Monday, March 14, 2011

SR #11073

It's called "demand destruction" for a reason.

Rhetorical Question: Is nuclear power still the answer?

Prague Spring? Saudi Arabia has sent troops to put down protests in Bahrain, where protesters had pushed the police out of the main square.  The UAE also has a contingent on the way – but “they asked for it.”. Gaddafi is sure enough of his position that he's told the oil companies to come get their oil and give him the money. Elsewhere, police in Yemen opened fire on protesters, as did Saudi police.  In Wisconsin, tens of thousands picketed the capital.

A Challenge: Define 'enough' so it is both the problem and the solution.

Don't Let The Door Hit You... President Hamid Karzai has called on NATO and US troops to “stop their operations in our land... We are very tolerant people but now our tolerance has run out."

Sharing, Redefined:Republican Gov. Rick Snyder says that Michigan citizens must do what's best for business everyone rather than just themselves. Facing a $1.4 billion shortfall, he is raising personal income taxes to raise $1.8 billion, all of which would go not to the budget deficit, but to lower business taxes. Snyder's plan will cut business taxes by 86 percent while increasing individual income taxes 31 percent. He said his goal was to fundamentally change Michigan's culture to more closely resemble the Middle Ages.

Word for the Day, GOP Edition: Blowback.

More, More! Finding that severe austerity programs have not fixed Portugal’s debt problems, the government has announced a fresh round of spending cuts and public sector reforms, deeper cuts in heath services and social welfare safety nets. Let's face it, austerity hasn't worked, so let's be more austere.

Updater: In West Texas, oil field services ads used to end with “If you don't have an oil well, get one, then call us!” Same idea: Why don't big unions own big banks? It'd stop all this GOP “kill the unions” nonsense.

NOW They Tell Us: Teachers are not overpaid. We get what we are paying for. Used to be teaching was one of the few professions open to women, and it paid reasonably well. Then came women's lib and equality and all the bright women went off to business school and the professions and (ignoring the noble and dedicated few) left the unmotivated to be teachers. Today 47% of K-12 teachers come from the bottom third of the pool. If we paid enough to lure the bright folks back, scores would improve.

As Always: Scientists have mapped out who will suffer most from the early stages of global warming. Naturally it will be those people least responsible for causing the problem.

As I Said: The main cause of most, if not all, of our social, economic and cultural problems is that there are too many people. A lack of attention to “fast growing population... [has] led to a multiplication of problems and the squeezing of our resources.”

Making Progress: A homeowner pays more to insure a $1 million home than one that goes for $125,000. Only fair, he's got more to lose than the other guy and will gain a far larger benefit if disaster strikes. Likewise, if the government's job is to provide the physical infrastructure and the financial, legal and social systems in which both the rich and the poor function, the rich should pay more (much greater % of income in taxes) because they get so much more.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't live a day without this blog... whoever this lost at sea guy is. It's just possible he's a reincarnation of H L Mencken, but with better politics.

kwark said...

Re NOW They Tell Us In my experience (OK anecdotal and limited in scope) it's not the teachers. Almost uniformly my kid's teachers have been dedicated, hard working, and creative - and all in a mostly middle class and rather non-descript piece of suburbia. It's the parent's almost complete lack of interest and support that makes a challenging job almost impossible. Parent-teacher conferences garner 20% participation, at best, and volunteer requests are lucky if they get 5%. If the parent's don't give a sh!t what a shock that the kids don't either. Somehow I doubt that diverting that surgeon to teaching would help.

CKMichaelson said...

So right, kwark. "It's the parent's almost complete lack of interest and support that makes a challenging job almost impossible." and "If the parent's don't give a sh!t what a shock that the kids don't either." both echo my wife-the-teacher's views. But paying teachers enough to attract some of the better and brighter (at least until the parents drive them off)would be a start.

Besides, we might be able to buy better teachers. Better parents are beyond riches.


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

I taught for several years at a small state college, a major source of teachers for the surrounding area. Our education majors were NOT the best and brightest students we had. On the other hand, it's clear that teaching of the subjects that all normal adults are capable of mastering (up to the level of a fifth grader, e.g.) is not so much a task that requires brilliance as it does stability, discipline, and interpersonal communication skills.

The parents are, indeed, the crucial component of education.