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#52 Jan 17 2014 at 11:20 AM Rating: Excellent
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Is the goal of a smaller government fewer federal employees, less square feet devoted to government facilities, smaller military, fewer regulations, less tax dollars, a combination of all of these?


Yes, yes, oh **** no, yes, yes, yes.

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#53 Jan 17 2014 at 1:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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I hear all the time about smaller government. What does it mean? I've asked the question of a few friendly republicans but have not yet gotten a satisfactory answer.

It means services for the person you're speaking to paid for by someone else. That's 95% of US politics. Gbaji wants 30 year mortgages and 40 hour work weeks and an inflated salary floated by protectionism, but doesn't want food stamps for poor people. So in his case "small government" means "I pay less taxes and people who aren't me suffer" Although, because he's an idiot it morphs quickly into "I pay less taxes and it's better for everyone!" then we all laugh.
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#54 Jan 17 2014 at 1:52 PM Rating: Excellent
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Actually, the latest Republican budget sure is trying to make a smaller military by ******** over active service members and retirees.

Military pension was the #1 reason my dad stayed in so long instead of becoming a professional bowler. And he would have stayed longer, except the heart attacks kind of ended his career.

Current liberal meme is that Paul Ryan is unaware of the difference between the DoD and the Army.
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#55 Jan 17 2014 at 9:34 PM Rating: Default
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Elinda wrote:
I hear all the time about smaller government. What does it mean? I've asked the question of a few friendly republicans but have not yet gotten a satisfactory answer.


Is it that your republican friends didn't know what small government was, or you didn't like/understand their answer?

I'll give you my answer: Small government means a government that minimizes the amount of control it imposes on its citizens (ie: "just enough" to allow for a civil society to exist, but not "too much"). This goal has to be balanced with an understanding that some amount of government is necessary, but that we should limit the scope of government to just those things it needs to do, as opposed to things it could do.

There's a side aspect of this that addresses the level of government at which various powers should exist. Basically, the idea is that the lower level the government, the fewer citizens its actions affect, the more power each individual citizen has over those actions, and thus the more acceptable greater amounts of power are. Put another way, small government principles might be fine with broad domestic police powers being granted by the local city to their local police force, but *not* to a national police force controlled by the federal government.

Quote:
Is the goal of a smaller government fewer federal employees, less square feet devoted to government facilities, smaller military, fewer regulations, less tax dollars, a combination of all of these?


Nope. "Size" is measured in impact on the citizens. How many employees isn't the issue. A "big government" is one that has a large number of laws which directly affect all of its citizens in a whole gamut of different ways. A "small government" is one which has fewer laws, which are restricted to fewer aspects of the lives of its citizens, and which may even affect fewer people in any direct way.

This is why, for example, something like military funding is ok, but welfare is not. The military is one of those things a government "must do", while welfare is something it "can do". Also, since the military is restricted to operating against external foes, the existence of a military does not affect the typical citizen that much. Welfare direct affects lots of citizens (which is the whole point). I guess another way of looking at this is that a small (federal) government is one that focuses most of its efforts externally. The more a government focuses inward, the bigger it is (cause it's about direct effects on its own citizens).

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How 'small' is small?


Again, it's about minimizing the direct effect the government has on its own citizens. How much does it "meddle" in our lives? Small (again, federal) governments leave the citizens mostly alone (enough structure to allow for laws and courts and whatnot, but most of the details left to lower levels). Big government decide that they must "fix" the lives of their citizens and impose all sorts of broad and far reaching social programs.

Again, it's not just about what governments does, but what level it does it.

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What is the ideal 'size' of the government?


Ideally? The federal government should involve itself only with foreign policy (ie: diplomats, treaties, military, etc), interstate affairs (dealing with the states though, not directly with any of the people), and some basic standards setting (weights and measures, rail sizes, stuff like that which helps make the whole "work").

It should not be involved in any way in directly funding education, welfare, public services, or basically anything that citizens directly interact with. The states and cities should be doing that, not the federal government.

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Should the size of the government be in respect to the number of citizens, the quality of life, the level of trade and/or technology?


None of the above.

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'Smaller government' is just a frilly catchphrase with a barbed hook used to reel in unsuspecting doorknobs that can't see anything beyond the government taking money out of their paltry little paychecks.


Some of us do have a very compete, clear, and consistent understanding of what "small government" means. Unfortunately, that does not mean that every conservative is good at conveying this to others. Add in the unfortunate fact that many liberals actively attempt to spread misinformation about what "small government" means, so as to make it easier to engage in strawman attacks on conservative positions, and it's not that surprising that many people don't really understand what is meant by "small government".


To be clear, sometimes the phrase will be used for different reasons and in different context. Certainly, sometimes when a conservative speaks of small government, he is talking about how much money is being spent, or how many people it employs. But the broader context and consistency is really about direct impact on the citizens. If he's ****** about the money being spent, it's probably more about what he views as wasteful or overly imposing programs funded by that money and/or the tax burden imposed in order to pay for it than just the dollars themselves. If he's going on about how many people are employed, it's probably more about how this affects the private markets and labor and perhaps even what those people are being employed to do (like say administer the aforementioned meddlesome social programs) than just a number of people. And quite often if you look only at that surface complaint and don't look deeper at why he wants less spending or fewer people in government employ, it can result in oft repeated assumptions of inconsistency or hypocrisy on the part of "small government conservatives. A classic example is the one I mentioned earlier: Where someone will say it's hypocritical for a republican to oppose spending on welfare while not opposing spending on the military. It's not though. Not if you understand that it's about restricting the scope of the government to just those roles it needs to perform and not just about the dollars spent.


I honestly believe that some people intentionally choose not to learn this though. No matter how many times it's explained to them.
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#56 Jan 17 2014 at 9:42 PM Rating: Default
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Catwho wrote:
Actually, the latest Republican budget sure is trying to make a smaller military by ******** over active service members and retirees.


That's because cutting military spending is the only "compromise" the Democrats will agree to. You can thank the sequester for that, but the only way to cut *any* spending was to allow an equal amount of spending cuts to the military. As bad as that is, when you're basically faced with a choice between "compromise with us by cutting the military by $1T over the next 10 years" and "don't compromise and allow the sequester to cut military by $500B over the next 10 years, and domestic spending by $500B over 10 years as well", it's kind of a no-brainer for the GOP.

Would be nice if the Dems were willing to actually acknowledge that "compromise" means both sides give something up, not just Republicans.

Quote:
Current liberal meme is that Paul Ryan is unaware of the difference between the DoD and the Army.


Huh? You do realize that the Army is part of the DoD, right? Certainly, with regards to budget, the Army is paid for out of DoD budget. I'm assuming that Paul Ryan isn't saying that the DoD is *only* the Army. But it's correct to say that the Army is entirely a subset of the DoD. Guess I'm not sure what the "joke" is supposed to be here.
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#57 Jan 17 2014 at 9:42 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Some of us do have a very compete, clear, and consistent understanding of what "small government" means.
You're not one of those people.
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#58 Jan 17 2014 at 9:43 PM Rating: Excellent
paraphrased, gbaji wrote:
Small government would not care which consenting adult married which consenting adult. That's something "big government" would do.
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#59 Jan 17 2014 at 10:01 PM Rating: Good
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Guess I'm not sure what the "joke" is supposed to be here.

That Paul Ryan is a moron, I'd assume. Not really that funny given how seriously the media seems to take him. Pays off to look like a serious guy in a suit, I guess.
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#60 Jan 18 2014 at 5:46 AM Rating: Good
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Gbaji wrote:
Yeah, that makes no sense though. The small government argument is so prevalent across the board on the conservative side of things, that it's hard to imagine how that could be the case. So all conservatives say they are for small government. And all Republicans say they support small government principles (to at least some degree). Conservatives largely vote for Republicans because of that small government position. Yet, we're supposed to believe that conservatives don't really believe in small government, but just claim they do? Which ones? All of them? Some of them? Just the politicians? Just the ones from "red states"?


It actually makes perfect sense. The poor southern republicans who are arguing for "small government" are arguing against the gov'mnt from takin' their guns and telling them how to live their lives. They are NOT arguing to remove them from federal assistance. The more financial well off Republicans are the ones asking to halt the government programs, which ironically are mostly affected by their constituents. Politicians realize this and use the commonality of the "small government" theme to gain support, when in reality those people actually love big government when it comes to things that they like, such as WW II memorials, parks, panda cams, etc.

Gbaji wrote:
Every time someone says that the Republicans are no better than the Democrats when it comes to big government, that's a "win" for the Democrats, right? So which "side" benefits by spreading this idea? It's not rocket science. When your own position's become unpopular, the only way to win is to convince the people that the other guy holds the same ones. And that's exactly what this entire line of reasoning is about.


That's under the assumption that there is a "correct" side to begin with. The reality, as you unintentionally pointed out, is that both sides have fault. We have a two party system where both sides fundamentally disagree on the most basic principles. Instead of assisting the other side, upon losing the argument, the losing side spends time, money and effort sabotaging and wishing for failure in order to look good in the spot light. This is why the conservative narratives against the war on poverty is misleading. The same way how conservative organizations run campaigns to deter the centennial generation of the young invincibles not to sign up for Obamacare, just to lash out against the sign up numbers among the aforesaid group.

Just imagine if I argued against you purchasing a used vehicle. You counter to say that it's good enough to get you to work. Unbeknownst to you, everyday before you get up in the morning, I wreck a part of your car. I continue this everyday until you finally accept defeat and then I come out and say "I told you that car wasn't any good!!".

Edited, Jan 18th 2014 1:49pm by Almalieque
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#61 Jan 20 2014 at 6:06 PM Rating: Default
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Friar Bijou wrote:
paraphrased, gbaji wrote:
Small government would not care which consenting adult married which consenting adult. That's something "big government" would do.


Sure. But as I said earlier, it's not about absolutes, but degrees. Minimizing the amount of meddling can include the case where if the government is going to meddle, it should do so to the least degree necessary to accomplish whatever goal it has set and/or accomplish said goal in the most cost effective and least liberty infringing way possible. The false dilemma folks on the left love to use is that conservatives must either fight for no government at all, or abandon any claim to a "small government" position.

In the real world, "minimizing the impact of government on the people" means just that. Minimizing kinda assumes there's going to be some impact. So saying "but you allow this much, so you shouldn't fight against more" is not a valid argument against a small government position.


We could make the same argument (absent the social outcry you were going for of course!) about education and school vouchers. You could argue that conservatives should be opposed to them because that's "big government". But the counter is that if government is already going to fund K-12 education, then we should do so in the manner which is most effective at accomplishing the stated goal (educating the public), while minimizing the control/impact said meddling may cause (in this case, breaking the monolithic public school system). Same deal.
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#62 Jan 20 2014 at 6:38 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
We could make the same argument (absent the social outcry you were going for of course!) about education and school vouchers. You could argue that conservatives should be opposed to them because that's "big government".

Yes, you could totally make the argument that funneling countless tax dollars out of government and into private businesses while eliminating numerous government jobs (teachers, administrators and the like) is a core example of "big government" that Republicans only accept because they care so much...

...you know, if you're a fucking ******.
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#63 Jan 20 2014 at 6:52 PM Rating: Default
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Almalieque wrote:
It actually makes perfect sense. The poor southern republicans who are arguing for "small government" are arguing against the gov'mnt from takin' their guns and telling them how to live their lives. They are NOT arguing to remove them from federal assistance. The more financial well off Republicans are the ones asking to halt the government programs, which ironically are mostly affected by their constituents. Politicians realize this and use the commonality of the "small government" theme to gain support, when in reality those people actually love big government when it comes to things that they like, such as WW II memorials, parks, panda cams, etc.


I think that you (and many people) are grossly overestimating the degree to which poor conservatives are willing to accept public assistance. Or, more correctly, grossly underestimating the degree to which poor conservatives will do everything they can to not do so. I just think the entire line of reasoning you're using is incorrect. If poor conservatives actually had a choice to eliminate all forms of public assistance, most of them would. Even those who are currently receiving that assistance. I suspect that folks on the left just don't understand that because it flies in the face of their own assumptions that everyone acts based on what is best for them directly. It's why the whole "red states take more in assistance relative to what they pay in taxes" bit resonates so well with liberals.

I know I'm never going to convince you of this, but you're never going to convince me of the opposite either. Based on my own personal interactions with conservatives of all stripes, I simply don't buy the argument you're making.

Quote:
Gbaji wrote:
Every time someone says that the Republicans are no better than the Democrats when it comes to big government, that's a "win" for the Democrats, right? So which "side" benefits by spreading this idea? It's not rocket science. When your own position's become unpopular, the only way to win is to convince the people that the other guy holds the same ones. And that's exactly what this entire line of reasoning is about.


That's under the assumption that there is a "correct" side to begin with.


I didn't say there was a "correct" side. I said there was an "unpopular" side. And that side has changed its message over time to try to convince people that there's really no difference between them and the other guys. And they do this by manipulating words and labels. Just like you did by changing "popular" into "correct" in order to create a false equivalency.

Were you even aware you did that? Or was it some kind of pattern based argument that you just repeated without realizing why/how it was false?

Quote:
The same way how conservative organizations run campaigns to deter the centennial generation of the young invincibles not to sign up for Obamacare, just to lash out against the sign up numbers among the aforesaid group.


I think it's important to recognize that just because there is a political conflict at hand does not mean that everything one says or does is purely about "winning" that fight. Sometimes, what you're saying happens to also be true. And in this case, when we conservatives point out to young healthy people that they'd be stupid to sign up for Obamacare, it's because it would actually be stupid for them to sign up for Obamacare.

The fact that my political party has run on a "don't hit yourself in the head with a hammer" platform doesn't mean that we don't also happen to think that people should avoid hitting themselves in the head with hammers. And when we then point to someone who hit himself in the head with a hammer and got badly hurt, it's not only because we want to make our own political position look good. Political positions aren't generally just invented. They come to be because people actually hold a position on something (like "hitting yourself in the head is bad"), and then they make that part of a political party platform.

Your argument kinda assumes that it works the other way around. Which I find really really strange.

Quote:
Just imagine if I argued against you purchasing a used vehicle. You counter to say that it's good enough to get you to work. Unbeknownst to you, everyday before you get up in the morning, I wreck a part of your car. I continue this everyday until you finally accept defeat and then I come out and say "I told you that car wasn't any good!!".


Except in this case the used car requires that you show up each morning and fix the car so it will work for me. I become accustomed to the assumption that you are obligated to do this, and then when you say "I'm not going to anymore" I accuse you of deliberately wrecking my car in order to make me think that it's not that reliable. The reality is that Obama care doesn't work unless a large number of people do something that is completely stupid for them to do and for which they receive no benefit other than making it "work" for other people. It's not wrecking anything by merely telling those people that they're getting the short end of the stick. The "car" was broken already. I'm not breaking anything.
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#64 Jan 20 2014 at 7:01 PM Rating: Default
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
We could make the same argument (absent the social outcry you were going for of course!) about education and school vouchers. You could argue that conservatives should be opposed to them because that's "big government".

Yes, you could totally make the argument that funneling countless tax dollars out of government and into private businesses while eliminating numerous government jobs (teachers, administrators and the like) is a core example of "big government" that Republicans only accept because they care so much...


Assuming it's the same number of dollars, then how is funneling it from taxpayers to private businesses worse than funneling it from taxpayers into government? The conservative argument is that there will be many private players in the education market competing for those dollars, with the result being a better overall product. Right now, it all just goes to the government, which funnels it through its own bureaucracy with zero competition and a negative incentive for using those dollars efficiently.

End result is almost certainly a better education outcome and possibly even reduced cost over time. And if the only negatives are fewer government jobs and more private sector jobs, then you're kinda defeating your own argument, aren't you? You're failing to see the whole picture here. As I said earlier, what makes something "big government" isn't necessarily the dollars involved, but the degree of impact/control the government exercises over the people. Once we accept the idea of spending money to educate the people, the only choice is whether we have the government in charge of what our children learn, or private schools? One of those is far "smaller government" than the other.
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#65 Jan 20 2014 at 9:17 PM Rating: Excellent
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Haha... way to totally miss the point.
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#66 Jan 20 2014 at 9:28 PM Rating: Excellent
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Assuming it's the same number of dollars, then how is funneling it from taxpayers to private businesses worse than funneling it from taxpayers into government? The conservative argument is that there will be many private players in the education market competing for those dollars, with the result being a better overall product.


Privately administered schools that aren't allowed to handpick students, that is, charters that have to accept the same populations as public schools accept are a complete abject failure by every measure, including cost per student. So that was a fun practical test of your idea for the last 20 years. Failed. Miserable failure. Obviously time to continue arguing for it regardless, because you believe in a political philosophy that values fantasy over data.
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To make a long story short, I don't take any responsibility for anything I post here. It's not news, it's not truth, it's not serious. It's parody. It's satire. It's bitter. It's angsty. Your mother's a *****. You like to jack off dogs. That's right, you heard me. You like to grab that dog by the bone and rub it like a ski pole. Your dad? ***. Your priest? Straight. **** off and let me post. It's not true, it's all in good fun. Now go away.

#67 Jan 20 2014 at 9:29 PM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
Haha... way to totally miss the point.
He didnt miss it, he went out of his way to avoid it.
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#68 Jan 21 2014 at 4:23 AM Rating: Decent
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Gbaji wrote:
I think that you (and many people) are grossly overestimating the degree to which poor conservatives are willing to accept public assistance. Or, more correctly, grossly underestimating the degree to which poor conservatives will do everything they can to not do so. I just think the entire line of reasoning you're using is incorrect. If poor conservatives actually had a choice to eliminate all forms of public assistance, most of them would. Even those who are currently receiving that assistance. I suspect that folks on the left just don't understand that because it flies in the face of their own assumptions that everyone acts based on what is best for them directly. It's why the whole "red states take more in assistance relative to what they pay in taxes" bit resonates so well with liberals.

I know I'm never going to convince you of this, but you're never going to convince me of the opposite either. Based on my own personal interactions with conservatives of all stripes, I simply don't buy the argument you're making.

You don't have to buy my argument, it's already sold. The top welfare states are red states. No matter how much you want to spin the facts, nobody is enforcing anyone to take government subsidies, just like Republican governors denied the medicaid expansion. If only poor Democrats were taking government subsidies, we would be spending a whole lot less money on subsidies.

Gbaji wrote:
I didn't say there was a "correct" side. I said there was an "unpopular" side. And that side has changed its message over time to try to convince people that there's really no difference between them and the other guys. And they do this by manipulating words and labels. Just like you did by changing "popular" into "correct" in order to create a false equivalency.

Were you even aware you did that? Or was it some kind of pattern based argument that you just repeated without realizing why/how it was false?



You're a victim of your own critique. I purposely used the word "assumption" because your claim lacks validity without it. You stated "the only way to win is to convince the people that the other guy holds the same ones." Well, you can't WIN an argument, debate, discussion, etc., unless you are right and you can't be right unless there is a correct answer, i.e. "correct side". All you have done was ignore my point and conjure a fallacious tangent to avoid a proper response.

Gbaji wrote:

I think it's important to recognize that just because there is a political conflict at hand does not mean that everything one says or does is purely about "winning" that fight. Sometimes, what you're saying happens to also be true. And in this case, when we conservatives point out to young healthy people that they'd be stupid to sign up for Obamacare, it's because it would actually be stupid for them to sign up for Obamacare.

The fact that my political party has run on a "don't hit yourself in the head with a hammer" platform doesn't mean that we don't also happen to think that people should avoid hitting themselves in the head with hammers. And when we then point to someone who hit himself in the head with a hammer and got badly hurt, it's not only because we want to make our own political position look good. Political positions aren't generally just invented. They come to be because people actually hold a position on something (like "hitting yourself in the head is bad"), and then they make that part of a political party platform.

Your argument kinda assumes that it works the other way around. Which I find really really strange.


I'm not sure who you (and other conservatives) think you are fooling, but its blatantly obvious that the attack against young people signing up has absolutely nothing to do with the welfare of the aforesaid group, but everything to do with the fact that Obamacare will implode without them. The same way why the "concern" for the website's security is just another way to scare people from signing up. The same way the left is putting Christie on air 24/7 to affect 2016. To avow otherwise is merely a testimony of one's own ignorance of political stratagems.

Gbaji wrote:
Except in this case the used car requires that you show up each morning and fix the car so it will work for me. I become accustomed to the assumption that you are obligated to do this, and then when you say "I'm not going to anymore" I accuse you of deliberately wrecking my car in order to make me think that it's not that reliable. The reality is that Obama care doesn't work unless a large number of people do something that is completely stupid for them to do and for which they receive no benefit other than making it "work" for other people. It's not wrecking anything by merely telling those people that they're getting the short end of the stick. The "car" was broken already. I'm not breaking anything.


Your implication that the Republicans are actively assisting in Obamacare (or any other program that fundamentally opposes the GOP's philosophy) is inane. If the Republicans chose the strategy of "letting program x naturally implode", there wouldn't be much discussion on the matter. There wouldn't be 40+ votes to delay, end and/or de-fund Obamacare. This goes back to my previous statement questioning your understanding of how politics work and I'm not a political genius.




Edited, Jan 21st 2014 2:28pm by Almalieque
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#69 Jan 21 2014 at 7:04 AM Rating: Good
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You guys.....

Do you really think that the people, the masses..the millionz, the working and nonworking poor, the down trodden, the drugged, touched, etc etc, define themselves by affiliation with some political group or even ideology?




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#70 Jan 21 2014 at 7:18 AM Rating: Decent
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Elinda wrote:
You guys.....

Do you really think that the people, the masses..the millionz, the working and nonworking poor, the down trodden, the drugged, touched, etc etc, define themselves by affiliation with some political group or even ideology?



Um.. mostly yes. There is fairly good research done by Jon Heidt suggesting that the lower classes tend to define themselves more by their social sphere. Higher classes tend to be less socio-centric. There is a silly amount of research and amusing acronyms like WEIRD that describe it.
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#71 Jan 21 2014 at 7:26 AM Rating: Default
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Elinda wrote:
You guys.....

Do you really think that the people, the masses..the millionz, the working and nonworking poor, the down trodden, the drugged, touched, etc etc, define themselves by affiliation with some political group or even ideology?






Are these people able to think and comprehend? If yes, then yes. If they are drugged out, insane or in a coma, then probably not. You must realize that these political affiliations and ideologies stem from personal beliefs and practices that are not bound to a certain class of people.
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#72 Jan 21 2014 at 7:43 AM Rating: Good
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Well, it is true that on the left there’s greater interest in new ideas, and it’s overwhelmingly liberals who buy social-science trade books like mine.


I'm not meaning to say that everyone is not as equally convinced that their way of doing things is the 'best' way, or the norm or even that the average joe wouldn't give themselves a party title if asked.

I would hypothesize, however, that the more one has to focus on making ends meet, providing for a family, dealing with social issues among themselves and their families/friends (addictions, crime, discrimination), finding some sense of leisure on limited means, trying to keep abreast of what may seem like minor technological advances....all weigh heavier on the mind of the average joe than how the polls are reading about next years election between the tea party candidate and the hippy liberal.

Ask a conservative burger flipper about minimum wage and he/she is likely to NOT toe the party line.

Ask the devoted christian democrat school lunch cook about abortion and they too won't hesitate to cross party ideals.

I just don't think most people define themselves as political beings to the extent that some internet forum nerds do.
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#73 Jan 21 2014 at 7:46 AM Rating: Excellent
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On the subject of charter schools, an alarming number of charter schools shut down before or by Christmas break this year. (Article about it happening in Philly, but it's happening in a lot of big cities.) The students had to return to public schools because the charter schools failed.

Ironic, isn't it?
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I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#74 Jan 21 2014 at 7:53 AM Rating: Good
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My alma mater is still going strong.
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#75 Jan 21 2014 at 8:13 AM Rating: Excellent
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The students had to return to public schools because the charter schools failed.

They fail constantly. Amazingly, paying staff $25k a year and enforcing uniform wearing and "demanding excellence" apparently doesn't magic the knowledge into the children's skulls they way that was hoped. Oh well, the good news it you keep the money, close up shop and take your act to the next town. If only there were some branch of science that could study this sort of thing and predict this exact outcome....oh well, someday maybe.
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#76 Jan 21 2014 at 8:15 AM Rating: Good
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Smasharoo wrote:
If only there were some branch of science that could study this sort of thing and predict this exact outcome....oh well, someday maybe.
Clearly the answer is dermatology.
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#77 Jan 21 2014 at 8:30 AM Rating: Excellent
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A lot of these are minority students so obviously the answer is zoology.
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#78 Jan 21 2014 at 10:48 AM Rating: Excellent
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A lot of these are minority students so obviously the answer is zoology.
Evolution, except in the red states where it's simply "God's will" or whatever.

And US schools will succeed when the people actually decide they want them to succeed. Surprisingly if you invest the minimum amount of money and time necessary to educate your students it doesn't make a huge difference whether the people you're having do it work in the private or public sector. Then again, we're mostly a service based economy these days. How much do you really want to spend educating someone who's going to be a waiter for most of their adult life?
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#79 Jan 21 2014 at 10:59 AM Rating: Excellent
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Probably the most interesting thing I've seen recently is the introduction of a "mindfulness" program in underperforming elementary and middle schools. The kids are generally coming from terrible home lives and instead of paying attention in class, are stressed out from their home situation. They can't focus in school with everything else happening around them. The program teaches meditation and yoga as a means of helping kids separate home life from school life. So far they've had a pretty good success track rating, although the studies are still limited.
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I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#80 Jan 21 2014 at 11:37 AM Rating: Excellent
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And that's all well and good until some ignorant fundie decides that yoga is a heretical religion.
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#81 Jan 21 2014 at 11:39 AM Rating: Excellent
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Catwho wrote:
The kids are generally coming from terrible home lives and instead of paying attention in class, are stressed out from their home situation. They can't focus in school with everything else happening around them.
Which is hardly surprising, and just to add to that it probably hints at how helpful the parents can be when their lives are that messed up.

I don't envy the school situation though. The demands on what an education needs to produce to keep pace with a global market have never been higher, retiring baby-boomers are sucking up the education dollars, teachers face declining compensation and less job security, peaking economic stresses are keeping parents less involved, and after all that the students still have to put themselves in a god-awful amount of debt over 4 years of college just to find out they aren't qualified for anything more than an part-time internship.

Yay Smiley: yippee
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#82 Jan 21 2014 at 12:03 PM Rating: Decent
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Probably the most interesting thing I've seen recently is the introduction of a "mindfulness" program in underperforming elementary and middle schools. The kids are generally coming from terrible home lives and instead of paying attention in class, are stressed out from their home situation. They can't focus in school with everything else happening around them. The program teaches meditation and yoga as a means of helping kids separate home life from school life. So far they've had a pretty good success track rating, although the studies are still limited.

Novelty helps distracted kids, it's a known thing. Introducing anything novel helps focus them, it's a known phenomenon. The problem is that implementing rolling novel programs (because the effect wears off) is fairly difficult and expensive. Also less than ideal that as far as perception and funding goes, this sort of "shows promise" ******** gets money, continues past the point of novelty then fails. This is why there is a common misconception that education reform consists of "fads." What it generally consists of is a series of differing techniques that all show promise initially because of the powerful novelty effect then die out as it's shown they aren't actually any more effective.

I don't have a solution, it's just probably important to note that while many people on "my" side of the political spectrum have a desire to see this sort of thing as beneficial, the reality is you could probably replace "mindfulness" with "watching French Cinema" "Baking cookies" or "learning to juggle" and see the same temporary effects.
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#83 Jan 21 2014 at 12:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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Hey, if that novelty is reducing the number of kids who are given suspensions by 75%, I think it's worth it.

Yoga and meditation have been proven to reduce stress levels, high blood pressure, and increase mindfulness in adults. It's not stretching it to see if it could have the same benefits in stressed out kids.

Edited, Jan 21st 2014 1:09pm by Catwho
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Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#84 Jan 21 2014 at 12:16 PM Rating: Decent
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Hey, if that novelty is reducing the number of kids who are giving suspensions by 75%, I think it's worth it.

You're missing the point. It isn't worth it, because it pulls funding away from sustainable programs that help the same populations perpetually, not until they get bored. It's not a zero sum game, but it is close to that in the districts in question. Grant money being forever thrown at this sort of thing is grant money that isn't being spent on other potentially more effective techniques.


Yoga and meditation have been proven to reduce stress levels, high blood pressure, and increase mindfulness in adults. It's not stretching it to see if it could have the same benefits in stressed out kids.


It's stretching it to assert *any* of that, actually. Meditation is harmless is the primary reason it's advocated by health professionals. Really, that's the primary reason, not efficacy. Mediation can counteract acute stress, but so can screaming, singing, hopping on one foot, etc.

If you want to say "I like the idea of meditation and yoga" just say that. There doesn't need to be some objective measure of their "goodness"
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#85 Jan 21 2014 at 12:24 PM Rating: Good
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Smasharoo wrote:


I don't have a solution,
Crop rotation.

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Crop rotation.

May be the way to go, honestly. Cycle three or four programs through districts in a state over 10 year periods or whathaveyou. Problem, of course, is GOP governor gets into power "we're spending out tax money on teaching inner city kids to knit?" Wah wah wah. Little Shemecula is right back slinging the crack rock.
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#87 Jan 21 2014 at 12:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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Elinda wrote:
Smasharoo wrote:


I don't have a solution,
Crop rotation.

This year we aren't teaching grades 2 or 6. They'll be allowed to run wild on the playground all year and given a pamphlet entitled "Paper or plastic? Knowing your place in the world." This will allow those teachers a chance to recharge and we expect the better grades from next years' 2nd and 6th graders to more than compensate.
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#88 Jan 21 2014 at 12:33 PM Rating: Excellent
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This year we aren't teaching grades 2 or 6. They'll be allowed to run wild on the playground all year and given a pamphlet entitled "Paper or plastic? Knowing your place in the world." This will allow those teachers a chance to recharge and we expect the better grades from next years' 2nd and 6th graders to more than compensate.

There's a serious theory that skipping the middle school grades, say 6-8 in the US would be better for everyone. Children retain almost nothing they learn during that time, and could probably rub their junk against each other and inanimate objects without the framework of learning getting in the way. I'm in no way joking. Obviously, trying to sell that against "they should be learning things, what can we do to make pubescent 13 year olds want to study trigonometry" is a losing battle, but in terms of what might be most effective, it's an interesting case study.
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#89 Jan 21 2014 at 12:42 PM Rating: Good
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Smasharoo wrote:
This year we aren't teaching grades 2 or 6. They'll be allowed to run wild on the playground all year and given a pamphlet entitled "Paper or plastic? Knowing your place in the world." This will allow those teachers a chance to recharge and we expect the better grades from next years' 2nd and 6th graders to more than compensate.

There's a serious theory that skipping the middle school grades, say 6-8 in the US would be better for everyone. Children retain almost nothing they learn during that time, and could probably rub their junk against each other and inanimate objects without the framework of learning getting in the way. I'm in no way joking. Obviously, trying to sell that against "they should be learning things, what can we do to make pubescent 13 year olds want to study trigonometry" is a losing battle, but in terms of what might be most effective, it's an interesting case study.
Public standardized education should start as soon as the kid is potty trained and finish when they're ten or eleven. They can learn a crap ton of stuff in that time period. Then they take off the pre/pubescent years - or if they can have various forms of phys-ed for 3 years (<3 the monkey bars). Then begin specialized education around 14 or 15.

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#90 Jan 21 2014 at 12:46 PM Rating: Excellent
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Smasharoo wrote:
Obviously, trying to sell that against "they should be learning things, what can we do to make pubescent 13 year olds want to study trigonometry" is a losing battle, but in terms of what might be most effective, it's an interesting case study.
I'd buy it, assuming we can find something for them to do with that time of course. Most people aren't going to want a hormonally volatile individual sulking around the house all days of the week.

Elinda wrote:
Then begin specialized education around 14 or 15.
That's something else we could use some help with. "Kids working" isn't popular, but there's only so much they can learn outside the lab/factory/office/whatever.

Edited, Jan 21st 2014 10:49am by someproteinguy
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#91 Jan 21 2014 at 12:56 PM Rating: Good
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someproteinguy wrote:
Smasharoo wrote:
Obviously, trying to sell that against "they should be learning things, what can we do to make pubescent 13 year olds want to study trigonometry" is a losing battle, but in terms of what might be most effective, it's an interesting case study.
I'd buy it, assuming we can find something for them to do with that time of course. Most people aren't going to want a hormonally volatile individual sulking around the house all days of the week.
Set them out on the streets penniless and shoeless.

They'll learn.

Edited, Jan 21st 2014 7:57pm by Elinda
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#92 Jan 21 2014 at 1:07 PM Rating: Excellent
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Maybe they could receive some social training during those middle years. Hygiene, phys ed to burn off some of that energy, how to talk to each other, maybe some art and music classes.

Parents would never allow it, of course. Not competitive enough.
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#93 Jan 21 2014 at 1:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'm sure we could find a way to make it competitive enough. My kid has whiter teeth and more twitter followers, his art was hung in the center of the wall, while your kid's art was hung off to the side. We also spent $2,000 on his ultra high-definition 128 pack of crayola crayons.
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#94 Jan 21 2014 at 2:57 PM Rating: Excellent
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Samira wrote:
Parents would never allow it, of course. Not competitive enough.

Stick 'em in a forest with a stack of weapons and let 'em fight on TV.

That's my totally original and not at all derivative idea.
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#95 Jan 21 2014 at 3:00 PM Rating: Good
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Competitive yoga.

We can do this if we try hard enough.
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Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#96 Jan 21 2014 at 3:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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Apparently.
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#97 Jan 21 2014 at 5:13 PM Rating: Default
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smash wrote:
There's a serious theory that skipping the middle school grades, say 6-8 in the US would be better for everyone. Children retain almost nothing they learn during that time, and could probably rub their junk against each other and inanimate objects without the framework of learning getting in the way. I'm in no way joking. Obviously, trying to sell that against "they should be learning things, what can we do to make pubescent 13 year olds want to study trigonometry" is a losing battle, but in terms of what might be most effective, it's an interesting case study.


I actually learned and retained a lot through those years. Then again, I took advanced courses that covered more "new" material rather than recycling the same garbage from elementary school. I would support cutting out high school years before middle school years. I've actually done very minor research on math students in k-12 education and students tend to favor math in the elementary years, but fall off in the middle school years. There are several theories behind that, but the point being is that the middle school years are when students start their educational paths, e.g., science vs art.

What I've noticed personally is that students in high school are much less impressionable and have already decided whether or not they want to learn, pass and or fail. The ones that eagerly seek knowledge and seek higher learning take more challenging courses or courses in their vocational/technical area of interest. Although I fundamentally disagree with allowing students to drop out of school, if I had to pick a group of students, it would be the high school students that are just there because its law. I would allow them to transition out of the system, freeing up resources for the students who do want to learn.

Edited, Jan 22nd 2014 1:14am by Almalieque
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#98 Jan 21 2014 at 6:19 PM Rating: Decent
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I actually learned and retained a lot through those years. Then again, I took advanced courses that covered more "new" material rather than recycling the same garbage from elementary school.

Assume I made some sort of joke about black people reaching sexual maturity faster or something in this space, or alternately, a valid argument about your anecdote not weighing heavily in the aggregate data. I learned a lot during that time, as well, but I'm a fucking genius and deriving education policy from my personal experience would likely not scale well when applied to people with the misfortune to not be me.
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#99 Jan 21 2014 at 6:36 PM Rating: Good
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I remember two things from middle school, aside from general ennui and learning to read music. 1. That moment in 7th grade algebra when multiplication of fractions finally clicked. That was almost a spiritual moment, and one never repeated in mathematics again until 12th grade calculus when I learned that the derivative of both sin and cos are 1. 2. "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both..."

****, even the class I enjoyed in 8th grade, literature, only avoided being a waste of time because the teacher just let me go to the library and write once a week while my peers struggled through SRA reading kits. (Oh hey, those things are on iPads now. Neat.)
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I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#100 Jan 21 2014 at 6:45 PM Rating: Default
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Jophiel wrote:
Haha... way to totally miss the point.


Um... You get that it's kinda not possible for me to miss the point about my own argument. It's possible for *you* to do so by thinking that I measure "big/small" government in a way that isn't actually true. But if I tell you "this is why school vouchers doesn't violate my small government ideology" no amount of you insisting that it does/should is going to be true.

I do find it really interesting how consistently liberals attempt to argue that they know better what conservative positions should be than conservatives. Which is just plain bizarre.
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#101 Jan 21 2014 at 6:49 PM Rating: Decent
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Um... You get that it's kinda not possible for me to miss the point about my own argument.


Certainly not twice.

Edited, Jan 21st 2014 7:49pm by Smasharoo
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