# I Give You All I’ve Got to Give, Rings and Pearls and All

Here’s a depressing read about the absolute fucking disaster that is Louisiana:

Initially, Jindal had been able to cut taxes because Louisiana was buoyed by billions in federal money, an influx to help with the recovery from Hurricane Katrina, in 2005. But as that money ran dry, Jindal said he would veto any bills that would push taxes back up to where they had been. Instead, to plug budget gaps, Jindal relied not just on cuts, but also on controversial, one-off fundraising methods. The state sold off assets, including parking lots and farmland. It cleaned out money from hundreds of trust funds — among them, one intended to build reefs for marine wildlife. It pieced together money from legal settlements.

***

The math, now, is daunting: For the fiscal year ending June 30, Louisiana is facing a $940 million deficit, roughly one-eighth of what the state typically doles out from its general fund in a year. For 2016-17, which begins July 1, the gap is$2 billion.

“This was years of mismanagement by a governor who was more concerned about satisfying a national audience in a presidential race,” said Jay Dardenne (R), the lieutenant governor under Jindal who is now the state’s commissioner of administration. Dardenne said Jindal had helped the state put off its day of reckoning in a way that mirrored a “Ponzi scheme.”

Dardenne was elected separately from Jindal and said he wasn’t “part of his inner circle.”

Jindal suspended his presidential campaign in November, saying he couldn’t stand out in a “crazy, unpredictable election season.”

On Jindal’s watch, nearly every agency in Louisiana shed employees, and state lawmakers say some teetered because of the losses. The Department of Children & Family Services shrank to 3,400 employees, from 5,000 in 2008, and social workers began carrying caseloads above national standards. The state also cut funding for youth services and mental health treatment.

“When you cut those programs, it doesn’t change the need for people to get those services,” said Walt Leger (D), a state representative. “It just means you’re no longer providing them. Those folks end up in jail or wandering the street, not being treated for mental health issues, and all of those things have a huge societal cost.”

In recent days, lawmakers have zeroed in on a plan that would somewhat narrow the deficit for the rest of this fiscal year but barely make a dent in the $2 billion gap for next year. Lawmakers would raise sales and cigarette taxes while dipping further into a rainy day fund. They would also use settlement funds from BP, the company responsible for a 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Still, massive cuts would still be required for hospitals and universities. The same thing, of course, has happened in the other state where the conservative ideal for fiscal governance has been implemented, and it’s a god damned train wreck, too: Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s aggressive tax cuts have come back to haunt him. In the latest move to make up for a massive state deficit caused by his economic policy, Brownback plans to cut nearly$45 million in funding for public schools and higher education in his state by March.

Brownback shared his plans for the current budget cycle on Thursday ahead of a Senate vote on a bill aimed at eradicating a $344 million deficit projected for the end of June. More than half of the money would be taken from funding for K-12 schools, and take place as soon as March 7, The Associated Press reported. The cut would also affect Kansas colleges and universities. Top Republicans said lawmakers need to agree on a solution to fix the budget by Feb. 13 to make sure the state pays its bills on time through the summer months. Brownback spent his first term slashing taxes for the rich, promising it would lead to boom times for everyone else. Brownback’s “real live experiment” was supposed to lift Kansas out of the recession and into economic prosperity. The tax breaks instead led to debt downgrades, weak growth, and left the state finances in shambles. The Republican-led legislature in his state previously celebrated his massive tax cuts, but his action landed the state’s budget in shambles when it didn’t boost the economy like he’d hoped. In his State of the State address last month to kick off his second term, Brownback announced that he would pursue tax increases, reversing his past policy. Republicans are also calling for higher taxes on cigarettes and liquor as part of the annual budget. My own state has a budget hole that the legislature is going to blow open worse next year as they expand tax cuts for energy producers, and up north in Pennslyvania, Gov. Wolf is trying to clean up Corbett’s mess but Republicans are having a god damned siezure over raising the personal income tax from 3.07 percent to 3.4 percent. You read that right. from .0307 to .034. Meaning for every hundred dollars of taxable income, your income tax rises from$3.07 to $3.40. For the median income in PA, that is basically 150 bucks a year. So while we are all freaking out about the Drumpf the Insult Comic Hairpiece talking about his dick- and don’t get me wrong, he’s a fucking head case and a fascist, it’s worth remembering that the sane Republicans are batshit fucking insane. The sane Republicans don’t even pass the Jon Rogers legendary 2004 “I miss Republicans” test. How about someone in the media point that shit out? How many more times are we going to have to go test these failed policies that hurt people and the nation before we stop? As Charlie Pierce has quipped, “the thing about lab rats is that most of them die.” 163 replies 1. 1 Felanius Kootea says: Everyone forgets how California was declared a basket-case when the governator reigned, with mandatory work furloughs for state employees, including some of my colleagues in the UC system, a massive budget deficit, workers issued IOU’s and the conservative media plus the New York Times crowing about “liberal” California’s fiscal woes. We elected a Democrat, some of the richest counties voted to increase their taxes, and, most importantly, we got a non-partisan committee to redraw districts, ending gerrymandering. Now we have a budget surplus and things are improving but no one seems interested in applying what worked for California to states with Republican governors and legislatures who have an even worse track record than Arnold and the Republinuts in the California legislature. The news media doesn’t even bother to make the connection. I wonder why. 2. 2 Baud says: The Dem nominee is the only thing stopping this from going national next year. 3. 3 @Baud: True and may I add that Bobby Jindal is a disgrace. 4. 4 Hunter Gathers says: How many more times are we going to have to go test these failed policies that hurt people and the nation before we stop? The beatings will continue until Obama sends out millions of hand written letters to White America apologizing for his Unforgivable Blackness. 5. 5 Yutsano says: This is the culmination of what Republicans always say. You can’t trust government, so cut it until it turns to bone, then cut more. Then people can’t get shit and blame…the government and demand even more cuts. It’s a vicious cycle and it all starts with the Republican belief that private sector always trumps ebil gubmint. How quickly the people forget we tried that once before the 1930s. And folks died. Old folks starved. The private sector has no interest other than what makes its shareholders money. Taxes make us all shareholders in the government, but that has all been forgotten. 6. 6 Baud says: He started out his political life as a policy wonk and somehow became some kind of religious nut. 7. 7 Baud says: The post doesn’t even mention Rick Snyder, who Rachel just eviscerated a few minutes ago. 8. 8 mclaren says: Obligatory cartoon that applies in all these cases. It goes way, way, wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy back to 1981, folks. 9. 9 Felanius Kootea says: @Yutsano: Yup! I think the Dems should make a forceful case that there’s a disturbing pattern in states that Republicans run. Not sure it will make a difference but some voters might finally get it if it’s repeated often enough, especially by presidential candidates. 10. 10 GregB says: No one could have predicted that Grover Norquist’s bath water would be poisoned with lead. 11. 11 benw says: @Baud: dude! I’m trying to relax, here! 12. 12 Mnemosyne says: You beat me to it. Apparently everyone in the MSM “knows” that California is a mess, so no one actually bothered to check the facts. 13. 13 dp says: Thanks for the reminder, Cole. The bad part is that the Republicans in the house of representatives have chosen this particular moment to assert their “independence” of the Democratic governor for the first time in forever. Predictably, they are doing everything they can to perpetuate the Jindal fiscal fantasies, primarily by standing as a firewall to protect big business and industry — who, at best, pay no taxes to the state of Louisiana, and at worst, get refunded tax credits from the state (Louisiana’s net corporate tax collections YTD are -$200,000,000) — from paying any taxes. The big increase they agreed to, a penny sales tax to keep higher education and hospitals from closing next month, specifically exempted oil and gas and manufacturing industries from its effect.

We have a great new governor. Our legislature needs a helluva lot of work.

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dp says:

@Yutsano: Republicans: People who run on a platform that government doesn’t work, and when elected, set out to prove it.

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cmorenc says:

@Baud: True and may I add that Bobby Jindal is a disgrace.

So much for the value of Ivy-league degrees and Rhodes scholarships. Jindal graduated from Brown University with honors in biology and public policy, and applied and was admitted to both Harvard Medical School and Yale Law school, but bypassed both to study at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Cruz is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School.

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mclaren says:

Excellent point. You can sort of understand why the lessons of the Great Depression and Hoover’s treasury secretary’s bad advice to “liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate farmers, liquidate real estate” have been forgotten. The people who lived through that chaos are dead now.

But there’s no excuse for ignoring the California turnaround. That didn’t happen 80 years ago, it happened in 2014. That’s not ancient history.

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@Felanius Kootea:
You missed the point where we changed the rules to let a simple majority pass the budget, so that the not quite 2/3 majority of Democrats in the legislature no longer had to bargain with the least crazy Republicans to get a budget passed. It’s amazing how much better government runs when it’s in the hands of people who want it to succeed.

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redshirt says:

John Cole knows Friday night.

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I’m just venal enough to wish that Jindal were still in the race now. Love to see things get a national primetime hearing in a debate.

Of course, the ghost of Scott Walker is another case study.

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Zinsky says:

I commented on this article on the Washington Post website, and it went something like this: Republicans aren’t interested in responsible governance. Not. One. Giving tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations is not responsible governance. The rich and corporations are doing just fine and don’t need another tax cut. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimate that we need to spend $3.75 TRILLION in the next five years to rejuvenate our worn-out roads, bridges, water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants, electrical grid, etc. These Republican assholes dont want to spend one penny of our tax dollars on these things. They only want to spend it on bullets and bombs to slaughter brown-skinned Muslim people. That is the very definition of irresponsible governance. (By the way, Cole, love the reference to the lyric from How Many More Times by Led Zeppelin in the thread name…) 22. 22 NotMax says: @Baud Maddow had very good segments on both Kansas and Louisiana a couple of days ago, too. Worth seeking out, even with her increasingly annoying habit of repeating a thought ad infinitum. 23. 23 J R in WV says: I’m just stunned by the habit Republicans have of re-electing guys who are tearing up the place with fail! GW Bush, Brownback, Jindal, Walker, That guy in Ohio, John Kasich, there are others. They fail, they get re-elected, they fail some more. Seems like something is bad broken in those folks’ heads. And, John, you might mention that the fiscal problems in WV are because of the first Republican legislature elected since 1932 or so. Price havoc in the energy sector didn’t help, but the Rs didn’t need much help! First thing they wanted to do was a bunch of BS invented by ALEC!! 24. 24 Petorado says: I can’t believe that after all the Trump “hand size” issues that no one has posted this video. Therefore I call upon Monty Python to unleash the Biggus Dickus. Sorry, needed to be done. 25. 25 Ruckus says: This concept of a rational republican is BS. It’s not that they don’t exist but that they exist in such small numbers. Reagan didn’t win because he was such a great actor/speaker, it’s because that’s how republicans feel and have for decades. Joe McCarthy was not stopped until he went way, way too far. That’s because what he was saying was accepted by republicans. And Joe would fit in with today’s republicans. Brownback/Walker/Jindal all got reelected, the people liked what they were doing. They were wrong of course but that’s of little help now. Drumpf is popular because a lot of people like what he’s saying. It isn’t out of the mainstream, it’s a good portion of it. Even on our side we have people who want to shut down whole segments of the population for a magic pony, single payer. They don’t even understand that magic is an illusion. 26. 26 Felanius Kootea says: @Roger Moore: Can’t believe I forgot one of the most important points. 27. 27 NotMax says: Don’t recognize what the title references, if indeed it does that. Otherwise, find it surprising that Mr. Cole has pearls at all, much less enough to give away. Maybe it’s a WV affectation. 28. 28 Adam L Silverman says: @Baud: He was a religious nut from the time he found Jesus and abandoned his families Hinduism in high school. He was never a real policy wonk. It was always smoke and mirrors. He learned the language, but never anything substantive. So to elected and appointed conservative officials he sounded like he knew what he was talking about, but he didn’t. I see this all the time. Graduates of the masters in public policy or some other policy program. They think at 24 or 25 they’re policy professionals, when, in reality, they are really trained to begin work at the lowest levels of the strategic and policy worlds. Unfortunately some of them know well connected or highly placed people and get an early head start. Usually the results are terrible, but they wind up failing up because of their connections. 29. 29 mclaren says: @Zinsky: The American Society of Civil Engineers estimate that we need to spend$3.75 TRILLION in the next five years to rejuvenate our worn-out roads, bridges, water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants, electrical grid, etc.

And if we slashed the bloated scam-riddled U.S. military budget by 50%, we could afford that in 4 years. No deficit. Straight cash. Pay-as-you-go. Every last bridge and sewage plant in America up to spec.

Meanwhile, Cole posts pics of his former army unit.

Do we sense a certain connection here…?

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NotMax says:

The Peter Principle is all too real.

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Ruckus says:

@NotMax:
I think that many people have been conditioned to ignore that little voice in the back of their minds that says WTF are you on about. That’s what allows people of little brains and less talent to aspire to greatness, when they would be better suited to being the cart boy at a supermarket. And that’s not intended to denigrate cart boys (and girls!) but to point out that we have a few governors that are not in any way qualified to hold the job. Similar to those running for president on the conservative side.

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@cmorenc: So here’s the dirty little secret of post-graduate (what we call graduate) education in Great Britain. The two traditional post-graduate degrees are the Master’s of Philosophy/MPhil or Master’s of Science/MSC and the Doctor of Philosophy/PhD/DPhil (Oxford and Cambridge use the latter). None of these degrees, none of them, require any course work at all. You get a research advisor, pick a topic, check in a couple of times a year, and at the end of 18-24 months for the MPhil or MSC and 36 months for the PhD/DPhil you turn in either your dissertation (master’s level) or thesis (doctoral level), defend it, and you’re done. Beginning in the early 90s some British universities began adding taught master’s programs, or redoing them/reemphasizing them. Originally they were called MPhil Mode B, but often renamed to Master’s of Letters/MLitt. They require three courses and a master’s dissertation.

Oh, and it gets better: if you’re at Oxford or Cambridge and you’ve got a bachelor’s degree – if you wait a certain amount of time and pay the fee for it, they will convert your Bachelor of Arts/BA or Bachelor of Science/BSC into a doctorate. This is why it is often very hard for anyone with a doctorate from a British university, even Oxford or Cambridge, to get a decent faculty job in the US. Often you have to start at whatever school will employ you, establish yourself with a really good publication record, and then you can get picked up at a decent university.

Odds that Jindal learned anything at Oxford are slim and none. And for full disclosure: I have a masters from a British university. It comes without grades or credits or even a transcript. When I got back to the US I had to do a second masters! Did I learn a lot? Yes, but mostly about how not to be a researcher, analyst, teacher, and/or scholar. Did I love living over there and had a lot of great experiences? Definitely. The latter made it worth it, especially as I was on a fellowship equivalent to a Rhodes Scholarship. But ultimately it put me three years behind.

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Jon Rogers legendary 2004 “I miss Republicans” test.

Poor Jon Rogers. Those serious men with their pipes got us into this mess, by cultivating a pose of ‘mature and responsible’ to cover proposals that were based on hate, partly race hate and partly a generalized ‘only hurting people helps’ abusive mindset. The only difference is that that Reagan’s mask slips further each year.

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mclaren says:

@Ruckus:

The problem with that analysis is that what people think makes someone qualified is usually bullshit.

Here’s an interesting paper:

“The Peter Principle Revisited: A Computational Study”

In the late sixties the Canadian psychologist Laurence J. Peter advanced an apparently paradoxical principle, named since then after him, which can be summarized as follows: {\it ‘Every new member in a hierarchical organization climbs the hierarchy until he/she reaches his/her level of maximum incompetence’}. Despite its apparent unreasonableness, such a principle would realistically act in any organization where the mechanism of promotion rewards the best members and where the mechanism at their new level in the hierarchical structure does not depend on the competence they had at the previous level, usually because the tasks of the levels are very different to each other. Here we show, by means of agent based simulations, that if the latter two features actually hold in a given model of an organization with a hierarchical structure, then not only is the Peter principle unavoidable, but also it yields in turn a significant reduction of the global efficiency of the organization. Within a game theory-like approach, we explore different promotion strategies and we find, counterintuitively, that in order to avoid such an effect the best ways for improving the efficiency of a given organization are either to promote each time an agent at random or to promote randomly the best and the worst members in terms of competence.

Source: the arxiv.

Summary here:

Last month, three Italian researchers were awarded an Ig Nobel prize for demonstrating mathematically that organisations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random. But their research was neither the beginning nor the end of the story of how bureaucracies try – and fail – to find a good promotion method.

Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda and Cesare Garofalo, of the University of Catania, Sicily, calculated how a pick-at-random promotion scheme compares with other, more enshrined methods. They gave details in the journal Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and Its Applications.

The three based their work on the Peter Principle – the notion that many people are promoted, sooner or later, to positions that exceed their competence. They cite the works of other researchers who had taken tentative steps in the same direction, but they fail to mention an unintentionally daring 2001 study by Steven E Phelan and Zhiang Lin at the University of Texas at Dallas, published in the journal Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory.

Phelan and Lin aimed to see whether, over the long haul, it pays best to promote people on supposed merit (we try, one way or another, to measure how good you are), or on an “up or out” basis (either you get promoted quickly or you get the boot), or by seniority (live long and by that measure alone you will prosper). As a benchmark, a this-is-as-bad-as-it-could-possibly-get alternative, they also looked at what happens when you promote people at random. They got a surprise: random promotion, they admitted, performed better than almost every alternative. Phelan and Lin seemed (at least in my reading of their 25-page-long paper) almost shocked by what they found.

Source: “Random promotion may be best, research suggests,” The Guardian, 1 November 2010.

Bottom line?

Humans think we know what makes people qualified to do a job. We don’t. Random promotion works best. Mathematics proves it, real-world surveys confirm it.

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Technocrat says:

I’m so proud of PA that we finally put a Dem back in the Governor’s office. Now if we can just correct the drunken blackout vote that was Pat Toomey.

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@NotMax: Unfortunately. Its how we eventually got Secretary Rice. Its how you got the Heritage Foundation interns in Iraq in Summer 2003 trying to set up an Iraqi stock exchange (to trade rubble futures, perhaps, because there wasn’t anything else worth trading) and getting people killed. Its how we got Meghan O’Sullivan, retired from government service as a National Security Council (NSC) section director by her mid 30s. She started as a staffer with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. When everyone in her section more senior than her decided that the money wasn’t worth it and left, she became section head/director. When the guy she reported to went home and was made an NSC section director he brought her along with him. When he retired she took over for him as section director.

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Mike in NC says:

Jindal, Cruz, Bush and a hundred other wingnuts only demonstrate that an Ivy League education only proves that what counts is who you know, not what you know or do. Scum.

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p.a. says:

As bad as these conservative dystopia states are, they’re being insulated from even worse conditions because the Federal executive is controlled by a political party consisting of mature adults who have an actual understanding of which end is up.

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PsiFighter37 says:

I give absolutely zero fucks. Louisiana gets what it deserves, same as Kansas. If too many people were brain-dead to figure this out the first time around, tough luck.

I wish John Bel Edwards good luck in trying to fix a total shitshow (the state GOP won’t cooperate with him either – so they don’t just hate black Democrats), but he’s got a thankless job. And if he cleans it up, idiot voters in the Bayou State will just elect another Republican to tank things.

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pseudonymous in nc says:

Jindal and Arseback are probably the object lessons in how when wingnuts are given free rein to enact wingnut economic policies, turns out they fucking empty out the state coffers. And yet the way that is received is an object lesson in how wingnuttia is a cult mentality, whereby the failure of the prophecy of profit is treated as a punishment for insufficient devotion. Clearly there were not enough tax cuts on jerb creeatin bilynairs.

In a way — and I hate saying this — Drumpf is slapping about the Club for Growth model of Republican economics, mainly because he’s talking about a state-funded infrastructure programme straight out of yer 1930s totalitarian state.

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Elie says:

My state of WA is similarly affected by a Republican legislature with a Democratic governor. Illinois is in turmoil with their Republican governor and Democratic legislature. Is all over and we Democrats have to rethink our national strategy and messaging. Enough!

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Mike in NC says:

@Adam L Silverman: The morons selected to staff Paul Bremer’s CPA in Baghdad were recruited largely from Liberty University graduates and were chosen mainly not on their ability to speak Arabic, but on their opposition to abortion. What could possibly have gone wrong there?

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Omnes Omnibus says:

@PsiFighter37: What about the decent people who live in the state? The AA population and the odd white dude who gets it? Fuck them too?

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Elie says:

We have gotta figure out a way to help the states man! Does no good at all to say the folks deserve it!!!! How can we turn the tide?? Pleez — lets stop with just saying they deserve it… we NEED to come up with a response to this situation that helps to turn it around…

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p.a. says:

@mclaren:

They got a surprise: random promotion, they admitted, performed better than almost every alternative. Phelan and Lin seemed (at least in my reading of their 25-page-long paper) almost shocked by what they found.

Sortition

In governance, sortition (also known as allotment or demarchy) is the process of selecting officers as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates.[1]

In ancient Athenian democracy, sortition was the traditional and primary method for appointing political officials and its use was regarded as a principal characteristic of democracy.[2]

Sortition is commonly used to select prospective jurors in common law-based legal systems and is sometimes used today in forming citizen groups with political advisory power (citizens’ juries or citizens’ assemblies).[3]

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mclaren says:

By that logic we should give up on the United States because its population elected George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan twice.

No, we’re all in this together. We need to help each other out. Also: it’s never too late to fix things.

There’s nobody else here, and this is not a rehearsal.

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@Mike in NC: I am aware. I had a student when I was a postdoc at UF who applied for one of the CPA jobs. One of my bosses, a retired ambassador who was a dean at UF at that time, both gave him pointers for his interview. He came back from the interview and was almost in tears telling us that instead of them asking about what he knew about the Middle East or international security from his coursework at UF, they asked him who he voted for in the 2000 election and if he was pro-life. Needless to say he did not get a position.

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mclaren says:

Legend has it that the Bush administration killed the Deep Space Climate Observatory because it would have shown that the earth is older than 6,028 years.

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Earl says:

good bet they’re voting at the same participation rates as everyone else. If they can’t get off their asses once every other bloody year, then eh…

I’ve got a divorced sister with two kids who lives in WI and works for the dmv who voted for walker and was stunned at what he did. We didn’t speak for nearly six months because I told her she was an idiot, he did exactly what he was always going to do (and what I said he would do), and did she think it just wasn’t going to happen to her because she’s a special snowflake?

Some people can’t learn any other way.

Oh, and I’m a dirty fucking hippy until she needs a loan (really a gift most of the time), and then my dirty hippy money works just fine. There was some discussion over that too…

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@mclaren: That one I don’t know about, but it would seem to fit. Though my understanding from some of the tell alls of the people who set up the Office of Faith Based Initiatives was that the Bush 43 Administration was really all hat and no cattle when it came to really taking religion and religious beliefs seriously. That AG Ashcroft and his people, and SecDef Rumsfeld and his, and VP Cheney and his would exploit the President’s personal religious beliefs to manipulate him into making decisions that they wanted to happen, but that the Bush 43 White House was largely playing lip service to the religious conservative block that had been some of their most fervent supporters.

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pseudonymous in nc says:

if you’re at Oxford or Cambridge and you’ve got a bachelor’s degree – if you wait a certain amount of time and pay the fee for it, they will convert your Bachelor of Arts/BA or Bachelor of Science/BSC into a doctorate.

Noooo, you’re wrong wrong fucking wrong. They convert your BA into an MA, because historically the universities awarded MAs after seven years and the BA is just for whatevs. The fee (when I paid it) is ten British pounds, and every fucker knows that an Oxford or Cambridge MA is just a BA who got an upgrade from a dead rodent-trim gown to something a bit fancier.

The problem with going from an Oxbridge DPhil / PhD to academia in the USA that yes indeed there is no coursework or teaching requirement, so you are not bringing any experience of the fuckwitted backbreaking Kafkaesque bureaucratic spadework that American academia mostly entails, and only have a groundbreaking lump of research to your name. Chuntering about “no transcripts” is just silly, because it presumes that the US model of tertiary education is normative when it ain’t. Tant pis.

But this has nothing to do with most Rhodes Scholars who do MPhils (two years) or MStuds (one) or sometimes if you’re really quite smart, the BCL, all of which are indeed taught courses with a thesis component.

signed, pseudonymous in nc, MA MPhil DPhil (Oxon).

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dp says:

@PsiFighter37: Yes, it’s a pattern going back to the Roaring 20’s — Republicans are elected in good times, totally screw the pooch, Democrats come in and clean up the mess, only to be shown the door once good times are back.

Louisiana’s legislature (and more specifically the house), have simply refused to recognize reality. I guess that works to an extent when you’re Karl Rove, but not so much in Baton Rouge.

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qwerty42 says:

I think the nuts in the GA lege are having second thoughts about their crazy tax schemes. The examples of Kansas and Louisiana are a bit too close. But I’m always ready to be surprised.

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🚸 Martin says:

So while we are all freaking out about the Drumpf the Insult Comic Republican talking about his dick- and don’t get me wrong, he’s a fucking head case and a fascist, it’s worth remembering that the sane Republicans are batshit fucking insane. The sane Republicans don’t even pass the Jon Rogers legendary 2004 “I miss Republicans” test.

Why do you think Trump is getting support? Conservative voters didn’t care about those tax cuts, conservative donors did. Conservative voters got fucked and Jeb and the rest of the GOP establishment are now paying for that. Would Trump be better? Probably not, but he’ll at least burn down the party that failed them. Maybe in the ashes is something that will serve them better – at least that’s where they’re coming from. It’s a shitty plan, but it’s better than nothing, I guess. I don’t even think they particularly care if they lose the election.

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patrick II says:

I thiink Brownback and Kasich are true believers. But I don’t think that about Walker, Christie and Jindal. Ambition and a shot at the presidency caused them to screw over their states. The narcissism level is unbelievable.

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Omnes Omnibus says:

@pseudonymous in nc: I have had someone (with an NYU PhD) described the US PhD process to me as an apprenticeship in university education.

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Omnes Omnibus says:

@patrick II: Walker is a true believer.

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Steeplejack says:

@Zinsky:

Giving tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations is not responsible governance.

Plus, when the Republicans crater their state’s economy and are forced to raise revenue somewhere, they always go for sales taxes or “sin” taxes that disproportionately hit the poor and don’t touch big business at all. The 0.1-percenters still don’t pay!

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@pseudonymous in nc: Since you went through the Oxbridge system, I’ll stand corrected as I was at St. Andrews. I will say that that’s what everyone I know from Great Britain said about how the process worked – that by paying the fee you could go from BA/BSC to doctorate. Regardless, it is what it is.

As for American graduate education, it is a different system. The issues about transcripts and grades and credits is important if one is trying to bring their degree either back over here to the US or come to the US with it from Great Britain. I remember when I applied to UF. I sent the letter from St. A’s delineating my degree and indicating no grades, credits, and that the letter wasn’t a transcript and official transcripts from where I’d done my MA in religion (FIU in Miami). One of the assistant registrars actually called me and asked what I expected them to do with the stuff from St. A’s? I told them I sent it to simply account for and verify the time that I was there and that I wanted them to transfer my 36 credits from my MA from FIU. They said the latter was no problem and they understood on the former. So I basically have a degree I can’t use. Because no one over here recognizes it. It is what it is.

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piratedan says:

well you have to admit, the GOP does a great job of punching down and telling many of those on the lowest rungs of the ladder that the reason that they can’t continue to climb is because of those below them, never mind that they’re lifting the ladder out of the pit ahead of you, they’re assuring you that they’ll come back for you, as soon as you can dissuade those below you to stop climbing or even approach the ladder, it’s those folks that are the problem, never mind that there’s nary a ladder to be seen now.

Meanwhile Democrats are busy explaining to people if they could just build a giant wooden badger and a catapult, everything would be awesome, never mind the wood, the rope and the gears and levers, could they stop staring up out of the pit and listen for just a moment…..

or so it seems at times….

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🚸 Martin says:

they always go for sales taxes

When you are $2B in the hole in a state with an$8B budget, you aren’t going to get there with sales taxes. Too bad they can’t force the RNC to pay back the state of Louisiana for their failed experiment.

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pseudonymous in nc says:

Now, if you’re asking “what do Rhodes Scholars learn?”, I can say from knowing a few of them that it really depends on what they’re intent upon learning and how they’re intent upon spending their time. Nobody thinks Rachel Maddow pissed away her time there, though she took full advantage of the chance to spend her time there in London rather than Oxford; her DPhil on HIV/AIDS treatment in US and UK prisons is serious work.

(fwiw, I think I was at a party with Cory Booker once.)

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Oldgold says:

Has anyone attempted to verify former President Kasich’s story of Ohio’s miraculous economic renaissance under his watch?

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BBA says:

I would actually like one of these states to get to the end state – zero revenue, zero expenditures, zero assets, default on remaining liabilities. Because until they get to “Snow Crash” they’re never going to stop trying, and assume the previous policies failed because they didn’t cut enough.

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kc says:

When are people gonna stop electing these charlatans?

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BillinGlendaleCA says:

@Felanius Kootea: California was so bad off when the Governator was in charge it was compared to Greece! The state would have to go bankrupt and have the Feds bail it out along with the Banksters and GM.

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jl says:

@piratedan: That is where the racism and xenophobia come in. The GOP would have a much harder time conning their dupes if they could not blame all those other bad people for soaking up the government gravy and taking good white jobs. And also blaming the weak and pathetic Democratic losers for using government to shovel good white money and jobs away.

That is one reason the GOP establishment hates Trump so. He is too rude crude and too open about how he blames these other people. And he is blowing up big holes in other parts of the GOP economic con. If their white rubes can keep their social insurance, and a GOPer is talking about government building programs to make jobs, it will be harder for the next GOPers, behind the scenes, to make life a litter harder for people and keep the riled up enough to fall easily for the bigotry BS. The GOP will keep only the hard core open racists, and not enough of them around any more to win many elections.

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🚸 Martin says:

@BillinGlendaleCA: California’s problem wasn’t really Arnold (though he didn’t help). The real problem was the ⅔ majority needed to pass a budget and the ability of the GOP to completely block everything they didn’t like.

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Omnes Omnibus says:

@Adam L Silverman: Odd. I find people calling my JD not a real doctorate because it was a taught degree. Now you call a pure research degree not real because it has no coursework? What is the Goldilocks amount?

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Mike in NC says:

Under GOP Governor Pat McCrory, North Carolina has enjoyed a similar experience as Kansas. It remains to be seen if we can overcome the Tea Party electorate of elderly racist white people.

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pseudonymous in nc says:

They said the latter was no problem and they understood on the former. So I basically have a degree I can’t use. Because no one over here recognizes it. It is what it is.

No, I totally understand where you’re coming from. In hindsight, if I’d wanted to have a proper academic career in the US I’d have been better off applying for a Kennedy scholarship straight after my undergraduate degree, which would have got me onto the American graduate conveyor belt towards tenure-track stuff. But I never intended to live in the US until I was done with my doctorate (reader, I married her) so the die was cast.

(David Lodge was right to say that UK graduate degrees, at least at Oxbridge, are a chance for those who made it that far to relax because they worked their arses off to get to that point, whereas in the US, graduate school is finally represents a chance to stretch yourself and test yourself in a way that often wasn’t possible at the undergraduate level. It’s where things level out.)

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🚸 Martin says:

@kc:

When are people gonna stop electing these charlatans?

It would be helpful if we didn’t have a binary system with only two parties to choose from. It would at least provide a better relief valve for when someone goes completely off the plot.

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Tyro says:

@Adam L Silverman: This is spot on. Jindal’s intellectual growth stopped cold once he got out of school and started getting showered with choice government appointments at a young age. In truth he was only read to START learning about policy. But he never needed to, so he never did.

I also went to top colleges, but I think my advantage was that it was HARD for me, and by the end I was very conscious of what I DIDNT know and how much I would need to do and learn before I could really do important work. Cruz and Jindal just sailed through and never realized that their shit really did stink.

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jl says:

@BillinGlendaleCA: Der Gubernator made a mess with his much milder tax cut gimmicks, starting with auto registration fee cuts. Like Reagan, Arnold really believed in the supply side magic and was frustrated and puzzled when he resulting business boom did not solve all problems. Like Reagan he was realistic enough to moderate his tax cutting before the supply side nonsense dissolved into disaster (one reason the CA GOP hated his guts, since they were ready to go full Brownback/Jindal on CA). But CA was not in great fiscal shape when the Great Recession hit, and CA was one of the hardest hit states from real estate bust, and he was lucky to get through his term without turning CA into Kansas and Louisiana combined.

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@pseudonymous in nc: I wasn’t. Some of the work is excellent. Some of it isn’t. The problem with doctoral theses in the social and behavioral sciences that I’ve seen come out of Great Britain is not that the work isn’t good. The problem is that because there is no coursework teaching you the discipline that it doesn’t tie to anything greater. Dr. Maddow’s problem isn’t that she didn’t write an excellent doctoral thesis, she did. Her problem is that because she didn’t have to go through a political science/government core, with a major and minor field core before being allowed to conduct her research means that she actually knows very little about the discipline she has her degree in. She has a DPhil in government and regularly demonstrates she knows absolutely nothing about it. Same problem with Nagel and International Security. Was his doctoral thesis and then book on insurgency and counterinsurgency good? Yes. Does he really know anything about how to work that into the larger body of study in political science and international relations and history on low intensity warfare, as well as the strategies and policies that need to be pursued to be successful in conducting this type of warfare or the politics around it? He does not appear to.

This is the one real advantage to an American doctorate: you have to learn your discipline and field. This includes theory (normative, empirical, and/or both), the fields your work is in, and even something about the other fields that you haven’t pursued. As someone who has been through both the British and American systems, I find the American one superior in this regard. And my doctorate is in two disciplines – so I had to master two disciplinary cores and additional field. And that’s not counting that my American MA is in a completely different discipline. The classroom based instruction I received in International Relations in Scotland was, to be brutally honest, something I’d expect to see at a community college in the US. Not a graduate level program.

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pseudonymous in nc says:

@Adam L Silverman: FYWP is being an arse to me, but I completely understand where you’re coming from about how US institutions treat foreign degrees as if they’re tropical diseases.

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🚸 Martin says:

@Omnes Omnibus: I would argue the problem with all education is that there is no direct assessment of what a person knows that can be presented. The degree is only as valuable as the reputation of the institution that awards it. For all anyone knows, you don’t know jack shit until you prove it.

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mclaren says:

I’ve heard there’s an upside to the Euro style postgrad education process, particularly in the sciences — in America, people tend to get math-fucked out of postgraduate school. Even in soft science majors. Case in point: Math 55 at Harvard is infamous as the hardest undergraduate math course in America. Doesn’t matter if your major is classics, philosophy, anthropology, whatever-the-hell…you better pass math 55 or you’re fucked.

Postgrad American universities carry this mathfucking to the 666th power. As a result, potentially excellent people in the sciences get nuked because they can’t handle absurdly high-level math they’ll never need or use. A good example of a great scientists who would’ve been mathfucked out of the field in an American university? Niels Bohr.

Now, some degrees need major heavy-duty math. Sure, that’s obvious — you want a degree in mathematics, okay, statistics, ditto, and so on. But there is no earthly reason to put (for example) fucking computer science graduate students through the kind of mathematical rigor American universities requires. Same deal with chemistry, molecular biology — the brutal truth is that when these people need to do really nitty-gritty computer simulations, they are going to rely on math experts. Plus, there’s the IMSL, a monster open-source library of math functions for FORTRAN that you can just grab and repurpose, so it’s not like you need to be able to write that kind of numerical analysis from scratch in order to do first-rate molecular biology research.

My sense is that a lot of potentially excellent people get nuked out of American universities because they can’t handle the arbitrary and superfluous math requirements, particularly at the graduate level. This is particularly bad in fields like economics, where you wind up with pinheads who are great at math and prove bogus theorems involving game theory and Nash equilibrium when out here in the real world, essentially all the basic principles of econ 101 turn out to be bullshit, and game theory has been systematically debunked for many years. (Decades of experiments, going right back to the original RAND studies, show that people in the real world systematically behave the opposite of the way game theory and the Nash equilibrium says they will.) Rational choice theory in economics is infamous for being based on heavy-duty math that completely fails to reflect the real world. Rational choice says, for example, that minorities shouldn’t risk life and limb in voting rights protests because the marginal utility of a single vote is provably too small to justify the effort.

This isn’t sour grapes, since I’m much better than average at math. I watched lots of excellent students dropping out around me because they couldn’t handle the math. I have no reason to believe that they would’ve made worse workers in the real world, though. Once we got through the bullshit math we essentially never used it. And it was arcane absurd stuff, like conformal mapping, that almost no one ever uses in the goddamn real world. But they sieved people out for not being able to do that arcane crap and it was just crazy.

I appreciate numerical analysis and Gaussian quadrature and Runge-Kutta predictor-corrector methods of solving nonlinear partial differential equations, but show me why someone has to actually know that stuff to get a degree and do useful work in anthropology. It’s retarded.

Also, it leads to morbidly Platonic mathematical pathologies like George R. Price’s kin selection math and the Merton-Scholes option pricing equation that almost blew up the entire world economy in 1997.

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Technocrat says:

@🚸 Martin:

Possibly. But Israel has something like 11 political parties, and yet…Bibi.

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Omnes Omnibus says:

@pseudonymous in nc: Had I won one, I would have joined the Dangerous Sports Club, tried to play rugby and fence, and eked out a second BA. But I would have had fun.

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🚸 Martin says:

@Technocrat: I’m not saying it’s a perfect solution, but Bibi hasn’t done a fraction as much harm to Israel as some of these Republicans governors are doing to their states.

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jl says:

@🚸 Martin: IIRC CA limped along with the CA GOP going berserk and blocking everything positive the Dems or Arnold proposed, at least until they lost their 1/3 in both houses, the Democrats half heartedly discussing possible solutions with Arnold, whenever he decided to quit sulking in his office, which happened increasingly rarely. And Arnold proposing pipe dreams about health care reform and climate change while the GOP fumed and held tantrums, and metaphorically at least, burned Arnold in effigy every day.

Edit: I remember news radio interviews with CA GOP officials and pols that consisted of the most deranged rants and hateful verbal spewage and insults. Finally, i remember hearing from only a couple of top GOP state leg officials who could maintain themselves long enough to give a civil interview. It was an astounding display, and I am sure it hurt them badly with CA and one reason the party cratered.

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@Omnes Omnibus: The JD isn’t considered a doctorate by a lot of people who don’t have one because until the early 1970s it was called the Bachelor of Law. And because there is a real doctorate in law the Doctor of Laws/DLL. The Bachelor of Law was changed to Juris Doctor as part marketing scheme and part recognition that it was a professional degree that was being pursued, more and more often, only once someone had completed their bachelor’s degree. Some have argued it would have made more sense to have called it the Master of Law, though there is one of those too: the Master of Law/LLM. The issue, I think, for many is that the JD is still the first/initial degree in the field of Law. And initial/first degrees are bachelor’s degrees.

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Tyro says:

@mclaren: potentially excellent people in the sciences get nuked because they can’t handle absurdly high-level math they’ll never need or use.

What are you talking about? Most science curriculums don’t require math beyond 3D vector calculus (if that). Graduate programs might require statistics. Computer science programs usually require discrete math and complexity theory on top of calculus, but that is because they are fundamental to computer science.

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randy khan says:

The Jindal/Brownback scams are just bigger versions of what Republicans have been doing for decades. When Christine Todd Whitman was governor of New Jersey, she balanced the budget by deciding that public employee pensions were overfunded and taking money out of the pension funds.

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🚸 Martin says:

@mclaren:

Doesn’t matter if your major is classics, philosophy, anthropology, whatever-the-hell…you better pass math 55 or you’re fucked.

Math 55 isn’t required for any student. It’s a challenge course for particularly motivated students.

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BillinGlendaleCA says:

@mclaren: Face it, Cole works in the basement of the Pentagon with Mnemo, Omnes, and Martin.

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mclaren says:

Let’s not be too quick to pride ourselves on how great Democrats are at running states like California, because the reality on the ground in California was the state crashed hard in the early 2000s with a Democratic governor because of the dot-com implosion, then the state crashed even harder in the mid 2000s because of the subprime real estate implosion.

California relies for most of its revenue ever since 1978 on a wealth tax that makes it prone to boom-and-bust revenue bubbles and crashes. This means that even God himself couldn’t run California in the middle of a bust, while any idiot (Ronald Reagan is a great example) can seem to do a reasonably good job as governor in the middle of an economic bubble.

The real reason California is doing so well today isn’t because of miraculous governance, it’s because of the dot-com bubble 2.0 courtesy of the social network crap and apps like Uber and Facebook. When the social network bubble implodes, California’s economy will crash again and the people in the Golden State will be right back to 20-billion-dollar-a-year deficits as far as the eye can see.

A hiring surge in Silicon Valley and California, much of it driven by the tech boom, is helping push the state to record employment levels, according to a closely watched economic forecast.

Source: “Tech-driven job boom brings California record employment,” The San Jose Mercury, 3 June 2015.

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Gravenstone says:

@ThresherK (GPad): I only wish he were a ghost. Unfortunately, the goggle eyed homunculous (/ht C. Pierce) is very much alive and continuing his abuse of the populace here.

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randy khan says:

Not to mention that law is the only field where you need to get a doctorate (the J.D.) to be eligible for a doctorate (the S.J.D. or J.S.D.).

One of the amusing quirks of U.S. legal ethics rules is that you can’t call yourself “Doctor” in the U.S. if all you have is a J.D., but that you can if you are working in a country where it’s customary for lawyers to use that title. (Germany is an example, I think, but I’m not sure.)

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maeve says:

Alaska actually elected an Independent governor (the Dem candidate withdrew and joined him on the ticket as the Lt. governor.)

Due to oil prices (the state budget has been funded by oil taxes – at the current price of oil the state may actually pay more in incentives for “new production” than it gets in revenue. Marijuana taxes may exceed oil taxes next year. If they fired every single state employee it wouldn’t balance the budget.

The R in the state house keep insisting we must cut budget before taxes – despite the fact there’s no way of even nearly balancing the budget that way – – ignoring that they just cut payments to low income senior citizens for medical and housing with one rep saying they should leave Alaska if they can’t afford it – its cheaper to live in the lower 48.

Still there is more of a consensus we need more taxes and to cap the permanent fund dividend – PFD (currently we have no state income tax, no state sales tax and we get between 1000 to 2000 per year from the PFD). That may seem lux but cost of living is high here- but in the comments in the Anchorage paper (adn.com) – people advocate for sales tax instead of income tax because the “moochers” don’t pay income tax (the model is percentage of fed tax) but everyone pays sales tax.

Actually its just astounding the legislature is even considering taxes –

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Omnes Omnibus says:

@Adam L Silverman: I am aware. I am also aware of the LLM/SJD issues. Of course, in the original medieval university scheme, one of the only doctorates was in law.

I am not invested in this argument. My degrees are what they say they are and my profession’s tradition in the US is that we don’t use the honorific.

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@Omnes Omnibus: Also, its not that a pure research degree isn’t a real doctorate. People with DPhils or PhDs from British schools are academic doctors. The issue is really 1) boundary maintenance – who’s system is acceptable, let alone better and 2) an argument about rigor. If you don’t have to demonstrate mastery of your discipline’s core and your fields’ cores and all you have to do is research, have you really demonstrated a doctoral level mastery of your discipline or just your research area? I know people with American PhDs that I have no idea how they got their degrees. And people with PhDs/DPhils from Great Britain that are just absolutely excellent – not just on their research specialty, but on their discipline. Finally, 3) some of this is bias. I’ve been through both systems. I know what was required of me and my cohort in both, and I found the US system to be far, far more difficult with far more failure points along the way. Everyone’s mileage may vary on this and I do think that the academic discrimination against people with PhDs/DPhils from Britain is silly. Most of the people I know with PhDs from Harvard and Yale have little to no teaching experience either. And everyone is clamoring to hire them, so holding it against graduates from Oxford, Cambridge, Kings, LSE, Nottingham, St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Trinity, etc. is just silly. And I’m not even going to try to spell Abertyswyth…, but them too!

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mclaren says:

@Tyro:

What planet are you from? Comp sci students get run through complex analysis all the way up to and beyond conformal mapping with a taste of algebraic topology, they get run through the wringer with queuing theory and graph theory, they get hammered hard with all kinds of advanced math they never use.

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jl says:

@mclaren: I agree, except I think you mean a progressive income tax rather than a wealth tax. That is why Arnold’s cuts to series of seemingly small things like the auto reg fees started a cascade of fiscal problems. They seemed dinky but where important fiscal stabilizers.

Economic growth NorCal in the computer, biotech, hitech, sectors around SF Bay through UC Davis and Sacto has been driving force lifting CA econ growth rate above national average since Great Recession.

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pseudonymous in nc says:

This is the one real advantage to an American doctorate: you have to learn your discipline and field. This includes theory (normative, empirical, and/or both), the fields your work is in, and even something about the other fields that you haven’t pursued. As someone who has been through both the British and American systems, I find the American one superior in this regard.

Well, you would say that, wouldn’t you?

I don’t want to sound flippant here. I just think that you’re expressing a preference for the normative conditions in which you now operate, just as a freshwater fish doesn’t like saltwater.

I don’t come out of a govt / soc-sci field — I’m interdisciplinary humanities — but I knew enough people who were govt / IR, and their breadth and depth of knowledge, and their willingness to reach far for that broad knowledge, was second to none. That learning environment is one where you shouldn’t expect the taught course to satisfy all your learning needs; conversely, I think American taught courses at the graduate level run the risk of shoving people through a cookie cutter and slicing off some of the more interesting bits.

(But I would say that, wouldn’t I?)

97. 97

@pseudonymous in nc: Are you stuck in moderation? Let me dig you out.

And I’m not trying to crap on British degrees. Different systems, different advantages and disadvantages. To be honest, because I had specialized to me research interest knowledge from my degree from St. A’s, as well as from my US masters in religion, when I got to UF my two dissertation chairs – one in polisci and one in crim – made it very clear I was there to 1) learn the disciplines as I’d really sort of done this backwards and 2) because I was advanced on what I wanted to research before arrival, I was able to basically read my dissertation research with them from the start almost as if I was reading for a doctorate in Britain. So I kind of lucked into being able to do the best of both worlds.

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mclaren says:

I’m not even remotely trying to excuse Jindal’s insanely incompetent administration, but there’s also the brutal fact that Lousiana is getting clusterfucked economically by record low oil prices. Louisiana is practically owned by the damn petrochemical industry, the whole coastline is chock-a-block with oil refineries. I have to believe that has hit Louisiana’s state revenues hard as well.

Louisiana, which gets as much as 15 percent of its revenue from taxing oil extraction, is selling debt as slumping crude prices threaten to strain budgets of U.S. energy-producing states.

That was as of 2014, and oil prices have plummeted since then. This has got to be part of their woes too, although the R’s mismanagement and tax-cutting is certainly a main causative factor.

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Omnes Omnibus says:

@randy khan: Germany is correct. It is also the only country where I would claim the title. Without expressing too much judgment, titles and ranks still meant a lot the last time I was in Germany.

100. 100
Tyro says:

@mclaren: all of that is optional. Complexity, discrete math, and probability is sometimes all packaged into the same class that a lot of CS students will get through with only a basic understanding of. Graph theory gets covered in an algorithms class. Linear algebra might be taken separately or you might learn wrapped into another class like computer graphics.

Comparability and Algebraic topology might be pursued by the more theoretical inclined with numerical analysis by someone more into scientific computing. But none of that is required.

It all exists of you want to take it, but pretty much we don’t teach enough math;: our math curriculum is entirely focused on what would be used for engineering, I assume a holdover from the math curriculums designed in the post Sputnik era.

Don’t even get me started on the bio majors, many of whom don’t even bother to take a physics class that requires calculus

101. 101

@mclaren: This is a major problem. I’m meh at math, struggled to get through graduate stats. And when it came time for me to teach graduate and undergraduate stats as a professor/graduate core director, I basically had to go and find away to relearn it in a way that I would be able to teach it. I found a book: “Statistics for People (Who Think They) Hate Statistics”. Excellent text. Six weeks later I was ready to go. And I used it as my text in class. I had student’s parents tell me that they wished their professors had used this book and taught the class the way I was teaching it when they were in college and grad school.

More importantly for me in the research design and methods core, including the stats coursework, was in getting me to think in a rigorous manner about research design and methodology. About grappling with empirical theory to tease out queries and hypotheses and how to place these within an epistemological framework. These are all very, very important.

But if you’re looking for a way to weed people out, then the math/stats core requirements are it.

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Tyro says:

@Adam L Silverman: the difference is that a doctoral student coming out of the European university system likely already has an in depth knowledge of the field after getting a bachelor’s degree, which is much more specialized than bachelor’s degrees in the US.

103. 103
mclaren says:

What baffles me is how the hell people like Rice can be stupid when they get these advanced degrees at prestigious universities. How can Jindal possibly get a Rhodes scholarship yet be so clueless and so seemingly dumb in dealing with ordinary everyday reality?

Maybe there’s some kind of massive disconnect twixt street-smarts and academic smarts. Sort of like when Nassim Taleb tells the story of the PhD economics stock trader who keeps losing money and doubles down because his analysis shows him the economy is getting better so the stock has to go up, whereas the guy on the street with no degree loses money and stays the hell out of the stock because he realizes the whole thing is rigged and it’s a scam.

Maybe that explains how Merton and Scholes blew up Long-Term Capital so badly, and why so many PhD economists never realized the subprime housing bubble was so unsustainable even while they were smack in the middle of it.

104. 104

@efgoldman: It used to be EdDs – the specialized, professional doctorate for education professionals. But a lot/most of the EdD programs now require a dissertation or an equivalent project, which has allowed the degree to be taken much more seriously. The joke used to be that an EdD qualified you to be a junior high school principal. That’s not really the case anymore.

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Omnes Omnibus says:

But if you’re looking for a way to weed people out, then the math/stats core requirements are it.

So are courses that involve actual writing. We can winnow at either end.

106. 106

@randy khan: Yeah, you’re title/appellation is Esquire. Even for those traveling abroad to work, the recommendation is for the LLM/Master of Law. Or that’s what I was always taught.

107. 107

@Omnes Omnibus: I figured you were, but since I couldn’t tell, I figured I’d treat the question at face value.

A lot of this is, as you know, inside baseball and used for professional boundary maintenance. In a way its like the historic fight between Medical Doctors and Doctors of Osteopathy.

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Omnes Omnibus says:

@Adam L Silverman: Correct. Lawyers can add Esq. to their sigs. OTOH, doing it is pretentious as hell.

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Prescott Cactus says:

@mclaren:

As a result, potentially excellent people in the sciences get nuked because they can’t handle absurdly high-level math they’ll never need or use.

Ed, over at Gin and Tacos has a not so nice write up on this very subject.

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pseudonymous in nc says:

The other point I’d make is that at least at Oxbridge, the undergraduate degree serves as a discipline-and-field qualification, because you’re doing one subject at blinding intensity for three years. (You can drop in your criticism of the corrosive effect of PPE on British governance here.)

The Scottish system is historically different, and closer to that in the US to some extent — students start university a year earlier, undergraduate courses are a year longer, the first year is spent on a broad-based course covering lots of different things. But still, there’s no phys-ed elective.

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🚸 Martin says:

@mclaren:

Let’s not be too quick to pride ourselves on how great Democrats are at running states like California, because the reality on the ground in California was the state crashed hard in the early 2000s with a Democratic governor because of the dot-com implosion, then the state crashed even harder in the mid 2000s because of the subprime real estate implosion.

California relies for most of its revenue ever since 1978 on a wealth tax that makes it prone to boom-and-bust revenue bubbles and crashes. This means that even God himself couldn’t run California in the middle of a bust, while any idiot (Ronald Reagan is a great example) can seem to do a reasonably good job as governor in the middle of an economic bubble.

You should visit the place so that maybe you could figure out what the fuck you’re talking about.

The ⅔ majority required for passing a budget or for raising taxes meant that the minority party could hold the state hostage regardless of who was Governor. That changed with Prop 25 in 2010. Magically, the budget problems vanished once Dems could tell the Republicans to go fuck themselves.

There is no wealth tax here. In fact, property taxes in California are lower than most states and comprise a minority of the tax base. California has a bit more balanced tax structure than most states (though a combination of progressive and regressive taxes) with a relatively high sales tax, but most tax revenue (half) comes from income taxes. The diversity of taxes would typically make the state relatively stable. The problem that California has is that it historically provided a high level of social services to make up for the failures at the federal level. The means that in recessions, the state was being hit hard from both sides, with a rabid anti-tax republican party blocking all efforts to balance budgets during these periods. Remember, we invented the anti-tax movement a decade before Reagan was unleashed on the rest of the country. It took a while to dig out of that hole, but we’re getting there.

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@pseudonymous in nc: I’m not an academic and gave that life up a long time ago. I’m a civilian practitioner/national security professional. Do I do some teaching? Yes. Did the US Army War College hang an internal teaching requirement on me in addition to the assigned and delineated duties in my orders when I was detailed there from Training and Doctrine Command? They did. And while I do some professional academic things like review articles for journals, I don’t consider myself an academic and don’t want to be. When I’ve been considered for other positions in Professional Military Education it has always been under the Professor of Practice/Practitioner category, not the Professor of Academics category.

I am a product of my environment. I grew up in American academia – my Dad started a program in criminology/criminal justice and then turned it into a department. Again: each system has some merits. Each produces hard chargers and superstars and each one produces duds.

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BillinGlendaleCA says:

@mclaren: I don’t know if you noticed my nym, the CA in it is for California. I’ve lived in the state for 53 years.

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pseudonymous in nc says:

@Adam L Silverman: I think it’s a fun reflection on how different academic cultures and expectations can be — and that applies to Canada and Australia as well, because there are non-translatable things there as well.

It’s weird how ‘Rhodes Scholar’ becomes this big fucking deal when it shows up in American politics, whether it’s Jindal or Booker or Bill Clinton, when it’s pretty much worthless as academic currency.

Peace out. But I’m just glad you’ll no longer believe that I or my peers simply handed over cash for our doctorates, because in honesty, 1998 is mostly a blur to me.

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randy khan says:

@mclaren: Yeah, if you’re in a state that has boom-bust cycles because it’s heavily dependent on a single industry, you have to manage better, and the Jindal method just puts you deeper in the hole.

As an aside, I would think the refinery business would be moderately stable because the margins probably don’t change much based on the price of oil. (Or at least it would seem the margins dont change, based on the remarkably stable difference in price between regular and premium at gas stations as the price of oil drops.)

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Anoniminous says:

@Tyro:

The tl;dr version: calculus is pretty much useless in Biology due to Chaos and feedback loops.

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@mclaren: If you’re good at writing papers and test taking – across a variety of testing formats, and you don’t make an ass of yourself in class, you can get through without too much trouble. When you read what Secretary Rice’s former professors have said about her it was always: never seem to express much, of any, ideological/political views or would mimic the instructors. Very smart (in the technical sense) and excellent student The latter means – did well in the classroom, writing papers, and taking tests.

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randy khan says:

It’s weird how ‘Rhodes Scholar’ becomes this big fucking deal when it shows up in American politics, whether it’s Jindal or Booker or Bill Clinton, when it’s pretty much worthless as academic currency.

It’s a big deal here not because of what you do when you get there, but because of how hard it is to become one in the first place. It’s kind of like getting into an Ivy League school.

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@Omnes Omnibus: What if you have several retainers and at least one stable boy? Or is that just Squire?

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andy says:

@Mike in NC: Ahh, the Home School career track- all you have to do is be lucky enough to graduate just as a reactionary Administration is coming into office…

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Steve in the ATL says:

Odd. I find people calling my JD not a real doctorate because it was a taught degree.

What makes me mad is that despite my juris doctorate, no one will address me “Doctor,” but my brother in law gets that courtesy and all he has is a D.O., which compared to an MD is, I think, like a paralegal certificate compared to a JD.

And I went to law school at Princeton, which is pretty impressive (too subtle?).

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@pseudonymous in nc: Just a few of you… No worries on this end. I had an excellent professor at UF, on my dissertation committee, who had a doctorate in government from Oxford. He had to start at like East Mississippi state until he could build a CV that was considered good enough to overcome the “did his doctorate in England” stigma. He used to joke that when he told American academics that he did his doctorate at Oxford he’d learned to immediately add: “earned, not just paid for”. So I understand why people would be sensitive.

I think the problem with the Rhodes folks who go and do a doctorate wind up missing something: they didn’t get the heavy undergraduate disciplinary focus that comes with a British education, because they did their bachelor’s degrees here in the US. And they didn’t get them in Britain, because its not done at the graduate/post-graduate level. That’s really were I think you can fnd a deficiency: folks who do undergrad in the US and grad/post-grad in the UK. I got a classic Liberal Arts BA at Emory – almost textbook example, but it did me little good at St. A’s because I didn’t have that disciplinary deep dive when I started my master’s program. I didn’t get the disciplinary immersion until I did my MA in religion and my doctorate in polisci and crim.

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🚸 Martin says:

@efgoldman: Yeah, that’s about right. In many respects we’re bluer than MA is. In 2010, when everyone everyone was electing republicans – including MA, CA didn’t lose a single blue seat in Congress and swept all Republicans from state office.

Republicans are struggling to hold onto their ⅓ of legislative seats.

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🚸 Martin says:

@efgoldman: I’m in the subbasement, actually. I’m trying to work my way up to you guys.

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Omnes Omnibus says:

@Adam L Silverman: Those fuckers better call me, Milord, if they know what is good for them but if they clean my place, I don’t care what they say.

@Steve in the ATL: Wow, that’s the bestest law school ever.

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BillinGlendaleCA says:

@🚸 Martin: It probably didn’t help that in the 28 years between Gov. Brown’s 2nd and 3rd terms we had Republican governors all but 4 years and change..

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Steve in the ATL says:

@Steve in the ATL: Never mind. I see that a better version of this discussion already took place.

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BillinGlendaleCA says:

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@efgoldman: That was back when one could go to Law School or Medical School without a bachelor’s degree. It still occasionally happens, but it is very, very rare these days and has been for decades.

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@BillinGlendaleCA: The circle of life!

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BillinGlendaleCA says:

@efgoldman: No offense intended, sir. I’ll be sure to update my mental record.

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Steve in the ATL says:

Correct. Lawyers can add Esq. to their sigs. OTOH, doing it is pretentious as hell.

The way it’s done around these parts is that you never add it to your own name, but you add to other lawyers’ names as a sign of respect. So obviously you wouldn’t use it for insurance defense lawyers.

Zing!

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BillinGlendaleCA says:

It still occasionally happens, but it is very, very rare these days and has been for decades.

You mean like Sen. Dr. Rand Paul?

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@BillinGlendaleCA: I didn’t want to come right out and write it, but he’s really the only one I know of these days.

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Ruckus says:

@Tyro:
Things must have changed in the last 40 yrs. My pre med major required calc, stats to a decent level. I got extra points in stats by tutoring students, at the professors urging. I did find that most people had no real idea about mathematics, but they were good test takers as long as they didn’t have to do much beyond memorizing and being able to plug numbers into formulas. Understanding, not so much. I see on FB people complain about what kids are learning with common core and I have to laugh. The kids are learning math, how to think about it, how to make it work for them. But most school work I did had no real practical applications, it was all abstract and most people don’t do well from that direction. Example, I use trig every day at work but no one while I was learning it in school ever gave a practical problem such as what I need it for today.

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BillinGlendaleCA says:

@Adam L Silverman: Back when I was in high school and had illusions of becoming a physician, the only program that I remember seeing where they offered the BS/MD as a single course of study was via the Air Force Academy. I spent a year and change as a pre-med as an undergrad before I came to my senses.

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MobiusKlein says:

@Felanius Kootea: Late to the thread, but you killed it, and own the internet.

Everybody go back and read his comment.

p.s. Fuck the notion of installing an ‘honest outsider’. Like Mr Bean really could waltz in and fix shit.

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@BillinGlendaleCA: I wanted to be a medical doctor, but I couldn’t get through some of the biology. Not the concepts – that was okay, it was the practical stuff. I could draw the cell and its structure, things like that. I could identify them in pictures, but give me an actual stained set to look at through a microscope and all I saw was stuff! And no one wants to hear their doctor say: “Nurse, please retract the stuff.”

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PurpleGirl says:

@Omnes Omnibus: Do you mean that people think you should sit and read the law in order get a law degree? I knew a professor in the Classics Department at NYU who was practicing attorney before she obtained her BA and then PhD in Greek/Classics. Of course Blooma Trell read law back in her late teens in the 1920s before she began practicing law. (My dates and timeline may be a bit off, I knew Professor Trell in the 1970s when she was in her late 60s, I think.)

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pea says:

i wish balloon juice had “like” and “share” options.

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mark says:

back to “the cult” of Republicanism. Did anyone see this Republican sheriff in La. rip Jindal to shreds while taking the blame for “supporting the nonsense’. Its a ballsy speech and just when I’d given up on a sane Republicon, seems that if ex. Sen. Vitter spies on you for supporting a Dem. friend and your budget goes to hell, you might wake up: “Bobby Jindal was like Jim Jones. Too bad he didn’t drink poison”

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Chris T. says:

@🚸 Martin:

There is no wealth tax here. In fact, property taxes in California are lower than most states and comprise a minority of the tax base.

Tell that to, well, me! I know, it’s my fault for leaving and coming back (family stuff), but my property tax is nearly $20k/yr! (I know, it’s still just 1.5%… it’s because home values are absurd here, and I just moved back…) California has a bit more balanced tax structure than most states (though a combination of progressive and regressive taxes) with a relatively high sales tax, but most tax revenue (half) comes from income taxes. The diversity of taxes would typically make the state relatively stable. Well, mostly, but there are two big boat-rockers: Prop 13, and capital gains taxes on insta-millionaires (mainly via tech workers whose stocks IPO big, which ends up screwing them several ways—lucky (?) for me, my startups were in the majority fraction that cratered, and as a result I’m doing pretty well, aside from that property tax issue…). On Prop 13: sure, keeping old folks from being taxed out of their homes is good. But it’s sort of indiscriminate and weird and it locks people into living 100 miles from their jobs in cases where it shouldn’t: for instance, when a friend of mine’s mom died, he inherited her house … and her tax base. It no longer matters where his job and life activities are, he’s living in the house because it costs about$3500/year in PITI (the house is paid for so it’s just TI), somewhere in the greater LA area.

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Mai.naem.mobile says:

The.problem is that Americans buy the less taxes sales ploy from the GOP every time. The GOP has just done an awesome job putting the tax and spend label on the Dems. Its hard to explain to most people on the lower end of the economic scale that the few dollars they’re going to get in a tax cut aren’t worth it because they only look at the amount of money as paying off some small routine bill they have. You can’t tell them that their wealthy boss is getting several thousand dollars from the same tax cut.because you’re creating a class war dontcha know. My governor and state leg(all GOP)has passed corporate tax cuts that nobody has asked for. The Gov is still bargaining on restoring funding to K-12 even though the state has been ordered by a court to restore the funding. I’m guessing this guy will be running for the GOP nom in 2020 or 2024. Meanwhile our routine traffic tickets are $225-$400. Speeding,california stops etc.

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Ruckus says:

@Chris T.:
If you have a prop tax of $20K that’s probably not a starter 1 bedroom with 20 sq ft of yard. I say congrats on being able to afford that. Prop 13 got traction because the situation was horrible, however the solution sold to the voters was fucked up. Long term especially, big money won (as it almost always does!) at the cost to everyone else. All that being said it still isn’t a bad place to live as many millions would probably attest. Yes we have the odd earthquake now and again, but tornadoes and hurricanes are very very rare. 145. 145 Zinsky says: @mclaren: Absolutely right, mclaren, on cutting the Pentagon’s budget by 50%! It wouldn’t make us one iota less safe. Besides the meager salaries of the brave men and women in uniform (who are being used by large American corporations to open new markets for them), most of the Pentagon’s budget is not spent on “defense”, it is being spent on aggression. Hell, we couldn’t scramble one F-16 fighter in time to shoot down the hijacked airliners on 9/11/01! Invading and occupying a Muslim country is not “defense”, it is aggression. But, the spinmeisters in the conservative media have convinced most Americans they are one and the same. I don’t have the exact numbers available right now, but these figures are approximately correct – the median family income in America is a little less than$60k (call it $57,000). If the entire food stamp program were eliminated, it would save this family$36. $36!! On the other hand, the Pentagon takes almost$3,000 from this family every year! Who are the real “takers”? People who bitch about high taxes and what we pay are getting mad at the wrong people!

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David Fud says:

While I am late to this discussion, I don’t think we should forget Oklahoma. They have the exact same problem, exacerbated by oil patch economics. It seems that the Republican utopia isn’t so great for the vast majority of citizens where they reign.

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PaulW says:

If I were the governor of Louisiana I would issuing arrest warrants for Jindal and Grover Norquist for crimes against the state.

It is a matter of public record that Bobby Jindal listened to Norquist and not his own state legislature when figuring out budget deals. Norquist’s obsessive fight against ANY tax hike at the state or federal level is one of the key problems as the state leaders refuse to go to “war” against a powerful lobbyist like him.

We need to recognize that this push by the Conservatives to cut taxes always and forever is a form of sabotage against our federal government, a form of sedition, an attempt to “starve the beast” down to where there’s no government left save for the bits that protect and feed the upper class.

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David Fud says:

My comment about Oklahoma was eated. FYWP! Just Google Oklahoma and budget deficit and you will get the idea I was trying to get across. Hint: same budget problems as the other Republican state utopias.

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Central Planning says:

@Ruckus:

Example, I use trig every day at work but no one while I was learning it in school ever gave a practical problem such as what I need it for today.

I’m a mentor for my kids’ FIRST Robotics team. I’ve seen year over year cases where the students NEED to use geometry/trig to build their robot, or write the programs to make it do what they want. It’s a hands-on, real world experience with the math they learn in school. It’s awesome to watch.

My oldest was asked to be on a team when he was in 8th grade. I remember him sitting down with a senior and whiteboarding out the math to use a gyro and mecanum wheels to make their robot move any direction on the field while rotating. It was amazing to watch them work though it, and then (when the gyro worked right) watch the robot zip around the field while spinning at the same time.

Unfortunately, our school claims to be a leader in STEM yet they spend $30m on new turf football fields and stadium lights while the robotics team is relegated to storage closets and paying for bus transportation. 150. 150 Matt says: When top management at a corporation does this shit like Jindal (selling off assets, spending the principal of endowments, etc) to enrich themselves at the expense of the company it’s accurately described as LOOTING. I see no reason to describe it differently when it’s governors doing the same to their states. 151. 151 sherparick says: @mclaren: Freaking amazing. However, I think of a natural experiment that was the American Civil War where in many ways a random promotion process (from a relatively small pool of West Point candidates and politicians) combined with relatively ruthless winnowing for failure eventually produced Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and Thomas as the battle leaders, along with many efficient and excellent Corps and division leaders. Frankly, I can’t think of a more random process that found Abraham Lincoln President of the United States for the Civil War. 152. 152 sherparick says: @Zinsky: If you look at the money pit disasters of the F-35 and Littoral Combat Ship, which are not even effective modern weapons, the modern American Military Industrial complex is not even about waging effective wars of aggression. The Iraq war was a disaster on its own terms by those who designed and promoted it (Iraq was suppose to become an American protectorate/base in the heart of the Middle East with its oil industry becoming and adjunct for the U.S. energy and services industry in Houston – instead it is now an Iranian protectorate and base and its oil and gas industry looks to Russia, China, and France for its outside support – while still being sustained by U.S. air power and taxpayer in combat with ISIS and dissident Sunni and Baath forces. But American defense contractors, along with their Saudi, Kuwaiti, and Qatar sub-contractors, have made, and continue to make a fortune. When you think of the F-35 as way of transferring huge amounts to taxpayer money to the .1% who manage and own Defense firms like Lockheed Martin or Boeing, you realize what a “success” they are. Also, if you want to know why the “neo-conservatives” and frauds like Jindal and Rubio always will have a place on the Sunday talk shows, note the advertisements that run during those shows: 1) Boeing and Lockheed, 2) American Petroleum Institute, 3) American Natural Gas Alliance. Politicians are not the only things bought and paid for in the Age if Idiocracy and Industrial Infotainment. 153. 153 TallPete says: Meanwhile the great state of MN has yet another budget surplus. This time approx$1B. Although we have a (D) gov and senate the house is (R). Our republicans are pretty reasonable so I expect most of the surplus is spent or saved.

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sherparick says:

@Matt: At the Grifting Stage of the Conservative Movement, it is all about the looting, both the public sector and private sector. http://neweconomicperspectives.....oting.html

Brad DeLong, a long time neo-liberal economist, had an epiphany this week when he realized that “In O’Brien’s visualization of the Cosmic All, the established GOP elites are opposed to equitable growth–inequitable growth is what they are after.” http://www.bradford-delong.com.....e-pot.html

They, the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist, and their like, are really “neo feudalists.” They want to gather all the wealth and income of society into their hands and destroy state institutions, to include even privatizing the State’s institutions for controlling and administering violence: privatizing prisons, police, judges, and the military.

If Brownback had the courage of his convictions he would announce the privatization of Kansas Universities, with corporate sponsors and Kochs to keep the basketball teams going and closing public schools while providing a small voucher to Kansas children to find a private school or church education. Money saved could go for more tax cuts and the private prison industry system (a way that slavery can be reintroduced once again for America’s lesser orders).

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Villago Delenda Est says:

@Adam L Silverman: You know, it’s like a West Point Cadet who just did that hat toss thing, and thinks he’s ready to be a general. NO. You’re ready to start learning to be a general, and that won’t happen for some time, because first you have to learn how to be a platoon leader, then an XO, then a staff officer, then a company commander…

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bk says:

@Steve in the ATL: You went to Princeton Law School? You must be like 200 years old! Very impressed!

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liberal says:

@Mnemosyne: California will be a mess until they repeal Prop 13.

158. 158
chopper says:

what am I, chopped liver?

159. 159
Mike G says:

Also, if you want to know why the “neo-conservatives” and frauds like Jindal and Rubio always will have a place on the Sunday talk shows, note the advertisements that run during those shows: 1) Boeing and Lockheed, 2) American Petroleum Institute, 3) American Natural Gas Alliance.

And farm-subsidy leech Archer Daniels Midland. The Sabbath DC gasbag shows are essentially about corporations paying to promote the careers of politicians who will do their bidding.

160. 160

[…] 3/5/16: Given what Wagner said above, I think it’s important to note the following (from here – h/t […]

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Oneofthebobs says:

@Felanius Kootea: Governor Brown is also an excellent argument against term limits, and for professional politicians.

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Quellist says:

@NotMax: Perhaps she recognizes how bad the basic reasoning and comprehension skills of the average american republican are and wants to make sure the point sinks in? Like the Chesapeake bay retriever method of dog training, where one engraves what one wishes the dog to know (keep it short, like its name) on a thick length of wood and then apply to noggin until the idea gets through (lovely dogs, but takes a crowbar to get them ’round corners).

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joel hanes says:

@mclaren:

how the hell people like Rice can be stupid

Q: Why was that whore, the one who hates Yossarian, hitting Orr over the head with the heel of her shoe ?

A: Because she was (well) paid to do so.

And that’s how ostensibly-intelligent people like Rice and Jindal can be so stupid.
In their world, all the rewards lie along a path marked “stupid”.