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Towery: Congressional Budget Office isn't apolitical entity

I strongly disagree, and think that the CBO must be nonpartisan and apolitical. That is one potential check and balance on one party or position being favored beyond the other.

Mr. Towery is expressing an opinion that the democrats got their way with the ACA by ignoring or hiding facts (or at least potentially likely scenarios, since any prediction of the future is not a fact). That probably did happen and not he wants to turn the tables and do the same kind of fuzzy math with the GOP pushed agenda. In spite of what he wants in his tag line as being "nonpartisan" he is really not and just playing the game still.

The American public need and deserve a nonpartisan CBO.

posted @ Saturday, January 31, 2015 - 10:48

Today's editorial cartoon

@Georgia Boy: He plays out well to the party base that is supported with immense amounts of money from those that would be hurt by the recognition of real climate change (including I would add ocean acidification), such as the Koch bothers and their nearly $1 billion dollar commitment to buy more elections in 2016 (than you US Supreme Court).

I wonder is the Augusta Chronicle publishes opinion pieces and cartoons that reflect a diverse range of opinions like the ABH. Being in Athens with a wide set of opinions, the ABH does well to balance these out. Not so sure if that happens in Augusta (and doubt it really).

For a little levity related to this check out today's Non-sequitor comic in the link below

posted @ Saturday, January 31, 2015 - 10:36

House leaders release outline of transportation funding plan for state

You could use the same smoke and mirrors claim and just raise the gas tax to where it would have been had there been inflation adjustments in place since the last rise. That is as much a justifiable reason as some of these other shenanigans.
All this, just to satisfy the ideologues who sign a no tax increase bill.

posted @ Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 18:23

Stanford: Pragmatism is key to ending America's political stalemate

We need to have more of these type of letter and articles to begin to build a coalition of non-ideologues.

posted @ Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - 09:19

Tant: French killings reawaken commitment to freedom

"Americans have long used their Bible to justify war, homophobia and racial segregation. "
You might add slavery to that list.

Fortunately that is not as overtly done now (in most cases), but those thought still exist for some.

posted @ Sunday, January 25, 2015 - 10:18

What Others Say: Americans lacking in basic civics knowledge

@swimdawg68: Not sure if they still require civics in HS now (probably do or I at least hope they do), but the problem is that today's younger generation seems to be so inward focused. They don't seem to care about keeping up with current events or learning about civics. Perhaps it is because they see all the hyper partisanship and gridlock that exists and just are turned off by it; I don't know.

posted @ Sunday, January 25, 2015 - 10:14

Gerson: God is very near to us

[quote][b]jtsim[/b] - God is near to all of us. Sadly too many of us don't know it.

Agreed! Either we don't know it or we get caught up in life and forget it (the seed among thorns).

posted @ Friday, January 23, 2015 - 21:51

Editorial cartoon for Jan. 23

[quote][b]barryhollander[/b] - That said, Fox is brilliant at what does -- skilled, attractive anchors who dress up opinion as news. MSNBC tries to do the same but it's not in Fox's league.[/quote]

True, and from a financial perspective it is brilliant and it works. Unfortunately, their style just contributes to the bad discourse we have in this country now. I would rather see Fox (and MSNBC) or whatever be honest about the fact that they are opinion oriented "news" and not be so shrill and confrontational.
But, of course, that does not sell with a hard core group that they are targeting.

posted @ Friday, January 23, 2015 - 21:49

Estrich: 'Money primary' under way in 2016 presidential race

"On the Republican side, the challenge for the whales will be to fight all of those sharks who would actually try to change the system and elect someone from outside the club. Good viewing."

You mean lots of luck. The "system" is now in control, that meaning the big money interests who now are considered people too. (as confirmed by the US Supreme Court and publicly by one of those seeking nomination on the GOP side, that being Mitt Romney).

posted @ Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 21:41

Wahhabi perversion of Islam sows seeds of terrorism

Interesting analysis, and seems to have some basis for describing what is going on now.
So, with the establishment of a new oil and gas industry in the US thanks to fracking and the growing renewable energy systems out there due to decline cost of PV, etc., perhaps it is time to tell the Saudi oil machine to buzz off. Either they stop funding and renounce the extremists or [OK here is the hard part, or what?]

posted @ Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 21:35

Ponnuru: Republicans don't need to 'show they can govern'

[quote][b]barryhollander[/b] - @Kwijibo Junior: Actually moderates do vote. They made up, according to exit polls, 40 percent of the 2014 voters. Conservatives made up 36 percent, liberals 23 percent.
What it means to describe yourself as a "moderate" is an interesting and difficult-to-parse question. Twenty-nine percent described themselves as "independents" versus the other two parties, so moderate appears to be a somewhat more acceptable term.

So true. Unfortunately, our political primary system is now biased toward having the 'less moderate' candidates on both sides win elections.

posted @ Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 21:29

Ponnuru: Republicans don't need to 'show they can govern'

"That task is to devise and promote an attractive conservative agenda to place before the voters. Unlike governing the country, that’s an achievable goal."

actually that is one way to define governing.

posted @ Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 07:49

Free tuition is excellent public investment

While it is a good idea to increase access to community college (and tech schools) education, I would prefer we first find the means to fully fund public K-12 education first. It is a travesty that we in Georgia there still are furlough days for teachers and shortened school years. It is hypocritical of our state 'leadership' to allow this to continue to happen and then complain about failing schools and the lack of a trained workforce.

Instead of investing in education, many states are rather spending more and more on prison facilities and operations. You could make the case that it is one or the other.

posted @ Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 08:13

McCutchen: Georgia needs new transportation funding plan

It is good to see that more are coming to realize that we (not just Georgia but the whole US) has shortchanged itself for decades. We built a great infrastructure in the highway system but then failed to keep funding up to maintain and modernize it. Time to pay the piper.

I question the fee for alternative fueled vehicles. Not the concept, but the amount. $200 seemed to be steep. Assume 10,000 miles per year driving averge and using 45 miles per gallon average (my wife's Prius for example) that comes to 227 gallons. Georgia fuel taxes vary by where in the state, actual cost of gas, etc., but according to the API the average (last summer) was 28..8 cents / gallon. That comes to $65 per year, a whole lot less that $200.
I suspect this organization suggested $200 as a punitive measure for those with alternative fueled vehicles (OK the cynic comes out).

posted @ Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 07:57

Students turning away from teaching profession, enrollment figures show

The downturn mostly has affected the graduate program enrollment, at least at UGA and according to the table in the print edition.

It is time for the state of Georgia (state and local level) to do what is needed to get rid of teacher furloughs and shortened school years. This is an economic development issue just as important as anything else to consider.

posted @ Monday, January 19, 2015 - 09:35

Galis: Debating education in a 'moneyball' world

[quote][b]leongalis[/b] - I've seen that statistic about a bazillion times and always wonder why the "anti-reformers" (we really need better terminology for identifying the parties to this debate) think it helps their cause. They seem to want to have it both ways.[/quote]

True enough. I don't like the term "anti-reformers" as it is too harsh and does not help the debate.

Personally I am all for consideration of new concepts for education and I think that some reform or changes are likely needed. I don't claim to know what, as I am in university level education; but even here there are new concepts being put forth that seem to work.
My biggest problem is with those that seem to want to junk the concept of public education. The motivation is different with different people probably, and the cynic in me smells some who just want to profit from this regardless of the harm or benefit it causes (and the politicians that support that cause due to campaign donations).

posted @ Sunday, January 18, 2015 - 10:47

Galis: Debating education in a 'moneyball' world

[quote][b]bertisdowns[/b] - That means 86% – 99% of the variables impacting students’ standardized test scores include things beyond a teachers control: the income level of parents, the education level of parents, access to regular and healthy food, access to stable housing, etc."[/quote]

Great points here. I would be all for a Moneyball-type approach to analyzing education, its effectiveness and which schools/teachers are really 'failing', as long as all these factors were brought into the equation.

More and more testing of students and having teachers focus on teaching to the test is not education. As you so well state, problem solving, analytical and critical thinking skills are the most important, not knowing how to fill out a multiple choice memorization type test.

posted @ Sunday, January 18, 2015 - 10:30

Despite low gas prices, gas tax hike appears unlikely

It is too bad that the powers that be in Congress can't look at the big picture of crumbling infrastructure needs. Transferring money from general fund just to pay bills for highway construction/maintenance is silly, and only brought on because some are locked into an ideology of no raising taxes.

$1 in 1993 in gas tax has the same buying power as $0.61 today. No wonder the fund is depleted.

Just like the minimum wage, if there had been an automatic adjustment for inflation put in place, we would not be having this problem.

posted @ Sunday, January 18, 2015 - 10:13

The heat is on; NOAA, NASA say 2014 warmest year on record

@TeeWee: Fair enough. Science is a messy sport in the sense that it is hard to make definitive conclusions about something. It is good for some to call some parts of the science into question, if they are truly motivated about wanting the truth and not just playing politics.
But the overwhelming majority of scientists now conclude that anthropomorphic caused global climate change is occurring.
By the way, I am more concerned in the near-term about the acidification of oceans. In both temperatures and ocean pH the changes are small, as you point out, but what should matter is how much a difference a 0.5 - 1.0 degree C or a few tenths of a pH level really mean to the overall environment and how it affects society.

posted @ Sunday, January 18, 2015 - 10:07

The heat is on; NOAA, NASA say 2014 warmest year on record

[quote][b]TeeWee[/b] - I was going to warn everyone that this was coming.  With all the cold and unseasonably cold temperatures around the world, very early snow  and frost in Eurasia to Snow in Florida, a press release on how warm it is was bound to come.  We must remember those still touting CAGW worked feverishly to adjust temps upward by tents or hundredths of a degree to make their point.  I roll my eyes and shake my head.  

I take it you did not really read the article. Snow if Florida occasionally happens any year. The plot of average annual temperatures in the article does show up and down trends but a steady rise by tenths and hundreths over time.

posted @ Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 09:11

Deal proposes $45B Georgia budget as economy improves

By now, the state should figure out a way to ensure that all school districts do not have to reduce the number of class days or put teachers on furlough, instead of a continued harangue about "failed schools".

posted @ Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 09:05

McKoy: 18-year-olds ready for legislative service

I vote yes, mostly because diversity in viewpoints and backgrounds should lead to better decisions and policies. If a person is motivated and mature enough to build and win an election, then they should be able to handle the job.

posted @ Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 08:53

Harrop: License plates aren't bumper stickers

@jtsim: Agreed.

posted @ Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 21:58

Editorial cartoon for January 14, 2015

Not sure what the Obama administration was thinking about not attending this. Another demonstration of lack of leadership.
(This negative Obama post hopefully will convince some on this board that I am indeed a centrist thinker.)

posted @ Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 21:56

Events in Paris shouldn't be indictment of Islam, local Muslims say

[quote][b]GaltMeister[/b] -
The second was not a question but a declaration. As for the KKK, this was (and still is) a Democratic venture into control of groups of certain of people. The left does not control black people physically anymore but they do mentally. Try reading choice Lyndon Johnson quotes for a while... Wink Do you not have any shame?

The biggest shame might be to see this silly logic of linking 50 year old politics with today. What really did this have to do with the topic of this article?

posted @ Monday, January 12, 2015 - 23:46

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