Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the September 15, 2016 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at
Trinity University

It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.

Babe Ruth, Historic Home Run Hitter
What's sad is to witness what Syria has become because nobody will give up.

And "because they're nonstate actors, it's hard for us to get the satisfaction of [Gen.] MacArthur and the [Japanese] Emperor [Hirohito] meeting and the war officially being over," Obama observed, referencing the end of World War II.
President Barack Obama when asked if the USA of the future will be perpetually engaged in war.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
T.S. Eliot

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
Margaret Wheatley

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
Joseph Campbell

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
George S. Patton

If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there.
Yogi Berra

Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
Henry David Thoreau

One-Tenth of Earth’s Wilderness Destroyed Since 1990s ---

Obama’s Toothless Foreign Policy ---
What foreign leader respects him for anything other than being black?
In fairness no USA presidents since Reagan and Bush Sr. have been respected or admired outside the USA on the day they left office.

Obama Tried and Failed to Buy Foreign Friends
Funding Terrorism: U.S. Reportedly Gave $33 Billion to Iran...In Cash and Gold ---

.Salon: The Iran Deal Is A Disaster–And Obama Is To Blame ---
Jensen Comment
What makes this significant is that Salon is one of the most liberal, anti-capitalist Websites in the world.

House Task Force Confirms: ISIS Threat Was Altered in Intelligence Reports For Political Purposes ---
Jensen Comment
What makes this significant is that the Daily Beast is one of the most liberal, anti-capitalist Websites in the world.

The IRS has discovered more than 1 million Americans whose Social Security numbers were stolen by illegal immigrants, but officials never bothered to tell the taxpayers themselves, the agency’s inspector general said in a withering new report released Tuesday ---
Jensen Comment
Of course a much, much larger number of identities are stolen by American citizens filing phony tax returns for refunds. The IRS never informed me that my identity had been stolen from my electronic 2015 tax return. I probably would've never known had it not been for a small refund that I never received. In fact the IRS to this day never acknowledged that my identity was stolen on my electronic filing. I did, however, get my refund after I sent in a long-delayed second tax return via the USA Post Office. I think that the thief who stole my tax return and got a huge tax refund got it from the security breach at TurboTax in early 2016. I wish all Americans would stick it to the IRS by no longer filing electronic tax returns until the IRS is more forthcoming about when your electronic ID has been stolen.

Can't stuff them back into the bottle
Austria is threatening to sue its neighbour if it doesn't take back migrants

Sweden Is Now Paying Migrants to Leave (after rejecting asylum requests)---
Norway started the trend followed by Germany and now Sweden. Finland exports them quickly to Sweden, and Denmark never let them in in any serious numbers. Paying undocumented immigrants to leave the USA does not work well because it is so easy for them to return in a matter of weeks.

Outrage Over U. Chicago Trigger Warning Letter Shows Power of Political Correctness ---
Bob Jensen's threads on political correctness and freedom of speech---

Visits to malls declined by 50% between 2010 and 2013, according to real estate research firm Cushman & Wakefield. Analysts expect upcoming data will show an even steeper drop in mall traffic ---

A government effort to control the spread of the Zika virus via aerial insecticide spray killed of millions of bees in Dorchester County, South Carolina ---

The FBI admits it “didn’t pursue evidence of potential false statements, obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence,”
WSJ Editorial Board

Corporate Diversity Initiatives Should Include White Men
Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, Harvard Business Review, September 6, 2016

When Losing is Profitable in NYC
A young Queens politico who ran for City Council in 2015 was arrested Tuesday for faking donations to get 6-for-1 matching taxpayer funds for her losing campaign, authorities said. Celia Dosamantes, 25, allegedly forged 32 contribution cards totaling $3,255, then filed the documents with the Campaign Finance Board in an attempt to get matching funds of nearly $19,530 from the city, officials said.

U.S.-controlled companies’ profits equaled 42% of Irish gross domestic product in 2010, quintuple 2004 levels, and in Luxembourg the 2010 figure soared sevenfold since 2004 to 127% of its GDP.
From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on September 8, 2015

Apple: You can have $14.5 billion or jobs, not both ---
The EU does not have the last laugh in it's quest to rip off USA companies
Apple makes a lot of computers Ireland, but there are other choice sites in the world wanting those jobs

The European Commission’s assault on the technology giant (Apple) is wrong
For many, there is no question who is the hero and who the villain in this week’s tax confrontation between Brussels and Apple (see article). Gaming of cross-border tax rules has risen inexorably. Apple, with its abundance of intangible assets, which are easier to play around with, has been one of the cleverest at exploiting the gaps. A bill of €13 billion ($14.5 billion) plus interest, the amount that the European Commission says Ireland must recover from the firm for tax avoidance, would pay for all the country’s health-care budget this year and barely dent Apple’s $230 billion cash mountain.

Economist Magazine

Ireland to join Apple in fight against EU tax ruling ---

Fortune:  Goldman Sachs Bans Employees from Donating to Trump
Jensen Comment
Is this how Big Brother finally ends democracy?
Would there have been more outrage in the media in 2011 if Goldman Sachs banned employees from donating to Barack Obama re-election campaign?
Would there be more outrage if the IRS Director in 2011 banned employees from donating to Mitt Romney?
Do public sector employees have more rights than private sector employees?
Having raised these questions I declare once again that I will never vote for Donald Trump (on my own volition)

One devastating picture of a Wall Street trading floor says it all ---

Libertarian Candidate Gary Johnson Asks on National TV: 'What Is Aleppo?'
Jensen Comment
And we thought in 2007 that Katie Couric's question made Sarah Palin look ignorant.

Arrest Warrant Issued for Green Party Candidate Jill Stein ---
Jensen Comment
This could not have happened at a worse time just as she was building momentum to overtake Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. But she might capture all of the Native American votes across the USA.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigation of Exxon Mobil for climate sins has collapsed due to its own willful dishonesty ---

Not only political legitimacy, but economic stability, may call for more vigorous efforts to maintain income equality in the transition economies
"Inequality and Underground Economics:  Another Failure of the Washington Consensus on Transition Countries," by J. Barkley Rosser, Jr., and Marina Vcherashnaya Rosser,
USF Social Studies Department
Challenge/AMrch-April 2001
http://www.coedu.usf.edu/main/departments/seced/webq/Social Studies/Economics/Kathryn_Whitaker/Journal Articles/inequality_and_underground_economy.pdf

Economic theory is paying increasing attention to a non-observed economy (NOE) and its causes. Recently, a couple of works (Rosser et al., 2000, 2003) have claimed that there is a positive relationship between income inequality and the size of NOE. This supposed relationship is not so clear and deserves in-depth analysis. There is a crucial aspect that has been completely . . .
Jensen Comment
The study of inequality and inequality is greatly complicated by the enormous $2 trillion underground economy in the USA

Robert Shiller's Inequality Confusion Is a Catastrophe for Economists ---
Jensen Comment
Both article have flaws, but these are good for economic debates

We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change’
Three professors jointly teaching a science course at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs
Jensen Comment
The first thing I would challenge is their asserted scientific "fact" that 98% of the world's  scientists by all aspects of climate change hook, line, and sinker!
These politically correct professors also ordered that any student who wanted to challenge the science of climate change should stay out of their online course
Being online it's not possible for doubters to take up class time with questions!
Why is closed mindedness taking over our Academy?
I think we can safely assume these scientists are rotten examples of "scientists"

Because of Earth's dynamic climate, winds and atmospheric pressure systems experience constant change. These fluctuations may affect how our planet rotates on its axis, according to NASA-funded research that used wind and satellite data

The Largest Wind Farm in USA History Just Got the Green Light (with location in Iowa still to be determined)
Jensen Comment
Even larger farms are in the wind for Federal public lands in the west, most notably the windy state of Wyoming

In 1838 before the Civil War, Georgetown University sold off 272 slaves in order to pay its debts, selling all 272 for $115,000 (over $3 million in today’s money). In recent years, the school has faced demands from activists who want it to atone for its actions almost 180 years ago. The school agreed to give them free college education, but that's not enough. They're demanding $1 billion more. (for openers?)
With the free education that comes to over $4 million for each former slave's extended family. It's not clear, however, how closely related a claimant would have to be to share in the 2016 windfall. It's also not clear how claimants can prove their ancestry given the poor birthing and burial record keeping decades for slaves before the Civil War. It's also a fact that many families in Africa were torn apart when their husbands or wives were stolen by slave traders. Should all the decedents in Africa get a cut of Georgetown University's "reconciliation fund?" We could be talking about millions of claimants for this fund since the families of both USA slaves and their African ancestors tended to be very large. I don't think $1 billion is enough. Georgetown University should in fact come up with something closer to $180 billion or $1 billion for each of the 180 years. I also don't think Georgetown has the admissions capacity for possible millions of applicants for the free education offer. It may not be millions, but it could well be many more applicants than Georgetown can possibly admit. I doubt that Georgetown thought this out with accountants and genetics experts before publicizing the offer of free education to "decedents" of those 272 slaves sold for $115,000 dollars. In any case the offer of free education is ripe for fraud.

Colin Kaepernick wore socks depicting police officers as pigs 3 weeks ago, and people are starting to notice ---
Also see Snopes --- http://www.snopes.com/colin-kaepernick-socks/
Jensen Question
Will these become the official socks of the San Francisco 49ers uniforms?
It's one thing to have freedom of expression in the USA and quite another to take advantage of what others have given you like camera coverage on national TV. The same thing happens when a university gives you a course to teach. The AAUP says it's a violation of professionalism in higher education to use a course as your political soap box if what your are preaching is not part of the university's curriculum plan for that course. Of course a lot of professors on the right or left don't listen to the AAUP or their employers on this aspect of professionalism. I suspect some teachers are expounding that police are pigs --- probably not so much in accounting as in anthropology and sociology.

Outspoken San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who last made headlines by refusing to stand during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game, continued to act as a lightning rod for controversy by appearing at a 30 August 2016 press conference wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with photographs of '60s Nation of Islam leader and black power advocate Malcolm X and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro ---

Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic ---
Some of the politically correct adjectives for Donald Trump
Surely there are some more we can think of like insane, crazy, retarded, pimp, whore-monger, Putin-puppet, liar, small-handed, tax dodger, thief,, womanizer, coward, sleazeball, wiggy, Satan, --- keep them coming!
All of the above terms for Trump are now acceptable to use on campus, including all the courses. But they're only acceptable in connection with the name "Trump."

Some of the politically correct adjectives for people who support Donal Trump
Deplorable, Ignorant, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic

Clinton walks back 'deplorables' comment: I 'regret' using the term to describe 'half' of Trump's supporters ---

US patent office employees scammed taxpayers for $18 million ---
Jensen Comment
But since they work for the government they cannot be terminated.

The German government has accused Fiat-Chrysler of building emissions cheating technology into some vehicles, in a letter to the European Commission ---
Jensen Comment
Would the USA government pursue financial penalties on Fiat-Chrysler like it pursued penalties on Volkswagen? Unlike VW, Chrysler would also need a government bailout to survive billion-dollar penalties. The USA government would probably bail out Chrysler once again to avoid all that unemployment.

Secret side deals allow Iran to skirt limits in the nuclear deal ---

Why the Left Hates Mother Teresa of Calcutta ---

Salon: The Iran Deal Is A Disaster–And Obama Is To Blame ---
Jensen Comment
What makes this significant is that Salon is one of the most liberal, anti-capitalist Websites in the world.

Academics often say that the answer to objectionable speech is more speech -- not censorship. But a flier campaign targeting a professor and adviser to Donald Trump at Michigan State University has some questioning the limits of that logic.
Shame on Michigan State University for Bowing to Political Correctness

A Syracuse University professor withdrew an invitation to a New York University professor, who is Israeli, to present his film at an academic conference, saying that his nationality would upset colleagues who favor a boycott of Israeli academe.
Jensen Comment
How does the phrase read about "race, creed, or national origin?"
Shame on Syracuse University for Extreme Political Correctness

Marx’s views were occasionally prescient, often wrong-headed, sometimes repugnant. But they had little in common with what later came to be understood as Marxism ---

Animated map shows the most dangerous countries in the world for tourists ---

Well, the rifleman’s stalking the sick and the lame
Preacherman seeks the same, who’ll get there first is uncertain
Nightsticks and water cannons, tear gas, padlocks
Molotov cocktails and rocks behind every curtain
False-hearted judges dying in the webs that they spin
Only a matter of time ’til night comes steppin’ in

Bob Dylan

A Syracuse University professor withdrew an invitation to a New York University professor, who is Israeli, to present his film at an academic conference, saying that his nationality would upset colleagues who favor a boycott of Israeli academe.
Jensen Comment
Why Israel in general is now supporting Donal Trump ---
That is one of the reasons why it's no longer acceptable to invite Israelis to USA campuses

What happened to the words:
" race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, age, genetic information, military service, or disability?"

But this is not a legal issue!
It's the future of the Academy that's at stake in the hearts and minds of it's faculty and students. I cannot think of a single USA Democratic Party activist who could not speak peacefully at Syracuse University or DePaul University or wherever on a campus.

At the moment it is hard to think of any Republican Party activist who could speak peacefully at Syracuse University or DePaul University or wherever on a campus.
How about Ann Coulter who graduated summa cum laude at Cornell University and became a conservative activist attorney?
There's not campus in the USA where entrances to her talk would not be blocked!

What have we become?
It's not so much the administration that will lead the protests outside where a Republican Activist is invited to speak on campus. It's our closed-minded faculty and students who will block the entrances.

Speakers now have to be politically correct to get invitations to speak on campus.

Philosophy Professor Alan Bloom is correct.
Political correctness is the "Closing of the American Minds"

Allan Bloom's 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind ---

The banning of conservative writers from college campuses but not liberal/progressive writers is an example of just what Allan Bloom was referring to over and over in his classic and frightening book.

The answer is not in the First Amendment of anything about legal rights.
It's about the closing of the academic minds on campus where even an Israeli professor of chemistry, medicine, or accounting wears a Scarlet Letter and must be boycotted for being Israeli.


"The Chicago School of Free Speech," The Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2016 ---


For a change, we come not to bury a college president but to praise him. His name is Robert Zimmer, and nearby the University of Chicago president defends the educational and societal virtues of free speech on college campuses. Let’s hope he wears body armor to the next faculty meeting.

Mr. Zimmer’s public coming out is all the more notable because it appears to be part of a university-wide message. The school’s dean of students, Jay Ellison, has written a letter to incoming freshmen noting that the desire for “safe spaces” from discomfiting speech or ideas will not override the academic community’s interest in rigorous debate.

“Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn, without fear of censorship,” Mr. Ellison wrote for tender millennial ears. “You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.”

This is so refreshing we want to keep going. Mr. Ellison’s letter adds that Chicago’s “commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”

The letter comes with a monograph by dean John Boyer discussing the university’s “history of debate, and even scandal, resulting from our commitment to academic freedom.” Maybe Chicago’s example will inspire spinal infusions at the likes of Rutgers, the University of Missouri, and even the timorous souls at Yale.


Closing Question
If former Chicago Professor Milton Friedman were alive and well enough to speak on the campus of the University of Chicago? Do you think some politically correct professors and students would not turn out in numbers to block the entrance to his speech?

Paul Krugman, however, could speak ever so peacefully on the campus of the University of Chicago.

From Page 380 if Bloom's book

My point is that if conservative speakers had anything substantive to offer they would be in great demand. All I see is rants against Obama, government, public sector employees, unions, poor, minorities, immigrants, multiculturalism, gun control, social security, medicare, medicaid, etc., etc. Despite 30+ years of control of levers of power they are still blaming the Democrats for (often) imaginary ills.

September 11, 2016 message from Paul Williams

In around 1970 the NC Legislature passed the Speaker Ban law which prohibited anyone from speaking on any state university campus who was too left wing for the taste of those who governed the state.  Bill Friday was president at the time (a time when university administrators occasionally had a backbone).  The then student body president, with President Friday's blessing, invited a speaker with known communist sympathies to speak at UNC.  There is a stonewall along Franklin St. that separates the campus from the sidewalk along the street.  The speaker stood on the wall and addressed the students who were amassed on the lawn of the North Quad.  No violation of the law since the speaker was not on campus, but merely spoke to the campus.  The absurdity of the law made visible, it was repealed shortly thereafter. Political correctness is a sword that can cut both ways.

September 11, 2016 reply from Zafar Khan

My point is that if conservative speakers had anything substantive to offer they would be in great demand. All I see is rants against Obama, government, public sector employees, unions, poor, minorities, immigrants, multiculturalism, gun control, social security, medicare, medicaid, etc., etc. Despite 30+ years of control of levers of power they are still blaming the Democrats for (often) imaginary ills.

September 11, 2011 reply from Bob Jensen

You (Paul) correctly point out that the pendulum swung both ways in history. In the 1950s the great fear was the spread of communism and authorities feared communists in the grass roots of campuses. This culminated in the horror of a paranoid named Senator McCarthy. In the McCarthy era campus leaders feared communist agitators.

 The pendulum swung from right to left after communism became less of a threat --- probably beginning with the anti-war protests of the 1960s and carried on with social activism regarding race, environmental protection, etc.    

Political correctness activism changed on campus. In the 1950s the anti-communist fears were more top down resistances. After the 1960s the anti-authority protests became more bottom up resistances.     

 The leftist activism today is in the censorship hearts and minds of the majority of faculty and students on most campuses in the 21st Century. Free speech allowed by administrators is shut down by campus protests of faculty and students.    

Zafar's wrong.
If conservatives had nothing "substantive to say" leftist faculty and students wouldn't care if conservatives spoke freely on campus. But leftist faculty and students are blocking conservatives from voicing opinions on campus, opinions that in the 21st Century are deemed ipso facto not politically correct.   

Alan Bloom calls this the Closing of the American Mind. I call it Closing of the Academic Mind.    

Philosophy Professor Alan Bloom is correct. Political correctness is the "Closing of the American Minds"  

Allan Bloom's 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind ---

The banning of conservative writers from college campuses but not liberal/progressive writers is an example of just what Allan Bloom was referring to over and over in his classic and frightening book.  

From Page 380 if Bloom's book

The (current) university's evident lack of wholeness in an enterprise that clearly demands it cannot help troubling some of its members.  The questions are all there. They only need to be addressed continuously and seriously for liberal learning to exist; for it does not consist so much in answers as in the permanent dialog . . . The matter is still present in the university; it is the form that has vanished. One cannot and should not hope for a general reform. The hope is that the embers do not die out.      

Bloom and a few of us that remain, not Zafar, do not think conservatives have "nothing substantive to say." Unfortunately there are too many activist faculty and students who will block the entrances whenever a conservative is invited to speak on campus.   Years ago I listed to a wonderful debate on campus between William F. Buckley, Jr. versus John Kenneth Galbraith.

Now only Galbraith would be invited to give a one-sided speech. Buckley would be denied an invitation to virtually all USA campuses because ipso facto he's a conservative and cannot possibly have "anything substantive to say."


The Importance Of Being Politically Correct ---

"Colleges mad with political correctness over campus rapes, by George Will, NY Post, June 7, 2014 ---

19 Examples of Political Correctness ---

What States Rely the Most on Federal Aid ---
This may surprise you!

To Whom Does the USA Federal Government Owe Money (the booked obligation of $19+ trillion) ---
The US Debt Clock in Real Time --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/ 
Remember the Jane Fonda Movie called "Rollover" --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rollover_(film)

To Whom Does the USA Federal Government Owe Money (the unbooked obligation of $100 trillion and unknown more in contracted entitlements) ---
The biggest worry of the entitlements obligations is enormous obligation for the future under the Medicare and Medicaid programs that are now deemed totally unsustainable ---

Entitlements are two-thirds of the federal budget. Entitlement spending has grown 100-fold over the past 50 years. Half of all American households now rely on government handouts. When we hear statistics like that, most of us shake our heads and mutter some sort of expletive. That’s because nobody thinks they’re the problem. Nobody ever wants to think they’re the problem. But that’s not the truth. The truth is, as long as we continue to think of the rising entitlement culture in America as someone else’s problem, someone else’s fault, we’ll never truly understand it and we’ll have absolutely zero chance...
Steve Tobak ---

"These Slides Show Why We Have Such A Huge Budget Deficit And Why Taxes Need To Go Up," by Rob Wile, Business Insider, April 27, 2013 ---
This is a slide show based on a presentation by a Harvard Economics Professor.

Peter G. Peterson Website on Deficit/Debt Solutions ---

Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Entitlements.htm

Bob Jensen's health care messaging updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm

USA Income Taxes Are Very Progressive

Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff:  USA Taxes are Very Progressive ---

The USA tax code is highly progressive with the top 50% of taxpayers paying 97.2% of the income tax collected in 2013 ---

In 2013, the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers (those with AGIs below $36,841) earned 11.49 percent of total AGI. This group of taxpayers paid approximately $34 billion in taxes, or 2.78 percent of all income taxes in 2013.

What is really misleading is all of this is that an estimated $2 trillion (USA Today very rough estimate) unreported on tax returns from the underground economy, and much of that income goes to the low-end of income spectrum for house cleaners, child care workers, prostitutes, construction workers, landscapers, yard workers, farm hands, etc. Of course some high earners also share in the underground economy

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) ---

And the lowest 40% of taxpayers do very well when Federal transfers are added to their incomes ---

At a cost of $56 billion in 2013, the EITC is the third-largest social welfare program in the United States after Medicaid ($275 billion federal and $127 billion state expenditures) and food stamps ($78 billion).[31] Almost 27 million American households received more than $56 billion in payments through the EITC in 2010. These EITC dollars had a significant impact on the lives and communities of the nation's lowest-paid working people largely repaying any payroll taxes they may have paid. The Census Bureau, using an alternative calculation of poverty, found that EITC lifted 5.4 million

Denominator Effect --- the impact of outlier (large and small) denominators when averages are computed

American public schools receive on average about 9% of their revenue from federal sources, 47% from state sources, and 45% from local sources
School Districts Spending the Most

Jensen Comment
The USA school districts spending the most tend to be up to their necks in oil and gas revenue in Alaska, but this is changing due to falling oil prices.

High valued property districts in New York rank high, in part, because New York does not set limits on how much rich districts can spend per pupil. However, the rankings regarding which districts spend the most is greatly impacted by a "denominator effect" where they rank high to a great deal because they have so few students. The joke in Vermont is that some school districts have more school board members than students. Remember that the entire State of Vermont only has about a half million people.

The "denominator effect" is illustrated most dramatically by a very small (among the many small) school districts in Vermont ---

8. Rivendell Interstate School District, Vermont
> District spending per pupil: $33,975
> State spending per pupil: $16,988
> Median household income: $58,317
> Enrollment: 277 (all grades)

Rivendell is the only school district outside of Alaska and New York to rank among the 10 biggest per pupil spenders. The district serves students from both Vermont and New Hampshire and spends nearly $34,000 per pupil each year. However, due to recently passed legislation designed to make Vermont’s many small and disparate school districts more efficient, Rivendell will not likely remain among the top spenders for long. In 2015, the state enacted legislation known as Act 46, which stipulates that districts with less than 900 students must merge administrations with other similarly small districts. Though Rivendell is exempt from the law because it is an interstate district, there are many strong financial incentives for it to partner up with other districts.

A morally just world would have no pets, no aquaria, no zoos. No fields of sheep, no barns of cows. That’s true animal rights
The Case Against Pets and Livestock

Jensen Comment
The question is whether it's best to let some species become extinct rather than protecting them in confinement. Some species like cats and other animals that can survive in feral states would not soon become extinct, although in New Zealand at the moment all wild animals that kill birds are being wiped out, including feral cats and weasels. Eventually decisions like that would have to be made as to what species to make extinct to protect other species in the wild.

There are many animals that cannot survive in feral states unless they are somehow protected in the wild. Some horses can survive in the wild if you keep horse predators out of their environment. But can sheep and and toy poodles and slow lumbering draft horses survive in a wild state. Toy poodles would be wiped out by predators.

Draft horses and some other traditionally domestic animals probably could not find enough food in the wild for survival. We could transport draft horses to where elephants roam, but elephants are running out of food. What do you want to become extinct --- elephants or draft horses?

Milk cows do not have a chance in the wild.

In my opinion this is a very naive article, that and masochistic.

Bloomberg:  Why They Did It: Madoff and Enron’s Fastow Explain the Biggest Frauds in U.S. History ---
Jensen Comment
When con artists explain why they committed fraud can you believe them?
Con artists are so convincing even when they are lying?

Early Labor Market and Debt Outcomes for Bachelor's Degree Recipients (PDF) ---

Thanks in large part to Obama policies, only 37% of student borrowers are paying down their student loans ---

How to Mislead With Statistics:  What did Bill Clinton do to earn $17.6 million from Laureate University over a five year appointment?

A (WSJ) Journal editorial has a tale of two for-profit colleges, one that paid Bill Clinton $17.6 million and one that did not. Guess which one was allowed to stay in business Technical Institute shut down Tuesday under government pressure while Laureate International Universities, which retained Mr. Clinton as its “honorary chancellor,” lives on. The editorial board notes that the Obama Administration’s College Scorecard shows Laureate’s five U.S. campuses have graduation rates comparable to ITT’s, but with higher student debt levels.
WSJ Newsletter on September 7, 2016

Jensen Comment
This illustrates how to mislead by cherry picking comparison items. Laureate is among various for-profit universities that is surviving thus far, and ITT is among among various for-profits that have or soon will go down the tube. To cherry pick a loser after the fact to compare with one that is still viable is absurd in the context of the above WSJ references.

A more important question to ask is what did Bill Clinton bring to Laureate to justify hi $17.5 million compensation.
About all I can figure is that it was not his time or his expertise in education leadership that justify such an enormous amount of compensation. What he brought is his name that, for any living USA ex-President, lends some legitimacy to a business, charity, or other organization --- especially on the international scene. Among the living USA ex-Presidents Jimmy Carter's name and George Bush Sr.'s name are probably the most most reputable. George W. Bush would be a less reputable name among liberals and progressives.

Bill Clinton's name is badly tarnished by his disbarment in Arkansas and the USA Supreme Court plus the nearly $1 million in fines and settlements ---

Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings marred his reputation, and most of all, in my viewpoint, the most damaging blots on his reputation were the scandalous pardons he sold to criminals on his way out of the White House ---

But on the international scene where Laureate International Universities operate the name "President Bill Clinton" still lends legitimacy to an organization, although I suspect the name Jimmy Carter is even more valuable.  Republicans might also conjecture that Bill Clinton's wife, as the USA Secretary of State, was probably doing favors for Laureate but I'm inclined to doubt that the favors, if any, were all that scandalous.

Would Bill Clinton have given his name to ITT for $17.6 million?
We can only speculate on this. Certainly the illegal activities of ITT were known to the Department of Education for years before they came to a head in 2016. If Bill Clinton asked the Department of Education probably would have shared what they knew with him in confidence. My guess is he would have learned ITT was a hot potato. Bill Clinton's admirers would certainly give him the benefit of the doubt when speculating about acceptance or rejection of millions from ITT. Bill Clinton's detractors would claim he'll do anything if the price is right. But all of this is pure speculation, and we will never know.

In any case the WSJ references cited above are misleading.

North Carolina has no shortage of higher education issues, but its gubernatorial candidates haven't been talking about them -- reflecting races across the country ---
Jensen Comment
Many states are facing declines in subsidizing state-supported universities, but every state seems to be unique in both the severity of budget cuts and the complexities of state subsidies and tuition. NC seems to be particularly complex and political. In other states like Illinois the cuts in state support are much more drastic to a point where some universities are letting both faculty and staff go in scary numbers.

There's too much focus on some issues in North Carolina that, in my opinion, detract from the pressing issues now for financial support of universities. The bathroom issues in NC combined with the 20 years of egregious academic cheating the UNC become smoke screens that allow gubernatorial candidates to ignore contentious budget issues.

Health and Human Services (HHS) in North Carolina have exploded takes up nearly 50% of the state's budget and crowds out other funding needs
Take the 2015 annual report on North Carolina as another example of elephants. Out of total expenditures of $40.8 billion, the largest single expenditures were HHS at $18.7 billion and K-12 education at $10.2 billion. Higher education expenditures in N.C. shrunk to $3.8 billion. It's very hard to make higher education a priority in the face of rising health and human service expenses for which there is now almost no discretion in North Carolina or any other state ---

The Elephants that Crowded Out Higher Education in State Budgets

It's time acknowledge the change in state budgeting priorities. Decades ago education was consistently the top priority of spending among the 50 states of the USA. Then legislation of the 1960s (think Medicaid as a major growth item) led elephants into the budgeting process followed by such things as food stamps, subsidized housing, welfare, pre-schooling, and the like now classified under Health and Human Services (HHS) . HHS budgets all important things that needed to be funded. But in the public sector they became elephants that commenced to crowd out previous priorities like education, especially higher education ---
As an example, I know a math professor's son (in Texas) and my cousin's grandson (in Iowa) who were turned over to these states for lifetime support in state-funded housing because of autism. Before the 1960s most of these afflicted children would have remained at home for lifetime care. The Federal government now pays some of their disability support but the states of Texas and Iowa pick up the rest of the tab. Their parents and grandparents pay nothing aside from taxation.

Medicaid Budgets by State in 2014 ---

At the Federal level military spending (aside from pensions and veterans benefits) shrunk in priority in favor of heath and human services to where healthcare spending is now 25% of the Federal Budget and Social Security is 24% while the Defense Department is down to 16% (with a shrinking portion that is discretionary) ---

Dealing with these elephants of HHS has varied greatly among the states. North Carolina and some other states let the HHS elephants stomp all over higher education. Interestingly the red states seem to have maintained higher education proportions of their budgets than in many of the blue states. One state in very bad shape at the moment is Illinois where cuts in state support of higher education were drastic. But then again Illinois is a classic case of pension mismanagement and government fraud, including signing up half it the Medicaid enrollees who were not even eligible for Illinois Medicaid. Illinois is the classic case of fiscal mismanagement and fraud --- where three recent governors went to prison.

Take the 2015 annual report on North Carolina as another example of elephants. Out of total expenditures of $40.8 billion, the largest single expenditures were HHS at $18.7 billion and K-12 education at $10.2 billion. Higher education expenditures in N.C. shrunk to $3.8 billion. It's very hard to make higher education a priority in the face of rising health and human service expenses for which there is now almost no discretion in North Carolina or any other state ---

From State Data Lab --- http://www.statedatalab.org/state_data_and_comparisons/detail/north-carolina

2014 Data (Released 03/11/2015)

North Carolina owes more than it owns
At -$8,400, North Carolina's “Taxpayer's Burden” ranks 28th out of the 50 states
North Carolina is among 39 “Sinkhole States” without enough assets to cover its debt
Elected officials have created a Taxpayer Burden, which is each taxpayer's share of state bills after its assets available have been tapped
TIA's Taxpayer Burden measurement incorporates both assets and liabilities, not just pension debt
North Carolina has only $24.4 billion of assets available to pay bills totaling $47.7 billion
To fill the $23.3 billion financial hole each North Carolina taxpayer would have to send $8,400 to the state
The state's financial report was released 155 days after its fiscal year end, which is considered timely according to the 180 day goal

New Jersey is in the worst shape followed closely by Connecticut ---
New Jersey is probably the only state praying for the largest hurricane in the history of the world --- thinking ahead to a record setting bailout!

Wyoming's Wild Ride Amidst Fallen Oil Revenues ---

. . .

Here’s what the budget crunch looks like: the combined operating budget for the University of Wyoming and UW Medical Education was set to be $567.5 million in the 2017 fiscal year, down from $572.8 million the year before. General fund money from the state was to total $218.3 million, down from $245.5 million. UW Medical Education includes a program that has medical students starting in Wyoming and finishing their education at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle. It also includes two medicine residency programs in Casper and Cheyenne, Wyo.

Those budget numbers include the effects of a two-year, $7 million reduction the Legislature mandated in 2016. They do not include, however, a request from Wyoming’s governor to cut over $30 million more in the current two-year budget cycle. The two reductions together left the university searching for ways to compensate for the loss of $41 million in state funding over the two-year period.

Nichols, who started at the university in May after winning the president’s job in December, responded to the crunch by declaring a financial crisis and calling for a budget reduction of about $19 million for the current fiscal year. She also said the university will need to find $15 million more in cuts for next year.

The university has met its reduction targets for this year, Nichols said in an interview Thursday. It did so by eliminating vacant positions and offering early retirements. The university also changed part-time employees’ schedules to avoid paying some benefit costs. Faculty members were asked to teach more as well.

In total, the university has eliminated more than 200 positions from its employment rolls, which currently hold approximately 3,000 people, Nichols said. Many of the departures were staff members. The university has about 820 faculty members, down from 850 before the cuts, she said.

Continued in article

Another Obama Broken Promise
An Internet Giveaway to the U.N.:  If the U.S. abdicates internet stewardship (on Sept. 30), the United Nations might take control

When the Obama administration announced its plan to give up U.S. protection of the internet, it promised the United Nations would never take control. But because of the administration’s naiveté or arrogance, U.N. control is the likely result if the U.S. gives up internet stewardship as planned at midnight on Sept. 30.

On Friday Americans for Limited Government received a response to its Freedom of Information Act request for “all records relating to legal and policy analysis . . . concerning antitrust issues for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” if the U.S. gives up oversight. The administration replied it had “conducted a thorough search for responsive records within its possession and control and found no records responsive to your request.”

It’s shocking the administration admits it has no plan for how Icann retains its antitrust exemption. The reason Icann can operate the entire World Wide Web root zone is that it has the status of a legal monopolist, stemming from its contract with the Commerce Department that makes Icann an “instrumentality” of government.

Antitrust rules don’t apply to governments or organizations operating under government control. In a 1999 case, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the monopoly on internet domains because the Commerce Department had set “explicit terms” of the contract relating to the “government’s policies regarding the proper administration” of the domain system.

Without the U.S. contract, Icann would seek to be overseen by another governmental group so as to keep its antitrust exemption. Authoritarian regimes have already proposed Icann become part of the U.N. to make it easier for them to censor the internet globally. So much for the Obama pledge that the U.S. would never be replaced by a “government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.”

Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, called it “simply stunning” that the “politically blinded Obama administration missed the obvious point that Icann loses its antitrust shield should the government relinquish control.”

The administration might not have considered the antitrust issue, which would have been naive. Or perhaps in its arrogance the administration knew all along Icann would lose its antitrust immunity and look to the U.N. as an alternative. Congress could have voted to give Icann an antitrust exemption, but the internet giveaway plan is too flawed for legislative approval.

As the administration spent the past two years preparing to give up the contract with Icann, it also stopped actively overseeing the group. That allowed Icann to abuse its monopoly over internet domains, which earns it hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Earlier this month, an independent review within Icann called the organization “simply not credible” in how it handled the application for the .inc, .llc and .llp domains. The independent review found Icann staffers were “intimately involved” in evaluating their own work. A company called Dot Registry had worked with officials of U.S. states to create a system ensuring anyone using these Web addresses was a legitimate registered company. Icann rejected Dot Registry’s application as a community, which would have resulted in lowered fees to Icann.

Delaware’s secretary of state objected: “Legitimate policy concerns have been systematically brushed to the curb by Icann staffers well-skilled at manufacturing bureaucratic processes to disguise pre-determined decisions.” Dot Registry’s lawyer, Arif Ali of the Dechert firm, told me last week his experience made clear “Icann is not ready to govern itself.”

Icann also refuses to award the .gay domain to community groups representing gay people around the world. Icann’s ombudsman recently urged his group to “put an end to this long and difficult issue” by granting the domain. Icann prefers to earn larger fees by putting the .gay domain up for auction among for-profit domain companies.

And Icann rejects the community application for the .cpa domain made by the American Institute of CPAs, which along with other accounting groups argues consumers should expect the .cpa address only to be used by legitimate accountants, not by the highest bidder. An AICPA spokesman told me he has a pile of paperwork three feet high on the five-year quest for the .cpa domain. The professional group objected in a recent appeal: “The process seems skewed toward a financial outcome that benefits Icann itself.”

Continued in article

Free College? Why Clinton’s Plan Won’t Work ---

Many states wouldn’t be able to generate the billions of dollars needed to match federal grants.

Hillary Clinton, buckling to pressure from her left, recently proposed tuition-free college education. Students who attend in-state public colleges and universities, and whose families have incomes less than $85,000 a year, would qualify for varying levels of assistance. This threshold would rise to $125,000 by 2021. The students would have to work 10 hours a week. Federal grants, matched by state contributions, would finance the program. Estimates of the cost to the federal government over 10 years range from $350 billion to $700 billion.

Though the proposal is still only an outline and lacks important details, it already has at least five serious deficiencies that make it infeasible.

Because more than a few states will likely choose not to participate, the proposal offers false hope to millions of future students. Tuition at public colleges and universities has escalated in large part because state legislatures have chosen to shift more of the tuition burden from taxpayers to students and their families.

Under the Clinton plan, states would have to make a policy U-turn. This politically difficult decision would be even harder for financially strapped states. Many legislatures would find it nearly impossible to generate the billions of dollars needed to match federal grants.

The proposal excludes tens of thousands of students of equal need who are ineligible because they attend private colleges. This number could grow, as needy students are crowded out of public colleges by an influx of applications from well-off students who otherwise would have attended private universities.

In providing tuition assistance only to students attending public universities, the proposal would seriously weaken the financial and academic strength of most private universities. A few wealthy universities such as Harvard, Princeton and Yale could use their large endowments to offer tuition assistance equal to the assistance under the Clinton plan. Yet most universities lack the resources to do so. They would receive fewer applications, and some would inevitably close.

Students who attend universities that are large relative to their local communities—such as Penn State in rural Pennsylvania—would not find the employment necessary to fulfill the part-time-job requirement.

The proposal only tangentially addresses costs. It says participating institutions should try to do something about costs but includes no specific cost-control requirement. It suggests that universities could use technology to lower the costs of instruction, but many schools have been doing this for years. It would be more effective to require colleges to rein in salaries and administrative costs.

In striking only a glancing blow at the cost structure of higher education, the proposal simply shifts the burden of these costs onto taxpayers. Including the added administrative expenses for participating universities and the state and federal governments, the program as proposed would actually increase the cost of a college education.

Mrs. Clinton’s plan also ignores that more attention to the K-12 years can reduce college costs. The president of Bard College, Leon Botstein, suggested in his 1997 book, “ Jefferson’s Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture,” that the final two years of K-12 could be eliminated in favor of an early college system. Even with a less-radical proposal, college courses could still be introduced into the high-school curriculum.

The foundation for such a shift has already been laid through Advanced Placement courses, which enable high-school students to reduce their college course requirements if they pass these courses with high grades.

The Clinton higher-education proposal, given its myriad flaws, is currently unworkable. A much more broadly framed debate, producing more serious proposals, will be needed to address the rising costs of post-high-school education that so many families face.

Mr. Grigsby is emeritus professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania.


The Wonders of Renewable Energy from the Sun and Wind

Proponents of solar energy often ignore (leave out) the some of the more obvious dangers of solar "farm" construction. The other day Erika and I were driving in Vermont and saw a really ugly large field totally covered with solar panels. The first thing I thought of was snow. Here in New Hampshire and Vermont it's not uncommon to get over 6-10 feet of snow accumulation in the winter. At what snow depth do solar panels cease working? I suppose they can be made to melt snow, but this type of heat could be dangerous from an ecology standpoint over an entire field. And this field that produced some type of crop for over 100 years now lies barren of vegetation ---
Solar Energy Development Environmental Considerations ----
Also see http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/03/business/la-fi-green-safety-20110803

It's not uncommon these days to see entire roofs on apartment buildings covered with solar panels. It makes me question the safety of living in the top apartments where every inch of floor space is within 10-15 feet of solar panels that are breaking electrons into atoms under the powerful energy of the sun. A great deal of thought has been given to fire hazards of solar panels and their batteries, but what about living 24/7 under electricity generation? I find very little written about this potential safety risk? Perhaps it's a dumb question.

Because of Earth's dynamic climate, winds and atmospheric pressure systems experience constant change. These fluctuations may affect how our planet rotates on its axis, according to NASA-funded research that used wind and satellite data

The Largest Wind Farm in USA History Just Got the Green Light (with location in Iowa still to be determined)
Jensen Comment
Even larger farms are in the wind for Federal public lands in the west, most notably the windy state of Wyoming

The destruction of birds is an enormous risk of wind farms is not a dumb question?

The last seven years may have diluted that patriotic sentiment. Yet, square our national veneration of the bald eagle with a federal rule to allow the rotor blades of wind turbines to butcher 4,200 bald eagles per year for thirty years—four times the previous limit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), an agency legally bound to protect wildlife and with no jurisdiction over energy, stated that the rule’s purpose was to help spur more renewable (wind power) installations.

That's ignoring the kill of millions of other types of birds. Who cares about birds? Except for the ones grown in containment buildings to eat they're of no importance compared to our six foot television screens

My hope is that hydrogen cells will one day be cheap enough using ocean water to replace the solar, windmill, coal, gas, and nuclear power generating plants across the USA to say nothing about the tearing down of all those ugly power lines and their towers. Let's kill them all so we can cheaply watch Colin Kaepernick sitting out entire games --- distracting us from how poorly he now plays football.

By the way CBS News reported last night that his jersey is the biggest seller among all NFL jerseys for sale in the world. Businesses will now customize them by writing "Butcher the Pigs" on the back.

The Asian American Coalition for Education lodged a complaint with Department of Education last Wednesday, accusing Cornell and Columbia University of discriminating against an Asian student in the admissions process ---

Jensen Comment
Asian Americans constitute 4.8% of the USA population making them a clear minority. Black Americans constitute 12.2%. Hispanic and Latinos constitute 16.3%. Native Americans now constitute less than 1% ---

Of course it's possible to be prejudiced in admissions even if your admission profile looks good relative to the above percentages. For example, if a significant number of Asian Americans who are rejected have much better admission credentials than other races accepted into the university then there's some merit to the complaint of racial discrimination. There are long-standing complaints that some prestigious universities like Harvard that's chronically accused of discrimination against Asian Americans.

One defense of the universities is there are relatively so few applicants among races other than White and Asian Americans. The universities contend that they want a more suitable racial balance in each graduating class. This often entails acceptance of some students with weaker admission credentials relative to rejections of those with better credentials other than race.

One counter complaint is that by lowering the admissions bar too far for some races you're offering false hopes of graduation. I've seen anecdotal evidence that this complaint is real just as it is most definitely real when lowering the admissions bar for top athletes of all races who often have miserable graduation rates.

There are no easy answers when resources like classroom space, dorm space, and financial aid dollars are limited relative to the total number of applicants. Courts and regulators are usually hesitant to go against the defense of a university in affirmative action cases. Universities are in trouble if there's evidence of discrimination against top applicants of color.

Jensen Comment
When reading the article below keep in mind that the recent auto bailout of GM and Chrysler entailed screwing somebody. The investors who got screwed the most were shareholders who got zero in the bailout, including all those Chrysler employees who were once awarded a lot of shares in Chrysler.  Those shares in the "old GM" and the "old Chrysler" became wall paper. The investors who got screwed almost as bad were creditors who were forced to accept pennies on the dollar in what they loaned to GM and Chrysler. Autoworkers also got screwed by having to accept much lower wages, although some would argue that previous wage levels were union-distorted relative to skills of required for their jobs and supplies of qualified workers who would do those jobs for much lower wages. The Federal government also got screwed to the extent that taxpayers who lost money on bond investments could write their capital losses off against capital gains on their tax returns.

In the Detroit public school solution below, those that get screwed the most are tax-exempt bond holders who previously loaned money to Detroit schools for its huge infrastructure of buildings, athletic fields, etc. and other district needs funded by borrowing. This type of reneging on debt can be a disaster in any type of bankruptcy, because when you try to borrow money in the future from the same lenders it's like going back to the well for water that your previously poisoned.

That's why in most bankruptcies the debt is restructured so as to give creditors more satisfaction than you give to shareholders who knew they were accepting bankruptcy risks more than creditors.

One can argue that the Federal government should bailout Detroit's public schools like the Federal government bailed out some (not all) Wall Street Banks in deep trouble after the latest real estate bubble burst. But there's a huge difference. The bailed out banks in a short time repaid the Federal government in full plus interest in some cases. Detroit's bailed out schools would not repay any Federal government bailout funds.

There's also another enormous problem with having the Federal government bail out Detroit's schools?
Then what about Chicago's lousy schools and every other troubled school in the 39 USA states on the verge of bankruptcy among the 50 states ---


But public school advocates worry that the legislation does nothing to ensure that DPS will be able to provide quality education in the long term to compete with the growing number of charter schools throughout Detroit. Some even argue that lawmakers may have opened the door to an all-charter system—and potentially the end of the Detroit public schools altogether.
"Inside Detroit’s Radical Experiment to Save Its Public Schools," by Josh Sanburn, Time Magazine, September 6, 2016 ---

An unprecedented idea may help stabilize the city's public schools—or signal their demise

When Detroit students return to school on Sept. 6, the rodents and mold found in classrooms last year will be all but gone. Cracked windows will be repaired. Collapsed ceilings patched up. Chipped paint removed. Last year, not a single Detroit public school complied with the city’s public health and safety codes, one reason teachers protested with widespread sick-outs that temporarily crippled the system. This year, 92% of schools are in full compliance.

The most significant changes for the country’s most challenged big-city school system, however, will be right beneath the surface. Beyond cleaned-up classrooms, Detroit’s students will return to a brand-new district altogether—one that isn’t saddled with mountains of debt. This new district is the result of a radical idea: that ailing public entities such as school systems could be overhauled like a bankrupt business.

In June, Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed a sweeping education package to provide financial support for Detroit’s public schools modeled on the 2009 restructuring of General Motors. The legislation left the old district behind as a shell to pay down $515 million in operating debt, similar to GM’s Chapter 11 that created an “old” and “new” General Motors, with the aim of restructuring a public school system that was all but bankrupt. Millions of dollars were allocated to repair the district’s aging facilities, and the legislation allowed the schools—which include some of the nation’s worst and have been under state-run emergency management since 2009—to return to a locally run school board. “DPS is fiscally sound now,” says John Walsh, Gov. Snyder’s director of strategy. Snyder’s use of state-appointed emergency managers has been widely scrutinized since the water crisis in Flint, where lead leeched into the municipal water supply while the city’s finances were being overseen by the state. The water crisis raised questions about Snyder’s reliance on state managers to step in and fix local issues.

The unprecedented experiment is being closely watched by other struggling urban public school systems around the U.S. “There are quite a number of districts that are ending up on the brink of bankruptcy,” says Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research organization at the University of Washington that supports charter schools. “There’s a lot of attention on Detroit.”

But public school advocates worry that the legislation does nothing to ensure that DPS will be able to provide quality education in the long term to compete with the growing number of charter schools throughout Detroit. Some even argue that lawmakers may have opened the door to an all-charter system—and potentially the end of the Detroit public schools altogether.

Hitting Bottom

The rise and fall of Detroit’s schools mirrors the city itself, which once had one of the biggest school districts in the country, hitting peak enrollment in 1966 at 299,962 students. But the decline of Detroit’s automobile industry brought a dramatic, decades-long population slide for the city and its schools, with white residents especially leaving the city for the suburbs.

In 1994, Michigan legislators passed Proposal A, which shifted education funding from local property taxes to state taxes in an effort designed to equalize the quality of the state’s schools across affluent and low-income areas. The New York Times called it “the nation’s most dramatic shift in a century in the way public schools are financed.” The state tied funding directly to enrollment, meaning the more students a district had, the more money it would get. Proposal A also ushered in the city’s first charter schools, which would get state funding but operate independently of existing school districts, something so dramatic TIME put the realignment on its cover in October 1994 under the headline: “New Hope for Public Schools.” The population in Detroit, however, kept falling, and the district had difficulty adjusting to the annual loss of students and routinely budgeted for more students than actually enrolled.

As funding declined, the district was constricted across the board. Facilities weren’t properly maintained. Teachers were let go. Class offerings were cut. And parents increasingly opted for charter schools, leading to further DPS enrollment cuts. Over the last 25 years, Detroit’s population has declined by 34%, but public school enrollment has gone down 73%, and by 2012, charter schools were educating more students in Detroit than public schools. The school district now has fewer than 50,000 students. Academic performance, meanwhile, has plummeted. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, just 5% of Detroit’s fourth-graders were proficient in math in 2015 compared to 34% statewide; 6% were proficient in reading compared to 29% across Michigan. By most measures, DPS is the worst-performing urban school district in the state.

Students like Imani Harris have experienced DPS’s problems up close. Two weeks into the fall semester last year, her English teacher at Renaissance High School quit and the school couldn’t find a qualified permanent replacement, leaving the 10th-grade English class to lumber along for months with a series of rotating substitutes. “It wasn’t really a class. I wasn’t learning any English,” Harris says. “A lot of times, I just did other homework. There was a lot of anger because we were promised we were going to get a real teacher.”

Contributing to Detroit’s problems is a tangled web of a dozen authorizers that determine where charter schools can open or close. Many of those authorizers are public universities and community colleges that often don’t work together to plan comprehensively, which can create chaotic situations in some neighborhoods. According to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s office, 80% of Detroit’s public and charter schools have opened or closed in the last seven years.

“It’s the Wild West,” says David Arsen, an education policy professor at Michigan State University. “There’s nothing like it in the country. Charters are giving out computers and sneakers just to get the kid in the door. National advocates for charters are looking at Detroit and saying, ‘Don’t do it that way.’”

In January, DPS’s teachers began protesting the district’s deteriorating conditions by calling in sick en masse. In May, so many teachers held “sick-outs” that they effectively closed 94 of the city’s 97 public schools.

A New Start?

That same month, the Michigan legislature passed a series of bills that amounted to a bailout of the district. Lawmakers gave $617 million to Detroit’s public schools—$450 million to help retire the district’s debt and $150 million in transition costs to create a new district. Proponents say the measures allow the district to start fresh while returning the schools to local control under an elected school board rather than state-appointed emergency managers, who had been in charge for the past seven years. “We wiped their slate clean,” says Jeff Farrington, a Republican in the Michigan House.

DPS officials, however, say the amount of money for transition costs is nowhere near what they need. Alycia Meriweather, the DPS’s interim superintendent, says that $105 million of the $150 million allocated to help get the new district up and running is already earmarked for financial obligations from the old district while only $5 million is available for repairing school facilities. While Detroit will be able to spend all of the $7,400 that is allocated per student on actual education costs this year—as opposed to last year, when $1,100 of that funding per student went to pay the district’s debt—the district still has needs that won’t be met, including at least eight schools that still need facility upgrades.

“People need to have clear expectations on what can be done with the money that’s been allocated,” Meriweather said.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Note that contrary to naive opinion, charter schools are not for-profit private sector operations. They are taxpayer-funded public sector schools especially legislated to have selective admission standards, often students of all races who have higher scholastic ability. This is why the phrase "all-charter-system" above confuses me. Charter schools are controversial in usually because they often do not admit children with special learning needs. And they can fire bad teachers and teachers who are chronically late or absent because their teachers as a rule are not in protective teacher unions.

Personally I don't think charter schools are the answer to Detroit's public school system problem except possibly for the top 10% of the more gifted students who who would be held back by having to be mixed among the masses in Detroit's public schools.

I think the answer probably lies with relying upon the State of Michigan to both fund this new initiative and to negotiate the bad things out of teachers' unions such as making it easier to fire bad teachers and teachers who are chronically late or absent. The worst teachers in the old Detroit system should not be rehired. And to get back into the municipal bond market the State of Michigan will probably have to co-sign district borrowings for a time.

The good news is that the State of Michigan, unlike Illinois, is on a roll at the moment with economic growth.

"Questioning Claims That Are Too Good to Be True," by Karen Firestone, Harvard Business Review Blog, September 7, 2016 ---

Jensen Comment
The real challenge in financial auditing is often discoveries of falsehoods that lie outside the scope of the audit and what the auditors assert in the audit report to financial statements. What is their professional and ethical obligation to not ignore falsehoods that legally are "none of their business?"

This also seems to have been the dilemma of the FBI's investigation of the Clinton emails.

The FBI admits it “didn’t pursue evidence of potential false statements, obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence,”
WSJ Editorial Board

Jensen Comment
In some ways FBI pursuit of false statements is unjust if there is not also FBI pursuit of Trump false statements.

My point here is that questioning falsehoods is not as simple as what we read in ethics cases and textbooks and learn in law schools and accounting schools and journalism schools.


How to Lie With Article Titles and Statistics

High-School Grades Still Count Most in College Admissions ---

Jensen Comment
Firstly the title of the article above is misleading. This phrase "counts most" is not quite what is claimed in the cited study.

Secondly, in things like acceptance of a college applicant, acceptance of a marriage proposal, acceptance of a job candidate, etc. there is seldom any criterion that is "most important" in every instance. For example, ic acceptance of a college applicant a SAT score is probably most important in cases where the SAT score is almost perfect. It may be of much lesser importance where it is very low and other criteria take on greater importance such as race, gender, and high school grades.

The most common practice, in my viewpoint, is to have acceptable ranges of criteria where outliers are sometimes rejected outright or accepted outright. Looks may not be the most important criterion, but grossly obese teens are almost certainly going to have more trouble getting dates to the prom, marriage proposals, jobs, etc. SAT scores may not be the most important criterion for college admission, but a 100 GMAT score is likely not to be acceptable for admission to a doctoral program except in a for-profit university.

Criteria also interact. An ugly guy (think John Candy)  is more likely to get a date if he's one of the most popular Hollywood stars. Nurses are not attracted to obese hospital dish washers but top surgeons in the hospital are another matter entirely.

Having said this, grades in high school are important for admission to colleges that also reject applicants, because grades are the major evidence available of scholastic motivation. However, grades per se may not be as important at trends in grades. A student who got all F grades in the 10th grade gets a second look if she/he had straight A grades all three years thereafter. The same can be said for a student who got all A grades in the 10th grade and all C grades for the next two years


The hardest thing about making grades "count the most" if college admission is the phenomenon of grade inflation over the past four decades. Applicants to Stanford nearly all are nearly straight-A students. How do you make "grades count the most" if you're only allowed to accept 5% oif the applicants? Stanford, Harvard, etc. claim that the most important criterion when comparing straight-A students is uniqueness that in most instances entails other talents such as exceptional competitive talent (athletics, music, theatre, ballet, writing, etc.) or public service such as 1,000+ hours of community service helping disabled children in Africa. Top schools are also seeking balance graduating classes. A top applicant from Tibet or Somalia may win out over a top applicant to Stanford from Palo Alto High School.

Anti-Trust Lawsuit Outcome:  Killing Off Hundreds of Thousands of American Cows to Keep Milk Prices High ---


Finding and Using Health Statistics --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/nichsr/usestats/index.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics and databases ---

Medicare Fraud is Rampant ---


The government just announced some big changes to try to fix Obamacare ---

The government is offering some ideas to try to fix the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law known as Obamacare, amid a series of missteps that have befallen President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement.

With Obamacare having being dogged by negative news over the past few weeks — as major insurers have pulled out of some public exchanges and regulators have said the exchanges are "near collapse" the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, proposed a series of changes on Monday to try to correct some of the exchange issues.

CMS, the division of the US Department of Health and Human Services that oversees the exchanges, proposed tweaks that would make it less risky for insurers in the marketplace to take on sick patients.

Two of the biggest problems for the exchanges have been a lack of young people, who help offset higher-cost patients, signing up for insurance and generally sicker-than-expected people getting coverage through the exchanges, leading to huge losses for some insurers.

A few of the 14 total proposals include:

  1. Using some of the fees from the federally funded marketplace for outreach to get more young people to sign up.
  2. Strengthening rules for signing up for insurance outside the open-enrollment period to ensure that people are not waiting until they are sick to get coverage.
  3. Take prescription-drug use into account when evaluating the risk profile of potential patients. Previously, this had not been taken into account, and insurers argued that it prevented them from getting a full picture of possible patients' health status.
  4. Creating more flexibility for insurers in their bronze plan offerings to reduce cost burdens.

Kevin Counihan, the insurance marketplace CEO at the CMS, said the proposed changes would fix numerous issues with the exchanges.

"These proposed actions and others we have taken over the last six months would help to: support issuers with high-cost enrollees, while updating risk adjustment; strengthen the risk pool; promote additional enrollment; and support issuers in entering the Marketplace or growing their Marketplace business," Counihan wrote in a post summarizing the proposals.

 Continued in article

Citing Safety Concerns, Northwestern U. Bans Tenured 'Gadfly' Professor From Campus ---

Also see

Jensen Comment
A lot of professors taking the side of Jacqueline Stevens might be less vocal in support if the professor in question was a pistol-packing male member of a white-supremacy clan and  tenured professor on the University of Texas campus teaching a controversial (horrors) conservative economics course.

This article touches on the enormous gray zone between people who have been treated for mental illness and those whose behavior raises concerns that they should be being treated. This is a special problem that the FBI has in dong background checks for buy firearms.

This article avoids the controversial difference between the safety of an instructor's superiors versus the safety concerns of the inst

Assisted suicide is legal in Canada but no one knows how many are choosing to die ---

How Outer Space Dulls an Astronaut’s Mind ---

Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm 

Bob Jensen's Home Page --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/