Re: States' right to fail

1

When my sister lived in Alabama, she said that you automatically lose 15 IQ points when you drive over the state line. She was not a fan.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:00 AM
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But there are all those rocket scientists in Huntsville!


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:05 AM
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Born and raised there, educated in the public schools. Am 32 now and still filling in gaping lacunae in my education, as pretty much everything I learned before uni was self-taught.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:07 AM
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4

A southern man don't need y'all around anyhow.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:07 AM
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5

I have an aunt that was raised in Huntsville. She said the U.S. government created AIDS.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:08 AM
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3: After that, you can work on personality.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:08 AM
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Actually, my closest friend from Alabama is MIT BS, Stanford PhD.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:09 AM
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So now I know that I had the lyric "A southern man don't need to frown, anyhow" wrong. One of the gaps in my Southern education has just been filled in.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:09 AM
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2: Imagine what rockets they could have built, if located elsewhere!


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:10 AM
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10

9: But nowhere else would have accepted all those Nazi engineers.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:12 AM
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11

Well if you read the Constitution you'll see that the fundamental principle of equal sovereignty forbids this discussion.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:13 AM
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10: as the NYT discovered, their main problem with the Nazis was that they weren't racist enough.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:14 AM
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8: We don't *need* to frown. It's really more of a hobby.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 8:17 AM
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14

What 11 said. Thank you, Mr. Roberts.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:21 AM
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15

Can you unpack the OP a bit? Traditionally, targeting states wasn't a taboo, as with VRA preclearance. And generally states aren't very useful units for targeted intervention: the normal approach is to find the localities with worse outcomes or people with greater need, as defined by criteria, and help them specifically, knowing this will lopside levels of aid by state. Or do you mean it's taboo for DC to try to change state-level policies?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:28 AM
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I mean that you'd never see VRA preclearance pass anymore, and that that specific legislation is an anomaly. That generally we've got entire states doing things that make life worse for their residents, and we're stuck with that, because the reason they're making those choices is basically rooted in obstinacy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:33 AM
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15: I think the point is about public hand-wringing. Think about every time you have heard someone refer to "The crisis of failing schools" or said "we have to do something to target failing schools." Now imagine that they talked about "The crisis of failing state school systems" and said we had to target those.

For good measure, imagine that "failing state school systems" was code for places like Alabama the same way "failing schools" is code for "black schools."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:35 AM
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18

Or even if there was a general consensus that some states need help.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:37 AM
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19

We throw a lot of money at education and health, and federal policy ties states' hands in lots of ways, just not the right ones. I'd argue that the continued bad outcomes are because of true underlying collective priorities, much more than federalism, although federalism helps shift blame for inaction.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:37 AM
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20

Reading 17 and 18: Is it really that some states need help and others don't, though? Most states, including non-Southern ones, have deeply inequitable education systems. I don't see how a collective decision "These X states have failed and need federal receivership" (or some brand of complete redesign), "but the others can stay as they are" would be a sufficient response.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:40 AM
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because of true underlying collective priorities

...like obstinacy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:40 AM
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If we limit the serving sizes of soda, we can fight obstinacy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:42 AM
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I'm not sure about calling the results Alabama is getting for its white children of non-poor college educated parents "failure." The education not as good as it might be, but there's some considerable distance between best it could be and failure.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:44 AM
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24

IMO, efforts to change Southern culture -- wherever it appears -- are nearly always mostly hopeless, but never so hopeless as when it is obvious that the goal is changing Southern culture.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:47 AM
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25

I'm with Minivet in not really understanding the OP. One big point is that we need to funnel a lot more federal money into state services so that they can spend more, since they're the major providers of social services. Increasing those funding levels is vastly more important than considering differences in institutional structure of the provision of services as between different states, which tend to be broadly similar.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:48 AM
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26

Isn't Alabama slowly improving, though? I browsed NAEP's site and it looks like (for example) Alabama 8th graders in 2011 scored about as well in math as Massachusetts 8th graders did in 1992.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:48 AM
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(Although, obviously, cultures evolve, and in the case of the South, it may be that benign neglect doesn't trigger obstinacy, and so allows evolution to proceed . . .)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:49 AM
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Isn't Alabama slowly improving, though?

"We're proud to say we're now 49th in the prevention of rickets!"


Posted by: OPINIONATED PHIL HARTMAN AS BILL CLINTON | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:49 AM
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24 is the point of the OP. It is completely futile to tackle the problem of a state whose strategy is, well, obstinacy, not to be repetitive with that word or anything. But having that as your strategy causes statewide problems which are then utterly inaddressible.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:51 AM
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And to the extent there's "failure" in social services provision the similarities between, say, poor rural New York State and poor rural Alabama are almost certainly more important than the differences.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:51 AM
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31

Is the OP just about Medicare expansion? Or some kind of hypertrophied red state/blue state thing?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:53 AM
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31: Medicare expansion is certainly an apt example, but the OP is basically a thought that flitted across my mind after reading the link. You know, the link in the OP with the tag "For example".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 9:59 AM
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Well, but school achievement gaps between rich and poor kids within states swamp interstate variation at the same income level (I haven't looked that up, but I'd be surprised if that's not the case). And the same is broadly speaking true for provision of other services. Targeting Alabama as a "failed state" (as opposed to doing whatever to help poor people more broadly) seems like a weird approach. Unless I'm totally misunderstanding the point if the OP, which is possible.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:05 AM
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34

I think you're misunderstanding how much thought went into the OP.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:06 AM
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35

So you mean, like, the state government doesn't want to change the status quo in terms of education and health and so forth and no amount of money will change that? That's sort of true, but it's not a bar to effective federal policy. Again, offering lots of money to do the right thing - or sometimes bypassing state government entirely, as with Social Security - can go a long way to overcome obstinacy.

Heebie, do you think the South will eventually adopt the Medicaid expansion? I'd be willing to make a monetary bet that at least 10 of the 11 former-Confederate states will have opted in by January 1st, 2020, assuming no federal-level gutting of the ACA.

24: Sure, but "Southern culture" is mutable. The South urbanized, got civil rights, has some level of social safety net, but Southern culture is still there explaining whatever we don't like.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:09 AM
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36

I think you're misunderstanding how much thought went into the OP.

ITYM "I think you're reading too much into this".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:13 AM
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37

Targeting Alabama as a "failed state" (as opposed to doing whatever to help poor people more broadly) seems like a weird approach.

But it would piss off the Alabamans, which would be kind of fun.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:13 AM
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38

I like the idea of putting state school systems in receivership. That's the kind of "fuck state's rights" thinking that I can get behind.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:14 AM
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39

It's just not clear to me how much rich people actually care about poor people's schools, or at least how much they take ownership of the problem. I'd assume a project like a federal takeover of Alabama's school system would get some variation of the facebook meme about tying welfare benefits to drug testing, anything that makes people feel better about themselves by making poor people's lives harder.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:15 AM
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40

39: Which meme is this? My circles are pruned in this regard.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:16 AM
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41

Unfortunately not limited to the South, like the woman I worked with one summer who told me she couldn't believe her niece let her two year old daughter outside the house in a bathing suit, if she got raped she wouldn't even blame the man.


Posted by: bianca steele | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:16 AM
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Heebie, do you think the South will eventually adopt the Medicaid expansion? I'd be willing to make a monetary bet that at least 10 of the 11 former-Confederate states will have opted in by January 1st, 2020, assuming no federal-level gutting of the ACA.

I do, actually, although the OP is coming from a more cynical place. I think there will be some face-saving cover. (I thought the "funnel them into the exchange!" would be the face-saving pro-business cover but it didn't gained traction, as we off-blogged sanctily discussed back in May.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:17 AM
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43

That was referring to Phila. and aimed at comments regarding things like "the govt created AIDS."


Posted by: bianca steele | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:17 AM
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44

Halford, I understand that the problem noted in the OP is that these states aren't just failing minorities and the poor, they're 'failing' white non-poor. And that this 'failure' is intentional.

Granted, you can craft federal policies that go around (or against, as in the case of civil rights) obstinate states. How much of this is really worth doing?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:18 AM
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45

41: That must be one smoking hot two year old!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:18 AM
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40: This, more or less, though I feel like I've seen various versions over the years and someone else has mentioned it here, though probably just Mister Smearcase and so we're not getting a ton of bigoted geographical diversity.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:22 AM
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47

Unsurprisingly, I've seen the meme too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:24 AM
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48

Thanks.

Are blocks of text now counting as memes if shared sufficiently? Although I suppose that's closer to the original definition.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:25 AM
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49

There was a block of text as an image. Sorry, I brought this up and now am not spending time looking for more.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:25 AM
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50

I take those scores with a grain of salt. There are districts near me, in MA, that always did okay, I guess, but suddenly they have these amazingly high math scores, and just by chance they're near companies that employ large numbers of engineers (some number of whom distrust the schools and even if not are presumably doing some teaching at home). Did the schools get that good that fast because they were pushed by parents who suddenly "cared"?

They probably push up the numbers.


Posted by: bianca steele | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:31 AM
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51

I didn't think it worked that way. I thought a push-up made a B look like a C.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:34 AM
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49: Oh, right, I forgot about that. (Evolutionary advantage: it takes more effort to fact-check assertions when embedded in an image, so those ones spread more readily.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:36 AM
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53

44: Wait, I thought you were against abolishing the states.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:37 AM
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54

53 -- I think SocSec was the right way to do that, and I think national single payer is the right way to do health insurance. And the Civil Rights Act. That's not to say that there aren't lots of things that can and should be left to states.

Giving states money so they can raise scores of non-poor whites isn't very high on my list. Especially if they're going to sabotage it through resentment.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:41 AM
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54: So what division of responsibilities would you prefer for education? (And you probably know this, but for about its first 40 years Social Security was a federal-state partnership like Medicaid.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:42 AM
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Two of my friends posted that thing. One was a dear friend from Statewide Nerd Camp who I lost touch with for 20 years and who turned out to be pretty suburban and some-form-of-conservative and who I eventually blocked after about 147 "I can't believe she's [n, n+1...] days old now!" posts. I can't remember who the other was. I responded really emphatically to both of them and now everyone's liberal and drugs are legal, yay.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:43 AM
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I didn't know that about SocSec.

On education, I'm fine with anti-poverty programs and equal protection mandates. As to whether Arkansas teaches French, or Mississippi teaches Algebra II, I don't see the need for a federal role. (Although I'm happy to have federal funding for people doing studies on the efficacy of such programs).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:53 AM
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Actually, now that I look more closely I see it definitely started out that way, and disability was federalized in the early 70's, but I'm not sure when the old-age component was federalized.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 10:55 AM
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Let's get Welfare back to the one's who NEED it
I can't believe in that whole rant he didn't address this problem.
Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 11:01 AM
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I like the idea of putting state school systems in receivership. That's the kind of "fuck state's rights" thinking that I can get behind.

I've been pleased that California's prison system has been in receivership (although not pleased that it needed to be). The receivership seems to have forced a lot of improvements (although maybe not enough) that make our prisons somewhat less cruel and unusual.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 11:08 AM
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I would prefer not to be in the same country with people who don't believe in evolution or global warming, or believe but don't care because the rapture is coming. Or I at least prefer not to be part of the same voting pool electing the same government. This isn't completely relevant to the OP, but there does seem to be a correlation between states' rights, local education standards, and these sorts of people.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 11:31 AM
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51:
I think averages don't work that way. If one person gets a pushup bra, everyone will see the benefits of it. (Clothes fit better on a B anyway.)


Posted by: bianca steele | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 11:38 AM
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63

One hears that some folks wouldn't be so resistant to climate change if it wasn't being shoved down their throats by those people. I don't think you can get around the states with education: on this one, it's going to have to be regulation. Enforced federally.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 11:40 AM
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One hears that some folks wouldn't be so resistant to climate change if it wasn't being shoved down their throats by those people.

This is basically the climate change equivalent of "Raises come faster to those who don't ask for them."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 11:43 AM
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63 is the impression I've gotten from a bunch of people. If it weren't for Al Gore being the initial public face of Climate Change there might be less resistance in certain quarters.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 12:50 PM
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63,65. I don't know, I've heard about rural americans in two states hating windmills in the next county, because the windmills change up the weather patterns.

Older people, my simplest representation is that many prefer for the present to resemble an idealized past like the one on TV, and resent evidence that makes doing that more difficult.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 1:02 PM
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65 - As I've said, the inevitable end here, after Miami has turned into Venice and Phoenix has dried up and blown away, is to blame Al Gore for turning a serious issue into an opportunity for partisan cheap shots.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 1:12 PM
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If only Democrats had waited for Republicans to make climate change an issue!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 1:18 PM
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after Miami has turned into Venice and Phoenix has dried up and blown away

But there's probably also a downside to global warming.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 1:23 PM
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You'd think Al Gore, as the man who at the time had gotten more votes for US President than anyone else but our Holy Savior Reagan, would be a uniquely uniting figure.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 1:28 PM
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63 is the impression I've gotten from a bunch of people. If it weren't for Al Gore being the initial public face of Climate Change there might be less resistance in certain quarters.

Yes, because up until Al Gore there was a broad consensus that we ought to be listening to the climate scientists.

It always boggles my mind that I grew up with the belief that global warming was a fact and everyone knew it was occurring. I remember bringing in an article about it for current events, in maybe fourth or fifth grade. The ice caps were melting, ozone layer, etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 2:21 PM
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70: That's not a very meaningful factoid. Population increases.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 2:24 PM
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It was presented as where we were obviously headed in Soylent Green. Maybe obstinacy can be cured if we put something in the water.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 2:48 PM
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71.last: what's the relevance of the ozone layer?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 3:14 PM
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74: That it seemed to young Heebie that it was widely-understood that pollution affected the earth.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 3:19 PM
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57: As to whether Arkansas teaches French, or Mississippi teaches Algebra II, I don't see the need for a federal role.

Isn't that what the Common Core standards are about -- setting nationwide standards for educational achievement? There's a strong movement in redder states and among conservatives to reject the Common Core (it amounts to brainwashing our children!), and a number have either already done so or are under pressure to.

But that is not a federally imposed mandate; rather, a voluntary state initiative. One feels badly for kids raised and educated in non-Common Core states in the future: should they move to another state, their educations will be sorely lacking.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 6:32 PM
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should they move to another state, their educations will be sorely lacking.

A (lately) rare conditional biscuit!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 6:47 PM
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Oh ho, you think? Perhaps their educations are just fine for the state they're in! But point taken.

On states' right to fail, here's Howard Dean being disgusted with Ted Cruz:

Cruz had pitched allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines as one of the policies he would put in place instead of Obamacare.
"I don't want the Texas insurance commissioner being up here in Vermont," Dean said. "We have had universal health insurance for all our kids for twenty years. They have 22% of their children uninsured in Texas. I don't want anything to do with Texas' health care system in Vermont and I don't want our people buying Texas health insurance."

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 7:08 PM
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I keep reading that as "I don't want Texas being all up in our business. [We're Vermont, for fuck's sake.]"


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-27-13 7:09 PM
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I would prefer not to be in the same country with people who don't believe in evolution or global warming, or believe but don't care because the rapture is coming.

Yeah? Yeah? Well, why don't you just go and live in CHINA then? Oh, wait.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-28-13 1:31 AM
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