Improving America

What relatively simple things would you do to improve America? I’m not talking about the impossible (the races live in peace and harmony), unless you’ve got an idea on how to make it possible. These don’t have to be government controlled–some of them probably should not be. (Example: people should take a class before becoming a parent or have experience working in a day care.)

I’ll start with schools and jobs allowing for more flexibility in “working hours.” Let morning people come in earlier and night people come in later. We’ll all be healthier, happier, and reduce gridlock on the roads without spending much more.

Oh, and I would also ban sequels, covers of great songs, and remakes unless you could justify the effort. The song is already out there as free speech, I just don’t want to hear William shatner cover the Beatles again. Well, that’s a lie, I would love to hear Shatner. No Dolly Parton does Tom Waits though.


Oh, well. We can always make more killbots.

Assuming that this is a legitimate question…

I would reduce governmental control and programs starting with the schools. This is the main problem in our society. Here is my chain of events

  1. privatize schools through a voucher program.
  2. this will bankrupt crappy schools
  3. this will give students in crappy school districts no choice but to go to better schools
  4. this will give minority students who want to learn a better education and weed out those who dont.
  5. this will provide better college opportunity to those who are currently shakled by their unfortunate locus.
  6. more better educated minorities (and the population in general) will give us better minds and citizens
    THE problem with race elations is not just economic. It is educational. If history has taught us one thing, it is that the government can’t run anything well.

Vouchers, that is the key to the betterment of America.After we get that out of the way, eliminate one law for every new one put on the books and scale back governmental agencies.

Liberals in the audience, feel free to flame…

Ted Kennedy 1
Three Mile Island 0

No flame, since I know many people of good conscience who believe vouchers will improve education in this country. Just a critique on points.

  1. Implement vouchers.
  2. Bad schools go bankrupt. Is this guaranteed? Might not bad schools simply get even worse but still survuve to drag down more students? What mechanism do you propose for moving all students of one scholl – now bankrupt – to another?
  3. Students in formerly bad schols now go to good schools. How do they get there? What if there is no good school within convenient transportation range? The number of students in bad schools is quite high. How will the good schools cope with this mass influx of students? Will the good schools remain good after all of these new students (including those who have historically performed poorly) matriculate.
  4. Minority students get weeded out or granted access to a better education depending upon their desires. What happens to students (of any race) who do not “want to learn a better education”? Are they left without any access to schools? Do you see increasing the number of citizens without job skills and education as a good way to improve American society?
  5. This provides a better college opportunity to folks who live in bad areas. How?
  6. better educated citizens == better minds and citizens. Well, other than the question of whether education truly improves the mind this seems to be a tautology.

Ah – one thing I will flame, or at least singe a little. Why in the world did you feel it necessary to inject the word minority into your discussion about the education system? Do you think only minority students cause or have trouble in school? Do you think only minority students come from underpriviledged areas? Such digressions into racist stereotypes do little to bolster your case. Your tortuous sentence structures don’t help either.

The best lack all conviction
The worst are full of passionate intensity.

Spiritus, Tautology and tortuous in one post! Nice work. But I wonder how the brevity of my sentences in the last post, which is abnormal for my boroque writing style, could be considered, in any sense of the word, as being tortuous. Care to elaborate?

Now for your points. I added Minority because I feel that the essential problem between races traces back to educatonal opportunities. And while poor whites face the same challenges, the US seems to be fixated on how blacks and hispanics are getting shafted. I think that the first thing we need to do is fix this problem.

the argument goes, I can’t get the job because I am black, as a black I couldn’t get into college. I couldn’t get into college because my highschool stunk. My highschool stunk because, being black, I was poor and being poor I lived in an area with no tax revenue to pay for a good school.

OK, let’s fix the first link in the chain of events.

It is a fundamental tenet of our society that all should have equal opportunity. I want to focus on equal opportunity of education.

And yes, some students will not want to take public transportation to school. Some school companies will not want to teach in dangerous areas. Fine. If the community creates a dangerous environment a) let them fx it or b) let them pay for their actions. The good students will get out and the bad students will be just as bad and uneducated as they are now.

The free market is like nature, it hates a vacuum. If opportunity exists, a private school will be there. I trust nature more than the government.

I know that this is a prety cold hearted way to look at the problem, but then, nature is col hearted.

Why do people assume private schools provide a better education than public schools? Any school that has the right to only enroll successful students (and refuse admission to or expell unsuccessful students) is going to SEEM better than one that is obligated to take everybody from that neighborhood who applies.

I can almost guarentee you that Ms. unwed-below-the poverty-line-mother-with-the-ADD-dyslexic-child is not going to be able to get her kid into the school of her choice, whether she has a voucher or not. The public schools will still be required to educate those children that private schools will not accept (even with a voucher), except they will have less money to do it with.

Elmer J. Fudd,
I own a mansion and a yacht.

What relatively simple things would you do to improve America? {/QUOTE]

Enact one federal law to replace all others: that individuals should be free from initiated force.

How would this effect education? Parents choose which privatized school their children will attend. This places the control back into the parent’s hands to choose the curriculum and/or values being taught to their child(ren). They also pay for their children’s education.

You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims. -Harriet Woods-

If there are a large number of students who can’t get into existing schools and they all have cash vouchers, why wouldn’t someone create a school designed for them?

I mean, who the hell wants to catch wanted fugitives? Bounty hunters, that’s who. Why? well, there is money involved.

You are confusing the way things will be with the way things are. Add vouchers and the system will change because there is money to be made.

BTW, I have an employee who is a single mother of 5 and ALL of her kids go to private school.

But I am starting a voucher thread. I would also eliminate the EEOC, HUD, and eliminate the income tax in favor of a national sales tax.

How about just raising teachers’ salaries?

Lets see…
for starters I’d:

  1. Do all the stuff I said in the laws no one wants thread (get rid of pennies, decriminalize pot, legalize prostitution)
  2. Switch to metric
  3. Give everyone 3 votes in elections and each can be a vote for, or a vote against a candidate. Candidates have to have a positive total to be elected.
  4. encourage service industries to work different hours than everyone else. So the bank’ll still be open when you get off work.
    (ack! dolly parton covered tom waits!)

Mr Zambezi:
That is a nice little set of regressive policies you advocate. Communities with crime and poverty? Well, let them fix it themselves or suffer the consequences. Remove all taxes except a national sales tax, which will demonstrably hit poor families harder than rich families. Of course, the vouchers would also have to be funded by this new national sales tax, right? So in addition to puishing the poor in other ways we can now get them to pay a disproportionate amount toward the education of wealthy and middle class children. Let;s see, is there anything else we can saddle them with? Of course – let’s destroy public schools and wait for the marketplace to move private schools into the poorest and most run down neighborhoods. No doubt companies will be scrambling to compete for that market rather than the booming market whih we will be creating or upscale private schools. How many years shall we allow a community to go without any educational alternatives before we have the hated government take action? As to your position that children take public transportation to these new private schools in good neighborhoods – just where do you live? Outside of a few northeastern cities I know of very few communities in this country where public transportation is a viable means for children to get to school every day. Perhaps you intend to deliver transportation vouchers with your school vouchers. I am happy that the single mother of 5 who works for you can send all of her children to a private school. I fail to see what that anecdote has to do with this descussion. Did someone make the claim that no single mother in this country has ever been able to send her children to a private school? On the whole, I question whether your proposals would develop a better society or just an even more radically polarized society. The free market has always excelled at creating both rags-to-riches stories and robber barons. I fear you see only one half of that history.

As to the tortuous sentence structure I mentioned: look at the following clause with the realization that the verb “to learn” can be both transitive and intransitive, and ask yourself if there might not have been a better way to phrase your idea.

It is not a great point, but in a post which is emphasizing the importance of education in developing a good citizenry . . .

The best lack all conviction
The worst are full of passionate intensity.

Prostitution vouchers and lots of them.

Hell is Other People.

Spiritu Mundi wrote:

Absolutely 100% incorrect.

Sales taxes “hit” poor families the hardest because poor families can least afford to lose the money they spend on sales tax. This does NOT mean that poor families account for most sales tax revenue. Middle-class families in fact end up paying most of the actual sales tax dollars because, although there are more poor folks than middle-class folks, middle-class folks spend considerably more money on goods than poor folks do. (Rich folks spend even more on goods, but there are so few rich folks around that their contribution to sales taxes will be minimal compared to poor and middle-income folks’.)

If sales taxes fund school vouchers, middle class families will be paying most of their cost, not poor families.

The truth, as always, is more complicated than that.

School vouchers don’t work too well in rural areas like where I grew up–you could go to the next school, but most eight year-olds can’t drive an hour each way.

Anyway, I would get rid of school boards as my first step in education.

Some good posts so far–thanks!


Eliminate all laws based upon personal morality.

Yer pal,

I like Sake’s suggestion, and Hunsecker’s. Especially number 3, is that your idea, Hun?

  1. I would institute a five-member panel of judges in every state; if, as a defendent in a law suit, you feel the suit was frivolous, AND you win, you can appeal to this panel to have your court costs paid by the plaintiff. The panel may also, at its discretion, order the plaintiff to reimburse the state for expenses associated with the trial. Some states already have laws along these lines.

  2. Create a National Statistics Bureau with the following characteristics: Statisticians are chosen from the best in the field and appointed for life. Funding is fixed by law and cannot be reduced; it increases only to compensate for inflation. (These are to prevent political pressure on the bureau to reach particular “findings”.) Internal organization is democratic (to prevent any individual statistician from gaining undue influence and advancing his own agenda). This bureau can decide on its own methodologies, but must publish all of its methods to the public, and must fully explain everything relevant to every individual study (the idea is that they should conform to the best methods available in the professional literature). Every study must include an analysis of potential sources of error. The bureau decides what statistics to gather; they must announce publicly both what they have found in past studies and what projects they are currently undertaking as soon as they begin them (no studies that go missing because they reached uncomfortable conclusions). Congress or the President may petition them for particular studies. They have their own publishing capacity.

Information we can trust! Or at least trust more than the stats we get now.

  1. Lock all the computer manufacturers in a room with no food, water, or sanitary facilities until they come up with some damn standards to conform to so we don’t pay thousands of dollars for equipment, software, and peripherals only to find that none of them work with each other. Oh, yeah, I know. There’s different kinds and you’re supposed to check the box, Einstein, but I do, I do and the damn things are supposed to work together, but really they don’t because one was written in DOS and translated for Windows by a program that does this for anything but it doesn’t do it for anything because the thing was also written for 16-bit registers and now we have 32-bit registers and the internal cache is configured for base 27 on this machine anyway because it was the only configuration that wasn’t proprietary for other manufacturers, and the program does work a little, just enough so the guy who was supposed to check that it worked OK let it pass, the bastard, but now my machine freezes whenever I go to hit the plus sign but press [shift][backspace] instead by accident, and I don’t want to make a fucking career out of learning to work what is really just a damn household appliance, and

Sorry, got carried away there for a minute.

  1. All games of chance (lotteries, sweepstakes, casino games, etc.) MUST display the odds of winning prominently where customers can see them.

  2. Conquer and enslave the Icelanders; force them to toil in factories making Mickey Mouse ears for export.

APB9999 - “I would institute a five-member panel of judges in every state”
Good idea, not just for civil cases but criminal as well, so that justice is not at the whims of individual judges.

A guaranteed income for everyone. Enough for shelter, food and medical care.

If you want to work, fine; if not, don’t. Either way, you keep the money.

Would the economy collapse?

Back in the 70’s, my family was part of the Seattle Income Maintenance Experiment. We filled out an income survey and got a check every month for $8. Other participants were helped with school, vocational training, child care, income subsidies. The study was done (if I recollect correctly) to determine what kind and how much assistance was most effective in alleviating poverty.

Remember the War on Poverty? Model Cities. Free breakfast programs sponsored by the Black Panthers. Free medical clinics. Head Start. Neighborhood Youth Corps. Peace Corps. VISTA. Women’s shelters. Social workers. Community organizers paid by the government!

Sorry for the ramble. Just remembering the good old days.

Sorry – this was supposed to be “relatively simple.”

I’d like to see more vocational programs in high schools. It’s too hard to find good electricians, plumbers, roofers, drywallers, etc.

Students could learn by helping to fix up old folks’ homes – winterizing, wheelchair accessibility, raised garden plots – stuff like that.

Why should you require someone else to pay for your child’s education? Who chose to have your child… you, perhaps?

You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims. -Harriet Woods-

Originally posted by APB9999:

(#3 being everyone gets 3 votes in elections, and can use each one for or against a candidate)

As far as I know it is. I think it would do a lot to bust us out of a 2 party system. So lets say its '96, if you really hate Clinton, you can cast 3 votes against him (without having to vote for Dole), or if you generally like him, but think Perot makes sense too you can do 2 for Clinton, and 1 for Dole. etc.

I’d also like to expand congressional districts so that you vote for like 3 or 4 representatives (same multiple vote system too).

I like your ideas too. I like your judges panel and independent stats bureau too. But dammit, if there were real computer standards, I’d be out of a job. Either that, or the standard would be so complex I’d hate my job.