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October 08, 2011 03:02 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • 49 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

“Thou shalt not ration justice.”

–Learned Hand

Comments

49 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

    1. The thumbnail frame looked interesting, and piano music would be awesome.  I should have looked at the source and realized it would be piano music with underdressed women. 🙁

  1. http://seattletimes.nwsource.c

    …there’s a growing bipartisan sense that the private sector will have to do much more to help ease chronically high unemployment among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    In August, President Obama called on businesses to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans by the end of 2013. Microsoft answered that challenge with a pledge to train 10,000 of them.

    Kudos to Microsoft but I don’t care how deep the bipartisan sympathy in congress, I don’t see them doing anything constructive for vets or anyone else until after 2012.

    1. This private-sector is obviously not creating jobs, which kind of makes it difficult to buy the argument that they are “job-creators.” Someone could obviously argue that they aren’t benevolent employers: they only create jobs when a need arises.

      However, you can’t have it both ways here: label the private sector a source of jobs and simultaneously dismiss the responsibility to do so.  If the private-sector is truly a “job-creator’ then there needs to be  accountability for the failure create jobs. Likewise, if you say it’s not the duty to create jobs to be nice, drop the intellectually dishonest argument about the private sector creating jobs.    

      I’ll take the second scenario, which is more realistic and intellectually honest.  

      1. you can’t at the same time say it’s not the role of the federal government to create jobs and strengthen the economy, and then blame the President for NOT strengthening the economy and creating jobs.

        1. If we don’t blame the President for the bad things, and then use it as proof that gov’t can’t do anything, then, well… well… tax cuts! or something.

      2. My company is constantly looking for more people to hire. But we depend on the government to get enough kids through the educational system that there are qualified ones for us to hire.

        The number 1 complaint of software start-ups by far is a lack of qualified people to hire. So I’d say the government is not doing its part when it comes to my industry.

        1. or an improved and expanded one.  I wonder if part of the problem is, that the people who can actually train the workers your industry wants/needs are people who are not likely to be working in the public school system because the pay is substantially lower than what they can earn in the private sector.  

          So what could that partnership look like?  I don’t have the answer, but I’ll bet the “wheel” has already been invented.

          1. It’s the barriers to entry to teaching. You need a teacher’s certificate, which requires expensive, time-consuming and mind-numbing “education” courses. Then you need to penetrate a mossback personnel department in school districts that instinctively distrusts anybody who might be perceived as not a true believer.

            Who wants to go through that?

          2. an opportunity to become a job creator — open a training department in the company and train folks with the potential to quickly learn the jobs??

            Nah, It’s the gummit’s fault . . . they’re not doing their part for David.

            1. We don’t even have an HR department (HR is one of several jobs a single person handles). Creating a training department is not something a start-up could afford.

              In addition, we need people who are in the top 5% for the job. The odds of someone brought in to a training program being in that top 5% are a lot lower than 1/20.

              There’s a reason we have the government handle education rather than having individual companies do it.

          3. I think Gertie has a good point. Another is as kids progress through K-12 they become less and less interested in STEM (especially girls). There’s something in the system that discourages it.

            One biggie is that kids have creativity beat out of them. And just as we need creativity more than ever, it is actually decreasing in our kids.

            1. your problem is obvious . . .

              One biggie is that kids have creativity beat out of them.  And just as we need creativity more than ever, it is actually decreasing in our kids.

              There’s a reason we have the government handle education rather than having individual companies do it.

              Blame the government . . . blame the kids . . . methinks another one of the “biggies” is that maybe far, far too many owners are the ones who have had the creativity beaten out of them (assuming they ever had more than a thimble full to begin with).

              The future will belong, as it has always belonged, to those with sufficient vision not only to see what they want, but also with the practical imagination to see how they can build that something from what they have (not what they wished they had).  (Maybe the government ought to be providing some training to so-called entrepreneurs in creativity?)

              And, always, be careful what you wish for; if the reincarnation of Steve Jobs should stumble into your office next week, he’ll probably wind up owning the whole joint — lock, stock, and barrel — inside two years.    ;~)

              1. As do virtually everyone working in them. That’s one of the things that makes hiring so hard, it’s better to not hire than get someone without the creativity, imagination, and smarts to be someone who can create amazing things.

            2. DavidThi808 wrote

              I think Gertie has a good point. Another is as kids progress through K-12 they become less and less interested in STEM (especially girls). There’s something in the system that discourages it.

              I think part of the problem in STEM–why people get turned off by it–is that STEM people sometimes come across as elitists. I’m not suggesting that it’s accurate to label STEM people elitists; however, from why I’ve observed its’ a perception some people seem to have.  

              1. “We’re different than other people. Better.” And there is a lot of truth to that stereotype. But that is true of people in most areas of expertise.

                And I don’t think you can say in K-12 that the nerds are the really cool kids that look down on the unworthy. The ones in that role tend to be the top athletes.

              2. At least at the K-12 level.

                For all the awful things said about schools these days, every child probably has a really awesome teacher at some point that encourages them at writing, or history, or foreign language… but even most of the high school math teachers I know are borderline math-phobic, or at least think they need to come across that way to appeal to their students, and are very focused on teaching a list of specific technical skills.

                I’ve got an awesome project this year, teaching computer programming to 11 to 13 year olds at a local middle school two days a week.  I made the decision to teach with a visual environment where they were drawing shapes on the screen from the very first day, and their projects are half programming and half creative work.  Our most recent project was to make a moving animation of a solar system, and most of the kids made up their own imaginary solar systems, with different planets and moons, and a back story behind each one including why it is that color, whether it has life… all useless from a programming perspective, but they liked it and got their projects done!

                Here’s one of the very interesting things I’ve learned.  Kids that come in with a reputation as computer geeks are doing fine.  But there are other kids, too — and especially girls — who actually do even better, even at the technical skills.  They just need to be taught by someone who respects them and expects them to do well and enjoy what they are doing, and they need it to be tied to creative expression; they are motivated by wanting to have better tools to create things.  It’s hard to imagine where a typical student would find a role model for something like that in many schools today.

                I’m certainly not saying that’s the only problem, and my sample size is small, but I’d rank it pretty far up on the list.

                1. One of the biggest problems C.S. programs face in College is a large percentage of the entering freshmen have had zero programming before. Imagine a music major entering without ever having learned any instrument.

                  What language are you using? Mudd switched to Python for the first semester after trying it in some classes and finding a lot more students then stayed as C.S. majors. Including the “impossible” goal of 50% girls.

                  1. Actually, the language I’m using is Haskell.

                    So right about now, you’re thinking either: “Haskell?  I’ve never even heard of it”, or “What the hell are you thinking?!?”

                    But, really, Haskell makes a lot of sense given that my main goal is to prepare students for algebra and mathematics, and not necessarily for computer programming jobs.  It helps to use a language where “function” and “variable” mean the same thing that they will mean in algebra later on.  And I can skip the more abstract parts of the language and just teach the pure functional subset without type classes, which makes it into a very simple, high level, expressive language.

                    If I were teaching older ages, or were more focused on preparing students to stick around in C.S. or go into professional programming, I’d be using Python, no doubt about it.  But for now, I’d rather kids go on as long as possible before they start writing nonsense statements like “x = x + 1”.

                    1. I can see how it could be the best for this kind of class. I hope they’ll try both over a couple of years and measure which works better. But I could see Haskell turning out to be the better choice.

                      Post here when the year is over and let us know how it worked out.

                    2. As if you could teach a computer programming class to anyone that age, and not have it be about creating games.

                      No worries, we’re creating games.  Well, so far, we’re creating pictures and animations, but we’re getting there.  We’re just not doing it with Flash.

      3. then there needs to be  accountability for the failure (to) create jobs

        When Obama, by executive order, of course, completely eliminates taxes on the uber-rich, ends Social Security, and allows congress to pay several trillion dollars of tax payers money to eat the bad debt created when Wall Street and the Big Banks stole money like hungry monkeys, the American economy will blossom like the lilies in the spring… and America will once again become…exceptional.  🙂

  2. Went to get a flu shot at King Soopers this morning. The pharmacist dropped one of his latex gloves on the ground. So he picked it up, banged it against his pants leg twice, then put it on.

    Makes you wonder about how clean the pills you get from there are…

    1. You mistake the purpose of the gloves. They are not to protect you, they are to protect the pharmacist from the unwashed public. Who knows what we might be carrying. Heh.  

  3. Representative Eric Cantor rails against the Wall Street protests claiming that the protests are intended to divide the country. The House Majority Leader’s reaction is exhibit A in the pot calling the kettle black.  

    1. Palin differentiating between the real America and the, I guess, fake America of those who hold progressive views, the decades old GOP claims that they have family values and love America while Dems are anti-family and anti-America or Bachmann’s desire to ferret out which members of congress are pro-America and which anti.  But to protest the American government being fully bought and run as a  wholey owned subsidiary of Wall Street Incorporated rather than by the other 99+% of the…you know…people; that’s un-American!

      But take back America from the foreign black guy who’s just like Hitler, here’s a poster with the mustache drawn on… that’s the voice of the people, democracy in action. Surely you see the difference?

      1. Plenty of people are looking at the Tea Party for lessons on what Occupy Wall Street should or shouldn’t do, but there’s a couple that don’t get mentioned much–if at all.

        (1) There are certain people you need to put a muzzle on. While being a heterogeneous has it’s benefits, you don’t want the tin-foil hat crowd to get identified with your movement.

        (2) The Democratic Party (or affiliated groups) co-opting Occupy Wall Street won’t be beneficial to the group or to the party. I for one do not want my party to end up the equivalent of where the GOP is right, where candidates try to go as far to the left as possible.  

         

        1. will be problematic in the amorphous Occupy Wall Street crowd.  But I do think the message that seems to be the prominent one making it through is the message of opposing government owned lock stock and barrel by the major corporations. That’s a good message and it goes with the message that, no, corporations are not people.  

          Romney and the conservative Supreme Court who claim that corporations are people with the same civil rights and liberties as people and that their money is protected speech must be opposed by the flesh and blood people, the kind clearly meant when it is said that ours is a government of, by and for the people.    

          Romney’s argument that corporations are people because they are run by people or composed of people is ridiculous since corporations are clearly created as entities in and of themselves.

          We should not be standing by and allowing these non-citizen, non-human corporate entities with no loyalties except to profit by any means and all means to be in control of our government, to be the only “people” with enough speech/money to count.

          I’m glad to see this message out there and going toe to toe with the old tired conservative message that any opposition to the political power of corporate wealth is un-American and constitutes reign of terror style class warfare against the poor deserving rich.

          I’m also tired of Dems being spooked into toning it down as far as possible, being as meek as possible, for fear of being connected with, heaven forbid, “lefties”. That’s the way anybody to left of a Romney is painted by today’s GOP anyway. You’ve got a completely centrist President who has bent over backwards to give the right almost everything that’s really important to them as a starting point in every bargaining session being called a radical leftie as it is so I’d say that ship has sailed.  

          Republicans have certainly not spent the last several decades immobilized by fear of being connected with “righties”. Time for Dems to stop being so squeamish.

          1. Time for Dems to stop being so squeamish.

            I have family members who don’t want to hang around with me anymore because I stopped listening politely to their bullshit, right-wing, Obama hating, conservacrap. I get right back in their faces.

            I used to think that it was best to let them talk…no more. Tell them to their faces they are full of shit. Do it in a public place…in front of their mother or pastor or whatever will embarrass and challenge them.

            I am an American and I have as much right as any tea-party numbskull to be pissed off. So…if you are a republican/tea party/libertarian, I give you fair warning…

            Don’t come around me spewing your right-wing lies. I will get in your face. I will not back down. This is my country, too.

          2. As disheartening as the current state of governance may be, adopting the mindset of “don’t vote, it only encourages them” is one of the worst approaches Occupy Wall Street can take.

            Instead, what needs to happen is an effort to mobilize this anger and frustration into voter turnout in time for 2012. I do not mean to suggest that voter mobilization should be substitute for what Occupy Wall Street is currently. To the contrary, Occupy Wall Street should keep doing what they’re already doing, and try to get as many of their supports to vote, as an additional way of getting heard.  

            1. agree that the ideal would be mobilized voter turn out but that can only happen if Dems step up, forget their squeamishness about being called socialist class warriors and take a real, concrete stand for the 99%.  

              If they don’t give these energized protestors any reason to think that voting for Ds will make any difference, all of this energy will be lost to D candidates.

              The Tea Party can still be counted on to at least mainly support Rs rather than staying home or going 3rd party.  For one thing they are managing to get many candidates they like, if not so much yet in the presidential.  Whether the Dems will be able to say the same of this new populist surge is entirely up to them. Holding hands and singing with the Wall Street titans is not going to be the road to victory this time.

    1. If these initiatives fail, Boulder has zero leverage in any negotiations with Xcel.

      Some 20+ towns in CO have municipal utilities, including Longmont and CO Springs. Why? It’s cheaper and more reliable. Yet somehow, the world is going to end if Boulder does.

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