Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Travis county taxpayers to foot tab for abortions?

An unaccountable and unelected bureaucracy making decisions behind closed doors? Nope, not the latest story out of DC, it's Travis county Government this time ... Travis County could spend $450,000 for abortions and refuses to discuss it with citizens. Will Travis county taxpayers foot tab for abortions? We'll be the last to be told.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Deconstructing Journalism

So the left-wing hates Fox News. That's not news. What is news is the foolish Obama White House is attacking Fox News. The Other State-run media channels play ball and don't criticize Obama, but not FoxNews. FoxNews keeps finding embarrassing realities that the rest of the State-run Obamamedia willingly ignores - ACORN scandals, Van Jones, Obama's lies about what's in HR3200 and ObamaCare, Anita Dunn's love of Mao, etc. INCONVENIENT TRUTHS that need to go away.

Solution? Deride FoxNews and isolate them so the 'news' they report on doesn't 'leak' out into the official media. Leftie journalists like Joe Klein doing the bashing FoxNews while lamenting Obama's misguided attacks turns non-news into news. Ironic that last week the liberal media was fabricating quotes to bash Rush Limbaugh and this week they are tut-tuting about journalistic manners. Agit-prop media flak outfit Media Matters got tired of trying to do the CYA memo for their puppet-masters in the Obama administration and went to cut off the source of the 'problem' - the dissenting media, which is embodied in FoxNews.

Yet what is the purpose of the media if all they do is fall in line behind the Obama White House narrative? How many journalists are actually required if you are just parroting talking points from the DNC? There purpose is not to spread information, but to reduce it. The fewer things said, and the more trivial the story the better, to distract from the real stories that are left unreported and un-remarked.

Who needs "news" outlets to act as intermediary for the news, when their act is solely to edit out anything that doesn't fit The Narrative? It becomes a sorry act of manipulation and dumbing-down of reality. Media consumers are left with a different choice - stay uninformed or go online and pick and choose from among a variety of sources to find out what's going on. If you are reading this, you've picked Door #2 - don't forget to bookmark us and come back to find out what the MSM isn't telling you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

E-books and the Universal Digital Library

David Rothman, who hangs out at TeleRead calls for "Kindle in every backpack", to get e-books in the hands of students and others everywhere at low cost.

Eventually, this will come about. Paper books sales are declining while e-book sales rise. With Gutenberg and other projects like Google Books, we are getting to the point where a vast amount of public domain literature is available. What remains to be freely (and legally) accessible online is the vast amount of copyrighted matter. DRM and other techniques are being used to protect this IP when its sold for devices, but in the process this hampers the concept of borrowed library book. To implement the idea of a 'universal digital library' where such material is easily available on a borrowed basis, we will need some way to borrow that DRM key.

Some cautionary comments about the impact of Ebooks on the brain by David Gelertner:

The most important ongoing change to reading itself in today’s online environment is the cheapening of the word. ... the narrowing time between writing for and publishing on the Web is helping to kill the art of editing by crushing it to death. The Internet makes words as cheap and as significant as Cheese Doodles. ...

The tools (as usual) are neutral. It’s up to us to insist that onscreen reading enhance, not replace, traditional book reading. It’s up to us to remember that the medium is not the message; that the meaning and music of the words is what matters, not the glitzy vehicle they arrive in.

Postscript: Between starting this article and finishing it, I: opened up 2 dozen Firefox tabs on topics relating to e-books; read reviews of the Barnes & Noble Nook (a Kindle competitor); downloaded Linux E-pub reader Fbreader; read several powerpoint presentations from IDPF's events (IDPF is International Digital Publishing Forum); perused the Gutenberg list of 30,000 public domain titles; picked up my daughter from a High School Robotic competition, then went off for Chinese for dinner with kids, then came home and put the young ones to bed; then re-visited more sites; then dove into three texts downloaded from Google books as epubs and PDFs including P G Wodehouse and a history of the Revolutionary War; and found that last links via and a blog item by Mark Curtis touting his book DISTRACTION with this marvelous quote:

As e-books move out of their infancy and into a dominant role in the reading life of our society, it is imperative that we recognize the significant psychological differences between reading on screen and reading on paper.

Touche. I have managed to touch dozens and dozens of thought-streams, dipping toes and fingers, and briefly the whole mind, but grazing and moving on, with no more than a quick perusal for most sources. This was non-linear, random-walk, reading. It is imperative that we understand that millions of books at one's fingertips - the Universal Digital Library - may change what those books do for us and mean to us.

UPDATE 10/25: How close we are to universal access to massive numbers of public domain books hit home with this news from March this year - a Sony deal with Google books:

Sony Electronics has struck a deal with Google in a major endorsement that makes more than half a million public domain books from its digitization project available for free on the Sony Reader in its e-book store.

Outsourcing and engineering degrees

Duke University (PDF link) has a report on outsourcing. The main message is that production of engineering degrees in China and India are not as high as some statistics suggest, and that in fact US produces more 4-year engineering degrees than India, and outpaces both India and China on per capita basis.Number of Bachelors Degrees: 137,437 in the U.S.; 112,000 in India; 351,537 in China. They note further that one third of research production, measured in things such as academic papers, patents, etc. is in the United States. We still lead the world, despite signs of rise in India and China. What we are outsourcing tends to be the 'transactional engineering' that is of lower value-added and not the dynamic and innovative stuff.

Quality is more important than quality (PDF):
According to a 2005 McKinsey and Company Global Institute labor study, only about 10 percent of China’s engineers, and 25 percent of India’s, can compete in the global market. That report found that a higher percentage of engineers in low-wage nations like Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Malaysia, than in China and India, are competitive in the global job market.
Can we relax then? Not really. Doing better than China on a per capita basis is hardly cause for celebration. Would we accept a standard of living just a bit above China's level?

Here is the real problem - Most American College degrees do not match the work anymore:
"I hate to say we don't have the world's best universities. We may have the best minds, the best liberal arts education. The problem is it doesn't match the work anymore." (That is to say, not enough students are getting science and math degrees.)

ACLU versus School Safety

A message from a school superintendant:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is attacking the Code of Discipline in DeSoto County Schools. The ACLU has just filed the 3rd lawsuit against our school district. What some may not realize is that they are challenging our safe and orderly environment--the one characteristic that separates our school district from districts near us.

The ACLU can make charges against the school district saying we have done something to a student. We cannot respond because of privacy issues.

In May of 2008, the ACLU ran ads asking students who were displeased with DCS disciplinary proceedings and their parents to come to a meeting in Olive Branch. I am told approximately 30 people attended.

As superintendent, I do not want any child mistreated. But I do believe in rules and regulations. We don't allow baggy pants, cell phones used during school, drugs, guns, knives, cursing or foul language. Our teachers and administrators work very hard to make DCS as good as it can be. We cannot have an outstanding school district if we ever lose the safety at school. Our number one priority is safety for our students and staff. ...

The ACLU is well-financed. Every dollar DeSoto County Schools has to spend on lawsuits is one dollar we could spend on educating students. It is a shame that the ACLU can file one suit after another without any accountability. I have one message that is echoed by the Board of Education: Everyone has the right to do what he wants at home; when he comes to the school house, he must obey the rules just like we did when we went to school. We are going to take the time to teach children right from wrong. We are going to enforce our Code of Discipline, and we will do everything within our legal rights, to keep our campuses safe. It is my prayer, and yes, I said prayer, that the ACLU will not chip away DeSoto County School's Code of Discipline on my watch.

Live Speaker List for NFRA Convention Today in Reno

Chris Simcox

Eric M. Jackson
Presented a strong defense of capitalism, rooted in the Bible and in empirical evidence.

Sam Paredes
Presented a challenge and plan to go on the offense against our political enemies.

Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave
Talked about how the left is fearful of real feminism, i.e. the feminism of Sarah Palin, of herself, Marilyn Musgrave, and Michelle Bachman. She talk about how candidates should reject any criticism that they are too conservative.

Rabbi Nachum Shifren
Orthodox Jew who did not use a mike because today is the Sabbath: Candidate for California State Senate, District #26

Floyd Brown
"If a candidate says they are fiscally conservative but socially moderate they will only vote 60% conservative on fiscal policy." "At some point traditional values will prevail."
He urged people to get involved with Americans for Prosperity.


Congresswoman Michele Bachmann

Delivered a pre-recorded address for the NFRA delegates. No need to say that she spoke with eloquence, wit, and was a great encouragement to all who heard her.

Randy Pullen

Talked about the importance of sticking with our conservative principals. Mentioned that Arizona is leaning toward the Republican Party. Choose bold colors, not pastels. He recognized the hard work of Arizona RA members present in the room. He quoted Ted Cruz on the marvel of standing invertebrates (i.e. politicians). How we communicate is often more important than what we communicate?

Tawfik Hamid

He arrived at the convention directly from Jerusalem Friday night.
He talked about how he was brainwashed into Jihadist mindset. When a young Muslim child he wanting to seek and find God but instead was taught to hate and kill the infidels (us). He rejected this mindset by confronting the Jihadist mindset while not rejecting Islam. He described the outcome of the Jihadist mindset as:

Apostates killing.

Beating women and stoning women to death for adultery.

Calling Jews pigs and monkeys.

Declaring war on non-Muslims to spread Islam after offering non-Muslims three options – subjugate to Islam, pay Jizia (a humiliating tax), or be killed.

Enslavement of other human beings.

Fighting and killing Jews before the “End of Days”.

Gay killing.

The enemy is against us because of our values of freedom and liberty. It is darkness against light. It is hate against love. Being passive against evil is itself evil. Radical Islam is reality. If you ignore the reality of radical Islam, radical Islam will not ignore you.

He said that Daniel Pearl, the Jewish journalist who was beheaded, just wanted love and peace for the world. If we do not stand against evil then what happened to Daniel Pearl could happen to us. He shared words that he had written to Daniel Pearl after his barbarous death at the hands of the Jihadists. These are some of those words:

“Daniel, I swear that I will never let your name to be erased from history...and I will write your name on the mountain tops....They not only killed you but they killed civilization...If they killed you because you were a Jew then I too am a Jew.”

Colin Hanna
He spoke of the attacks on our freedom as the greatest internal threat to our civilization next to the external threat of radical Jihadism. He spoke of low versus high view of the Constitution, comparing it with low versus high view of Scripture (e.g. seeing the Constitution as a living document is taking a low view of the Constitution while seeking to understand original intent is taking the high view).

Economic freedom is under attack under Obama by placing more and more of the economy is under government control. Next he talked about government schools, government child care, pro-life vs. abortion issues, heath care reform--"Grandma is not shovel ready." Connecting the Obama dots........"OMG, Saul Alinsky is in the White House."

Reading List
Saul Alinsky's: Rules for Radicals (know your enemy)
Michele Malkin, Culture of Corruption
Glenn Beck, Arguing with Idiots
Wheeler and Leitner, Shadow Government

He ended by saying that around June 2009 the tide changed, starting with the TEA Parties and reaching a symbolic milestone on 9/12/2009. The American people are now with use. We can win. Otherwise we are in deep trouble.

Lance Fairchock
Spoke about a group of five people in the White House who essentially control the press by controlling the flow of information and propaganda. Sin of Omission - keeping inconvenient information from the public by just omitting it. Examples: Kerry's Military Record; Edward's Infidelity; Sept. 12th political demonstration. Sin 0f Commission - The "peoples right to know" is used as an excuse to report falsehoods.

Problems with the press:
Dramatic pictures...
Advocacy journalism (i.e. propaganda)

He showed examples of Hezbollah's press manipulation
. First example was reported by US New & World Report. Second example was a story of Iranian's "ICBM's" missile that reportedly could reach Europe but which in reality could not reach farther that a few hundred miles and whose accuracy are measured in miles. Then he showed many ways that photographs can be doctored/manipulated (photoshop).

He would have told us more but then he whould have to kill us as it would be classified information.

Texans rally with Nevadans and others focused on unseating Harry Reid

Though not interviewed by the Reno Gazette-Journal reporter who wrote this article, Carolyn Polish, Michele Samuelson and Timothy Bradberry enthusiastically participated in the event:

The Republicans vying for the chance to challenge U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., paid homage to the more conservative wing of their party Friday, speaking at the National Federation of Republican Assemblies convention in Reno. (click here to read full story)
Guess who Tim endorses to take Harry Reid's place? Her name is Sharron Angle and she is a grass roots conservative in actions, not just in words:

Patriot Rule: Define yourself in YOUR words, not theirs

Patriot Rule: Don't let liberals define the words that describe who you are.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rules For Patriots: Defang the politics of isolation

Patriot Rule: Don't be afraid to be hated for what you believe

"I wear their scorn like a badge of honor." - Vice President Dan Quayle

Democrats and Unemployment

Texas Constitutional Amendments: Propositions 2 & 3

From Representative Ken Paxton's Capitol Steps Newsletter

Constitutional Amendment Election

Clarification on Propositions 2 and 3

I have received emails this week regarding two proposed constitutional amendments that will appear on the November 3 ballot. I would like to clarify the intentions of these amendments regarding Propositions 2 and 3 as these amendments do not create a statewide property tax.

Proposition 2 makes a change to the property appraisal valuation process. Under current appraisal procedures, appraisers value properties based on the highest potential use. In many cases, this means that residential properties are valued based on the ability of the individual to convert the property to a commercial development which drives the appraisal of the property up. In these cases, a person's county appraisal, which is the basis for property taxes, increases to the 10% allowable limit. This increase in the appraisal results in a direct increase in the homeowner's property tax unless the local taxing entity lowers their property tax rate.

Proposition 2 gives direction to the county appraiser to appraise a residential property based on its current use as a residential property instead of based on any other potential use. This will result in a fairer appraisal of an individual's property and should reduce property taxes in many cases.

Proposition 3 also makes a changes to the appraisal process to ensure uniform standards and methods are used. Currently, tax appraisal methods differ between each county which allow each county flexibility in determining their appraisal methods and standards to develop their property tax rolls. However, because school funding is based on the taxable values of property statewide, a similar procedure and method should be used across the state to ensure that properties are appraised fairly and accurately.

During this session, the Legislature made some changes to an annual study performed by the Comptroller known as the "Property Value Study." The changes to the study include allowing the Comptroller's office to give guidance and some oversight of the appraisal methods and process. Under Proposition 3, the state would have more direct authority in the property appraisal process which should result in a more uniform and fair appraisal.

The Texas Constitution does not allow the state to levy a property tax.

A complete summary of the Constitutional Amendments can be found at This guide is put together by the House Research Organization, a non-partisan organization that supports the Texas Legislature with research and data. This summary includes the pro's and con's of each amendment.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pragmatic Conservatism

Virginia Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell is running on Pragmatic Conservatism:

“Bob’s approach,” says an adviser, “is to take conservative principles and apply them to practical problem-solving. His target audience is that average swing voter, who wants to know that your values are close to his and that you’re going to solve problems.”
If McDonnell wins, and polls suggest he'll win in a blow-out, expect to hear more of that phrase, "Pragmatic Conservatism".

Education Revolution About To Hit

Why am I blogging about the purpose of education, the legacy of John Dewey in education and correcting Dewey's errors, and the bafflegab errors of Eduspeak?

I am circling around to some propositions about education, most importantly that communications technology and the web have come to a point where education itself is ripe for a revolution. Thus when I encountered this comment today, it struck a chord:
We are at a point in history when our intellectual life has already been massively unsettled by technological advancement. The printing press brought the gospel to the common man and undercut the power of the priests. The camera brought pictures of war to the widows and raised questions about political and military leadership. Radio and then television and satellites allowed us to hear and see events far from our own lives and challenged the comforts of tribalism.

The internet combines all of those technologies with an always-there availability, and an individual programming capability that allows us to choose entirely for ourselves what we will or will not see. At this time in history critical thinking, a basic grounding in epistemology, and some moral foundation in the central value of truth, is absolutely vital.
The key fundamental innovations in internet, communications, computing and storage technoloies have led us to this point:
  • The cost of storing information electronically is free(*).
  • The marginal cost of communicating any such information is close to free.
  • If information is free, then any business resting on information is exposed to a massive tectonic shift. Like newspapers, like the music/movies/entertainment, ... or like education.
(*) You could take the entire public domain library of Google books, assume it is 1 million books of 10 million bytes each (PDF) and put it on a 10Terabyte storage machine. 1 TB hard drive is $59, so for under $1000, you can store 1 million books electronically, and display any one of them on a Kindle. So if 1 million books could be stored and viewed in this way for under $1500, the cost per book is ... 0.15c. Free. To put this in a profound way - the entire stored knowledge of the world's best library of 1925, say the Harvard University library, can be put on a desktop. Yet such an act, while an interesting exercise, is unnecesary, since that information is available already to any desktop now - via the internet. For free.

Now, having addressed the fact that the information itself is free, we are left with the simple point that it is finding information, selecting which information to consume, and determining the value of that information that is critical to our intellectual development and life. Information is abundant, but our time, attention, focus and thoughts can only be in one place at a time.

What is profound about the quote comment is the observation that the technology "allows us to choose entirely for ourselves what we will or will not see." We have 1 million books at our fingertips .... which ones to pick? And will the act of individualistic selection atomize a previous community of intellectual understanding? Will conformity of the intelligensia give way to a new form of tribalism? It leads us to have an understanding of heightened value in critical reading, selectivity in sources, and ability to see the 'forest' for the 'trees'.

The most important fact about education today is that it is NOT much different from 40 years ago. This glacial pace of change is deceptive, a function of ossified edu-cratic institutions and the limits of human social interaction that cannot glide down the Moore's Law slope as bits can. Yet a lecture from 20 years ago is far more out-of-date now than a lecture from the 17th century was in 1980, not in terms of the content, but in terms of the form.

The education revolution will not be televised ... but it will be googled, tweeted, blogged, you-tube'd, etc.

We are all Emmanuel Goldstein

Penn Jillette ripped for appearing on Glen Beck program by Tommy Smothers (who?), and a key comment on it:

Readers of Orwell’s 1984 will remember Emmanuel Goldstein, enemy of the state of Oceania, whose face appeared daily on TV screens everywhere, with narration describing his latest wickedness against the state, and the “proles” whipped themselves into a frenzy of rage in what was called The Two Minute Hate. For US (pseudo)liberals, Beck is now Emmanuel Goldstein. And there are others: Bush, Cheney, and now Sarah Palin. The left’s irrational hatred of these figures resembles Nazi hatred of Jews, and it serves the same purpose. The hatred unifies the masses and distracts attention from the fact that US “liberalism” is philosophically bankrupt, utterly corrupt, and destructive of individual liberties. Smothers was just doing The Two Minute Hate as directed.

The Left is practicing the politics of isolation. We are all Emmanuel Goldstein, all subject to the whims of the technique, should we dare to cross the line into dissent from the New World Obama-nation.

Eduspeak, the language of Educrats

"The Roots and Perils of Eduspeak—The Language of Pretense and Evasion" discusses the 'bafflegab' of educational jargon, creeping into schools.

The roots again can be found in "Cults of Ignorance" errors of Progressive Education:

In developing his case against the "damaging bromides" of Spencer -- and their steady institutionalization by Dewey and Kilpatrick in teachers' colleges and K-12 public schools -- Egan looks carefully at the real effects of "child-centered" education, psychological "developmentalism," and what he usefully calls the "biologized view of mind" that changed curricula all over the Anglo-American world from common-sense transmitters of the cultural achievements of mankind to present-minded, experimental, experiential, naturalistic, and unchallenging approaches.

Such an approach has been shown to be a failure.
This article traces the path - 'progressive education ideals', based on a misunderstanding of human nature and the real purposes of education, has hollowed out the educational system, leaving a void of dumbed-down and lower standards:

As a public educator for nearly 25 years and student of popular culture for nearly double that, I believe that attending to lesser things/arguments is also contributing to a “dumbing down” of the American public, and, therefore, public education in America. ... This diminishing of quality education is also the consequence of a passionate opposition to memorization, coupled with a breakdown in the teaching of and knowledge about American history, Western literature and values.

He begs the question of experiential education and the folly of not leading children in the right way:
Why dance with the devil only to learn what others have been saying since Adam and Eve? Dance with the devil and he will surely step on your toes. Besides, experience is often overrated as a teacher.

Another way to view it: A more 'natural' education for children would be a good justification for closing all schools, firing all teachers and letting kids run wild in the streets.

Obviously, such a conclusion would not do for educational professionals, aka Educrats. We need less education?!? No, this calls for more education, more and more of it, and the more failed and incompetent, the more we have to pour into it. So they resort to obfuscation to cover the tracks for the failures of these educational methods:

Former Ontario college teacher Barry Kavanagh agrees. “Although jargon is used by bureaucrats of all kinds to facilitate their own interactions, it seems to me that, in education, bureaucrats additionally employ jargon to keep their real agenda (the socialization of students) and their dismal academic results hidden from parents and taxpayers.”

An example of Eduspeak is Service Learning, which is neither service nor learning in practice. It's Eduspeak: "Eduspeak is a language of hypocrisy -- excuse me -- tact. That is, of indecision, of hesitation, of reluctance, of prissiness and of indirection. Of all those things that undermine the formation of courage, steadfastness, forthrightness and commitment."

Is "service learning" education? No. "Perhaps it is time for educators to stand up to their practically inexperienced and morally befogged directors and say no to anything which undermines the basic mission of the school. This might also require our foregoing Eduspeak and talking directly to our students. I suspect such a situation might be far more effective than so-called "service learning" in teaching character."

Words mean things. Ideas have consequences. Lack of clarity in expression reflects confusion and poverty in thinking. The bafflegab that is Eduspeak is a cover for poor educational theories and methods. Good educational theories are simple and concise and accessible to all - even the students.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dems rebranding Public Option, but its still govt-run healthcare

Democrats are aiming to have "Medicare for All", and are trying to revive the single-payer Trojan Horse known as Public Option by giving it a new name. Some reactions on the comments that make powerful arguments for how unrealistic and wrong-headed the concept is:

FLyer 574: I just love the quote that "Medicare is a public option." There's no option at all! You automatically are enrolled in Part A-Hospital and Part B-Medical. You have the right to opt out of Part B if you're still working, and your company insurance becomes your supplemental Duh!These fools—and I mean fools—don't know what they're doing. Shakepeare was right: "Full of sound and fury and signifying nothing" Oh yes, I'm a Senior, on Parts AB, and an insurance broker dealing with Seniors. Just for the record…

Medicare is NOT free. To get Part A-Hospital coverage, one must have 40 quarters of contribution, which was a portion of FICA taxes in a working lifetime. If you don't have 40 quarters of coverage, you pay nearly $400 per month for Part A. Part B is also NOT free. Currently, Medicare beneficiaries pay $96.40 per month (adjusted for income at the higher levels). That covers approximately 80% of Medical Expense, and the 20% is covered by a purchased Medicare Supplement. Unless of course, you have a Medicare Advantage plan which is subsidized by Mediare. Offering Medicare to all those that want it will be a horrendous expense, since no monies have been contributed to cover ir. Gee, where will that money come from? My 6 and 8 year old granddaughters? No, probably from my unborn great-grandchildren…and yours!

Rebranding PelosoiObamaRei dCare (PORC) as Medicare Part E is just pink lipstick on a fraudulent, flatulent, and frighteningly fascist pig of a plan that threatens to violate the rights of patients, doctors, business owners, and insurers on a massive scale.This massive dose of statism in medicine would induce grave waves of arrhythmia - inflation, price controls, lower quality, doctor shortages, waiting periods, and rationing. These disturbances would become so emotionally distressing to the American people that Alinsky-inspired statists — opportunists that they are — would be able to exploit each new “health care crisis” as another opportunity to inject another dose of statism into the system.Call Congress NOW and tell them to oppose this War of Choice on Choice in Medicine.Dr. Gregory GaramoniDoctors on Strike for Freedom in Medicine
http://www.doctorsonstrike .com

BY Wary Independent on 10/21/2009 at 11:59: TAXATION BY MISREPRESENTATI ON. 2010 can't come soon enough.

It was only a few weeks ago that Obama said that Medicare is going bankrupt. Now they want to put 300 million people on a bankrupt system?

judithod: Oh, yes, why not expand a government-run program that's running a deficit of $38 trillion and on the road to bankruptcy by 2017. Who elects these nincompoops?In his speech to Congress concerning his "plan," Obama stated, "The only thing this plan would eliminate is the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud, as well as unwarranted subsidies in Medicare that to to insurance companies. . . ."Can the same government that allowed this corruption to mushroom suddenly eliminate it? Inquiring minds want to know how and when!

Jam: Have they ever considered that some seniors might prefer to have the option of not taking medicare. I personally do not want IT and have never liked it because I think it is government intervention into my life. Yet, when I reach the age of retirement, I will be required to take it or not be allowed to get insurance. This takes away my freedom and eventually invades my privacy. I do not believe any one has ever challenged this. I have considered challenging it when I am REQUIRED to take MEDICARE OR HAVE NO INSURANCE. Why doesn't Congress give all of us a little more freedom. In addition to requiring insurance agencies to write policies for pre- existing conditions, why not ask them to stop requiring seniors to take medicare and just open it up to those who want it. Why should we be required to take medicare and have it automatically deducted from our social security yet still pay the full amount for social security as income? I would rather keep my present policy and not have it be affiliated with medicare.

House Dems want medicare for everyone except themselves.BY speedzone on 10/21/2009 at 12:35

Medicare only pays about half of the doctors bill now, causing many doctors to refuse Medicare patents, how do they expect it to get better upon expansion of the failed program . . . Duh!BY Pip on 10/21/2009 at 12:35

Talk about putting lipstick on a pig!!!!BY Roger Mac

Medical Coverage for all. Save little Timmy. Whatever you want to call it, asnwer this FIRST… How are you going to pay for it when the program is is meant to work with is ALREADY 37 TRILLION in the HOLE..?!?!?!?!?!?That is 15 times the national debt. wrap your small liberal minds around that first and then lets talk you to do this.BY TheTruth on 10/21/2009 at 13:04

I am 71 and on Medicare.I pay out of my pocket $3700 per year for Medicare Part A, Part B and the drug benefit. Medicare is NOT free - nothing is free in this world.When will Liberals learn this?BY Peter Stone on 10/21/2009 at 13:05

An important political negative of the public option concept has been the $500 million transfer from Medicare to fund the public option. This latest scam to rename the public option as a component of Medicare means the $500 million would appear to stay on the books in the Medicare program and the political hicky goes away. Regardless, current recipients of the Medicare program will be worse off.BY Dean Ferguson on 10/21/2009 at 13:17

Payment from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to an orthopedic surgeon for a total knee replacement is $1750. Medicare is $840. Medicaid is $260. This is supposed to cover at least one pre-op office visit, surgery and post op hospital care, and at least 2 follow up office visits. With the amortized cost of at least$100 for someone to walk into the office each time, how long to you think Dr.'s will work for next to nothing or lose money? How long would you?BY Richard Brown on 10/21/2009 at 13:36

If the Dems want to lower the cost of Health Care, eliminate the restrictions that interfere with health insurance competition across state lines. The Republicans have been saying that for months now, but are being ignored. We don't need another giant government bureacracy that will go bankrupt in a few decades. How about true market-based competiton?BY TALON on 10/21/2009 at 13:37
My take:

I can't understand why anyone would think this public option or Medicare Part "E" or whatever the heck they are calling it today would be a good idea. I just dont understand. "

Just understand this: IT'S A SCAM. There's is no way to do what they want without a crushing load of new taxes and spending.

They are rebranding and repackaging old idea - Single Payer - into new names like "Public Option". When people see the details, they turn it down. So the Dems and libs keep looking for new names and labels. Now it's "Medicare for All" on the assumption that Medicare for all is beloved by all. (But if that was so, why won't they let us opt out of it?)

There is no specific actual program in "Medicare for all", it's just a label given to the standard of care for those who need insurance. They have not explained how people pay for it. Do people pay their own way? Not the uninsured!

In the end, the cruel, crushing and evil parts of ObamaCare are the limits, mandates, taxes, rules, and rationing that are hidden in the 1500 page bill. They need to paper this over and hide the question "who pays? how?" Apparently, some think they can conscript healthy young uns into medicare as a way to 'save' medicare. Fools! The working young are ALREADY SUBSIDIZING MEDICARE VIA THEIR TAXES. I mean how badly do you want to screw Obama's best voting demographic? It's bad enough they are now losing millions of jobs and have life prospects worse than before, but now they are draftees in this war too?

Democrats heading for a fall

Obama's strong approve/disapprove number at minus 13 (27% strongly approve, 40% strongly disapprove) and Democrats are behind GOP on 10 of 10 issues:

There are some other polls out there, but they may suffer from sampling bias. I believe the free-fall is related to the 6 million jobs lost since Democrat Nancy Pelosi became speaker and this ... they are screwing the young people with anti-jobs policies and spending us into bankruptcy:

Obamacare Baucus Accounting Trick

There was an ad on the other night for these classics books. Nice idea to have classic books like Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" on your shelf, but the ad was for a book-of-the-month-club type deal, and they only told you the 'low price' of the first book - not the following books. Does anyone fall for that anymore?

In the same vein, the folks selling ObamaCare have done a job of back-loading and hiding the true cost of the huge ObamaCare bill. The Spectator's Philip Klein has exposed it with a neat graphic, where 90% of the cost of ObamaCare is backloaded to after 2014:

Correcting John Dewey's Errors

Here are some of John Dewey's basic beliefs and how they wrought a failed education philosophy. We respond with a corrective view on education and its purpose:

“I believe that the social life of the child is the basis of concentration, or correlation, in all his training or growth. The social life gives the unconscious unity and the background of all his efforts and of all his attainments." - John Dewey

It is the mental life of the child that is he basis of concentration, or correlation, in all his training or growth. The mental life of any person is what gives unity to their efforts and attainments, tying to to their personal motivations, world-view, sense of self, and level of understand of a particular subject. Learning of all types is a mental process. This may encompass a social component, since part of skills are social skills, for example, communication, persuasion and empathy with others. However, all we know - both facts, opinions, and skills - is integrated with our sum of mental understanding and capability. The "social life" is merely one aspect of one's life. Dewey's premise has deprecated not only individualism, but deprecated the inner life of the mind, robbing education of its key component.

"I believe that the subject-matter of the school curriculum should mark a gradual differentiation out of the primitive unconscious unity of social life." - John Dewey

Since learning is a mental process, the subject-matter of the school curriculum should mark a gradual differentiation out of the natural mental processes of a child, to condition and develop those mental faculties for progressively greater and greater tasks and accomplishments. Thus a natural rule of pedagogy is to start with simpler tasks, be directive early on, then build up from simpler tasks to more complex ones, freeing the student along the way to experiment and try things in their own way as they are capable. Those tasks and that progression do not happen naturally or on its own. If left to their own devices, children would learn only some of the habits for future success and would fail to adopt many other. Thus education, the guiding of the child in learning, has a purpose, and a purpose that benefits the child's later life. This learning progression has as its end to develop the child fully as a citizen, self-learner (scholar), and productive member of society (able to utilize mental faculties productively, for example, as a professional). Should the child understand this process and its benefit and utility to them, they will become willingly engaged in their own development.

"I believe that we violate the child's nature and render difficult the best ethical results, by introducing the child too abruptly to a number of special studies, of reading, writing, geography, etc., out of relation to this social life." - John Dewey

We obtain the best learning results by pacing our delivery at the level of readiness of the child, fast enough to challenge yet moderate enough to avoid failure. All children (and adults) can learn, they all learn at different paces and levels and prefer, based on individual capacities and innate abilities, different learning modes.

Dewey compounds his previous error by forcing all of the curriculum to be tied to the anchor (and it is an anchor) of social life and local experience. The only error in the 'abruptness' of any training is to subject a student to a level of skill they might not be ready for; for example, a beginning skier does not belong on a 'black diamond' slope. However, that is a matter for pacing, not content. Too fast, and the child gets discouraged, too slow and the child gets bored or de-motivated. Reading, writing, and geography are fit subjects for a 5-year-old and for a College student, the difference will be the pacing and level.

"I believe, therefore, that the true center of correlation on the school subjects is not science, nor literature, nor history, nor geography, but the child's own social activities." - John Dewey

The true center of correlation on the school subjects is the mental skills, mental conditioning and store of knowledge that is developed when each subject is encountered.

Of course, science, literature, history and geography are the windows from a child's local social experience to the continuity of the experience and knowledge of mankind. With these subjects, the child learns beyond his local and immediate sphere. This liberates the child from a narrow experience to a wider one. Relating subjects to a child's own social activities imprisons them in their own context, whereas the life of the mind can think outside such contexts. An example of this trend is the push for 'relevance' in schooling, a trend that is at root anti-intellectual. To an intellectual, Plato's cave is relevant, the pure analogy of the life of the mind and lives of those ('in the cave') who have not yet expanded themselves beyond the immediate social experience. Never mind that such social experience does not require education at all, since it is available at all times to all members of society in all cultures.

Bruce Price calls it "the Most Revealing Dewey Quote Of All Time":
“The mere absorption of facts and truths is so exclusively an individual affair that it tends very naturally to pass into selfishness. There is no obvious social motive for the acquirement of mere learning, there is no clear social gain in success thereat.” (John Dewey, The School and Society, 1899)
If 'education' is to ignore the 'selfish' aspect of 'mere learning', yet aspire to change society itself, for the sake of 'social gain', however that is defined, it will indeed stray far from a system that helps children learn.

Dewey's viewpoint at root is collectivist. We have witnessed in the 20th century the failed collectivist ideologies of Hitler, Stalin and Mao, Nazism and Communism, rise and fall. The lone survivor seems to have been American education. The result of this was a form of Industrial Education that was wrong then and is even more wrong now, crippling children in mediocrity rather than equipping children with knowledge and skills for their own success.

Price ends with a plea to take to heart: "The way we save our schools is to bury Dewey’s ghost. It has caused enough mischief."

What Dewey Wrought

"Even the best education cannot stop a brilliant mind." - My College Professor, quoting the scientist Enrico Fermi

The previous column's declaration that 'the focus of education should be learning' might be considered a declaration of the obvious. Isn't that what education has been about all along? Alas, no, and the point of it's necessity is to highlight that education has gone wrong at the level of root causes. If it were so, that is, if the purposes of education and its methods were more properly aligned to what they should be, we wouldn't be under a 'constant crisis' in education.

The constant crisis in education exists because the methods and goals of education as actually practiced fail to achieve ends of learning. The lack of learning then shows up in statistics on "Why Johnny Can't Read" or our failure to do better than Bulgaria on learning outcomes, and the public and educational professionals wring their hands. The result is invariably some 'reforms' that fail because they don't radically alter the failed configuration of education.

The root cause of the failure is this: Progressive Education has been wrong for 100 years and has dumbed down education in a 'progressive' sequence of de-learning throughout. "John Dewey invented progressive education a hundred years ago. It was wrong then and hasn’t gotten better." says Williamson M. Evers. This failure is a failure of American progressive education, and it is so pervasive that 'educational reform' is not real reform, but a deepening of existing failed trends.

We need to understand that the de-focus on real learning, real content (derided as 'mere facts and memorization'), real individualism (derided as antithetical to socialization), and excellence (derided as anti-egalitarian) are not accidental, but a deliberate, rooted in the views of John Dewey:
John Dewey, in his long life, wrote dozens of books and hundreds of articles. A lot of it is murky and ambiguous. Whatever you wish to promote, you can find support from Dewey. But in the interest of speed, let me summarize: he and his buddies were Socialists. They were sick of individualism, the pioneer spirit, free enterprise, and people doing their own thing. John Dewey wanted you to be a happy member of a group. You didn’t need that much literacy or knowledge. Dewey actually saw these as impediments. He calls, especially in the early grades, for sharply curtailing the study of literature, history, math, science, geography and such, in order to make room for social activities, specifically, “cooking, sewing, manual training, etc.” (his words). So here, tragically and pathologically, John Dewey, Educator, metamorphosed into that most unexpected of things: John Dewey, Anti-Educator. To advance his sociopolitical visions, Dewey was eager to dilute content and diminish learning.
Consider this. If the goal of education was socialization, then learning that took any individual above their station in life was of no use. The policy is dumb by design:
The policy of dumb by design, to the extent our educators can slip it past parents and politicians, guides them to this day. Isn’t it fair to say that not one educational reform crafted by educators actually leads to better education? My impression is that none of these reforms is truly intended to lead to better education. The self-esteem movement. New Math. Fuzzy math. Whole language as a way of learning to read. Bilingualism. Ebonics. Outcome Based Education. Numerous campaigns against testing, homework, standards, or discipline. All seek a lower common denominator.
The author Bruce Price has quotes to explain further 'the agenda':
Counts, 1932: "Historic capitalism, with its deification of the principle of selfishness, its reliance upon the forces of competition, its place of property above human rights, and its exaltation of the profit motive, will either have to be displaced altogether, or so radically changed in form and spirit that its identity will be completely lost."

Willard Givens, 1934: "We are convinced that we stand today at the verge of a great culture....But to achieve these things many drastic changes must be made. A dying laissez-faire must be completely destroyed, and all of us, including the owners, must be subjected to a large degree of social control."

Counts, 1934: "Cumulative evidence supports the conclusion that in the United States as in other countries, the age of individualism and laissez-faire in economy and government is closing and a new age of collectivism is emerging."

Counts, 1934: " [Our new magazine] assumes that the age of individualism in economy is closing and that an age marked by close integration of social life and by collective planning and control is opening. For weal or woe it accepts as irrevocable this deliverance of the historical process."

National Education Association Journal, 1936: "Let us not terms of specific facts or skills [that children should acquire] but rather in terms of growing."

NEA Journal, 1937: "The transition of society from the philosophy of individualism to the new emphasis on group goals and cooperative action produces vexing problems in secondary education....Only education which seeks the reconstruction of society is [valid]....Teachers should play an active part in securing acceptance by their communities of new social ideas and ideals."

NEA Journal, 1946: "In the struggle to establish an adequate world government, the teacher has many parts to play...He can do much to prepare the hearts and minds of children for global understanding and cooperation....At the very top of all the agencies which will assure the coming of world government must stand the school, the teacher, and the organized profession."
Bruce Price asks the question:
Our educators seemed intent not on educating children but on creating a new kind of children...But who asked our educators to embark on this project? Who voted? Who discussed?
Proposing that "Teachers should play an active part in securing acceptance by their communities of new social ideas" and asking teachers "to prepare the hearts and minds of children for global understanding" are examples of agenda-driven education, satisfying the ideological purposes of teachers and educational 'experts' while doing nothing for the children themselves. The call away from teaching facts, leaves the children sufficiently ignorant and malleable for other agendas. This cruelly

This gets us back to our original point. What Dewey wrought has been 100 years of educational malpractices that has watered down education and taken it away from its proper purpose. Any educational reform has to begin from proper premises and to fix education, we need to fix the purpose of education - it is to induce learning in the child, to open their mind to truth, creativity, and to build their knowledge and skills to be citizens, scholars and professionals when they grow up.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Focus of Education Should be Learning

Some questions make the answer. In life as in research, as in education, it is the question that comes first and is more important. The issues and problems with our 'educational system' invariably lead to questions, such as "How do we fix the system?"

Of course, if you set about fixing a system, you have to ask a more basic question: What purpose is it supposed to serve? What is the right way to do education?

Which leads to a question: Why do we educate? A better question is: Why do we learn?

Why do we educate? We educate children to train them up to be citizens and productive members of society. It is certainly appropriate that we make citizenship, scholarship, and professional achievement (to get a good career/job) goals of education. But that part of 'education', if it is not in giving them knowledge, consist of either indoctrination or inculcating in the children an acceptance of the role society has laid out for them. This begs a question of whether 'education' is for the sake of the child after all, for this is not education in the sense of opening up the child to knowledge and skills, but social conditioning.

Yet to a large degree Industrial Education was that enterprise. As John Dewey put it, "Education as a Social Function." The social function is the preservation and continuity of the society, by rearing up the young as participants. Thus it has been throughout history. We are ever 20 years from barbarism and it is education that saves society from it.

But why does a child learn? If one puts the focus back on the child, and ask why does the child learn? one gets a difference answer. The social function becomes secondary. Education means nothing without learning; and while education is the guiding of others to learn and is thus social, learning has a meaning all its own.

Learning is not a social process. Learning is a mental process, that extends inward and outward both. If there is not learning, there is no education. Thus, while the educative process is social and external, the learning process that it tries to affect is personal and internal. Learning involves literacy, via listening and reading and watching and communicating; learning involves thinking - critical thinking and analysis, memory, computation, and creative imagination and thought; learning involves the exercise of motor skills, behaviors, artistic skills, writing skills, complex skills (from stacking blocks to arguing Constitutional law cases) built on prior skills; learning involves the skills of observation, sensory perception, emotional intelligence.
The end result of these learning activities is to acquire knowledge, habits, skills and dispositions not previously acquired.

Why learn? For a child, learning up to a point is natural. Curiosity and 'play' is programmed into humans. Play is a form of learning, in fact, it's main 'useful' role is learning. Children are great imitators, and imittaion begets acquisition of skills. Alas, as they grow, children may end up imitating the worst habits and not the best if not guided in the proper way.

How do we educate? The best learner is a self-learner, so the best education is an education in learning HOW to learn. What are the learning skills? Reading, observing, skills in modeling behavior, acquiring motor skills, creative thinking skills, critical analysis skills.

The best way to acquire skills of any type, however, is to practice them, and thus the best way to acquire learning skills is to get engaged in learning and be guided in how you do it.

Are skills enough? No, need motivation, to improve the dispositions of learners: Motivation, curiosity, desire to learn or desire to learn in order to meet other goals (financial, social status and approval, gain ability to do specific things one desires, etc.)

However, if the motivation to learn is based on external appearances, then student will do enough to keep those appearances, eg, get a good grade, without absorbing the real lessons

If play is like learning and vice versa, then the problem with ‘boredom’ – people who are bored are people demanding sensory input - is a defect in learning and play skills.

Does education destroy curiosity? Sometimes. if organized education creates activities not tied to real learning, it can snuff out the impulses of real learning.

We started with the question "How to fix the education system?" and ended up in a point where in fact, the system itself in some cases could be crippling the real learning of children.

The cure or answer for this may be to think differently about education. The shadow of John Dewey has been cast over education for a century, and the 'social' approach to education has pushed it in a direction that is away from ideals of Roman education or that of prior centuries. Bringing students up to become socialized does not require Industrial Education. The fact of socialization has taken, through iterations and systems and controls and measures, to take education far away from the pure purpose of education as aiding learning.

There is a different way: Personalized learning; teaching students to be self-motivated and curious; teaching students to be self-learners; in short, the focus of education should be on the learning.

The Death of Climate Change

Projections versus Data: The Death of Climate Change. This is a long and worthwhile read, but delivers at the end a coup de grace to the UN models upon which global warming hysteria rests:

Looking at 11 distinct UN computer models, as temperature rises, outgoing radiation from the Earth is predicted to diminish, ostensibly because greenhouse gases will get in its way and prevent it from escaping to space as easily as before. But the truth has now been revealed, measured by the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment Satellite, and correlated with changes in sea surface temperatures. As the sea surface warms, outgoing radiation escaping to space increases. It is not, after all, trapped down here as the 11 UN models project. The paper in which this discrepancy between model predictions and observed reality was presented represents the undoing of the official “high-climate-sensitivity” theory. Six or seven times as much outgoing radiation is escaping to space per unit change in sea surface temperature as the UN’s models predicted. This is a discrepancy of astonishing magnitude. ... If these results are indeed confirmed, that is the end of the climate debate. Instead of a 3.3 K (6 F) warming in response to a CO2 doubling, we shall see just 0.5 K (less than 1 F). And that is all.

The Jobs Recession

From Jared Bernstein's talk at The Jobs Deficit summit. It's a jobs 'Great Recession', as VP Joe Biden put it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Riding the Google Wave

Google Wave has been touted as the 'Next Big Internet Thing'. It may well be, but here are the Top 10 Complaints about Google Wave by users who have been beta-testing it. It's sounds like a phenomenal product that has some kinks in it.

Worst. Deficit. Ever.

It's official. The Federal Govt spent $1.4 trillion more than it took in in the past 12 months.

Hope and Lies

"HOPE" poster artist lied about the photo source for his artwork. Nothing new here, RFK and Democrats since faked quotes from Aristotle.

But the Lies of Hope start at the top:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Obama White House Hates Beck, Loves Mao

White House declares war on FoxNews, and Glen Beck does another "lights on a Team Obama cockroach" in response. White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said this June: "There's usually not a good reason and then the third lesson and tip actually comes from two of my favorite political philosophers - Mao Tse Tung and Mother Teresa..."

Mao Tse Tung is world history's #1 mass murderer, having beaten out Stalin (bronze), and Hitler (silver) for world's most deadly dictator, with democide that killed more than 40 million by initiating terror, famine and repression. But who's counting in China, there's so many of them, right?

ACC Engages in Car Discrimination informs us in that Austin Community College (ACC) has a new school policy: If you drive a new, pricey “green car” you get a preferred parking spot and avoid paying the parking meter. ACC published a list of approved green cars. None are older than 2000. The car at the top of the approved list is a 2009 Audi TT Coupe, which starts at $36,025.

The blog notes that this effectively discriminates against the cars and drivers frugally sticking to older cars.

Why is ACC engaging in such idiocy? Because ACC hired a Director on Environmental Stewardship and so is wasting money paying someone full time to come up with this nonsense. Mr Kim needs to go back to building stuff and get out of the eco-greenwashing racket - it will do more good for the world.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wireless Innovation ...

Wireless Innovation is Alive & Well: Two New Reports Set the Record Straight. The US has highest minutes of use, mobile user penetration, wider supplier and provider base, than any other country. We have a fiercely competitive and innovative market.

Two Democrat SBOE members failed to disclose gifts

"At my age [68], I don't know what happened a year ago." - Rene Nuñez, D-El Paso, making the case for term limits.

State education board trustees failed to disclose gifts, says Dallas Morning News:

Two members of the Texas State Board of Education have received thousands of dollars in gifts from a company seeking a lucrative contract with the board, records show, and those members have not reported the gifts on financial disclosure forms.

Bidding documents submitted to the board by the company, AEW Capital Management of Boston, say its employees bought 53 gifts worth more than $5,000 for board finance committee members Rene Nuñez, D-El Paso, and Rick Agosto, D-San Antonio.

These gifts were from a company angling for possible business in management of the Permanent School Fund.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Five Norwegian Idiots Pick Another Leftist

I honestly thought it was satire when I read first that President Obama won the Nobel Peace prize. How absurd! What has he done other than embolden violent enemies? A formerly important international prize has now reached the nadir of irrelevant tom-foolery by giving the current President an 'affirmative action' Nobel Peace Prize he did nothing to earn. It was just last week was satirized by SNL for lack of accomplishments.

Even the UK Times calls says: absurd decision on Obama makes a mockery of the Nobel peace prize, saying: "Sadly, it seems they have so bedazzled the Norwegians that they can no longer separate hopes from achievement. The achievements of all previous winners have been diminished." The mockery made more notable for the fact that "The deadline for nominations was February 1, meaning Obama was nominated after being in office for just 11 days." National Review notes:

Every year since 1901, the peace prize has been given by a committee of five Norwegians. They are appointed by the Norwegian parliament, the Storting. The Nobel Peace Prize always reflects the consensus of Norwegian politics. And that consensus is, in a word — a word the Norwegians might well choose — “progressive.” Others might call it left-wing.
The Nobel peace prize has gone off the rails into the deep end of left-wing identity politics and absurd peace awards before (Arafat, Gore, Carter, the fraud Rigobeto Menchu, etc.) Yet now, they are no longer even tethered to the excuse of some accomplishment. All this is about is how un-Bush Obama is supposedly is, and how he makes the left feel. In short, the Nobel Peace Prize has become the "un-Bush Prize" for the public figure these 5 Norwegians think is least like George W Bush.

The committee has said, “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future."

Really. Which hope? Is it the $13 trillion in deficits? The 4 million jobs lost since Obama was inaugurated? Or simply the hope of leftists that American supremacy is kaput and America is choosing to decline, and free market capitalism took a beating in the past year?

They said: "In the past year Obama has been a key person for important initiatives in the U.N. for nuclear disarmament and to set a completely new agenda for the Muslim world and East-West relations.”

Really. They say this just a week after a vicious attack by the Taliban in Afghanistan left 8 Americans killed. Two weeks after Iran announced more about their nuclear program (which we've known about since 2006).

The more things change the more things stay the same. Again this year - Five Norwegian Idiots Pick Another Leftist.

UPDATE: Perhaps I am wrong in the headlines. Perhaps it should be Five Norwegian Leftists Pick Another Idiot. Another thought: Bill Clinton surely is steamed right about now. Think about it. The logical name to pick, had Hillary won the past election, would have been Bill Clinton for the Nobel "un-Bush" prize as a celebration of her election.

UPDATE II: Someone who deserved it better - Irena Sendler.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Real Cost of the Baucus Bill: $2 Trillion+

Via Instapundit, the Cato analysis exposes the several hidden costs in Baucus bill:

The CBO scoring makes it clear that the Baucus bill's reduction in future budget deficits comes not from controlling government spending or reducing health care costs, but because of a rapid escalation in tax revenues. ...

The Baucus bill will not reduce the deficit, and it would ultimately cost taxpayers more than $2 trillion—just like every other bill Congress has produced so far.

The biggest gimmick employed by the bill is that its individual mandate pushes more than half of the legislation's cost off-budget, and onto businesses and individuals who will have to shoulder that burden. ...

The second-biggest gimmick is assuming that Congress will let the "Sustainable Growth Rate" cuts in Medicare physician payments to occur. Starting in 2003, Congress has repeatedly blocked those cuts ...
Official cost of this is about $1 trillion. Real cost is $2 trillion ...

A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon we are talking about a real economy going down like the Titanic hitting an iceberg.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

State-Initiated Constitutional Amendment Process

Should we have a constitutional convention?

Short answer: NO! An open-ended rewrite of the Constitution permits few opportunities for improvement but has far to many opportunities for mischief and disimprovement.

As one commenter put it: “There is nothing wrong with our Constitution. The problem is with our politicians, and with the lazy citizenry who refuse to vote them out when they consistently violate that Constitution.”

However, the challenge of getting around the Congressional roadblock on Amendments that curtail the Congress (such as term limits) is a real one. So one very good idea did bubble up out of the discussion:

I would prefer to add a 3rd method of Amendment: If 3/4ths of the States pass an identical Resolution of Amendment within a fixed time window, then that Amendment is placed before the voters at the next Congressional election for ratification, majority vote.

This bypasses Congress when necessary, and strengthens the hand of the States with respect to the Federal Government.

I would propose the language thusly:
State-initiated Constitutional Amendment Process

When 3/4ths of the States have passed in their respective legislatures identical Resolutions of Amendment within the prior 7 year period, the proposed Amendment in that Resolution of Amendment shall be placed before the voters of all the States at the next Congressional election for their approval, in the form of a ballot referendum.

Such an Amendment shall be deemed to have passed the referendum under the condition where a majority of elector-equivalent votes are counted for the proposal, such elector-equivalent votes having been counted as follows: In each district or State where a number of electors are chosen for President, that number is used as the number of elector-equivalent votes. These elector-equivalent votes are considered for or against the Amendment referendum, depending on whether a majority of ballots cast by voters in that given district or State are for or against the proposed Amendment respectively.

Any such Amendment, having been approved through the above process, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution.
This itself is a Constitutional Amendment. Which means it needs to get through Congress.

Austin and Washington Energy Policies Will Hurt the Poor and Middle Class, Need Re-Consideration

Travis County Republican Party Chairwoman Rosemary Edwards writes a thought-provoking op-ed in the Austin American Statesman today on the higher costs of energy that will be likely given current initiatives in Austin and Washington, D.C.

The Austin City Council needs to a better job reconciling their green dreams with the likelihood that one day Austin won't be Weird -- it will be unlivable because of the high cost of living for many people.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lamestream CNN takes an Obama joke too seriously

CNN takes an SNL skit way too seriously, showing the laughable overt liberalism of the lamestream media. BTW, I am willing to count that loss of over 3 million jobs as an accomplishment.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Austin Tech Republicans Oct 14th meeting: Kathleen Hartnett White on Cap & Trade

Austin Tech Republicans' next meeting is Weds, Oct 14th, 11:45am-1pm

Topic: Energy policy and the consequences of Cap & Trade
Speaker: Kathleen Hartnett White of the Texas Public Policy Foundation
White has served as Chairman and Commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
Her bio information:

Meeting Time: Wednesday October 14th, 11:45am to 1:00pm
Location: Mangia's Pizza at Mopac and Duval
this is right off Mopac (northbound access rd at Duval exit) at Duval and Burnet.,+Austin,+TX&vps=4&jsv=164e&sll=30.41848,-97.711759&sspn=0.02561,0.055747&ie=UTF8&latlng=30407404,-97713679,9125205684671566230&ei=PTVESsX9KZ7uMvWprNsJ&sig2=5pcwkvIflYgpsHiEaI-UEQ&cd=3

12001 N MO Pac Expy, Austin, TX 78758-2992. (512) 832-5550

Michelle Obama Speech Thuds

Check out my analysis of Michelle Obama's poorly designed speech, on American Thinker today.

Another Global Warming 'Hockey Stick' Busted

UN Climate Reports:"They Lie" reports on how UN IPCC reports keep using discredited and suspect information to hype up climate change fears. It includes the amusing use of Wikipedia as a source for UN reports. It also notes another coup at Climate Audit.

Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit has busted another hockey stick: He has shown that a tree-ring temperature proxy study (Yamal reconstruction, done by Briffa) had selected and cherry-picked a mere 10 tree-ring cores to create a 'hockey-stick' reconstruction of temperature trends, a trend that disappears if you include all nearby relevant tree-ring proxy data:

The red line is the reported temperature trends from the original study, a reconstruction is based on a sample of only ten trees, and the green line shows the updated trends inclusive of all nearby available proxy data. Briffa used a narrow, selected, set of proxy data to generate a trend that has been used to help 'prove' global temperature trends. In effect, he threw out data that disagreed with the temperature trend he was trying to validate. It's a fine way to fool yourself into 'proving' a preconceived hypothesis.

Bishop Hill's The Yamal implosion is a layman's guide to what happened to get this uncovered and what it means for climate science. The story is reverberating, with Briffa responding to McIntyre.

McKitrick explains the story, saying:

Thus the key ingredient in most of the studies that have been invoked to support the Hockey Stick, namely the Briffa Yamal series, depends on the influence of a woefully thin subsample of trees and the exclusion of readily-available data for the same area. Whatever is going on here, it is not science.
The temperature 'hockey stick' is a myth, constructed out of bad scientific methodology, 'lying through statistics' by over-interpreting narrow and selected data sets, and the hubris of ignoring data that contradicts politicized conclusions. The climate doom-and-gloom fearmongers, such as Al Gore, used the hockey stick to 'prove' we faced a crisis. Yet current global temperature trends are not cooperating at all with the fearmongers.

The world's climate is not in a crisis. However, there is a crisis in the credibility of climate scientists who have once again been shown to be skewing data and results. The IPCC and "Hockey Team" climatologists have been found to be withholding data, refusing to acknowledge critiques honestly, skewing statistics, and politicizing results. Skewed science like this has undermined the credibility of the whole edifice of climate change science.

QOTD: Nietzsche and James

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are rearranging their prejudices." - William James

"What makes one regard philosophers half mistrustfully and half mockingly is not that one again and again detects how innocent they are – how often and how easily they fall into error and go astray, in short their childishness and childlikeness – but that they display altogether insufficient honesty, while making a mighty and virtuous noise as soon as the problem of truthfulness is even remotely touched on. They pose as having discovered and attained their real opinions through the self-evolution of a cold, pure, divinely unperturbed dialectic … while what happens at bottom is that a prejudice, a notion, an ‘inspiration’, generally a desire of the heart sifted and made abstract, is defended by them with reasons sought after the event – they are one and all advocates who do not want to be regarded as such, and for the most part no better than cunning pleaders for their prejudices, which they baptize ‘truths’."
- (Nietzsche, 1886, Beyond Good and Evil)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Conservatives vs Liberals - a list

Difference between conservatives and liberals.

Baucus ObamaCare Bill Text Available

The Baucas ObamaCare bill, which should be known as America's Death of Healthcare Freedom Act of 2009. This bill has 250 pages and it's not even the real legislative language. The bill forces people, via multiple mandates and taxes and subsidies, to get people into Government-controlled health insurance:

Personal Responsibility Requirement. Beginning in 2013, all U.S. citizens and legal residents would be required to purchase coverage through (1) the individual market, a public program such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children‘s Health Insurance Program, Veteran‘s Health Care Program, or TRICARE or through an employer (or as a dependent of a covered employee) in the small group market, meeting at least the requirements of a bronze plan, or (2) in the large group market, in a plan with first dollar coverage for prevention-related services as recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force – except in cases where value-based insurance design is used and cannot have a maximum out-of-pocket limit greater than that provided by the standards established for HSA current law limit.

Why more Government involvement in healthcare hurts your health and your freedom:

"Spending money leads to control over fees ... and it inevitably leads to socialized medicine." - Milton Friedman

UPDATE: My comment over here - in response to the Rep Grayson smear:

Face it. That’s all the Democrats and left-liberals have left. Hate. Fear. Lies.

4 million jobs lost and all the Democrats can do is piddle around with smears and lies about Republicans. Have they at long last no shame, no decency, no caring for the real issues of this nation?

They can’t stand up on their own agenda, because the MAJORITY of Americans OPPOSE the ObamaCare bills created by the Democrats in Congress.

It’s Obama who said that maybe Granny didnt need that hip replacement. Its Waxman’s HR3200 that put in the QALY provisions (aka ‘death panel’) govt board. Maybe its ‘die slowly’…

Democrats are liars, hypocrites and completely unfit to govern. If this their idea of governance, the Jackass party deserves to be retired for a generation and Rep Grayson needs to get fired pronto. America deserves better.