Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Long and Thoughful Response to Greg Goodknight, that Rebane's Blog Nearly Deleted

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Rebane asked for closing arguments, and then his blog software refused to "accept the data." I have changed the title of this post to be more precise. He apparently did not deliberately censor the post, but if I were running a blog with as many glitches as his, that was widely in use, (this one isn't) I would definitely have the courtesy to have an FAQ, that listed the hidden foxholes, so that people would not stumble into them. Being somewhat distrustful, especially with Greg Goodknight's calls to boot me off the blog, I copied the post before publishing it or even previewing it.

All sentiments represented in these posts are merely statements of my opinions, and may in fact have no basis in reality. Of course, depending on who you are and what your reality is, your milage may vary... Ripcord for parachute, to escape pesky lawyers, hired by foolish physicists.

I've already summed up several times, and Greg keeps on dragging out his old tired statistics without providing references.

His latest oft-repeated chestnut is:

"Then there's the Federal study that found that the lower the College Board scores of an incoming freshman in college, the higher the chance they'd be teaching 10 years after earning their baccalaureate. K-12 is not where strong students usually choose to have their careers. Probably the highest payout for the least ability, and a union to insure things like lack of competence doesn't interfere with a steady job and good retirement benefits."

For starters, this would seem to indicate that, having completed four years of college, and not all do, including many with higher SAT scores, you are more likely to be teaching than doing anything else. The reality is that there are three million or so teachers in this country. It is a very common profession, and one respected by most citizens, but obviously not Mr. Goodknight. BTW Greg, on your study, what other professions are listed, and once again, where is the link? And what do those other professions pay? More than teachers are paid? Architecture is the only one I know of that pays less.

"Probably the highest payout for the least ability"

What an interestind concept! So a Wall street banker who bags $20 million per year, as compared to a very high paid teacher who makes $100,000 per year, has a lower payout to ability ratio? Just how is that fudge factor statistic derived? Does Greg have a stash of secret formulas? Would you care to show us them, or is this just another typical Gregorian rant gratuitously defaming teachers and unions?

He implies that teachers are practically criminals, conspiring to defraud the public of their hard earned tax dollars, for no value received in return. His presented impressions of teachers as a whole seem to indicate a smug attitude of superiority as a spiritual being, over those who do choose the profession.

Low cunning, those teachers, just in it for a buck, any way they can get it. Not like honorable physicists who merely ask for donations, and are so good their followers shower them with private planes. Such a fairy tale, Greg, who do you think you are kidding? If you thought being a teacher would give you more than enough cash for your desired lifestyle, and you liked doing it, would you have refrained from doing it because of a union? Give me a break!

The real question here is, assuming the very best and brightest SAT graduates all went into teaching, and you booted out all the present teachers, except those like myself who were 90% or higher on their SATs, would this country receive much more for their money than they already do?

This of course would mean pulling all of these folks out of their current jobs as doctors, lawyers and rocket scientists, but after all, Greg insists on having the very best, SAT wise, in teaching. How much cultural inertia would the somewhat higher scoring be able to overcome to produce a nation of rocket scientists? All of it? 50% of it? 20% of it? How would you even know in advance? And most importantly, what is the overall ROI to be gained by such a rerouting of talent?

Greg has yet to show any studies that show that higher SAT teachers make for far better teachers. I'm moderately certain they exist, but Greg's real mission here is to argue for less money for public schools, and he shamelessly uses arguments he knows to be false in the context he references. For this I have no respect, as Greg is obviously smart enough to know what he is trying to pull.

If Greg really thought attracting the higher SAT scoring completers of BA's and BS's, then he'd be arguing for more money for teachers, in both public and private schools, but he never does that. Charter schools have been a round for some time now, and private schools for centuries, but the concept of "merit pay" always hits a double paned glass ceiling: No teacher is allowed to make more than his boss, and no teacher, k12, makes over $200,000 per year. I've challenged Greg in the past to find exceptions, and he always, "moves on to greener pastures," safe from the spotlight of our cultural realities, and his own internal inconsistencies.

If Greg wishes to make snide remarks about teachers in general or myself in particular, in other threads, I will again defend both myself and the profession.



For me the profession was a fall back, but one encouraged by several of my classmates, who were pursuing it, including one who managed 5 800's on a bank of SAT's, taken in one day. My original intentions were to get a PhD in ethnographic cinematography, and produe historial documents and teach, at the college level, but the birth of a child and then a divorce rather soon iced those ambitions, as I was not independently wealthy, and 16 mm film ran $4/minute, and child support and joint custody took up a lot of time, and, in the long run, have more value.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Is TownTalk at The Union Censored?

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You bet it is. I made a post in which I referred to ATT as double speaking its new pause policy, and likewise indicated that Panda Express was advertizing more meat and all I got was tons of rice with less meat. The post did not get accepted. Later innocuous posts have been accepted.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

AT&T DSL Seems Slower ? Yes Indeedy!

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ATT is slowing down the DSL by a clever ruse. Transmission speeds are still what they claim, but there is a pause before transmission begins, and before a response is received. When the information flows, it flows at advertised speeds, but the pauses effectively ruin the advertised speeds. Back to the drawing boards.

Of course, if they see the addy you are seeking is a speed test site, they take out the pauses.

Fun Times at Rebane's Blog

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I knew eventually Greg would slip up in his role as high grand master of all things mathematical.

Yesterday was the day.

Let's see, did they all come rushing across to pick up a lawn mowing job here, a baby sitting job there, OR

WERE THEY ALREADY HERE, and the work in the fields was over?

If the invisible hand of the market wasn't shattered and bloody from employers, mostly Repubbys, arranging for cheap farm labor in this country, then yes, wages would rise, food prices would rise, and Americans would pick crops in the fields. The country was 95% farmers at the time of the Revolution, and Americans didn't "have to have" imported labor from Mexico, because they "didn't feel like working in the fields." They did the work because it was available, and BTW, I had a girlfriend who sorted carrots in Santa Maria, California, who had a brain but didn't know it. White like me, I might add, just educated to believe that sorting carrots was her role in life. When I was done filling in for the librarian on leave at Allen Hancock College, I couldn't convince her to come north. Last I heard from her, she had married a Hells Angel who provided well for her, digging graves at the cemetery.

If we up the 25 cents per $100 sold in the stock market to $2.50, we then generate $300,000,000, which of course is where I was going with the camel's nose under the tent. Now $300,000,000 may not seem like much to some people but it is indeed almost one third of a trillion dollars.

Now of course there wouldn't be as much random noise in the markets due to computerized algorithmic trading, but maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing? Maybe having investors atually look at what companies are doing, and the markets they are involved in, might make for a more rational view of the USA economy. Algorithmically driven trading makes cash, but is it good for the country? Does it allow for our current long term disasters?

Have you ever thought, BTW, that all the big trading houses not only know what you have, they also know what you intend to do with it,because they know where your buys and sells are. You don't suppose they can't build themselves a very neat model of which way a given stock is trending, and buy it up, and sell it, either long or short, on a daily or hourly basis, based on that knowledge?


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rebane Refuted

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The Rebane column in The Union this Saturday, contains three fatal flaws:

The tax on net income above $250,000 is NOT 100%.

The entrepreneur can invest every cent beyond $250,000 into a business, as long as they do it during the tax year in which it is earned, and they will not be taxed on it. Why does Rebane feel that the entrepreneur needs to save that money up for years? What’s then to keep him from simply selling the business, and keeping all the extra loot, having never added a single employee during his ownership?

Rebane argues with tremendous crocodile tears that the poor entrepreneur works long hours, and can’t afford to add employees, because his net income above $250,000, will be taxed (implying that it would be taxed at 100%). Thus the job creation process will be delayed or wrecked.

Reality check:

Assume that the entrepreneur works 3 times what the average worker does. He is still taxed at the same rate as a wage earner up to $250,000. So, Mr. Rebane feels that the average worker makes $83,333/year? If indeed Mr. Entrepreneur is working that hard, then his wife and kids are being neglected, and the kids will be putting additional stresses on the schools and social services. In real life, the spouse is probably shouldering some of the work load, and a dual income of $250,000 is not too shabby, these days.

Rebane also points out that setting off on one’s own is detrimental to a career as a worker bee. This is true, but not in the way he states. Any future employer will know that here is an individual who just might learn everything possible about the business, and then quit, and then go into direct competition with the prospective employer. They do not teach this in school. Na├»ve to the ways of business as a younger person, I started working as a skiing photographer in Aspen. I loved the job. The boss loved the images and the sales they made, and seemingly, me too. One day in casual conversation I mentioned that I might want to set up an operation in California. “You’re Fired!” “Get out of here.” Life lesson learned.

Those who espouse no additional taxes on net income above $250,000, are leading the charge to drive the USA into a ditch on the side of the global economic highway. The top one percent of the wealthy in this country have gone from owning 8% of the country in 1980, to owning 20% of the country today. Their lack of leadership is most recently best exemplified by the 4 largest banks, who are sitting on housing inventory, and allowing it to be destroyed through neglect, instead of putting it on the market and allowing their famous "invisible hand of the market" to do a reboot of the USA economy.

Taxing the rich for real money can be done by simply charging a slight sales tax on all stock and commodities sales (AKA trades) At 25 cents per $100 sold, and 40 billion being sold each open market day, it will generate $100,000,000 (one hundred million) each day the markets are open. That's over 30 billion dollars a year. Or you could generate the same amount by taxing each and every man woman and child in the country, $100 each, over and beyond current taxes. 300 million Americans x $100 = $30,000,000 or 30 billion dollars. Good luck, of course, collecting it from the bottom 50% of the country.

Of course, if you want real money, say one third of a trillion per year, you could up the tax to 2.5% on stock and commodities sales, or tax every many woman and child, $1,000 per year. Or try this, only the top ten percent of Amercians, net wealth wise, $10,000 each per year. Or the top one percent, net wealth wise, $100,000 each per year. That would be $500,000 per year for a family of five. Gee, scary, that why we have graduated taxation, instead of sticking everything to the ultra rich.

I think it is no mystery that the markets promote the notion that they do "trades" not sales, as it conceals from the general public what is really going on. Meanwhile they will push for Flat Taxes, and taxes on food. Taxing stock trades is a perfectly logical thing to do.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Towards a More Complete Commenting Rating System

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This is a computer world. Computers are very good at noting numbers, totaling them, and presenting results.

Thumbs up and thumbs down are very simplistic ratings. The end user could have many more choices, and posts could easily have an extensive dashboard.

One through 10, agree or disagree,

Is this comment worthy overall?
is this comment presented in a non sexist, non racist, non genderist, non churchist way?
Is this comment well argued?
Does this comment present novel notions?

Presented on the same dashboard, you could have a rating of the rater.

Average overall ratings of all comments, in each category.
Average ratings of this commenter, for the person making the rated comment, in each category.
Total number of posts and comments made, and average ratings, by everyone.

Do the same for the person whose comment is being judged.

Computers would have no trouble doing all this automatically and accurately

Humans might prefer to have it all available in a popup box, so it an be ignored. To avoid the go along with the crowd effect, the commenter must make his/her judgements before seeing other people’s judgements.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Verizon, ATandT, More Corporate DoubleSpeak

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I inquired of Verizon Wireless about having a land line converted to a cell phone line, and was told, yes, we can do it, yes we can do it right away, yes it will only cost around $10/month plus another dollar or so for fees and taxes.

With the exception of the first statement, They Lied. They can do it, but it took over 1 1/2 hours worth of talking with them and experimenting to determine that even though I did *228 over and over, battery in-out-in, it was going to be limited to out bound calls only, for 3 to 10 business days. What's more, there would be $35 one time connect fee.

They could have mentioned these two items up front, instead of me having to waste my time, just so they wouldn't lose a sale, their obvious motivation for concealing the information.

Of course, AT and T still takes the cake. They have an entire department called U-Verse, the center of a major advertising campaign. It does NOT have a direct line. I ask them about this. Their response was classic: "We're working on it."

Good Mother of God! Their whole business is installing working phone lines, and they are "working on it" ??????

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Equitable Inheritance Taxes

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leave 25,000 with no taxes, $25,001 to $100, 000 with 5%, then $100,000 to $250,000 at 5% more, and with each doubling of the previous amount considered, 5% more.

75,000 at 5%
next $150,000 at 10%
next $300,000 at 15%
next $600,000 at 20%,
next $1,200,000 at 25%
next $2,800,000 at 30%
next $5,600,000 at 35%
next $11,200,000 T 40%
next $22,400,000 at 45%
next $44,800,000 at 50%
and so on.

and include a medical clause where all monies left for the medical/rest home care of a person are tax free. Once person is dead, remainder goes to gov.

Heath Care and the Free Market.

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Huge difference between health care and grocery stores. You make the choice over and over again which grocery store to choose, possibly even multiple times a week.

In grocery stores everything has a price on it , and by the oz, most of the time. You can choose to buy and store stuff at home at a good price, and you can mix and match stores that you go to, according to the sales they have that appeal to you.

With health insurance, you are generally making a once or twice a year investment, and typically for different items each time. Each “item” say a broken arm, consists of many subitems, and you never know what any of it costs until weeks or months later, and you can decide mid stream in a heart transplant to go down to SafeHealth Hospital, because they’ve got a better deal this week.

Apples and orangutangs.

When Will They Ever Learn ?

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As long as MultiNat Corps can find labor sufficiently educated elsewhere at rates far below the poverty level in the USA, they will make the stuff overseas. Overseas also has the advantage of no EPA OSHA to keep costs down.

This elephant sitting on the planet is ignored by Repubbys and Dems alike.

In the meantime, Repubbys pay their propaganda talk show hosts to blame everything on Obama, and claiming that a man with his track record through school is ignorant and incompetent, which is amazing. Not quite as amazing as the sad fact that so many Americans want to believe such rubbish.

The propaganda hosts themselves are paid enough to make them members of the group that benefits from “no new taxes,” no health care for all, higher tuitions, etc. The logic seems to be, why pay for everyone, when they, the top 1%, have enough to directly pay for what they need for themselves, and why should they have to wait for a doctor, etc? They love their new uncrowded freeways, on which they prance with Escalades.

I wonder how bad it will have to get before the die hard working man Tea Party Patriot, now thoroughly unemployed, wakes up to reality and realized how thoroughly screwed he is, and by whom, and with his own enthusiastic enablement?

In 1964 I paid $160 a year for Cal tuition, and minimum wage was $1.25/hour. Today that same tuition is apparently headed for $25,000, and minimum wage is what? $9/hour? Stanford, back then, was $10,000 per year? It would seem the only intelligent course for a person entering college today, would be to get as much loans as are needed, and then skip the country for 10 – 20 years, until the statutes of limitations runs out.

Only the ultra rich will ride this mess out in comfort. Those with two or three different hideaways in various foreign countries will be able to ride this out safely, and a fast yacht/jet to get there.

Gooooood Moooorrrrrnnnniiiinnngggg Nevada County!