Friday, October 30, 2015

Teacher Preparation in MN

Here is an interesting if repetitive discussion.  MP Teacher Prep
"But he's got a point. Even if the best and the brightest were attracted to education as a major, why would they major in it when the teaching profession is so hard and pays so little? Especially since teachers are the equivalent of the Anti-Christ in some (influential) peoples' eyes. At this point in time, the only reason we have good teachers is that the unions manage to make sure there are SOME benefits (of course, that comes at the price of keeping bad teachers). But, at some point, it will be pure luck if kids ever see a good teacher because the unions appear to be not long for this world if the Republicans have any say...and quite frankly the Democrats, too, if the unions don't also figure out how to concede that we live in a new world.
All this boils down to the results of a system that doesn't value teachers. Even if the teaching colleges were transparent with the outcomes of their programs, it might not reflect the quality of the college, but the quality of their trainees. It might be impossible to evaluate the quality without taking into account lots of other factors, which rely on lots of other data sources, which might further make it impossible to calculate true outcomes. That's not to say that there aren't lots of super smart and talented teacher candidates, but I also suspect that there are lots of not so smart and/or not so talented teacher candidates that would bring down the average. And how do you factor in that hardships to new teachers are probably not limited to poor teachers? I'm no dummy (though I couldn't claim any talent for teaching), but if I had to deal with low pay, low respect, and long hours, I'd find something else to pay the bills no matter how good I was at it." Rachel
"Actually I do not know anyone who sees Teachers as the anti-Christ. However I do know many who see the Public Education system as a significant problem, especially for the unlucky kids who need the best Teachers they can get.
As we have read and discussed here over and over. The Union / Bureaucrat supported programs:
  • allows highest paid Teachers to avoid schools with the most unlucky kids
  • distribute wages and benefits based on years/degrees instead of responsibility level, performance, difficulty of position, etc
  • delay wage increases and job security for young energetic gifted teachers
  • sustain the high wages even if an older Teacher begins to burn out
  • works hard to delay allowing new Teachers in from out of State
I mean why would a young gifted hard working person ever become a Teacher? I mean no matter how hard you are willing to work for the kids who need you, you are paid according to some steps/lanes based schedule and you have little job security for at least 3 years. And you may spend years working for half the pay of a low energy Teacher in the next classroom just because they have been there for 15 years.
I will never understand how caring Liberals are continually willing to sacrifice the unlucky poverty stricken kids so that older Teachers make more whether they are worth it or not." G2A

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bengazhi and Hillary Part 2

Those very puzzling moderators are at it again... MinnPost Bengazhi
"Why didn't Cheney and "Scooter" and their ilk use the standard email system? Conservatives sometimes have short memories." Phil
"Emails, really ??? What is this really about then--is this the "House Committee to investigate email procedures of Hillary Clinton"? What about all of the other departments and department heads who followed similar wmails procedures? What about security at Benghazi? Nope, emails, emails, emails. Keep beating dead horses--they can't get away." Neal 
"Curious where is the partiality from the writer? What additional analysis/perspective was missed? Or did we see an early agreement that the 8th time around was similar to the last 7? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is akin to insanity. Should the arriving at the insanity part required additional analysis?" Dennis W.
My points in response seemed pretty tame to me, however 3 different wordings were REJECTED...

  • It is likely that Liberals found the behavior of Cheney and Scooter questionable and suspicious. Why doesn't Hillary's poor choices seem poor too Liberals?  Does the fact that another politician did something questionable set the new standard lower for future politicians?
  • Labels and tone matter. I would not expect to see a professional political analysis saying this. "The day was driven by the Obama/Clinton Derangement Syndrome afflicting the Republicans on the committee. "
  • There has been a big change since the previous investigations.  Hillary had for some reason neglected to turn over all of the related emails immediately during the previous investigations. The big question is why didn't she turn over her server when the first investigation opened?  Instead it took years for her to make her public governmental emails available to the proper authorities. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Reshaping of Education

"Here is a link that is related to the book I am currently reading:

No More Pencils, No More Books - Artificially intelligent software is replacing the textbook—and reshaping American education.

Education will being changing very significantly in the coming years." Laurie

One Big Catch 22

Laurie and I were discussing income inequality, tax policy and consumer choice over here. G2A Mad Mad World  However I thought this simple question deserved it's own post.
  1. The American people on the whole want the best value when they buy products or services. (ie cost, quality, features, performance, etc)
  2. The American investor wants the best returns on the 401K, IRA, College Saving Accounts, etc.
  3. The American workers want higher wages than the rest of the world, so they can have nicer cars, bigger houses, better electronics, etc than the typical citizens of other countries.
Therefore the American Consumers are happy to buy the lowest cost, coolest most reliable products from where ever.  The American Investor will remove their money from any company or mutual funds with less than average returns. In essence the typical American Consumers and Investors are big time Capitalists. They want to get the most for their money and time.

However the typical American Worker still wants that bigger pay check and those nicer things.  And the Liberal folks want to use the government policies to mandate higher wages and benefits in this country than those received by workers in the countries that our consumers happily support.  Which of course will increase the costs of doing business in the USA.

Which leads to the Catch 22:
  • We want more better stuff for less money and better returns....
  • We want higher wages and better benefits....
Of course the Liberal's answer is to take more money from the Investor class, and redistribute it to the Free Loaders and Workers.  At which time the Free Loaders and Workers will spend it on more high foreign content goods and services.  This is all very confusing...

Saturday, October 24, 2015

It is a Mad Mad World

The comments at the end of the MP Sanders article keep getting more and more strange.  Paul and Bill definitely have a different perception of reality than folks like myself do. (no surprise there)  By the way, you will need to continue to page 2 to see  all the comments.  I am getting ready to go to bed so I am happy that I don't see monsters all around me like some others...  Here was my last response in case it gets blocked.

And yes this is old stuff for us, so I will understand if you are just tired of this topic.
"I am happy this is America and we are all free to believe differently, because I can then disagree with the vast majority of what you wrote above.Your sources definitely have an agenda, and they want to create villains. Of course since I own a lot of financial stock right now (ie good buys in 2009), I disagree with Rolling Stones interpretation of reality. And since 72% of the company is owned by institutional investors, I am pretty sure that everyone who has a diversified pension, IRA, 401K, etc likely owns some of these villains and benefits when they earn a profit.
GS Ownership

Now I have no doubt that these institutions do strive to earn good returns within the bounds of the law. That is what we investors expect of them and pay them for. If they don't, we sell their stock and look for a better performer. So as we have discussed before I see the contributors to the Great Recession being irresponsible Mortagees (30%), inattentive regulators (15%), Mortgage companies (30%), Investing Entities (25%)
Crisis of Credit

Remember what WC Fields said "You can't cheat an honest man..." G2A
By the way, yes you can cheat an honest, humble, conservative person who does their due diligence... However it is pretty hard.  Most of us can tell when something seems too good to be true, when we are getting in over our head or when greed/hubris is controlling our actions.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Benghazi Hearing

After reading these, I am guessing the Left will still see her as innocent and the Right will still see her guilty or incompetent.  Now there was a waste of 11 Hours...

CNN 11 Take Aways
Fox News Benghazi
Politco 13 Top Moments
ABC Benghazi

From the ABC link, these are the facts/comments that still have me on the fence. Thoughts?
Some of the strongest testimony so far, most likely to be seized upon by critics of Clinton, was the exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. Jordan pointed to two emails -- the first was a note providing a readout of a call between Clinton and the Egyptian prime minister sent on Sept. 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack. The email quotes Clinton as having said, “We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack -- not a protest.” 
Clinton had a clear response: “When I was speaking to the Egyptian prime minister or in the other two examples you showed, we had been told by Ansar al-Sharia [a militia group] that they took credit for it. It wasn't until about 24 more hours later that they retracted taking credit for it," she said. 
Clinton also defended herself by saying she was sorry her version of events didn’t "fit your narrative." 
"Why didn't you just speak plain to the American people?" Jordan asked.
"I did," Clinton replied. "If you look at my statement, as opposed to what I was saying to the Egyptian prime minister, I did state clearly. I said it again in more detail the next morning, as did the president."

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

DSA and Democrats: Again

 Eric finds it amazing that so many Democrats are openly supporting a Democratic Socialist.  I find it amazing that he is surprised since so many of their goals are so closely aligned. MP Sanders and DSA
"I find it much more interesting that for years many Democrats have denied the reality that they are truly Democratic Socialists at heart. Republicans would say that the Democrats on the Far Left were socialists and the Far Left would yell back denying the reality and insisting that those on the Far Right were incorrect.

Maybe Sanders is giving many Democrats the courage to face reality and come out of the closet." G2A
"To me it looks like there is little difference between the DSA's short term goals and those of the Left leaning Democrats. See for yourself.

The difference appears to be in the Long Term Vision... The true Socialists dream of a world where the people via government own the businesses. And the businesses are operated purely for the good of society.

The idea that many people own the businesses via stock and they are operated to survive, grow, and make a profit is unacceptable in their view. 

As for Tea Party vs GOP... The GOP is ok with continuing to slowly move Left as a country. (% of GDP controlled by government... Was 10%, then 25% and is now ~36% ) The Tea Partiers think we have shifted too far and want to pull us back some before we go over a cliff. Thus they have a sense of urgency where as many of us are like cows going with the herd..."  G2A
See the MP comments for more context. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Come One Come All For Free Stuff

Apparently the these far left folks who block moderate commenters are still in business. MPP Immigration  Of course which leads to almost no comments... And simultaneously this discussion occurred on MinnPost Cruz .
"What would Jesus do 1 & 2.  Rafael Cruz: "the future of the United States lies in Christianity and the Bible."  Jesus: "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy."  Ted Cruz: "We should end birthright citizenship."  Jesus: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." 
"Fox News's Megyn Kelly repeatedly pressed Cruz on a question that Trump was asked on the network Monday: If a husband and a wife were undocumented immigrants and had two children who were born in the United States and citizens, would you deport the citizen children? 
"Cruz did not answer the question, but instead launched into an explanation of how he thinks the immigration system should be changed... 'The United States should focus on securing the border.'"  WP Cruz " Bill 
"I think Jesus would have punished the line budgers who jumped in front of the law abiding process following legal immigrants. He definitely would not have rewarded them with gifts. 
Same old questions? The USA brings in ~1,000,000 legal immigrants each year. Many of whom are impoverished with a limited education. There are maybe 4,000,000,000 people in the world that would likely love to live in the USA. 
How many do you want to let immigrate each year? 
How many people do you want to have living in the USA?
Do you want 1.2 Billion like China/India? 
I don't hear the GOP talking about cutting back on legal immigration... Am I missing something here?" G2A
Back to MPP post, personally I think it is the Liberals who want it both ways. They apparently want to open our borders to whoever is willing to risk their life to get here, thus encouraging more people to risk their lives to get here. And they want to force businesses to pay more wages, more benefits, etc. And they want tax payers to provide even more government programs and assistance.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Democratic Presidential Debates

Well I tried twice to join this conversation, however the moderator appeared to have reservations about my thoughts.  Surprise...  I will never understand the method to their madness. MP Debates Eric's Spin

If Jerry thought 60 Minutes and Obama would be painful to watch, this would have been torture.  I could only take it for about 30 minutes...  These folks were espousing views so far Left that I was surprised:

  1. The common theme was that other people have more money than you, and that money should be yours. And if you vote for us we will take that money from them and return it to you through programs, services, etc. 
  2. The other interesting thing is that they repeatedly referred to 'immigrants or undocumented immigrants" and they seemed very excited to use a lot of that money mentioned above to provide these folks with free stuff also. I never heard them note that these sweet innocent "immigrants" had violated our border or over stayed their documentation. Or that they had taken low skill / low knowledge jobs from American citizens and put downward pressure on wages for these positions. Or that they had budged in front of legal immigrants who were standing in line to enter our great country.  It was almost surreal.
CNN Democratic Debate

60 Minutes and Obama

The Liberals over here think that the 60 Minute interview was poorly conducted and partisan. I think it was a typical hard hitting 60 Minutes interview with a interviewee who was trying to be somewhat evasive.  What do you think?

MP Obama on 60 Minutes

Monday, October 12, 2015

Education Funding Growth

Laurie said this in the last post.
"Teachers have been using standards to guide their teaching for about 15 years (or more) and education spending has been flat for many years. There is no sizable increase in spending also caused by the Union / Education Bureaucracy. Some of your other opinions are probably based on faulty facts, too. Those 2 bits of misinformation just jumped out at me."
I think she is so incorrect here that it is worth further discussion.  You can expand the following image by touching it or accessing it at the source.

Now I know that some of the 1% to 6% of GDP growth was due to huge changes in the special education laws and an expansion of what was expected from our schools.  However it is silly to think the massive education bureaucracy, unions, higher education compensation, management structures, etc did not cause a significant chunk of the cost increase.

My Grandma was actually a school teacher in Porter MN back in the 1940's /50's. I am thinking costs were real low back then and she likely did not make too much, but she was respected as a Teacher back in that little local school.  And if the kids misbehaved, it was the kid who got the punishment not the Teacher.

Now instead of a local school board and Teachers handling the education of the local kids.  We have to pay for lots of local, state and federal personnel as well as Union management /Collective Bargaining settlements that give more to the adults by taking it from the students. (ie  compensation and job security based on longevity / degrees, not based on results student/parent satisfaction)

"faulty facts"...  really :-)

Friday, October 9, 2015

GOP Congress in Chaos

Gone West with Dog.  Here is an interesting discussion. MP GOP Mess

"I've yet to see a Democrat campaign for ineffective government. The fight among Republicans doesn't seem to do with issues, but with tactics. There are Republicans who want to keep the government functioning while they pursue their issues and Republicans who want to see it collapse unless they get their way immediately." Dan 

"Or... These are folks who really seriously want to "reduce government control, spending, ineffectiveness and tax growth..." because they truly believe that ~35% of our GDP is too much government control...  US Spend History

I am not a huge fan of their tactics however I am not sure how else to stop and reverse this slow slide towards excessive government expenditures, control, bureaucratic inefficiency, etc. And our indifference to over spending more than we collect is absolutely fascinating.  Bloomberg Debt Ceiling

If you were on the Titanic and saw the iceberg coming, what would you do?  Listen to the band or take drastic action?" G2A

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hurdles for the Education Bill

Here is an interesting exchange between Joe and me.  We will see if the last comment here shows up at MP...  It has been ~4 hours.  Thoughts?
MP Boehner and Duncan exiting may cause problems
"How about we eliminate the Federal control of education and bring the money and power back to the states. We have lost ground globally since the Federal Government got involved as far as our students ranking in basic learning skills. We became obsessed as WHAT the kids were reading not how to enjoy reading, had to change basic math because it was too hard to learn multiplication/subtraction tables- got news for you 3x3 will always be 9, learn it, took time out from learning math, reading and science to teach social issues (leave that to the parents) eliminated trade skill classes and de-emphasized the trades as an option to kids, basically turned to an agenda instead of teaching our kids skills they will need to succeed in a real work environment.
What we are doing now and the past couple decades have not worked, how about a change?" Joe

"Source please. Here are 2 good ones.
WP Myth of America Past
US Chamber More Countries Pass US in Education

The reason schools look worse now was because many States weren't measuring, and they sure were not measuring which children were just passed to move them along in the system. Only when States were forced to measure and report against a somewhat common standard did we realize exactly how bad of a job some of those "local folk" were doing." G2A

 "If that is the case then why did the USA go from one of the leaders in basic skills 40 yrs ago to anywhere from 25-35 world wide depending on the study? I'm sure those "local folk" were up to their low requirement, moving students along stunts back then. BTW the moving students along is an epidemic in today's Federal run system." Joe

" "one of the leaders in basic skills 40 yrs ago" Please provide a source, and did you read the WP source I provided. They discuss your nostalgic belief in great detail and why it is incorrect.

When kids are "moved along" now we see it clearly in the test data. That is why the Teacher's Unions want to stop the testing and go back to those good old days where people didn't know how many kids were being left behind and tax payers / parents weren't demanding accountability /results.

Usually I am a fan of local control, especially when it comes to taxing and spending. However when it comes to curriculum, teaching methods, performance stds, etc I am pretty sure that the "local folk" are not as competent as the "best of the best" in America. We are in a modern globally competitive world, I don't think the local school board and those few nosy pushy far Left/ far Right Parents are up to the challenge.

By the way, though I am up for national standards and expectations. I believe a good Teacher who can personalize the methods and concepts based on each child's personality and learning style can make a huge difference in the classroom. The question is are they okay with just helping kid's to truly learn or do they feel a need to control what content they teach to feel fulfilled?" G2A

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Colin Powell is a RINO?

I left many comments here:  MinnPost Colin Powell is a RINO on Steroids

Here is one of them:
""I think the party has shifted much further right than where the country is" 
I always find this statement interesting, it implies that the GOP is the group who is moving... Whereas in reality it is the country that has been shifting to the Left for decades. 
Any idea why Liberals insist on saying the GOP is moving Right instead of just saying the GOP is still fixed in their 1960's positions?" G2A
G2A Political Self Awareness 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What is the Best Capital Gains Rate?

To continue Sean and my discussion regarding capital gains rates.

"Is preventing "excessive" wealth inequality the goal? Or is it to encourage people to save and invest in America?" G2A
"Perhaps it might be possible to do both..." Sean
So what is the magic policy???  Thoughts?

Wiki Capital Gains History 
Tax Foundation Gains Rate History