Recent comments

  • I did not get the Liberal emphasis on public schooling...but I do now!   12 hours 39 min ago

    Alberto Ceras 2,

    I do not support the privatization of education unless you consider home schooling to be private. While I have reservations about private schools, I think that they have a right to exist just as long students can still get a public education if they choose to leave their private school for a public one.

    There are some things that should never be privatized because they are used by everyone, like it or not. However, what I am trying to get at is why home schooling is bad when the goal is to provide people with the knowledge they will need to be responsible and productive citizens?

  • I did not get the Liberal emphasis on public schooling...but I do now!   12 hours 48 min ago

    By all means, privatize the schools. Privatize the prisons. Privatize Social Security. Privatize law enforcement at all levels. Privatize the courts right up to the Supremes – no more government run anything! Well, that’s a process already well underway. Ain’t it grand?

  • I did not get the Liberal emphasis on public schooling...but I do now!   12 hours 53 min ago

    Like I said, American public school use to be considered the finest in the world, now it is a teach-to-test system, which doesn't teach a child anything but memorization of answers, that they'll soon forget. We could always look at the past to better understand the future, and maybe try to fix it, but that's using reason to help figure out a problem that's based in corruption and greed.

    I would never go against a union, especially to support private enterprise. Unions have had to make a lot of concession to private interest because of the deliberate demonizing of unions by the American business controlled press and PR firms. Teacher unions are no exception to unchecked onslaught of negativity cultivated in media, PR firms, think tanks and corporate board rooms around the country. As unions have fallen, so has standard of living for most Americans. You could also look at history and statistics that support that theory too, but anti-unionism is the "new spirit of the age" and some of these responses prove their propaganda efforts are highly effective.

    Unions are democratic institution and private enterprise is top down tyrannies.

  • Ebola in Texas   13 hours 3 min ago

    A confirmed case in New York, and, this morning Mali.

  • What's The Best 30 Sec Argument That Can Convince Dems To Vote?   13 hours 8 min ago
    Quote ulTRAX:
    Quote Alberto Ceras 2:
    Quote ulTRAX:

    Even if the electorate woke up... they are still up against a system that is reform proof. States with as little as 3.5% of the population can block ANY reform... and technically it's just that segment of those state's population that disapproves... which is where the 2% number comes from.

    Almost but not entirely reform proof.

    ulTRAX, for some reason you didn’t include my entire comment. Here it is again, complete:

    Almost but not entirely reform proof. Determined, savvy, charismatic people can make a difference. Difficult, absolutely. Be yourself an agent of reform. Throw your hat in the ring, run (or convince a friend to run) for public office. Start at the bottom, perhaps run for member of the school board, learn the ropes, make friends, work hard, move up. It's tough, exhausting work and can demand of you time and energy you never thought you had. But the personal reward and the thrill of the thing may more than compensate.

    Here’s another idea or comment to ignore. Print these suggested changes on a flyer with “agree” or “don’t agree” boxes that candidates - for whatever office – can check. Publish the results, including the names of those candidates who did not – would not – respond.

    Here’re my suggestions. It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree, it does matter whether the candidates agree or disagree:

    1. Restriction on the number of times that a person may hold federal elective office. I'd hold it to two terms, period, with one exception permitted - a person who has held federal elective office for two terms could subsequently contend for and occupy the office of president for two terms. (I'd prefer, though a single six year term for president, no re-election).

    2. An exemption-free draft for all able-bodied citizens. No exemption for members of congress or White House staff. No exemption for college students (grossly unfair and discriminatory). No exemption, period, except for health or disability.

    3. Legalization and strict governmental control of the sale and consumption of drugs.

    4. Transparency in government to include (a) declassification of ALL official government records five years after the date of their origin (exact, uncensored and unaltered duplicates might be filed, at the time of their origin, with a special archivist and made readily available to the public after the five year period has expired) and (b) immediate and unrestricted access to all files, records and offices of any federal department (when expressly authorized by a vote of the House) by a standing committee of five House members composed of three from the majority party, two from the minority, all of whom have been sworn not to divulge sensitive information.

    5. Elimination of the Electoral College allowing presidential elections to be decided directly by a majority of the popular vote.

    6. Revision of the system for electing Senators so that, in so far as possible or practical, Senators would represent all the people, fairly and equally (each Senator would ideally represent the same number of people), through election by national or regional, rather than state, constituencies. This might prove the most difficult change to bring about, but one of the most important. Alternatively, each state might retain its two senators, as prescribed by Article V, but Senators would have weighted votes based on their state's population. If all else fails, the Senate could be relieved of all real power becoming an advisory body only.

    7. Elimination of the unconscionable (and growing) disparity in the distribution of wealth. This would require an aggressive, vigorous policy of progressive taxation and absolute limitations on inheritance. Most importantly, enact a wealth tax to replace the present federal income tax.

    8. Elimination of primary elections for national office with candidates to be nominated by their political parties.

    9. Supreme Court nominees (maybe candidates for all Federal judgeships) to be proposed by the House, vetted by the President and approved by the Senate. For example, the House might be allowed to propose five candidates, the President to select two of the five, and the Senate to approve one of the two (or to reject both in which case the process would begin again). Both the President and the Senate might be required to act within a certain time frame.

    10. Equal television time for all major party candidates for Federal elective office.

    11. Elimination of special privileges (perks) and "gifts" for all members of Congress. For example, members would be required to get their health care just as any member of the public or the most humble government employee gets theirs. Also, no special clubs or spas for members, no cut-rate dining rooms, etc.

    12. Federal regulation of funding for public education that would insure equitable distribution of funds nationwide based solely on student enrollment.

    13. A loop-hole free, hard-nosed and effective campaign finance law. This might require that the Supreme Court overturn its free speech ruling (the Supreme Court's equation of money with "speech" ) or that congress enact an imaginative law to circumvent its noxious effects.

    14. Opportunity for the public to decide directly, perhaps every seven or twelve years, whether or not they would like to convene a constitutional convention for the purpose of revising or amending the constitution. The question might be placed simultaneously on the ballots of each of the states and might require approval by two thirds majority of the national electorate (not the states) to carry.

    15. Term limits for federal judgeships, including the Supreme Court. Six years and out.

    “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.” – James Madison

  • I did not get the Liberal emphasis on public schooling...but I do now!   13 hours 25 min ago

    Dexterous,

    You have a point. Unions are an issue to me, but not the most important one. The most important issue of any education is whether or not the student knows what they need to know so that person can be responsible and productive.

  • I did not get the Liberal emphasis on public schooling...but I do now!   13 hours 30 min ago

    In many states the per pupil cost for education runs well over $16,000/student per year. In many cases that cost exceeds the cost of sending one to a private school.

    If I have the choice to send my child/student off for an education, I will, and did, choose the path that will benefit the child the most in later years with a good diverse education rather than worry about the teachers unions in the public education system.

    Like public education or not, too many times all the students in the class are brought down to the lowest students performance levels in this day of diversity and political correctness.

  • I did not get the Liberal emphasis on public schooling...but I do now!   13 hours 39 min ago

    That's the problem with the salary of a vow of poverty. It is nothing at all except for food, clothing, etc. I guess that such a person can join the local union as a "volunteer," but that would have to be it as far as dues go.

    What do you think about public education being administrated at the state level instead of the federal level? I actually think that it would help public schools. It would give states the opportunity to set up their own Dept. of Education in stead of relying on the dysfunctional Dept. of Education in Washington, D.C.

  • I did not get the Liberal emphasis on public schooling...but I do now!   13 hours 40 min ago

    Another point about home schooling. One that I think should be considered. Subsidizing Mothers/Fathers that stay home and teach their childern. We value a hedge fund manager to the tune of millions and millions of dollars in salary, stock options, bonus and company perks, but raising a child in the US has virtually no value.

    In a pay to play society like the US, most households have to have two adults working. This would make it virtually impossible for a child to be taught properly at home, however, if we valued parenthood in this country, as much as, say, military contractors, we could pay for one person to stay home and educate their childern, providing human capital down the road, but of course paid killers are much more important and productive in a state capitalist society for opening "free" markets.

  • I did not get the Liberal emphasis on public schooling...but I do now!   13 hours 49 min ago

    Private, for-profit and parochial schools already accept public, besides the voucher program. The voucher program, if you take it seriously, is suppose to give students "choice". The voucher is not used at public school; it's just used solely for for-profit charter, private, or parochial schools. A student going to public school, if accepted to a private institution, can use the voucher to help pay their way, however, the money is normally not enough to cover all the expenses. And according to the static I've seen; the majority of students applying and receiving these vouchers already attend these private institutions and have the means to pay.

    I find it highly unlikely that private and religious institution will have to submit to government control due to public subsidies, however, they've got the right of refusal, which, I also, Highly doubt they'll refuse.

    For the vow of poverty problem, they could always donate their salary. Easy enough

  • I did not get the Liberal emphasis on public schooling...but I do now!   14 hours 9 min ago

    Richard of Jefferson,

    I can understand the concern over vouchers. I also would like for government money going only to "secular" public schools. Vouchers are more or less a subsidy.

    However, I see another side of the issue. If private schools accept public vouchers then the government might try to usurp control of what is taught there in the name of quality control concerning "evolution" and the like.

    Then there is the issue of unions. I agree with the existence of unions, particularly teachers unions. However, I do not view private education as a deliberate attempt to destroy any union. I could be wrong, though. What if a teacher with a vow of poverty taught at a private school because they would support that vow. Should such a person be forced to join a union? Maybe join the union for the sake of the community of workers, but they would not be able to pay dues for the pension funds, etc.

  • "Ninth Circuit’s neutrality questioned on gay rights"   14 hours 12 min ago

    Oh, I think it's so cute when an erstwhile "editor" chooses to critique a statistical analysis done by a Professor Emeritus in the field of Statistics. A "flawed assumption" here, a "flawed assumption" there, Oh! my. What's next, "fudged math"?
    Tell me how you can say with a straight face that 100,000 random groupings of 11 cases, probably done by a random # generator on a computer, denotes

    Quote mdhess:f*%king bigotry

    Your "tunnel vision" with respect to the number 11 is absurd on the face of it. It is, AFAIK (remember I don't pretend to be a statistician), impossible to analyze any series of events without making assumptions and assigning variables. That process always introduces "observational bias." Matis', an expert in his field, obviates that inevitability by using random groupings in the third analysis.
    In the end we're left with two choices: you are, sadly, unable to comprehend that process - or you are just being "willfully ignorant."
    I think it's probably the latter case given your vested interest. I could however be wrong, you might just be dumber than a horse turd, (sh)it happens.

  • What's The Best 30 Sec Argument That Can Convince Dems To Vote?   14 hours 15 min ago

    You have stated in numerous posts that the system cannot be changed. It is a two party system with elections that last for years. I would much rather have a system like Austrlia where they have several parties that have to work together to make 51%. Our system a vote for the Green Party is one less for the Democratic party. The UK has something like 2 week elections. Ours last for years and create hate and discontent. Nothing gets done because of this. Senators do not work cross party because they hate each other. The system can be changed by electing a Progressive Senate and House. But, we are a long way from that. Meanwhile the Republicans are content with the way it is, They have figured out how to work with it, as I have mentioned in previous posts.

    By the way Ultrax. Your use of terms like "piss off" and "clueless" only lowers your IQ in the eyes of the readers. This message board has a lot of intelligent input and you do not see others using such stupid comments. Try and keep it intelligent.

  • I did not get the Liberal emphasis on public schooling...but I do now!   14 hours 36 min ago

    I don't know how to classify myself, so I will just consider myself left thinking. One of things I objected to was the voucher program. The voucher program, from the Bush Duce Administration, is just a subsidy for the rich. The truly elite private schools that teach classical educations cost a lot more than 7 or 8 thousand a year, and the privileged few that attend do not need vouchers, however, they are eligible for the voucher program, and you better believe their parents are taking advantage. There are interesting static for students who applies for vouchers program for private schools. Most of the students applying already attend private schools without taxpayer subsidies.

    The voucher program is also going to be a boon for the privatization of the school system. Governors' like Chris Christie a former lobbyist for a company wanting to privatize schools in New Jersey. One of his first acts as governor of New Jersey was to take money out of the public school system, and grant for profit school companies, including the one Christie was a lobbyist, that exact amount he extract for public schools he put into the for-profit schools. Now you have the public system being robbed to pay the for-profit-schools and their also eligible for the voucher program in New Jersey. How long do you think it will take for a-for-profit school to start charging for exiting exams, diploma fees and the like?

    My opinion , like a couple others who've posted here, is the main reason for these programs is to crush one of the last power and politically influential, private or public, unions left in the US. That's the teachers unions; these teachers that are going to be forced out of a job in the public school are going to make up the majority of the for-profit schools faculty. Plus, a for-profit schools are not going to do anymore than they have to do. Students will be getting the lowest bidder with the cheapest education programs accepted by the fiscally responsible state.

    What I object to the most is parochial schools, especially, Catholic schools. The Catholic church is a protection organization for pedophiles and I do not want my tax dollars funding any organization that has a proven track record of protecting child molesters for the sake of public image. That's my opinion on the subject. I, also, don't like the idea of funding religious organization at all, but parochial school provide a more classical education than the compulsory public school system, which the for-profit schools will mirror exactly.

    With that said, I don't have a problem with an at home education. I actually think it's a good idea and I think the public subsidies would be well spent in helping parents educate their selves, so they teach their children in their own way and in their own time. Early childhood should be with their parents. I, especially, like the idea of the first 6 or 8 years of educations. There should be some guidelines, but very loose in my opinion.

    The main problem with public education is deeply flawed by design. The teachers have some blame, but primary problems is the education system itself. The system is failing because it's set up to fail. The entire structure of public school had become a teach-to-test system totally void of critical thinking.

    The US no longer needs engineers, doctors and other professional because of Bill Gates (Little fascist) flat earth principle of undermining professional workers with H-B1 visa's; H-B1 visa works against professionals like NAFTA did to undermine labor. There are a lot more factors to consider, but the American public school system, once the envy of the world, has devolved into a political football for politicians to kick around but not fix.

  • I did not get the Liberal emphasis on public schooling...but I do now!   15 hours 8 min ago

    MdHess,

    To answer your point concerning teacher salary and benefits, I say what if a teacher is a monk or nun that receives only a stipend for the most basic of needs? They would not get paid due to their calling, but could still deliver a good education.

  • I did not get the Liberal emphasis on public schooling...but I do now!   15 hours 13 min ago

    Mdhess,

    I respect you for your stand in human rights, particularly when it comes to the rights of homosexuals. However, to be frank and honest, I find what you just said here to be slightly Orwellian.

    "When thought is crime, no one is safe." - Orwell

    Is it any of the business of the government what people think about "blasphemies" and "evolution?" Is it any public concern that a child gets "Bible thumped" just as long as that child receives the information they need to be responsible and productive at least by the time they are old enough to leave home to make the important choices in their life?

    Don't get me wrong though. I am not religious. In fact I consider myself a "skeptical enquirer" in which "I don't know" G*d enough to believe that there is one. I am opened minded, but not to the point of being open enough to spill my brains out on the floor. While I might be disturbed by children receiving a "thumping" of an education, it is ultimately none of my business.

    The only legitimate problem I can see, as you put it, is socialization issues. Child abuse? Hardly...but it is still an issue I admit.

    Again, Mdhess, I respect you. Please do not infer that what I just posted is directed at you on a personal level.

  • Neither Metric Nor Democratic...   16 hours 8 min ago

    The culture inside the beltway doesn't come close to matching that of the electorate. The "government of the people" doesn't exist here. One glaring example is Social Security which is extremely popular even amongst right wing wacko seniors.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/28/social-security-poll-benefits-cuts_n_885401.html

    Our legislatures are full of ideological newbies who have no inclination nor ability to govern. Members range from the possibly mentally ill Louis Gohmert to the ignorant Ron Johnson, Joe Barton and this guy.

    http://www.dailydot.com/politics/rep-curtis-clawson-indian-government-flub/

    Just a few years ago we had to endure the intellectually challenged G W Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. The results of that choice for the nation were undeniably disastrous.

  • Mysticism   16 hours 47 min ago
    Quote Laborisgood:

    Deep connections with other humans is mystical, no? Especially when we so often just safely skim across the surface of shallow interactions with others avoiding the deeper and more meaningful stuff.

    Indeed! :)

  • Is Sears In Trouble Because It Sucks???   16 hours 48 min ago

    I've noticed a few small Sears stores opening lately. These don't come close to carrying the full line of merchandise. Instead they are niche stores offering tools and appliances.

  • S&P 500 Companies Spend 95% of Profits on Buybacks and Payouts   16 hours 54 min ago

    "Less stocks." Does that mean fewer shares? If so, yes. There is such a thing as a reverse split, such as a stock selling for 40 goes to 80 by combining shares two for one. If you were a shareholder with 100 shares at 40, you now have 50 shares at 80. Lord, how the money rolls in.

  • Mysticism   16 hours 57 min ago

    Deep connections with other humans is mystical, no? Especially when we so often just safely skim across the surface of shallow interactions with others avoiding the deeper and more meaningful stuff.

  • Mysticism   19 hours 12 min ago

    Don, great to see you here! :-)
    You'll always be Uncle Don to me, and I still fondly remember our encounter in Amsterdam way back in the day. Wish I could meet all of yous again somehow.

    Ren,
    Yes, I did notice you left on the Fb... I'm only recently shifting my page from a clear AR-page back to an Usha-page... I figured, though being an AR-activist for sure gives me a sense of purpose and direction, I need a way to stop getting lost in the cause (albeit a good one to get lost in) and maybe, just maybe, getting back to this boards might do that... Who knows.

    We had such a lovely connected space here, which was so brutally broken open by voices setting out to be more mainstream. A great loss, wasn't it, because, though we did make a very good start on one, and then another of the new boards, I supposed all of us were infected by something we didn't really know how to describe, so, we just went with it. Sure, other things filled the open space that the loss of this one left, but well, though many things were going on at that time, I still remember those days fondly.

    Someone in the above (Karolina?) mentioned something about nothing happening just like that (sorry if I misquoted you, I tend to go with whatever I see/read/feel and let my mind wander with it ;) ) well, I believe that to be true, actually. After detouring such a long way in my life from where once I was (in 2003 and onwards), I find myself gradually coming back to that life, that profession, that person. Not completely the same, as new experiences formed and shaped me in ways I am unwilling to let go of, but, there must be a reason beyond anyone's grasping, why Chris decided to alert us to this thread, and why we all responded, and keep responding!

    I have often missed our e-mails, and thought of e-mailing you many times, but, somehow didn't.

    Kenny,
    Heard you got married (must have been a while ago already), cheers on that one, mate! So good to see you embracing life, and love, (you've always done that in my experience) but one of my last encounters with you on one of the sub-boards was about a health-scare. I always knew it wasn't what we feared it might be, but, still, good to see you well and alive! Have you still got your unintelligble Scottish accent or did you adopt the tongue of the Land of Oz? :)

    Chris,
    I don't think it's bad blood, personally, just other things calling. MInd you, I had no intention of ever returning to this place, but decided I'd do it just because you asked. And This being my 3rd post here this time, I am more and more starting to feel connected to all of you, and seeing this as a reunion of some sort.

    Maybe pathetic to actually see this place as a "space" and the characters on it as "friends", "family", even. But well, pathetic is as pathetic does, right? ;)

    Though I'm seemingly not addressing the purpose of this thread, I, in a way, am. :)

  • Mysticism   19 hours 14 min ago

    NMKiker:Talk about nonsense, I believe that you just demonstrated some... full of fury signifying nothing. But, I am getting rather bored so I guess I'll bow out and let you babble on about ridiculous ideas.

  • Canadian Gun Violence   19 hours 17 min ago
    Quote douglaslee:

    Calling 2 Ebola infections an epidemic and a crisis is similar. A NY Drs w/o Borders case just appeared. Comments from the usual suspects are Salem Mass witch burning type, but the system works, and worked. A blue city in a blue state was prepared and acted. No privatized unregulated crooks, no TXterf#ck, just action. It was a nice gesture of the Mayor of Dallas assuring NY that even Texterf#cks are no reason to panic. But then TX has open carry and NYC doesn't, gee I wonder if the NRA will pounce. First concealed carry, then SYG, and Ebola wouldn't stand a chance. Some are saying it is jumping fences and landing airplanes. At least Ebola is not flying the planes into buidings.

    Freudian slip, I first wrote nice jester re:Dallas, not gesture. Loony Gomer and Cruz are still jesters and clowns, or Jokers. The 'calves like canteloupes' IA rep thinks he's a king, but he's not even a Jack, just a joker in a dealer's choice, and IA voters are the dealer.

    btw, I'm from the midwest, sometimes Jacks trump everything. In Euchre, the Jack of trump is the Right Bour (or bar in some dialects) and same color Jack is Left Bower. Liz Warren will one day be Right Bower, (not a Jack, A Jill?). The dealer then will be the populous and with a good hand they decide trump. Liz Warren and Sherrod Brown are right and left bowers. CA is ace of trump, minorities are king of trump, Women are ace of another suit. The other team still has jokers like Cruz and Palin, but they're in the wrong game.

  • Canadian Gun Violence   19 hours 46 min ago

    Calling 2 Ebola infections an epidemic and a crisis is similar. A NY Drs w/o Borders case just appeared. Comments from the usual suspects are Salem Mass witch burning type, but the system works, and worked. A blue city in a blue state was prepared and acted. No privatized unregulated crooks, no TXterf#ck, just action. It was a nice jester of the Mayor of Dallas assuring NY that even Texterf#cks are no reason to panic. But then TX has open carry and NYC doesn't, gee I wonder if the NRA will pounce. First concealed carry, then SYG, and Ebola wouldn't stand a chance. Some are saying it is jumping fences and landing airplanes. At least Ebola is not flying the planes into buidings.

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When Eric Holder eventually steps down as Attorney General, he will leave behind a complicated legacy, some of it tragic, like his decision not to prosecute Wall Street after the financial crisis, and his all-out war on whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.