commented on At the End of Your Ballot, Vote Betty Patu!
I don't vote for candidates running uncontested. Let them vote for themselves.
Over the past four years there have been very few - okay none - examples of bad-assery from Betty Patu on the Board. Seriously, can anyone name anything she has done that stands out? She abstained in voting so many times in her first year that the Board had to adopt a rule to restrict the use of abstentions. She often asks questions that are answered in the distributed materials that she obviously didn't read. She is the Board member who has been the worst offender when it comes to "micro-management". Although there are no names named in the Board self-evaluation, Director Patu is the one who violated the communications protocol the most and, at Board retreats, has asserted her intention to continue to do so.
Director Patu has not delivered the bad-assery. She hasn't even performed particularly well as a Board director. But, sure, go ahead and vote for her if your OCD requires you to vote in every race.
commented on Slog Bible Study: Genesis 9:20-25
At this time Ham, Shem, and Japeth were the only three men in the world (according to the myth). They gelded their father so there would be no further competition and they wouldn't have to divide the world four ways or five ways. Stop Noah now and they each inherit a third of the world.
When they divide the world three ways it seems natural that they should each take a continent - Europe, Asia, or Africa. From Mount Ararat in Turkey this is the logical division. It makes a good myth for the origins of three races - European, (White), Asian (Semetic), and African (Black).
commented on You Probably Can't Even Read This Headline, Can You?
Sorry to break the chain, but here's a calm, reasonable answer:
Our public education system, nationwide, does a good job of educating students who come to school prepared, supported, and motivated. It always has. That same education system, however, does a poor job of educating students who arrive un-prepared, un-supported, or un-motivated. It always has. Is this a crisis? It is for the students who are not getting an education, but there hasn't been any real change in the system or its efficacy.
What has changed are the economic prospects for those without an advanced education. It used to be that a person could readily get a family wage job in the manufacturing sector without a college degree. That's no longer the case.
There are a couple possible solutions. One would be to find a way to provide students with preparation, support, and motivation if they aren't getting these from home. This takes the form of universal pre-school, free lunch programs, before- and after-school tutoring, and such. We could also significantly increase the public support for post-secondary education. These efforts have been underfunded and are strongly resented and opposed by social conservatives. These efforts could be expanded and extended. More focus could be placed on teachers and school staff as motivators rather than dispensers of knowledge.
Alternatively we could re-design our education system so that preparation, support, and motivation are not pre-requisites for success. That's a much bigger job and much less likely, so we should really focus on the first.
As for charter schools, they are a sideshow. There is nothing that charter schools can do for students that public schools cannot do. The problem is that public schools sometimes don't do what they can (and in some cases should) do.
commented on Why Aren't There More Female Animated Characters?
A Certain Scientific Railgun
Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040
El Cazador de la Bruja
Okami-san and Her Seven Companions
Bodacious Space Pirates
My Ordinary Life
And this is hardly a comprehensive list.
commented on Why Aren't There More Female Animated Characters?
It's not just Miyazaki. Nearly all Japanese animation, even the stuff with lots of "fan service", is about relationships between the characters - including relationships between the female characters which have nothing to do with the male characters.
Get outside the Disney bubble. Break away from the toy sales cartoons. They are all too simple and teach poor lessons to boys as well as girls. They show a world in which the good guys are all good, the bad guys are all bad, and violence solves everything.
There's no excuse anymore. The internet brings all of this to us as easily as the American produced crap. A lot of it is available with an English audio track and almost all of it is available with English subtitles.
I can suggest any number of movies or shows that feature multiple female characters who have a lot more on their minds than the male characters.
commented on The GET Program: Yet Another Example of How the Serious People Are Stupid (or Lying)
GET was and is a tuition pre-payment plan. It was never intended as an investment but as a convenience and as protection against inflation. No one ever expected the tuition inflation we have seen over the past ten years. That tuition inflation is directly attributable to the loss of support from the state. The cost of the education hasn't risen dramatically, but the share of that cost on the student has shot up. Due entirely to the decisions by the state legislature, the inflation hedge proved more valuable than anyone would have guessed.
I'll say it one more time: GET is not an investment; it is an inflation hedge.
Wall Street doesn't sell it, but the money collected as people pay into the plan is invested by the state and Wall Street gets paid on that. There is very little money of any notable size in this country that doesn't flow through Wall Street either directly or indirectly.
I would be surprised by any public document anywhere or from any time that specifically identifies an economic class of people as the target market for GET. The tax advantages of the plan are really only valuable to the wealthy. But the limitations on contributions preclude them from taking much advantage of those tax advantages. The easy payment plans are helpful to middle class families. It's tricky to design a savings plan for the poor because it is so hard for the poor to save.
The fix for GET has to come from the source of the trouble for GET: state funding of higher education. If the state will foot their share of the bill, then the tuition will stabilize and GET will be fiscally sound.