MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell Weighs in on Matt Damon, Teacher Comp. & Reason's Politics. At Least He Gets His Own Name Right.

Reason.tv's video featuring Matt Damon from Saturday's "Save Our Schools" rally is making the rounds. In the vid, Matt Damon tees off on the "shitty" salaries that teachers make and argues that teachers do what they do out of love, so that structural arrangement such as early-and-easy-to-get tenure have no impact on what sort of job educators may do in the classroom.

As a point of fact, Damon's understanding of teacher compensation relative other professionals is wrong. It turns out that when you control for education level and hours worked, public school teachers do quite well (especially compared to private school teachers, who on average make $13,000 a year less). And that's before fringe benefits, such as employer-paid health care and retirement packages are tossed in to the mix. Or job security.

But we were talking about Lawrence O'Donnell, host of MSNBC's Last Word, who used his "Rewrite" segment to question not simply whether public-school teachers should be scrutinized but whether Reason is anything more than a Republicanoid hack factory that would never dare question, say, the police.

After showing a part of the Reason.tv video in which host Michelle Fields questions Damon about whether the relative insecurity of acting jobs pushes him to a higher level of performance, the wise and all-knowing - and, according to his Wikipedia page, exclusively privately educated - O'Donnell delivers the following screed:

[This is] how crazy the attack on teachers has become. Comparing public school teachers work incentives to the work incentives of movie stars. It has never occurred to the teacher haters that teachers want to be teachers for any reason other than job security. It has never occurred to them that teachers might want to be teachers because they like teaching, because they love teaching, and because they care about their students.

The right-wing attackers of teachers have never even shown the slightest curiosity about the job performance of another group of government workers who have very, very high job security, police officers. And police officers carry guns instead of textbooks. And as we`ve seen in New Orleans after Katrina and in countless other cases around the country, police officers have sometimes used those guns to shoot and kill innocent people.

They have done so accidentally, which is in some cases understandable and forgivable. And some of the them -- statistically very few to be sure -- have done so deliberately, maliciously, with full criminal intent. They have summarily executed people.

The worst teacher in America could never do as much damage as the worst police officer in America. But the right wing has never even been slightly curious about evaluating the job performance of police officers. Never once has Republican world said hey, maybe we should look into how police officers are carrying out their solemn public responsibility to serve and protect.

No -- no right wing website in America is investigating or will ever investigate how well police officers do their jobs. The targeting of teachers has been a vicious and politically deliberate action. And it has been so successful that many of its fundamental falsehoods are accepted as true by both Republicans and Democrats in our ongoing dialogue about public Education.

I spent a few years after college as a Boston public school teacher and I loved it. But I was never committed to it, committed to it as a career. I moved on to easier, better paying jobs, like this one. Teachers who have committed their lives to the classroom deserve better than our politics has given them. And no one has offered a better Rewrite of the current political caricature of the lazy, uninterested teacher clinging to tenure than Matt Damon did on Saturday.

And no more important speech was given in Washington that day.

Emphasis added. And while I realize that being Lawrence O'Donnell means never having to say you're sorry, let me add some emphasis to the plain truth:

Because Reason magazine, Reason.com, Reason.tv and Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes all these things, including this blog) are not right-wing or Republican, I can't speak for those groups or folks inclined those ways.

However, I can and will gently direct O'Donnell to have at least some goddamn inkling of what he's talking about:

Reason has been all over issues of police abuse like those Fullerton, California cops were all over the homeless man they beat to death.

Or the other California cops who killed Allen Klephart following a traffic stop.

Or who illegally detained DC-area journalist Justin Vorus because he snapped photos of cops at work.

Or all the other law enforcement types who are waging a War on Cameras because it makes them have to respect civil liberties.

And while I'm sure that O'Donnell has guests up the ying-yang for his show, he might want to think about asking Cory Maye, the Mississippi man who was first taken off death row and then released from prison altogether in large part due to the efforts of Reason journalist Radley Balko, along with Reason.tv's Drew Carey and Paul Feine, whose "Mississippi Drug War Blues" documentary is a must-watch to any American interested in how the criminal justice system has major problems. Balko, now with the Huffington Post, was even named "Journalist of the Year" this year by the Los Angeles Press Club due to his Reason work on the Cory Maye and other cases.

And when O'Donnell is done digesting all that, he can relax with Reason magazine's July issue, which was dedicated to what we called Criminal Injustice: Inside America's National Disgrace. It's online right now. For free. He just has to click the link.

Or maybe, like Matt Damon, a truly gifted actor who is totally untroubled by the basic facts when it comes to questions of teacher compensation, O'Donnell will elect to live exclusively in a world of his own making.

Make no mistake: Reason in all its iterations supports and applauds the work that the law enforcement system - from the U.S. Supreme Court down to the most local of meter maids and the least-honored of rent-a-cops - does to help keep the country and its citizens safe. Like good teachers, good cops have a tough-as-hell job that is made immeasurably harder by all the bad ones out there. And make no mistake, too, that Reason has been and will continue to look at ways to identify and call out bad actors in public and private life. And suggest ways in which education and law enforcement can be improved to better serve the citizens who pay for both.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    O'Donnell used be entertaining about 14 years ago on the McLaughlin Group. Now he's just an utter shithead.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Self-proclaiming socialists - and proud ones, at that - are always shitheads.

    See: Sanders, Bernie.

  • Maxxx||

    O'Donnell admits that teachers had little to do with him learning or not learning.

    His obvious conclusion?

    Teachers are super important and should be paid an infinite amount of money.

    HUH??????

  • ||

    My sister-in-law is a teacher. She tells me that they had a new student in school about a decade ago with a name that appeared difficult to pronounce. Rather than try to pronounce it herself and embarrass herself, she asked the student how to pronounce her name.

    "Shuh-theed" came the answer. Good thing she asked.

    And if you can guess how it is spelled you know how this post is connected to the original post from dbcooper and to the post from Maxxx.

  • Lib'Tarian||

    Why won't anybody take us O'Donnell seriously?

  • ||

    Hollywood Intellectual: "Why else would someone take a teaching job unless they loved to teach?"

    Intelligent Observer's answer (starting with the fact that US schoolteachers tend to be a) at the bottom of their liberal arts graduating classes, or b) graduates of arsewipe Ed School programs that are even less rigorous than a second-tier liberal arts program): A buttwipe BA or Ed. school grad will be attracted to teaching because it offers

    a. a job offer, period, for a grad who's unlikely to have any livable wage job offers at all

    b. a well-paying job at a salary that is almost certainly at least 25% higher than what he or she can expect in the private marketplace

    c. a career path that severs any connection between performance and job security

    d. 3 months off

    e. great health benefits

    f. insulation from corporate politics

    g. insulation from market risk

    It's hard to believe that Damon went to Harvard. Maybe if he'd gone to the B-school he'd have learned a bit of rudimentary economic analysis.

  • ||

    Hey, it's o.k., Obama also went to Harvard, and see how he performs as the Pres. of this wonderful country.

  • OncomingStorm||

    Major issues with public schools aside, your derisive tone and demonstrable ignorance of what teachers actually do and the realities of the education market would, in a just world, disqualify you from discussing the issue.

    You know what is missing in this entire exchange? A f#$*ing education expert, of any ideological persuasion. Reason, you're better than this. Start making the argument properly.

  • ||

    Yes. We need an expert that swims in the educational system to tell us what to think about it.

  • Fluffy||

    Lawrence O'Donnell is so stupid he would shit in his own mouth if anatomy didn't make that impossible.

  • Surly Chef||

    I feel like that if I googled that statement I'd find it to be false. I believe it make require lots stretching though, so it's more likely O'Donnell is too stupid AND too lazy.

  • Sudden||

    Rule 34 is not bound by the laws of anatomy

  • Brandon||

    He seems pretty content with just shitting out of his own mouth.

  • rts||

    Whatever you do, don't Google "tubgirl".

  • ||

    Is he Rosie's brother or twin?

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    PWNED!

  • ||

    call out bad actors in public and private life.

    ...and perverse incentives. The drug war...NCLB and other incentives help drive out good actors by being asinine. Ergo leaving us with more wrongly motivated actors.

  • Jackson||

    Lawrence O'Donnell had Peter Schiff on his show once and it was possibly the worst interview in the history of TV as O'Donnell kept cutting off Schiff and saying things like "you want to take away social security from old people and bankrupt people who need to go to the doctor, ok" and he kept doing it over and over again.

  • ||

    The point of that episode was to display just how much control Schiff maintains over his murderous impulses.

  • Chris Harris||

    More like Lawrence Owned'Donnell. Am I right?

  • Ska||

    Dude, if you're going internet meme, go all out.

    amirite?

  • ||

    amirite ... ammonite ... nautilus ... Nemo ... Jules Verne ... fiction ... O'Donnell

    Amirite?!?!?!

  • Fluffy||

    Reason employed Radley all those years.

    What has this own-mouth-shitter ever done that even remotely scrutinized police officers as much as Radley did?

    In his entire media career - what has he done?

  • ||

    Bingo. He jabbers on about how the righty bloggers won't touch the cops, but such complaints lose their partisan sting when you realize the lefties are just as silent.

  • MNG||

    I don't know what he's done re:cops, but I'm betting you don't know either...In the little I have watched MSNBC I've seen them criticize cops and crj policy in general a few times (though of course not to Balko's level).

  • ||

    Reason has links, MSNBC has anecdotes.

  • MNG||

    Well, one is a television network dude...

  • Franklin Harris||

    Really? I thought it was just a 24/7 infomercial for MoveOn.org.

  • ||

    When the left does cops it is always "redneck Southern cops" or "racist Big City PD" and how they are oppressing the little brown brothers. Taking on cops as a matter of principle is beyond them.

  • MNG||

    When the right does it...wait, they don't, they love cops.

  • Sudden||

    The funny thing is that Corey Maye was mentioned on O'Donnell's show.... the episode where there was a guest host.

    O'Donnell is a fucking bootlicker.

  • stephen||

    They're really trying to be Fox. Unfortunately they're trying to reflect their own parody of Fox and not Fox itself. You look at O'Reilly compared to say Schultz and there's no comparison. O'Reilly flies off the handle but relative to Schultz he's got Ghandific patience. Neither one is my cup of tea, but it seems recently Fox has toned it down (except for maybe Hannity) while the other networks are trying to bring more anger to their studios. What's even more sad is that people actually watch and therefore a percentage of those people believe what these guys have to say.

  • cynical||

    "Unfortunately they're trying to reflect their own parody of Fox and not Fox itself."

    And Fox was supposed to be a right-biased alternative to the left-biased media networks. Presumably right-wingers will eventually try to create a network that acts as a right-wing version of how they view MSNBC, which must necessarily involve replacing all the talent with monkeys.

  • ||

    which must necessarily involve replacing all the talent with monkeys.

    Finally, a news channel I'll watch.

  • Brett L||

    Only if the talent has knives and monocles.

  • ||

    filming the show in international waters would cost too much.

  • ||

    Personally I'd like a right-wing version of MSNBC. Fox's problem is that they're too nice.

    Tens of millions of people watch Fox, and then drink a beer and bitch about the country not being what it once was. A few hundred thousand watch MSNBC and immediately go down to the local Democrat election-fixing office and sign up for thug duty.

    Make no mistake: every time a Democrat beats up a little girl or an old lady, it HELPS those evil fucks. Young people see the Democrats acting like depraved bullies, and then they see some chicken-shit pseudoconservative philosophizing about it instead of finding where the attacker lives and paying him a visit to beat his brains out. And those young people conclude that Republicans are a bunch of cowards, and that the Democrats are the alpha party.

  • ||

    There should be a word for this phenomenon of not merely "becoming what your enemy is" but "becoming a distorted caricature of what your enemy is".

  • Hugh Akston||

    "Batman villain"

  • Helen Thomas||

    "Batman villain"

    "PRESENT!"

  • Robert||

    "Batman" villains aren't as cool as "Dick Tracy" villains.

  • Nipplemancer||

    I'm sure the Germans have one. They have to.

  • RandomGermanDude||

    Feindzerrbildwerdung.

  • cynical||

    I call it moral relativism, since you're basically defining the line between acceptable and unacceptable conduct relative to your perception of someone else's behavior.

  • ||

    While I agree that Damon is an idiot, Michelle handled this poorly. She needs to read The Art of War and defeat the enemy with their own weapons, in Damon's case his own sense of self superiority. Just ask innocent questions and turn their answers into the cheap shitty sound bites they are. "Mr Damon, has education improved in the last 40 years?"

  • ||

    This bears repeating.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    BEARS! #1 Enemy.

  • ||

    I agree with you, but to be fair he spewed so much vitriol in so little time it's hard to come up with an intelligent response without the benefit of rewind.

  • Maxxx||

    Bullshit

    Matt Damon - Teachers teach because the love it.

    Interviewer - Then why do they strike for higher pay?

    Matt Damon - Mutters incoherently then repeats how many credentials they have and no amount of money is too much money for the chillen

    Interviewer -Sure, but teachers strike for higher pay, not for the chillen

  • ||

    Nice!

    I think she would have been better off sticking with the fact that even with massive budget increases Teacher pay didn't improve by nearly the same percentages.

    That makes it more of an internal problem of wasted money rather than an argument that somehow Education isn't properly funded in this country.

    It's also almost non-nonsensical to try to argue with an actor over incentives. There are so many incentives for someone with a large ego to become an actor that money probably doesn't even factor into it.

  • Sudden||

    I love how Damon, in an effort to sound smart, used the Howard Zinn buzzwords "intrinsicly paternalistic" eventhough it had no bearing or relation to the idea of incentives.

  • ||

    So that's where that came from. When he said it I was thinking, "what the fu%$ does that have to do with anything?"

  • CommentARRRR||

    Pretty sure Damon would be smart enough to answer with the obvious: Because everyone aims to get higher pay for their work. Loving your work doesn't imply you have to do it for free.

  • Maxxx||

    Interviewer - So you're saying that raising teach pay has nothing to do with the quality of the education the children receive then?

  • hmm||

    She seemed new at it. You have to giver her credit for hitting the news cycle though. I guess MATT DAMON is god for something.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Hollywood star + very attractive female questioner = greatly increased visibility.

  • Jason||

    Lobster Girl would make a great questioner…

  • Michael||

    I would have asked what constitutes a shitty salary in Matt Damon's world. Chances are that it's still more than most of us earn.

  • ||

    While I agree that Damon is an idiot, Michelle handled this poorly. She needs to read The Art of War and defeat the enemy with their own weapons, in Damon's case his own sense of self superiority. Just ask innocent questions and turn their answers into the cheap shitty sound bites they are. "Mr Damon, has education improved in the last 40 years?"

  • ||

    Agreed. I wish he hadn't just let Damon get away with his statements on 'shitty teacher pay'. Hopefully she's learning to bring more numbers and statistics with her next time.

  • ||

    To be fair, you can't expect an interviewer to be prepared to pounce on every possible batshit insane thing someone says on a moment's notice, particularly under the conditions in which this video was filmed.

    Maybe top-flight interviewers like Tim Russert and Ted Koppel can do that, but reason.tv is a small operation with a lot of people new to the business. You can't hold them to the standard you'd hold the old-line establishment journalist organizations to.

  • SIV||

    I think the intern did fine. Just look at the shit storm she stirred up.

  • ||

    To be fair, you can't expect an interviewer to be prepared to pounce on every possible batshit insane thing someone says on a moment's notice

    no but she took the mic away and tried to insert her own crap into it.

    The art of interview is mostly giving poeple enough rope to hang themselves with....she failed at this art....but i guess she made primetime news so what the hell am i talking about.

  • yonemoto||

    uhm, tim cavanaugh and good-rush/bad-rush.

    It helps to have instant recall of a gazillion facts.

  • ||

    I agree 100%. If her goal was preaching to the Reasonoid choir, she succeeded. But I would like to think that reason.tv videos strive to bring a libertarian perspective to a wider audience, and if the comments I've seen on Facebook and Twitter are any indication, the video was a complete failure. Every single link to it that I've come across (with the exception of Radley's link over at The Agitator) suggested that Matt Damon pwned Fields. While I understand the point being made, it was obviously lost on the non-libertarian public.

  • ||

    If her goal was preaching to the Reasonoid choir, she succeeded.

    Hot girl in little dress raising hell with a left wing movie star....

    Sometimes it is good to cater to the customers you have then it is to hunt down new customers.

  • bart||

    I agree this video has gone viral in the worst possible way. Actors don't become actors because of the money and to set him up with a question like that practically handed him a response that would resonate - true or not.

    But even though Michelle asked a dumb question, she isn't the one who edited it and produced it. There should of been someone there to say, hey this might not go the way we planned.

  • Polevaulter Donkeyman||

    This comment and the accompanying thread must be read carefully by the Reason staff. Reason is gaining more visibility in the MSM and therefore more partisans who want to pick apart its positions. Videos such as the one in question besmirch Reason's reputation for rigour and are low hanging fruit to the opposition. Hopefully this will spur Reason to make better videos.

  • ||

    Videos such as the one in question besmirch Reason's reputation for rigour and are low hanging fruit to the opposition.

    You do realize what network is critiquing Reason over this?

  • Polevaulter Donkeyman||

    Yeah I know. But do you really think that the video was equal to the bar set by previous videos? I can excuse the interviewer's performance on the basis that this is early in her career, but do you think people who don't frequent Reason know that?

  • Autophagist||

    Are the Reason servers fucked today or what?

  • GinSlinger||

    No.

  • Autophagist||

    Are the Reason servers fucked today or what?

  • GinSlinger||

    Weeellll, maybe.

  • Autophagist||

    Are the Reason servers fucked today or what?

  • ||

    Yahoo had the MATT DAMON video linked and it overloaded the servers.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yes. I'm wondering if the left wing of anonymous is having some fun...

  • BakedPenguin||

    Or what MG said.

  • ||

    Does it have another wing?

    I love their work vs. Scientology, but they sure are douchebags on seemingly everything else.

  • hmm||

    I'm kind of hoping for a dorsal wing.

  • Sudden||

    It's not a question of where he grips it. It's a simple question of weight ratios. A 5 oz bird could not carry a 1 lb coconut.

  • hmm||

    What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow

  • Mainer||

    African or European swallow ?

  • hmm||

    How do you know so much about swallows?

  • BakedPenguin||

    You have to know these things when you're the King...

  • ||

    It seems to be massive traffic loads. I think Matt Damon is killing the Reason website.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...identify and call out bad actors in public and private life.

    You just won't let Damon alone, will you?

    And everyone knows Balko left for HuffPo because Reason became too right wing.

  • MD||

    Did you ever watch The West Wing? It will knock you on your ass.

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    You might not know this, but Matt Damon, Lawrence O'Donnell, and cops have master's degrees.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    :::chortle:::

  • Gordon||

    I can't believe for the life of me, why anyone would even consider anything that Lawrence O'Donnell says is rational or practical. Just thinking of him is frustrating and annoying...And right now he's coming up with more shitty and abstract ideas to pollute the minds of a new generation, at the very least, had a chance to become advanced, productive and free thinking human beings...Please go away "Larry"

  • Jerry||

    Not enough bold.

  • SIV||

    Needs [[[BRACKETS]]] AND [[[CAPS]]]

  • BakedPenguin||

    MSNBC [EMPIRE]...

  • Kristen||

    He wants to pick on one thing he thinks reason (this bastiono f right-wing thinking) is doing wrong and he picks police abuse?!?! Is he retarded? Or is he like Ron Burgundy and just reads what's on the telepromter?

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    He could have picked on The Jacket, but I have little doubt that LOD (what Penn Jillette calls him) never bothered to find out anything about Reason before going on the air.

  • SIV||

    [[[FREEMARKET FONZIE WITH AIDS1!1!]]]

  • Kristen||

    So, Ron Burgundy, then?

  • BakedPenguin||

    O'Donnell wouldn't have the guts to face off with Gillespie in a chain fight.

  • Ska||

    Nice.

  • ||

    Exactly. To pick out not criticizing police is so absurd as to be impossibly stupid. But it says one thing loud and clear: the guy criticizing reason has never read it, making his attack utterly meaningless.

    What a fucking tool.

  • Joe R.||

    It could also be that he is counting on the fact that his audience has never read Reason. Judging from yesterday's drive-bys, that's entirely possible.

  • ||

    Sad to say, but if you poll 1000 randomly selected people on the street, chances are none of them have read Reason.

    And O'Donnell's audience can't be much bigger.

  • fish||

    LOD?

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    Yeah, Penn has been on The Last Word a few times and refers to him as "LOD" in his PennPoint videos.

    They've obviously been close friends for a while.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If so, my opinion of Penn Jillette has just been reduced to zero.

  • ||

    Because he's willing to walk right into the mouth of the beast, and still manages to walk out. Yeah, what a pussy.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    He also does Glenn Beck.
    Penn knows no fear.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    ("Does," in the non-biblical sense, as far as I know...)

  • ||

    I suspect he was referring to the fact Penn and Larry are friends, not that Penn's been on the show.

  • ||

    I'd suspect "keeping friends close, enemies closer" might come into play.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    That is what I meant.

    How anyone could be friends with a prick like O'Donnell, is beyond me.

  • ||

    Lawrence O'Donnell is a retard. That's all....

  • JoJo Zeke||

    [...] whether Reason is anything more than a Republicanoid hack factory [...]

    In other words: he's working the refs.

  • MNG||

    O'Donnell is wrong to lump Reason in with the right, but he is on to something that the anti-government fervor on the Right seems mighty selective, focused primarily on groups that support Dems (like teachers) and exempting others (cops, military, vets, and contractors).

  • Fluffy||

    Well, that's very nice, but the occasion of his comment was that he was annoyed by a Reason report.

    So "His statement is true, if he's talking about some other completely different organization than the one he actually bitched about" is a little weak.

  • MNG||

    It's pretty clear that he is talking about right-wing media in general, though wrongly including Reason therein. He's right about the general, wrong to include Reason there.

  • Trident||

    Yes, and the reason for that is that he, like many other shills, is too fucking stupid to think outside of the false left/right dichotomy they like to bamboozle the general public with.

    If libertarianism continues to gain in popularity, he better learn QUICKLY how to adjust his logical fallacies and lies to fit the new "enemy", which he will have a much much harder time with as unlike conservatives and liberals like himself, libertarians are actually consistent.

    Hence his "lack of police brutality criticism" bullshit. If he finds out libertarians are actually against wars and civil rights violations, his head will explode because he will be required to demonstrate some actual intelligence in explaining the PATRIOT Act, the drug war, the wars in the middle east, bailouts of corporations and other issues they were supposed to be against.

  • ||

    Which doesn't, of course, necessarily invalidate their attacks on the partisan precincts of the State.

  • MNG||

    Er, and those other groups aren't partisan precints?

    If anything there is more partisanship among, say, the officer corp in the military than among teachers.

    But more importantly, if you are against teachers and other government workers because of how expensive they are then exempting government contractors, the military and vets is, well, hilarious or shameful, depending on your outlook.

  • ||

    If anything there is more partisanship among, say, the officer corp in the military than among teachers.

    That would be the officer corp that makes no discernable political contributions, and is prohibited from any political statement or activity while in uniform?

    But this is the familiar "Hey, look over there!" trope. The fact that my attack on X did not mention Y says nothing about the validity of my attack on X.

  • MNG||

    "The fact that my attack on X did not mention Y says nothing about the validity of my attack on X."

    If you attacked X because of Z and Z applies to Y but you exempt Y, then actually it does call your reason into question...

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Z actually doesn't apply to Y if Z is prohibited from the same actions as X as RC Dean previously expressed.

    As confusing as this analysis has gotten, here's where you went wrong.

    Z = Partisanship in a way that matters - i.e. ability to make political contributions and push the electoral system in the direction that the partisans prefer.

    X = Teachers Unions
    Y = Officers' Corps

    Z does apply to X in that teachers/their unions are overwhelmingly partisan democrats who can influence elections (thus the attack on X)
    Z does not apply to Y in that military officers are not - regardless of their personal views - allowed to publicly express those views, much less give political donations or organize into unions with PACs.

  • Trident||

    Good thing most people here would be inclined to agree with you on that.

    Not that it would change anything. Because that would require an ounce of intellectual integrity from the left.

    They just like to throw the "you do it too" canard in people's faces not to change anything, but merely to silence them.
    So when that canard doesn't work, it is pretty funny watching the left squirm.

    "Yes, what applies to teachers applies to the military too.
    NOW what are you going to do?"

    "Ehh...nothing. You weren't supposed to agree with me."

  • ||

    Totally agree, Minge. The hypocrisy on the right in regards to their sacred cows, be they policemen or the military, is disgusting.

    Maybe O'Donnell could link to a site that decries the waste and abuse that exist in those professions. He could always link to the myriad stories here, but then people might be exposed to stories about how his team is just as complicit in the destruction of liberty as the guys on the other side of the aisle.

    Fuck him for being more concerned with Team Red vs Team Blue than with Team State vs Team Liberty. He should be right in line for the ass fucking just after Ed Schultz, Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow and the other partisan turds that dominate the airwaves.

  • Maxxx||

    LOD doesn't give a shit about police abusing citizens or wars.

    He only cares if his bullshit helps team blue.

  • ||

    Team State vs Team Liberty

    Whoa whoa whoa, using words that actually describe the respective team's position instead of abstract colors is not permitted.

    (I still have to look up which one is red/blue. don't care enough to remember it)

  • JMW||

    "I still have to look up which one is red/blue. don't care enough to remember i"

    That's nothing. Up here in Canada, red and blue mean the exact opposite of what they do in the US [red = Liberal Party, blue = Conservative Party]

    I have to keep remembering that blue = Democrat and red = Republican around here.

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...and most of the left absolutely refuses to see how government expansion is hurting people. They still support regulations that destroy small businesses and hurt the self employed, while helping giant corporations.

    And b/c they "learned the Nader lesson", they won't brook any defiance to a corporatist, war-mongering, imperial goon like the one currently in power, even if his policies are almost identical (and often worse, even from a "progressive" view) to the clown he replaced.

  • MNG||

    Since a lot of large corporations fight many proposed regulations I'm not sure they are always the favor for them you think they are. And the left doesn't see the regulations as harming people, they see them as protecting them, as a leftie that is how I see many of them. The idea is that the government can be used to check the power of other institutions over individuals. Of course libertarian axioms cut out the very idea that other institutions can have such power so they see it as all bad, but on that people disagree...

  • MNG||

    In your very post is the idea that some entities (i.e., large corporations) have resources that help them better weather certain challenges. Lefties like me think this gives them an advantage in, say, bargaining with workers and consumers, and that it can be appropriate to have government step in to offset that advantage to protect values like the dignity, welfare and autonomy of the invididual.

    Of course I agree that regulations can be bad, stifling business, freedom and welfare for all. I neither wholesale reject or accept them...

  • BakedPenguin||

    In today's world, the biggest advantage corporations have is the ability to hire lobbyists to curry favor with the government. They get regulations re-written in their favor.

    Obviously, I think the damage done by them far outweighs any good they may do, but I don't think we're going to agree on this.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "Obviously, I think the damage done by them far outweighs any good they may do, but I don't think we're going to agree on this." - I meant regulations, not corporations.

  • J_L_B||

    No one institution outside of government has the coercive power to force you, at gunpoint, to perform actions contrary to your wishes.

    However, the real problems are the unintended consequences of regulation. Every action taken in the name of protecting consumers, is one that has adverse consequences on other consumers.

    For example, licensing regulations on hair dressers only work to restrict supply, raise prices, and protect people from the dangers of a bad haircut.

    An even better example is how the SEC restricts hedge fund investors to accredited investors who are worth over a certain dollar amount; they equate wealth with intelligence and sophistication, and, in turn, hurt those of modest means who would like the ability to earn better returns on their capital.

  • MNG||

    "No one institution outside of government has the coercive power to force you, at gunpoint, to perform actions contrary to your wishes."

    Perhaps, but that doesn't mean they have no power at all to get you to do things against your wishes.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "Perhaps, but that doesn't mean they have no power at all to get you to do things against your wishes."

    ...which is precisely why most all libertarians support the lone "rightful" area of activity for government: Policing against fraud and physical violence used by one individual (including that individual in a business context) against another.

    Anarchists tend to disagree that the government is needed even for that purpose, and support regulation of that nature being supplied by competing, private parties... But in any case, no one is advocating allowing companies or anyone else to force people to do things against their will.

  • ||

    If a person is concerned with their "dignity," they can choose not to transact business with a company that degrades them.

    Name one example where a company has any control over the welfare and/or autonomy over an individual where said individual did not voluntarily enter into said relationship.

    Please, Minge, it's wildfire season. These straw men are not safe here.

  • ||

    Please, Minge, it's wildfire season. These straw men are not safe here.

    Responsible strawman users soak their strawmen in water before deployment. And regularly wet them every hour until it's been knocked down.

  • Sudden||

    Use olive oil, its safer (although larger carbon footprint)

  • MNG||

    wylie is what you would call a "compound idiot." I made no strawman (a strawman is when you allege your opponent believes in X). Not only did you not catch it, but you ra-ra the guy who got it wrong.

    This is your brain on partisanship.

  • MNG||

    1. You clearly don't know what a "strawman argument" is, as your complaints of me not citing an example does not charge me with one.

    2. As to naming an example of where a company has control yada yada voluntary the key word there is you and I have different ideas about what constitutes voluntary.

  • ||

    I don't give a shit about your "point".

    I was making a joke about fire safety. Have a xanax and a highball, defensive fucking moron.

  • ||

    Of course libertarian axioms cut out the very idea that other institutions can have such power so they see it as all bad

    and

    I made no strawman (a strawman is when you allege your opponent believes in X

    Unless you want to produce some actual libertarian quotes, this is what YOU described as a "strawman" and also claimed you didn't build.

    See, I of course, knew you didn't make arguments without a strawman or two thrown in so I knew I would find one quite easily.

    And YOU called someone else an "idiot"? The irony burns!!!!

  • DLM||

    The idea is that the government can be used to check the power of other institutions over individuals.

    That is a perfectly valid role for government. However, considering the size and power of government compared to whatever organization is in second place that goal tends to be harder to accept. Especially, when that size and power of government becomes a source of power for those we are ostensibly to be protected against.

  • Rhywun||

    Reason #1666 why Team A and Team B are just arbitrary divisions.

  • ||

    ...and why members of TEAM RED and TEAM BLUE will go apeshit to try and prove there is a distinction, while in fact there really is none. Like O'Donnell is doing here.

  • Trespassers W||

    Not true -- they represent diametrically opposed Platonic ideals. That's

    *snicker*

    why educated people

    *splutter*

    tend to be more partisan.

  • ||

    I know, I know. Team red bad, team blue bad, TEAM LIBERTARIAN GOOD!!!1!

    Thank Science there isn't any partisanship around here!!!

  • ||

    he is on to something that the anti-government fervor on the Right seems mighty selective

    His "argument" is a tu quoque even if we ignore the fact it was totally misdirected.

    There are douches on the right wing. So?

  • ||

    the Right seems mighty selective

    Well the left seem pretty selective as well. O'Donnell himself would seem to want to go after cops but not teachers.

  • MNG||

    I read the text of Damon's speech online and thought it was great actually. A lot of it was against the effects of centralized, standardized testing on teaching today.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Is there a transcript available online? I'll ask pre-Google.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    'Cause my crap is filterrrrrred

  • MNG||

  • SIV||

    Standardized testing is an objective measure of student performance. That's why teachers and administrators hate it.

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    I'm not totally against standardized testing, but one thing I do hate is the centralized standards issued from D.C.

    Decentralize the fucking mess!

  • MNG||

    Issued from DC or from the state capitol I should think. I guess an argument could be made for tests issued from the locality, but to be honest it all seems stupid to me. It's just as likely the test adopted will be a stupid assessment measure as that an individual teacher will utilize stupid measures of their own.

  • MNG||

    IOW I have no more trust in school administrators than individual teachers when it comes to assessment. The former tend to be members of the latter who excel at rising to the top in an educational bureaucracy.

  • ||

    Personally, I think the entire approach to public education is outdated and flawed, and standardized tests are just a symptom.

    I think the entire concept of grades (1-12) should be revisited and replaced. Something similar to college where students take courses but the actual "grade" a student is in doesn't matter as much. But of course, when a central authority dictates exactly how things will be done, there will be no innovation.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I think the entire concept of grades (1-12) should be revisited and replaced. Something similar to college where students take courses but the actual "grade" a student is in doesn't matter as much. But of course, when a central authority dictates exactly how things will be done, there will be no innovation.

    THIS!!

  • DLM||

    I don't remember where I read it, but I liked the idea that the person teaching and the person evaluating the student should be different.

  • ||

    Please explain how "excellence in rising to the top in an educational bureaucracy" is a useful qualification for assessing the actual pedagogical competence of teachers.

  • MNG||

    Objective? How so?

    The test are made by the cosmos or something?

  • SIV||

    Don't play stupid MNG. A standardized test measures how well all students taking it perform on that particular test. Is there any other objective measure of student performance?

  • MNG||

    Who's playing?

  • sarcasmic||

    Standardized tests measure a student's skill at taking standardized tests more than their understanding of the material.

    The trick is to eliminate the wrong answers, leaving the correct answer.
    A basic understanding of the material combined with good test taking skills can produce a better score than an excellent understanding of the material without good test taking skills.

  • SIV||

    So what?

    How else do you propose to measure and compare objectively?

  • sarcasmic||

    If federal and state governments weren't divvying out money for education, there would be no need for such "objective" (translation: fair) measurements.

    Bring back local control. Let individual schools determine how to measure things instead of top down, one size fits all, bureaucratic bullshit.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I don't understand the hard-on that SIV, et al. have for standardized testing. I would think only social-engineering technocrats would really be concerned whether education is being measured "objectively".

    In short, I would posit that what considers to be education, another would not. Furthermore, and I say this as someone who does research in the discipline, psychometrics is far from being a hard science.

    This whole debate would be moot if we eliminated state-funded public education. By allowing people to choose (via a market of competing schools) what they wish to be educated in and the method of instruction, would eliminate this need for top-down "objective" measurement.

  • sarcasmic||

    This whole debate would be moot if we eliminated state-funded public education. By allowing people to choose (via a market of competing schools) what they wish to be educated in and the method of instruction, would eliminate this need for top-down "objective" measurement.

    Right. Except that that would put parents in control.
    And as we all know from public school teachers and social workers, parents are the last people qualified to make decisions about their children.
    What do they know? It's not like they are licensed professionals.
    Pu-lease!
    Let parents decide which schools their children attend and there will be anarchy in the streets!
    Chickens will start mooing and cows will lay eggs!
    What you speak of is madness!

  • SIV||

    Except that that would put parents in control.

    And most parents would want a measure of how well their children were learning.

    If you have a choice of schools wouldn't standardized test performance be a very important factor in choosing which one to send your children to?

  • sarcasmic||

    wouldn't standardized test performance be a very important factor

    Depends on who set the standard.

    If the standard is set by government bureaucracy I can be sure that it is motivated more by politics than anything else, and is basically worthless.

    If you have to ask the question "well who else but government can set the standard?", then you are a subscriber to the statist fallacy of "if government doesn't do it nobody will" and I have no use for you.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    This.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Moreover, with standardized testing, the kids are only taught what's going to be on the test. Teachers in Texas teach to the test, and only to the test. You want a waste of time, watch kids' class schedules after the tests are taken, but before school's let out for the year. From the guy I used to work nights with (he was a teacher during the day), the last two weeks of school or so were nothing but a stream of videos and movies. Listening to him, and other current and ex-schoolteachers I've known, school is a lot different now than it was 20 years ago. A lot more authoritarian, for one thing.

    If I were going to have children, I'd do everything in my power to home-school them.

  • jrdplr||

    i graduated high school a year ago and this is so true. The last week or so of school is a complete joke.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    If I were going to have children, I'd do everything in my power to home-school them.

    I am just starting to home school my children, but I will still use standardized tests -- probably Iowa Test of Basic Skills and Stanford Achievement tests -- as part of evaluating their progress from year to year and to try to make sure that they know the kinds of things they are "supposed" to know and to help me make sure to cover those things as part of the overall curriculum.

    They'll also learn a crapton of stuff far beyond what the standardized tests measure. The standardized tests will provide me with a measure of an absolute floor of required knowledge and I think that will be helpful.

  • SIV||

    I would think only social-engineering technocrats would really be concerned whether education is being measured "objectively".

    Parents should be very "concerned"?
    How would you shop for a private school for your children?

  • sarcasmic||

    How would you shop for a private school for your children?

    I dunno. I could talk to people? See how the alumni have done? Be proactive instead of expecting someone else to do everything for me.

  • ||

    How else do you propose to measure and compare objectively?

    Give the kids productive tasks that require them to use the material they're studying. See how the product turns out.

  • sarcasmic||

    Give the kids productive tasks that require them to use the material they're studying. See how the product turns out.

    That would be subjective, not objective.

    Subjective requires thought and evaluation.

    Objective means you simply compare the result against the expectation. Like grading a multiple choice test. No thought necessary.

    Remember, government is supposed to just function. No thought required. No subjectivity allowed.

  • Sudden||

    To be honest, good test taking skill is a more reliable indicator of true intelligence than actual mastery of the subject.

    Test taking skill is a deductive art, whereby the tester eliminates outright the nonsensical, whittling it down to the two plausible answers. Granted, a weaker algebra student might actually outperform a stronger one on the basis of test taking skills alone (two of the non-sensical answers will be eliminated by the weaker student, while both of those answers may in fact be producable from a slight error in the math or order of operations that an otherwise gift student may make). But who is in reality smarter? The one who does the math but maybe makes one error in the calculation and ends up using that answer, or the one who knew by virtue of inherent intelligence alone that one of those potentially wrong answers was not at all possible and instead narrowed it down to two more reasonable choices?

  • SIV||

    To be honest, good test taking skill is a more reliable indicator of true intelligence than actual mastery of the subject.

    What if the subject is test taking?You're teaching actual reasoning skills with effective test prep.

  • sarcasmic||

    What if the subject is test taking?

    That has to be one of the dumbest comments I have ever read.

  • Pudgeboy||

    Yea, I don't get that either.

  • habeus||

    But the standarized tests are written by crap bureaucrats who don't have a fucking clue how to measure student performance in what they actually study.

  • ||

    What constitutes a question which elicits evidence of knowledge is subjective.

    What constitutes an answer to such questions is objective.

    I think it's fair to consider that standardized testing is objective, even if the baseline that one is being tested against is subjective.

  • Matt||

    Testing methods are open to a lot of debate. There are many different ways to test students.

    There's a totally valid argument that standardized multiple choice tests often emphasize rote knowledge at the expense of critical thinking. I would agree with this.

    That's why this issue shouldn't be dictated at the federal level. Let different states, districts, and schools use the performance metrics that best fit their population. Why is it the fed's business?

  • ||

    Given the existence of a Dept. of Ed, I really don't take issue with it creating a national standardized test that it uses to evaluate all students to a common baseline and distribute Federal funds accordingly.

    I see no reason that it can't co-exist with state/local standards which dictate graduation requirements and teacher evaluation.

  • T||

    Given the existence of a Dept. of Ed

    Question your premises. Why do we need a federal bureaucracy for education?

  • British Construction Foreman||

    "What do you mean, 'why's it got to be built?' It's a bypass. You've got to build bypasses."

  • sarcasmic||

    Because if something exists, there must be a federal bureaucracy for it or it will cease to exist.

  • SIV||

    End all Fed funding then. I would think parents and taxpayers(and ideally school admins) would still want an objective measurement of students.

  • sarcasmic||

    I would think parents and taxpayers(and ideally school admins) would still want an objective measurement of students.

    I'm sure that if they care they can figure out their own way to measure students and teachers.
    Your posts read as if you're a statist authority worshiping fucktard.

  • SIV||

    Your posts read as if you're a statist authority worshiping fucktard.

    Well we know how you scored on reading comprehension.

    With totally local or even exclusively private education people will want a metric to compare performance. "How well does my child read/do math compared to the children at the Military/Christian/Hippie/Home school?
    How are the children of our town doing compared to the next town over/ the big city/ communities across the country or world?

    You realize students show up at college every Fall with near 4.0s, letters of recommendation and gobs of activities only to be enrolled in remedial classes?

  • sarcasmic||

    With totally local or even exclusively private education people will want a metric to compare performance.

    I do not dispute that.
    I'm saying that they should decide themselves, not some government bureaucracy.

    You realize students show up at college every Fall with near 4.0s, letters of recommendation and gobs of activities only to be enrolled in remedial classes?

    Shows how well centralized bureaucratic control works, eh?

  • SIV||

    I do not dispute that.

    So what do you propose in lieu of standardized testing?

  • sarcasmic||

    So what do you propose in lieu of standardized testing?

    Letting the schools and parents decide.
    Who knows what they will come up with?
    Perhaps they will stick with standardized testing.

    Current standardized testing is imposed by a central bureaucracy whether the schools and parents like it or not. No other measure will be considered because it is not for the schools and parents to decide.

    THAT is where I have a problem.

    Not so much the end, but the means.

  • Pudgeboy||

    I'm always surprised that more people don't agree with what you're saying. It seems obvious to me that parents and schools should decide. Why would you want government officials, who don't know your family or your values, decide what your children should learn?

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm always surprised that more people don't agree with what you're saying.

    People are conditioned to defer to "authority" and "experts".
    .
    .
    .

    Who are you to decide how your child should be raised?

    Are you an "expert" who has been given a license by "authority"?

    If not then I suggest you sit down, shut up, and let us raise your child our way because we are "authority" and we declare who the "experts" are.
    .
    .
    .

    Or something like that.

  • Pudgeboy||

    I agree, and I also think that putting 'education' under a central authority provides a convenient mechanism for redistributing money. If kids in another district have free i-pods, then that means my kids should get free i-pods, even if that means taking other peoples money to pay for it.

    And people raised kids for a long time without the need of 'experts'... some people are just tools.

  • SIV||

    There's a totally valid argument that standardized multiple choice tests often emphasize rote knowledge at the expense of critical thinking. I would agree with this.

    Don't test so well, eh Matt?

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Listening to Matt Damon burble on the topic of education is like going to Ed Gein for fashion tips.

  • KhanLaw||

    The maitre'd at Canal Bar?

  • Matt||

    Actually I got a 1450 on my SATs (this was in the all multiple choice era).

  • Matt||

    I actually loved multiple choice exams when I was a student because unless they're designed really well you can use process of elimination to narrow it down and make an educated guess. You have the answer there in front of you. It's much harder to do a math problem from scratch and derive the answer yourself, or write a fluent essay on your own without being spoon-fed the answer in the mult choice exam.

  • sarcasmic||

    I refused to take my SATs because being that I had scored in the high 90th percentile in every standardized test I ever took. I knew I would score very well and didn't want such expectations put on me.

    How the heck did I get into college you might ask? Easy. Took classes at the local community college, and from there it was a matter of transferring between schools. SATs didn't matter at that point.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Actually I got a 1450 on my SATs (this was in the all multiple choice era).

    Yes, I would like fries with that.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Standardized testing is an objective measure of student performance. That's why teachers and administrators hate it.

    Objective, sure, but valid, not necessarily. It is exceedingly difficult to design a standardized, valid, and reliable measure of cognitive skills.

  • ||

    For really high things sure. But for basic skills sure. You can design a test to see if kids can read and do basic math and such things. And sadly we know there are millions of kids in this country who graduate high school without such skills. Now we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on public education in this country. Is is too much to ask that the people spending that money be held accountable for such horrible results?

  • SIV||

    Even if there was no public education there will be a demand for an objective measurement.

  • Neu Mejican||

    For really high things sure.

    Not "really high things," but complex topics that require integration and synthesis, "objective" measures may be impossible...or at least impractical.

    But for basic skills sure. You can design a test to see if kids can read and do basic math and such things.

    It's harder than you think to design and implement this in a reliable standardized process that retains validity.

  • DLM||

    It is exceedingly difficult to design a standardized, valid, and reliable measure of cognitive skills.

    I though that's why we have all these super smart credentialed academics working for the government education department?

  • ||

    Standardized testing is an objective measure of student performance. That's why teachers and administrators hate it.

    That's true to some extent, but good teachers (and good students, btw) hate it because they wind up having to spend a month drilling on the test syllabus and test-taking strategies and taking practice tests, rather than actually covering the material that they did in the pre-NCLB days.

    Unintended consequences -- not just for leftist policies anymore.

  • ||

    I think a lot of people said that and understood the downside. But the counter argument is that sure teaching to the test is ideal. But it is better than teaching nothing, which is what was going on in a lot of places. Teaching to the test is a lesser of two evils.

  • SIV||

    ^THIS^

    Teaching to the test beats "enhancing self esteem".

  • ||

    Fallacy of the excluded middle.

  • ||

    But you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The schools that were good at teaching are now doing a worse job of teaching than they were before because of the perverse incentives....and of course it's very questionable how much better the bad schools are doing.

  • SIV||

    If the schools are "good at teaching" they don't need to significantly change their methods and curriculum.

  • Bradley||

    Jesus god SIV, is there any length you won't go to in defending NCLB-style top-down education bureaucracy?

    Are standardized tests a good way to judge student performance? Is a grade system a good idea? What about a two-month summer holiday? What do we serve in the cafeteria? What are the best school hours?

    I have no idea, neither do you, and neither do the assholes at the Department of Education. Let the market figure it out.

  • SIV||

    No where have I proposed a central education bureaucracy. I'm opposed to compulsory education of any kind.That said, there is no way to objectively measure school performance other than standardized testing.The market would compel a metric for objectively comparing schools (by measuring the acquired skills and knowledge of the pupils).

  • Bradley||

    The market would compel a metric for objectively comparing schools (by measuring the acquired skills and knowledge of the pupils).

    Speculation. Parents looking at schools are just as likely to base their decision on subjective preferences like how friendly the staff are, what the facilities are like, whether the curriculum follows their moral or religious views, etc.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Teachers can't 'teach to the test' if they don't know what's on it.

  • Matt||

    "But it is better than teaching nothing, which is what was going on in a lot of places."

    Citation needed, you're very close to straw man territory here, watch your step!

  • SIV||

    I had public school classes where we just talked or played cards (that was in the 1970s in what was then a top nationally ranked public school system).

    Michele Bachmann says she entered politics after witnessing PS students in 11th grade algebra class coloring posters.

    There are illiterates (and many more innumerates) with PS diplomas.

  • Neu Mejican||

    John|8.3.11 @ 12:28PM|#

    I think a lot of people said that and understood the downside. But the counter argument is that sure teaching to the test is ideal. But it is better than teaching nothing, which is what was going on in a lot of places. Teaching to the test is a lesser of two evils.

    Teaching nothing to kids is nearly impossible. Not teaching essential skills...a problem. If the centralized decisions makers can identify the essential skills well enough to design a test, why not centralize all curriculum decisions as well? Why not centralize and standardize methods of implementing that curriculum?

    The fundamental conceptualization of centralized command and control education implied by these tests suffers from the same (or at least an analogous) knowledge that Hayek pointed out for command and control economies.

  • Neu Mejican||

    John|8.3.11 @ 12:28PM|#

    I think a lot of people said that and understood the downside. But the counter argument is that sure teaching to the test is ideal. But it is better than teaching nothing, which is what was going on in a lot of places. Teaching to the test is a lesser of two evils.

    Teaching nothing to kids is nearly impossible. Not teaching essential skills...a problem. If the centralized decisions makers can identify the essential skills well enough to design a test, why not centralize all curriculum decisions as well? Why not centralize and standardize methods of implementing that curriculum?

    The fundamental conceptualization of centralized command and control education implied by these tests suffers from the same (or at least an analogous) knowledge problem that Hayek pointed out for command and control economies.

  • habeus||

    Yes, good points.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Let me guess, Lawrence O'Donnell will issue a retraction. Right?

  • ||

    I disagree on one point in this post.I have no respect for law enforcement or the justice system any more.It's due to there being so many laws on top of laws.It's a industry.The constitution is all but dead.You cannot live you life,have some fun,harm no one and not be guilty of something.

  • ||

    I have seen that obnoxious douchebag Odonnell on Morning Joke a couple of times. The other day, he even managed to rouse Mika Bobbleheadzinski from her usual stupor to give a half-hearted tut-tut.

    I cannot understand how he has managed to live so long.

  • ||

    I cannot understand how he has managed to live so long.

    Thanks to Federal Regulations, duh.

  • Maxxx||

    Government teat.

  • ||

    Fair and Balanced is not a term the Progressives or the Neo-Cons seem to favor. One must be totally subjective in their analysis of events to be a member of the "turn off brain and follow me" club.

    One of my favorite George Carlin lines was "I have a brain and I like to use it."

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    Favorite Ben Afflect movies:

    1. Good Will Hunting
    2. Armageddon
    3. Dogma
    4. Dazed and Confused
    5. Mallrats

  • ||

    Oh snap.

    We need more bitchslappery with logic from reason.

    Let em have it boys.

  • ||

    Luke knew about the second Death Star at the start of Jei.

    D- spoof. We need the real [HERC].

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You realize sloopy, that except for the "Revenge" part, that that is the exact text of the opening craw for Return of the Jedi?

    Jus' sayin'

  • ||

    The worst teacher in America could never do as much damage as the worst police officer in America.

    Using what metric?

  • ||

    The one they teach in our public schools. lol

  • sarcasmic||

    The worse a teacher is the better they are.
    Think about it.
    The goal of the socialists is equal outcomes.
    The only way to do this is reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator which is ignorance and poverty.
    The worst teachers do not teach material, and encourage dependence on the State, which makes them the best teachers since they foster ignorance and poverty!

  • Zeb||

    I think that is probably a true statement by most metrics, but so what?

  • ||

    At best, a killer-cop can completely ruin what, 5-10 lives, tops, before getting assigned to permanent paid vacation.

    Compared to the 30kids/period/year that the worst teach could affect.

    That was my point. Yes, the cops KILL people, but the teacher has a much wider collection of lives to ruin (to a lighter degree than death).

  • ||

    oh, also: FIRE THE FUCKERS.

  • sarcasmic||

    But it's not the teacher's fault. No, it's the fault of the parents. Yeah, the parents use school as daycare. They don't care about their kids. Not as much as the teachers do. Parents don't use discipline at home, so what can the teachers do? It's not their fault!

    [sarcasm off]
    While I do think that may be true in some cases, the truth is that like police, good teachers cover for the bad ones with the implicit understanding that if they fuck up their asses will be covered.

  • cynical||

    Exactly, when parents help teach their kids, their kids do well. When parents don't teach their kids, they don't. Public education is like a drug that cures cancer, but only if you get chemotherapy too.

  • ||

    O'donnell is a socialist. My god, how stupid/naive/ignorant do you have to be to buy into socialism? Listening to him should be handled like listening to listening to a retarded kid or a schizophrenic. " Sure lawrence.....ok....uh huh. Thats good....go to sleep now. "

    As for Damon, he is a prop on movie sets. Actors should only say things written for them and never ever try to think or speak for themselves. If they do, we should completely ignore it. Ok, maybe thats over the top, but it is forgivable. I know there are some sensible thespians out there, but you almost never hear from them, they are drowned out by the screechings of the hollywood left.

  • ||

    Or maybe, like Matt Damon, a truly gifted actor

    That was a good one, Nick. I LOL'ed.

  • ||

    Damon has had a great career. Say what you want about his half baked politics and willingness to suck the dick of his government masters, but the guy can act.*

    *"Stuck On You" and a few other exceptions aside.

  • Anomalous||

    Under Obamacare, will Lawrence O'Donnell get a free rabies shot?

  • creech||

    If O'Donnell were to leave out of the "right wing" Reason and libertarians in general, I think he may be right. Say the LP were to go on a crusade to implement Civilian Police Review Boards and reform SWAT tactics, do you think conservatives would join the fight or defend the cops?

  • Professional Critic||

    About as likely to criticize cops as Democrats would be to criticize teachers. A pox on both of them.

  • Kristen||

    That's the whole point of the blog post: that a) reason is not right-wing or conservative and b) they have written more about oplice abuse than just about any media outlet, ever.

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    I would say they've written more about police abuse than education reform.

  • Zeb||

    Definitely. There is a blog post about police abuse almost every day. And most of the supposed attacks on teachers are general criticism of the public education system or public sector unions.

  • ||

    I would say they've written more about police abuse than education reform.

    Duh.

    Education Reform: more choice, privatize, homeschool. Done.

    Police Abuse: something new everyday.

  • ||

    To criticize reason in this way shows he absolutely and completely has no idea what he's talking about. For anyone not blinded by partisan stupidity, it exposes him as a completely retarded partisan. But we all knew that already anyway.

  • Bingo||

    I can guarantee you the thought process behind the article went like this:

    1) Right-wing websites don't criticize cops
    2) Any media outlet that doesn't follow the Democratic Party talking points is automatically a right-wing shill for the GOP
    3) Therefore reason never criticizes cops

    Facts that do not fit the narrative will be ignored.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Not wanting to subject myself to his interview, another "reason" for picking these guys is the Kochtopus angle. Did he hit that during his talk, or was he taking a break from it?

  • robc||

    Civilian Police Review Boards

    Unnecessary. We already have them, they are called "Grand Juries". We just need DAs to do their damn job.

  • ||

    If O'Donnell were to leave out of the "right wing" Reason and libertarians in general

    ...he's still making an invalid tu quoque argument. Just because right wingers are hypocrites does not make them wrong.

  • Abdul||

    Nick's response could only have been better if it involved a music video with lots of celebrity cameos suggesting a gay threesome with Ben Affleck and Jimmy Kimmel.

    Because, otherwise, who cares about Fucking Matt Damon?

  • ||

    At the time, I thought the TEAM AMERICA portrayal of Damon was over the top. Now, I'm not so sure...

  • ||

    MATT DAAAAMONNNNN

  • Franklin Harris||

    Dude, Team America might as well be a documentary. (And I don't mean a Michael Moore full of distortions and fantasies documentary.)

  • AlmightyJB||

    Not all that sure I see a lot of value in arguing with idiots. Anyone who gets their facts from Matt or Lawrence are not smart enough to be reasoned with. Is using reasoned on reason a drink event?

  • ||

    "But we were talking about Lawrence O'Donnell, host of MSNBC's Last Word, who used his "Rewrite" segment to question not simply whether public-school teachers should be scrutinized but whether Reason is anything more than a Republicanoid hack factory that would never dare question, say, the police."

    That makes Lawrence O'Donnell much dumber than Tony.

  • IceTrey||

    How can you possibly support and applaud the law enforcement system? Every day their is some outrageous story about some bad cop or horrible judge. How about the "Kelo" decision? I know you don't applaud that massive trampling of individual rights. Let's ask Mexico how they feel about the law enforcement system. C'mon dude you can't have it both ways.

  • ||

    @IceTrey, Isn't weeding-out the a-holes help and support for the good ones? But then if you think all law enforcement should be tossed let's start with the laws the current admin are shoving down our throats.

  • ||

    Watching O'Donnell, I must say I threw up in my mouth a little...

    I'm not sure how long O'Donnell has been around (and care not to find out), but the left should be pleased they have their own Glen Beck.

  • ||

    Well, they already had their own Hannity in the form of Ed Schultz, and their own...wait, who does Maddow correspond to? And who does Hyperbolberman correspond to? O'Reilly, maybe, for Maddow? And Mark Levin for Olberman?

  • AlmightyJB||

    I think you can just throw them all into one "talking douchbag" bucket.

  • ||

    Amen.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    ...wait, who does Maddow correspond to?

    Fred Savage's little sidekick, on The Wonder Years...?

  • ||

    What is funny is how pathetic they all are. Say what you want about Limbaugh and Coulter, but they can both be very funny. No one cranks out an insult like Coulter. She is what Chris Hitchens thinks he is. In contrast those you mention are just fucking boring, which is worse than being wrong.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Here's one cosmotarian that usually likes Glenn Beck's radio show. He can be much funnier (intentionally) that Limbaugh.
    Yeah, he's a nut -- but he occasionally gets something right, and he really understands radio.

  • ||

    Half the reason why liberals hate Limbaugh and Beck so much is that they are so humorless they don't get the irony and the jokes. Most of what those guys say goes right over liberal listeners' heads.

  • ||

    Most people have a hard time seeing humor when they're the ones being made fun of.

  • DLM||

    ...they are so humorless they don't get the irony and the jokes.

    I finally figured that out. At first I though they were being deliberately obtuse and I'm certain some are. As I heard more of the crying about Rush and Beck, et.al., it seemed like they mostly have a stunted sense of humor.

  • ||

    I've never found the wretched shrew (Coulter) funny, even when I was misguided enough to agree with her. She dorkily laughs at her own marginal jokes, which is a cardinal sin and supremely unfunny.

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/vid.....hpt=hp_mid

    Anderson Cooper has something to say about all of this:

    "DON'T MESS WITH MATT DAMON!"

  • Franklin Harris||

    Nice to see Mr. 360 took time away from his bizarre obsession with polygamists.

  • AlmightyJB||

    So if cops attending public schools were better educated would they be just as dicky?

  • mobiustrip||

    Libertarians talk a good game on police accountability, but when the chips are down -- really down -- they are GOP punks, and this was illustrated in Wisconsin.

    The governor gave the cops' union a special carve-out in the union-busting bill, because of the campaign support they gave him, and because it fit with the GOP's "law-and-order" dog-whistling.

    Not even Balko blinked at this. In the end, screwing the teacher's union by any means available was more important to Libertarians, even to Balko, than equality before the law and police accountability.

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    Fuck you.

  • mobiustrip||

    and f*ck everybody else who has their facts in order, too.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Appropriately, this one is infinitely idiotic, in one continuous strip.

  • robc||

    but when the chips are down -- really down --

    So, wait, you are saying Wisconsin union negotiations are "when the chips are down", not Cory Maye or Kathryn Johnston or Ryan Frederick or Kelly Thomas or Deacon Turner.

    You are a sick fuck.

  • mobiustrip||

    saving a couple of lambs from the slaughterhouse does not make the world more vegetarian. Yeah, Libbers talk big about isolated cases that are not a major threat to the GOP agenda. But on the systemic stuff? It's F-U teachers first and the cops get a pass if that's what it takes to get Bill Gates a tax cut.

  • robc||

    Thinks for verifying that you are, in fact, a sick fuck.

  • mobiustrip||

    Not just sick.

    Sick and tired.

    Of "Libertarian" posers like you.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, this website has NEVER gone after police unions or Correctional officers unions. good thing you know what you're talking about, or you'd look like a complete ass.

  • cw||

    Maybe he's Lawrence O'Donnell.

  • Shorter mobiustrip||

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Here come the retards, right on cue!

  • ||

    When the GOP opposes cronytastic Big Government, as in Wisconsin, libertarians will of course be right beside them.

    Wisconsin was an incremental move in the right direction. Rest assured. We'll be back for the cop unions later. Wisconsin is just one video-taped police assault away from a backlash.

  • mobiustrip||

    Later = Never

  • ||

    Care to make it interesting?

    I say that within 5 years all pubsec unions in Wisconsin will be on the same footing as the teacher's unions.

  • mobiustrip||

    You're on, bozo.

  • Platypus||

    Bozo-Pwn3d.

  • db||

    BPZPWNED?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Voting for Ron Paul does not make one a Republican, mobius.

    Plus, what Achtung said.

  • ||

    Libertarians Obama talks a good game on police accountability ending wars, but when the chips are down -- really down -- they are GOP he is a warmongering punk, and this was illustrated in Wisconsin Yemen, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    The governor gave the cops' union a special carve-out in the union-busting bill, because of the campaign support they gave him, and because it fit with the GOP's "law-and-order" dog-whistling.

    Almost every cop union in the state -- with the exception of, I think, 4 -- supported Walker's opponent. Good try, though.

  • Bingo||

    Libertarians talk a good game on police accountability, but when the chips are down -- really down -- they are GOP punks, and this was illustrated in Wisconsin.

    The governor gave the cops' union a special carve-out in the union-busting bill, because of the campaign support they gave him, and because it fit with the GOP's "law-and-order" dog-whistling.

    What the fuck are you talking about? Libertarians aren't serious about police accountability because law-and-order GOP types love the cops?

    Do you even read the comments on this site?

  • mobiustrip||

    Yeah, I did read the Reason comments on the Wisconsin bill with the cop-union carve-out. It was all hossana. Nobody gave a f*ck that it set cops above everybody else. the Libertarians really showed their true stripes on the comment boards that day.

  • Fluffy||

    My position was that if you can only break 75% of your enemies, do it.

    Come back later and break the other 25%.

    Even the Terminator only killed one Sarah Connor at a time. He didn't try to invite all of them to one big Sarah-Connor-killing surprise party.

  • mobiustrip||

    Later = Never

  • robc||

    Bullshit, there isnt a single person on this board (ignoring trolls, as they arent people) who wouldnt have supported the same thing for the cop and fire unions as with the teachers.

    And every other government union.

    Heck, I oppose public sector unions in their entirety. And Ive got George Meany on my side.

  • ||

    Exactly. It is the same horseshit argument liberals always use. If support any bill that is less than perfect you are a hypocrite. And of course since no bill or measure is perfect, you would never support anything if you followed their rules, which is of course what they want.

  • mobiustrip||

    Wrong, John. Ohio did it the right way.

    Now grow a brain, grow a pair, or pack your bags.

  • robc||

    Did anyone here oppose Ohio?

  • ||

    Says the anonopussy.

  • ||

    So what? Wisconsin did something less well than Ohio but better than the status quo. You take what you can get.

    The question is are liberals like you really so dumb you can't understand that or just that dishonest? Or maybe both?

  • mobiustrip||

    It ain't better than the status quo. It perpetuates and increases a system of police impunity and police elitism.

    Would Libertarians support only letting cops smoke medical marijuana? Would Libertarians support only letting cops hire prostitutes? Would Libertarians support a capital gains tax cut that only police officers could claim?

    That's what happened in Wisconsin, and it is a hell of a lot worse than the status quo, because it sh!tcanned equality before the law.

  • ||

    "It ain't better than the status quo. It perpetuates and increases a system of police impunity and police elitism."

    The Status quo is all that plus impunity and elitism in every other public sector job.

    I guess you really are that stupid. There is no point in having a conversation with someone with such a poor understanding of reality and logic.

  • mobiustrip||

    Right, John. Because municipal garbage truck workers have the same life-and-death power as cops. It was exactly the same thing.

    Enjoy that super-human monopoly on "reality" and "logic" you've got going there, Mr. Humble.

  • db||

    BPZPWNED!!

  • Bingo||

    Mostly because we are resigned to the fact that a Republican governor isn't going to sign a bill breaking up the police union you dumbass. A Republican carving out special exemptions for the cops is "business as usual". Were we supposed to get into a tizzy that the same stupid police union business is being carried on in Wisconsin the same way it carries on everywhere else?

    In short, fuck all public sector parasites (including cops), and fuck you for arguing non sequitors.

  • mobiustrip||

    Ohio, supra, Bingo.

    Read up, wise up, or shut up.

  • Fluffy||

    Hey, maybe Ohio had different political circumstances than Wisconsin.

    Or maybe Walker is just a less effective politician than he needed to be.

    It's utterly irrelevant to the question at hand, which is, "If given the opportunity to crush the teacher's union, would you take it, even if it left the police union unscathed for the moment?" the correct answer is, "Why, sure!"

    I also didn't see the Wisconsin cop exemption as being the result of a right-wing desire to cater to the police union. To me, it seemed pretty obvious that Walker was afraid of violence and civil unrest sponsored by the unions, and cynically tried to see to it that the cops wouldn't be right there next to the teachers trying to occupy the capitol.

  • ||

    That is a great point. Liberals are basically saying "since we have helped make cops and their unions into such scary thugs, you are afraid to mess with them, you are a hypocrite for going after any other union".

  • mobiustrip||

    To reiterate: what happened in Wisconsin perpetuates and increases a system of police impunity and police elitism.

    Would Libertarians support only letting cops smoke medical marijuana? Would Libertarians support only letting cops hire prostitutes? Would Libertarians support a capital gains tax cut that only police officers could claim?

    That's what happened in Wisconsin, and it is a hell of a lot worse than the status quo, because it sh!tcanned equality before the law.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Yawn. Wake me when "liberals" get serious about civil rights.

  • ||

    Don't all unions live by different rules than the rest of us? Look at the prison guard unions in California demanding pensions in future negotiations while the state capitol was having a garage sale to raise cash.

  • Matt||

    And FTR Reason took a very hard line against these prison guard unions in CA.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Of course, the non-retarded question/analogy would be "Would Libertarians support a bill allowing medical marijuana for everyone except members of public teachers' unions"?

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Same to you but more of it.

  • Matt||

    "Yeah, I did read the Reason comments on the Wisconsin bill with the cop-union carve-out. It was all hossana. Nobody gave a f*ck that it set cops above everybody else. the Libertarians really showed their true stripes on the comment boards that day."

    a) Citation needed.

    b) A police union exemption is hardly the worst offense ever committed by law enforcement in this country.

    c) I'm sure many of the folks commenting weren't aware of the police union exemption. Or they were happy that something was done about any union at all. Achieving some of your goals is preferable to achieving none.

    d) So Radley Balko's investigative report that freed that innocent guy from jail doesn't count, right? Man he really sided with the justice system there. And by the way that wasn't just talk that actually accomplished something.

  • mobiustrip||

    Hey, jackass, try to reconcile your (a) with your (c). You can check the archives as well as anybody else.

  • free2booze||

    Please provide us a link that demonstrates this web sites support for cops, and collective bargaining privileges.

  • ||

    He has his mighty man of straw, and he's not abandoning it - no matter how high the flames reach.

  • Matt||

    "He has his mighty man of straw, and he's not abandoning it - no matter how high the flames reach."

    LOL

  • free2booze||

    During the entire collective bargaining debate, I don't recall reading anything on this site, defending collective bargaining right for cops.

    This guy is just being a douche bag.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    It's probably one of us regulars having some fun.
    Honestly, guys. You underestimate your enemies if you think they're really this idiotic.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Except for Lawrence O'Donnell, of course. But he's got a TV show, so that explains that.

  • ||

    You underestimate your enemies if you think they're really this idiotic.

    Unless the comments at Balloon Juice, Daily Kos, and DU are just Reasonoids having fun -- I don't think so.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Unless the comments at Balloon Juice, Daily Kos, and DU are just Reasonoids having fun
    I must choose to believe this, or face an unbridgeable chasm of despair.
    Just as I choose to believe you're only joking about red-light cameras.

  • robc||

    I actually remember one or two comments (possibly from me) criticizing the police part.

  • mobiustrip||

    Matt wants a citation or else you're a liar.

  • free2booze||

    Did Reason ever write anything, suggesting that they supported collective bargaining privileges for cops?

  • mobiustrip||

    Reading comprehension problems, boozer? There is no claim of active support specifically for the carve-out. It's just a matter of not giving a damn. Priorities. As in:

    screw teachers = priority #1
    police accountability = who-give-a-sh!t

  • Citizen Nothing||

    you forgot #3 - monocles for us -- slavery for the masses!
    It's in the LP platform somewhere. I know it.

  • mobiustrip||

    zzzzzzzzziiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnggggg!

    Maybe when you're done here you can update that lame blog of yours more than once every seven weeks.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Fuck you, dood. You gotta pay to see my good stuff.

  • free2booze||

    Yup, you busted us. The track record on this site is pretty shitty when it comes to holding cops responsible, and everyone posting here LOVES cops, and advocates for more SWAT raids against non-violent offenders, and appreciates the fact that cops can beat the living piss out of someone, without something as trivial as consequences getting in the way.

  • T||

    blah, blah, imbecile troll, blah.

  • Matt||

    "imbecile troll"

    sorry I fed him back there, I should have known better and seen this coming.

  • ||

    Make no mistake: Reason in all its iterations supports and applauds the work that the law enforcement system - from the U.S. Supreme Court down to the most local of meter maids and the least-honored of rent-a-cops - does to help keep the country and its citizens safe. Like good teachers, good cops have a tough-as-hell job that is made immeasurably harder by all the bad ones out there

    The "good" don't seem to have any fucking interest in flushing the "bad" from the system. In fact they seem hell-bent on protecting the bad's jobs.

    Hell, the entire law enforcement industrial complex spends most of its time on victimless crimes, anyways. But that's some hyperbole that no one wants to hear. We must be logical and subservient in our analysis.

    In conclusion, fuck them with a bent rusty screwdriver.

  • robc||


    The "good" don't seem to have any fucking interest in flushing the "bad" from the system. In fact they seem hell-bent on protecting the bad's jobs.

    The good do have interest in flushing the bad from the system. Im just not sure there are more than a hand full of good cops in the US.

  • ||

    Im just not sure there are more than a hand full of good cops in the US.

    Knowing Gillespie's views that could be implied. But, when the Jacket publishes a paragraph that sounds like it was written by Joe Biden a *SLD may be in order.

  • ||

    capitol l,

    You have been in the working world for some time now, no? Have you ever had a bad coworker?

    If so, what steps did you take to get them fired.

  • robc||

    If my job was to fire bad workers, then to not fire co-workers would be dereliction of duty.

    If my job is arrest law breakers, then not arresting law breakers is dereliction of duty.

    You really suck at analogies.

  • ||

    Cops aren't supposed to arrest every law-breaker they ever encounter.

  • ||

    Yes, they are supposed to use discretion. It's just funny that their discretion always tells them not to arrest fellow officers.

  • ||

    If so, what steps did you take to get them fired.

    Ummm well, when I was a manager or had the authority I fired them. When not in a position of authority people in the restaurant business has many creative ways of getting rid of problematic employees.

    Some methods include people refusing to work with a certain person, social ostracizing until they quit, not helping that person perform their duties, reporting every minor violation to the boss. Hell, more than a few times me and fellow employees have gone to management and made a 'him or us' ultimatum.

    You're really barking up the wrong tree with this one, Tulpster. I've fired or pushed out more poisonous employees than I can remember. For things to go smoothly employees must work as a cohesive unit and one person of trouble can throw a place off dramatically making everyone's job hell.

    In my experience people's loyalties usually lie with those that make the job easiest and most profitable.

  • ||

    Who is Lawrence O'Donnell?

  • ||

    He is part of a comedy team on MSNBC. It is the Crazy Larry and Special Ed show every night on that network.

  • Warty||

    That's an unfortunate handle. Gave me quite a rageation for a minute there.

  • robc||

    Heh.

    I wonder if this lower case joe thinks Venezuela is a democracy.

  • ||

    Sorry, i'm new here. Should I change my handle?

  • robc||

    Yes, capital J would be just fine.

  • ||

    lower-case joe fled with his tail between his legs after getting whipped senseless arguing that any criticism of Obama was racist, or something like that.

  • ||

    how about Joe not Boyle?

  • Warty||

    How about Joe Boil? It makes you sound like a superhero, or at least a film noir detective.

  • ||

    OK, how's this? :)

  • Warty||

    Excellent. Now dance.

  • BakedPenguin||

    He's new here, Warty. Let him get his monocle and decoder ring before making him dance.

  • Warty||

    Can't we make him dance for his monocle? You ruin everything.

  • T||

    We make him dance for the top hat, Warty. He has to keep the monocle properly positioned while dancing or no top hat.

  • ||

    So Reason.com is a breeding ground for Lulz?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Puttin' on the Ritzzzzzzzzzzz!

  • ||

    I came for the libertarian discourse, I stayed for the lulz.

  • Resto Druid FTW||

    I LOL'd at ^this^

  • Ska||

    Nope, just their logo.

  • ||

    Who is Lawrence O'Donnell?

    Reason made cable news bitch don't fuck this up!!!!

  • ||

    Is any liberal capable of making an argument on the merits anymore? Even if what Crazy Larry said were true, so what? The fact that conservatives don't go after cops says nothing about the validity of their case against teachers.

    I know part of it is that Crazy Larry doesn't have any points to make on the substance because there aren't any. But more than that, I think he actually believes such points to be valid. And that really says worse things about Crazy Larry than saying he is just engaging in sophistry. He doesn't even realize that is what he is doing.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Is any liberal capable of making an argument on the merits anymore?

    Heh. "Anymore," he asks.

  • Warty||

    The fact that conservatives don't go after cops says nothing about the validity of their case against teachers.

    This is what happens when people think ad hominem is synonymous with insult.

  • ||

    It's hard to make an argument on the merits when you're defending an absurd and stupid status quo.

    This of course applies to conservative apologists when they're in power too. Basically, logical argumentation is a lot easier when you don't have to pretend your team doesn't have stinky shit.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I missed the fustercluck last night but I would like to add "M A T T D A M O N" to the mix...a Team America reference is obviously appropriate here.

  • ||

    And I seem to recall a lot of people on the right being really pissed off about Waco and Ruby Ridge back in the 1990s. And being called nuts and terrorists for their trouble. Liberals are so concerned about cops, they didn't have a problem with them burning a bunch of kids to death on national TV.

  • Liberals ||

    Geez, John, I thought we'd put Waco and Ruby Ridge behind us. Now it's time to focus on police brutality.

  • robc||

    NEVER TO FORGIVE, NEVER TO FORGET.

  • ||

    Now's not a good time for you guys either, considering how many county sheriffs and city cops are Democrats.

  • ||

    City police chefs, that is.

  • ||

    What kind of cuisine to the chefs serve?

  • robc||

    What kind of cuisine to the chefs serve?

    which law of the internet is that?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    The Law of Infinite Typewriters, Eight Monkeys.

  • robc||

    I was referencing this since joe has already come up in this thread.

  • KC Endzone Painter||

    Great Googily Moogily!

  • WTF||

    Liberals are so concerned about cops, they didn't have a problem with them burning a bunch of kids to death on national TV.

    But that was done when the right people were in charge.

  • Leonie Haimson||

    But have you every attacked the job security/seniority protections that cops, firefighters and other municipal employees have, or only targeted teachers in this regard ? I think this was O'Donnell's point.

  • robc||

    See my 11:48 post.

  • Bingo||

    We have, indeed, been too often prone to "pursue our busy little seminars on whether or not to demunicipalize the garbage collectors"

    Murray Rothbard, 1963

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    The short answer: Yes.

    The longer answer: We don't usually get upset about good people, so we tend to let firefighters off the hook.

  • robc||

    Speak for yourself.

    I live in a volunteer fire district. I dont know why there would be firefighters as employees at all.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    to quote a person who I showed my city budget to...unbiased, they live in another state and I told them nothing: Jesus H., your city must be on fire 24/7!!!

    15 million/year, 40k residents. Urban not rural.

  • robc||

    Do you live here?

  • robc||

    Maybe you should read posts of here for six months or so before you fucking post.

    BTW, Ive been suggesting that as a standard lurking period on ALL internet message boards of any kind for at least 15 years.

    That might be a little long, but it takes at least a month to get the feel of a place.

  • Warty||

    Two years is a better term.

  • BakedPenguin||

    To be fair, robc, you should have known the stir this caused would bring in new people.

    Leonie, you might do a site search for "government worker pension" or "tenure"

  • robc||

    Yes. And they can lurk for 3-6 months before posting.

    Whats the problem with that?

  • ||

    Oh, look who's for restricting immigration now.

  • robc||

    Immigration? They can immigrate here all they want. They just need to shut up.

  • Spoonman.||

    Yes. All the time.

  • Fluffy||

    In your very post is the idea that some entities (i.e., large corporations) have resources that help them better weather certain challenges. Lefties like me think this gives them an advantage in, say, bargaining with workers and consumers, and that it can be appropriate to have government step in to offset that advantage to protect values like the dignity, welfare and autonomy of the invididual.

    This is the worst argument of all.

    I can understand better when people try to support regulation that mimics the criminal law - "Let's stop this company from injuring someone with their insane rusty nail death machine product." I don't like it, but I understand it.

    But here you're arguing that being better prepared to take care of yourself means that you deserve fewer rights at all than your fellow citizens.

    You are openly advocating two different standards of law.

    AT LEAST two. Because your "different standard of law for the poorly prepared" does not apply to poorly prepared self-employed people.

    Why not protect the "dignity, welfare and autonomy" of self-employed people by forcing consumers to be their customers?

    Oh, right, because that would be fucking crazy.

  • ||

    Lefties like me think this gives them an advantage in, say, bargaining with workers and consumers,

    And manage to completely ignore the fact this gives them an advantage in, say, bargaining with the government.

  • Matt||

    "some entities (i.e., large corporations) have resources that help them better weather certain challenges. Lefties like me think this gives them an advantage in, say, bargaining with workers and consumers, and that it can be appropriate to have government step in to offset that advantage to protect values like the dignity, welfare and autonomy of the invididual."

    Man, the large corporation Borders really used its resources to exploit consumers. So much so that they just went out of business. And who caused them to go out of business (HINT: it wasn't the government)?

  • robc||

    Al Gore?

  • T||

    ManBearPig, obviously.

    More seriously, even their closeout sale is a bust. I figured I might get some good deals but they're still higher than Amazon. Fuck Borders.

  • robc||

    That is standard for closeout sales.

    The first thing is to raise prices back to list price. Then discount them less than they already were discounted but advertise the hell out of the discount.

  • T||

    That's exactly what they're doing. 20% off list, which is what they should have been selling for all along.

  • robc||

    Like I said. Standard.

    Same thing happened with Circuit City.

  • creech||

    I've worked at both large and small companies that had unions and threatened strikes. The big guys were scared shitless - several days of no revenue and they can't make payments on their debts, investors flee. So they give in and kick the consequences down the road (see Detroit). Small guy has more leverage unless he's in hock to the hilt. First, there's enough management that can run the production line so some goods keep flowing. One other advantage: it was always far easier to get an injunction so the cops would move five strikers out of the driveway than to get an injunction to move five hundred. And the small unions never had the size strike funds that could allow them to stay off the job for months.

  • hmm||

    It looks like pissing The Jacket off before his morning double mochachino latte with whip is not the best of ideas.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I found the following on the Heritage Foundation Web site from 2008 - in a position paper against public-sector collective bargaining:

    "Americans need police protection against criminals, but the use of force against American citizens is a serious matter. Many Americans have concerns about the excessive use of force and police brutality. Voters' elected representatives -- not closed-door union negotiations -- should strike the balance between protecting the rights of U.S. citizens and providing the police with the tools they need to do their job. Congress should specify that the conditions under which law enforcement officers use force is not a term and condition of employment that state and local governments must negotiate."

    http://www.heritage.org/resear.....ss-onerous

  • Matt Damon||

    I'm sorry for causing so much confusion and pain. I'll shut up now.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    For Che: Part Two alone, you should be shaven and banished.

  • ||

    I'll shut up now.

    Wait a minute... this isn't the real Matt Damon!

  • Ben Affleck||

    Damn! They're on to me!

  • hmm||

    I all seriousness you'd think someone would spend 10 minutes at investigating before going full partisan hack retard.

  • ||

    I think somebody just got a Jacket burn.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And if O'Donnell is willing to consider prolife groups as right-wing, then here is a May, 2009 story from the pro-life news service LifeSiteNews:

    "Jury Declares Pro-Lifers Innocent after Video Reveals Police Brutality and Cover-Up . . .

    "A group of peaceful pro-life protesters who were harassed and assaulted by campus police officers at a California college were found not guilty of several charges in court last week. . . .

    "Executive Director [Dana Cody] of the Life Legal Defense Foundation [which defended the demonstrators, said] . . . 'The jurors are to be commended for following the law and denouncing the police misconduct.'"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

  • John||

    While I certainly wouldn't want Matt Damon as a legitimate spokesperson, the elaborate number dance that "reveals" how teachers make "more than average" is somewhat misleading.

    My main issues:

    1) The claim that teachers only work 38 hours a week. I traced the links back and that number comes from reported hours "in school." While the article acknowledges that on the whole teachers spend more time writing lessons and grading at home (and doesn't miss an opportunity to say how nice it is to work at home) it doesn't factor in those hours. Unfortunately there's not a good measure for how much time teachers actually work since it varies, but a little bit of common sense suggests even to the biggest critics that it's greater than the time spent in the building.

    2) Comparing teacher salaries with BA degrees instead of MA degrees. It's about a 50-50 split, allowing for some fun data manipulation depending on which side you're on. While teacher pay is slightly above average for a BA, it's near the bottom of the barrel for an MA. This alone should be enough for a reasonable person to see teacher compensation as below, rather than above, average.

    3) Fringe benefits and compensation for experience. These used to be valid points, and it's possible that in some states, they still may be. New York is not one of those states. Teacher benefits (for anyone who started in the last two years) have been permanently slashed. Tier V is NOTHING like Tier III or earlier. If you want to complain about the past then this may be a valid topic, but those arguments have been heeded and the "fridge benefits" offered now are a shell of what they used to be. Similarly, the STEP salary boosts the average far above what teachers make in their first 10 years. With college costs and today's economy becoming a teacher is nearly unsustainable unless you have alternative financial support. While that might not change complaints about bad old teachers, it certainly influences who is going to enter the field.

    4) Which brings me to my final point. While teacher salaries are NOT above average, they really should be. Increasing spending per pupil is admittedly an exercise in diminishing returns, but I think there's a significant difference between the applicants for a profession where you can pay back your college loans while supporting yourself in 10 years, and those where you can't. Teachers don't need to make 120k a year, but if starting teachers (with a MA degree) made closer to 50k (where I live, it's closer to 30k) I think you'd see more hardworking individuals in the field.

    On the issue of job security, I think the unions (who I support) are shooting themselves in the foot by over-protecting teachers. The unions should be on the front lines themselves trying to separate the good from the bad. And even though I don't think mass firings or eliminating Unions is the answer, I have to agree with Bill Gates when he says that increasing the ability to fire bad teachers is the single greatest actionable step to improving the quality of education.

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    Oh, for god's sakes! Do we have to go through this again?

  • Tman||

    No one reads the full threads anymore. I blame the bad public education system.

  • Tman||

    IT'S INTRINSICALLY PATERNALISTIC!!!

  • ||

    Absolutely. That's their Raison d'être - to protect (and enrich) its members. Good job or bad job, why would they care? Just keep the union dues flowing.

  • Matt||

    "2) Comparing teacher salaries with BA degrees instead of MA degrees. It's about a 50-50 split, allowing for some fun data manipulation depending on which side you're on. While teacher pay is slightly above average for a BA, it's near the bottom of the barrel for an MA. This alone should be enough for a reasonable person to see teacher compensation as below, rather than above, average."

    God I am so tired of this pissing contest teachers insist on having with other master's degree holders. How is that any more an apples to apples comparison than comparing teachers to people with bachelors degrees? Not all masters degrees are created equal (or bachelors degrees, or high school diplomas, etc, etc, etc).

    That argument is based on a sense of entitlement, that you're automatically entitled to a certain salary because you have a graduate degree.

    GRADUATE DEGREES ARE NEITHER SUFFICIENT NOR NECESSARY FOR CAREER SUCCESS OR A HIGH INCOME. And correlation does not equal causation, just because people with grad degrees earn more on average doesn't mean specific degrees would or should provide more earnings. I'm so sick of this higher education industry propoganda that equates credentials with earning potential, it's like an artificial caste system. Credentials do not indicate how good someone will be in the field!

    I at least appreciate your civil tone but I'm getting very frustrated with this flawed logic.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Further, why is it necessary for elementary school/high school teachers to have an MA? (Besides the gatekeeping aspect of it, of course,)

    The whole graduate school/thesis writing exercise seems at odds with a schoolteacher's primary job of educating children. Remove the necessity of graduate school/extra courses for the teaching certificate and you make those loans a good deal cheaper to pay.

    I agree with your points on firing underperforming teachers.

  • ||

    Any salary level that's based on what planners think it should be based on is utter bollocks. Teacher's should be paid what the market dictates they should be paid.

    Reason #3,727 to end the monopoly.

  • robc||

    This.

    Separation of school and state.

    If we really must have public education, we still dont need public schools, vouchers will suffice.

    And let the teachers earn whatever they can negotiate. I fully support private sector unions.

  • ||

    If things are that bad, get a different job. You can't have it both ways. You can't claim on the one hand that teachers are all fabulous and deserve this huge salary and permanent job security. And then on the other hand claim they are under paid.

    If they really are under paid, doesn't that mean the current crop of teachers is sub standard? That is what happens when you don't pay enough to hire in any other field. Why would teaching be different? And if the current crop is sub standard, what good does it do to pay them more if we can't fire them and replace them with better quality people attracted by the higher wages?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    A teaching degree is for those poor bastards who are too dumb to get a journalism degree.

  • ||

    You anti-teachite prick.

  • ||

    If public school teachers are underpaid, then private school and parochial school teachers are even more underpaid -- despite having a much more open employment market.

  • robc||

    Ive wondered how much private sector teachers pay is affected by the lack of a free market in most of the education sector?

    Would their pay go up if the market was privatized?

  • ||

    Yes. With the best teachers receiving the best compensation.

  • Matt||

    "Would their pay go up if the market was privatized?"

    Hell yes! Ever heard of "crowding out?"

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc|8.3.11 @ 12:50PM|#

    Ive wondered how much private sector teachers pay is affected by the lack of a free market in most of the education sector?

    Would their pay go up if the market was privatized?

    Their jobs don't equate. Public school teachers have to teach all comers. As a result their job is more difficult and you have to pay people more to get them to do it.

    Really. This explains the difference entirely. No mystery to anyone who has worked in education.

  • ||

    Public school teachers have to teach all comers.

    Bzzzt.

    Special ed kids at public schools get separate classes involving no ordinary teachers, and most schools separate good students from bad at least in the later grades.

    And of course, public school teachers in wealthy school districts get paid more than in poor ones. But by all means keep trying.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Tulpa|8.3.11 @ 4:40PM|#

    Public school teachers have to teach all comers.

    Bzzzt.

    Special ed kids at public schools get separate classes involving no ordinary teachers, and most schools separate good students from bad at least in the later grades.

    Bzzzt. Lots wrong with these statements, but primarily, they are tangential to my point.

    And of course, public school teachers in wealthy school districts get paid more than in poor ones. But by all means keep trying.

    Simple supply/demand. Teachers are willing to work for less salary in private schools because there are enough non-salary benefits over public schools that the lower salary is acceptable. Go talk to teachers that have gone from one setting to the other and ask them why they made the switch.

  • cynical||

    "Bzzzt. Lots wrong with these statements, but primarily, they are tangential to my point."

    They're exactly right, in my experience. Special needs kids got special classes, average to poor students got classes with less intelligent or poorly motivated teachers, and honors students tended to get the teachers that were brighter and gave a shit. And coaches were almost universally terrible teachers, to add another little fact in there.

    Granted, it could just be that administration in my school was better at triage.

  • DLM||

    Public school teachers have to teach all comers.

    The biggest problem is having to teach to the lowest common denominator. Teachers should teach knowledge, not inculcate social values desired by the state.

  • juris imprudent||

    O'Donnell has accomplished something truly impressive, shooting himself in the foot with both feet in his mouth while his head is so far up his arse that those sparse locks are tickling his tonsils.

    [golf clap]

    As for Damon, he should consider himself lucky that Stone and Parker treated him so gently.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And if we count all the criticism of brutality by *foreign* police, then of course the right-wing groups may well look like the strongest "anti-police" lobbies in the country.

    Leaving aside the reports on brutality by Chines, Iranian, Egyptian, etc. police, check out this 2010 story by Mark Steyn (of Canadian origin himself) about "Keystone Kanuck Kops:"

    "More fun from the G20 summit:

    "Having stood by watching as a mob trashed downtown businesses (and their own cruisers), the peculiarly insecure dweebs of the Toronto police are now threatening law-abiding passers-by (that would be Cop#3478) and beating up *Guardian* reporters...

    "Old Canadian police motto: The Mounties always get their man.

    "New Canadian police motto: The Mounties always get their Guardian reporter. Frankly, it’s a lot easier."

    But . . . other than opposing the police unions, denouncing police brutality against right-wing protesters, and denouncing police abuses in foreign countries, what have the Romans - I mean right-wingers ever done for us?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The Steyn article is from National Review:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....mark-steyn

  • hmm||

    Hey LOD, Reason is hiring! Maybe you could cover the cop beat for them?

  • ||

    Still, it was a clumsy attack interview on Matt Damon. I'm sympathetic to her obvious view but she got schooled.

  • Richard Burton||

    I love the logic here. Why righties want to continue to drive down wages for all workers is hard to fathom. As if the fact that private school teachers make $13K less a year than public school teachers is a good reason to drive down ALL teacher's salaries. There's a reason why most private school teachers still live at home with their parents - they don't make enough money to have a life of their own! The private school teachers that I know openly admit that their paltry salaries are inadequate. The student-teacher relationship is, perhaps, one of the most important in determining how a young person will learn to love, achieve, and develop character throughout their lives. Why anyone would want to diminish the role of a teacher in shaping young lives and economically equate that profession to a person who paints homes or processes mortgage applications is difficult to understand.

  • ||

    The private school teachers that I know openly admit that their paltry salaries are inadequate.

    Maybe they should find a different job. Unfortunately, most of the janitors, newspaper salespersons, accountants, actuaries, music composers, firefighters, computer programmers, and garbage men I know also think they aren't paid enough, so I'm not sure how that works out.

    Say, if enough people leave or eschew the teaching profession because the salaries are too low, won't those private schools have to increase their offered salaries to get people to work for them as teachers? It's almost as if there's some relationship between supply and demand at work there.

  • robc||

    Private sector salaries are low, in part, due to demand for the jobs amongst teachers who would love to escape the public system.

    The fringe benefit of not having to deal with the public system bullshit might be more than 13k.

  • ||

    They gripe about the salaries. But they would still rather teach there than in the public schools.

  • T||

    Why anyone would want to diminish the role of a teacher in shaping young lives and economically equate that profession to a person who paints homes or processes mortgage applications is difficult to understand.

    Just because it's important doesn't mean it's valuable. Once you can understand that concept, get back with us.

  • hmm||

    I'll have you know my shower singing is not only important, but also valuable. Now pay me.

  • ||

    Thanks for letting me know 13k is inadequate. It still is over twice what I make while I wait for my business to go black. Many small businessmen I know work 80-110 hours per week.

    How about a union for the life mentors that really shape our adult life? Beyond the 3r's, teachers roles usually aren't omnipresent. (of course there are exceptions- I knew one in HS)

  • hmm||

    "As if the fact that private school teachers make $13K less a year than public school teachers is a good reason to drive down ALL teacher's salaries."

    Um, the point may be the difference between wages paid through taxation, or taking of money, and wages paid through trade for service and an unstated, almost understood difference in the incentives surrounding the two systems.

    Or evil righties just hate teachers.

    Either one works, but one of them requires a hair more thinking.

  • ||

    Odd, I can barely remember any of my former teachers. They are all just a grey blur of cookie cutter avatars.

    They must have made quite an impression.

  • BoscoH||

    Nick Gillespie, Fuck Yeah!

  • ||

    It's funny, because he's wrong about conservatives at this point. My step-father is a very solid conservative, and when I hear him lamenting about bad cops and the problems with asset forfeiture (without me evening mentioning it), I know the jig is up. I have even been seeing occasional links to Hot Air from Instapundit on some of these issues, and people over there not standing for it. It's getting bad enough that even conservatives, who 5 years ago had no problem justifying any action by LEOs, are starting to stand back and ask questions.

    Not only is LOD wrong about Reason, he's wrong about conservatives. He's just plain wrong.

  • Matt||

    He may be wrong about some conservatives (certainly paleocons) but I'm not sure about the hardcore neocons. The GOP is still crawling with socons and authoritarian types, look at the Bill Kristols or Charles Krauthmeiers of the world.

  • robc||

    Did you just conflate neocons and socons?

    Gah, I hate that. Neocons and socons are pretty much natural enemies. Hence Ashcroft lasting about 5 minutes as AG.

  • Matt||

    I'm not denying that they have differences, but it seems that they seems to agree on the law-and-order issues a lot. Sure, neocons might be more in favor of Child Protective Services, etc, but in the core issues I see them forming a coalition. They're certainly not mutually exclusive groups, for goodness sake!

  • robc||

    They're certainly not mutually exclusive groups, for goodness sake!

    They most certainly are.

    They agree on some stuff, but even that is for different reasons.

    I dont know how a judeo-atheist Trotskyite movement has any mutuality with social conservatives.

  • ||

    Are all conservatives neocons? Aren't you showing a bias here?

  • robc||

    No conservatives are neocons, as neocons are trotskyites.

  • ||

    "Help me!"

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    I read the text of Damon's speech online and thought it was great actually. A lot of it was against the effects of centralized, standardized testing on teaching today.

    If only there were some way that parents who wanted their kids to take standardized tests could send their kids to schools that had standardized tests (and bear the extra costs), while parents who don't want that could send their kids to schools that don't do standardized testing.

    Oh, well, no such mechanism can exist because everybody has a right to education, and that means it has to be funded at gun point and managed by a top down bureaucracy. Nevermind.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Lawrence O'Donnell is passive-aggressively defending his smear of Reason by retweeting crap like this:


    leenie909 Eileen Sarett-Cuasay
    [retweeted] by Lawrence
    "Criticizing" cops and demanding cops be fired for things beyond their control--like u do w/teachers r 2 diff things. @Reason @lawrence


    The words "cowardly dishonest hack" come to mind.

  • hmm||

    I don't think I've ever seen Reason demand a cop be fired? Did I miss something? Looks like Dr. Eileen suffers from the same lack of research ability or research staff as The LOD.

  • ||

    I think he's saying that Reason only criticizes, it doesn't demand that cops be fired.

  • hmm||

    hmm, well that's just fucking silly.

  • Platypus||

    is she saying that there are no bad teachers? EVER? HA ha ha ha.

  • Matt||

    Has Reason ever demanded a teacher be fired?

  • Platypus||

    One teacher, specifically? *shrug*

  • Matt||

    There's enough straw men being used by O'Donnell and the leftist commenters on this site to cause a famine in the Ukraine

  • Pudgeboy||

    If teachers are so underpaid, why are their salaries, benefits, and pensions bankrupting municipalities and cities across the country?

  • Sacre Bleu||

    because municipalities and cities are underfunded.

  • Pudgeboy||

    They could never find enough funding to pay their liabilities, not enough people or businesses to tax. They are overpaid, because the taxpayers don't have the money to pay what they are owed currently, let alone any future increase.

  • ||

    no,
    cities and states are mis-managed. Look at their payrolls. Just count the number of assistant deputy vice-somethings with six-figure salaries who contribute next to nothing.

  • Pudgeboy||

    I agree with you; and evidence of this mismanagement is also found in the absurd contracts negotiated with taxpayer money for the public sector unions.

  • Gmason||

    Teachers along with all other public sector employees have vacations, pensions, and benefits that one could only dream of in the private sector.
    Charter schools have shown it can be done better, AND cheaper. I support freedom, school choice for everyone!

  • ||

    Because every $50K citizen thinks he should live like a $100K citizen and then can't afford to pay taxes.....so he votes to impoverish his community, his state and his country. And then he can't believe we're broke.

  • ||

    Gillespie is naive to accept the analysis of teacher pay here at face value. I am a professor at a large research university and most of my focus is on my research (plus publications, grants, conferences, training PhD students, etc.). I am also a devoted teacher. I often find myself working until 2 am on perfecting my lecture notes, or grading, or checking my course's web forum for student questions. Compared with almost any high school teacher, my course load is incredibly light. All the schoolteachers I know consistently claim to spend 10 to 20 hours per week outside class on grading and lesson preparation. Based on my own experiences I find this quite plausible.

  • Henway||

    Tonight on LAST WORD:

    In a heartfelt commentary, Lawrence takes Nancy Grace to task for being soft on crime and ignoring the fate of poor Caylee Anthony.

    Tomorrow:
    Lawrence has the guts to take on Bill Kristol and explain that isolationaism never solved anything.

  • ||

    let's see: teachers have two months off in the summer, at least a week for Christmas, another for spring break, every major holiday off, a generous health care package, the ability to retire after 25 or 30 years at public expense, and with tenure, a virtual guarantee of lifetime employment. So, let's not make education sound like indentured servitude. And, we will ignore for the moment how the weakest students on most college campuses are the ones in Schools of or Departments of Education.
    The real tragedy is that someone is taking Matt Damon seriously as a reasoned observer of anything. He ignores that educational achievement in the US has declined steadily over the past several decades, probably trackable to the advent of the federal Dept of Ed. More money has meant worse results, and in a perverse relationships, the districts with the highest per-pupil spending are almost invariably the ones with the lousiest performance.
    I don't doubt teaching is hard but I am sick of the self-righteous cloak certain professions drape around themselves. No one is forced to be a teacher just like no one is forced to be a cop, a soldier, an insurance salesman, or a bleating idiot on a low-rated cable network.

  • pottfullofpith||

    So much here, the mind reels. Reely.

    I will leave it at this: the public schools failed both Damon and O'Donnell badly in that the schools failed to teach them to think clearly.

  • Gmason||

    Matt Damon is, literally, a communist, and Lawrence O'Donnel is a self-identified socialist, so I think we can safely take whatever they say with a grain of salt.

  • ||

    That is blatant crap over teacher's compensation. Are you counting the hours worked at home? If not, why not? Plenty of other people these days telework and still count those as work hours. How is it that teachers with Bachelor's degrees and many with Master's degrees rarely see six figures while many many other four year degree holders routinely see that now in their careers?

  • Matt||

    Not all master's degrees are created equal.

    But regardless, master's degrees alone don't entitle anyone to anything. How much would a master's degree be worth on a desert island? Probably not much. They are neither sufficient nor necessary for reaching six figures.

    Outside of the master's degree issue, most teachers can only make what the government says they can make and there are no incentives or bonuses in the education system. So there is no opportunity to increase earnings by working harder. There is no overtime pay for teachers, etc. Guess what, if this was a private market, some education companies would probably offer these incentives to teachers. But with a socialistic education system like we have now, there are no options to increase salary other than gaining seniority. The system is flawed.

    Teachers will see their salaries rise with more capitalism, not less. Until they are ready to accept more of a free market system and merit based pay with rewards for peak performers, I'm not sure teachers have a right to complain. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

    So all that work they're doing in the of hours is their choice, but in the end it doesn't benefit them financially, and it won't until there are incentives built into the system.

  • Platypus||

    *plays a very tiny violin*

    It's so fucking sad.

  • Pudgeboy||

    Right, teaching third grade gym deserves six figures.

  • Pudgeboy||

    That's not fair. My point is that just because degrees are required or expected doesn't mean that they are actually necessary. I don't know what the rules are currently, but a while back many states didn't require teachers to have anything more than a high school diploma and a certificate; and some may have required even less. Teachers aren't underpaid.

  • Tom Johnson, Largo,FL||

    O'Donnell said on TV that he is a socialist. Ergo, he is an idiot.

  • ||

    Let's just have our political war and let the best party win. It's time to get this chit over with.

  • ||

    Okay...correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Lawrence O'Donnell say during his introduction that the reason for his relatively poor academic performance with writing was because of himself and not any of his teachers? In other words, if his admission is accurate, then why do schools need more money if academic performance is mostly based on each students initiative?

    Also, O'Donnell mentioned many "left-leaning" producers have created documentaries citing the problems with our educational system. Yet, conservatives are supposed to be the ones who started an anti-education type movement. His arguments seem a little inconsistent to me.

  • ||

    Kudos to those associated with Reason.tv on all they have done to expose flaws in our justice system. I am a Republican, but I don't believe that cops and prosecutors are infallible. Investigative journalism can greatly aid in keeping our system more honest and true to the mission of controlling crime.

    That is about the end of where I can commend libertarian thinking on this matter. Many among you want to legalize most, if not all, of the most dangerous street drugs. Sure, that will dry up the criminal enterprises that will no longer have the same insane profit motives to spur them on. What about all the new drug addicts who will take up the habit? I am no psychiatrist, but I have a very strong suspicion that many who don't currently partake of illegal drugs, pass on them simply because they are illegal and the social costs involved in arrest and/or incarceration are too great for them. Once these substances are legal to possess and use, there will almost certainly be a spike in use and in addiction as a common problem in America.

    What would the libertarian mindset view as the solution to this problem? Well, let me see; insurance companies as going economic concerns shouldn't be forced to subsidize cocaine and heroin and PCP; you folks don't believe in the government supplying healthcare, so Medicaid, or like programs are out. Is the social wreckage wrought by a significant new class of hardcore drug addicts worth the price of some ephemeral notion of freedom? Are these schmucks just supposed to die from their affliction? You know, since it is all about personal responsibility and everything. Drugs like these aren't illegal for no reason. They have demonstrated effects on mind and body and render many incapable of work, caring for loved ones or even themselves.Some are prone to violence and committing crime while under the influence. Once these users become unemployable or do something against the law,then they become wards of the state, either through the criminal justice system or social welfare programs.

    Democracy is inherently messy. The War on Drugs has been a failure in some ways, but there have been millions of success stories of people being cured of addiction and becoming productive citizens once again.

    Sometimes when I see Reason magazine and people associated with it on television, I often chuckle at the paradox. That people like John Stossel and Mr. Gillespie and others can see a mountain of evidence about the horrible effects of illegal drugs and all the problems that they cause and then ignore it in favor of that thing called personal liberty. There is nothing reasoned about that. We all have relationships that involve matters beyond the concerns of personal liberty. A man married with children has responsibilities to his spouse and children. A doctor to his patients. A lawyer to his client. The state to its citizens. The citizens to the state. We are supposed to have a social contract. Unrestrained personal freedom is not analogous to such an arrangement, because it presupposes the needs and so-called "rights" of the individual above all other concerns.

    Our Constitution confers upon the government police powers. In that our leaders are charged with making and enforcing laws that maintain a stable society. Drug offenses are essentially public order crimes in that the idea underlying them is to prevent having a nation full of stoners causing harm to themselves and others and lowering the productivity of the country through lack of employment and additional healthcare costs.

    When I hear people yap about the Founders and early America in defense of libertarianism, I find that notion absurd, except maybe in economic affairs. Otherwise, the government, whether state or local, forbade many freedoms that are taken for granted today:birth control, abortion, cohabitiation, consensual homosexual contact, etc. There were no good old days of pure liberty in the United States. We have always been a nation of laws. Some have been good, others not. Whether it was good or right to limit the above activities by law is debatable. Certainly they comported more with an agrarian society that had need for large families and to the omnipresence of religion in American life.

    My party sometimes disappoints me in seeming hard-hearted. The Democrats never disappoint me in that they are always the party of emotion before reason. Libertarians seem like the worst of both put together. Thoughtless calls for ever more expanding rights and freedoms with no thought for repercussions-something the Democrats regularly indulge in. Careless suggestions about decriminalizing things like illegal drugs without seeming to give a f*** about the addicts themselves-kind of pull yourself up by your drug-addled bootstraps and take personal responsiblity-a common Republican trope. Of course, Republicans know that the addict victimizes more than himself-family and society also-and that the odds of someone addicted to drugs taking responsibility for their actions is unlikely without incarceration and/or treatment. Even Democrats are smart enough to draw the line at this insanity. A few tip their hats to legalizing marijuana, but go no further. Both know that it is a matter of common sense not to legalize hard drugs. Whatever warts the current system might have, it is greatly preferable to the alternative. On this particular issue, libertarianism seems to amount to being willfully unthinking and unfeeling about a deep social ill.The personal liberty crowd doesn't call for reform of the current system, but to basically abolish the notion of having any system at all. Since most of the libertarians I see in print or on the tube appear to be pretty well-off, I hope you folks have high fences and plenty of firepower in case your loony ideas ever came to fruition. Many addicts will need to steal and kill to buy all the drugs they need whether they buy them from street dealers, like today, or from state-approved pharmacies, after legalization.

    Thank God that a libertarian will never be elected president. Your candidates get 1% or less of the vote every four years for a reason. The philosophy is extremism wrapped up in the cloth of liberty, when it simply shills for anarchy. Something the electorate seems to see quite clearly.

  • Pudgeboy||

    Is there a Cliff's Notes' version of this lecture or a one or two sentence summary I could read?

  • Tacos mmm...||

    I am no psychiatrist, but I have a very strong suspicion that many who don't currently partake of illegal drugs, pass on them simply because they are illegal and the social costs involved in arrest and/or incarceration are too great for them.

    For the most part, illegal drugs are trivially easy to obtain, and the likelihood of being arrested very small. I'm not a junkie not because I'm afraid of being arrested; I'm not a junkie because I have other things in my life that are more important. Most people feel that way; for those that don't, the drug use is a symptom more than a cause.

  • ||

    Did you room with Ted Kaczinski?

  • habeus||

    Funny, I'm getting deja vu. I believe I read this very same post back in 1932.

  • TheDave08||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    More of Lawrence O'Donnell being an idiot.

  • DLM||

    teachers do what they do out of love

    Which doesn't mean they are any good at it. Who is more important? The teacher or the students he/she is teaching?

  • DLM||

    I wonder if it's harder to get rid of a bad cop or a bad teacher.

  • ||

    A gubmint-skool principal said it's nearly impossible to get rid of a bad teacher. She said, "The best I can hope for is to just make the bad teacher miserable."

  • sw||

    O'Donnell's points about teachers and Damon's speech make a lot of sense. Thanks for calling them to our attention.

  • Matt Damon||

    MAAAAT DAAAAMON

  • Marc||

    I was both amazed at the vitriol of the writer of this article as well as the comments coming after it. And what do the photos have to do with any of this, whose the beat up guy, the balding guy or the black guy and his child??

    I don't really take actors ideas on politics seriously but Matt Damon's position that teachers teach because they love the work or O'Donnell's that there are other factors than teacher performance that influence student achievement seem self evident.

    Is this is libertarianism count me out.

  • free2booze||

    And what do the photos have to do with any of this

    Maybe you should try actually reading the blog post, before deciding to comment on it?

    I'll try to sum it up for you. O'Donald claimed that this video was made by a right wing organization, that only goes after teachers, but doesn't care about law enforcement abuse. The reason for the pictures, is because this site constantly exposes instances of police excess, and abuse. The point is that O'Donald has his head shoved really far up his own posterior.

    As for the "beat up guy"

    Kelly Thomas' father, a retired Orange County police officer, did not recognize his own son when he went watch him die at the UC Irvine Medical Center after police beat him into a coma on July 5. The officers were responding to a call about vandalized cars when they found Thomas, a homeless schizophrenic, and attempted to search him. Thomas' father says his son may have been off his meds, which would explain why he resisted arrest. Nothing explains the gang-style murder committed by Fullerton cops.
  • ||

    Since they are all victims of police abuse of power, what does it say that we all know who they are, and you don't?

  • ||

    What people didn't pick up on during the interview was Matt Damon saying that he would gladly pay more taxes for programs like Reading is Fundamental...or Headstart.

    Headstart, in study after study, has been shown to make no difference, yet the program simply cannot be killed. I don't know about RiF, but I would like these programs to be held up to standards of "evidence based education."

  • Marc||

    I read the article twice. A better layout would have put the photos next to the link to the articles. I've never read Reason before and therefore was not in on any of the news stories re police brutality the author was mentioning.

    That being said the level of anger is still over the top.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    That being said the level of anger is still over the top.

    I think it's perfectly appropriate. I get even more irate when people accuse me of being a Republican. Shudder.

  • ||

    O'donnell is a seriously defective excuse for a human being. No better example of his full throated derangement exists than this clip:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8zbv7I6cTs

  • ||

    matt damon...

    i see the guy, and think,

    dwarf tossing is sometimes ok.

  • ||

    Matt Damon speaks of education and the fact that the educated need to be paid accordingly. Well where does that leave the actors? I am guessing that he considers himself way over paid?

  • J||

    I like Lawrence. He's actually quite intelligent.

  • Thorbie||

    He is very well...Red.

  • ||

    See is what I find annoying about Reason - they are just so darned eager to be loved by lefties.

    "Oh no, we're not right wingers at all. We're completely off the left right axis, because we're so hip and cool"

    Uh, sure. The problem is, Republicans happen to be to the left of Libertarians, and so support big government a lot of the time

    Communists - Socialists - Democrats - Republicans - Libertarians - Guys in Montana

    Anarchists don't really fit the scale, but in practice, most of them are communists, just on a local level...

  • ||

    Libertarians are neither on the left or the right. See the Nolan Chart.

  • anon||

    Your chart is missing an axis.

  • ||

    O'Donnell doesn't care about the truth. He doesn't care about reality. He doesn't care about anything outside of his arrogant extreme left wing ideology. Niether does Obama! With nearly 10% of the private sector UNEMPLOYED lets go ahead and slam everybody else with Taxes so we can pay public school teachers like Hollywood movie stars. Surely a good teacher deserves to make as much as Matt Damon! California, the home of Hollywood should lead the way? How about a tax on all Movie Stars. They pay regular taxes up to $200,000 a year. Then, when according to Obama, they become the evil rich, they pay a 99% tax rate on all income above $200K per year, and that money goes to teacher salaries in the state of CA? That should make Mr O'Donnell happy, it should make liberal actors who support Obama happy, and it will help teachers? Let's do it!

  • ||

    Who gives a sh|t what any liberals think, especially those in the media, and in particular, those in the film industry?

    These self-absorbed clowns are too busy pontificating to realize that they have an incurable disease but lack the guts to kill themselves.

  • ||

    I'm starting to think that Welch and Gillespie's book promotions are starting to do a little bit too well for some people's taste.

    Twice in two days that the trolls have descended upon us. Portent of things to come? If so, I'm going to have even more fun than usual here.

  • too much money? ||

  • ||

    Both Matt Damon and Lawrence O'Donnell have a failure to understand the real world. Matt's mom was a teacher. Ahhhh, isn't that sweet? Larry worked as a teacher. So that makes them experts on payroll?? NOT. As a RN, I was required to work alternating weekends, rotating holidays, rotating shifts, and mandatory over time and on call days for 12 months a year. Teacher pay, when you factor in that the average pay in my district is $72,000 for 185 days of work (and it is in their contract that they not be required to work more than 185 days)is $389.19 per day worked or for the 7.5 hours on the job, $51.89 per hour. But then you take away their personal days, their birthday, their new found "paper work" day, their union business day, their sick days and you can take $51.89 up a notch to $57. And that is BEFORE their health insurance at 12-14%, their free dental, their free vision, their early retirement (55 in Ohio), their retirement pay at 75% of the average of their last three years.
    The bottom line, if we continue to allow the unions to write the contracts, in Ohio in my district, we will be paying 96% of our school budgets for DAYS OFF in 6 years.
    It isn't that teachers aren't swell, is that they should let the unions hire them and manage their payroll and never ending costs. We can't make promises today to pay someone for potentially 30 or 40 years while they are retired. What kind of IDIOT (Matt and Larry) doesn't get that kind of math?

  • ||

    Big trouble in the Central Valley. The cops in Hanford CA know how to butter their PC bread with the same knife that killed a woman who was washing her car:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....vis-hanson

  • Jason||

    Nick Gillespie missed the point. O'Donnell said that the media doesn't critique police officer's performance/pay as they do teacher's. None of the articles Gillespie linked to have anything to do with police compensation and performance issues. Gillespie: if someone is talking about apples, don't respond about oranges.

  • RJ Miller||

    "None of the articles Gillespie linked to have anything to do with police compensation and performance issues."

    Looks like reading ability has been hampered on your part by the public education system.

  • Paul Victor||

    Great work on teachers in America, Mr. O'Donnell. You might want to read American Schools: Fantasy, farce, and Fraud(available at Better-Ed.com) to round out your understanding of American schools.

  • Matt Damon||

    MATT DAAAMOOOONNNN!!!!!

  • Kevin Smith||

    My favorite part was where he actually listed "temperature of the classroom" as a more important factor in a student's education than the teachers themselves.

  • ||

    Obviously most of the negative posters have an issue with O'donnell and/or misunderstood the larger point he (and Damon) were making. It is also quite obvious that there are the many misconceptions/false stereotypes being thrown around regarding education and educators. Yes there are terrible teachers as there are individuals in ANY profession but the vast majority of teacher I had or know are hard working, passionate and quite gifted in their abilities. Quite the contrary to some of the comments made on this site --- they are not low end GPAs/grads from bad schools; they don't get 3 months off (they are usually working second jobs, taking classes (required) and paying thousands to maintain their certification, or planning for the upcoming year; they don't work 8 to 3 and then go play --- usually they spend an additional 4 to 8 hours correcting papers, tutoring, lesson planning, prepping for classes, coaching, class advising, meeting with colleagues/administrators/parents/students, etc.... ----- they are paid a middleclass wage for the 180 plus/minus contracted (salary) days they work during a 9 to 10 month school year. Private school teachers are paid less because typically they are for-profit charters (owned by business looking to make money) OR private institutions like churches. Increasingly teaching/teachers are under attack by people who don't know or understand the first thing about educating a child. Get the politicians, corporations, and excessive testing out of education, let teachers teach (with parental support) and we might see a return to quality education. Of course much is to be said for harnessing student motivation and the individual desire to learn in our current high tech, instant gratification society. Surely teaching is only getting harder so let's continue to criticize (without facts), cut salaries, increase their expenses by making them pay more for their healthcare and retirement contributions, taking away their ability to negotiate, etc.....that will surely make a better/happier employee and better teacher....I think Mr. Damon makes several valid points if you actually listen and HEAR what he is saying.

  • asdg||

    glenn greenwald: "yes, its true that if you think on the level of cable news sloganeering - who's a liberal? who's a conservative? who wants big gov't? who wants small gov't? - you can draw the kind of conclusions that lawrence o'donnell specializes in."

  • afd||

    in maryland, where i live, public school spending is $15,100 per student per year, while avg private school yearly tuition is $7-8,000 yet private schools outperform public. new jersey is infinitely worse and there's absolutely no correlation between spending and performance; just look up the numbers. and this assertion that is taken for granted that public school spending has been cut on a national, or for that matter local, level, is just an outright fabrication by cable news sloganeers to lazy or ignorant to actually look up the numbers.

  • afd||

    in maryland, where i live, public school spending is $15,100 per student per year, while avg private school yearly tuition is $7-8,000 yet private schools outperform public. new jersey is infinitely worse and there's absolutely no correlation between spending and performance; just look up the numbers. and this assertion that is taken for granted that public school spending has been cut on a national, or for that matter local, level, is just an outright fabrication by cable news sloganeers to lazy or ignorant to actually look up the numbers.

  • ||

    The concept that Blako's work excuses the Republican hackery of Fonzie and Matt Welch is a joke. Reason's order of priority is #1 Protect the rich from taxes, #2 protect the rich from taxes, and so on until #456 Have Rodney Balko help Corey Maye.

    If Reason is not a republican mouthpiece with a jihad agaisnt teachers (how many teachers drive a Porche SUV like the partner of my professional firm does), then why does it continue to get mistaken for one? When you rhetorically fellate the Tea Party, a lot of people think you're together. How were the rest of us supposed to figure out y'all weren't dating? Whores for the right wing versus pure right wingers? Who can tell

  • ||

    "...being L.O. means never having to say you're sorry..."?

    Hilarious line, and true. He and buddies Rachel and Chris are never wrong, and never accountable. You will NEVER hear any of them apologize. Write it down. And that's all you need to know about their character.

  • Nike Dunk High||

    thanks

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