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"Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand! " Homer Simpson

. . .It is long past time for the government to stop subsidizing home and business owners who live and build in dangerous flood zones.

Homeowners and businesses should be responsible for purchasing their own flood insurance on the private market, if they can find it. If they can’t, then the market is telling them that where they live is too dangerous. If they choose to live in harm’s way, they should bear the cost of that risk — not the taxpayers. Government’s primary role is ensuring the safety of its citizens, so the government’s subsidizing of risky behavior is completely backward.



re: end subsidies for flood insurance.

I think it will indeed be necessary as Climate Change kicks in, to discourage shore dwellers from settling too close to the ocean. And yet, just as the private flood insurance market dried up after Katrina, so did the private Earthquake insurance market in California after the Northridge quake. One might well argue that a Federal program that encourages individuals to carry insurance (by making it more affordable through public subsidy) is a warranted use of public funds. Were we to just say "well, don't live in Silicon Valley, (or Oakland, or LA, or San Francisco) cuz they are Earthquake prone, America would lose an economy (California's) that would rank 10th in the world were it a separate Sovereign State. Likewise, now that we are busy fracking the bread basket, what are we gonna do with all THOSE people now that they are living (through no fault of their own, in earthquake country too?

Here where I live, there are no earthquakes, nor floods that matter. However, the State of California has decided to impose a new fee for habitable structures in wildfire zones. Seems like they've decided that the 13,700 people living in Trinity County should bear the burden of Fire control for the 2,000,000 acres of National Forest in this County.

hmmm. The 2 dozen homes destroyed in Lewiston when CALFIRE decided it was a good plan to start a "controlled" burn on a windy 4th of July day will not, it appears, be charged this new fee but only because their homes are no long habitable (can we say risky behavior?). Our local community fire departments are all volunteer.

Something is wrong with this picture.

Yeah, there is just this problem where we built cities in flood planes.

I do agree with the central idea that if you build in an area likely to be wiped out by flooding you are on your own, but the reality is that if you look at a population map of the US, you see that a large % of our population live in very close proximity to water. You can't just decide to devalue all that land all the sudden. And Betty Jo is right, with global warming, wildfires, dust storms, blizzards all increase along with flooding.

Unless we are all going to Squeeze into a few high planes, deserts, far from the good farm land and easy transit of water, some people are

In Salon, Michael Lind argues that, after accounting for the effect of poverty and inequality on US education, the US education system does reasonably well.

"The study found that the best school systems were also the most equitable, meaning students from disadvantaged backgrounds were just as likely to do well academically. In the U.S., 17% of the variation in student performance was found to be related to a pupil's background — compared to 9%, for example, in Canada."

Now there's a surprise. A relatively homogeneous population of native English speakers with health care and a safety net do better than those for whom English is a second language and who live in poverty with parents working two or three jobs, no safe quiet place for supervised homework, and where peer pressure with respect to education is mostly negative.... Yup. For Profit Charter schools must the the answer!

Tim - as you see, I liked the Michael Lind article. Thanks for noting it.

I'm pretty sure what a world class school system looks like. I see it where the Grandchildren live - where the city subsidizes sports teams, art and music programs for the schools, the PTA and other parent groups donate funds that are evenly spread across all schools in the District (to fund scholarships for overnight field trips, equipment and other enrichment), where the parent's biggest challenge is to downplay the peer group pressure kids put on themselves and each other to get into Stanford.

Hil was right. It takes a community to care for a child. Not everything holds potential for steadily rising near-term profits, and education is one of those things that does not. Long term investments require community (government) efforts, for they only show return in the Generations that follow, not by quarterly revenue reporting dates.

I get so irritated by the Right Wing Balderdash that sheds crocodile tears over the 'immorality' of burdening our grandchildren with DEBT!, while supporting subsidy to coupon clippers and oil companies all the while refusing to invest in our crumbling and starving infrastructure, research, and educational system to build the scaffolding by which all our children may succeed.

Right Wing Balderdash that sheds crocodile tears over the 'immorality' of burdening our grandchildren with DEBT!

TWELVE YEARS of sabotaging the US budget with Bush tax cuts, the first eight during which debt ceilings were raised as frequently as Goldman Sachs bonuses, a couple of optional wars, and we're supposed to believe these people care about "burdening our grandchildren with DEBT!". That anyone believes conservatives give a damn about anything but sucking up more money and more power for themselves is amazing.

Just saw a Jon Stewart quotation meme:

Why is it that if you take advantage of a corporate tax break you're a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something so you don't go hungry, you're a moocher?

Somehow the chart of tax rates for the rich vs. the economy's well-being doesn't get enough publicity.

In terms of education, I"ll agree with

"What we have seen from other countries doing similar things is those initiatives do pay off in the longer term," Schleicher said.

but not what prefaces this remark:

He said many of the things the United States is doing, such as developing common academic standards and smarter assessment systems, are important, positive changes.

I propose that we eliminate standardized testing. I would like to abolish grades at this point too; grade inflation has contributed to too much emphasis on grades, getting the right answer over learning the "how" in education. I am inspired by Finland's success and think that is a model we should follow, not charter schools (cough, ALEC!!) and more testing, and screwing our public education system out of money that goes toward mis-named private and for-profit education entities. Good for Finland! let's take that leap.


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