55 thoughts on “Obama And Santorum

  1. Daver

    I don’t know if this is behind a registry wall or not, but this may be related: http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_20074915

    The study finds that the wealthy tend to cheat more, to be, well, privileged “rules are for the little people” types. The studies were corelating with wealth or ostentatious consumption, not political party, but it might be interesting to see if there’s any difference there.

  2. Thomas Matula

    Of course what is so funny is that President Obama never said he wanted everyone to go to college, its just a falsehood by Senator Santorum. Here is what the President actually said in the State of the Union for those who care about facts.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/27/obama-defends-college-remarks/

    [[[“I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training,” Mr. Obama said in February 2009. “This can be community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma.”]]]

    But I guess in the world of the radical right anything beyond high school is “college” even if you are apprenticing to be a plumber…

    BTW last year we graduated about 100 millwrights and diesel mechanics from our one year program and every single one found a job with the local mining industry in Elko County, with a starting wage around $65,000. And the industry would have hired twice as many if we had the resources to train them, so the President is right in terms of his State of the Union statement, job training beyond high school is one key to reducing unemployment.

    1. George Turner

      The State of the Union isn’t the only time Obama has talked about everyone being able to go to college. Some examples from other Obama speeches are “We’ve got to make sure that every young person in America is prepared for college and then can afford to go to college.” and “How do we make sure that every young person can go to college once they get through that high school?”

      1. Titus

        Yeah, I’m glad Obama made the clarification, but if you use the world “college” 95% of the time when you mean everything from apprenticeships to post-doc, don’t be shocked, shocked, when your opponent calls you on it.

        Spatula is being more Catholic than the Pope on this one.

        1. Thomas Matula

          I guess it just shows the ignorance of President Obama’s opponent, and their true believers. But I understand why the radical right fears individuals getting a education. Keeping the masses in ignorance has always been key to their manipulation, from Napoleon to Mao the Tea Party, attacks on learning and education has been the one thread that binds them together. No wonder Senator Santorum wants to end public education funding…

          1. Titus

            Yes, yes, murder puppies and kittens. You’ve rediscovered the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Go you.

          2. MfK

            “But I understand why the radical right fears individuals getting a education.”

            I have no fear that certain individuals actually got a[n] education.

          3. Titus

            What’s funny is that TM used to rant about how horrible it was that people went to college for vocational training. Tune changed courtesy of Obama.

          4. Thomas Matula

            No, just a good talisman that raises red flags about someone motives. When ever someone advocates blocking paths to individual opportunity and advancement you should wonder why they are doing so.

          5. Thomas Matula

            George,

            You didn’t address my point. Why do you want to block off different paths to opportunity and advancement? Why do you want to limit access to college education to an elite few?

          6. Thomas Matula

            Titus,

            No I ranted about LIMITING college to only technical and vocation education. Big difference. Folks who go to college should have the right to select their fields of study. You know, freedom of choice, something that libertarians are suppose to support? True there are limited markets for a degree in puppeteers, but again, its the student choice and if they choose poorly, well that is one of the consequences of freedom of choice. Or do you prefer a planned society where only certain degrees are permitted by government to protect individuals from making poor choices?

          7. Gregg

            Matula scribbles:

            “But I understand why the radical right fears individuals getting a education. ”

            If this is what you really, truly believe, then you are far more delusional than I ever imagined.

            Do you really believe this?

            Or are you saying it just to rile people.

            Straight up question – let’s see if you are capable of a straight up answer…..

            Do you really believe your statement which I quoted above?

          8. Titus

            No I ranted about LIMITING college to only technical and vocation education.

            A straw man.

          9. Thomas Matula

            Gregg,

            Those who wish to manipulate folks always fear they will learn to think for themselves and will always do their best to block them from doing so. That is why there is a war on education by the radical right. BTW Thomas Jefferson understood this, which is why he advocated public schools and was more proud of founding the University of Virginia then being President.

          10. Gregg

            TM writhes:

            “That is why there is a war on education by the radical right. ”

            Nope…you cannot change the wording.

            I quoted YOUR sentence (again here):

            “But I understand why the radical right fears individuals getting a education. ”

            Fearing individuals getting an eduction is NOT the same as a war on education.

            Can you give a simple answer?

            You wrote the original sentence. Can you give a straight yes or no to the question:

            Do you truly believe what YOUR sentence says?

            Yes or no.

      2. Thomas Matula

        George,

        Any links? Or just your memory….

        But also note, he is talking about opportunity here, everyone should have the opportunity to go to college IF they wish.

        Why do you think that is a bad idea? Why do you want to place limits on what individuals are allowed to do?

        American is supposed to be the land of opportunity. Shouldn’t a kid that studies hard be able to make their way out of poverty by going to college? Or do you prefer to keep them there so you have low cost unskilled labor to hire when you need it?

        Or do you prefer the European model, where if an individual doesn’t go to college when they are young they no longer have the opportunity to do so. What do you have against older Americans going to college if they wish?

          1. George Turner

            Titus said:

            Yeah, George, why do you want to murder puppies and kittens so!?

            Well, I don’t stop at just puppies and kittens. Being a good conservative I hate the poor, minorities, immigrants, and the young, especially young poor black men who speak Spanish.

            So I find myself torn in this election, much like all true Republicans. I want those lower-class out groups to suffer as much as possible, and of course there’s absolutely no way any Republican candidate can make them suffer as much as Obama has.

            So, like all stereotypical conservatives (according to the left), I’m going to vote to destroy the lives of blacks, women, and everyone else I don’t like, and make sure as many people as possible stay mired in poverty. Yes, I’m going to vote for Obama, because I’m an evil bastard.

          2. Thomas Matula

            George,

            The issue is not so much about being mean as being naive. The problem most conservatives have is they see the world as a simple place with simple solutions. That may have been true a hundred years ago, but it no longer is. That is also why the traditional responses they advocate won’t work. Its no longer 1912. its 2012.

        1. George Turner

          Just hit Google News with “Obama everyone college” and it has 900+ articles about the current controversy, along with various media fact checks on Santorum’s remark. One found 18 speech in Lexis Nexis where Obama talked about college. Of those three were fairly close to what Santorum was claiming.

          And no, not everyone should have the opportunity to go to college, because “everyone” includes lots of people who just aren’t equipped, along with people who shouldn’t be allowed within a mile of any campus without an armed police escort, assuming they are ever allowed out of jail.

          Colleges and universities are supposed to be centers of “higher” learning. We shouldn’t further burden them with babysitting everyone from Special Olympics teams (generally college slots are reserved for only the top tier of illiterate high-school athletes), or teaching 3rd grade remedial reading.

          We’re already well past the point where secretaries, receptionists, cashiers, and fast-food workers have college degrees. Admittedly, sometimes that’s nice, such as last night when I was engaged in a serious discussion of quasars, black holes, and galaxy formation with the clerk at the Shell station. But many of those getting degrees still can’t write a coherent sentence, can’t explain what they studied, and are doing the same job they would’ve had without the degree, just four or five years later and buried in debt.

          For some things a college degree is always nice, but by the time standards are lowered enough so that everyone can earn one, a degree will be as worthless as a certificate of graduation from elementary school because the course material was the same.

          1. Thomas Matula

            George,

            [[[Just hit Google News with “Obama everyone college” and it has 900+ articles about the current controversy, along with various media fact checks on Santorum’s remark.]]]

            Yes, the right wing blogsphere echoing the story among themselves. Classic example of how an urban legend blooms. If there actually were three speeches as you claim then you should have no problem posting links to them.

          2. George Turner

            Uh, no, those would be left leaning newspapers showing that Obama never came out and said exaclty what Santorum is claiming, but they had to admit a few things were somewhat close.

            Try this one. Lansing State Journal via a USA Today writer.

          3. Thomas Matula

            Titus,

            [[[TM, I’d really like to see you address Mr’s Turner’s salient point.]]]

            [[[For some things a college degree is always nice, but by the time standards are lowered enough so that everyone can earn one, a degree will be as worthless as a certificate of graduation from elementary school because the course material was the same.]]]

            That is the same complaint folks had about high school diplomas a hundred years ago. Now true elitists are applying it to college, I guess as a way of protecting their status since they have a degree. But that is simply the consequence of the advancement of knowledge. You used to be able to get by without reading and writing once, then maybe a year or so of school. But now some college is necessary for many jobs. Sure high school students a hundred years ago might have known latin, a dead language, but I expect they would be completely lost in a modern factory, or office. So its not so much a lowering of standards as adapting them to what is needed to thrive in the modern world.

            Now what is snobbery is arguing that only a elite few should be allowed to get college degrees, basically the 21st Century equivalent of the old medieval argument that only a elite few should know how to read and write….

            But that is what the modern world requires so I guess the elites will need to find something besides their college degrees to show off their “genius” status :-)

          4. Titus

            HS used to be college prep. Once universal and mandatory, standards naturally fell to the LCD. Sure, there’s still AP (and magnet programs) for the university-bound, but everyone else gets remedial babysitting.

    2. Titus

      You really should read the State of the Union speech before accusing Santorum of “falsehoods.” He doesn’t say “vocational training” or “apprenticships” — it’s “college” all the way.

      But I guess in the world of the radical right anything beyond high school is “college” even if you are apprenticing to be a plumber…

      Tell that to Obama’s speechwriters.

      1. Thomas Matula

        Titus,

        Maybe YOU should read it. Here is the exact quote.

        [[[Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic. Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College. The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training. It paid Jackie's tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.

        I want every American looking for work to have the same opportunity as Jackie did. Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job. My Administration has already lined up more companies that want to help. Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, Orlando, and Louisville are up and running. Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers - places that teach people skills that local businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.

        And I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help they need. It's time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work.]]]

        Nothing ivy league about that example…

          1. Thomas Matula

            Titus,

            But his intent in clear when he talks about schools being breeding groups for the left and snobbery. Most of the most radical on the left come out of the Ivy League schools, not state or for-profit ones. Those students are just looking to advance their knowledge so they have good careers. But then Dr. Santorum (he has a JD “Juris Doctor” from Penn State) should know that. But then since both his parents had college degrees (one a clinical psychologist, the other a nurse) and were employed by the federal government (VA) he probably doesn’t understand how important college is in terms of enabling kids from working class families to reach for greater things.

          2. Titus

            I wish that were true, but unfortunately even a state college or U will suffice for that purpose.

        1. George Turner

          Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.

          But America’s population grows by three million a year (311 million population with a 0.96% growth rate), so is the Obama annual plan to have only two million find jobs and have the other one million go on welfare?

          1. Titus

            Maybe it’s Obama who wants to, “keep them there so he has low cost unskilled labor when he needs it?”

          2. Thomas Matula

            George,

            Not everyone chooses to go into the workforce. The number reflects the annual expansion of the workforce, not the population.

          3. George Turner

            I think you misunderstand the numbers, and the shortfall in job finding is actually much worse than I implied.

            At any given time about 2/3rds of the population is in the work force. By that measure a population increase of 3 million should expand the work force by about 2 million. But there aren’t a million people turning 18 or graduating from college who choose to shoot straight to retirement, leaving the roughly 25% of the population too young to work and immediately joining the roughly 12% of the population that has retired.

            No, every year a bunch of older people, over 2 million of them, leave the workforce, and those people have to be replaced. On top of that replacement, 2 million more people join the workforce, expanding its total size. Every year about 4 to 4.5 million new people join the workforce, making up for the retirements and then expanding it. Most of those 4 to 4.5 million people coming of age, those not becoming housewives or inmates, will need to find a job.

        2. Paul Milenkovic

          There was a November when a certain business person named Herb Kohl was elected to represent the State of Wisconsin in the United States Senate as a Democrat.

          His opponent was an up-and-coming young Republican named Susan Engeleiter. Ms. Engeleiter, in the course of the campaign, charged Mr. Kohl with being a war profiteer (first Iraq War), with charging the Army much more for a coffee cake than what a coffee cake cost at the time in a Kohl’s Supermarket, one of the businesses Mr. Kohl had founded.

          I remember it as if it were yesterday, where Ms. Engeleiter and Mr. Kohl appeared on a TV “debate”, and the issue of the coffee cake came up. Mr. Kohl explained that yes, the Army coffee cake cost considerably more than the consumer coffee cake, but that the Army coffee cake was one of these large institutional-sized coffee cakes meant to serve many more people than the consumer coffee cake. Yes, Kohl’s was charging the Army more for its coffee cake, but on a per serving basis, it was an excellent value because there was a lot more ounces in that cake than the one in the Kohl’s store.

          Oops. I mean, if you are going to run for high office, you have to do your homework. There are many reasons to be unhappy with Mr. Obama, but I think the Right Blogosphere needs to stop beating this dead horse.

          1. Thomas Matula

            Paul,

            Unfortunately with Senator Santorum’s campaign crashing all the Right Blogsphere has to beat is a dead horse. All the live ones have run off :-)

  3. Karl Hallowell

    So what I’m getting from this thread is that Obama used to say that everyone should go to college. Now he says every one should go to college and/or vocational school. I gather that means he does on occasion listen to criticism.

    That still leaves the problem of what are these people going to do once they get edumacated? In the past, they would get a job.

    1. Thomas Matula

      Karl,

      FYI, something that folks that follow work force issues already know.

      http://www.industryweek.com/articles/shortage_of_skilled_workers_taking_its_toll_on_u-s-_manufacturers_25820.aspx?SectionID=75

      Shortage of Skilled Workers Taking its Toll on U.S. Manufacturers
      The skills gap is making it harder for companies to grow, innovate and boost productivity, survey finds.

      By Josh Cable

      Oct. 17, 2011

      [[[Some 67% of U.S. manufacturing executives surveyed in July and August said they are facing a moderate to severe shortage of skilled workers such as machinists, operators, distributors and technicians.

      Another 56% of executives said they expect the problem to get worse in the next three to five years, as baby boomers continue to retire.]]]

      As I noted the Nevada mining industry is hiring all our tech graduates and has even contributed money to expand our facilities to produce more. The same is true in many other industries… The jobs are there. The skilled workers are not.

      1. Matt B

        This is because of the nature of who’s going to college when our leaders say, “more people need to go to college” without being very precise about who should and why they should. You’ve got a core of talented and motivated people who were probably already going to go to college and get an education in engineering or medicine or what have you. Everyone else is going to get a degree in English or Psychology or Whatever Studies–particularly those people who only go to college because other people tell them to (or because they have some vague notion that doing so will magically make money appear for them).

        Most people don’t want to go to a vocational school and learn to be machinists even if it means they can get a job making $75,000 right out of the gate. They want to “follow their heart”. Or they just want an easy paycheck. And so long as all of these marginal people continue to flood college liberal arts and “studies” programs, they’ll continue to be jobless and the market will continue to lack skilled workers.

        1. Thomas Matula

          Matt B,

          Yes, heaven forbid they decide for themselves the path they will follow….

          It always find it interesting that the folks who claim to be libertarians are often the most vocal against folks having the right to make their own decisions. I guess the freedom to choose only applies to them and everyone else should be forced to follow their advice.

          And note, the President is not advocating forcing folks to go to school beyond high school. He is only advocating for a world where everyone has the opportunity to do so.

          1. wodun

            So mission accomplished. Everyone has the opportunity to go to college. It doesn’t matter if they got good grades or bad, have money or don’t have money. The only question is whether they need to work in addition to loans, grants, and scholarships or if they only use debt.

            Anyone who wants to go to college can.

          2. Josh Reiter

            So what is it specifically you are arguing for and against here, Matula? Because you’re all over the place. First, you say that there is a critical shortage of skilled labor in the workforce and that’s why everyone needs to go to college. That is actually what the right has been saying all along. We are not against anyone going to college but we are getting a little tired of the colleges and university’s happily taking peoples money to give them what amounts to trash diplomas. But, OH heaven forbid the guidance counselor or anyone else for that matter actually tells someone they should enroll into math, biology, science, and technology courses. Why, if you tell a kid that there just isn’t much work for cowboy poets why then you just being a fascist that revels in crushing people’s free spirits and who’s trying to engineer society to bend to their will. “I told Daddy I want to be a literary theorist and he said I should be Doctor instead — who writes on the side. I hate him hate him hate him; he never understands me!” You see, Daddy is actually right because we do need more people to become doctors/engineers/technologists. Writing is something anybody can do and you don’t need a professor with a silver ponytail to indoctrinate you into the depressing world of nihilism in order to be able to do it.

          3. Thomas Matula

            Josh,

            It sounds like you are all over the place. First, colleges provide training besides diplomas. They are called certificates and it doesn’t take years to get one. Second, its really up to individuals to make their own decisions, not have the government decide for them, either by outlawing certain fields of study as in a dictatorship or refusing to provide financial aid for students in “non-approved” fields. And guess what, college advisors and professor do advise students what fields of study are likely to make them employable and which do not. But again, its up to the students to make their own choices as much as you may dislike the concept of freedom of choice.

          4. Josh Reiter

            “First, colleges provide training besides diplomas. They are called certificates”

            Yes, I know, I’ve done them — thank you.

            “its really up to individuals to make their own decisions, not have the government decide for them”

            Yes, you keep saying this in a sly attempt at absconding our very point. Obama says quote from your own post above,”I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help they need.” He is talking about rewriting the myriad of confusing certification and training processes in attempt at making it easier to pick and choose the courses for you, i.e. the government telling you what classes to take. YOU’RE all over the place.

            “college advisors and professor do advise students what fields of study are likely to make them employable”

            Sure they advise at courses that make you employable in the abstract. Whether society needs another ‘visual media theory analyst’ is the primary point of contention.

            “as much as you may dislike the concept of freedom of choice.”

            Fuck you.

      2. Karl Hallowell

        Some 67% of U.S. manufacturing executives surveyed in July and August said they are facing a moderate to severe shortage of skilled workers such as machinists, operators, distributors and technicians.

        What’s a “shortage” in a free market? It’s anything that the purchaser would rather pay less for. Basically, we have in this story a bunch of demand for certain types of skilled labor, that wants to increase the supply of said labor so that they pay less for it.

        Similarly, there is a shortage of new cars because I can’t buy one for $2000. Same logic.

        1. Thomas Matula

          Karl,

          Ah the gap between the philosophy of free markets and how they actually work in the real world.

          First, the theoretical free markets assume perfect information. In the real world information is imperfect and more valuable then goal. Many folks on unemployment probably don’t know there are huge shortages in fields like mining, skilled manufacturing, robotics, etc.

          Second, the theoretical free markets assume zero time for adjustments. In the real world there always is a lag. There is a high demand for workers in mining, but it takes time for the workers to gain the skills needed. Here at GBC we have developed a 2 year Associate in Diesel Technology and one in Mill Wright that we deliver in one year, the students attending class all day for 50 straight weeks. But it still takes a year to get them to where they are worth hiring in the mines. That is true for the majority of the jobs that have shortages, it takes time to train individuals for those positions, so even if the salary was doubled it wouldn’t increase the supply overnight. There is a time lag.

          Third, in the world of theoretical free markets the assumption is that all decisions are made rationally based on profit maximization. Not so in the real world. Many folks just come to Elko, see the isolation (nearest shopping mall with big box stores is 200 miles away as is most anything else…), see the miles and miles of miles and miles and leave. But that is the nature of resource based industries, they tend to be in remote places. Now perhaps its not a rational profit maximizing decision to skip a job just because a place is remote, but how folks make them in the real world.

          And then there is the housing issue. Many of the jobs are in different places from where the workers are, and with their homes underwater they may not have the option of moving to take the positions, while the local workers may not have the skill set needed.

          Fourth, in the theoretical world price moves freely. In the real world price is constrained by other variables, such as the cost structure of foreign competitors where decisions on the training an individual will get is made for them.

          Not even with these issues free markets are more efficient and effective then other forms of markets. But its also why its not surprising there are often gaps between supply and demand in free markets, at least in the real world.

          1. Josh Reiter

            Oh, so anecdotal evidence of how wonderful the vocational training at your college is and how it relates to the business environment within the confines of your local region somehow translate into this wondrous understanding of the 10,000 random decisions that each individual makes on a daily basis within a free market society. And really? What precisely does a marketing a management instructor bring to the table to someone who’s looking to gain productive skills as a diesel technologist? Does knowing how to analyze project timelines make them more efficient at running valves? Are you personally going in there and showing them how to set lean idle curves? You’re making it sound like you are some instrumental part of providing skills to the these people so that they can get employed in the mining industry. What precisely is it that, Thomas Matula, does that is so critical to this set of skills that is being passed onto individuals looking to find work in the mining industry? Honestly, If I I looked at the curriculum and saw that I had to take your classes I’d consider it an obstacle to getting the degree more than a benefit. If anything you sound like someone who’s really practiced at making the case to the dean as to what it is precisely that you bring to the table and why the school needs to continue to waste their money your salary. “Oh but I provide synergy to those aspects that bridge productive skills to theoretical insights which make individuals more well rounded to their approach to problem solving skills.” *BARF*

          2. Karl Hallowell

            Ah the gap between the philosophy of free markets and how they actually work in the real world.

            Not so. Thomas, it’s just a complaint that they have to pay too much for existing skilled labor. We don’t need to talk about this for many paragraphs or contrast theoretical and actual markets.

          3. Thomas Matula

            Josh,

            Via the BAS Management Technology which I run as well as teach in (GBC is one of the few community colleges to offer bachelor degrees) I do provide them with the skills to advance within the mining firms, as well as to run their own repair shops if the they wish. BTW the program was specifically designed with input from the major mining firms for individuals with AAS in Diesel Technology or Millwright.

            And yes, it is a model of how colleges are able to transition the unemployed into new careers and jobs, which brings this thread full circle to exactly what the President was talking about in his State of the Union.

            And for the record I teach far more than marketing, including TQM and Operations Management. Again you are thinking of the elite universities where faculty specialize in one very narrow area. In teaching colleges like GBC you wear many hats. But marketing also includes far more then mere selling, a common mistake folks make. It includes learning how to scan the external environments for future opportunities and advancements in technology. The students in my marketing classes especially enjoy my lectures on telebotic mining and 3D Printing and the impact they both have on logistics and vendor selection, advances which will be having an impact on their future careers and employers.

          4. Thomas Matula

            Karl,

            In the real world its never that simple. Prices are never stand alone but are influenced by a wide variety of factors. All I am able to recommend is that you read up a bit on labor economics.

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