Friday, July 31, 2009

Wise Muddling Through

Op-Ed Columnist - Wise Muddling Through -

Nice-- and a nice allusion to "The Science of Muddling Through" article you read.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why We Must Ration Health Care -

Why We Must Ration Health Care -

This is a national policy issue, but is also implicit at the state level with Badger Care, for example.

If the amount we can spend on health care is not infinite, then how do we allocate a finite resource? Here is one way of thinking through those issues.

But are they politically acceptable? Which candidate will run on this platform? What constituent will vote for such a candidate?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Backward we go in Dairyland - JSOnline

Backward we go in Dairyland - JSOnline

Full WPRI Article

WPRI is a "free market oriented" think tank, so assume a particular point of view. However, they produce analysis based on data and thoughtful argument, rather than empty rhetoric. Whatever the solutions might look like, I think the problems pointed out in this article are central to the future of the state. Republican candidate for Governor, Scott Walker, tweeted both these pieces. (On Twitter Walker is @scottkwalker and Mark Newman is @StrongWisconsin . So far as I know Gov. Doyle isn't on Twitter.)

Gov. Doyle's office responds:

Asked to respond, the office of Gov. Doyle, a Democrat, dismissed the Alabama comparison. Wisconsin ranked 24th for median wages, while Alabama came in 45th, in a 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey that covers all occupations, Doyle's office noted.

While the WPRI points out that Wisconsin had zero job growth from 2000 to 2005, Doyle's office said that period includes the 2001 recession, which predates Doyle's stint as governor. Doyle took office in January 2003.

"Job growth improved beginning in 2002," Doyle's office said, citing BLS statistics that show 2.1% job growth from 2002-'05 and 1.5% in 2005-'07.

The governor's office concedes that Wisconsin job growth lagged the national average under his watch, but said Wisconsin "is comparable to other Great Lakes states in recent history."

"They cherry-pick statistics," Doyle spokesman Lee Sensenbrenner said of the WPRI report. "This is a right-wing group that's putting together an attack."

National Journal Online - The Six Most Dysfunctional State Governments

National Journal Online - The Six Most Dysfunctional State Governments

Fortunately, Wisconsin isn't on this list (yet).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

University students not shy about asking profs to reconsider grades

University students not shy about asking profs to reconsider grades

This article is more than a little harsh on students, given that my experience at least is that they are describing a distinct minority yet the story makes it sound like the majority.

However, I'd be interested in your reaction and thoughts. There are a couple of quotes from the article that I think DO hit home, even if there is a good bit of exaggeration:

"The point is that we are in the business of higher education, not mediocre education," Moses wrote in an e-mail while traveling in Europe. "This sounds elitist but the challenge of global competition to the U.S. way of life does not call for trying hard, it calls for performance"
"Too many students don't know why they are in college," engineering physics professor Moses wrote in his e-mail. "Too many don't know how to study. Too many have completely incorrect expectations. It is a system that is badly broken and not for a single reason. It is a system problem. The bottom line is that the U.S. future in the so-called knowledge economy is doomed with the students we are now producing as graduates. Companies locate factories in China and call centers in India not only because the workers work for less. The workers are also better qualified. If that is an exaggeration today, it will certainly become reality in a decade."
I doubt that my generation had any better idea of why we went to college than does yours. (Faculty often forget that.) Many of us had a great time socially while doing ok in classes. Some lost their way and flunked out. And a few found direction and excelled (not just in grades but in a focus and direction for their lives.) I don't think faculty can command students to be in the third category-- you have to find it for yourself. I don't think I've encountered an example of the third category begging for grades, and perhaps surprisingly I rarely get begging from those who are failing.

Take a look at the comments on the Cap Times article as well. An interesting set of perspectives. Palin's Base and Beyond

Three poll related analyses, two mostly inside the party and one outside. Palin's Base

Let's not dwell too much on this story-- just hard not to pay some attention.

Palin's career one surprise after another: Gov. Sarah Palin |

Palin's career one surprise after another: Gov. Sarah Palin |

Another example of great local coverage. This is a long look at Palin's history in Alaska politics written as only local reporters are able to do.

Palin returns to work, defends decision to resign: Gov. Sarah Palin |

Palin returns to work, defends decision to resign: Gov. Sarah Palin |

When you want to learn about a national politician, it is good to go to their home-state papers. The Anchorage Daily News has had superb coverage of Governor Palin since before she was the VP nominee. Last summer it was great to read accounts of her performance as governor that were written prior to the glare of the national media (and the distortion that brings-- both pro and con) and stories written before the reporters had a clue she would become a national figure.

Now in the wake of her resignation announcement, it is good to go back to those who know her best for the local story.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sarah Palin in

Todd S. Purdum on Sarah Palin |

This article was the talk of the week until Gov. Palin upstaged it with her resignation announcement today.

Long, but interesting look at Palin and the GOP splits.