Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

California to England: “No! Don’t Do What We Did!!!”

We’ve all heard stories about reformed drug addicts who go on the lecture circuit, warning high school students “don’t let this happen to you.” “Don’t make the same mistakes I made! Do you want to end up like me?? Do you want to look like me??? I’m twenty-five years old and you probably thought I was fifty-eight. Stay off drugs or this will happen to YOU!”

The British government is planning to ease its budget crisis by slashing a huge amount of funding for England’s top universities. What a neat idea.

Now imagine seeing the Before and After pictures of a meth addict. “This is me when I was a strapping 16-year-old high school linebacker.” “And here I am now. I’m 25, I look like somebody’s grandfather, I don’t have any teeth, I weigh 130 pounds and my back screams if I even try to pick up a grocery bag.”

Now here’s a Before picture of California in the 1970s. It had an education system that was the envy of the country; of the world. From several top universities on down to their public school system — everything was thriving. Booming.

Now, after thirty-odd years of “taxpayer revolts” — probably about as genuine as last summer’s “demonstrations” against health care reform — and several disastrous Republican governors, California’s education system is a wreck. It’s crumbling. Shattered.

England: Your little experiment has already been tried. It doesn’t work.

Scientists have discovered a mysterious new species: a sea slug that’s half plant, half animal. I didn’t think there was anything mysterious about this. Put it this way: find a TV set that’s tuned to Fox News, and you’re probably in a whole room full of these sedentary creatures.

And they vote.

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Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Is it a coincidence that with the cuts in education nationwide that we're seeing a rise in popularity of news outlets like Fox News? Stupid people elect stupid politicians like George Bush, who never met a sentence he couldn't mangle, or Sarah Palin, who didn't understand why there was a North and South Korea on the same peninsula.And stupid politicians do what their masters tell them to, because they like the power of critical thought to analyze a problem and develop solutions that work with out enriching a corporation at taxpayer expense with money that could have been better spent on education.

January 13, 2010 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Half plant and half animal = FOX and the GOP. Heh! It's just too appropo.

January 13, 2010 at 8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At one time California was the leading exporter of College Students and Football Players.

California Governors Earl Warren and Pat Brown understood that if you build a class educational system that everybody can afford, everybody benefits. You think Area's like Silicon Valley, Biotech Bay and the Heavy Defense Research areas like the Lockheed Skunkworks were an accident or because the of the good weather?

When I went to college in the 70's (aging myself) We had to compete for space from out of state students because even their fees, as high as they were compared to ours were still much cheaper then it was for them to go to a quality school in their state. I knew Out of State Students who moved just to go to our free Junior Colleges (just the books)

Then Governor Ronald Reagan managed to convince the people the UC System is an elitist Liberal System subverting the mind of our kids and are less deserving of taxpayer money. Shortsided people believed him with a little help from the free speech movement and the war protest.

They never realized what a good thing they had, until a few years after Prop 13 when fees raced up and quality went down.

Texas tried to imitate and compete with California in the mid 80's on prices but that changed when they went more conservative.

As it is constantly quoted Californians do want the best, but are not wiling to pay for it.

Conservatives equate subsidized education to socialized medicine (they hated the GI Bill). Everytime I hear someone scream about how American's are losing jobe to foreigners I say the same thing-

We are competing against countries that subsidize their education.


January 13, 2010 at 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Infidel753 said...

I went to UC Berkeley in the early 1980s and moved out of California fifteen years ago. I had no idea things had gotten that bad.

Surely the British will have more sense than to let Oxford and Cambridge decline.

January 14, 2010 at 4:36 AM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

Isn't that just typical of politicians, budget shortfall: Slash education.

It's happening here in Georgia. My wife teaches in the Georgia University System, she took a $1,000 pay cut last semester and will take an equal hit this semester, while tuition fees have gone up for students. When she travels on University business no more mileage allowances, if she travels by car anywhere, we pay the gas bill. If she goes to a conference, no food allowance "You eat if you are at home" is what they say. Yes, but not in a Resort/Conference Hotel where it cost $20 for a sandwich or $35 and up for a hot meal. Faculty are quitting, my wife's department is four faculty short, teaching nine credit hours in considered a full load, she is teaching fifteen hours. How can she give quality to her students? The truth is, she can't, so next school year less student intake will be the policy. It's not just the UK or California, making State funded education for the richer kids only, it's here in my town and coming to a town near you.

January 14, 2010 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

C'mon, tom, what did the sea slug ever do to you? That was brutal.

And edumacation is for coastal elites. Real America® needs only one book.

January 14, 2010 at 6:56 AM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

You don't seem to understand.

The right wing elites don't think people need to be educated, because that causes people to think, and question right wing dogma. The right wing rank-and-file celebrate stupidity and despise intelligence. All of them, I am sure, are absolutely overjoyed at what has happened to California, and you can bet they all blame the NEA, rather than their own actions.

January 14, 2010 at 7:06 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: Nope, no coincidence. An educated population is such a nuisance. They think, ask questions -- who needs that?

Snave: Yup, that explains it, half plant and half animal.

Erik: Reagan, Prop. 13, then Deukmejian and Wilson -- they took an education system that was the envy of the world and turned it into something out of a Charles Dickens novel. This fits the American mentality of cutting funds for education so we can spend more on wars and prisons. But I'm really surprised that the British are actually considering this.

Like you said, we're being pushed aside by countries that subsidize their education.

Infidel753: I lived in Berkeley for 2 years in the mid-'70s (I wasn't a student there). Such a trippy place; I've never been to any other college town or any other city that's even remotely like it.

California had really deteriorated by the time I moved out in 2004; and I guess it's gotten even worse since then.

Holte: Yup, education is such a convenient scapegoat. When they slash education funding, the effects aren't noticeable right away, so they just keep chipping away at it. Sorry to hear about your wife's dilemma in the Georgia University system. This seems to be the exact thing that's happening all over the country.

But I couldn't picture any country in Europe or Asia doing this; so I was really shocked to read that England is heading down this path.

Randal: True, after rereading my favorite passages from the Old Testament, I realize only commie elitists need that there edumucation.

JR: Oh I understand it perfectly -- for this country. Our own Powers That Be are thrilled to have millions of dumbfucks sitting in front of Fox News going "Ugh!"

I'm just surprised that England is starting down this same path.

January 14, 2010 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

This is going the same way as employment. A lack of spending causes the employer to lay off worker who in turn can't buy the products etc. etc.
The only way out of this will to be getting people back to work which at this point will involve more borrowing and investing by the Feds. because state governments must have a balanced budget and can't borrow.
The problem as I see it is that the Recovery Act is way too small. FDR spent 40% of GDP to get things going again. And even today we benefit from FDR did.

January 14, 2010 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Demeur: That's true, unemployment and the education crisis both have that same vicious circle that keeps reinforcing itself.

January 14, 2010 at 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Maybe you can answer this question for me:

My daughter lives in Georgia. Georgia pays for the top students to go to their state universities right?

I understand under Perdue, the money's been declining right?

But I really wanted to know is how a conservative state like Georgia put in a program like that in the first place? Not something I would expect for the South which isn't big on social programs (unless they were all football players LOL). We never had that in California!


January 14, 2010 at 2:26 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

My mother had an excellent analogy for moves such as this: "cutting off your nose to spite your own face."

January 14, 2010 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: Perfect description; that's exactly what they're doing.

January 14, 2010 at 3:07 PM  
Blogger Beekeepers Apprentice said...

Instead with the repubes...ahem..."leadership" it's more like cutting off our noses to spite our faces, while they send their spoiled brats to private schools.

January 14, 2010 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: Of course. After all, anybody who can't afford the tuition for a private school is just shit underfoot anyway, and doesn't count for anything. They're good for cannon fodder but that's about it.

January 14, 2010 at 6:57 PM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

Anonymous - I think you are talking about the HOPE Scholarship (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally), started in 1993 by then Democratic Governor Zell Miller. It was funded by the lottery. Kids that were Georgia residents, had a 3.5 GPA (I think) in High School, and their parents were not big earners, could get free tuition and if they maintain a certain (high) GPA would continue to get it, if they dropped below the required GPA they lose funding. Since Republican Sonny Perdue became Governor all sorts of fees have been introduced and lots of kids lost their funding over him changing requirements.

January 14, 2010 at 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

When it comes to education, I'm a complete socialist.

The fact that the department of education is not better funded than the DOD is a travesty.

To take a stab at an Aaron Sorkin quote:

"Schools should be palaces. First year teachers should make six figure salaries. Education should cost the government fantastic amounts and cost the individual nothing, just like national defense."

January 15, 2010 at 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been on the Republican Agenda for years to eliminate the Department of Education and they are upset at both Bushes for not doing it.

Ronald Reagan didn't do it either, but they aren't mad at him


January 15, 2010 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Thomas: Damn right. That's an excellent quote. Most teachers earn less than a janitor, and these priorities translate into the pisspoor education system we've got.

BTW, is your blog still up and running? Every time I try to go there I get an error message.

Erik: Reagan is kind of an honorary Jesus in that respect. When Christians disagree with parts of the Bible, they can't lash out and say "Jesus Sucks!" All they can do is ignore his sayings that they disagree with, and pretend they don't know about them. And Reagan gets that same special treatment. There's some sort of unwritten law that conservatives can't call Reagan a spineless wimp or a RINO or socialist.

January 15, 2010 at 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Screamin' Mimi said...

"Honorary Jesus" -- LOL. I could almost understand the Teflon coating when he was alive, but after he's DEAD? Yeesh.

January 15, 2010 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

California is a sad story. I mean they don't seem to have any clear way out of this mess. The whole infrastructure is crumbling and it's just terrible to see. The unemployment rate is sky high, IOUs being given out instead of payment. Of course those on the the other side politically will blame the high spending on things like education that led to the states downfall. I don't buy it.

here's to better times for the golden state.

January 15, 2010 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SM: Yup, sad but true. To paraphrase an R&B song from the early '60s, "don't say nuthin' bad about Reagan or Jesus."

Ricardo: You're right about California being in terrible shape. They're in so deep now, I don't know how they'll get out of it. Of course the freemarket supplysiders will say cut taxes and get all those cumbersome regulations out of the way, and businesses will instantly create millions of new jobs and everybody will live happily ever after.

January 16, 2010 at 7:07 PM  

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