Lawrence O’Donnell Is a Twit

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Responding to that Matt Damon video, O’Donnell first calls Reason “right-wing” and “Republican,” then asks why Reason criticizes teachers, but never bothers to criticize cops.

Nick Gillespie responds.

MORE: Mediaite picks up O’Donnell’s rant. But not Gillespie’s response, of course. Nor did author Frances Martel bother to check the veracity of O’Donnell’s claims in the video before reiterating them. It really wouldn’t have taken long to check. Type “police” into the Reason search engine. That’s about it.

O’Donnell’s fact-free rant is also picking up steam on Twitter. Really aggravating. I would wager that Reason has dedicated more coverage to police and prosecutorial abuse over the last five years than any left-of-center magazine or website, save for the ACLU. And it’s not just the work I did when I was there. Tim Cavanaugh, Jacob Sullum, and now Mike Riggs all regularly write about police abuse. Reason.tv has thoroughly explored various police abuse of power issues.

O’Donnell thoroughly embarrassed himself here, and he owes Reason a correction and an apology.

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66 Responses to “Lawrence O’Donnell Is a Twit”

  1. #1 |  gonzostl | 

    I think you misspelled the last word in the title.

  2. #2 |  MattJ | 

    “Twin”? Please don’t let there be two of them.

  3. #3 |  Achtung Coma Baby | 

    Who would have thought that Lawrence O’Donnell doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about?

    Next, you’re going to tell me that Ed Shultz is crazier than a shit-house rat.

  4. #4 |  Zeb | 

    Had this guy ever even heard of Reason before he saw the video? He’s clearly never read it.

  5. #5 |  Brandon | 

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they attack you, then you win.

  6. #6 |  Lucy | 

    Dear Radley, apparently you used to work for a right-wing website. Also, you apparently don’t exist. Neither does Mike Riggs or Jacob Sullum.

    What do you guys do all day? Because you sure as hell don’t question cops.

  7. #7 |  2nd of 3 | 

    “compared to private school teachers, who on average make $13,000 a year less”

    Does anyone have a citation for this? When I was searching I couldn’t find any figures.

  8. #8 |  JS | 

    Once again we see another TV guy who’s caught up in the false dichotomy of liberal/conservative. Maybe this will be a god thing and O’Donnel will learn that not everybody fits into his oversimplified catagories.

  9. #9 |  Matt I. | 

    Uhhh…I don’t see anything incorrect in what he said. I HAVEN’T seen any right wing sites take a critical view of police period.

    I think Reason.com is anything but a right wing site though.

    Right wingers sometimes pretend to be libertarian, and left wingers sometime lump anyone who doesn’t agree with them into the ‘right wing’ camp.

    Matt Damon probably thinks so, but has Lawrence O’Donnell ever put Reason in the right wing camp? That’s an actual question…I’m curious if he ever has.

  10. #10 |  Jim Collins | 

    Damon needs to stick to acting. I have spent my last penny on any of his movies. As far as O’Donnel is concerned, he’s typical of the Left, why bother to find any facts, they just get in the way of the narrative.

  11. #11 |  David | 

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they attack you, then you win.

    Are you talking about Radley or Lawrence O’Donnell? I hope it’s Radley.

  12. #12 |  Matt I. | 

    Follow up: I see where he mentioned it now. Pretty ignorant….he should read Reason then compare it to say The American Spectator.

  13. #13 |  Radley Balko | 

    . . . but has Lawrence O’Donnell ever put Reason in the right wing camp? That’s an actual question…I’m curious if he ever has.

    His entire tirade was in response to the Reason.tv video.

  14. #14 |  Matt | 

    O’Donnell is definitely spot on. You right-wing teacher haters really need to get off the education subject and concentrate on crime issues. Can’t you possibly find some time to report on police brutality? Or find some time to help a wrongly convicted person? Or maybe do even just one story about police officers trampling on the rights of people to publicly film law enforcement? Come on, man, quit hating teachers and do a crime story for once!

  15. #15 |  Laura Victoria | 

    The union teacher commenters over there are now defending their brethren in blue, trotting out all the usual “tough job” bull shit. They have a new one, too. If teachers would be freed from having kids forced to graduate high school with at least 6th grade reading skills, crime would virtually be eliminated and police would be better able to protect and serve.

    The site is very easy to register on and it would be nice for a bunch of us Agitators to post there and break up the current echo chamber.

  16. #16 |  DarkEFang | 

    I don’t have any stats, but private school teachers do make significantly less than public school teachers on average. First, consider that some of the faculty at private schools – mostly religious schools – are basically volunteers. They might get a salary, but it’s just enough for them to be included on the schools health insurance.

    Secondly, private schools can offer smaller class sizes and a cherry-picked student body. They might also allow a teacher more freedom in determining curriculae. Teachers may decide that the improved quality of life is worth less pay than they could earn in public schools.

    Lastly, some private schools – again, mostly religious schools – require less training and education than public schools.

  17. #17 |  Mattocracy | 

    I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday who is a public school teacher. She had recently watched the reson vid and she asked me about it since one of her coworkers had sent out the link to a handful of teachers in her school system.

    She agrees that there are a lot of bad teachers, but also a lot who could care but don’t. The most telling comment from her was this: Teachers are stuck between bad parents who blame us for thier kids poor performance regardless of their kid’s attitude, and a union that protects all of us, even the coworkers we know suck. How can you honestly expect anyone to give a shit in this environment. It’s a no win situation.

    I’m starting to wonder how much apathy is misconceived as general ineptitude.

  18. #18 |  Mario | 

    I am not defending Matt Damon; moreover, I believe there is certainly much room for reform in education. But, I take issue with the following line from the Reason piece:

    It turns out that when you control for education level and hours worked, public school teachers do quite well (especially compared to private school teachers, who on average make $13,000 a year less).

    This seems a bit glib, and I would like a more fleshed out analysis.

    First, the required education level for public school teachers varies across the country. In New York, for example, a teacher is required to have a master’s degree within the first 5 years of teaching. (I’m leaving aside a critique of the worth of this degree.)

    Second, what is meant by “hours worked”? Are we talking the actual school day? The teachers I know get 1 period a day for preparation. Most have 2 or 3 sections, and have lessons to plan, papers to grade, phone calls to return, and meetings to attend. The reality is that most teachers have much work to bring home for evenings and weekends. Depending on the subject, there is often more work than can be done.

    Finally, regarding the salaries at private schools, let’s take the $13,000 figure for the sake of argument. Who is teaching at these private schools? I think a good part of these teachers are pensioners, wives of well-to-do husbands, or young people looking for experience to then trade up careers in public schools where they will be better compensated. In other words, private schools frequently capitalize on a hidden subsidy when it comes to paying their teachers.

    In short, I would never say that teaching is a bad job. But, take a drive around a school parking lot sometime. Odds are, the fancy cars you see are the ones being driven by the spoiled little bastards attending school whose parents paid for the car, not the teachers. Also, keep in mind that while many of the kids are up texting or surfing the Web on their smartphones, their teachers are busy doing their own “homework.”

  19. #19 |  Achtung Coma Baby | 

    Mario, I refer you to the epic 800+ comment thread on Hit & Run last night for a rebuttal to some of your point…in particular, what you said about the education required to become a teacher.

  20. #20 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Here’s what I don’t get:

    Second, what is meant by “hours worked”? Are we talking the actual school day? The teachers I know get 1 period a day for preparation. Most have 2 or 3 sections, and have lessons to plan, papers to grade, phone calls to return, and meetings to attend. The reality is that most teachers have much work to bring home for evenings and weekends. Depending on the subject, there is often more work than can be done.

    Do you think that’s unique to being a teacher? I too often have work to do in the evenings or on the weekends and have meetings to attend. But I don’t work from 8-3:30. I work from 8:30-5:30 on a slow day. And I don’t have summers off. Now granted I make more than a teacher does, but I also had to spend $150,000+ to get my advanced degree that gives me a higher salary. I should also note that my father, whose salary is comparable to a teacher with similar tenure, likewise works nights and weekends when necessary.

    Look, I grew up with a mom who was a teacher (now an administrator), and my brother-in-law is a teacher. So are several of my friends. I recognize that teachers are important. But enough with the pissing contest about whose job is tougher.

  21. #21 |  TomG | 

    One of the things that bothered me about the whole rant by Lawrence O’Donnell is that either (a) Republicans are attacking teacher unions and NO OTHER aspect of the education system, or (b) O’Donnell and other liberals are totally distorting what Republicans are really trying to criticize.

    To be honest, I don’t trust either liberals OR Republicans in this situation.

    The problems with education are more complex than Matt Damon or Lawrence O’Donnell seem to think. And they certainly involve more than just the unions. But the unions are PART of the problem.
    But hey, if you aren’t with us (liberals/unions), you’re against us – right? right?

  22. #22 |  Deoxy | 

    regarding the salaries at private schools, let’s take the $13,000 figure for the sake of argument. Who is teaching at these private schools?

    Having been around several privates schools in my life as a parent, a student, a child of a teacher, or the husband of a teacher, I’m surprised it’s only 13,000 less, and I suspect that is significantly inflated by a few “prep school” type high-class places, where tuition is crazy-high and teachers are well paid.

    Private get who they can, hold fundraisers, and generally get by on very low budgets. No, they generally aren’t, from what I’ve seen, “young people looking for experience”, but yes, some of them have “well-to-do husbands” or are “pensioners” – the pay is generally so poor that no one else can take the job. This is because the private school’s competition is “FREE”. Hard to compete with free*, even when you’ve got a superior product.

    Second, what is meant by “hours worked”? Are we talking the actual school day?

    No, we’re talking about what is required to keep your job… but not what is required to be a GOOD teacher.

    Someone who just wants to keep their job can get all the work done that they need to in the school day (after the first year or maybe two). The actual hours worked by a significant number of teachers is quite low.

    Many of the GOOD teachers do indeed work more. See Mattocracy’s post about how and why good teachers can so easily become apathetic.

    Odds are, the fancy cars you see are the ones being driven by the spoiled little bastards attending school whose parents paid for the car, not the teachers.

    Or the priniciple, or some other administrator, as they generally get paid quite a bit more.

    Of course, you’re comparing the “fancy cars” of the top few “spoiled little bastards” and ignoring the POC cars driven by most of the students (who have a car at all). Cherry-picking doesn’t make an honest case.

    Bottom line: even granting every talking point (working more hours, etc), teachers are still paid decently for the hours they work, while getting MONTHS off each year. No other profession works that way – the bump from “part time” to “full time” is greater than just the difference in hours worked.

  23. #23 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Re: #12 – I have definitely seen conservatives getting fed up with cops. I mentioned this over at H&R, but even Hot Air has run stories recently that were critical of LEOs. It’s getting bad enough that nobody can defend what’s happening.

    As I said over there, not only is LOD wrong about Reason being “right wing” and “Republican”, he’s also wrong about the right wing. The guy is just plain wrong.

  24. #24 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    the fancy cars you see are the ones being driven by the spoiled little bastards attending school whose parents paid for the car

    You can wrap your kid in a piece of shit tin can doing 70mph that won’t start if the temp is below 20 if you want. I’ll put mine in a super-safe Volvo or BMW. Honestly, why do you care so little about your own kid?

  25. #25 |  DoubleU | 

    That is the problem with being libertarian, the right thinks your are a liberal wacko, and the left thinks your are a right-wing extremist.

  26. #26 |  Tom Allen | 

    I think the thrust of Damon’s criticism is the fact that most economic libertarians oversimplify psychology and evolutionary biology. Yes, there are those who are motivated primarily by money. But there are plenty who view money simply as a way to put food on the table, and not as an end in itself or as a prime motivator. How does one turn education into a commodity? Or the rule of law? Or human health? I’ve yet to hear an adequate explanation of this from economic libertarians.

    Lawrence O’Donnell gets many things wrong. He believes that the Dems lost the mid-terms in 2010 because they weren’t moderate enough. This is absurd. They lost because Obushma stacked his administration with Wall Street executives, escalated the war in Afghanistan, failed to close Guantanamo, and passed an Illness Industry Profit Program without a public option which completely failed to bend the cost curve downward. Obushma and the Dems lost because their base was depressed and didn’t go to the polls to vote.

  27. #27 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Cops: fail
    Teachers: fail
    Doctors: just wait

  28. #28 |  TomG | 

    Boyd Durkin – you know what all 3 groups have in common? Monopoly power backed by law, that’s what. (Not quite as much for teachers, but definitely for cops and doctors.)

  29. #29 |  Highway | 

    I have frequently noted that, given that there are so many jobs where people supposedly get paid less than what they’re ‘worth’, teaching is just about the only one that causes this much discussion about it. You rarely hear many people complaining that DMV workers don’t get paid enough, or garbage collectors, or building inspectors, or any other branch of government service.

    I have come to the conclusion that the primary reason the domain of “Soandsos don’t get paid enough” is dominated by teachers is because they have far more influence on people due to the mandated contact time. Generally in the US, everyone is forced to spend over a decade of their lives, 1/4 of the day and over 1/3 of their waking hours, in the care of people who don’t think they’re paid enough and vocalize it. Basically, people are indoctrinated to think that teachers aren’t paid enough by their teachers! It may not be constant mentioning, but it doesn’t take a high frequency, especially in one’s formative years, of overt pushing to (semi)permanently implant the idea that, for whatever reason, teachers are somehow worse off than every.other.person in the country.

  30. #30 |  Mario | 

    ClubMedSux @ #20

    You’re characterizing my post as engaging in a “pissing contest,” which I think is unfair. I have seen plenty of criticism in various public forums and publications where critics make it seem like teachers don’t work a full day. The Reason piece easily — intentionally or not — panders to that sentiment, and that’s what I’m addressing. You work hard? Yes, plenty of people in many jobs do. Are you reading into my post above that I’m claiming only teachers work hard? You can’t be, can you? Are you saying teachers don’t work as hard as you? Please, put it away, and give it a flick before you do.

    Deoxy @ #22

    Thank you. You give a good account of the issues, which I think the Reason people did not. You should note though that I never said teaching was a bad job. I think it’s a good job. But, I don’t think it’s an easy job or a particularly well-paying one. Can people get away with sub-standard work? Yes, they can — just as they do in offices and factories all across the country. Do they enjoy the same job protection teachers do? No. Education, as I said, requires reform. I think we agree.

    As to summers off, good teachers use these summers to enrich their ability as teachers. I am the first to admit that not nearly enough of them do this. Again, there is need for reform.

    Here in New York, what I see are lazy administrators who shirk their responsibility to properly evaluate teachers before granting tenure. Tenure is too easy to get. Moreover, what I see is that there are provisions for firing teachers that are not followed. Why is that? I think some think because the process is “too expensive.” I think it’s because the process would involve too much work on the part of some administrators to make a case, and they can’t be bothered. The schools I’m familiar with instead try to make a teacher’s life miserable when he or she — deservedly or not — gets on the wrong side of administrators, rather than making a formal case. Often, good teachers are driven crazy, and bad teachers are allowed to continue without being bothered. It comes down to who makes fewer waves.

  31. #31 |  Mario | 

    Highway @ #28

    I’m not arguing with you. I don’t even think that teachers should be paid more. But, I think it bears adding that cops complain all the time about how under-compensated, and that’s with their time off, pensions, and overtime. Moreover, being a cop generally doesn’t require much in the way of education.

  32. #32 |  Achtung Coma Baby | 

    I can see why LOD’s rant would be aggravating to Balko and other criminal justice-themed libertarian journalists.

    The work Balko has done to uncover these evils of the criminal justice system must not only pain him physical, but also mentally, as he advocates righting the wrongs that should irritate anyone with a sense of morality. Yet, the mainstream media rarely pick-up on these stories, and when they do get around to covering a Reason TV video, it’s a lame guerilla piece by some shitty intern and her interaction with a brain-dead Hollywood type like Damon.

    Then, LOD decides to cover the story. He defends the teachers like any good liberal should. But then he has the brass balls to claim that Reason would never cover police abuse…THE IDIOT! The man has no idea what he’s talking about. And perhaps, as a result of LOD’s statements, there’s a chance that many of his audience will never bother checking into Reason and reading the criminal justice stories that the do, in fact, cover!

    I’m sorry to martyrize Balko, but that rant really pissed me off.

  33. #33 |  MikeP | 

    Off topic a bit, but have there been any updates this year on the Jonathan Ayers case? After the widow filed suit claiming that the officer who shot him wasn’t certified, the GBI reopened the case and charged a supervisor with falsifying training reports. That was late last year, and I don’t recall anything since.

  34. #34 |  Highway | 

    Mario, I’m talking more about the general level of support that those groups get from the overall public. “Teachers are all underpaid” is a much more commonly held belief than “Police / Firefighters are all underpaid”. And I think that that broadly supports my hypothesis, since people aren’t spending much time around cops or firefighters.

  35. #35 |  Mario | 

    Highway, okay, but I don’t see teachers getting that kind of support. In my local paper, there is a letter to the editor every other week (it seems) complaining about how “highly paid” teachers are. I suppose we just notice different things.

    And, again, I just want to reiterate: I don’t think teachers are underpaid.

  36. #36 |  MassHole | 

    “But I don’t work from 8-3:30. I work from 8:30-5:30 on a slow day.”

    This type of comment just goes to show how little most people know about the teaching profession. If you think a high school English teacher’s work day is that easy, you don’t know one. ClubMedSux is still in bed when my wife is at her desk doing work before the kids show up. When she gets home, at 5 PM, she still has more grading to do. She had to pay up for one of those advanced degrees too so she could make more money.

    There are a ton of issues with teaching and public schools that need legitimate debate. However, the idea that teaching is an easy, cushy job is bullshit.

  37. #37 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ Tom Allen,

    I’m not sure what you’re saying. You’re implying that teachers aren’t motivated by money (or not all of them), yet a large and vocal portion of them are complaining about not being paid enough. I don’t get what evolution has to do with the arguement that teachers unions are trying sheild themselves from acountability and market driven pay.

    I also don’t understand the comment about education and healthcare not being commodities. These are commidities. It costs money to provide these things. Tangible resources, intellectual resources, and time. They aren’t like passive rights like free speech or privacy where does’t cost others anything for you to exercise those rights.

  38. #38 |  Highway | 

    Mario, it could certainly be some confirmation bias on my part. But you could also posit that the reason you see any articles complaining that teachers are ‘highly paid’ is because that’s a somewhat controversial position, compared to what ‘everyone knows’, i.e. “teachers are underpaid”. Whereas police payment isn’t really a subject anyone cares about except when it’s labor negotiation time and you get the veiled threats about strikes.

  39. #39 |  David | 

    It’s frustrating that Mr. O’Donnell has a huge platform to broadcast his inaccurate beliefs, and many people will never see a rebuttal. I hope he retracts his statements regarding Reason, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  40. #40 |  Franklin Harris | 

    O’Donnell is, as of now, passive-aggressively sticking by his clueless smear attack by retweeting know-nothing sycophants who are keeping up the attack on Reason.

    The words “cowardly dishonest hack” come to mind.

  41. #41 |  Danny | 

    O’Donnell overplayed his hand.

    If he said most Libertarians exalt tax cuts over even core civil liberties, he would be on firmer ground.

  42. #42 |  Tom Allen | 

    @Mattocracy

    I’m not entirely sure that the majority are complaining about money. They want to keep what they currently get, which is very little, and they want the freedom to teach and instruct in a way that doesn’t require them to waste time prepping kids for multiple choice tests. But that’s not really want I’m arguing anyway.

    My main argument, and where we fundamentally part ways, is that one should not absolutize the profit-motive and commodity component of something like say, the rule of law, health care, or a child’s education. Yes, of course it takes resources to provide these things for people. But they shouldn’t be bought and sold like a pork belly or stock option. They have a value that exceeds their market values. And this is where we will never agree, because you want to anchor compensation and resource allocation based solely on ability to pay and market forces, and I argue that that is an inherently immoral, unjust, and ultimately counterproductive method of educating, caring, and establishing justice in a society.

  43. #43 |  Jolly Rodger | 

    Out of boredom I decided to check some of Matt Damon’s Facebook Fan Pages… I thought this quote was amusing:

    “Don’t forget government employees, Matt! We’re taking a beating as well. Kind of sad, really, since I am doing the same exact job I did in private industry, just being paid less.”

  44. #44 |  Achtung Coma Baby | 

    https://twitter.com/#!/leenie909

    https://twitter.com/#!/Lawrence

    Lawrence O’Donnell re-tweeted this idiot who seems to think that we’re all bent out of shape because we didn’t understand what O’Donnell was trying to say.

  45. #45 |  Mattocracy | 

    Teachers don’t get paid very little. They average over $50,000 a year. The average American makes a little over 46.

    http://www.bls.gov/k12/help01.htm

    http://www.mybudget360.com/how-much-does-the-average-american-make-breaking-down-the-us-household-income-numbers/

    I don’t buy this arguement that teachers aren’t compensated fairly.

    I don’t think anyone here will argue against getting rid of federal mandates and standardized testing. The one size fits all approach has been devestating to students and teachers should have more freedom to teach how they want.

    But…

    I don’t think you get what Market Value is . It includes all factors. Ability to pay, overall need, personal utility, personal morals and values, etc. Nothing has value beyond market value because market value includes everything. That’s just the way it is. It’s based on people opinions of value so doesn’t exclude any factors.

    Think of it this way. The market value of somthing is a fact. The whole of consumers are willing to pay an average of X for someone to educate their children. Some more, some less, but it averages to X. You come along and say no, you should all be paying educators X+my opinion. How is that fair to tell people they have to pay more for something because you think so and not what two parties are willing to agree to on their own terms?

  46. #46 |  Me2 | 

    Did anyone see Anderson Cooper showing the Matt Damon interview in his ‘Ridiculist’ segment? He practically fellated Matt Damon’s response like it was a major ‘sick burn’ on a bush league journalist by a surprisingly well informed mega-star. It hurt to watch.

  47. #47 |  Me2 | 

    Addendum: here’s the vid:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vB5vL4bJeug

    (something tells me Anderson is secretly jealous of Sarah Silverman)

  48. #48 |  Leonson | 

    #36

    Wow, she’s up for work by 6 and has to bring work home with her?

    Sounds like every job I’ve had after college.

    And I didn’t get the summers off.

  49. #49 |  Marty | 

    after wacking Bill Maher around, I think Nick’s feeling cocky. I hope he sets up a cage match to the death with the entire staff at cnn and all but stossel and the judge at Fox. I think Nick would have them stacked up like cord wood…

  50. #50 |  Robert | 

    My main argument, and where we fundamentally part ways, is that one should not absolutize the profit-motive and commodity component of something like say, the rule of law, health care, or a child’s education. Yes, of course it takes resources to provide these things for people. But they shouldn’t be bought and sold like a pork belly or stock option. They have a value that exceeds their market values. And this is where we will never agree, because you want to anchor compensation and resource allocation based solely on ability to pay and market forces, and I argue that that is an inherently immoral, unjust, and ultimately counterproductive method of educating, caring, and establishing justice in a society.

    I think you misunderstand the argument of many libertarians and portray YOUR interpretation of what they want as cruel, or unjust. The argument from the libertarian side isn’t that these items aren’t worth spending money on. Instead, most libertarians put forth the idea that the private market, through competition will provide a MUCH better education, and more value per dollar than the centralized planning.

  51. #51 |  JSL | 

    Ok I made it to the line from Larry’s rant “kinda like wicked ironic”, about him hating writing then becoming a writer but I had to stop there. Like dude, lets go hang ten man. Bra, lets party! Teachers are kinda like saints dude, don’t question their motives ever man.

  52. #52 |  Buzz | 

    “O’Donnell thoroughly embarrassed himself here”. That’s pretty much his default position.

  53. #53 |  Highway | 

    Tom Allen, if things like ‘healthcare’ and ‘education’ are not prioritized by ability to pay, then they’ll be based on some other arbitrary decisionmaking process that could be characterized as just as ‘immoral’ or ‘unjust’.

    In fact, ability to pay may be the best proxy of determining a person’s worth to society, and thereby their worth to receive a scarce good like an expensive operation. Largely, people’s ability to pay is based on their income, which is based on their output, which is priced based on what other people in society view as value of that output. And people might disagree that certain individuals don’t ‘deserve’ as much as they make, or that other individuals ‘deserve’ more than they make, but absent government interference, people usually make what they’re worth to society overall. And in cases where people aren’t directly working, they are dependent on others who are and who determine that value by proxy (wives, children, elderly parents, etc).

    But it’s certainly not arbitrary, and it’s tough to argue that it’s not moral, when it’s an aggregation of everyone else’s valuation of that person.

  54. #54 |  New York Cynic | 

    Does O’Donnell realize that Conservatives hate Libertarians as much as they Liberals? I’m always amused when we are lumped together with conservatives, it’s such a joke.

  55. #55 |  Robert | 

    Addition to #45… they only work 9 months of the year, get a nice big Christmas vacation, and SPRING BREAK!!!

  56. #56 |  Brutusettu | 

    Did Balko passively admit that one of the true horrors for [i]Reasons[/i]’ side, is that LD called it Right-Wing?

    It looks like LD and his staff didn’t want the facts get in the way of a chance to lambast Republican supporters.

  57. #57 |  JMW | 

    “Does O’Donnell realize that Conservatives hate Libertarians as much as they Liberals? I’m always amused when we are lumped together with conservatives, it’s such a joke.”

    If he did either his head would implode or he’d do something he’ll loathe himself for later and join up with the conservatives in the libertarian hate-fest.

  58. #58 |  TomG | 

    #54 – no, he doesn’t realize that. Unfortunately, neither do most other Americans.

    Many Americans don’t even realize that having only 2 political parties dominating the discussion all the time (with occasional sops thrown to minor and barely effective 3rd parties for the sake of appearances) is NOT good for the country.

  59. #59 |  Pi Guy | 

    Good employees work long hours, more than their peers, in every field. The problem in teaching, as with any job protected by unionization, is that there’s no system for rewarding the ones that do or weeding out the ones that don’t after they’re tenured.

    Are there really dedicated teachers who grade papers watching the 11 o’clock news then wake up before dawn and start grading again? Sure. I did it but my impression was that plenty of teachers figured out a system where they just recycled old lessons and graded papers in class while kids did busy work. Are there teachers who stay late to help with struggling students or coach or otherwise continue to contribute to the community past the contractural work day? Sure. I did that too but I can tell you that, in both MD high schools where I taught in the late 90s, schools clear out pretty quickly at 2:45, when teachers were allowed to leave. The faculty lots were long since empty at 5:00.

    As for their education and advanced degrees – bullshit. I didn’t plan on teaching initially and earned a degree in Physics with no Ed coursework. Because of the dire need for Math and Science teachers (more on this), I was hired off the street anyway and throw to the wolves. I eventually did pretty well and took my certification courses during the school year and over the summers. I could do this with little stress except on my time because education classes are the _lamest, least challenging, and most useless_ classes that I ever took. They’re essentially pass/fail with an “A” being a pass. I can’t cite it because on of my Ed profs mentioned it in class but, at the time, this Education majors at my school received and “A” 90+% of the time. It’s almost like a union – there’s no way to distinguish between those who are any good and those who aren’t.

    I remember studying with my college girlfriend, an elementary ed major, one night. Once she’d finished cutting out the cupcakes and leaves and holiday markers for her classroom calendar project, she watched TV while I finished the 20 or so Differential Equations problems I had. She never understood why I’d take so long to study. Education coursework at the graduate level is the same. I submit, for comparison, my Writing Instrucional Rubricks grad class, which I was able to complete in 6 weeks, 3 days a week in a summer, and my grad-level Solid State Physics class. I was able to take the Rubrick class before I was certified and after my second year of teaching. I was a Teachher Nobody and could walk right in and pick it up (and got an “A”). By the end of the semester in Solid State, half of the 20 or so initial students had dropped the course. And they’d had entire 4-year degrees including boatloads of calculus and optics and E&M practice by then. And the point is this:

    Even the people who earned their full degree in, say, Social Studies, rather than shifting their coursework to mostly ed coursework in their junior and senior classes, can’t get work as Timeline Repairman. And they’re even _more_ qualified than their education-also peers. What I mean to say is, if they weren’t teaching, what the hell else are they qualified to do? Surely teaching art and music and US History and the ability to read and write and compute are all important. The question is, with regard to market value, unless your content area is chemistry or computer programming or something mathy, you’re not worth all that much to any employer outside of education. And even then, you’re still less educated in your own chosen field than those who didn’t pursue the education coursework so you’re still at a competitve disadvantage in the non-education marketplace. You’re essentially a lib arts major who dabbles in something else.

    Note that, while college grads, on average, make more than non-grads, amongst the grads, those with techinical backgrounds make more than the non-techies and are a prime mover in the wage-scale disparity b/w grads and non-grads. The liberal arts majors simply pull that average down. Teachers are getting paid pretty much in line with what others who are similarly-educated are bringing in.

    I think the bottom line is this: yes, some teachers want to teach, strive for excellence, and work long and hard because that’s who they are. But, as far as being able to get by without putting in your all, but still collecting all the perks of the dedicated teacher that, short of committing a crime against a student, teaching’s a lucrative liftime appointment for everyone. Even those that suck donkey balls.

    Not being my own blog, a thousand pardons for being so bloviated.

  60. #60 |  JOR | 

    #53,

    It’s amazing how easily libertarians abandon individualism in the deepest way without even realizing it when engaging in the same old by-the-book apologism. You’ve just managed to paint government as the only defense of individuals and minorities against the tyranny of the majority. Bravo.

    And seriously, what’s with the magical view of ‘government intervention’? Government is just people in society expressing their values (that is to say, acting) in a particular way. It’s true that they do this by means other than market exchange, but a person chasing off a burglar with a pistol is not engaging in market exchange either.

    Of course I’m sure that my objections will be taken as an endorsement of state-run healthcare or whatever. They’re not in the slightest; whether healthcare is run directly by the state or through its favorites in the corporate-medical class (i.e. the “free market” solution) is a trifling issue as far as I’m concerned. I’m more concerned with the common libertarian tendency to throw away moral and political individualism whenever it’s inconvenient to defending private power (whether it’s the power of parents or the privilege of economic elites). Just world bias gets us all, I guess.

  61. #61 |  JOR | 

    “I don’t think you get what Market Value is . It includes all factors.”

    Precisely. If people use the government or collective bargaining or any other libertoidal boogieman to get higher pay, they’ve increased their market value.

    It’s because market value is everything, that it cannot be used as part of an argument for or against anything.

  62. #62 |  Highway | 

    JOR, what the heck are you talking about? I didn’t even mention government, or defense of minorities. And where do I talk about throwing away individualism?

    I don’t care about Just World theory. My comment at #53 was saying that pricing is a good way to deal with allocation of a scarce good, since ability to pay is just as good a way to determine that allocation as any other method.

    And by the by, it’s pretty common (even among libertarians) to think that government is *a* defender of the minority from the majority. Maybe you think ‘individual’ violence is better. But I have no idea where you get the crackpot idea that I think government is the ‘only’ defender.

  63. #63 |  More on Lawrence O’Donnell | The Agitator | 

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  64. #64 |  Luther Blissette | 

    I’m a Canadian leftist – I support unions, taxing corporations and staying out of imperialist military adventures.

    But I also have a deep respect for the work done by some libertarian outfits, specifically reason.com’s articles on the militarization of the police and antiwar.com’s chronicling of the ‘War of Terror’. And I’ll gladly add my voice to cursing the brain-dead corporate liberal pundits now clogging our airways.

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