Beware! Presuppositionalists! »« What? The Supreme Court didn’t go bugnuts?

Comments

  1. Sili says

    I seem to recall seeing that debt graphic before? Is it really accurate, or do they in fact mean to represent debt by radius rather than area? (In which case, they’re not doing themselves any favours – they’re exploiting the exact lack of education they’re complaining about.)

  2. Brownian says

    I don’t understand the WTF part. The whole comic is a pretty good description of what’s wrong with America.

  3. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    The panel is perhaps slightly misleading. Scandinavian student financing is part loan, part grant (my neck of the woods – approx 1/3 grant, 2/3 loan).

    A typical masters degree will net you less than one year’s income of debt (for the lower-paying masters).

    Price pr. person pr year for the programme(without tuition) is approximately 14.000 dollars (this includes failed loans, administration and suchlike, but excludes the cost of collecting taxes).

    In urban areas living expenses and student loans don’t quite match – but most get by with a part-time job or some light support from the parents (and we’re talking light here – no-one saves money for getting their kids through college for years). And the students seem to always be able to afford beer (but beer money is not quite like other money).

  4. says

    Children and young adults are not seen as an investment in the future. They aren’t seen as autonomous human beings who deserve every chance to succeed. They’re viewed as the property of their parents until they’re eighteen, at which point they’re viewed as lazy bums who have failed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

    Since children are simply possessions and belong to their parents, paying to feed them and school them and everything else that might make the next generation better than the last isn’t an investment. It’s a “reward” for those damn, worthless parents who didn’t work hard enough to send their children to a private school.

    The fact that children with wealthy parents are going to have advantages from the moment they are conceived is irrelevant to most Americans. We’ve swallowed the just world fallacy so completely that to help anyone is to reward bad behavior, because if they weren’t bad people they wouldn’t need help! Q.E.D.

    It’s a repulsive mindset, but horrifyingly widespread.

  5. says

    Not educating people helps ensure that the populace will continue tobuy into the ridiculous use of our tax dollars to fund the rich and screw the poor into submission.

    Funny timing on this one — my own blog went into “WTF” mode yesterday on healthcare.

  6. Louis says

    Can I wait for Porco Dio to arrive and lord it over you poor benighted Americans, or do other European nations get to have a go too?

    Okay so we in the UK are following you in the USA in fucking students in the arse financially speaking and in increasing social inequality, but…erm…I’m sure I had a point here.

    Louis

  7. Matt Penfold says

    Okay so we in the UK are following you in the USA in fucking students in the arse financially speaking and in increasing social inequality, but…erm…I’m sure I had a point here.

    err, Harrumph!

    Only really in England. Scotland does not have tuition fees for Scottish students, and Wales is keeping the fees at the previous level of £3000, rather than the new one of £9000. Not sure about Northern Ireland, but I don’t think they are following England.

  8. DLC says

    Why, it’s simple, you damn furriner! We value our Children’s Freedom! We value the American, God-Approved principle that life is a shark tank, and the biggest fastest sharks deserve whatever they can get. Don’t look behind the curtain at the whales sucking down the tons of krill, it’s a shark tank! srsly! Root, Hog or Die! Ayn Rand ! Social Darwinism! do you want *those people* to be intelligent and educated!? they won’t be fit to do a days work if they gets to readin and all that! Freedom! Freedom to be an uneducated overfed dumbass! It’s teh Amurrken way! I’m proud to be an Amerrikun, where at least I know I’m free! Not free of debt, mind you, just free to work long hours for low wages and no benefits.

    (for the sarcasm-impaired, the bulk of this message is sarcasm)

  9. hkdharmon says

    Well, I think the Bible has the answer here. Luke 12:33 says “Sell your possessions and give to those in need.” The command is repeated in Matt 19:21.
    See? It’s perfect. The Christians can easily ride to the rescue of the entire nation and have strong scriptural backing for their actions. What better way to glorify God than to show that his commands work in the real world?

    I will be over here holding me breath.

  10. busterggi says

    I’m sorry but the sun will turn into a brown dwarf in about nine billion years, if I remeber correctly, so I don’t have enough to list everything that is wrong with the US.

  11. says

    This doesn’t make me think ill of America – just makes me wish we could go back to grants for students in the UK. And stop the pointless aim of getting everyone through a degree, regardless of whether they are academically inclined or need it for their career.

  12. kassad says

    And the students seem to always be able to afford beer (but beer money is not quite like other money).

    Yeah but you conveniently forgot the most glaring default of the scandinavian systems, you manipulative northerner… Alcohol is quite expensive up there! It’s all a trap!

    Seriously though, students’ debts in America are absolutely crazy. And tuitions are getting higher.

  13. baal says

    The US is in a oligarchic ideological tailspin. I wish I was more optimistic about being able to pull out w/o some catastrophe happening. Worse, the cheney-and-fiends contingent have a plan in place for a xtian-monarchy to be instated once that catastrophe happens (used to have a link to it, the neo-cons had some time in mid90’s when they weren’t shy about it).

    Some iffy details aside, the poster is spot on about investment in human capitol (and investment in education winds up being a better life for the population).

  14. davidct says

    Maybe when the 1% realize that cutting off government spending on R+D actually costs them money. After all the less there is to steal, the less there is to steal.

  15. microraptor says

    WFT is wrong with America, you ask?

    Well, America grabbed the Idiot Ball and ran it to the wrong goal (forgetting that everyone else was playing soccer while at it), then started Tebowing.

  16. hexidecima says

    IMO, the problem with the US (and I am a citizen) is that most Americans buy into the myth that America is somehow “special” and no matter how much we f@ck up, there will be some magical being to catch us and correct the problem. This feeds into the idea that every moronic tea partier will “someday” become rich adn golly they don’t want those imaginary riches to be “taken” from them by the mean ol’ gov’t. They are sure that they never *ever* benefit from the gov’t because they are ill-educated and in many cases are just stupid, prefering to believe in myths rather than facts. It’s become a culture of lazily accepting comfortable lies and demonizing coherent thought.

  17. macrophage says

    Anyone in Scandanavia looking for a post doc? I’ll relocate. Give me some time to learn the language, though.

    I love me some linie avavit.

  18. thunk = ∫ SQRRAWK! d(MQG) says

    Yes. I’m going into college in a matter of years. What with the system we have here…

    Why can’t people think?

  19. opposablethumbs says

    But the days are really short in winter …

    other than that, I should be urging my (teenage) spawn to move to one of the four (too late for me). At least their descendants, should they ever have any, might grow up in a civilised country.

    Hmm, any openings? What kind of qualifications does one have to have in order to have a chance of immigrating? (And then there’s the languages to learn, of course. The spawn are bilingual in Spanish and English, with some French, which is pointing in the wrong direction entirely).

    I want to go back to free education and student grants too, dammit!

  20. Akira MacKenzie says

    In America, thanks to the Protestant work ethic, cultural anti-intellectualism, and conservative/libertarian propaganda about the evils of government as opposed to the glories of the free market, education–even the basics–is seen as a privilege.

    I’ve told this story before, but I will repeat it here: A couple of years back, I had the questionable honor of listening to about a dozen middle-aged, middle class, white men, chatting about politics. The gentlemen (and I use the term loosely) leading the conversation loudly proclaimed that education is NOT a right! “If mommy and daddy can’t afford to have someone teach you to read and write, that’s tough, but someone’s got to be the janitors!” Everyone bobbed their heads and voiced their agreement, then, for an encore, the jerk went on to say that welfare recipients ought to be made to wear orange jumpsuits, live in barracks, and made to work public construction projects. Again, nods and “amen, brother” all around.

    As much as we like to heap this crap on the so-called 1%, they are still only a very small percentage of the vote. Your real enemy are your co-workers and next door neighbors who turn out in droves each election day not so much to vote against their best interests (after all, they got theirs) but against your best interests. The Koch Brothers and other moneyed-right-wingeres may enable Tea Bagger inanity with their financial support, but they are merely feeding into a rather sizable market of middle/lower class conservatism that already exists.

    That is were we need to turn our attention and rancor.

  21. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    the sun will turn into a brown dwarf in about nine billion years,

    no, it’ll go Red giant. /physicsPedant

    Perhaps busterggi was referring to the white dwarf stage that comes after the red giant.

  22. says

    Akira,

    Your real enemy are your co-workers and next door neighbors who turn out in droves each election day not so much to vote against their best interests (after all, they got theirs) but against your best interests.

    But they are voting against their own self interests, but the conservative middle-class is just too stupid to realize it. The middle-class only has the lifestyle that they do because they are heavily in debt– personal debt is higher now than it’s ever been in the US– which means they didn’t earn their shit, they’re borrowing it.

    But, I agree the everyday conservatives are the people to watch out for. They are far too easily convinced that they “earned” their lifestyle. I thought that maybe after the housing bubble burst, more people would get it, but no dice.

  23. Amphiox says

    I’m sorry but the sun will turn into a brown dwarf in about nine billion years

    buster @17 : no, it’ll go Red giant. /physicsPedant

    //Pedantry squared//

    It’ll go Red giant in about four billion years, then White dwarf about 1 billion after that, then Black dwarf several trillion years after that.

    The turn the sun into a brown dwarf, you’ll need a giant ice scream scoop (or the functional equivalent) to split the sun in multiple chunks, each of which would become a brown dwarf. You can make anywhere from about 15 to about 70 brown dwarfs with solar material, depending if you want light or heavy brown dwarfs….

  24. timoylhainen says

    Well, it is nice here in Nordic, isn’t it. But hey, wait a minute! We do have a bunch of people who seem to be willing to imitate US system rather than developing our healthcare and education further.

    It is a constant struggle.

    – timo, from Finland

  25. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Anyone in Scandanavia looking for a post doc? I’ll relocate. Give me some time to learn the language, though.

    Depends on your field – but for fields like physics and maths you just have to start looking.

    Social sciences and humanities will be harder, but not impossible if you got the skills and creds.

    And nearly all here speak english, so language can come by-and-by.

  26. says

    To those of you wanting to move to Scandinavia, but discouraged by the language barrier: things aren’t too bad in Canada. We have universal single-payer healthcare, even if it doesn’t cover everything one might like it to. Tertiary tuition, while not free, is much lower than in the US — my son is about to start a Ph.D at Concordia, and is still marveling at how his entire four-year programme will cost about as much as a single semester did at either of the American colleges he got his previous degrees at. Weather is probably comparable to Scandinavia.

    So y’all move north now and help us get rid of Harper, hear?

  27. anubisprime says

    And the present coalition disaster in Blighty is hell bent on copying the American dream of about 10 years ago!

    From education to health to encouraging religious thumbs in the political pie!

    Politicians Blighty, tend to be at least a decade behind everyone else, Mainly because they spend an inordinate amount of their life climbing the greasy poll and stabbing backs of anyone in their way, when they finally surface the world has moved on but they are mentally stuck where they were before they ‘got interested in politics’ and are incapable of catching up with the rest of society, that is one reason they are so out of touch with the street buzz, by the time they reach parliament they are like microcosmic time capsules dug out of the mud and squinting in the sunlight totally blinded!

    But that said the Tories have a love affair with the American system of the poor pay and the rich play!
    They are actively attempting to turn the social lever and insure our rundown slums metamorphose into the desperate, no hope, no go areas so beloved of the American ‘hood’ style of community.

    They have ruined education for this generation of school leavers by saddling them with horrendous debt and at least four more generation will be doomed before the ballot box kicks these losers out.
    The health service is now going privatized and the financial industry is following Polly Peck and Enron in their integrity and ethics.
    All going swimmingly for Tory toffs…not so much for the rest of us!

  28. Akira MacKenzie says

    Audley

    The trouble with the “voting against their best interests” narrative is that most of the right-wingers I know are far from hurting in this economy, yet they bellow like wounded cape buffalo about to made a meal for a pride of lions. My father, for instance, is a hardcore Catholic Republican who was all a gaga over Frothy Mixture earlier this year. He makes about 90K a year as opposed to the 20K I make, and according to him he is the one who is being impoverished by taxation (he got a nice fat state and federal refund this year) while I’m the parasite because I allegedly “don’t pay taxes.” Despite their obvious wealth and privilege, these are people who really and truly believe that they are the afflicted, robbed and taken advantage of by a tyrannical government and must watch as the fruits of their labors are being given away to the lazy, the unworthy, and non-Caucasian.

  29. NitricAcid says

    Eamon- Harper’s not all we have to get rid of. There’s a whole group of politicians and voters whose idea of good government is to look south and copy whatever the Americans have been doing. The Americans don’t have universal health care, so it our duty to dismantle our system (and sell the pieces to friends of the government). The Americans have higher tuition, so we have to raise our tuition. The Americans invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, so we have to help invade both of them (and we’re terrible cowards for not doing so).

    That attitude kept Ralph Klein in power for ten years, gave Mulroney about the same amount of time, and will ensure that the next clone of Harper will have an excellent chance of doing the same thing.

  30. Aquaria says

    The US is in a oligarchic ideological tailspin. I wish I was more optimistic about being able to pull out w/o some catastrophe happening. Worse, the cheney-and-fiends contingent have a plan in place for a xtian-monarchy to be instated once that catastrophe happens (used to have a link to it, the neo-cons had some time in mid90′s when they weren’t shy about it).

    It’s probably the old Project for the New American Century. That was the one Cheney was a part of in the 90s. They’ve changed the website, but these imperialistic asshats still exist.

    And it didn’t start in the 90s. I still have battle wounds from what Reagan the fucking Scumbag did to the group in Dallas I belonged to that was protesting his sponsoring of genocides in Central America. We had constant infiltrations from known right-wing scumbag provocateurs. These human filth samples even riled up the Moonies against us over at SMU (not everyone there is a pampered princess), and spread false literature from us. Nobody could afford to spread as much filth and lies and pure hate as was done against us–except the scumbag government.

  31. says

    Akira,
    Which didn’t address my overal point. Sure, dad could be making $90k, but how much does debt does he have? That salary isn’t getting you very far if every paycheck is already eaten up by your creditors before you have a chance to spend or save any of it.

    I’m not saying that he’s worse off than you. Far from it. What I’m saying is that these conservative middle-class douches may be one disaster away from being completely impoverished and they know it. The problem is that their anger is completely misdirected and that’s where “voting against their own self interests” comes in.

  32. ewanmacdonald says

    While I agree with the cartoon, it’s not going to hit its target, because:

    1) It doesn’t explain why ‘social inequality’ is a bad thing and how reducing it helps everyone. Yes, I imagine most people reading this understand both of these things, but your average conservative will presumably read that as a confiscatory threat.
    2) It doesn’t help that the next panel posits a “strong, stable state.” The idea of a ‘strong state’ is anathema to most conservatives (and even a lot of non-conservatives.) ‘A happy, healthy, free people’ or something would have hit the right mark.

    It’s preaching to the choir, really. I enjoyed it but I imagine the people who needed to hear it will be turned off very quickly.

  33. Synfandel says

    We’re not as far along that path in Canada as our southern neighbours, but higher education is far from readily accessible here too and it’s not getting better. American students could take a lesson from Québec students who have been demonstrating daily for the last several months against increases in tuition fees. The matter is still not resolved and it will likely bring down the current Québec provincial government and end the career of Premier Jean Charest.

    The general socio-political decay in the U.S. (the inaccessibility of higher education and medical care, voter suppression, the religification of public school curricula, the rolling back of advances in women’s reproductive rights, the daily litany of deaths due to the ‘right to bear arms’, etc.) worries me, because in Canada we’re attached to the U.S. at the hip. If the U.S. sinks, we sink with it.

  34. jeremysnel says

    The fact that the very first panel has to explain what “Nordic” means, and point it out on the map, may only reinforce its point.

  35. says

    @40: Yeah, there’s probably less of them in urban Ontario than elsewhere, but I’ve run into the type. There was one idiot on an internal newsgroup where I worked who couldn’t kiss the American ass enough — figured Canada would be a US protectorate in another few decades. He voted Reform, of course, and was a gun nut. Corporate standards about professional courtesy restrained me from telling him what I really thought: if he loved the American Way so much, he should just fucking move to Twin Potholes, TX, where he’d no doubt be happy, the goddamn pig-ignorant traitor.

  36. truthspeaker says

    I was going to say something snarky about how it’s easier to afford social spending after you exported most of your poor people to North America in the 19th Century, but then I remembered how much my country spends on wars and realized that argument doesn’t hold any water.

    Yeah, our priorities are definitely fubar.

  37. Akira MacKenzie says

    How much debt does my dad have? Virtually none. The house was paid off years ago (paid off twice, in fact after he bought my mom’s half back from her after the divorce) and he has a few 100k salted away. He rarely uses his credit cards and he pays them off in full when he gets his bill.

  38. tbp1 says

    I was in Finland for a while last fall. Scandinavian socialism looked pretty darn good to me.

  39. opposablethumbs says

    Any takers for a biochemist and a musician? (when they’re fully fledged, that is)

  40. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    The fact that the very first panel has to explain what “Nordic” means, and point it out on the map, may only reinforce its point.

    It get’s it wrong though :/ Poor Iceland…

  41. Sarahface says

    They have ruined education for this generation of school leavers by saddling them with horrendous debt

    Tell me about it. -.-‘
    If I get all the grades and whatnot, I’ll be going to uni this autumn. First cohort to get caught up in the £9k tuition fees, which is fan-fucking-tastic.
    And Michael Gove seems to have another “brilliant” idea every time he opens his mouth, all of which are shit. Much as the government likes to complain about it, the education system I experienced is not as bad as all that.
    (I’m not even going to start on the NHS…)
    Goddammit, I loathe the current government.

    And stop the pointless aim of getting everyone through a degree, regardless of whether they are academically inclined or need it for their career.

    Yes, this. The idea that lots of jobs “need” a degree is a pretty toxic one. You don’t need a degree in business and management to run a business. You don’t need a degree to do a lot of things. (Some you do, of course – scientists, engineers and doctors spring immediately to mind)
    People getting degrees should get them because they want to study their chosen subject further, or because the job they want needs one (e.g., the list in the previous set of brackets.)

  42. Musca Domestica says

    tbp1

    I was in Finland for a while last fall. Scandinavian socialism looked pretty darn good to me.

    Thank you for visiting, but Finland is not part of Scandinavia *grumble* *grumble* I’ll just put myself in the corner with the poor Icelanders *grumble*

  43. dysomniak says

    @58 You guys can never win. Lots of people here in ‘mericuh even think that the sauna was invented by swedes.

  44. hackerguitar says

    Scandanavia sounds nice, but there are the mööse to think about….

    > Your dad just wants to keep all of his money, is all. *shrugs*

    Not an excuse. My wife and I earn significantly more than her father, and pay taxes on it without complaining, recognize that rates are altogether too low on people in our income bracket, and give money to libraries, schools, etc on a regular basis in an attempt to counter the idiotic austerity that comes with the GOP government-is-the-problem ideology.

    Even in jest, selfishness is not a virtue. The GOP has raised selfishness to high art and shining purpose, and has with lies and misdirection sold that vision to people who will never share in real wealth. And that vision reduces to a sweaty, greasy, shouting pile of greed and racism, really, akin to the Homer Stokes character in “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”

  45. truthspeaker says

    I love Canada, but before they let you move there, they insist on making sure you have job skills that are in demand up there. I don’t think I’d have much luck.

    I’ll stay here. I, personally, don’t need government provided health insurance, at least as long as I or my wife remains employed. I already graduated college and don’t have any loans. I, personally, won’t be hurt much by the Rethug agenda – I’m white, male, heterosexual, and too old to be drafted.

    It’s my fellow citizens, people I give a shit about, who are getting the shaft.

  46. truthspeaker says

    The other thing is, making $90,000 a year, it’s not your dad’s taxes that most Democrats in Congress want to raise. It’s people making 10 or 100 times what your dad does who should be paying higher taxes.

  47. fernando says

    Four years ago i visited the USA for 2 weeks.
    Loved the country and the people, nice and gentle people indeed.

    And im sad to see how the politicians, and easily fooled and manipulated citizens, are destroying (slowly but surely) a country that was founded upon high humanist principles, and turning the USA in a mock of the ideals of the fathers of the USA.

    Turning the USA in a “all for themselves and God for all” nightmarish kind of “Plutocratic State of Christianismtan” its a nightmare to a brigth and peaceful future to all the world.

    One can only expect that the republicans turn the americans so uneducated, that none of them know how to use a atomic weapon…

  48. Steve LaBonne says

    What’s wrong with Americans is what always has been wrong with Americans- the twin R’s, racism and religion. Throughout our history they have been used by oligarchs (think Southern slaveowners, for example) to convince non-rich people (or rather, non-rich white people) to stand with them and against their own interests.

  49. says

    We in Czech Republic have had freely accesible education up to PhD until very recently. One of those very rare thing communists did not completely fuck up over their forty years.

    However this year the government took extra shine for big ol’ Uncle Sam and wants to make students to take debts they will be paying for years.

    As if it was not enough, that our score in PISA sinks consistently for over a decade, we certainly need to sink our education some more.

    *sigh*

    So, WTF is wrong in America? And WTF is wrong with people who look up to its fucked up social/healthcare/education systems?

  50. says

    It’s a triumph of philosophy over reality. Private enterprise is always more efficient than government. Something for nothing is always exploited and wasted. Rich people deserve to be rich and poor people deserve to be poor and it would violate the basic laws of the universe if it were otherwise.

  51. robro says

    What!? Socialism!? It’s anti-American! Anti-Christian! Anti-God!

    That’s the general American attitude, well cultivated by decades of anti-socialist propaganda crap from the Right Wing and the so-called Left Wing (which is more the Middle-of-the-rut Wing). And it’s well-funded by the Rich Wing, which is the only wing that matters in American politics. That wing has been trying to crush publicly funded education in this country since the program began in the 19th century.

    The killer for Americans is in panel 4: “Of course, that does result in higher taxes.” Almost all Americans believe they are already paying outrageously high taxes, another solid plank of the Ring Wing propaganda machine. Just go ask a few. Of course, it’s a total lie. As of 2008, the total of all taxes collected in the US amounted to about 27% of the GDP compared to an average of 36% among member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the 4th lowest.

    It’s an old story. Needless to remind that taxation was one of the reasons for the American Revolution. And that passion against taxes and for “small” government continue to this day. Across this country states, communities, education, infrastructure, Social Security, the environment, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera are in deep shit because there isn’t money. After decades of “tax revolt,” this country is seriously underfunded for anything except the military, prisons, and enormous subsidies going to industries such as agriculture, banking, and so forth.

  52. hackerguitar says

    Audrey, I apologize – misread the tone. My bad.

    Thanks for the correction.

  53. The Swordfish, Ambulatory Memory Leak says

    Regarding the Scandinavian job market: how about comp sci? I’m planning on doing some study abroad in Norway with an eye towards moving there eventually.

  54. Synfandel says

    robro wrote:

    Needless to remind that taxation was one of the reasons for the American Revolution.

    One of the many ironies of the American Revolution is that, in order to pay for the war of secession, the new republic imposed much higher taxes on its citizens than the British crown had ever even contemplated.

  55. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Regarding the Scandinavian job market: how about comp sci? I’m planning on doing some study abroad in Norway with an eye towards moving there eventually.

    Scientific work or practical?

    For scientific I haven’t got a clue. Practical, after being here a year and forging some connections should be no problem at all if you got the right skills.

  56. petzl20 says

    The greatest fraud (monied) republicans pull off is when they convince middle class, lower class, and people in abject poverty, that the problem to everything is “big government” and solution to everything is tax cuts.

    The culture-war conflation of abortion/gun rights/religion with economic policy is the sop they throw to the masses. Poor people don’t seem to care that they are living in a shack with children are sick and malnourished and uneducated if: they can own a gun, they can pray in school, they can prevent their neighbor from having reproductive freedom.

  57. The Swordfish, Ambulatory Memory Leak says

    Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation @ 72

    Scientific work or practical?

    For scientific I haven’t got a clue. Practical, after being here a year and forging some connections should be no problem at all if you got the right skills.

    Derp. Probably should have specified that! Definitely practical; I don’t really have the brain for scientific work, sad to say. That’s awesome to hear, though!

  58. Rip Steakface says

    It appears Swordfish and I are remarkably similar people. I’ll be heading into computer science after I get my bachelor’s degree in a few years and it sounds like moving to Scandinavia shouldn’t be too much of a problem for practical compsci use. Got a Steam, Swordfish? :P

    Thankfully, PZ’s home state of Washington is nicer than average to its students. There’s a program here called Running Start that allows high school students to go to community college full time during their junior and senior years of high school, which allows them to get an associate’s degree at the same time they earn their high school diploma, which is exactly what I’m doing.

  59. nms says

    Sili @ 6

    I seem to recall seeing that debt graphic before? Is it really accurate, or do they in fact mean to represent debt by radius rather than area?

    This is hardly definitive, but thinkprogress.org shows a very similar graph with the following disclaimer:

    The graphic originally included with this post, from Occupy Posters, misleadingly had linear dimensions to scale, so that the bubble areas were not in correct proportions. The graphic has been replaced.

    They were presumably referring to this rather exaggerated graph.

    Not actually going to check the numbers but based on that I’d guess the one in the OP is by area.

  60. truthspeaker says

    robro @ #68 answered PZ’s question better than I could. I’ll be off, then.

  61. The Swordfish, Ambulatory Memory Leak says

    Rip Steakface:

    Heh, I was originally hoping to go into linguistics, but decided that career prospects weren’t that great, much as I’d love getting to travel frequently. Comp sci was a little off-putting since math tends to make my brain hurt, but I’ve been working on learning x86 assembly and so far the math involved has failed to induce my cerebrum to detonate; hence, I’m optimistic, and definitely looking forward to starting college this September.

    That Running Start program sounds awesome. I wish Oregon had something similar; the local district does have a dual enrollment program and I was able to take a few classes at the local community college (part of a larger scheme to escape the cesspool that was my high school for my entire senior year), but it was hideously expensive, involved fighting with school and district bureaucracy, and was only an option because of my family’s relative affluence, meaning lower-income students are stuck in spectacularly awful schools with little access to college courses (technically, if the high school doesn’t offer it, the district is supposed to pay the tuition, but since going to Lane Community College part time would involve an eleven-mile commute over the course of the school day, not many people can take advantage of it). Hence I had to prioritize high school credit requirements and didn’t get to take any of the CS courses the college offered. :'(

  62. birgerjohansson says

    Matt Penfold & Anubis Prime

    It sounds to me that, instead of granting Scotland independence you should have Scotland and Wales annex England!

  63. Rip Steakface says

    Swordfish:

    The best part about the Running Start program is that Washington state pays my tuition. I have to pay for books and additional class fees (which are usually only $4 for using the ANGEL online learning system that most classes use for homework and such), but the $1200/quarter in tuition is covered. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

  64. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    It sounds to me that, instead of granting Scotland independence you should have Scotland and Wales annex England!

    Scotland already tried that, with James I. All it got them was Cromwell and the Glorious Revolution.

    Heh, I was originally hoping to go into linguistics, but decided that career prospects weren’t that great, much as I’d love getting to travel frequently.

    Alas, the folly of youth….

  65. Charlie Foxtrot says

    It is increasingly tempting just to write off America as a good idea gone bad…
    Could I interest any of you reasonable Americans in Australia? We’re only 22 million, so you’re not going to be diluted as much.

    We did have a tourism campaign going for a little while called “Where the bloody hell are you?” Perhaps we could have a similar immigration campaign called “What the fuck is wrong with your country?!!”

    Not that the local conservatives haven’t been trying hard to fuck up higher education here as well, but they haven’t got as far yet.
    And again, swing the population away from voting conservative and less damage can be done.

    So, come on down! WTF is wrong with *your* country?! *Raises beer, turns prawns on bbq, scratches kangaroo under chin*

  66. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    I got tuition and maintenance grants (that’s living expenses to the non speakers of bureaucratese) for several degrees. Since then I’ve paid more in income taxes than the average salary in almost every year. How is that not a good deal for society at large?

    Yet again, evidence that so-called capitalists are actually mostly just stupid selfish butt-heads that aren’t even efficient capitalists.

  67. alkaloid says

    Perhaps this question would best be answered with a question:

    When are you going to stop holding your nose and voting for people that either tacitly agree with America’s unraveling or can’t bring themselves to fight it except ineffectually and feebly?

  68. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    When are you going to stop holding your nose and voting for people that either tacitly agree with America’s unraveling or can’t bring themselves to fight it except ineffectually and feebly?

    When those we might vote for stand a chance of truly being elected. Otherwise, between bad and worse we can end up with worse. One has to look at the bigger picture.

  69. Brisvegan says

    It is increasingly tempting just to write off America as a good idea gone bad…
    Could I interest any of you reasonable Americans in Australia? We’re only 22 million, so you’re not going to be diluted as much.

    Not that the local conservatives haven’t been trying hard to fuck up higher education here as well, but they haven’t got as far yet.

    Can you start the unfucking of everything up here in Queensland? Our new conservative government seems to be taking its plays directly from the US religious right. We are watching civil union rights be rolled back, surrogacy rights being destroyed, funding cut completely for a major AIDS/HIV health initiative, support for women prisoners slashed, etc etc. This is in the space of only a few months.

    US, can you take your dipshit playbook off of my premier please? Or all the US progressives can move to sunny Queensland, become citizens and vote with our progressives. We’re the pretty bit with the reef, rainforest, beaches and redneck fuckwits.

    Actually, I am really concerned about the increasingly USian right wing rhetoric that I am hearing on state and federal levels. We have a pretty Murdock dominated press driving agendas.

  70. The Swordfish, Ambulatory Memory Leak says

    Rip Steakface:

    You goddamn socialist pinko commie, you. :P Also, online homework systems? What is this, the 21st century or something? Down here in Oregon, we ain’t having no truck with them fancy eee-lectronic edumacation machines, nosiree!

    The university system is great, though. I mean, apart from the typical obscene tuition costs, but having both parents work for the UO means I get a big enough tuition discount that I just might be able to scrape by without student loans. America: where the staff discount means you can just about go to college without the banks owning you for the rest of your life! If you’re lucky! Maybe!

  71. petejohn says

    The so-called American Dream is a nice thing, but it’s poisoned many things about our culture here. People seem to think that if they get something, it’s because they worked for it, and if they worked for it, it’s there’s and no one else’s. And, if you disagree, you can get fucked.

    But it isn’t that simple, because the definition of work hard is mallleable. A person who is born in the lap of luxury can bust their butt in high school (not that our HS’s are terribly difficult), play two sports, and earn a decent scholarship and claim they worked hard, based on their own definition of the term and their own circumstances. But someone could be born into poverty, work in the family’s shop during their spare time, go to tech school and slog away as a mechanic or something, and also claim they worked hard according to their definition. Often times the first individual will be utterly blinded to their fortune, assume those who don’t have what they have didn’t work hard, and thus aren’t entitled to anything.

    There’s also the problem that our schools are… yeah. There are many excellent public school systems and private schools available for those that can afford them, schools that have good technology, can afford to send their staff to PD conferences, and can provide safe, clean learning environments. But there are also a huge number in crummy areas where students, regardless of their effort, don’t have a chance. They are dilapidated, unsafe, full of violence, with teachers who work there because they can’t find another job and are running out the door ASAP. And to make it worse with No Child Left Behind those schools, instead of getting desperately needed support lose it. So, the child who is hard-working but born into poor-world won’t see the same outcomes as the rich white kid at the first type of school. He or she won’t have the same opportunities, unless he or she is a PHENOMENAL athlete, and will have to accept whatever route IS available. And then the rich kid will assume the other is lazy and doesn’t give a shit, and just wants to take the rich one’s money, which he earned by working hard, all the while ignoring that, guess what, the poor one tried too but has the deck stacked against him or her.

    I’ve seen the phrase used here alot, and it’s spot on. It’s the “I’ve got mine, fuck you!” mentality. And it’s not helpful to say the least. It’s borderline sociopathic, and yet our country seems to value it.

  72. Charlie Foxtrot says

    Oh yeah – Queensland.
    Sorry, forgot about your new LNP State Gubbmint. Bit of a flashback to the old Joh Bjelke-Peterson days, that. Still, that only lasted, what, 19 years?
    Ah, shit… sorry…

  73. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    Ing, I suspect we agree on the main point but not on the definition of ‘efficient’ used in my note. I was using it rather in the manner of Amory Lovins, who argues that capitalists are typically pathetically bad at what they claim is important, ie the efficient use of money to make money. His argument is essentially that poor system efficiency – waste- is throwing away money. It may not be the greatest argument of all time but it has enabled him to persuade some people to waste less, which was his intent. I’ve long felt that it is a satisfying insult.
    In this context we have a lot of people that claim to be capitalists but in fact are failing to make good use of capital to produce a more profitable outcome. Thus they are stupid.
    All of which was probably more boring than enlightening…

  74. Rip Steakface says

    Swordfish:

    A good friend of mine just started attending UO last year – he barely scraped in for the acceptance based on his prodigious musical abilities (extremely talented baritone singer, 1st in state for a high school oboe competition, excellent snare player, can pick up nearly any instrument in a few minutes, perfect pitch… dude’s a badass). Heard he’s having trouble paying for school, though. Obviously.

    Also, online homework systems? What is this, the 21st century or something? Down here in Oregon, we ain’t having no truck with them fancy eee-lectronic edumacation machines, nosiree!

    That’s only at my community college. My high school has no such thing – the closest we get there is the ability to keep track of grades online at any time.

  75. says

    In Finland you get about (from what I remember when I studied about 5 years ago) 200€/m of grant, 300€/m of loan that you don’t have to start paying until 2 years after you’ve finished studying, and a fixed portion (~80%) of your rent is paid up to a certain sum. So if you max out the loan and the rent compensation, you can get up to 700€ a month while studying.

    And you can work up to a certain pay limit, after which you’ll have to pay back the grant for the months you’ve earned too much.

  76. says

    Oh, and the universities have a semester fee that’s about 80 euros. That’s all it costs to study in any public educational institution in the country, after you’ve passed the entrance exam (or entrance qualifications, if your grades are good enough).

  77. mikee says

    I’d invite you to New Zealand, but our “wonderful” government has decided that our under resourced education system, which still manages to score in the top 7 in PISA scores has decided that increasing class sizes at schools and micromanaging tertiary institutions is the way to make us “better”
    I think the American play book has passed through Queensland and made it to NZ.

    By the way I was in Finland twenty years ago and the health and education systems were first class. And virtually everyone who would be 40 or younger speaks perfect English.

  78. The Swordfish, Ambulatory Memory Leak says

    Gnumann: Awesome! Bookmarked. Thanks for the link; I will definitely keep them in mind. I was really hoping to find a company that was employee-owned; while working for some soulless corporation in the US would have eroded my sanity and pushed me towards the breaking point of going all Bastard Operator From Hell on them (and probably failing and getting my ass fired), there’s a lot I would have put up with to get out of here, so it’s good to know there are good options.

    I apologize to the English language for that atrocious run-on sentence.

    Rip Steakface:

    A good friend of mine just started attending UO last year – he barely scraped in for the acceptance based on his prodigious musical abilities (extremely talented baritone singer, 1st in state for a high school oboe competition, excellent snare player, can pick up nearly any instrument in a few minutes, perfect pitch… dude’s a badass). Heard he’s having trouble paying for school, though. Obviously.

    This pisses me off so much. This is obviously a person who is at least ten times more talented than I am at anything (well, except maybe linguistics, but I’m not even going to be studying that at the UO), but purely through accident of birth, I get to (well, comparatively speaking) sail through with low cost to myself and my family while your friend has one hell of a time trying to get through. Feh. Academic credentials ought to matter, not money. I wish this country could wrap its three collective* brain cells around that idea. I suspect majestic squadrons of sus scrofa domestica volans will soar on gilded wings over the frozen slopes of Hell long before that happens.

    That said: I obviously don’t know if your friend has explored this option at all, but if he gets a job at the UO, he should (as I understand it) get the same tuition discount I get. It’s a pretty major discount, though I can’t remember the exact numbers. The only position I’ve really explored there is IT work, of course, so I don’t know if there would be any available jobs that would suit him.

    That’s only at my community college. My high school has no such thing – the closest we get there is the ability to keep track of grades online at any time.

    Ah! I withdraw my accusations of techno-devilry and internets witchcraft. It’s similar here, although the teachers at my high school were… not very good at keep our online Moodle-based grade system up to date, and very bad at making it comprehensible.

    *Alright, mean. In both senses of the word. Collective just sounded better prosodically. :P

  79. Rip Steakface says

    This pisses me off so much. This is obviously a person who is at least ten times more talented than I am at anything (well, except maybe linguistics, but I’m not even going to be studying that at the UO), but purely through accident of birth, I get to (well, comparatively speaking) sail through with low cost to myself and my family while your friend has one hell of a time trying to get through. Feh.

    Well, he had a piss-poor GPA. I think it was around a 2.2 when he graduated. However, he’s extremely intelligent and incredibly talented… just incredibly lazy for school work. He’d much rather play oboe, sing, or play a video game than do homework.

  80. coldthinker says

    The problem in the USA seems to be that poor people despise other poor people and consequently vote against their own interests. I believe this happens because the traditional social and political movement promoting the interests of poor people is called SOCIALISM, and socialism is somehow a swearword in the USA. Poor people allying with other poor people would be branded socialism and therefore unacceptable in the US by definition.

    It raises the question whether there is political pressure in the US to intentionally keep the level of basic education inadequate. It would seem to be quite efficient in keeping the lower income people ignorant and more easily misguided, while allowing only a few talented social climbers join the rich individually and share their political values. Some credibility to this idea is lent by the fact that American politicians are usually quite affluent, whereas in Europe even the parliamentarians are not necessarily wealthier than the average steady income citizen.

    Here in Europe it is possible to create social justice for even the low income people, because even the right wing politicians and conservative voters realize there are certain good things about certain socialist and social democratic ideals, even if the right wing rejects the idea of a socialist government as a whole. A government going too much against the interests of lower income people would be voted out of power. Moreover, such a government would be considered inhuman.

    The deeper American problem seems to be that the US is unwilling to learn anything from any other country. The Nordic countries constantly study different societies, learn from experiences of other nations and criticize their own shortcomings. Meanwhile the USA parades around as the world leader, considers itself the best and ultimate vanguard of everything and refuses to learn or take advice from anyone. It seems to take pride in its flaws.

    Yes, the brutal American competition may create billionaires, olympic gold medalists, even great inventions and top universities. But is it a healthy approach to building a decent society?

  81. oursally says

    Well, dear me, come to mainland Europe to study. (You Brits, this applies to you as well.) Tuition fees here in Baden-Württemberg are €1000 a year right now and will be abolished soon. Many unis have foreign students, they do a few weeks German course before you start. The company where I work has lots of foreign interns. The Uni where my daughter studies has some courses in English.

    Despite what the English-language press raves on about, the German economy is booming and desperately seeking techies.

    And if you have enough brain cells to get into Pharyngula you can learn German in a few weeks (or French or Swedish or whatever. Not Finnish, though :-) ). Anyway, most educated Europeans speak English very well.

  82. Lars says

    Silhouette Man is just saying what every goddamn socialist in Norden has been thinking for years.

    The sad thing is that we socialists seem to be heading toward minority status in Norden too. There are a bunch of people here who want us to go the ‘Murkin way.

    Because, just look at all the good that’s bringing ‘Murka???

    No, I don’t understand it either. WTF. Just WTF.

  83. VikingWarriorPrincess says

    Any takers for a biochemist and a musician?

    They are about to start building a major biological and medical research complex at the outskirts of Stockholm. Biochemists would most certainly be on the “must hire” list, musicians I’m not so sure about…

  84. VikingWarriorPrincess says

    my son is about to start a Ph.D at Concordia, and is still marveling at how his entire four-year programme will cost about as much as a single semester did at either of the American colleges he got his previous degrees at.

    Wait! What? You have to pay to get a PhD?

  85. says

    @107: Yes, they do charge tuition. However he has a TA and RA which will cover that and keep him and his cat well-supplied with alcohol and catnip (presumably respectively) as well.

  86. petejohn says

    @coldthinker

    It raises the question whether there is political pressure in the US to intentionally keep the level of basic education inadequate.

    I firmly believe that a not-insignificant portion of American policy makers want to chuck public education altogether, or at least put it on a road to extinction. That way they could use tax dollars to fund pet pork barrel projects and to buy more big missiles they can use to blow up poor brown people in other parts of the world. No Child Left Behind set a preposterously high standard that all children score proficient in math and communication arts standardized tests, regardless of learning disabilities or socioeconomic status.

    I have a fear that when the reckoning comes in 2014, and all of our children aren’t proficient, policy makers will say “Ahh, see! Public education is a black hole of lousiness! Kill it! Burn it at the stake!” Then education can be turned over to awful, for-profit charters which strip away all but the most essential services, and to church-run schools. I don’t think it’ll go that far, but I do think there are individuals who would love to see that.

  87. dysomniak says

    Then education can be turned over to awful, for-profit charters which strip away all but the most essential services, and to church-run schools.

    I initially read that as “for-profit charities” and didn’t even blink.

  88. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    @107: Yes, they do charge tuition. However he has a TA and RA which will cover that and keep him and his cat well-supplied with alcohol and catnip (presumably respectively) as well.

    I don’t know how that works out, but here doctorates are salaried. Not very good, but an ok entry-level salary. Roughly 60-80.000 $ pr. year.

  89. NitricAcid says

    And if you have enough brain cells to get into Pharyngula you can learn German in a few weeks (or French or Swedish or whatever.

    Does that mean I’d better stop posting here? I did a one-year post-doc in Germany, and miserably failed to learn much German.

    I can order a schnitzel, a doner, or a glass of wine, and that’s about it.

  90. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    are you sure you meant $s?! and if so, what kind of $s are they?!

    They are converted by lazy-ass Gnumann-$. It’s actually between 420.000 and 490.000 kroner a year (give or take 10.000 kroner in each end) and the one ‘murikan dollar is approx 6 kroner.

    Norwegian living expenses and salary level are high though. Like I said, it’s a common entry-level income in the public sector for people with talent and a masters degree.

    (Some finacial perspective: My 50 square meter apartment is worth approx 2.000.000 kr(and then there’s a monthly payment to the building society of 3.000 kr). In a two-person household we use 4-5000 kr in food and other small necessities. 1000 – 2000 in electricity each month. A beer in a place outside that’s not filled with old drunks is easily between 75 and 100 kr. I don’t do McDonals much, but I think a menu is roughly 100 kr).

    If you’re feeling inspired you can find vacant positions here – some are in English, some are not.

    Unfortunately the salary is just below the “this is so good you’ll have no hassle with immigration”-level. I don’t know how immigration for non-eu citizens work out for doctorates. If you find something interesting the institution will probably know or might be able to help out.

  91. mikee says

    I wonder if one of the problems with America is that a significant proportion of the population a so focused on what goes on inside America that they never look outside at what is going on in other countries, and perhaps see that a socialist society is not such a bad thing?
    I think earlier someone mentioned that they thought many Americans seem to think that there is something special about the USA. Perhaps the blinkers need to come off?

  92. says

    @115:I wonder if one of the problems with America is that a significant proportion of the population a so focused on what goes on inside America that they never look outside at what is going on in other countries, and perhaps see that a socialist society is not such a bad thing?

    That is absolutely one of the main things wrong with America. I see it every time I visit, and compare American TV news with the CBC — it’s an extraordinarily navel-gazing culture. Folks in this corner of the internet are an enlightened exception.

  93. says

    Norwegian living expenses and salary level are high though.

    unless they’re 6-8 times as high, that’s a fuckload of money.

    in a two-person household we use 4-5000 kr in food and other small necessities.

    5000/6 = 833. I’m guessing that’s per month. Which would mean you spend only slightly more on food than I do (but then, we’re food snobs)

    I don’t know how immigration for non-eu citizens work out for doctorates.

    luckily, that’s not a problem (for me; how does Norway feel about significant others?)

    Must see if there’s graduate programs in my field in Norway.

  94. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    (for me; how does Norway feel about significant others?)

    It could be better I’m afraid, but there is some special rules for significant others when you’re a EU-citizen. At a cursory glance it looks hitch-free – but I don’t know if they suppose that the S.O. has a living permit in an EU country or not. You can find some information here.

    5000/6 = 833. I’m guessing that’s per month. Which would mean you spend only slightly more on food than I do (but then, we’re food snobs) Per month yes, sorry, forgot to specify. I could easily use the double, we’re not snobs, but (at least when I’m doing the cooking) we don’t go for the cheap processed either). The real drain is living expenses though. If I had rented my apartment I would have paid roughly 2.000 $ a month. That is Oslo though, there are cheaper places to live (mainly – anywhere else).

    And, not a real drain in my mind, but there is some tax. At the level we’re talking here it’s 36 per cent after deductibles. And there’s not a crazy amount of deductibles.