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Democrats Politics

Four Outrages Techies Need To Know About the State of the Union 489

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the state-wants-a-bbq-sub dept.
Mr.Intel writes "Last night's State of the Union Address contained ten things (and four outrages) technical professionals need to know about the President's plans, and how his policies might affect you, your employer, and your family well into the future."
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Four Outrages Techies Need To Know About the State of the Union

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  • The same old tired promises we've been hearing since 2007. Where's the beef?
    • Re:Blah blah blah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by corbettw (214229) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `wttebroc'> on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:13PM (#35011056) Journal

      The same old tired promises we've been hearing since 1790.

      FTFY.

    • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:45PM (#35011532)

      The same old tired promises we've been hearing since 2007. Where's the beef?

      Not at Taco Bell, apparently.

    • Re:Blah blah blah (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rei (128717) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @04:04PM (#35013322) Homepage

      Just to shed some facts on the rhetoric: PolitiFact tracks all of the promises Obama made during the campaign and categorizes them. At present, the results are:

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/ [politifact.com]

      Promise Kept: 134
      Compromise: 34
      Promise Broken: 34
      Stalled: 71
      In The Works: 220
      Not Yet Rated: 2

      "Promise Kept" means he promised it, and has already delivered it largely in-tact (example: Lily Ledbetter Fairl Pay Act). "Compromise" means that he promised it, and managed to get it through congress, but had to compromise or water it down to get it passed (example: a lot of the stuff related to Healthcare). "Promise Broken" means that he promised it, but didn't even try or gave up (example: having a public review period for all bills before signing them). "Stalled" means he's still supporting it, but hasn't been making much progress (difficulties in implementation, congressional obstruction, etc) (example: closing Guantanamo). "In The Works" means that he's pushing it, but it hasn't yet made it to through congress (example: eliminating oil and gas tax loopholes).

      Consider that net result as positively or negatively about him as you prefer.

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iONiUM (530420) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:07PM (#35010962) Homepage Journal

    I read the article, I don't see anything specific to techies. Actually that whole article headline sounds like an article out of People magazine. What's going on here?

    • by ornil (33732)

      Hear, hear! Complete waste of time.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:11PM (#35011014)

      I just loved the fact the headline was written as if they were facts, and then it was really just that guy's take on things. Blah not worth the time to click all 3 short pages

      • by Rei (128717)

        Agreed completely.

        For example, his criticism of Obama's admission that a lot of the old manufacturing jobs are gone and are never coming back, and that we need to lead through tech and innovation:

        ---
        If you think about it, this is the biggest outrage of the speech, because America used to make our living by manufacturing. I liked how this sounds, but on further consideration, it feels like we’re conceding manufacturing prowess to other nations. Since manufacturing fuels jobs, that’s a serious pr

    • by plopez (54068)

      The speech is just an abstract. A brief synopsis of where the country has been and where he wants to see it go. To drill down you need to do a large amount of research.

    • The only decent part is #8 on the third page.

      He points out that what Michele Bachmann (yes, that crazy, crazy bitch) made sense or at least one sentence out of her whole response did.

      "We need to start making things again in this country."

      And then there's some other stuff but mostly that. Promoting broadband access without mention of Net Neutrality, joked about high-speed rail not needing TSA grope-a-thons, and that old bullshit line about energy independence (by 2035, 80% of energy will be clean).

      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DudeTheMath (522264) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:33PM (#35011388) Homepage

        TSA pat-downs are less necessary for trains than planes simply because trains can't be redirected into, say, large office buildings or nuclear plants. They're kind of stuck on the rails.

        The above is not to say there can't be plenty of trouble a dedicated terrorist can cause with a passenger train (I could probably come up with a couple of dozen "train hijacking" films), but external damage is a bit more limited. High-speed trains, in particular, are going to need dedicated rail lines, so it would be hard to even crash them into freight trains with hazardous chemicals, say.

        • by epine (68316)

          That's only the beginning of the difference. Trains are hard to depressurize. Trains are hard to divert to Cuba. On a train, the engineer can hit the kill switch and grind to a controlled stop, at which point the terrorist is at a distinct disadvantage: you have helicopters, and they don't.

          Until the invention of the Noisy Cricket, the helicopter problem won't be solved by anything smuggled onto a train between a pair of hairy gonad ears.

          For NBC scenarios, we've already got the pat-free subway system, wit

          • by tragedy (27079)

            Planes aren't really all that easy to depressurize either. People believe all kinds of stupid things about depressurization. Like the idea that one bullet hole in the side of the plane would kill everyone on board. Just dumb. If the plane loses pressure, everyone breathes emergency air and the plane lands. Trains are hard to divert to Cuba, but they're really, really, really easy to derail. They are absolutely dependent on their tracks. They also have huge amounts of mass behind them, far more than any plan

          • Not to mention, passengers in a train have self-help options in the event of catastrophe that passengers in a plane lack. They might or might not be useful, but as a practical matter, if you're on a 747 that gets blown in half 3 miles up, and by virtue of being in the rear tail section that gets blown away, well... you'll get to have 3-5 terrifying additional minutes of life that your fellow passengers didn't. Ultimately, though, you're as screwed as the rest of them. In contrast, if you're a passenger on a

        • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:55PM (#35011674) Homepage Journal

          I'm not sure that's a problem, though. You can't fly a plane into a building any more. The door is locked, and neither passengers or pilots will ever again believe you're merely looking to head to Cuba. By the time you get through the door, they've either landed, crashed, or been shot down. It would be horrific, but no more horrific than blowing up a crowded train. You might even manage to kill more people on the train, especially if you derailed a crowded one at rush hour.

          Both al Qaeda and the TSA seem to have an unhealthy fixation on planes, rather than turning their attentions elsewhere. Until recently, I think a lot of Americans had joined them on that, though I think that "don't touch my junk" has finally caused a backlash.

          • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Vectormatic (1759674) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @02:12PM (#35011914)

            Both al Qaeda and the TSA seem to have an unhealthy fixation on planes

            i think the only reason al qaeda still even targets planes is just to keep the TSA alive, knowing that all the scanning/pat-downs are just a miserable experience, basically playing the "if you are scared, the terrorists have won" game, rather then genuinely trying to kill people.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:29PM (#35011322)
      Not to mention that his final "outrage" was a dude's tie. Seriously? It's a fucking tie. It's fucking cosmetic. If someone wears a tie that wouldn't have been your choice, shut the fuck up and dislike their tie in quiet. Considering that the author previously (and correctly) picked on the immaturity of Congress members, the immature action of calling someone's tie an "outrage" is highly ironic.
      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        Not only that but clearly his tie color is what you get when you mix red, white, and blue. So he was being extra patriotic.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Golddess (1361003) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:47PM (#35011566)
      Oi, on the new /. interface, I couldn't even tell there _was_ a link in TFS until your comment made me double-check.
  • by gr8_phk (621180) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:10PM (#35010998)
    How can we out innovate when large corporations are selling technology to foreign countries? Think GE selling jet engine designs to China so they can get some short term profit. True, that's stuff that's already been "innovated", but unless you can know and sustain your rate of innovation you should not help the competition.
    • by crumbz (41803) <<remove_spam>jus ... o spam>gmail,com> on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:13PM (#35011060) Homepage

      The logic that we need to compete with workers who are poorly paid, who live and work in an environmental nightmare, is ridiculous.

      • I agree. How about we try to employ people in emerging, leading edge industries instead of wasting time and effort propping up mature, minimally skilled ones?
        • by vbraga (228124)

          Do you think that jet turbines, or manufacturing, as a whole is something "mature, minimally skilled"? It takes a lot of skill to use special welds, operate machinery designed for competitive grain growth for turbine blades, and so on. I don't know why people look at factories with prejudice.

        • by labradore (26729)

          China has set its tariffs, exchange rates, rules and standards to tilt the game in favor of employing Chinese labor for producing manufactured goods and for making exporters selling to China pay to compete. We aren't doing that. We protect the big native industries like agriculture which have real political clout and can't be outsourced and we consciously knock down any and all barriers to outsourcing our manufacturing because this feeds the bottom line of multinational manufacturers (in the short term).

          B

    • by plopez (54068)

      Not mention China making components for wind turbines. Alternative energy will enrich China.

    • How can we out innovate when large corporations are selling technology to foreign countries?

      Innovation has little to do with selling what you've already innovated. Being proprietary might increase the learning curve for a while to give you a bit more time but it's like security through obscurity - it's not a sustainable strategy.

      The sad thing is that this is the same stuff (i.e., innovation and education) that's been said by each President since the days of RW Regan. We still don't have a coherent nation

      • Asia is going to push ahead sooner or later - it's a pretty simple numbers game. Because you are right, the West doesn't have a monopoly on intelligence and creativity.

        It seems to me that we would do well to plan with this in mind, rather than trying to think that somehow we need to stay "number 1". Plans need to be based on reality if they are going to have any chance of succeeding.

        I thought it was interesting that you bring up a nationwide education policy. I think an argument could be made that local con

    • The USA had no net new jobs during the past decade, but the GDP grew 40%. What is the country going to be like after another decade of that? That's what being "competitive" has brought us already.

      How is the average worker going to compere with tireless robots with artificial retinas balancing pencils all day, or IBM supercomputers that can play Jeopardy, or voluntary social networks ont he internet, or just better design and better materials for longer lasting products that are easier to assemble? And compe

  • Outrage 8? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by robthebloke (1308483) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:11PM (#35011012)
    Outrage 8: I was outraged at Outrage 2 (and some other stuff!)? Is this guy serious? The whole article just seems to be some incoherent and ill-constructed rant. As a Non-US citizen, is there some deep and meaningful message in the drivel that I'm not understanding?
    • The whole article just seems to be some incoherent and ill-constructed rant.

      So what you're saying is that it's a perfect post on /. ?

    • by Goldsmith (561202)

      We have a long tradition of incoherent ranting in this country! The deep and meaningful message here is that people here still base their view of the country's future around 1) their wallet and 2) an arbitrary party affiliation that really has nothing to do with actual personal views.

      Business as usual.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Yes there is.

      It's that most magazines and ":news outlets" hire people that know absolutely nothing about what they speak of, yet are given print space and an air of authority so they sound like they know something.

      In reality they don't. This is some dolt that has a Journalism degree and knows absolutely nothing at all about "techie stuff". Most 13 year olds would eat the man alive in a technology discussion.

    • by jeff4747 (256583)

      As a Non-US citizen, is there some deep and meaningful message in the drivel that I'm not understanding?

      As a US citizen, I can answer that for you:

      No. He's a self-absorbed moronic douche bag.

    • by Kohath (38547)

      Don't you have a variety of petty hatreds that need to be satisfied? Aren't you greedy to receive (or spend) money you didn't earn? Aren't you socialized to feel the emotions you're "supposed" to feel on demand?

      No? Then you'll never understand American politics.

    • by emurphy42 (631808)
      "Outrage 8" is itself a misnomer. Here's how TFA is actually structured:
      1. 1. Overall theme of the speech
      2. 2. Innovation and education (and outrage over implicit concession of manufacturing)
      3. 3. Clean energy
      4. 4. Oil subsidies
      5. 5. Health care
      6. 6. Immigration
      7. 7. Deficit
      8. 8. Outrages
        1. a. #2, as mentioned
        2. b. TSA security theater
        3. c. Net neutrality
        4. d. One thing from #3 being too far in the future to be politically meaningful)
      9. 9. Opposition response (and fluff about who sat where)
      10. 10. Fluff about Boehner's clothes
  • Link to article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jaxim (858185) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:12PM (#35011036) Homepage
    I must be blind b/c I couldn't find the link to the article. I googled the post's title and found this article: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/government/10-things-and-4-outrages-techies-need-to-know-about-president-obamas-state-of-the-union-address/9930 [zdnet.com] In case someone is equally blind as me, I hope that helps.
  • by chispito (1870390) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:13PM (#35011058)
    ...was the President's jest that a benefit of high speed rail was the absence of a pat down. If he realizes this bothers people... why not actually address privacy rights and the out-of-control TSA in his SOTU speech instead of bringing it up and throwing it aside?
    • I agree. I think the reason he doesn't reign in TSA might be that most Americans like having the illusion of security to counteract their illusion that flying is dangerous.

      Until somebody figures out how to explain risk management sanity in a way that fits on a bumper sticker, I fear voters will readily sacrifice their freedom for the security facade.

    • by mikestew (1483105)

      I nearly drove the car off the road when I heard him throw that little "joke" out there. "Take the train, no pat downs! Hahaha, whoo boy!"

      "Umm, yeah Mr. President, about those pat downs. If the lack thereof is your selling point..."

  • sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hb253 (764272) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:14PM (#35011068)
    I am troubled by the wording of the headline. Am I alone in this regard?
    • by Mr.Intel (165870)
      Unfortunately, the submission title char limits prevented me from using the whole thing. Or were you referring to the article's headline? Yeah, it's troubling. Gewirtz is a nutjob and I really didn't think Taco and co. would go for it. Silly me. Besides, the fine folks here on /. can handle it, right? Even nutjobs spur meaningful conversation.
      • by The Moof (859402)
        I think he's referring to the fact that there's nothing really techie related in the entire article, despite the headline here.
  • The speech was fine I guess. Nothing that made me want to vote for him in 2012.

  • by Kohath (38547) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:16PM (#35011100)

    Why do we care what David Gewirtz thinks?

    His big ideas seem to be "smart" power (or smartness in general) and clean energy. In other words, the same nonsense fluff you've heard 10000 times.

  • This isn't news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jjohn (2991) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:18PM (#35011132) Homepage Journal

    That article is an opinion piece. Just because that crap is on ZDnet doesn't make it news of nerds.

  • Our nation's colors are red, white, and blue. So what's with Boehner's tie?

    I agree! It really clashed with his orange face.

  • I don't agree with his politics and absolutely none of his "outrages" were that outrageous. The speech is long and boring as it is, to include enough info so the author wouldn't be "outraged", it would be a month long speech. I hope he at least has some broken pieces of furniture or hole sin his walls where he can point to as evidence the he's really outraged. Otherwise it sounds like he's mad a s hell and not going to do anything about it except write about how mad as hell he is.

  • A modest proposal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:21PM (#35011166) Homepage

    At 27, I'm a "millennial." My generation and Generation X are looking at a bleak future because of what is being done by the Boomers.

    I have a simple solution: take away the Boomers' Social Security and Medicare. All of it. Keep the Boomers' parents on it. They paid in and didn't give us this situation. They passed on the baton of leadership to the Boomers around Bush Sr. and the Boomers hit prime time in the Clinton and Bush years.

    I say "f#$%" them, as a generation. They want to be able to default $500k mortgages and enjoy generous pensions and Social Security when they won't even let my generation discharge a few 10s of thousands of dollars in student loans **in bankruptcy court**. They want to turn Generation X into beasts of burden to fund their benefits while my generation wallows in disproportionate unemployment?

    Screw them. The revenues from taking them off the potential Social Security and Medicare rosters would more than pay off our debt in under a decade.

    • You need to read up on how the Social Security program is actually funded, because right now you sound like an uninformed jackass.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why does he sound like a jackass? I quote funding of Social Security from wikipedia: "In 2009 the Office of the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration calculated an unfunded obligation of $15.1 trillion for the Social Security program. The unfunded obligation is the difference between the present value of the cost of Social Security and the present value of the assets in the Trust Fund and the future scheduled tax income of the program.". This mean, if I read it correctly, that the amount tha

      • You missed the classical reference [wikimedia.org].

        Tongue, meet cheek.

      • What do you mean sound like an uninformed jackass?

        I'm tired of people trying to start a generational fight. It's almost as bad as playing the "race card".

        He acts like the Baby Boomer's created social security. They didn't, their parents did. He acts like those of us that are not in our twenties anymore haven't paid a significant amount of money to social security already and don't mind losing all that money. We do.

        The reason social security is killing us is because the politicians used it as a piggy bank

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by carpefishus (1515573)
      As a late boomer I love that idea. Just pay back to me what I put in adjusted for inflation, of course. I could then retire right now. If that doesn't work for you get your lazy ass back to work and pay for my retirement as I paid for your grandpas.
    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      Please don't draw these clear "generation" lines that don't really exist. If you don't like entitlement programs, join the constitutionalists and the libertarians against the problem in general, instead of blaming some overly broad group. No one should be able to default on mortgages they can't pay then sit around collecting Medicare for the rest of their lives - it doesn't matter if they are Generation X, Y, Z, or whatever.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Got news for you. Boomers are paying for their parents Social Security and their own Social Security. The much beloved (not by me) President Ronald Reagan raised SS taxes so that baby boomers pay for their parents and themselves. Recall that SS is not a retirement plan, it's a redistribution plan; the current working generation pays for the current retired generation. So before you start taking anything away, make sure you know the situation.

      Secondly, SS is just fine. It's running a surplus and can

      • Re:A modest proposal (Score:4, Informative)

        by ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @02:33PM (#35012204)

        Secondly, SS is just fine. It's running a surplus and can pay full benefits for the next 27 years.

        Actually not. SS is now entering the phase where more is being drawn than being contributed (somewhat ahead of schedule - http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/index.html [ssa.gov]). Further, there is no surplus - there hasn't been for many years. Federal law prohibits it ( http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/51264.pdf [state.gov]). Any surplus must by law be rolled into the general fund (referred to in the document as "borrowing from the Social Security trust fund"). Given that the federal government is currently in debt to the tune of approximately $14Trillion, there is no actual SS money accumulated anywhere.

        The situation is dire. Not only is the debt not being reduced, but the deficit is accelerating. Extra taxes aren't going to cover it (they'll probably make the situation worse). Medicare/Medicaid are in even worse shape - and the prior administration made that worse still by signing into law the Medicare Drug Prescription Act.

        Bleak indeed.

    • by ptbarnett (159784)

      I have a simple solution: take away the Boomers' Social Security and Medicare. All of it. Keep the Boomers' parents on it. They paid in and didn't give us this situation. They passed on the baton of leadership to the Boomers around Bush Sr. and the Boomers hit prime time in the Clinton and Bush years.

      The Boomer's parents paid a fraction of what they received (and are still receiving) from Social Security and Medicare.

      The Boomers will be lucky to receive a fraction of what they paid into Social Security. What they get from Medicare will largely depend on their personal medical situation.

      My mortgage is paid was full, after 10 years. I don't have a pension, generous or otherwise. My retirement assets are in IRAs and a 401(k) -- and are substantial despite the gyrations of the market, because I hav

      • by coolmoose25 (1057210) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @02:44PM (#35012320)
        Disclosure: I was born in the last year of the Baby Boom - 1964. I had the same argument you're making here with my dad 30 years ago. I could see the writing on the wall even then... I knew that Social Security would not "be there" for me like it was for him. I told him that I thought the way to fix the problem was pretty much what you're saying... The boomers should pay in until his generation died off. Then Social Security should have a stake put through it. It is a ponzi scheme, but not called that because it's government run. I still subscribe to this belief. I think when it's time for me to collect, they should kill the system for everyone. Then you and I can both stop paying, but I'll have sacrificed for the greater good. I still believe this. My dad's generation grew up in the depression, then had to fight WWII (which my dad did personally, flying B-17's over Europe). They lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation for most of the rest of their lives. They deserve their social security. Me and the rest of the boomers? Not so much. We grew up with relative wealth and security (except for that nuclear annihilation thing) and have had it pretty good. Most of us are baby heads. We're debt leveraged to the hilt. We're relative losers when compared to our parents. We don't really deserve Social Security. Perhaps our only saving grace would be to do as I describe and free you from the burdens of Social Security. Maybe then we can be a great generation after all. That'll leave you "millennials" to figure out how you can leave the world a better place. From the way you talk, you'll do worse than us. Crap... you're not even polite about screwing an entire generation!
    • Re:A modest proposal (Score:4, Interesting)

      by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:54PM (#35011656) Homepage

      I say "f#$%" them, as a generation. They want to be able to default $500k mortgages and enjoy generous pensions and Social Security when they won't even let my generation discharge a few 10s of thousands of dollars in student loans **in bankruptcy court**.

      First, most of us have not yet had the pleasure of "default[ing] $500K mortages". Check the percentages of defaults nationwide (it's under 20%) and my assumption is that it was not us boomers that did most of the defaulting - look a little closer upstream at the X'ers for that. Second, most boomers don't have pensions - just fairly crappy 401K's that are usually underfunded and insufficient to maintain a person in this country - not that relatively meager SocSec payments are much better. Finally, I don't really give a rat's ass whether or not you discharge your debts, as long as my tax dollars aren't backing them. Let the lenders take the haircut and I'd be fine with it.

      As for the Congresspeople who don't seem to care about you, all I'll say is that you have a chance to vote, too. You're also young and energetic enough to run about banging on doors and getting your fellow young people elected. In my state, we have quite a few Gen X's in the state legislature (many with many Gen Y's on their staff), many of whom will probably be in the US legislature in a few years. Of course, not many of them go about spouting idiocy like "Take away Social Security and Medicare" and everything will be great for me!!!

      In fact, as for your "modest proposal", if you did try to do that, remember that boomers are in generally better health than the elderly of previous generations, we outnumber you, firearms take away strength advantages, and I bet you'd taste really good, once roasted.

    • by Goldsmith (561202)

      I know you're going to get some Boomers calling for your head about this post, but they should realize that this is not some fringe opinion. There are US cities (San Diego comes to mind) that are considering declaring bankruptcy simply so they wont have to pay any Boomer pensions. Financially, it is impossible for us to pay for their retirement with the jobs we have available. The math simply does not add up. What choice do they have? It's either have a city government or pay Boomer pensions. They can

    • by MpVpRb (1423381) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:59PM (#35011738)

      You need to realize that grouping all people of a certain age into a "generation", and accusing all of them is silly.

      I have disagreed with a lot of the stuff done by the government for over 40 years. It's not my fault.

    • by MaWeiTao (908546)

      I'd be inclined to say the same thing about millennials. "Fuck them" as a generation.

      They're self-centered and think they're entitled to the kinds of things everyone else has had to work for. I've come across a few millennials who seem to confuse ambition for wanting more stuff. They have this pretentiousness about them, that they're smarter than everyone who's come before, merely because they've played with more gadgets; and they're delusional, convinced they've got all the answers to fixing the world, lik

  • Yeah that reminded me why I dont pay attention to anything published by ZD or "tech republic" anymore. 0% content and 20% opinion that is designed to get ad clicks.

  • by eepok (545733) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:24PM (#35011236) Homepage

    Education has two functions:

    (1) Give children sufficient information to make them better (as people and citizens of communities, cities, states, nations, and the world) than the prior generation.

    (2) Give children the information required to enter the job market.

    Education, and the children and teachers within, are not nor have they ever been tasked with shouldering the burden of the most in-debt and luxury-addicted nation in the world. They way education is being sold today, and now solidified by a president who's desperate to get support from the money-minded, is that we can create a Uber-WorkForce by hyper-educating, hyper-tracking, and hyper-testing our children.

    "Invest in the most profitable areas of education now and we'll be rich in the future! MONEY!!!! LUXURY!!!"

    This is genuinely impossible. Education cannot be treated as a competition ("Race to the Top", "Pay According to Results") and be expected to stay honest. Without honesty, we can't tell if new ideas are working. Moreover, children will eventually become normal, ordinary people with interests in love, humor, entertainment, politics, history, music, and so on... their K-12 over-education in science, technology, engineering, and math will not change them into a new generation of work-slaves.

    Putting the pressure, money, and focus on such a goal will be a complete waste. Focus on making them good *people* first and foremost (education in *real* history, philosophy [including religion], sociology) while also educating them in the various ways they can earn sufficient money to live their happy lives and the rest takes care of itself.

    And for the sake of cutting off some argument at the pass, I'm not advocating the cutting of STEM funding-- I'm saying that STEM subjects should not be over-invested... particularly at the cost of the education that is there to create a better society. Maybe one that doesn't allow itself to get into the mess we're in right now.

    The goal of education is make good people who can be productive in the job market, not workers who are passable human beings.

    • by gmuslera (3436)

      Public education shouldnt be only for children, in a changing world educating adults into the new realities should be a priority too. In fact, that should be taken into account at the moment of educating children, there are chances that what they learnt as children becomes obsolete (or not as profitable/needed/etc) when they are growns up. Makes me remember the end of the song Gun Shy, where the Army was good making soldiers, but not so good at making men.

    • by avandesande (143899) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:59PM (#35011744) Journal

      How much can education do for the half of the population with below average intelligence? Is it cheaper to put these people on welfare than to provide them with decent labor/manufacturing jobs?

    • by Shotgun (30919)

      That would be YOUR goal for education. And mine, also, just for the record.

      The goal of education to the Federal government is another point of control. There is no point to the Dept. of Education. This country excelled just fine until it was created in 1970. Even then, it was declared insane to take money from citizens, launder it through a Federal bureaucracy and then hand it back to the states. The local government taxes me for schools. The state taxes me for schools. The fed taxes me for schools.

    • by fermion (181285)
      Arguably education has two purposes higher than this. One is to give kids a common sets of experiences so that they have the skills to interact in the particular society in which they live. For some kids this means high end private schools in which they can be trained along with their peers to live what many would call the extremely successful life. For others this means a public school education in which many of us learn to interact with people of different genders, cultures, and economic situations. A
  • In summary, his four complaints in order were:
    • Manufacturing - and the possibility that much of it might go away for good from the US
    • TSA pat-downs at the airports and Obama not promising to make them go away for good
    • High speed wireless internet initiatives that do not explicitly include net neutrality promises from the POTUS himself
    • An energy policy with benchmarks over 20 years in the future

    Now exactly why much of that matters to most "techies" is beyond me. Really most of it doesn't mattter to most techies.

    However it does draw eyes to the website. And I noticed there was a Michele Bachmann ad here on slashdot last night, and this seems to go well with her sales pitch as well. Since president lawnchair has already caved to everything that the GOP has asked for to date, they need to find something to get excited about for the future.

  • Last night's State of the Union Address contained ten things (and four outrages) technical professionals need to know about the President's plans, and how his policies might affect you, your employer, and your family well into the future.

    Thanks for telling me how I should feel about political issues, but go fuck yourself.

    So far I've thought Obama has been a tool for most things, but useful for some. The irony of it all is, theres always someone telling me he's a bad guy for it, the only factor that determi

  • by plopez (54068) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:47PM (#35011560) Journal

    Here are my thoughts on the matter.

    First off, the biggest obstacle to American success is China and their unfair trade practices. By keeping their currency pegged to the US dollar at artificially low rate they are creating trade barriers to real free trade. One argument to let them get away with it is that they are a developing nation. This is false, even before they opened up to western trade China had a huge infrastructure developed. They had railroads, canals, heavy industry, chemical plants, and universities producing large numbers of well trained engineers and scientists. They had advantages many nations in Africa would envy. They need to be treated as a first rate economic nation. Another side effect that China's policies have is that it can drive down wages and development in true developing countries by under bidding them on products. I don't think this is what anyone intends. China must be forced to change.

    Another obstacle is NAFTA. The theory behind NAFTA was that Mexico would provide low end goods to the US and Canada at wages better than the Mexicans had had before NAFTA. The US and Canada would sell expertise and high end manufacturing equipment to help US manufacturing. One provision Mexico had to meet before signing NAFTA was "land reform". This land reform threw some 1/3 of the Mexican farm labor force off the land, who then headed to the border cities such as Juarez to work in the factories or the US as illegal immigrants. The brutally drove down the cost of labor in MEXICO and the US. Mexican factories merely substituted cheap labor for more efficient manufacturing. And since this "land reform" occurred before NAFTA was signed the disingenuous argument is that NAFTA had nothing to do with this effect. NAFTA must go, all it did was enrich corporations and not people. NAFTA is a poster child for globalization's failure.

    I have been questioning now is the conventional economic wisdom that the tight coupling of economies since this latest financial crisis. We are in a situation now where a crisis in one country can affect a host of others. Much like mountain climbers roped together, if one climber falls the entire string of climbers may plunge to their deaths. There needs to be "firewalls" between nations to prevent, slow, or buffer the effects of a crisis. Some may argue that this may be inefficient, I will argue that destroying the global economy is even worse.

    Overall I think that Capitalism and conventional economic theory has failed. We need to revisit the basic assumptions of how economies must be run. Two things I think we should do are
    1) have economies and financial systems that serve people, not vice versa

    2) With my respects to Mr. Dubcek, develop Capitalism with a human face. Corporations are not people and should not be treated as such, and the people running the corporations should not be allowed to hide behind the corporation. There must be accountability.

  • by baerm (163918) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @02:20PM (#35012034)

    Why is this listed as news? This is entertainment at best, and pretty poor entertainment at that. If I wanted useless drivle like this, I would be watching any of the major TV channel tabloidainment shows instead of reading slashdot.

    Cmdr Taco owes me 10 minutes.

  • by kuzb (724081) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @04:54PM (#35013998)
    ...knowing won't change the outcome. They're going to do it with, or without your consent.

It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely used higher level language for systems programming. -- J. Sammet

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