Thursday Open Thread

Busy work day. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Billy Bragg concert for me tonight. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 02:42:43 PM EST

    Well, that was worth every penny. (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:21:20 PM EST
    A great show, go see him on this tour if you can.

    One of many gems last night:  "Socialism at its heart is just organized compassion."


    Nice one... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 02:55:26 PM EST
    I see he's up headed my way next...stop tempting me to spend money Doc, I have to stop! ;)

    Any enemy of fascism is a friend o' mine...Billy Bragg is salt of the earth.  Enjoy!


    Yeah, tickets were not cheap. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 02:58:16 PM EST
    But I've loved him since way back. His new album is good IMO.

    Lady Kay loooooooooooooves Bily Bragg (none / 0) (#10)
    by Dadler on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 03:50:46 PM EST
    She's an old punk from back in the day though, going to shows at the VFW in Kansas City and getting drunk on schnapps pilfered from someone's parents. What I wouldn't give to time travel and see some of her then. You'd never know she was a Dead Kennedys gal. Well, not at first. Ahem.

    In case you haven't seen the (5.00 / 10) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 02:44:02 PM EST
    Oh, this is totally great! (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Zorba on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 02:57:34 PM EST
    Hahahahahaha!  I love it!

    that was great - thank you! Already sent it (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 03:36:34 PM EST
    on to a number of people.

    The money caught on real quick (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 03:52:13 PM EST
    to the fact that he was being treated unfairly and started protesting right away.

    Humans could learn a lot from that monkey. ;o)


    TED talks are fabulous (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:45:51 PM EST
    That's awesome (none / 0) (#44)
    by sj on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 10:07:36 AM EST
    We should be so straightforward.  I hope that monkey got his grape.

    Instruments currently in my son's room (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Dadler on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 03:47:52 PM EST
    Three trombones, two guitars, a saxophone and a tuba. The guitars are the only ones he doesn't really play...yet. One is a custom Telecaster clone, a gift from his luthier uncle back in Georgia who made it. And my brother-in-law is currently in Japan on tour with Sergio Mendes. And wouldn't you know it, I myself as about as musical as a moped with a bad muffler. But I have a great seat.

    Peace, my friends.

    What kind of pick-ups on the Tele? (none / 0) (#32)
    by shoephone on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:54:23 PM EST
    Do you know?

    I'll have to ask my brother (none / 0) (#34)
    by Dadler on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:15:22 PM EST
    i know nothing. let me get back to you.

    The boys club. (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by lentinel on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 03:54:04 PM EST
    The GW Bush library was dedicated today. Obama, Poppy Bush, Carter and Clinton were there. The Times summed up the event like so:

    UNIVERSITY PARK, Tex. -- President Obama joined all of his living predecessors on Thursday to pay tribute to George W. Bush as the arguments of the past decade gave way, at least for a day, to a more generous appraisal of a leader who responded to great challenges with determination and grit.

    That's not how I would have summed it up. Lying to the American people, killing about 150,000 innocent Iraqi civilians and God knows how many innocent Afghanis. Being responsible for the shredding of the Constitution, torturing suspects and lying about it to the American people, gutting our civil liberties and rights to privacy. And then there are all those American soldiers who were killed, committed suicide or have returned maimed to totally inadequate care.

    The Times calls that "determination and grit".
    That's the personage those assembled Presidents, who we elected, were paying tribute to.

    "We know President Bush the man," Mr. Obama told the crowd in front of the brick-and-limestone center on a bright, sunny Texas day. "To know the man is to like the man. Because he's comfortable in his own skin. He knows who he is. He doesn't put on any pretenses. He takes his job seriously but he doesn't take himself too seriously. He is a good man."

    Mr. Obama can like whomever he chooses, obviously.
    Personally, I find the object of his affection to be a festering cancer.

    The killing hundreds of thousands and the betrayal of the principles of the nation you were elected to serve - that does not fit my description of a "good man".

    What a brotherhood those guys are.
    What a nightmare.

    I don't think (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by KeysDan on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:53:22 PM EST
    President Bush was lying about those WMDs;  Saddam  had a pressure cooker.  And, Rummy was not lying when he said he knew where the WMDs were since he had a map of all the palace kitchens.  And, when Condoleezza warned of that cloud, she was just referring to some mushroom stew gone awry.    I think this defense of Bush is as good as that of  those who acclaim his "determination and grit."

    AND (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:00:40 PM EST
    Tax cuts at the top, letting an American city drown, appointing people to head agencies they don't believe should exist, appointing foxes to guard the hen house, appointing neo-cons to anything, etc., etc., etc.


    "Comfortable in his own skin."

    Geezuz, just more media style gibberish.

    That only means he doesn't give a crap about how much damage any of his acts cause.


    ... Dallas is now home to both the Sixth Floor Museum in Dealey Plaza and the George W. Bush Presidential Library on the campus of Southern Methodist University, thus commemorating two of the most profoundly regrettable tragedies in modern American history.

    Donald (none / 0) (#37)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:24:06 PM EST
    One of your posts ever.

    Actually, (none / 0) (#40)
    by lentinel on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:41:48 AM EST
    it is a deflection.

    So says ... (none / 0) (#47)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 12:14:23 PM EST
    ... the guy in the left field bleachers who doesn't play the game, but professes to know all about it.

    bush betrayed the principles (5.00 / 5) (#73)
    by TeresaInPa on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 05:44:35 PM EST
    of a nation he was never elected to serve.  It's easier that way.  You don't rig an election to do good things.

    I am so... (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by unitron on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 06:51:57 PM EST
    You don't rig an election to do good things.

    ...stealing that line.


    welcome to it (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 08:40:23 PM EST
    there is nothing that offends me as an American than a stolen election.

    My favorite part of the library (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by ruffian on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:05:32 PM EST
    is what I like to call the "I'm the Decider" interactive section, in which you see all the advice he got, and get to make the decision. I love that this exhibit tacitly admits Bush was no more prepared to be president than the average slob walking through his museum.

    "Love May be Forever," (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by KeysDan on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:06:26 PM EST
    but not estate taxes.  In January 2013, Congress passed, and the president signed, the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which enacted a permanent $5.0 million per person federal estate tax exemption (adjusting for inflation for years after 2011--for 2013 it is now $5.25 million) and a top estate tax rate of 40 percent. Four months later, the president's proposed budget for the fiscal year 2014 calls for a return to the 2009 levels of $3.5 million which is not inflation adjusted, and a 45 percent top estate tax rate beginning in 2018.  This revision, if it sells (a big if)  is expected to bring in about $79 billion over 10 years.    In 2010 the estate tax was zero--a good year for heirs and almost as good for most all heirs at present.

    Interesting (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:13:15 PM EST
    the Estate Tax is adjusted for inflation but not the minimum wage.

    Throwing up.


    People who earn (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Zorba on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:49:41 PM EST
    the minimum wage do not give a whole lot of money to politicians, Cal.  And, after all, if the minimum wage rises with inflation, that would negatively impact the growing profits of the millionaires.  Can't have that, can we?     :-(

    Yes, adjusted for inflation, (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by KeysDan on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:29:40 PM EST
    but not "chained CPI".  That is for social security.

    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 11:25:56 PM EST
    chained CPI insures elderly people will lose real income.

    But, hell that's all right, at least those poor rich folk will be excused from the obligations of citizenship at the rate of inflation.  


    $5 million in tax free money (5.00 / 4) (#35)
    by MO Blue on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:23:05 PM EST
    adjusted for inflation. Wow what a great idea.

    Free lunches for kids living in poverty. Naw - make them work to pay for them.

    There's no such thing as a free lunch, so should we make little Johnny work for his free meal at school? Even if he misses class?

    "I think it would be a good idea if perhaps we had the kids work for their lunches: trash to be taken out, hallways to be swept, lawns to be mowed, make them earn it," said Ray Canterbury, a Republican from Greenbrier and a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, during debate over Senate Bill 663, also known as the Feed to Achieve Act.
    "If they [students] miss a lunch or they miss a meal they might not, in that class that afternoon, learn to add, they may not learn to diagram a sentence, but they'll learn a more important lesson," Canterbury explained. (Note to Canterbury: As a parent, I can tell you that they're not teaching kids how to diagram sentences in many schools these days.) link

    Unbelievable. Luckily Scrooge Canterbury was in the minority and the bill passed the House of Delegates with bipartisan support 89 to 9 and is expected to be signed into law by the governor before the end of April.


    I think Canterbury's tale (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by KeysDan on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:14:47 AM EST
    was, in essence,  appropriated from  a leading Republican presidential candidate at the time, Newton Gingrich.   Newton had the good idea of paying poor kids to clean the toilets of the rich kids.   Gives them money, and teaches a work ethic, to boot.  

    Wow (none / 0) (#38)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 11:17:04 PM EST
    This sounds like something out of a Dickens novel.

    Like the fact your family doesn't have anything to begin with hasn't already thrown a wrench into your childhood.


    I thought that name was familiar... (none / 0) (#89)
    by unitron on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 07:36:34 PM EST
    ...turns out he's also in favor of those school kids being assigned to read science fiction.

    Well, it wasn't quite that simple for the (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Anne on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 10:33:19 AM EST
    2010 decedents...or for those administering their estates.

    The original 2001 Act suspended the tax for 2010, but replaced it with something known as "modified carryover basis."  

    The 2010 Act really muddied that water.  Instead of suspending the tax altogether, estates were given the right to elect out of filing the estate tax return, but in so doing, were required to file Form 8939 to report the original basis of the assets, and allocate basis increase to assets where the fair market value at death was higher than the original basis - but the basis available for increase was not unlimited.  It's possible that not all assets could be brought up to the FMV at death, which left them exposed to capital gains taxes at some point down the road.

    The election out of the estate tax was made on Form 8939; there was no extension available for filing the Form, and once filed, the election out of the estate tax was irrevocable.  What this meant was that you needed to be as certain as possible that you were making the right decision, because you couldn't change it.

    It was kind of a nightmare.  The two estates I had that fell into this category both elected out - they also paid whopping state estate taxes, so it's not like they got off tax-free.

    In any event, this is all very weedy, wonky stuff - the real issue isn't the 2010 one-off, it's the idea that, going forward, wealth must be indexed to inflation to protect it, but Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid benefits don't get the same treatment and no one blinks about the hardship it will visit on people who may already be living close to the bone.


    Congressional Repubs hold hearings ... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Yman on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:25:32 PM EST
    ... on Alex Jones's government bullet-buying conspiracy theory.  Long story short, Jones claimed the government was stockpiling bullets to prepare for civil unrest and to deny gun owners the ability to buy them.


    They're wasting money on this, (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Zorba on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:39:08 PM EST
    while still screaming about "big government" and wanting to slash programs that help people in need?
    Give me a frigging break.

    HA! That's hilarious! (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:55:05 PM EST
    This is true cuckoo for cocoa puffs territory. As the late Hawaii Gov. John Burns once quipped, "Any goddamned fool can draw a line in the sand -- and who am I to argue with one?"

    It's a stealth stimulus bill... (none / 0) (#90)
    by unitron on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 07:41:22 PM EST
    ...where they spend money from the hard-to-oppose Homeland Security budget to dry up the supply of ammo, which runs up the price, to which the ammo makers respond like any good little capitalist--they hire extra shifts and spend money with other businesses to get raw materials delivered and finished goods shipped, and the ammo-starved masses rush to the stores (which have to put on extra help to handle the increased business).

    More paychecks all around.


    An oxymoron if ever there was one... (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Angel on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:59:20 PM EST
    Two years - Chained CPI not a way to (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by MO Blue on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:58:12 PM EST
    strengthen Social Security so much as a way to scam people out of their benefits.

    To rich people, 15 grand amounts to tip money so they cannot see why average Americans shouldn't be willing to give up such a paltry sum especially if it will "save" Social Security for their grandchildren.

    Funny thing about that --- it won't. Save Social Security, that is. The green line is the present course of the trust fund. The dotted blue line is with the Chained-CPI:(chart in post)
    As you can see, it adds about two years to the trust fund. If this so-called "shortfall" is the problem they seek to solve by switching to the Chained-CPI, I think we can agree that it's a pretty pathetic solution. link

    Was the West, Texas Disaster (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by CoralGables on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 06:52:44 AM EST
    Thin Red Line (5.00 / 4) (#56)
    by Slado on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:16:17 PM EST
    I don't like the sound of this...

    To use weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations crosses another line in terms of international norms and laws.. That's going to be a game changer," he said.

    -President Obama speaking today about Syria using chemical weapons.

    While I agree that the president has to back up his tough talk I wish the president hadn't talked tough in the first place.

    I'd actually forgive a little backtracking on his part.  

    We need to stay the hell out of Syria.   How many times before we learn our lesson?

    This is going to be a regular slaughter... (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by desertswine on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 10:13:48 PM EST
    Draft rule ends protections for gray wolves
    In the short term nature always loses to politics. But in the long term its going to be us who loses.

    Great picture today (none / 0) (#6)
    by CoralGables on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 03:12:52 PM EST
    of five living Presidents and their spouses.

    Makes me wonder what the record is for presidents and first ladies in one photo.

    I don't know the record (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:10:01 PM EST
    but it should be remembered that there are no photographs showing Superman and Clark Kent together.

    FDR was photographed with Herbert Hoover, but Hoover was no Clark Kent.

    Of the Presidents in that photo none rise above mediocrity.


    Medocrity (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:15:32 PM EST
    is too kind a word for George W.

    I didn't mean all of them (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:31:55 PM EST
    rose to the level of mediocrity.  That would be truly heady stuff for some in that group.

    I mean only the best of those in the litter achieved mediocrity and some range from sub-mediocre to just plain awful.


    mild mannered (none / 0) (#30)
    by P3P3P3P3 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:38:44 PM EST
    Clark Kant came out of the closet as Superman (Gay Marriage)

    That depends... (none / 0) (#13)
    by unitron on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:23:27 PM EST
    ...on whether you count the one in the casket.

    Actually I have no idea what the record is, but a Presidential funeral is one good way to get them all to show up in the same place at the same time.

    Not that I'm advocating that we have one anytime soon.


    I doubt the one in the casket (none / 0) (#14)
    by CoralGables on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:39:09 PM EST
    was ever in the photo. But here's the only other time I can find where five President's and First Ladies were in the same photo.

    It was Nixon's funeral


    I doubt the one in the casket ... (none / 0) (#24)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:03:51 PM EST
    ... really cared one way or another at that point.

    A fun legal case (none / 0) (#7)
    by CoralGables on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 03:27:17 PM EST
    Monks and caskets

    The monks of St. Joseph Abbey in St Benedict, Louisiana make two types of caskets and beat Louisiana state regulators in the U.S. Court of Appeals when the State tried to keep the monks from selling them.

    The basic for $1500

    The traditional for $2000

    note to oculus:
    if only the Padres of San Diego could win like the Monks of St. Benedict.

    Maybe Padres should inquire from the ... (none / 0) (#23)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:02:33 PM EST
    ... monks about a group rate, since the way things are going they should be dead and buried by mid-May. But if oculus asks, remember that you didn't hear that from this Dodgers fan.

    Boston Suspect Moved This Morning (none / 0) (#41)
    by CoralGables on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 06:23:36 AM EST
    The U.S. Marshals Service has confirmed that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was moved from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and is now confined at Federal Medical Center Devens, a federal prison for inmates requiring long-term medical care. It's located on the decommissioned military base of Fort Devens about 40 miles west of Boston.

    Let me get this straight (none / 0) (#46)
    by Slado on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 12:03:30 PM EST
    We don't have the money for Whitehouse tours but we can hand out money to farmers for no reason at all?

    NYTimes Report on Abuse

    This is what happens when government grows too large.   We can pass out a billion bucks and no one even bats an eye.


    It isn't so much that government has (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Anne on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:09:12 PM EST
    grown too large, it is that it our legislators keep finding ways for it to fail the people who need it most; it makes no sense, for example, to cut food and nutrition programs for the poor so that those who already have plenty can accumulate more.

    Likewise, it makes no sense to weaken programs that work and work well - Social Security and Medicare - and reduce the benefits they pay, while at the same time making sure that the estate tax exemption is indexed for inflation to ensure that large estates can continue to shelter more assets, or don't become subject to the tax at all.

    The truth is, we have those billions - we have as much as we need; the problem is that those who decide what the spending priorities are don't want to spend it on anything but what will improve their own greedy little lives.

    Government is not the problem -it's the people running it, who aren't working for us.


    Agreed (none / 0) (#64)
    by Slado on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:17:45 PM EST
    but that has always been the case.

    Government is like a snow ball that builds on itself as it runs downhill.

    The larger it gets the more it's faults manifest themselves.

    Your opinions on Medicare and Social Security are not mine but I grant you the feds should provide some sort of safety net.

    The problem is these programs were designed for an average life span of 60, not 80.

    The math that drives these programs is upside down.   Somehow that has to be fixed.

    If we choose as a society to make this a priority then we can afford it.

    So what do you suggest we give up?

    I say we cut the military in 1/2 and dump the department of Education, the GAO and a several other agencies that don't really do anything.   Slash the FBI and the CIA.   Then we must totally rewrite the laws on government contracting so that we don't have all these insane rules that drive up the cost of government business.

    Can I get your bipartisan support?


    You are wrong about Social Security. (5.00 / 4) (#66)
    by caseyOR on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:39:14 PM EST
    The people who fine-tuned SS back in the 1950s were well aware that medical advances and other changes were extending our life expectancy. They factored that into their calculations. So, your claim that SS was designed for an average life span of 60 is just wrong.

    The fallacy of your claim, and you are not alone in making it, has been disproven time and again here in the TL comments. Please stop spreading this falsehood.

    As for Medicare, well, it is the most efficient and cost-effective health insurance plan in the United States. We would be well-served if Medicare became the gold standard for health insurance in this country. And, once again, it was not based on a 60 year life span.

    Argue against these programs if you want, but please get the facts straight.


    It isn't that the life expectancy is so (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by Anne on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:52:01 PM EST
    much longer - although that's what the Alan Simpson/safety-net haters want you to believe - it's that fewer people are dying in infancy.

    I'm sure I could work at my office job until I'm 80 - as long as my brain still functions - but what about the construction worker, the nurse who's on her feet all day, the factory worker - there're a whole lot of people who physically labor for their wages, who would find it impossible to keep working until they are 70, say.

    Raise the cap on wages subject to the SS tax, and you secure full benefits without having to consign people to working until they die.  Or leaving the workforce and forced to live lives of quiet desperation until they reach the magic age.  Maybe you make room in the labor force for younger people who need a job, too.

    Maybe you send the message that the nation is grateful for their hard work, but it's time to relax and enjoy life while they still can.

    I'm sure a thorough review of government would reveal many areas where we could cut back, but unless and until that effort has as its mission statement that it will not make changes that negatively affect the quality of life of the least among us, it's all just tilting at windmills and kabuki.


    Seems that you have forgotten (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by MO Blue on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 06:25:09 PM EST
    the 1986 Social Security Act which made changes to Social Security contributions and retirement age factoring in the baby boomers and a much longer life expectancy.

    Since the average life expectancy in 1986 was 74.7 years (78.2 for females), I seriously doubt they used 60 as the average life span in their accurarial tables.


    Don't confuse him (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by Zorba on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 06:49:28 PM EST
    with the facts, MO Blue.   ;-)
    I always enjoy your comments, BTW.  They are  thoughtful and extremely well-researched.  Thank you!

    Agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by KeysDan on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:05:46 PM EST
    And, some social security history that seems germane.

    To you... (none / 0) (#48)
    by sj on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:17:31 PM EST
    ...everything that happens is evidence that the government is growing too large.  "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"

    I've used that quote... (none / 0) (#50)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:23:27 PM EST
    many times to describe the government, big or small or just right...all they've got is a hammer, we're the nails.  

    Ask a poor family (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by jondee on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:13:27 PM EST
    who's only recourse in keeping malnutrition away from the door is Food Stamps if they feel like they're being hammered and oppressed..

    And I wouldn't call the Clean Air and Water Acts and the National Parks a great, collective indignity, or a blow to freedom..

    You guys are swinging a little too wildly.


    I am for all those things (none / 0) (#57)
    by Slado on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:19:32 PM EST
    The Feds aren't all bad.

    They are simply just too involved in too many things.

    Also the regulatory institutions shouldn't be a way for the executive branch to pass policy that can't pass congress no matter who is in power, because both do it.

    Also when an agency has the terrible track record of the Department of Education they should be revamped or shut down.   What good is this agency doing us?  If it was a private business it'd be bankrupt.   Meaning well and doing well are not the same thing.


    Well privatizing schools (charters) has in many (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by MO Blue on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:40:38 PM EST
    cases been a huge waste of money through mismanagement of funds. So what exactly do you recommend?

    Return authroity to the (none / 0) (#63)
    by Slado on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:11:14 PM EST

    A much smaller agency that only works with state agencies to help them improve (like a consultant) would be a much better solution.

    Instead we just have a layer of bureaucracy layered on top of local and state bureaucracies.

    A Boondoggle on top of mismanaged local agencies.

    No wonder 80% of NYC seniors aren't prepared for college.


    Explain how the Dept. of Ed. (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Yman on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:34:17 PM EST
    ... is responsible for the NYC remedial rate.

    Try to be more specific than just calling it a "bureaucracy".


    Do you want to eliminate federal funding (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by MO Blue on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:58:48 PM EST
    along with eliminating authority? Or do you want the Fed to just hand over the cash without any requirements or oversight into its use? (google "charter schools granted to political cronies")

    BTW, the majority of authority still resides with the state and local governments. Also, states can and do refuse to accept federal funds. here and here  

    Education is primarily a State and local responsibility in the United States. It is States and communities, as well as public and private organizations of all kinds, that establish schools and colleges, develop curricula, and determine requirements for enrollment and graduation. The structure of education finance in America reflects this predominant State and local role. Of an estimated $1.15 trillion being spent nationwide on education at all levels for school year 2011-2012, a substantial majority will come from State, local, and private sources. This is especially true at the elementary and secondary level, where about 87.7 percent of the funds will come from non-Federal sources.

    That means the Federal contribution to elementary and secondary education is about 10.8 percent, which includes funds not only from the Department of Education (ED) but also from other Federal agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services' Head Start program and the Department of Agriculture's School Lunch program. link

    Charter schools are public elementary, middle or secondary schools that are relatively autonomous schools of choice. They operate under a charter, or contract, issued by a public entity such as a local school district or State Board of Education. Individual states determine in their charter school legislation which rules must be adhered to, which rules may be waived, and which procedures must be followed to obtain a charter. In return for their autonomy, charter schools are held accountable for student performance: If the goals of the school set forth in the charter are not reached, the schoolís charter may be revoked or not renewed. link

    Leaving education decisions to local authority? (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by MO Blue on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 01:31:03 PM EST
    in education.

    A high school in central Mississippi allegedly forced students to watch a Christian video and listen to church officials preach about Jesus Christ.

    The American Humanist Association's legal center filed a lawsuit against Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood on Wednesday, accusing the school of violating the student's First Amendment rights.

    The school has held at least three mandatory assemblies about finding hope in Jesus Christ this month, according to the lawsuit. The assemblies showed a video laced with Christian messages about overcoming personal hardships through Jesus Christ and were allegedly led by local church officials...

    The assemblies concluded with a prayer and teachers blocked the exits to prevent students from leaving, the lawsuit claimed. A disillusioned student videotaped one of the assemblies. link

    Not to mention (none / 0) (#92)
    by Zorba on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 03:39:40 PM EST
    the whole "creationism" thing, still being taught in some public schools.

    Speaking as someone who ... (none / 0) (#80)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:43:26 PM EST
    ... actually has a lot of experience in state government, I find your analysis to be simplistic, clicheed and cartoonish. Corruption, fraud and abuse was far more pervasive during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when government had neither the capacity nor the inclination to provide effective oversight and keep its promises.

    The fate suffered by Gen. George A. Custer and 261 troopers at the hands of the Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne at the Little Big Horn was a direct result of government being too small and too feeble to effectively keep our own people from freely and repeatedly violating the provisions of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, by which the Sioux had been deeded the Black Hills in perpetuity.


    By what standard ... (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Yman on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:56:50 PM EST
    Also when an agency has the terrible track record of the Department of Education they should be revamped or shut down.   What good is this agency doing us?  If it was a private business it'd be bankrupt.   Meaning well and doing well are not the same thing.

    ... do you make this claim?


    I believe he's using ... (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:46:10 PM EST
    Another picture of Rush (none / 0) (#84)
    by jondee on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 12:29:42 PM EST
    reenacting the test the doctor gave him that kept him out of Vietnam..

    "Folks, we need to do to FDR's New Deal what was done to me down there.."


    ew... (none / 0) (#85)
    by sj on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 02:36:34 PM EST
    Warn me before you do that.

    I'm sorry. (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 03:53:29 PM EST
    I know how much it hurts to snort hot coffee through your nose when startled.

    Just asking (5.00 / 3) (#69)
    by jondee on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 04:34:40 PM EST
    why is it that libertarians and conservatives almost always want to talk about slashing government agency funding and seemingly never want to talk about, for instance, "slashing" finacial institutions down to a size that makes it harder for them to singlehandedly rape the U.S economy?

    The target is always "government" and government agencies, with no acknowledgement whatsoever that some of said agencies may have needed to symbiotically grown over time to keep up with the size of the mega-bank and mega-corporation..

    Of course the question's all rhetorical, as it's obvious we're dealing with a hardened, fundamentalist-jihadist ideology about the evils of "market interference" that completely disallows any discussion whatsoever about abuses in the private sector..

    Anything other than discussions about the evils of "big government interfernce" is, as Trotsky and Lenin used to say, counterrevolutionary..


    Ya, I guess some prefer to be "raped" (none / 0) (#70)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 04:40:16 PM EST
    by the mega-gvt and others prefer it to be by the mega-corps. Whatcha gonna do?

    Can't have one without (none / 0) (#71)
    by jondee on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 04:43:29 PM EST
    without the other, is my point..

    Interesting. (none / 0) (#72)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 04:51:03 PM EST
    Government is good at one thing (none / 0) (#52)
    by Slado on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:48:14 PM EST
    Giving away tax payer money.

    It's the rest of it they seem to have trouble with.


    That's the whole point. (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:59:28 PM EST
    Government is good at one thing (none / 0) (#52)
    by Slado on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:48:14 PM EST
    Giving away tax payer money.

    I have no problem paying taxes - that's what democracy is, a societal agreement. We pay taxes for services; government spends the money on them. Are there problems? Yes. What's the alternative? Privatize and have corporations run the country?


    No (none / 0) (#54)
    by Slado on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:13:02 PM EST
    but what happens when something gets too large is it gets unmanageable.

    Look at Bell Corporation.  It got too big and started screwing the consumers.  Feds stepped in and broke it up and we all benefitted.

    Our federal government was never intended to be as involved in as many things as it's involved in and that largess leads to this example of waste, fraud and abuse.

    Look no further then our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.   The pentagon is a government boondoggle and probably wasted 15-20% of the money it spent on those wars.   This is my big problem with so called "conservatives".   They're all for cutting spending until it comes to their sacred black hole of taxpayer dollars.   I work in construction and have too many stories to count showing how the military literally wastes money.

    I will grant you that it's probably too late now to do anything about it.   Government never shrinks.  It only gets bigger.

    We couldn't' even cut less than 1% of the budget for the sequester, which was really only lessening the increase, without people screaming.  

    They have to shut down Whitehouse tours because the bureaucrats aren't trained to figure out how to save money, only spend it.


    So, what's your solution? (none / 0) (#60)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:43:37 PM EST
    Have you noticed? (none / 0) (#94)
    by jbindc on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 05:32:27 PM EST
    Look at Bell Corporation.  It got too big and started screwing the consumers.  Feds stepped in and broke it up and we all benefitted.

    That the phone companies have started (or tried to start) merge their way back to an oligarchy in the last 20 years?


    Not just that... (none / 0) (#58)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:29:14 PM EST
    they're damn good at putting enough people in prison we put dictatorships to shame. They're good at passing laws we don't need, or worse, cause harm. They're good at rigging a free market and convincing people it's still on the up and up.  

    Well maybe that's (none / 0) (#51)
    by Slado on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:47:22 PM EST
    because it is too large and impossible to manage.

    I found the part in the article where the GAO was monitoring this quite amusing considering their troubles.


    If you haven't checked out a globe (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by sj on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:22:44 PM EST
    lately, you may want to do it now.  This is a very large country with a very diverse set of needs.  Most states are not in a position to support themselves, frankly.  Not without sharing resources with other states.  The idea that a "small" government could manage this country is ludicrous, really.  Even "small" governments have issues.  A lot of that is because too few hands hold the reins.

    By far, your examples of "too large" government is when the beneficiary is someone without the prefix "mega-".  You appear to have a great deal of contempt for the, you know, residents of this nation while looking out for the rich. I suppose that is a strategy of sorts. The way for the rich to get rid of those high-priced lobbyists is to hornswoggle the middle/working/lower classes to do that work for free.


    Just like the real thing, ... (none / 0) (#79)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:25:54 PM EST
    ... imaginary girlfriends have the capacity can take you down a few pegs.

    After some pretty embarrassing revelations about his personal life probably made a few general managers wince when considering his services, Heisman Trophy runner-up Mantei Te'o of Notre Dame (and Punahou School) was finally selected by the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft to anchor their secondary.

    All lowbrow kidding aside, I think the Chargers made a good selection. Their offense sucked last year, but the defense was actually very competitive and kept them in games, and it's pretty apparent that's going to be their strength in the coming seasons.

    Jeralyn, there is a Site Violator (none / 0) (#83)
    by caseyOR on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 03:21:52 AM EST
    called 11 who is posting on several threads.

    ... I'd nevertheless be remiss in not acknowledging the passing of one of that genre's true giants, George Jones (1931-2013).

    Without a doubt, Jones was a consummate musical artist whose own tumultuous personal life sometimes appeared to mimic his country-western ballads to the point of caricature, especially during the 1970s and '80s. His rocky third marriage to Tammy Wynette is the stuff of show business legend, and there were clearly more than a few scary times when his alcoholism and drug abuse were so self-destructive and out of control that he seemed to be the proverbial train wreck waiting to happen.

    Then, amazingly, Jones pulled out of his nose dive, turned it around and sobered up. He spent his later years continuing to perform, and to his eternal credit, he never once ducked his past whenever the inevitable questions arose.

    Rest in peace, George. You were a one of a kind original and an icon to your legions of fans, and you told it like it was.