Daily Archives: April 28, 2011

Basic Economics in two short lessons

I love the videos from Econ Stories. They are entertaining and informative. They correctly depict both view points. I just wish they would have a Hayek Vs. Friedman or Friedman Vs. Keyenes video.

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Filed under Capitalism, Conservative, Debt, Economics, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, liberal arrogance, Long Term Thinking

The private lives of teachers

Another reason we have a terrible education system: Parents are idiots.

Do parents want to ask about pass rates, curriculum content, test scores? Nope. Apparently there is far more fun into searching out the private lives of teachers.

Apparently, in Pennsylvania, some parents found out that one of the 10th grade teachers at the local school writes erotic fiction in her private time under a pen name. Finding this information out seems to involve going to at least 3 different web sites. Now the report doesn’t ask the obvious question of how did the parent find this out (I’m going to guess either the parent or someone they know reads this kind of fiction…and what does that say about them? Nothing, really. There is no shame in reading erotic fiction, just as there is no shame in writing it. There is however shame about requiring Puritanical standards.)

This parent who has WAY to much time on their hands to dig into the private lives of teachers says “Now my son knows so how is he thinking when he’s sitting in her class knowing what she does on the side.” First off, the way the story is written it appears that he knows because this idiot parent told him…so whose fault is that? Second, he’s in 10th grade and a boy. Hmmm. Is knowing what his teacher writes going to make him think about sex? To answer this I am going to defer to a line from possibly the greatest screenwriter/director alive (who has also been persecuted relentlessly by modern day Puritans) Joss Whedon:

“I’m seventeen. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex.”

I really don’t think this knowledge is going to change the fact that the kid is a teenage boy. (God help us what he’ll be thinking when he finds out his parents had sex once.)

Now, if this teacher had been brining her work into class that would be a clear argument against her, but the hack reporter for this article could only find two former students who said they were “Shocked” to find out. Shocked, as in this teacher, who has been teaching for 25 years, gave absolutely no hint that she wrote adult fiction in her PRIVATE life.

What is this parent’s expectation that teachers go home and live like nuns in a cloister?

But here is my favorite part, this busy body Puritan of a parent states, “I think she needs to make a decision as to what she wants to do. Either be a school teacher or author.” This a teacher, who never brought this into her classroom, and from all other appearances is competent, as I’m sure this reporter who deals in smear campaigns would have turned up other complaints if they existed, but despite being competent, she can’t live her off campus life as she would wish?

Which brings up the question can parents dictate what teachers can and can’t write under a pen name on their personal time, where does the line stop? Can parents say that a teacher can’t have an outside job at all? After all they might be doing some kind of job that the parents don’t like? Can parents say a teacher can’t read certain things; after all it might corrupt their thinking and thus their teaching? Can parents dictate the sexual practices of a teacher? Can parents dictate the religion or politics of a teacher? Can they dictate whether a teacher can write about politics and religion? After all what if the teacher is a pagan conservative?

Oh wait, no, they can’t, because that’s all done in the teacher’s private life. And as long as it stays out of the classroom parents have no right to dictate what a teacher does in their private life (so long as they are not criminals, but last time I checked novels come under a basic First Amendment protection).

Of course, in the end, I can guarantee that this teacher will be forced out of her job. And after that happens I hope she sues. (I hope she sues even if she doesn’t get fired). This parent suggested publically that this teacher wasn’t good at her job. That’s slander. The reporter and the editor who allowed this report contributed to spreading this implication. That’s libel. I hope they are sued for slander and libel and forced to sell everything they have and still be in debt to this teacher.

But this is indicative of a much larger problem. Do parents care about the actual curriculum? Do they care about how their kid is doing? DO they care about the actual quality of teachers? Or how funds are being allocated in the school? Do they care about what is best for the student? Apparently not, apparently the only parents that care enough to get involved are the ones who want to have the morals of the community as in the Scarlet Letter. (For a pagan like me I seem to remember what they like to do to my kind, involved wood and stakes, and fire. Not what I’m looking on returning to.)

Hmmm. Maybe parents should care more about what goes on in the classroom, than what teachers are doing outside of it.

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Filed under Teaching

A Question

What’s your favorite post on The Conservative New Ager? Which topics should I deal with more?

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Laws for the GOP to pass #24

So obviously the budget needs to be the primary concern and the priority needs to be give no ground, offer no quarter, take no prisoners, show no mercy.

But after that let’s deal with some health care issues again.

First, and I said this before but the legal barriers that prevent insurance companies from crossing state lines need to be revoked. No single act could reduce health care costs as much as this. (And while we’re at it remove the barriers for all other kinds of insurance as well). I know, I know, this was the first law I suggested in this series, but it simply cannot be repeated enough.

The next thing the government should do is extend the patents of drugs. Right now the patent for a drug is 20 years. First off if this seems a little short to you, it should. The patent for most technology is much longer, but for some reason we think drug companies shouldn’t profit off of the millions, sometimes billions of dollars they put into researching a drug. (And you wonder why they charge so much for drug…probably because they need to make up their money in the short period of time they have a patent for not only the research on that drug but on the research for other drugs that didn’t pan out).

But here’s the really fun thing. Apparently, that 20 years starts from when the drug company first applies to the FDA for drug trials, not when the drugs is actually approved. FDA drugs trials, universally acknowledged as insane, take on average 8-10 years, but sometimes more because they want to make sure that the drug is absolutely safe for everyone with every possible physiological chemistry. What would be smarter is passing tort reform laws that say for the first 15 years a drug is on the market requiring every doctor and pharmacist to tell you, “Look this was only tested for 5 years, the chance of your having an adverse reaction are: A.)highly unlikely and B.) we didn’t know it would happen, so you can’t sue us if you happen to be the one in a million case that doesn’t react well to the drug that helps 99.9999% percent of the people who take it.” But tort reform would make too much sense. So what also needs to be changed is the patent law. While I would love to see the patent extended, I know that’s a fight that we would just lose because people are stupid. So in the meantime while I wait for humanity as a whole to grow a frontal cortex, we need to make the 20 year patent start from when the FDA approves the drug not from when trials begin.

If a company has 20 years, instead of 10 years or less, to make back all of its investments on a drug that has a limited market then you will actually see prices drop. Not immediately mind you, but over the course of the next decade you will see companies lowering their prices because they can now afford it.

Now, some socialists out there will complain they can afford it anyway because the pharmaceutical industry has a profit margin of around 20%. Yeah they do. 20% profit, seems more than fair for coming up with drugs to save my life. How much profit is reasonable for the person who saves your life? But at more basic level it needs to be that high. Why? Because all those chemists and doctors who make the money on that hideously expensive research, if they don’t get massive salaries and make lots of money that comes with that kind of profit margin, well guess, what, the food industry is always looking for new ways to develop new food coloring and coming up with a better alternative to NutraSweet (you know one that doesn’t leave that god-awful aftertaste that makes us all hate Diet Coke). If you don’t pay for it, these people will go to other industries where the rewards are better (kind of like when you bog teaching down with huge amounts of red tape, unnecessary requirements and low salaries is a shock that most teachers are morons).

Extend how long drug companies can have their patents; it’s the only rational thing to do.

(All of this of course ignores that the majority of drugs are either going to people with perfectly preventable conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular problems that would be solved by exercise and right eating or to old people who are trying to deny the fact that they’re going to die someday).

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Filed under Health Care, Laws the GOP should pass