Thursday, May 28, 2009

Episode 61: American Civil Union Act of 2009


The fight for equal marriage laws has brought former opponents together to fight for the rights of the disenfranchised LGBT population. Theodore Olson and David Boies, who represented opposite sides in the infamous Bush v. Gore, have filed a lawsuit in deferral court on behalf of two gay men and two gay women. The hope is the lawsuit, which argues that California’s proposition 8 denies gay couples due process and equal protection, will make it to the Supreme Court. A favorable ruling would legalize gay marriage for the country.

I am a firm believer in human rights, and think that gay couples should have the same exact protection under the law as heterosexual couples, which includes tax benefits and hospital visitation rights among others. However, I would agree with the ACLU that it is not likely that the Supreme Court would rule in favor of gay marriage. Though the movement is gaining momentum, the issue is still too much of a hot button issue to gain widespread acceptance. I consider myself to be a… secular progressive on the religious front, so I’m not at all bothered by the idea of gay couples marrying. Still I can empathize with the Christian community’s concerns on the “sanctity of marriage.” Thus I have a solution that will make everyone happy.

I have alluded to this solution before, but now will officially present it here on The L Comment. The bill I propose is called the American Civil Union Act of 2009. It is a federal bill that will deem ALL unions as civil unions, gay or heterosexual. All couples in a civil union are granted the exact same rights. Marriages are no longer under government jurisdiction and the marriage ceremony is deferred to the church. If a secular church wants to marry gay couples they can. If they don’t they do not have to be forced to. It also eliminates the syntax problem with our current civil union system. Allowing heterosexual couples to marry, while granting gay couples civil union status (which the same privileges as marriage) without calling the union marriage, is a clear cut “separate but equal” situation.

I think this is one of the most flawless bills to ever be introduced in Washington. Everybody wins and no one loses. Now, someone with the power to make this happen should take it to the next level!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Episode 60: Jobs Baby Jobs!


Commentators from the right side of the aisle will tell you the way to crush Obama and the democrats in 2010 is by highlighting just how very crappy the job market is. I can attest to the dire straits we are in regarding the job market from personal experience. I am earned my Masters degree last year in hopes of getting my career in the entertainment industry started. Keep in mind this is not the flashy stuff you see on TV, but the behind the scenes work in audio post production, where a career in audio is more realistic. I did what all of us graduating did – packed my bags and moved to L.A.! I had a great internship, earned lots of wonderful recommendation letters, and even got to hang with Hollywood’s elite. None of this was able to stop the bulldozer of hard economic times. Fact of the matter is I chose the absolutely worst time to begin a career, especially one as volatile as the entertainment industry. For all the reasons we have debated many times, the economy simply fell apart. I happen to live in a state with inept politicians to add more fuel to the jobless fire. And as I look around me, it is clear my story is not unique. Most of my classmates who took the plunge are in as bad a shape as I am as well, living literally penny to penny. Read a newspaper, blog or watch TV and millions of college grads will tell a variation of my story.

I was all for the stimulus, seeing the greater good it could provide. The stimulus does just about nothing for people in my position. College grads, who are more likely to create the jobs of tomorrow, got the short end of the stick with the stimulus plan. Still there are far more in the working class than the academic class, so logic dictates policy should benefit the needs to the many, not the few. I get that 100%. Still sucks to be us though.

So yes, republicans do indeed have a very valid talking point here, and if they want to go on the offensive yet again, that is their best card. However, as I’m sitting on the plane on my way back to California, I had a thought about jobs I figured I’d share. I think the economy is completely busted, and we are going about fixing it the wrong way. It is true that despite stimulus, Americans continue to lose jobs. I read in the NY Times America is about to overtake Europe for a higher unemployment percentage. Throwing money at broken businesses is not going to work. This is because the stock market, in my opinion, has never been worth the amount the ticker tells us. Based on reports I’ve been reading from various sources, I’m convinced the financial problem is way deeper than the bank and housing crisis, and has spilled into the private sector. Much like the Dot Com bust, most companies were overvalued, and the housing crisis brought the whole charade down like Jenga blocks. Take Starbucks for example. There is no way they could be worth so much that there are 5 (empty) Starbucks within 2 blocks of each other. The lack of consumption is a problem, but I think the way bigger problem is that current value of the stock market is what businesses are *supposed* to be. Let’s take Apple’s stock. Many have applauded them for surviving the recession/depression, but Apple is a VERY smart company, thus their stock is high because their business practice in the personal computer market is second to none.

If the value of stock is where it’s supposed to be, that means hiring new, or bringing back old employees will be very difficult, because the busted companies never really had the cash to do so. I think that is the true reason while unemployment continues to decline. That is makes construction jobs that much more important. First, it mitigates the damage of a busted economy, because there are more people in the working class than academic class. And because something always needs to be built, it lays the foundation for the point of this post; investment in construction will help us build the foundation for the jobs of tomorrow. The way out of this recession is through new technologies and innovation. Rebuilding our current model is a waste of time and money because it has already reached its maximum potential. I argue that the crisis is largely due to overextending the potential of our economic model to the point of bursting. Now, the unemployment crisis WILL bottom out. Like the bubbles in a fizzy soda, we have to wait for all of the bubbles to pop before the unemployment rate flattens like old Pepsi.

Thus the solution is creating entirely new business sectors. I have argued for green tech many a times, but that’s not the only route. There are exciting innovations in the tech sector, digitizing medical records will provide jobs for at least a decade, electric and hydrogen cars are the cars of tomorrow, rebuilding our broadband infrastructure for the 21st century is essential for making the listed opportunities possible. Instead of bailouts, the government should move to fund innovation. The private sector can’t do it because venture capitalists are strapped for cash as well. We have a plan for the working class – let’s get the academic class into the fold. They longer you keep us on the sidelines, the longer it will take to create true growth.

So while I agree with the republicans that ultimate growth has to come from the private sector, the government is the only entity with cash. We have to shed away our hatred for the government and make them do their job. Get involved with your politics at the congressional level and hold your representatives responsible. The government is only as bad as we are negligent and complacent. Obama has said many times, that once things have stabilized, the reigns of economic growth will go back to the private sector. I urge the GOP to drop the socialist rhetoric and actually Youtube his speeches. It’s very clear that Obama has no intention of turning America into Europe. Let’s make the debate about what new industries we can create, and when and how. If we continue on our current trajectory, the job loss crisis will not improve. The answer is new industries, new innovations, and maintaining, not rebuilding current industries.

My republican friends, attacking unemployment is probably not your best platform if you want to look like you’re looking at the long term strategy. It is hard for businesses to say they busted because that would involve admitting failure. Now, the better idea is to attack which industries to grow and when. TO only highlight problems and offer no solution creates an unhealthy political environment and will ensure the GOP failure.

Episode 59: Seeing is Believing


Sometimes, you have to see to believe. Eric “Mancow” Muller set out to prove to the world that waterboarding IS NOT TORTURE. He agreed to undergo waterboarding, believing that he could hold his breath and withstand 30 or more seconds of it. He lasted 7 seconds. The average detainee lasts on average for 14 seconds. I hope that ends the debate. Waterboaring is torture. We tortured. We lost our moral high ground because of it. The practice emboldens terrorist camps. It ultimately makes us UNSAFE. Muller later said if he had to endure waterbaording the way detainees do, he would "confess to anything." In my eyes, this argument is over and done. It is NOT enhanced interrogation, it is TORTURE. Since seeing is believing, what the tape, and decide for yourself.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Episode 58: Conservative Obsolescence


I like controversy, so I titled this post to rile people up. It also has a catchy ring to it. But I’d like to say at the onset, the following commentary is referring specifically to elected officials. Unfortunately, some good conservative thinkers have become collateral damage in the GOP war on intellect. I have on many occasions alluded to the obsolescence of conservative ideology coming from many elected officials and some pundits. Today, I am going to expand on that idea.

For those who have neglected to look at a calendar, it is 2009. Many conservatives still think it is 1980. Several important things have happened in 29 years, namely: the internet has created instant access to every piece of information in the world – politicians no longer have the stranglehold on the message as they once did; gays and lesbians are sick and tired of hiding their orientation, and Americans under the age of 30 by and large aren’t scared of them anymore; the church has lost some of its influence on its faith based message as Atheists are the only population to increase in number this past decade; computers have evolved to the point of more accurately measuring just bad we’re destroying the earth; and the majority of Americans want more government.

To begin, let us analyze what made conservative opinion attractive for two and a half decades in the first place. When Reagan was elected, America had undergone two HUGE revolutions. First was civil rights. Many people forget that until the 1960’s, the prior 350 year history of Black Americans was in captivity that got increasingly worse (This in my opinion makes Obama’s election that much more special – Blacks have really enjoyed freedom under the law for only 40 years before one was able to get elected as President). Tensions were incredibly high, and Americans underwent a massive social reformation in light speed’s time.

Before we could recover from that, we were involved in Vietnam. What made Vietnam so horrific was being the very beginning of the information age. In WWII, America propagandized war to create the image of the American hero fighting for freedom. This is all good and true, but they left out the incredible amounts of bloodshed and loss of Americans in the trenches in the war footage. Vietnam was the first time the grittiness of war was brought home to the living room. And millions at home under the narration of Walter Cronkite, watched in horror, American soldiers slaughtering and getting slaughtered. Add to this, President Johnson tried to pretend that we weren’t in war (via lack of budgeting for the war, burning through our coffers), thus not mobilizing Americans and American industry around the war effort. This created a severe negative opinion of the war and the protests of the 70s. (sound familiar?) Couple this with breaking of the floodgates of sexual suppression and deterioration of the 1950s “Leave it to Beaver” ultra-Christian-conservative culture, and you have yet another massive social reformation. In 1980, America could not have withstood another progressive movement. Enter President Reagan, the republican Obama – relatively young and an actual Hollywood superstar.

In the 1990s, the democrats had regained control of the executive branch, but Clinton didn’t enjoy support from the legislative branch for much of his presidency. Also, and more importantly, Americans coming from the relative social stability of the 80s, were highly socially conservative. Republicans today like to say that the democrats played a part in the economic mess we’re in today. They are 90% correct. I always believed that Bill Clinton was ahead of his time. His policies didn’t match the desires of the American people, and politicians, being politicians, enact legislation that is popular to stay in office. This doesn’t make democrats saints, but actually quite the opposite. The progressive movement of the 90s was a disjointed hodgepodge of ideologies. There was no leader with the backbone to stand up against a very strong and united conservative movement and join the many progressive movements under one flag. Complacency is just as bad as inaction.

Fast-forward to today. Between 1998 and 2008, America has slowly awakened from the dream of milk and honey and the sweet nectar of ambrosia, and on September 15th 2008, the crashing of the stock market was like having a Gatorade cooler’s worth of ice water thrown on Americans to wake them up. As we rubbed our eyes and our vision cleared, we saw the world wasn’t as rose colored as we once thought they were. America was falling apart fast, and we elected Obama to fix it. We knew there was no way in the world one man could do it alone, so when he promised us an unprecedented level of bipartisanship, America was resoundingly onboard. However, on the first issue as president, republicans took a firm stand against the president. I have argued that Obama wasn’t as bipartisan as he could’ve been the first go around, but the GOP weren’t helpful.

Somewhere beginning in the end of January, republicans went from being the opposition party to the “No” party. They flew under the banner of small government, no taxes, anti-human rights, anti-earth, and pro war. I argue that the Republican Party is obsolete because their talking points do not match what the majority of Americans want. I believe my opinion is substantiated since most every poll shows the republican base constantly shrinking, almost excluding all but the most radical and irrelevant. This by no means suggests that republicans should buy into progressive thought lock-stock-and-barrel. To do this would be making the same mistake as democrats of the 90s. Instead they should reanalyze their platform and evolve it to meet 21st century standards, incorporating conservative ideology into their new ideas. What I thought I’d do is list some talking points and point out how it is inconsistent with the current thought, and leave it up to the conservative commenters to voice their opinion on how they can incorporate conservative ideology into today’s issues in a manner more in-line with current American opinion. I say if this is not possible, the GOP is doomed, and the 2012 election may actually be a 3 or 4 party race. I’m very serious about that statement.

**GOP on Propaganda**
Karl Rove politics no longer works. This is because the internet age has gems like Google and Wikipedia to dig up information on a topic, Youtube to chronicle every word that comes out of a politician’s mouth, and blogs like this one to turn people who were once angry bystanders into active amateur journalists and commentators. Scaring the crap out of people only works on the extremes of either party. The numbers on both sides of progressive and conservative extremism are VERY small.

**GOP on Human Rights**
Americans want gay marriage. Just about every poll shows Americans under 30 have no problems with gay marriage. Active readers of the blog probably already know my stance on the issue – label ALL marriages as civil unions, and leave the marriage ceremony to the church. Take government out of marriage all together (an insanely easy solution to the problem if you ask me).

**GOP on Green Tech**
One of the most disappointing debates revolves around green tech. Americans by-and-large do not want to use fossil fuels anymore because it keeps us tethered to the Middle East. Republicans believe that green tech is a hairy fairy idea that is several years from being realized. This is not true. It is within only a few years of being ready to go. California is a bad example for a lot of things, but they have the lead in green tech. Homeowners who install solar panels pay far less in energy costs, and if they generated enough power, they actually get a credit. We really can expand this idea to the whole country. I’m also very tuned into geothermal which seems like the next mass power source. For cars, we’re looking at bio-fuels for the short term, electric and hydrogen for the long term. Drilling for oil is going in the absolutely wrong direction. Conservatives argue that green tech is not employed in China and as a result their growth exploded. China is a developing nation and have to resort to cheap tried and tested fuel to power their growth. However, every technology report I read indicates China is heavily investing in green tech. Green tech is the next global economic entity. Whoever gets green tech will have substantial growth going forward, which is why we have to do it first. America is in the race, but we are not in the lead in this department.

**GOP on Family Planning**
The abstinence only program is only going to end in complete and utter failure. Americans are so sexually aggressive because we have been so sexually suppressed for so long. It makes far more sense to advocate safe sex than no sex. What the GOP did to Bristol Palin is a shame. That was a great opportunity to say “listen, she is an example what not using condoms can do.” Instead, they made the poor girl go back on TV and repudiate safe sex in favor or abstinence, which is an awful, awful idea.

**GOP on the Economy**
Most Americans strongly believe the GOP platform of less government and more tax breaks is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place. If republicans even think the words “government is the problem” you will lose 1000 people. If government is the problem, and the republicans were in complete control of six of the last eight years, wouldn’t that imply they were the problem too? Americans want more government (not excessive government), more regulation, more oversight, and more transparency. Yes, that means a lot of people are probably going to go to jail. I think the economy argument is more protecting friends from going to the slammer. Trickledown economics is largely a regionalized practice that does not affect the majority of Americans.

**GOP on Healthcare**
Americans do not want to worry about being one medical catastrophe from being in financial ruin. The tax breaks the republicans want to give for healthcare has absolutely no oversight – more than likely tax money would be used to pay other things like debt. Also, the tax breaks do not amount to enough money to pay the average premium. If the GOP gives Americans the appropriate amount of money for health through taxes, it would be just as expensive as the democratic plan, but without the oversight. The democrat plan for healthcare is COVERAGE ONLY. This does not change anything about our choice in doctors or hospitals and clinics. All it does is allow Americans to buy into an affordable plan subsidized by the government, which offloads that heavy burden off of small business. The idea that we’d be on a long line waiting to get second rate service is absolutely false.

**GOP on the War**
I think we all are in agreement that we need to get out of the Middle East ASAP. The main issue revolves around torture. Most Americans think that we did indeed torture. Trying to deny torture or reconcile torture is a losing argument. We cannot compromise our integrity in wartime; otherwise we are no better than them. The law was rewritten and reconstructed to allow the abuse to go on. The main issue is to what extend was the law twisted to allow torture, and who should get punished for it.

Again, I want to stress that the source of conservative obsolescence comes from the elected “leadership.” Many conservative governors and congressmen come to the table with good ideas with are shot in flames by the “leadership.” The best ideas however are coming from the young people and bloggers. These are the people, like the readers of this blog that engage in aggressive debate about important issues. We rarely agree, but I think we have in many cases found middle ground. This is what bipartisan politics is, disagreeing and finding middle ground. We should take a cue from Meaghan McCain, she is probably the only 21st century republican on TV who really gets it. If we are having rational debates, we will have rational solutions to complex problems. And we have in President Obama, who loves to debate – this is the perfect president to find middle ground. So I say once again republican leadership, roll up your sleeves and get in the debate already!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Episode 57: Got Spare Change?


I heard this story on NPR when I was stuck in stereotypical L.A. traffic.

It’s an interesting thought and kind of true. I know I try to avoid spending big bills, but not really to save money, but rather to spend a denomination more commensurate with my purchase. For example, if I’m going to buy a pack of gum for 99 cents, it’s kind of silly to break a twenty and wind up with a lot of change in my pocket. Conversely, if I’m at a restaurant and the bill is $60, I’d rather pay with three $20 bills. I thought that’s the way everybody did it. But it seems the studies show that people always prefer to pay with lower denominations whenever possible.

The author of the study suggests we put more one dollar and two dollar coins into circulation. I think she missed the memo: NO AMERICAN LIKES DOLLAR COINS! This isn’t Canada! =) In all seriousness, the JFK half dollar failed, the Susan B. Anthony failed, and I had a guy at the 34th street subway station refuse to take my Sacajawea coin! I would wager that most Americans would put dollar coins into a coin jar or collector’s glass before spending it. I applaud an interesting idea on how to help the economy, but I don’t think it will work, at least not in America.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Episode 56: Miss Superficiality


I think beauty pageants are really stupid. It’s a slap in the face to every woman who has been fighting for progress, every woman who has been paid less for equal work, and every woman who works hard to get an education and start a career. I’m not going to stereotype all these women and assume that they are all airheads, but I will say that that have a direct and very negative impact on all women. You have the modern woman who busts her ass to break stereotypes. They did the hard work, dealt with sexism in the office, juggle a career, marriage, and kids, and somehow find a way to make it work. Miss America wins because she has a slammin’ body (let’s be real, the victory is 98% by who has the best looking swimsuit) and bypasses all that hard work by showing a lot of leg and hair flicking her boss. I’d be happy to see beauty pageants fizzle and disappear. However between Miss South Carolina and now Miss California, they are media hot topics for a few weeks, so I guess they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Speaking of which, this Miss California controversy is ridiculous. After watching her speech, does anyone really think she has formed her own opinion on the topic? Even if it is, her belief reflects the belief of the majority of Americans anyway. And she had the balls to not be PC on the big stage. This controversy was cooked up by Perez Hilton, an irrelevant social commentator like myself! If he was trying to start a dialogue about gay marriage, or advance the cause through the pageant, he sure as hell picked the wrong battlefield. I wonder if The L Comment will ever cause such a stir!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an old stick in the mud. I just think this conservation about a contest that means absolutely nothing is very silly. To watch MSNBC anchors getting fired up over it is sillier. So congrats Miss California, you are the winner. For whatever it is worth, there was no reason why your crown should’ve been under contention in the first place.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Episode 55: Republican Buzzkills


I read a lot of papers and blogs from the left, right, and many things in between. I watch Hardball, Rachel Maddow, and Keith Olbermann most every day, but I have read all but one of Bill O’Reily’s books, stomached through ¼ of a few of Ann Coulter’s books, and when I’m feeling rather masochistic, I watch a bit of Fox News and even Rush Limbaugh (who I admit is rather entertaining).

I mention this history only to convey that I try my best to see an argument from both sides before I decide how I feel about it. So when I look at the current political landscape, I can’t help but wonder why republican pundits and politicians cannot and will not try to look beyond their own convictions for answers to today’s problems. And every single republican who has tried to extend their line of thinking to at the very least entertain a different idea, they are slammed right back down to earth by the GOP upper echelon.

In the 100 something days Obama has been in office, they have not offered a single, solitary, new idea to the table. I can’t help but think that this was planned all along… the McCain contingency plan should he have lost. No ideas, yet they fire artillery shells of “NO!” from a distance without bothering to get their hands dirty to solve real problems. I’m tired of this “opposition.” If they do not want to participate in politics, shut up and try and get elected in 2010.

The reason why I’m so cheesed, is everywhere I look, every paper, magazine, and blog I read, the right offer no solutions, proclaim the destruction of America by socialist heathens, and dig up ridiculous story after ridiculous story in attempt to try to bring the democratic party down. What will that achieve in the end? The GOP doesn’t stand for anything, and a weakened democratic party would ensure that no work gets done.

Republicans never once gave Obama a chance. Though I will say my first bipartisan meeting would’ve been quite different, Jim Boehner told the House to reject whatever bill is coming to the desk, even though many concessions had been made. Don’t they see it is the republicans who are causing policy to move in slow motion? I challenge you republican politicians, to honestly work with Obama with just one issue. Argue the hell with him until your face turns blue, I and near guarantee that you will find middle ground.

Republicans today are the biggest buzz kills in modern politics. America and the world were screaming for change. Americans, more than ever before, got involved with politics and cast their votes. When was the last time the election of a president brought tears of joy to the faces of millions across the country and around the globe? The country was high on politics, and the republicans RUINED it. They are bigger buzz kills than Buzz Killington. Now we’re back to the same old BS. And the vicious circle repeats itself – people lose interest, politicians capitalize on the lack of interest and do corrupt things and the left and right call each other out for these pety things to avoid talking about big issues.

The ONLY thing republicans had to do was brainstorm. They are like the jerk team member we’ve all have had to deal with who refuses to listen to anyone else’s ideas, and creates chaos among the group. Stop it. Crap or get the heck off the pot.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Episode 54:


Education is a subject near and dear to my heart. Although I’m in m mid twenties, I’ve been involved in the education field for about a decade. I was a peer tutor in high school, took on private music students from 10th grade all they way through undergrad, and taught music at an elementary and high school. My mom is a teacher, and my brother is studying to become one. Having been so involved in the system, I think I am qualified enough to say our educational system is absolutely abysmal.

Education today follows a methodology that has largely gone unchanged for 50 years. Students learn systematically, that is a step by step process where the goal is to find the answer to the question. The problem is there is little emphasis on application, which in turn lessens the degree of apprehension – the true measure of knowledge (a student by be able to read every word in a 700 paged Harry Potter book, but if he doesn’t understand what he read the information is useless). In essence, students perform repetitive tasks, without understanding why they are doing that task. In such a case, only children who naturally posses above average cognitive ability will perform well. There are many reasons why I believe there is such a sharp decline in education and each reason could be a blog post itself. However, in 2001, George W. Bush did try to address education with No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

NCLB was a bipartisan bill that aimed to drastically redefine how we approach education in America. The progressive part of the deal included provided funding to certain schools, while the conservative part incentivized performance to dictate where these funds went. In essence, students take a aptitude test in 2nd, 4th, 8th, and 11th grades. If the school test scores are above average, they are provided additional funding, while under performing schools were given the chance to improve. If they didn’t improve, they received no money, and were a risk for getting shutdown, with charter schools possibly taking its place. I believe the idea is a bit backwards, because examination of under performing schools often times was due to the lack of resources, books, and high student to teacher ratio.

Lack of funding is a pretty irrelevant issue though. After 9/11, NCLB became a pretty pathetic excuse for a program. A few years into the Iraq war, schools, above average or otherwise, were not getting federal funding, or not enough. Because education is governed by the state, I cannot say what happened to other states, but in New York, the lack of funding led to sharp increases in the school budget, which is paid for by income taxes. As with everything else in the financial world, income taxes increased faster than wages did (and wages in fact have begun to decline by this point) and as a result, school budgets failed to pass. At its peak, George W. Bush invested 60 Billion into education, which was not enough to take care of the budgetary needs of school across the country. What NCLB did leave behind however are grueling tests that do not provide an accurate marker of a students’ level of comprehension.

The problem with NCLB (and I’ll try to explain this in layman’s terms the best I can) is it reinforces a methodology that considers getting the answer more important than how we get the answer, and how the answer is applicable in real life. This is a long way of saying “teaching to the test.” Once the test is over, the knowledge we accumulate vanishes over night. In order to maintain retention, the lesson is taught over and over again, which is very boring to the student. Students eventually abandon education. This methodology worked in 1950, because we were less cultured, not nearly as savvy, and far less connected than we are today.

We need to approach holistically. Rather deal with the step by step process; we should instead approach education conceptually. To do this, we start with the big picture – the application – and uncover the process through discovery. Furthermore, tests should be used as benchmarks to gauge progress, not the determining measure of knowledge. When students can immediately relate to the subject matter, apprehension improves drastically. Students do this naturally already because of the proliferation of technology. Students don’t read the manuals for their computers because they understand how it works conceptually. Ctrl-C is “copy” and Ctrl-Z is “undo” on every computer. Rather than adapt to the way students learn and embracing technology, teachers try to apply an obsolete methodology to student 2.0 because they are stubborn, or simply lack the training to do so. I think to a large degree we need a No Teacher Left Behind.

Teachers and students are still only a part of the problem. Parental involvement in education is severely lacking. Again, I could dedicate several posts to the topic. In short, many parents just do not know how to help their children anymore. Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, text messaging, this new culture doesn’t make any sense to parents. Future parents who are my age will be far better equipped to help student 2.0. The school can help by showing parents how to help their kids, in essence providing a crash course into the modern student in PTA meetings. It has to be a multi-pronged, collaborative effort.

Initially I was a Hilary Clinton supporter. She was my senator and I had met her twice, so it was an easy choice. What got me in the Obama camp was his view on education. He completely gets it. Most every aspect of my educational philosophy I outlined here, he has mentioned in his speeches. His secretary of education gets it. Obama, being a relatively young guy, with young children is the embodiment of how responsible parents should be involved with their children’s education. He has already budgeted $135 Billion for education. It is important to remember that this money not only addresses cost per student issues (this is largely a state government consideration anyway), but also addition resources like netbooks for all students, upgraded science facilities in all schools, and repairs, extensions, and equipment for schools.

What are the alternatives to state education? The most viable option is vouchers. Since I know this is going to come up, turning education into a free market system is the worst thing we could ever do. I strongly believe every child should have the right to receive education. What a free market education will do is create a situation where there is a high level of competition (which is good) and winners and losers (which is very bad). The losers will have difficulty getting access to better education because the nature of competition would dictate schools admit the best of the best. The worst of the worst will have trouble using their education, because a factor colleges and jobs will consider is how prestigious your high school was (would you go to a doctor who graduated from Harvard of Jamestown Community College? Applying this standard to high school students would be disastrous socially and psychologically). This system works fine for universities because no one is required to attend one. I generally don’t have a problem with charter schools, but I do not believe that should be the primary source for education in America.

That’s that. Education defined and explained. We have someone in office that really understand what we need to do to improve education in this country. Is this one topic that my conservative colleagues can fall behind as well? I certainly hope so. Let the debate begin.