Saturday Links

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Many thanks to all the folks who guest blogged these last six weeks or so: Eapen Thampy, Lenore Skenazy, Jason Kuznicki, William Anderson, and the folks at LEAP.

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120 Responses to “Saturday Links”

  1. #1 |  Navarchos | 

    Re: O.W. Holmes, I agree that he was, 99.99% of the time, a complete yutz (particularly since, as Popehat points out at length, his most famous quotation was likening conscientious objection to provoking a stampede). I suspect his dissent in Lochner v New York (“the 14th Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer’s Social Statics”), which would eventually gain enough traction to halt the Supreme Court’s interference with the elected branches’ economic policies, leads to him being overcredited within Progressivism. I agree with his Lochner opinion, but there endeth my sympathy.

  2. #2 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

    “He was a racist, eugenicist, authoritarian asshole. I’ve never understood why progressives have thought so highly of him, back then, or now.”

    Pretty much answered your own question, didn’t you?

  3. #3 |  Tom Doughy | 

    Re; runner up: Felony attempted exposure…wtf? Oh, right, it’s pre-meditated I guess.

  4. #4 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    The Headline of the Day reminds me of an episode of “Arrested Development” in which Lindsey hires the Hot Cops (male strippers) to pose as street toughs in order to scare Tobias into selling a nightclub he’s purchased. Tobias encourages them to start dancing as an alternative to life on the streets, and things are going great until they run into some actual street toughs. It doesn’t end well for Tobias.

    As for the runner up, this seems to be spun as some sort of grotesque sex offense. He’s facing years in prison for what essentially amounts to (at worst) fraud. He retained the services of someone under the ruse of a fake brain injury. In my opinion, there’s no indecent exposure (or even “attempted” indecent exposure, whatever that means), since this is the sort of thing his caretakers would see anyway over the course of an ordinary day. Of course, the comment section contains at least one call for him to be sexually assaulted in prison. But that’s no surprise.

  5. #5 |  John Regan | 

    To be fair to Justice Holmes, as a young man he was very traumatized at the Battle of Antietam. That seemed to set the tone for a very cynical world view for the balance of his life. Somebody should do an updated biography.

    That said, his legal philosophy (the term “philosophy” is really too dignified for it) has been a malevolent influence in American jurisprudence, I must agree. Largely a product of his intellectual times, but nevertheless repugnant.

    Interesting tidbit: one of his last law clerks (in the 1920’s) was Alger Hiss, whose communist espionage inspired perjury conviction gave us Richard Nixon, whose last chief of staff in the White House was Dick Cheney, who may live on into the 22nd century if they keep putting new hearts into him.

    Holmes haunts us still.

  6. #6 |  omar | 

    Real shame about Hop City – they are great in Atlanta. The owner is a real nice guy and his employees are very knowledgeable and passionate. Putting aside the absurdity and anti-morality of the raid, Alabama is missing out.

  7. #7 |  Other Sean | 

    That choice-blindness study, while kinda cool, really just offers a further lesson in the difference between stated preference and demonstrated preference. Or as I like to think of it, why surveys suck because people will say whatever when there is absolutely nothing on the line but boredom and a faint desire to avoid social awkwardness.

    Of course, it does also show a bit about rational ignorance in politics, since most people have no reason to formed robust views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  8. #8 |  Marty | 

    the brain injury faker is probably who they based Will Ferrell’s character in the Wedding Crashers. The guy was probably run out of every reception and funeral in the county. This was the next logical step.

  9. #9 |  Matt | 

    re. the Illinois dog-killing cop: once again an article gives the names of the owner and the dog, but not the cop.

  10. #10 |  liberranter | 

    From the linked article:

    Do you need any proof that [the] Alabama legislature is a [sic] backwards thinking?

    Good grief, who with an IQ north of zero would have required such proof in the first place?

  11. #11 |  Jeff | 

    Well yes, Holmes wa a racist eugenicst, but so was the whole Progressive movement.

  12. #12 |  liberranter | 

    I’ve never understood why progressives have thought so highly of [Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.], back then, or now.

    C’mon now, Radley, it’s obvious. Most “Progressives” are, just like Holmes was, “racist [albeit it more subtle], eugenicist [ditto], authoritarian asshole[s].”

  13. #13 |  DoubleU | 

    To all New York State residents who want to know what the teachers and other government employees of N.Y. state earn you can find it here: (includes link for pensions)
    http://goo.gl/uxiYc

  14. #14 |  croaker | 

    Puppycide award upheld. $600K

    http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display_comments.htm?StoryID=140895#postComments

  15. #15 |  DoubleU | 

    It may not be very libertarian of me but I want to out law fist bumping and ‘Gangnam Style’ dancing. Sure the ‘Gangnam Style’ dancing rage will be over by Christmas but we can’t let something this horrible happen again. To out law it would be a warning to others… for the children.

  16. #16 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    “C’mon now, Radley, it’s obvious. Most “Progressives” are, just like Holmes was, “racist [albeit it more subtle], eugenicist [ditto], authoritarian asshole[s].””

    What they aren’t is articulate. Which is why they end up quoting Holmes, who was.

  17. #17 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Ah yes, as usual opposition to teaching the poor and support for ending freedom of speech (workers talking to each other). A bumper libertarian day!

  18. #18 |  Jeff | 

    “He was a racist, eugenicist, authoritarian asshole.”

    This describes more than one “progressive” hero. Woodrow Wilson comes to mind (perhaps he wasn’t explicitly eugenicist).

    “It may not be very libertarian of me but I want to out law fist bumping and ‘Gangnam Style’ dancing.”

    Fortunately, I still don’t know what “Gangnam Style” dancing is, but if it is half as fatuous as “fist bumping” then banning it (and “fist bumping”) would be sensible compared to most of the edicts and statutes of government today. (It would still be wrong, of course.)

  19. #19 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Leon Wolfseson,

    Yes, capitulating to teachers’ Unions DOES mean opposing the teaching of the poor. Which is why Teachers’ Unions are reliably against any merit-based system of pay or promotion.

    As matters stand the education of poor persons of African descent is worse than it was when they were forbidden literacy by law, and taught themselves to read in secret. That isn’t entirely the fault of the human dregs that graduate from Teachers Colleges, but firing their fat asses would certainly constitute a good start at a solution.

  20. #20 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Ah yes, fire anyone who dares to help others. The first part of making education too expensive for the people you hate so much.

    You keep on claiming that the very high literacy rates in today’s society is worse than that of centuries ago, you’re as ever ignoring any evidence which is contrary to your pre-chosen doctrine of free speech being wrong when workers use it with each other.

    So, what age do you believe should people be working from, 6 or 8?

  21. #21 |  EH | 

    The family whose dog was shot should sue for custody of (one of, if so) the officer’s family dogs.

  22. #22 |  OldGrump | 

    Wow, Leon Wolfeson, if you have a point to make, it is lost in the massive straw man arguments you are tossing about.

  23. #23 |  Dave Krueger | 

    “A full 53% of participants argued unequivocally for the opposite of their original attitude in at least one of the manipulated statements . . . “

    That would be the same 53% of the population targeted by all mainstream network news. Unfortunately, that 53% also represents about 95% of voters.

  24. #24 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Update from Rome: The three wealthiest counties in the country are now in the D.C. suburbs. And seven of the top 10.

    Well, just wait. This next election is going to result in the cleaning up of that corrupt mess, bringing their world crashing down around their ears as us voters throw a huge number of those assholes out on the street.

    Hahahaha! Had ya going there for a minute, didn’t I? No? Oh well.

  25. #25 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @21 – When I use 10% of the hyperbole (and class-war calls) that they do, that’s suddenly an issue? Typical.

    The people who your corporatists are burning are not straw.

  26. #26 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Stop quoting Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr. in defense of your censorious bullshit. In fact, stop quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes for anything. He was a racist, eugenicist, authoritarian asshole. I’ve never understood why progressives have thought so highly of him, back then, or now.

    Stop quoting anyone to defend ANY idea. If you’re talking to someone who judges an idea based on who said it, then you’re wasting your time.

    Facebook is infested with people who just can’t resist passing along quotes from famous people (and it doesn’t even matter whether those famous people ever even said what’s being attributed to them).

  27. #27 |  Marshall | 

    The Holmes thing tends to illustrate how once you start thinking of yourself as “at war”, any concept of binding moral argument is “inoperative”. That’s what war means. As in WWI, so in WWII, and again these days.

  28. #28 |  Mendelism | 

    Comments on the Adderall link are quite encouraging.

  29. #29 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Does it matter that Holmes changed his mind to favor free (relatively free?) speech?

  30. #30 |  Mattocracy | 

    Leon supports unions no matter what. He’s a dishonest hack.

  31. #31 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @29 – Ah yes, I’m “dishonest” because I support the right of workers to speak to each other. Regardless.

    If you have a problem with a specific power which Unions are granted under the law, then I’m quite willing to talk. However, I don’t believe as you do that basic rights are conditional on your employer, for civilians.

    As usual, anyone who isn’t your kind of far right butcher is a “hack” for not having Correct Doctrine in your world. Orwell was so right about you.

  32. #32 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Leon Wolfeson,

    Have you missed the news (it’s several decades old by now) that the inner city public schools have degenerated to the point where, so far as education is concerned, they are little more than holding pens for children of the underclass? And they don’t even do THAT very well?

    There are all kinds of problems with the inner city public schools, but one of the primary ones is that the so-called teachers in them as mostly drones, and that the system (of which the teachers’ unions are a major part) is geared so that they can’t be disciplined for simple incompetence or fire for much of anything at all.

    Programs have demonstrated time and again that private schools can and do manage better for less money with pupils from the same population pool. As with so many things that the government does badly the one thing that can conclusively be said will NOT help is more money. The system needs to be changed. Vouchers. Charter schools. Hell, distributing reprints of old THE SHADOW magazines would probably help … the boys would probably read them with the same enthusiasm that street kids of the 20’s and 30’s did.

    Frankly, THIS is where we owe African Americans some reparations. We allowed Progressive Intellectual twits and well meaning social engineers screw up their schools so badly that they come up short when compared to the public schools of the Jim Crow era. We should put control of the schools into the hands of whatever parents are interested. They can’t possibly do worse than the bureaucrats and professionals have done.

    Will some of them make bad choices? Certainly. But the only choice they have now, unless they are ready to make a heroic effort (which usually works, BTW) is failing them. We have to do better. And decades of experience shows clearly that any solution that the teachers’ unions have a part of will be subverted to benefit the unfit teachers, not the students.

  33. #33 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @31 – Ah yes, “underclass”. Your class-war rhetoric starts up immediately.

    And of course you blame teachers for your Corperatist crusade against the poor, where jobs are scarce for the people who are not the “correct” sort of consumers. You keep blaming workers talking to each other for your sins.

    It’s been proven again and again that when you throw much more cash at selected pupils from areas without the kind of deprivation you celebrate inflicting onto others can do better (but, as seen in both the UK and US, let alone countries with better teaching systems typically *worse* than the best state schools in mixed areas).

    You want to strip the possibility of education from the poor, I get it, all your “solutions” will do is slash the teaching budget of the schools poor kids can afford to reach.

    You blame, again, people who don’t backstab for a living for your systemic deprivation. You celebrate Jim Crow for a reason, despite the fact that schools do far better these days on basic markers.

    Again, should they have to start working at 6 or 8 in your world?

    Or, alternatively, you could be told to stop systematically causing the very problems you are using as cause for a further attempt to raise the poverty premium, and the evidence-based teaching methods used with great success through much of Europe (not the UK, mind you) could be introduced.

    But no, as ever, the problem for you is that they’re getting some kind of education, so you keep fighting that, like you’ve fought every kind of advancement in the status of African Americans for years, and you’re sick and twisted enough to call reintroducing child labor as “reparations”.

    Keep preaching your Corporatist dogma your buddies, trying to prevent workers from talking to each other. It shows how fake your indignation about issues like free speech is.

  34. #34 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Leon Wolfeson,

    This planet you live on; how is the weather there?

  35. #35 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @33 – London, Earth? Cold and rainy.

    How is the weather in Hateland?

  36. #36 |  el coronado | 

    You were doing so well with comment #31, CSP – trying to make the ignorant troll see the light of truth, logic & reason. But then ya lost it completely with the line, “this is where we owe african-americans some reparations”.

    Maybe you were just distracted by the loathsome troll’s high-pitched squeals, but “WE” don’t “OWE” reparations to anyone, pard. You wanna cut a check to assuage a guilty conscience, fine: no one – and certainly no Libertarian – will stop you. But kindly don’t go volunteering to give *my* $$ to anyone, pls. That’s what liberals are for.

  37. #37 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Yes, it’s so terrible that I dare differ from the Dogma of Hatred. You have to ensure that you only take from the society which you have rejected and hate so much.

    And of course you’ll stop him, that’s what the government you want is for – to ensure your dominance. You don’t even lie well.

  38. #38 |  Stephen | 

    Here is one that will make you want to puke.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/09/22/officer-shoots-kills-double-amputee-in-wheelchair-in-houston/?intcmp=trending

    A guy with one arm and one leg in a wheelchair armed with a pen can make a police officer fear for his life? What kind of pussies do we have working as cops?

  39. #39 |  Bergman | 

    I expect to read any day now about how an officer was faced with a belligerent but unarmed toddler, and fearing for his life, had no choice but to fire 48 rounds at the child, reloading twice and hitting with only five, the other 43 going in all directions throughout the neighborhood. Safety is the top priority, after all.

    Given how many officers lives are threatened by chained up dogs on the other side of high fences, it will happen any day now.

  40. #40 |  Linda | 

    Puppycide is out of control. It seems that every single day there is a new incident to read about. Another shocking one is Luke the lab who was killed in Cobb County, Ga when the homeowner (in a rush to get to the hospital for the birth of his first grandchild) accidentally set off his alarm and could not remember the code to disarm it. Police came to investigate. The home owner was waiting at the front door for the police, they came through the back door and shot and killed Luke. And now this!!! In illinois. Seriously, everyone is always saying how police need additional training on how to handle dogs. Really, is that it? Training? You need to be trained on how to jump back if a dog on a chain is intimidating to you. How can anyone POSSIBLY justify shooting a dog who is not only in his own yard, but is secure with a tie out???? How can that ever be considered justified. But I bet in a few days we will read where the internal investigation has been completed and that the officer acted within “policy” because he “feared for his life” . It is BS. It all boils down to a one sentence comment that someone posted on a petition seeking justice for a Newfoundland killed in Washington state….”Who are we giving guns to and allowing to police us?”

  41. #41 |  Linda | 

    And welcome back Radley. I look forward to reading your book.

  42. #42 |  citalopram | 

    How does your ad hominem invalidate Holmes’ legal opinion?

  43. #43 |  Andrew Roth | 

    That adult diaper fraud story is a riot. Of course, Eric Carrier is clearly a sad case at best, and more likely a willful predator who gets off on degrading women, but still, it’s a hilarious tale as long as you don’t think about it too carefully.

    It’s also exactly the kind of thing that I’ve come to expect from Craigslist. There are some sane and decent people in the mix, too, but they can be impossible to sort out from the frauds, the sick fucks, the mooches, and the other jackasses. Feigning disability in order to trick caregivers into changing one’s adult diaper is more brazen and degraded than usual for Craigslist, but it’s not at all unusual in tone. Craigslist is plastered with posts that make equally unreasonable and uncivilized demands; it’s just that they’re usually less sexual in nature, so they’re superficially less bizarre and more socially acceptable.

    This article reminds me of an essay that I read by a woman who briefly worked as an escort in Los Angeles. One of her first clients was a judge who showed up in her hotel room wearing a diaper under his robes. He wasn’t incontinent; he was just into that kind of thing. She wrote that she immediately lost all trust in the judiciary.

  44. #44 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    el coronado,

    My point is that while nobody alive today has been a slave or owned slaves under the Peculiar Institution, a lot of us were alive and voting while progressivism and dreams of social justice drove inner-city public schools off a cliff. The most pitiful victims of Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressive buttinskiism are the inner city poor they patronize and prey upon.

    We white upper-middle class suburbanites are discomfited be Lefty idiocies. The inner city poor live under an ideological tyranny that, while not as bad as that suffered under foreign dictators, is starkly similar.

    And people like Wolfeson are either obtuse dupes, or willfully blind in pursuit of bogus feelings of moral superiority.

  45. #45 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @42 – Ah yes, when your relentless march of capitalism deprived schools of the necessary funding, and your dogma of the people involved being worthless lead you to slam the doors of opportunity in their parents faces for your beloved war on drugs.

    You’re evil. You call me a dupe, when you personally are supporting large Corporations in destroying live for profit. That you claim moral superiority just shows how dangerous you are to normal people.

    You’re the problem. The tools you use to hurt people need to be taken away from you, before more die. The tyranny is yours, and you’re determined to destroy any chance the 99% have of overthrowing your totalitarian corporatist state.

    You keep on calling me things which in your world require reeducation, of course. Again, Orwell called your type perfectly.

  46. #46 |  Bob | 

    From “Under federal hate crimes law, Amish men face decades in prison for forcibly cutting the beards of other Amish men.”

    The government also had to cite an “interstate nexus” to justify federal prosecution. You might think that would be a challenge, since all of these crimes occurred within a single state. But hey, look, Dettelbach says: The “Wahl battery-operated hair clippers” used in the assaults “were purchased at Walmart and had travelled in and affected interstate commerce in that they were manufactured in Dover, Delaware.”

    So basically… ALL crimes are federal crimes. What crime doesn’t use, in even the most ancillary way, something that was shipped there from another state?

    Welcome to Amerika, bitches!

  47. #47 |  Michael Chaney | 

    I just came here to mention that Progressives were (and are) what you described. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the Progressive movement, Radley, but it was pretty nasty back in the day. Others have aptly made the point.

  48. #48 |  Weird Willy | 

    “Oliver Wendell Holmes [is not worth quoting] for anything. He was a racist, eugenicist, authoritarian asshole.”

    Throughout law school, I developed the distinct impression that I was the only person in the world capable of recognizing this. It is good to see now that I am not alone!

  49. #49 |  Links #116 « The Honest Courtesan | 

    [...] The Agitator again; he restarted over the past couple of weeks but made the official announcement yesterday in a post which contained this fantastic and link-rich mini-rant:  ”Stop quoting Oliver Wendell [...]

  50. #50 |  Mattocracy | 

    “Ah yes, I’m “dishonest” because I support the right of workers to speak to each other. Regardless.”

    You obviously have no idea what the teachers strike was all about in Chicago. It had nothing to do with the right to organize. It had everything to do with holding people accountable.

    Stop being a hack.

  51. #51 |  Mattocracy | 

    Jesus Leon, you are awful.

    “You want to strip the possibility of education from the poor”

    Hello! The teachers were striking in Chicago because the mayor was trying to hold them accountable to get better grades from students. If anyone is trying to keep kids dumb its the teachers union.

    “Ah yes, when your relentless march of capitalism deprived schools of the necessary funding,”

    On average, we spend over $6,500 per student in the US. The countries that beat us in science and math scores spend between $3,000 and $4,000 per student. Funding is the not the problem.

    “and your dogma of the people involved being worthless lead you to slam the doors of opportunity in their parents faces for your beloved war on drugs.”

    Beloved war on drugs? You have no idea what libertarians believe.

    “you’re determined to destroy any chance the 99% have of overthrowing your totalitarian corporatist state.”

    Totalitarian corporatism? Again, you have no idea what libertarians believe. Libertarians believe in the free market, which is the exact opposite of corporatism. You wanna know who a traditionally supported corporatism? Progressives.

    “You celebrate Jim Crow for a reason, despite the fact that schools do far better these days on basic markers.”

    Are you fucking serious? No one said anything remotely close in support of Jim Crow. I’ll repeat myself. You are dishonest. You lie about what people say. You lie about people believe. You lie about us to make yourself feel justified. If anything, that is hatred. Lying about your opposition’s motives and beliefs is blind, stupid hatred. It’s what partisan hacks do.

  52. #52 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @48 – Yes, I’m awful to poor old you, I won’t go die about those nasty consequence things, unlike self-admitted partisan hacks like you who constantly lie for advantage.

    I know what Libertarians believe, I routinely work with them. You are a Corporatist Capitalism, not a Libertarian. You keep trying to make it illegal for workers to talk to each other, no actual Libertarian I know of does so.

    As ever, you cannot admit basics like costs, like the distribution of funds, like parental income factors…evidence is a foreign language to you, you are concerned only with the headline figure and throw out a “it’s not a problem”.

    Thank you for admitting your blind hatred and your complete denial of explicit calls…so…I see that Jim Crow isn’t far enough for you then. Back to Slavery, eh?

  53. #53 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Mattocracy,

    Wolfeson is really something, isn’t he? There’s a kind of horrid fascination to it, like watching somebody quote the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION seriously.

  54. #54 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Ah, no wonder you’re a fan of those, Schofield.

    And of course you can’t stand anyone acting Contrary to Doctrine.

  55. #55 |  Radley Balko | 

    Goodbye, Leon.

  56. #56 |  Jim | 

    Thanks, Radley.

  57. #57 |  crzyb0b | 

    “Programs have demonstrated time and again that private schools can and do manage better for less money with pupils from the same population pool.”

    Simply not true. Private and charter schools do no better, and usually worse, than public schools with equivalent students. Study after study has demonstrated this. Further, average per-pupil costs are HIGHER at private schools compared to public schools.

  58. #58 |  Kevin | 

    I’m a fan of Szasz, but that was some compelling evidence of mental illness if ever I’ve seen it.

  59. #59 |  citalopram | 

    Leon needs a vacation.

  60. #60 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Mr. Balko,

    That kind of person always baffles me. Always. I remember debating a rabid anti-smoker who insisted that I ONLY THOUGHT that I liked the taste of cigar smoke.

    ?WTF?

    Where did his parents go wrong, and is it too late to charge them?

  61. #61 |  Anthony | 

    I’m listening to last week’s episode of This American Life: Back to School. It’s a good listen about schools. Tl;dr it’s less about school and more about home life.

  62. #62 |  crzyb0b | 

    “On average, we spend over $6,500 per student in the US. The countries that beat us in science and math scores spend between $3,000 and $4,000 per student. Funding is the not the problem.”

    The difference is because salaries in the US on average are higher-we are a wealthier nation, thus we have to pay more teachers in order to compete. You need to look at education spending as a percentage of GDP – you will find that many of those countries that beat us are spending more, often because teachers are higher status and pay relative the median than in the US. So yes, funding IS a problem.

  63. #63 |  crzyb0b | 

    http://www.udel.edu/johnmack/research/school_funding.pdf

    Quoting:

    …after accounting for differences in test participation rates, per-pupil spending has a statistically significant positive correlation with mean SAT I scores….So the data indicate that a $1,000 increase in per-pupil funding would yield a 9.28-point increase in combined SAT I scores.

    Figure 5 shows that per-pupil funding is positively and significantly correlated with the state averages for each of the individual NAEP tests as well. The (null) hypothesis that NAEP performance is not improved by additional per-pupil funding of public schools is clearly rejected

    correcting for participation, high-spending states do outscore low-spending states. States with high per-pupil spending generally outscore states
    with low per-pupil spending on the NAEP as well.
    ______________________________________
    The myths that: public schools perform poorly relative to their private peers. public schools are more expensive, and that money doesn’t matter, are just myths and right wing talking points. Have an open mind and look at the actual data.

  64. #64 |  Not Sure | 

    “So yes, funding IS a problem.”

    Since there is never enough money for everybody to have all they want, funding is always a problem. The question that should be asked is- are you getting your money’s worth for what you *are* spending?

  65. #65 |  crzyb0b | 

    “The question that should be asked is- are you getting your money’s worth for what you *are* spending?”

    Well, considering my kids are getting (on average) a better education for less money than any private alternatives, the answer would have to be “Yes”.

  66. #66 |  Not Sure | 

    “Well, considering my kids are getting (on average) a better education for less money than any private alternatives, the answer would have to be “Yes”.

    “The” answer or “your” answer? The fact you’re satisfied with the education your kids are getting is not evidence everybody is. Lots of people aren’t.

  67. #67 |  supercat | 

    #57 | crzyb0b | “Simply not true. Private and charter schools do no better, and usually worse, than public schools with equivalent students.”

    What metric is being used to define “equivalent students”, and how are the quality evaluations weighted (e.g. if one school were to produce 100% mediocre students, while the other produced 50% mediocre, 25% excellent, and 25% lousy, which school should be considered “better”?) By selecting proper metrics, one could make just about any school appear better than just about any other.

  68. #68 |  crzyb0b | 

    There is a difference between “satisfied” and “money’s worth”. I AM getting my money’s worth by the only objective standard (higher quality lower cost than private ed). I’m not satisfied however. Society should spend about 50% more on education than they currently are (6% vs. 4%). This would provide funds to attract the best people to the teaching profession. Currently the average teacher is from the bottom 3rd of their graduating class, because it is a low pay low status position.

    The Decline in education is largely due to shrinking spending. We now spend less on education as % of GDP (i.e. it is more affordable) than the mid 70’s.

  69. #69 |  Not Sure | 

    “The Decline in education is largely due to shrinking spending. We now spend less on education as % of GDP (i.e. it is more affordable) than the mid 70′s.”

    The first link I looked at on the topic shows a spending/GDP of 34% in the mid 70’s, over 40% the last three years. But there’s sure to be plenty of sites with statistics that disagree with this.

  70. #70 |  supercat | 

    #63 | crzyb0b | “The (null) hypothesis that NAEP performance is not improved by additional per-pupil funding of public schools is clearly rejected”

    What about the hypothesis that much of the causality is in the reverse direction–more wealth will be generated in areas which have more successful students, and this will in turn increase the level of property tax revenues that can be effectively raised without driving away prospective residents?

    I would posit that employees have the right to make whatever agreements among themselves they see fit, but no right to involuntarily enforce their “agreements” on those people (including prospectively employees) who have not agreed to them. Unions would benefit both workers and management if the government properly recognized that in the absence of *voluntary* agreements to the contrary, workers who don’t like a company’s actions have the right to quit, and a company that doesn’t like its worker’s actions has the right to fire them; neither party should have remedies beyond the parting of the ways except when the other has exceeded its authority (e.g. companies hiring thugs to attack union meetings, or employed workers sabotaging company operations).

    If a large part of a company’s workforce leaves en masse, that will impose substantial opportunity costs on the company as it will be unable to operate until it can find and train replacement workers. Consequently, if many workers inform a company that they have agreed among themselves that they will all quit if the company doesn’t meet certain demands, and if the demands in question are reasonable, a company may well decide that it would be better off keeping its workforce and giving them what they want, than having to shut down until it can find and train new workers. The more benefits the union workforce is willing to offer the company, the more it will be able to demand without pushing the balance so far that the company decides it would be better off replacing them. Further, unions that operate like trade guilds would be able to have their members demand higher wages than non-union workers if they were effective at policing their members and expelling bad workers from the union. Even if members of the Widget Installer’s Union charge 10% more than non-union Widget Installers, if someone who hires a union worker is more likely to have his widgets installed correctly than one who selects an arbitrary non-union installer, many people needing widgets installed may be willing to pay that 10% premium. Net result: unions that benefit both good workers (by offering a chance for 10% higher pay) and employers (by offering an opportunity to hire known-good workers).

    Too bad the government has imposed rules that are supposed to “protect” union workers, but instead give unions power to the detriment of both workers and employees.

  71. #71 |  Not Sure | 

    “Too bad the government has imposed rules that are supposed to “protect” union workers…”

    If the government is needed to protect union workers from their employers, why do government workers need unions?

  72. #72 |  supercat | 

    #68 | crzyb0b | “This would provide funds to attract the best people to the teaching profession.”

    A company or institution that offers to pay more can be more selective in who it hires and retains than one that offers less. Such an employer may thus get better employees, *if that’s who it chooses to hire*. Simply offering higher salaries, however, will often not particularly improve the quality of one’s employees or the work they perform unless one demands such improvement in exchange for the higher pay.

    One common objection to merit pay is that it unfairly reward teachers who are lucky enough to have been given better students. I would suggest that a remedy would be to allow teachers to place bids as to the level of achievement they expect to achieve with any particular batch of students. Teachers would be assigned to students in such a way as to maximize the “expected” (bid) outcome, and each teacher would be paid a base amount plus a merit-based amount which would be based upon how their students perform as well as how such performance compares to other teachers’ expectations. If there was a group of students from whom most teachers would expect dismal performance, but one teacher thought they could be taught halfway decently, that teacher could get paid handsomely if he was in fact able to teach those students better than other teachers thought possible. Conversely, if many teachers think that a certain group of students should be expected to excel, a teacher was assigned to such a group and only achieved mediocre results should not receive as much merit pay as the one who made something out of nothing, even if the latter teacher’s students outperformed those of the former teacher.

  73. #73 |  crzyb0b | 

    “Simply offering higher salaries, however, will often not particularly improve the quality of one’s employees or the work they perform unless one demands such improvement in exchange for the higher pay.”

    No it won’t, but much of the success of other countries comes from making teacher’s relatively higher paid and higher status than average. This attracts better people to the profession.

    Demanding improvement in exchange for higher pay doesn’t produce improvement either – in most cases the existing teachers are already performing at or near their maximum capability. The only way to improve the situation is to attract better teachers or expand their capability.

    Most schools are grossly undermanaged compared to the private sector. One principal might have 40 teachers and another 40 staff members to supervise as well as hundreds of students (and their parents!). This means the principal is unable to properly manage the performance of their employees. Every professional private sector business I have seen has a much higher management/employee ratio than your neighborhood school. This is because employers have found it is more cost effective to provide better employee management and supervision.

    If you want to improve schools, improve the capability of the staff by paying more (to hire better people) and providing more management resources to better improve their capabilities.

  74. #74 |  crzyb0b | 

    “One common objection to merit pay is that it unfairly reward teachers who are lucky enough to have been given better students.”

    This objection has been disposed with a long time ago, and it indicates someone ignorant of basic technologies in education. The problem is addressed by comparing growth against defined norms for the population rather than status.

    The real problem is that it is essentially impossible to asses the impact of one teacher. Teachers are part of a continuum that involves many people. Just one example: in elementary schools curriculum commonly advances in alternate years – first grade introduces new concepts, 2nd grade largely reinforces them, third grade introduces, 4th grade reinforces. Not only will the test advances be different from year to year, one teacher’s success depends on the preparation of the teacher from the previous year.

    Merit pay will almost certainly LOWER the quality of education in the US. All teachers know there is a finite pool of money, which means that they are competing against each other in the merit pay pool. That means that cooperation and sharing of techniques and information will be dis-incentivized. The goal should be building cooperative methods to develop best practices. Merit pay is the wrong direction.

    At IBM (considered an exemplar of the well managed company) an individual engineer is not rewarded for success of his team. The team is rewarded.

  75. #75 |  el coronado | 

    Sorry, b0b, you lost me – not that I ever agreed with ya – when you went “full democrat” on me. Money spent on school cost is the only objective standard of judging the worth, value & results of schools?? Public schools provide higher quality ed than private??? “Society should spend about 50% more on education than they currently are”???? “Should”? According to what authority? The Bible? The Constitution? The NEA??

    Teacher much?

  76. #76 |  crzyb0b | 

    “What about the hypothesis that much of the causality is in the reverse direction–more wealth will be generated in areas which have more successful students, and this will in turn increase the level of property tax revenues that can be effectively raised without driving away prospective residents?”

    Virtually all states have some sort of equalization system so that the level local property taxes are decoupled from local student spending. So not an issue.

  77. #77 |  crzyb0b | 

    “What metric is being used to define “equivalent students”,”

    The metrics can be found by reading the paper and its references. Let me know if you think they are valid.

  78. #78 |  John C. Randolph | 

    racist [albeit it more subtle]

    I disagree with the contention that “progressives” racism is subtle in any way.

    -jcr

  79. #79 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Merit pay will almost certainly LOWER the quality of education in the US.

    Yeah, because accountability for results never has a motivating influence, right?

    Are you brain-dead?

    -jcr

  80. #80 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Kids are good at grading teachers.

  81. #81 |  John C. Randolph | 

    your relentless march of capitalism deprived schools of the necessary funding,

    Oh, for crying out loud. Go and look up what’s happened to school funding since the 1970s. The schools aren’t being “deprived” of funding by any “relentless march of capitalism”. The money we’re spending on schools is getting wasted on brain-dead bureaucrats.

    -jcr

  82. #82 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Most schools are grossly undermanaged compared to the private sector.

    Somehow, parochial and private schools manage to deliver far better results than public schools despite having a far higher ratio of teachers to administrators. What’s your next guess?

    -jcr

  83. #83 |  crzyb0b | 

    “Yeah, because accountability for results never has a motivating influence, right? Are you brain-dead?”

    Merit pay is not accountability for results. Merit pay WILL produce unhealthy competition among team members that should be cooperating. Schools don’t have the resources to appropriately assign accountability.

  84. #84 |  Not Sure | 

    One of the arguments against merit pay (or continued employment, for that matter) for teachers is that they don’t get to choose their “customers” (students). No- they don’t. Neither does the counter clerk at McDonalds. But that counter clerk’s performance is based on (and their job security depends on) how they deal with the customers that they do serve.

  85. #85 |  crzyb0b | 

    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1940_2017USp_13s1li011mcn_21t

    Spending as a % of GDP peaked in the early 70’s.

    That means schools are less of a tax burden than they were in the 70’s.

  86. #86 |  crzyb0b | 

    “Somehow, parochial and private schools manage to deliver far better results than public schools despite having a far higher ratio of teachers to administrators. What’s your next guess?”

    Not true: 1) ANY careful comparison of performance shows that private and parochial schools consistently UNDER-PERFORM public schools with equivalent students.
    2) Parochial and private schools do NOT typically have smaller management ratios than public schools.

    http://www.edsource.org/data_StaffPupilRatios0607.html
    Total Administrative staff in schools is typically less than 5% of employees. This means management ratios of at least 20:1, which is much higher than any professional private sector organization.

  87. #87 |  crzyb0b | 

    Private sector organizations have voted with their wallets that effective management ratios are 8:1 to 10:1 for professional organizations. Schools make do with 2-3 times that ratio PLUS the school administrators have many more responsibilities than typical private sector management.

  88. #88 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Before you got a job as a propagandist for teachers’ unions, were you known as “Bhaghdad bob”?

    Why would you even bother to tell such obvious lies?

    -jcr

  89. #89 |  el coronado | 

    OK, b0b, now you’re just throwing horseshit at the wall, hoping some of it will stick. “School administrators have many more responsibilities than private sector mgmt.” No, not in this universe/reality they don’t – and everyone here knows it. It’s fine to advocate for mo’ money from us, ol’ sport, but refusing to admit you’re a teacher/school admin & thus denying/obfuscating/lying about your agenda is intellectually dishonest and makes your (admittedly laughable) ‘arguments’ DOA and worthy of scorn.

    Why hide it? What’re you ashamed of?

  90. #90 |  AlgerHiss | 

    No one should be allowed to even discuss the subject of school funding until they’ve read about the most famous, or notorious, example of spending: The Kansas City debacle.

    A great recap is at CATO:

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-298.html

  91. #91 |  crzyb0b | 

    “Why would you even bother to tell such obvious lies?”

    Unable to actually put together a fact based logical argument, jcr reverts to name calling. At this point any rational observer would have to conclude you’ve lost the argument.

    “but refusing to admit you’re a teacher/school admin”

    Wrong again. I’m a former senior director for a high tech fortune 500 firm who has turned his expertise to schools. I’m neither admin or teacher. But again, attacking me personally is a sign you can’t put together a logical argument.

  92. #92 |  crzyb0b | 

    ““School administrators have many more responsibilities than private sector mgmt.” No, not in this universe/reality they don’t”

    Your average private sector first line manager has a 8-12 direct reports and reporting responsibilities to a small group.

    Your average school principal has 20 teachers, 20 additional staff as direct reports, 300 students and 600 parents, a pto organization, booster clubs & etc.

    So, show me the argument that backs up your claim.

  93. #93 |  crzyb0b | 

    “your agenda is intellectually dishonest and makes your (admittedly laughable) ‘arguments’ DOA and worthy of scorn.”

    This of course is why i’m an ex-libertarian. Libertarian “logic” is generally simplistic and childlike. As soon as they are presented with argument and facts that contradict the overly simplistic worldview libertarians revert to name calling and thumb sucking.

  94. #94 |  crzyb0b | 

    BTW the FACTS are that union states have better schools than non-union states, because the higher salaries attract better people to the profession. THe biggest obstacle unions present is that they prevent their members from participating in management roles. Well run organizations distribute management responsibilities and roles. Unions generally prevent this, so that all management roles are concentrated in one or two administrators.

  95. #95 |  el coronado | 

    Repeat after me, class! 100 times! As loud and as fast as you can!!

    WAR IS PEACE!
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY!
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH!

    and, apparently, dozens of posts will overcome the evidence of our own lyin’ eyes.

  96. #96 |  James Hare | 

    It’s pretty ironic seeing people banned from commenting on a “libertarian” blog. While you’re free to do with your own property as you please it certainly speaks of a little less than full commitment to the ideals you claim to hold.

    The neo-Nazis were obnoxious for wanting to march on Skokie, but the ACLU defended their right to do so all the same. That’s what defending speech really means — defending even obnoxious speech.

    Preaching to the choir makes you feel good but it doesn’t accomplish much. Radley’s long absence seems to have scared of any contrary voices. That’s a shame — everybody needs to listen to folks they don’t agree with. Libertarians, in particular, have a real problem with giving any respectful attention to ideas they don’t agree with.

  97. #97 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Amish men…forcibly cutting the beards of other Amish men.

    Rule 34 strikes again.

  98. #98 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I know he’s gone, but Let’s Summarize Leon (LSL):

    1. Opposing self-serving public service unions that have poor (as in “terrible”) results = opposing teaching the poor.

    2. Opposing a deal that cannot be paid for between state official and vendor for the state = ending freedom of speech.

    3. Refusing to let public service union have everything they want = fire anyone who dares to help others.

    4. Supporting freedom of choice = making education too expensive for the people you hate so much.

    Time to vote: Is Leon:

    A) a terrible troll
    B) helicopter
    C) a small boy’s Sunday trousers

    You’ll need this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVW6SH2bjYQ

  99. #99 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    It’s pretty ironic seeing people banned from commenting on a “libertarian” blog. While you’re free to do with your own property as you please it certainly speaks of a little less than full commitment to the ideals you claim to hold.

    This is a terrible position to hold, James Hare, and you should reconsider. Libertarians (or AnCaps, Anarchists, FreeSpeechFanBoyClub.com, etc.) are under no obligation to suffer mad rantings.

  100. #100 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    BTW the FACTS are that union states have better schools than non-union states

    The fact is that private schools are better schools than public schools.

    Even though customers of private schools must also pay for public schools and the public school product is free. Free. They give that shit away for free and people still pay to not go there.

    Boom. Head shot.

  101. #101 |  Radley Balko | 

    Libertarians, in particular, have a real problem with giving any respectful attention to ideas they don’t agree with.

    Leon wasn’t being respectful. And he wasn’t expressing ideas. He was trolling.

    I try to foster an intelligent conversation on this site. That means weeding out people who drag down the discussion.

    It has nothing to do with Leon not being a libertarian. I have also banned people who generally agree with me.

    It’s about acting like a grown-up.

  102. #102 |  el coronado | 

    Did you even bother to *read* any of poor banned Leon’s trollspeak before you so sanctimoniously weighed in, James? If so, how can you possibly defend him? Are you suggesting Libertarians have some sort of obligation to listen to an idiot who’s sole “argument” was variations on ‘I know you are, but what am I?’ or ‘You’re stupid! And evil! And mean!’

  103. #103 |  phlinn | 

    “Merit pay WILL produce unhealthy competition…” This is true of any competition. However, it’s also true that Merit pay WILL produce healthy competition among teachers. For any form of competition, they are bad ways to try to compete. Those bad behaviors should be directly punished. Their existence is not an argument against having competition at all, because there are also beneficial ways to compete, and the net effect of competitition is always to the benefit of the people purchasing from competing vendors. In this case, the government will benefit from teachers competing. Some teachers will cheat and teach just to the test, or actually encourage students to cheat on the test, which will be bad for students. Most won’t.

  104. #104 |  AnonymousCoward | 

    Phlinn – can you elaborate on how you define ‘bad behaviors’ and specifically what constitutes bad and good competition?

    I’m having a hard time envisioning competition in this situation which isn’t either competing on price or using trade secrets. If trade secrets are considered ‘bad’ behavior (and in this case I think they should be) then it seems the only form of competition would be who can deliver for the lowest pay, which seems like a race to the bottom to me.

  105. #105 |  John C. Randolph | 

    I’m a former senior director for a high tech fortune 500 firm who has turned his expertise to schools.

    Ok, that explains everything. You’re a washed-up middle manager who couldn’t cut it in the business world, and you’ve found yourself a spot as non-producing government school remora.

    If you were a competent manager, you would know that the relevant comparison to discern appropriate ratios of administrators to staff in schools, would be to compare the figures for private and parochial schools (the successful service providers) to government schools (the failing service providers), rather than comparing schools to unrelated businesses.

    A teacher is supposed to be a competent professional who doesn’t need much in the way of daily supervision.

    It is a tragedy that the taxpayers are wasting money on you. You have nothing at all to offer when it comes to improving government schools, because you are emotionally incapable of even admitting the problem.

    -jcr

  106. #106 |  Not Sure | 

    “Your average private sector first line manager has a 8-12 direct reports and reporting responsibilities to a small group.

    Your average school principal has 20 teachers, 20 additional staff as direct reports, 300 students and 600 parents, a pto organization, booster clubs & etc.”

    If you’re going to count the hundreds of students and parents a principal has “reporting responsibilities” to, it would only be reasonable to also count the hundreds of customers a manager’s sales team deals with, would it not?

    Seems to me it would.

  107. #107 |  James Hare | 

    “It’s about acting like a grown-up.”

    That leaves a great deal of power to the person making decisions about what is “grown-up.” I find it hard to accept that folks who are so quick to criticize the competence and decision-making ability of others don’t seem to exercise much caution when faced with similar decisions. You didn’t need to jump in and gloat that you were banning someone.

    I don’t think you’ve got much of a mature discussion going on here. You have a choir you preach to who pat themselves on the back for having the “right” opinions.

    If your posters can’t have an intelligent conversation around a troll, that’s their problem. Trolls are part of any internet forum and folks in most places know not to feed them. I’m not sure our friend Leon was a troll – most of those folks know their audience better and how to incite them.

    If you’re truly comfortable and confident of your opinions you don’t need to silence your critics. If your community can’t keep a civil tongue in their heads and avoid feeding a troll silencing one troll won’t change anything. There’s plenty of folks just waiting to be trolls all across the Internet. To me the worst civil liberties abuse of the post 9/11 era has been abridging freedom of speech. It does no one any favors for so-called defenders of liberty to be defending abridging free speech in any context.

  108. #108 |  John C. Randolph | 

    You didn’t need to jump in and gloat that you were banning someone.

    I don’t believe that you know what “gloat” means.

  109. #109 |  el coronado | 

    “if your posters can’t have an intelligent conversation around a troll, that’s their problem.”

    Ah! Another “should” statement, this time form the troll’s self-appointed lawyer. OK, James, since you’re clearly all about ‘mature discussions’, perhaps you can enlighten us grunting doofuses.Reading your pedantic, pompous, bizarre screed there *does* bring a couple of questions to my dull, slow mind – maybe you can help a brother out.
    1) “I’m not sure Leon was a troll”. Really? And what leads you to that notion? Can you point out any intelligent, non-confrontational, non-ad-hominem post he made? Hint: “#36, you suck and are a brainwashed nazi guzzling haterade” isn’t really a good choice.
    2) “Silencing one troll won’t change anything.” How exactly do ya figure that? It sure removes a childish idiot yelling, “Hey! Everybody look at me!” from the grownups talk, didn’t it. I’d call that a change, & a good one at that – & it would seem I’m not alone in that assessment.
    3) If the immature and unLibertarian behavior exhibited here – mocking and then banning poor dumb Leon! – offends you so much, why are you here? Really, wouldn’t it be fair to say you’re just too beautiful for this world?
    4) Do you **really** think chastising the group for pointing out & objecting to Leon’s myriad faults and boorish behaviors is going to undo the reality that Leon was a boorish troll?
    5) You’re secretly Leon again, aren’t you, old sport. Just under a slightly less abrasive albeit equally asinine persona, right?

  110. #110 |  StrangeOne | 

    I wondered how long it would take Leon to overplay his hand at the troll game. No one can really pretend he wasn’t a troll. No matter what reasonable argument he was presented with he would turn it around into “you hate this, you hate that, you corporatist whore”. Occasionally he would surround these accusations with some semblance of an argument, causing most to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    People forget that not every troll is being deliberate about trolling. That’s just how some people argue on the internet. I can’t tell whether Leon was being deliberate or not, but his accusations and personal attacks won’t be missed by me.

  111. #111 |  James Hare | 

    el coronado:
    Perhaps you could hold yourself to your own high standards? There’s a real conflict between your statements in 3 and Balko’s claim he’s trying to allow for mature conversation. You can’t have it both ways — either you accept immaturity from libertarians and have no standards OR your standards are applied only against contrary opinions.

    Banning a troll does nothing to discourage trolling — it only encourages those who find the reaction amusing. Anybody with experience administering an internet forum realizes that determine trolls will find a way around your ban. If your definition of troll is “folks who argue in ways I don’t like” you’re not actually banning trolling — you’re banning arguments you don’t like. You’re perfectly willing to make nasty statements about people whose opinions you don’t share, so acting like Leon’s “boorish trolling” is really the reason for banning him is really just excusing your inability to accept the right of people to disagree with you.

    As to 5 — if that were the case, you’d only be proving my point – a determined troll can easily get around any ban and banning a troll only encourages them. I’m not Leon, but I can certainly understand why someone would choose to “troll” libertarian blogs that way — folks claiming to be libertarians do it all over the web. It’s basically a toss up between Men’s Rights Advocates and Libertarians as to who can be most obnoxious in a hostile forum.

    I’m not the one who claims to be purely ideological like many libertarians. I’m more than willing to compromise some principles for the greater good. I think what y’all are trying to do is use “trolling” as an excuse to compromise the principle of free speech. You can’t really claim this is a private space — you don’t do anything to secure it. You’re just trying to enact an arbitrary speech code and feel good about it by claiming it’s about “trolling.” Instead it’s a way to police speech you don’t like.

    I don’t have a problem with that! I just want y’all to be honest to yourselves about what you’re doing.

  112. #112 |  StrangeOne | 

    I started typing out a post about why you are wrong James. All about the differences between free speech and speech on a private venue. The difference between censoring or policing speech and moderating a private venue. But then I realized your full of shit. You’re trolling. From the first comment in this thread you made, you were trolling.

    I don’t know or care if you are Leon or the other troll that was banned months ago. The guy who outright stated he has been trolling Radley’s blog under various IP’s and names for a while. All I know is that a quick google of your name within this site, has shown every comment by you to be an attempt at inciting an argument. Whether deliberately trolling or mealy being contrarian it’s safe to say that you’re only here to provoke a response, and this will be the last you get from me.

  113. #113 |  James Hare | 

    StrangeOne:

    “You’re full of shit”

    I attempted to deal with the private vs. public distinction. Without effective controls over who posts, I think it’s very hard to argue this is a “private” forum.

    So the answer to my criticism is to engage in same kind of name-calling and blame-shifting you accuse Leon of. You can’t answer the criticism so you call me a troll and full of shit.

    You’re proving my point by failing to make a real argument here — that banning people from commenting on this site is about enforcing arbitrary speech codes rather than being about ensuring a “mature discussion.”

    What point is there to posting if your post is NOT intended to provoke a discussion? Is the only acceptable post singing with the choir?

    I’m glad you at least felt the need to check on my previous posts before making unsubstantiated accusations about me being a sockpuppet for Leon. I hope you’ve realized that I am a real person.

    I hope you’ll also realize that “troll” does not mean “person who does not agree with me.” A “troll” is a pretty specific kind of internet critter. It’s someone who is uninterested in provoking any kind of thoughtful discussion but instead intends to provoke aggression by assuming contrary viewpoints. I’m not interested in emotional responses to my posts. If you’re calling me names you’re only discrediting yourself.

    I find it hard to believe you “started typing out a post” and decided to attack me personally. I think you wanted to pretend you were making a reasoned argument rather than a personal attack. That’s your prerogative but lying to yourself rarely makes you wiser.

  114. #114 |  phlinn | 

    Bad competition: engaging in coercive or fraudulent methods against one’s competitors.

    Good competition: producing a superior product, reducing price.

    In this specific case, teaching just the test instead of the materials you are supposed to be covering is a good example. It’s fraudulent, as the teacher is passing off a poor student as a good one, much like only giving good examples to a QA team instead of a random sample is fradulent. A good understanding of the material will let a student pass, but requires more work than just teaching directly. Standardized tests are an inadequate method of measuring teacher output, but are superior to the methods currently in place. The only justification for paying teachers more for longevity and education is that hypothetically they are better teachers. But those indirect measures are certainly worse than a test which at least touches on the actual product.

    There is a subset of the populace for which the phrase “unhealthy competition” seems redundant. I was merely pointing out that competition is not inherently bad, and in all our past experiences is on net good for the consumer, even if some competitors do bad things in it’s name. Crazyb0b attempted to say that merit pay would be bad because it would lead to unhealthy competition, and may be one of the people who don’t recognize the existence of healthy competition.

  115. #115 |  el coronado | 

    It must really suck that everyone’s figured out you’re Leon, James old chap. Must eat away at you like starving rats gnawing away at your gut. Burn like fire. Like acid. “How?? HOW can they know so quickly?”, you must be asking yourself right about now, as you rage impotently in mum’s basement.

    There must be SOMEthing you’re doing that gives you away! But what could it be?? Think…think, old boy! What could it *possibly* be???

  116. #116 |  Linda | 

    Illinois cop defending his actions of shooting the chained dog. Claims he did not see the chain. Also claims attack, although the only injury mentioned in the police report is a scraped knee. When I think of “attack” by a full grown German Shepherd, I would think there would be something other than a scraped knee to write about….. http://www.wsiltv.com/news/local/Eldorado-Officer-Defends-Shooting-Dog-171230681.html?m=y&smobile=y

  117. #117 |  AnonymousCoward | 

    What do you mean by teaching just the test? If the collection of X facts/items/concepts/whatever is being tested then what exists outside of X which the teacher must be teaching? And how do you measure if they’re doing that? It’s obvious that the teacher will concentrate on that which has a measurable outcome on the test – why would a rational person spend efforts impoverishing themselves?

    Assuming a teacher comes up with a method which improves their students’ results and doesn’t violate your two prong test, that is to say they’re not killing better teachers, or having kids fall into doorknobs so they’ll learn, or giving them cheat sheets (not that that’s really possible with a well designed test) – what incentive would teachers have to share these methods with other teachers, thereby reducing their own competitive advantage? If the desired outcome is better educated students I think we’d want to incentivize sharing rather than secrecy.

    I think that technology is the answer to at least better serve children – where they’re connected with a teacher that uses a method that works for the student in that subject rather than by locality. That’s definitely a tractable problem.

    The other issue, though, is in creating a culture, both personal and mass, which values learning and education and I don’t really know how that happens.

  118. #118 |  James Hare | 

    Shorter el coronado:
    “I got nothing so I’ll continue with the personal attacks.”

    I have no idea why you immediately assume that. I guess conspiracy theories come easy to you. If I thought there was a reason to challenge your “point” I would do so; however, there’s no there there.

    Ask Balko — he can look at his logs and it will become fairly clear who is posting from where. I do nothing to hide my IP. I’ve posted under this name on this blog and many other blogs. I’ve been posting under my name on a variety of blogs since 2002 and I’m pretty sure anyone with half a brain can recognize my writing style. You’re just bringing down the quality of discussion with your unfounded insinuations that I’m a sockpuppet.

    But personal insults and immaturity are OK when you’re singing with the choir on this site. It’s only when you make contrary statements that a smirking Radley Balko comes out with the banhammer.

  119. #119 |  el coronado | 

    Right on cue and predictable as sunrise, old bean! Well done! OK, that’s *one* thing……

  120. #120 |  Kudos to Radley Balko for: “Stop quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes.” » King High | 

    [...] pretty much fell in love with Huffpo’s Balko for this. Stop quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in defense of your censorious bullshit. In fact, stop [...]

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