Thursday, December 30, 2010

For profit schools

There was an interesting article this week about how the for profit school associations have recently hired a truck-load of lobbyists. Their purpose? To influence, water down or defeat proposed regulations concerning government funding for this category of schools.

Recent investigations have reported that some of these for profit schools are nothing but diploma mills, many with horrible graduation rates and hiring potential. Too many are turning out "graduates" with little skills or knowledge, but with huge student loans. Some of these schools have a reputation for pushing government student loans, promising that students will quickly find good jobs so they can repay the loans.

The investigations also show that for many of these schools, 90% of their revenue comes from government grants and student loans. Think about that! 90% of their revenue. BUT, they don't want any government oversight. It's another case of "give us the money and then go away, so we can do what we want with it."

No dammit! If my tax money is providing their revenue, then I want to know what the hell they are doing. Otherwise, if they don't want any oversight, let them go to Goldman-Sachs, or Bank of America. These people are really good at ignoring where the money goes.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

However you may wish to say it:

Gajan Kristnaskon

Joyeux Noel

Froehliche Weihnachten

Mele Kalikimaka

Buone Feste Natalizie

God Jul

Feliz Natal

Feliz Navidad

Friday, December 17, 2010

Majority Rule

I was always taught that a "majority" was one more than one-half. Since there are 100 Senators, then a majority should be 51.

In our Congress, a majority is required to pass any legislation. But in our Senate, it seems that some different mathematics are in play. There, a majority is 60!

Now let's see if I have this right. The way the Senate calculates this requirement, 50% of 100 +1 = 60.

No wonder things are so totally screwed up. Our Senators, those paragons of virtue, intelligence, morality, fidelity, honesty and integrity cannot do simple math.

Maybe it is time we sent this whole bunch back to school for remedial math, and brought in a new crew. If we do this, then one of the prerequisites to run for the office will be to demonstrate a working knowledge of basic math. There are a lot of other requirements I would like to impose upon any candidate, but I will settle for this as a starting point.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Pity the poor rich

Recently a Republican talking-head stated that we had to extend tax breaks for the upper 2% because this will help reduce our high unemployment. Give me a break! Does this mean that without extension of the tax reductions, the poor rich people will not be able to hire a second maid or augment their landscaping crew? We're talking about taxes on personal income, not on corporations. The jobs we need will come from companies and businesses, not from individual's staff.

The Republicans still seem to be wedded to the totally discredited theory of "trickle-down economics." You know that fallacy: give all the tax breaks to the big corporations, and the benefits will eventually trickle down to the working class. This is partially true, but in our economic environment, the working class will be in China or India.

Actually, in the past 10 years or so, we have seen this trickle-down effect in operation. Unfortunately, it didn't trickle very far--only to the top executives in the US financial sector. I haven't seen these people hiring too many additional housekeeping staff or lawn boys. Instead they all seem to be purchasing beachfront property in the Bahamas. Well, at least it helps the real estate market there.