels citizens who told Obama "I don't want no stinking government messing in healthcare and don't you touch my Medicare?" Exactly. That about sums it up: America wants government in healthcare but remains conflicted about how.

2) Re: car insurance: you have the right to go without; you just can't drive a car then. Health insurance is exactly the same way. One could go without it, and just not get healthcare if one gets sick. That COULD happen. You just show me one person in North America who actually would NOT call 911 or go to an emergency room when they needed one (in fact, when they know they don't, but that's another story) and I'm ready to fold this argument. EVERYONE is insured. EVERYONE can then pay. You want to not pay? Then you can stay home and die when you get sick. Or be fabulously wealthy and without such worries (funny, they don't ever seem to do that). Want to kill the insurance requirement? Super. Kill EMTALA first. Make a real market in healthcare. Anything else is bullsheet.

If the government wants to, say, provide roads to all (even those people who opted not to drive because they don't want to pay for car insurance), they can, and do, tax everyone to do it. This means taxing people without cars, like the 15 year old burger flipper and the 90 year old retiree and the opt out crew, even though THEY don't get to use the system with their cars (they still benefit, of course, by the functioning city that results).

What is different when the government wants to provide healthcare to all, including people who don't currently need healthcare but are likely to, and taxes everyone to do it? In this case, that's exactly what's happening except the government provides a tax exemption for those who bought healthcare insurance. It so happens that requiring coverage this way MAKES POSSIBLE many other changes to insurance that benefit the masses which would fail immediately if insurance weren't required. For example, it's nice if people can buy coverage despite a prior condition, but if insurance isn't required, only the sick buy knowing they'll be saved if they need it, and an immediate tragedy of the commons results. And if we're quoting founders:

'In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." --Franklin

Maybe you don't think the government should be delivering healthcare, but then, see point #1.

3) You don't like the bill because it was Democrats only. Uh, um... are we living in some alternate world now where the Republicans would wait for consensus from their colleagues before changing the laws? Where was I when, after recent and semi-recent Republican victories, they promised not to do anything without Democrat permission? I only remember Republicans threatening to block ANYTHING unless they got their way, or Republicans winning elections by a hair and claiming mandates. BOTH sides need to be less crazy and more cooperative and less controlled by their wingnuts, as I've opined before.

4) "The Democrats ignored their constituents' urgent needs, and chose instead to ram a partisan agenda through Congress. In doing so, they did harm."

Well, many people, including the majority of people without adequate healthcare, would say that their illnesses are actually an urgent need. Disagree with aspects of the program; that's cool. I kinda respect that after literally decades (everyone thought Nixon was going to get a major fix), they actually finally did something. At least they're trying.

Let's get into that harm a bit more. The idea that the bill is killing us is very interesting. First, we knew that, say, Bush's drug benefit was going to raise costs. I don't remember hearing a lot about harm and immediate needs and stuff then. I don't remember a groundwell of republicans horrified by the costs. Which were positive.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-k ... ll_cu.html

I know the CBO predictions are a little fuzzy, but while everyone is fixated on the insurance requirement in the bill, there is a lot of other stuff. Stuff that lowers costs. Here's an overview.

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/03/20/how- ... steps.html

Again, yes, it's not black and white, it's not 100% predictable, but it is again, also worth noting the lack of concern about the drug benefit we all knew would raise costs, and the fierce opposition here to a bill projected not to. I think somehow this would all have been much more palatable to the masses had it been the brainchild or at least stepchild of a Republican president. Some would say that would never happen, but ask Mitt Romney about that. Ask GWB about his drug benefit.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:39 pm 
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IJ wrote:
Again, yes, it's not black and white, it's not 100% predictable,

Issues frequently are presented on here as black and white though. Take for example
Bill Glasheen wrote:
It helps 100% (one hundred percent) of the kids, as every community is given an opportunity.

There is nothing in the history of education in America that supports the notion that neighborhood schools will help 100% of kids, just the opposite in fact as poorer neighborhoods have no opportunity to provide quality education on their own. That is the whole purpose of public education afterall, not to give every community an opportunity to succeed or fail at providing quality education but to give every kid access to an education so that we are not just writing off the majority of kids and condeming them to limited opportunities and being unproductive members of society and the economy.

Quote:
Community creates a sense of ownership and participation. There is no "community" when you destroy it with government intervention. There is just the government. You are left with more and more dependence on that government - at great expense - because individuals cease caring and stop participating

You cannot have public education without the government. What is being stated in the quote is an argument for eliminating public education and turning education into a market driven private free-for-all that will only benefit the wealthy. Black and white oversimplifications pitting government versus communities just don't cut it, and will not solve the issues facing educators.

Quote:
“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

Black and white again, and completely irrelevant with respect to public education. The mission of public education is to optimize the ability of each generation, and not just perpetuate a socio-economic caste system that benefits neither communities, the country, nor the capitalists. To accomplish this it has to provide a level playing field to give all kids across a given district, as well as across the country, the opportunity to reach at least a certain level of attainment. A market-driven, capitalism-based educational system will not accomplish this.

As Bill is fond of saying, there are going to be winners and losers. With that in mind, here is another black and white saying (paraphrased; author unknown)
Quote:
When the wealthy win it is labeled capitalism, when the poor win it is labeled socialism

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:46 pm 
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Here's two bonus thought on "urgent needs."

First, watch John Stewart hand Senate Republicans their arses. There's a bill to promote healthcare to 9/11 responders with health issues related to their work cleaning up / doing rescue operations (documented in leading medical journals). It would be paid for by closing a corporate tax loophole and has cleared the House, but the Senate has filibustered it. Major news networks are silent, except Fox, which disapproved, but failed to mention the elected branch of Fox News, the republicans, were the ones responsible. The network that has delivered reasonable coverage? Wait for it.... Al Jazeera.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/

Go to Thursday the 16th and watch his opening sequence and if you're interested, watch some 9/11 responders comment on the Senate's inability to extend their session because that would disrespect Christianity (etc). Firefighters work on Christmas, it turns out!

Anyway, they can't pass this bill, because there are urgent matters, like a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. Whether or not the tax cut is a good idea is another matter. I am also sympathetic to the idea that while some Democrats have said that these people don't "need" this money--and they don't--it doesn't make it the government's money. But we know these people aren't having trouble getting their healthcare; this tax cut is NOT an urgent matter, IMHO. Apparently the Republicans disagree and are working hard on the tax break such to prevent these health needs from being met.

Second, in a similar vein, let's think about champion issues from the Dems and Repubs recently in the news. The Dems want to extend unemployment benefits. The Republicans want to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Each side opposes the other on these matters. Which one would count as an "urgent need," however?

I recall and agree with Bill's reminder from early that nothing promotes innovation and job finding like unemployment. However, there just aren't enough jobs to go around. And with the economic crisis, economists are largely agreeing that stimulus is appropriate. I think the stimulus package that passed had a lot of stuff unrelated to stimulating the economy. Unemployment is NOT one of those things. It is very well known and reported that such benefits are an optimal way to stimulate the economy. When the unemployed get money they spend it, because they need to. It goes right into economic activity. Conversely, it is also well known that when the rich get tax cuts, the money largely goes into bank accounts, because they rich AREN'T in need of funds to pay rents, food bills, etc.

So if you're unemployed and you can't find a job, unemployment is a rather pressing need. And it's a reasonable form of stimulus for the government to consider. Since the economy has been sagging and THAT represents an urgent issue (does anyone remember "it's the economy, stupid"? I thought so), my conclusion is that Dems have been promoting the urgent matter and Repubs (those bipartisan champs who threatened to shut down government unless they got what they wanted on the budget and tax deals) have been promoting a less urgent, more principle oriented agenda.

Anyway, it doesn't seem to me that working on your constituents "urgent" needs is in fact necessary to deliver a "shellacking" to your opponents.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:10 am 
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Addendum:

Agreement from Fox. On several points actually.

http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.co ... -video.php

What they couldn't do was say "GOP" instead of "them" or "they;" it's probably a condition of employment.

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