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  1. piobaire commented on Mike Lester about 1 month ago

    ^ Responsibility is the problem, in more ways than for individuals. Corporations want subsidies, let alone low taxes. They want everyone else (we the people, as the government) to pay for benefits given to minimum-wage workers, to pay for roads, bridges, airports and all the other infrastructure they rely on, educating the masses who will do their work, a military to protect them and to facilitate their endeavors, and so on and on and on. Corporations (in general) don’t view themselves as the engines that employ people and power our country; corporations view themselves as means to accumulate power and wealth.

  2. piobaire commented on Jerry Holbert about 1 month ago

    A few samples of history, in addition:

    Spain was Christian before it was conquered by the Muslims, about 711 AD. It became a province of the Caliphate, and parts of Spain were held by the Muslims for nearly 800 years. The Reconquest ended in about 1492, under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

    Constantinople was a Christian city and capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. It fell to the Muslims in 1453. The cathedral of the city became the Hagia Sophia, an Imperial mosque, until the Turks secularized the building and made it a museum.

    The Austrians and the Poles defeated the Muslim armies outside the walls of Vienna in 1683.

    In balance with that, there were the Crusades, not to mention more recent events.

    They’ve been attacking us and we’ve been attacking them for centuries, trying to impose our wills on each other and take each other’s resources. I think it’s time we put an end to that sort of thing.

  3. piobaire commented on Jerry Holbert about 1 month ago

    Killing children for political or religious reasons is heinous. Any parent, any adult member of a society, who is not outraged by such killings is unworthy of being called a human being. Outraged people are inspired to take action. Some write letters or protest. Some want a more direct approach. Those without armies and other means may resort to terrorism.

    Ask yourself what you would do if children in your neighborhood were killed. dtroutma is correct, heavy-handed tactics have created many enemies of the United States.

  4. piobaire commented on Jim Morin about 1 month ago

    Perhaps it was like the people on Easter Island, thinking there would always be enough trees. “It’s all right to cut down the trees! We will always have enough wood to build boats to go fishing.” It didn’t work out so well for them.

  5. piobaire commented on Scott Stantis about 1 month ago

    In thinking of the history of the Caliphate, one should remember the Black Plague. Occurring in the middle of the 14th century, various scholars have put the death toll at as much as 50% of the population. The loss of skills, knowledge, social cohesion, as well as the trade and economic losses, must have been devastating. Imagine our civilization undergoing such a catastrophe. It beggars the imagination.

  6. piobaire commented on Lisa Benson 4 months ago

    When society decided teaching should be a profession, it decided that new teachers needed four year college degrees, and master’s degrees in many states.

    It was deemed important that teachers give professional-grade service to the children. However, they told the teachers, we can’t pay you like other professionals. We can’t pay you like we pay people with similar responsibilities. We can’t pay you like we pay people with similar credentials.

    So, what society offered to make up the difference in salary were good benefits and a good pension. It offered job protection, so that people who were dedicated and worked hard and long wouldn’t lose their jobs for unjust reasons and with those jobs their houses and the chance to send their children to college.

    Now, large sectors of society want to go back on their promises. They want ever more and ever better service for the kids, but they don’t want to pay for it.

    What do you think the effects will be?

  7. piobaire commented on Signe Wilkinson 4 months ago

    Signe Wilkinson, Trusted Mechanic, Mephistopheles, and others, thank you for the supportive cartoon and comments regarding teachers and teaching. Most of us work very hard, and receive very little in return.
    None of the teachers I know want to teach with poor teachers. Besides the negative effects on the children, poor teachers make every other teacher’s job harder. Poor teachers are supported in making improvements by their colleagues. Poor teachers who don’t improve are weeded out, often by themselves. As for the concept that teachers cannot be fired: Oh, yes they can. Tenure is only a guarantee of due process.
    The intent of the Common Core is fine. Who would argue that we should be satisfied with our educational standing in the world? I don’t have a problem with some other countries being better than we are, but for us to be as far down the lists as we are in Science and Mathematics is alarming.
    There are some fine aspects to the Common Core teaching materials, but there are problems too. The materials provided in my state are full of errors, both typographical and mathematical. They are clearly the product of rushed production and poor, or non-existent, editing.
    The way the Common Core was introduced was appalling. We were told that we would be learning the new materials as we taught them, with no compensated time to study the complex documents or prepare. The metaphor used was that we would be “flying the airplane while we build it”. Is there anybody here who flies who thinks that that sounds wise? Beyond that, we are going to be evaluated on how well our students do while we are mandated to teach with these flawed, untested materials.
    I worry that the Common Core and the associated materials have become such a lightning rod that they’ll be chucked out and we’ll have to start all over again.

  8. piobaire commented on Faces of the News by Kerry Waghorn 4 months ago

    Mexico. Cuauhtemoc is the name of a heroic leader of the native peoples of the Aztec empire. He became emperor after Moctezuma (there are a variety of spellings, in the US he is most often called ‘Montezuma’) was killed. ‘Cuauhtemoc’ is one of the non-Spanish names given to some male children in Mexico

  9. piobaire commented on The Barn 5 months ago

    Hmmm. Try the theme from the Flintsones or Gilligan’s Island for people of the postwar generation. The theme from The Beverly Hillbillies works too. People the right age can sing most or all of the lyrics, once you get them going. They didn’t try to memorize them, and they may not know they know them, but they do…

  10. piobaire commented on Jen Sorensen 5 months ago

    Thanks, Mike.

    Another source, on child mortality in general:
    http://www.hrsa.gov/healthit/images/mchb_child_mortality_pub.pdf