Balding Jews agree on higher education

Microsoft CEO and kajillionaire Steve Ballmer wants the state to spend more money on education:

“If you’re the CEO of the state of Washington, the first thing that you have to do is recognize that there is a capacity problem in our four-year institutions,” Ballmer said, when asked what he would do to help more people take advantage of job openings in high-skill fields here.

[…] “We have some issues about traffic … but at the end of the day, the most important thing in the context that we’re talking about here is education.”

Wow. Great minds think alike. In fact, way back in July of 2004 (before HA became a must-read blog) I lamented the UW’s decision to stop accepting community college transfers due to lack of capacity, warning that higher education is the economic engine that drives local economies.

Cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and even rust-belt poster-child Pittsburgh, survived the collapse of their manufacturing industries — and prospered — due largely to the influx of talent attracted to their prestigious colleges and universities. The best and the brightest don’t just grab their degrees and leave; many settle in their adopted cities, creating new businesses and industries, or attracting existing ones to the growing pool of qualified workers.

My question is, which schools are going to be the economic engines for Washington, when we won’t even spend the money to educate our own children, let alone attract talent from out-of-state?

I moved to Seattle as an adult about 12 years ago, so I don’t have the same provincial pride in local institutions as most of you natives. And I’m not ashamed to admit that from my snobbish, east coast, elitist perspective there is not a single undergraduate program in the state that I could brag to family about my daughter attending.

Or rather, I am ashamed to admit this, because I’m a Washingtonian now, and I’m embarrassed to see my neighbors talk about how hard it is to get into the UW — like it’s some kind of west coast Harvard — when in fact increased admissions competition is due to declining funding not rising academic standards.

The state Labor Market and Economic Analysis Branch projects about 4,400 new job openings a year for computer specialists through 2014, while Washington is graduating fewer than 700 a year in this field.

“The state does not need to produce 4,400 computer and math occupation workers every year,” Weeks said. “The state needs to hire that many every year. … Some of them are going to come from Ohio or overseas.”

Yeah, or, some of those jobs might eventually move to Ohio or overseas. It’s not like you need to invest in a multi-billion dollar factory to hire a keyboard jockey. This is an industry with a lot of inherent mobility, and if I understand my Adam Smith, our region’s high-tech industry might easily move these jobs to where the qualified labor is.

And don’t put it beyond companies like Microsoft to do exactly that. Indeed, Ballmer’s statement is more than a touch ironic considering that Microsoft already maintains a corporate headquarters in Nevada — presumably for some tax advantage — and while it’s not really fair to single out Microsoft for its tax avoidance strategies (apparently, that’s what wealthy corporations do,) I wouldn’t mind hearing Ballmer talk a little about how we might raise the extra dollars he advocates investing in education.

That said, Ballmer’s insight should not be lightly dismissed. When the CEO of our state’s most prolific millionaire mill says that increasing capacity at our four-year institutions is more crucial to the region’s economy than increasing capacity on SR-520, lawmakers might want to take notice. Washington state has a lot of amenities that makes it uniquely attractive, but our university system is not one of them. As I concluded back in 2004:

The UW is a good state university… but it is only that.

And it is not going to get any better unless we fund it properly. That doesn’t simply mean more tax dollars. We also need to build the kind of multi-billion dollar private endowment that all the best schools rely on. And we need to move away from subsidizing all students equally, towards a means-tested system where tuition approaches market prices, and students receive generous financial aid based on need.

Either that, or we can continue exporting our best and brightest out-of-state.

Not to mention our best paying jobs.


  1. 1

    ArtFart spews:

    Bah. This is probably just a prelude to Microsoft lobbying like mad to increase the number of H1b visas because Oh-My-Gawd-We-Have-A-Shortage-Of-Tech-Workers.

    Another CHEAP LABOR CONSERVATIVE(tm) in (sorta) sheep’s clothing.

  2. 2


    It may well be a prelude to such lobbying. But so what? Ballmer’s correct (and I guess that means DG is as well). Moreover the very fact that M’soft is willing to use political capital to change the number of H1b visas (whatever those are) logically indicates that there is indeed a shortage as they wouldn’t use that capital otherwise.

  3. 4

    Tuor spews:

    Yep. I predict a request for more H-1b visas as well. The main campus is already awash with Indians who’re here simply to make money and learn programming tips before returning to India, happy, I’m sure, to be going home and away from us Americans with our uppity service-people.

  4. 5

    Tuor spews:


    Actually, it suggests that Microsoft doesn’t want to pay more to domestic workers and is hiring foreigners to drive down labor costs, just as manual labor companies do when they hire illegals and recent legal immigrants.

  5. 6

    Libertarian spews:

    I’ve noticed a tendency for billionaires to tell us what’s wrong with everything and what’s important and why we should listen to them like their words are coming from The Burning Bush. Maybe I’d take them more seriously if they surrendered their total personal wealth to pay for what they think the rest of us should sacrifice for.

  6. 8

    Libertarian spews:

    RightEqualsStupid says:

    Libertarian you’re sounding more like a commie today than usual.


    It’s unintentional, RightEqualsStupid. I don’t like it when the super-rich attempt to direct my life and how my money should be spent. I get enough of that from the government, thank you very much! Just ’cause a guy’s lucky enough to have big bucks doesn’t mean he’s any better at solving my problems than I am, or anyone else’s problems, for that matter!

    Right now I’m not happy with all these big bucks being spent on this Iraq mess. We need to excuse ourselves from all this Middle Eastern turmoil. Nothing is being gained by engaging in a slug-fest with a bunch to Islamo-terrorists.

    As they say down home: time to piss on the fire and call in the dogs, ’cause the hunt’s over!

  7. 9

    Stefan Sharkookoo spews:

    We deserve it.
    We have a $100B road backlog and want the MITM (man in the moon) to pay.
    We have a serious shortage of college spots and want the MITM (man in the moon) to pay.

    This is a low tax state when uses an honest method to compute the tax load, in spite of the nice folks over at soundpolitics.yack.blather.drool. Take the total income and compute the total tax as a function and we are about 27th.
    We deserve whatever we do, as deliberate ignorance carries its own “reward.”

  8. 10

    Seattleruv spews:

    Sorry to jump into some actual policy stuff, but did you know that Washington has the strongest community and technical college system in the nation?

    Did you know that 41% of every bachelor’s degree earned in Washington starts at the community and technical college level and transfers? That includes about 40% of all engineers! The community college system produces most of the teachers and nurses as well.

    Interestingly, the UW and other 4-year institutions have about 40% of all of the students who seek higher education yet they receive 60% of the state higher education budget. The state community college system has 60% of the students and gets 40% of the budget. That’s OK, of course, given that real students living real lives just want to get access to opportunity. But it does raise the question of how to measure educational productivity, outcomes, ROI and other ‘efficiency’ AND ‘equity’ policy questions.

    Higher education isn’t just for ‘traditional, 18-year old students’. It’s working parents, ESL, adult basic education, technical training, transfer degrees and a ton of other value-add opportunities.

    And the system has a very, very strong distance learning program that is getting better by the day, month and year. There are close to 400,000 people who use the state community college system.

    There are 34 colleges in virtually every major community in our state. Hope you visit one soon.


  9. 11

    Mike Sells spews:

    In response to one of your questioners, the proposal to create a 4 year institution was ensconced in the Capital Budget. It is a branch campus of the University of Washington to be placed in one of the least served areas in the state with regards to a baccalaureate degree granting institution-Snohomish, Island, Skagit area. The campus will have a focus on science and technology according to the budget proviso. (That does not mean liberal arts would be left out.) The proviso also included $4 million for siting, a plan for the institution, and calls for a working partnership with area community colleges. Representative Dunshee, 44th District and I worked on the budget proviso, along with the Governor’s office.
    In addition, the legislature, in the appropriations budget, approved 9,700 new full time equivalent slots above the previous level.
    There is a lot more to do on education at all levels, however, along with the expansion of access to Higher Education. We need to make sure students receive the necessary education at the K-12 level that will help ensure success at the post-secondary level.
    State Representative Mike Sells
    38th District, Everett
    Vice Chair, House Higher Education Committee

  10. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 So it’s okay for rich guys to do what it’s not okay for government to do? (I.e., how to spend YOUR money for THEIR benefit?)

  11. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 If we keep paying community college teachers the way we’ve been paying ‘em, pretty soon we’ll have a total of 12 teachers to serve all 34 community college. Why the turnover in community college teaching slots isn’t as high as the turnover in airport screeners (over 100% a year) beats me.

  12. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 With all due respect to your district, Mike, isn’t S.W. Washington (e.g., Vancouver) farther away from any 4-year state institution than your district? And aren’t they in even greater need of a state educational institution for commuter students who can’t afford to live away from home? Why isn’t Vancouver next-in-line to get a state college?

  13. 15

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Ballmer needs to do something to look good. They rattle their sabers over their 300 plus patents supposedly infringed by open source. . .only to shoot themselves in the foot. Two days later Schwarts of Sun announces he will use all two thousand plus patents they use, many of which pre-date and invlaidate much of the vaporware patents MS has, to defend open source software.
    Then it was pointed out that the GPLv3 will, through their agreements with Novell-SuSe completely negate M$’S PATENTS.
    Ballmer needs some good press. . .there is some speculation that these missteps could cost him dearly. . . .

  14. 17

    ArtFart spews:

    11,14 I think I may agree with Roger here. Siting another 4-year institution specializing in science and technology in north Puget Sound puts it in competition for enrollment and resources with WWU.

    It might also be pointed out that the recent failure of Cogswell in Everett might suggest that folks from up north might be more inclined to go to the main campus in Seattle if they want to be Huskies.

  15. 19

    ArtFart spews:

    15 Anyone other than IBM who thinks they can benefit from starting a major technological patent war has to be smoking some really good stuff.

  16. 20

    GS spews:

    It kind of reminds me of a certain favorite Billionaire Buffett, talking about the need for estate taxes, er that is just before he bypassed that entirely himself by giving 30 Billion (it all) to the charity (Gates) of his choice.

    One of those thousand points of light……(Not Government)

    Billionaires like these goons love to pontificate about what the middle class and poor people should be willing to give and fund, as long as it does not include giving up one of their boats, cars, homes, or billions of toys to fund.

    Keep it up Microsoft, you’re making an ASS of yourself more every day.

  17. 21

    TacomAroma spews:

    I’ve been banging the education drum for years. Personally, I think we need to start shifting some of the education that happens in community college and university to the high schools. I know many wunderkind code monkeys of the 15 – 20 variety who could have used a bit more technical education in high school and who have no desire to pursue more education while their being paid $20+ an hour.

    As much as I hate to admit it, Ballmer is right. We need to start cranking out more engineers here in the state if we want to keep these jobs around.

    As to to the Microsoft-as-Millionaire-Factory meme I see you throwing around, Goldy: those days are long gone. We’re all wage slaves now. Microsoft is now nothing more or less than Boeing was in the 1970s. That is, a good place to work that pays a decent wage. No one’s getting stupid-rich working here anymore.

  18. 22

    Libertarian spews:

    Roger @ 12,

    I don’t recall ever kissing any rich guy’s butt on this blog. Or any other blog, for that matter. I’m not too keen on the government taking my money or a bunch of corporate hooligans scaming the government into gettin’ the public to pick up the tab for a sports arena.

    When guys like Balmer get on their soap boxes about how we need to do this or we need to do that, I don’t see many of them puttin’ their money where there mouths are. Mr. Balmer, Mr. Gates – want a better-educated populace?? Then how about YOU two picking’ up the tab!

  19. 23

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    ArtFart@19 You got it sweetie. IBM is already on record as holding their patent portfolio in reserve to defend Open Source. They won’t start any patent “war”. but they’ll surely finish it.
    I was pleasantly surprised , though, by Sun Microsystems weighing in also with approximately the same position. Ballmer, and VISTA, are going down in flames in a big way. They spent a ton of money under the table to see SCO get ground into dust when they took on Linux and GNU software. Now their much vaunted patent initiative appears to be dying stillborn.

  20. 24

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    @21 I’m looking at it from ‘way outside, but I gotta agree in large measure. The difference is, I see M$ ultimately taking themselves out of the market altogether. It’ll take time, but it’s coming.
    Accounting hi-jinks will only plaster over the unmitigated disaster that is VISTA for so long. Meanwhile, their inability to buy enough legislators in the EU to get traction for software patents (eeww!) plus their failure to derail the OpenDocument standard in Massachussetts. . .and now Caleefurneea is looking at it. I see major economic trouble on the horizon.
    And that’s without discussing their problems with overseas sales. . . .

  21. 25

    ArtFart spews:

    “Mr. Balmer, Mr. Gates – want a better-educated populace?? Then how about YOU two picking’ up the tab!”

    Well, they sorta-kinda make an attempt at appearing like they are. The Alliance for Education and several other groups seem to get a lot of Gates Foundation grants. The funds then go towards paying herds of $1,000-a-day “consultants” who inevitably end up issuing reports saying that everything with the schools will be mo’ better if they just buy more PC’s.

  22. 26

    ArtFart spews:

    There seems to be a repeat going on of what happened when XP first hit the streets. Microsoft convinced all the analysts that their shiny new operating system would put them back on that steep growth curve they were on in the 90’s. The real problem with that is once you get to a certain size, you can’t double-triple-quadruple your revenue in a few years because there ain’t that much money on the whole damned planet.

    It’s worse with Vista, though, because it’s so bloated it won’t even run on most existing hardware. So they’re cooking the books like mad, shipping freebie “developer” copies all over the place and foisting pallet loads of OEM sets off on their resellers, and calling all of it “sales”. In the meantime, they shot up a trial balloon with the Novell deal and the saber rattling over patents, in hope they could convince Wall Street they might be able to literally “scare” up a few more customers.

    Enough on this, though. This is a political blog. We should be doing our techno-ranting on Slashdot.

  23. 28

    proud leftist spews:

    Ballmer is correct, and there ain’t no question about it. In a nation that current polls suggest half the population does not believe in evolution and 75% believe the Bible is literally true (we do have a lot of lying going on with such polls), pouring money into education is a luminously clear necessity. We have talked about Seattle becoming a second-rate city for simply losing the Sonics. We are becoming a second-rate nation for becoming idiots who chafe against knowledge. How about those of us who live in this state, which is far better off than most states, start emphasizing education? I think Ballmer is articulating a no-brainer.

  24. 29

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    proudleftis@28 I cannot argue with your points. . .however, Ballmer desperately needs a PR lift, and from my jaundiced viewpoint is employing the Wookie defense.

  25. 30

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    To be fair, Wazzu has good Ag and Veterinary Sciences programs, and a great program in Veterinary Medicine. And I don’t think there are any undergrad programs anywhere that can beat the UW’s Fisheries programs.

  26. 32

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @19 If they do, SCOTUS will accomodate them by rewriting the definition of what is a patentable invention even more narrowly then they just did. Right, I’m sure patent attorneys all over America are advising their clients, “Whatever you do, don’t sue!”

  27. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @32 Of course, the drug companies had it coming to them, because they don’t invent anything “new.” They simply reformulate or combine old drugs and try to patent them as “new” drugs. SCOTUS just put an end to that nonsense, and we should be seeing a lot more generic drugs soon.

  28. 34

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @20 “Billionaires like these goons love to pontificate about what the middle class and poor people should be willing to give and fund, as long as it does not include giving up one of their boats, cars, homes, or billions of toys to fund.”

    Careful now, you’re starting to sound like a Democrat.

  29. 36

    GS spews:


    Yes and there are also times lately I might add that you also sound a bit like a Republican, although I don’t always mention them for fear it might haunt you into submission :)

  30. 37

    Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

    Does anybody besides me find it just hysterically funny that the guy who is foisting the biggest hoax the world has ever seen has the chutzpah to write a book about people not being able to reason?

    How many of you are going to go see him when he’s here Monday?

    If ya do, ask him if he knows how interpret the sign of R squared. Do you gullible fools?


  31. 38

    Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

    Hey leftist – “explain” evolution to me.

    More specifically, show me how hydrogen plus time equals life.

    Here’s a quiz: The geologic column can be found in nature.

    1) True
    2) False.

  32. 39

    Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

    Didja see where the top guy at NASA said that “global warming” isn’t something we need to “wrestle with”.

    He asks good question… who the fuck are we to say that today’s environment is optimal? Maybe “Greenland” really should be green.

    Who wooda known…

    Obviously, he needs to be sent to re-education camp and “spend more time with his family”. Who from Pelosi’s Politburo will do that?

  33. 40

    Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

    34 rabbit – as usual, exactly backwards.

    Losers like you love to pontificate how the rich should “invest” their money to “give back”. It always fucking amazes me how people with no money think they know how people who do have money should spend it.

  34. 41

    Rob spews:

    I agree with you. But on a minor note, Boston, Philly, and Pittsburgh have very few state colleges. The colleges that attract people there are private. And we don’t have much in the way of prestigious private colleges. So that probably stregnthens the argument to support our public colleges.

  35. 42

    Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

    Just wondering… how many of you think the Kennedy/McCain amnesty bill is a good idea.

    Does it fucking tell you anything if The Swimmer, The Silencer, and The Betrayer are all in favor of something?

  36. 43

    Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

    How many of you are aware that The Producers already pick up about 80% of the tab at taxpayer funded universities? Few of you…

    Think I’m FOS? Check tuition rates at UW and Seattle U schools of bidness.

    UW is essentially free with only a token payment required.

    If 80% isn’t the right number, what is it? 85%? 90%? 100%? How bout 200%… that is… pay students to go to school?

    I can’t wait to hear…

  37. 44

    Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

    Leftist 28 – I agree 100%. To quote you…

    Ballmer is correct, and there ain’t no question about it. In a nation that current polls suggest half the population believes in global warming and 75% believe Algore’s movie is literally true (we do have a lot of lying going on with such polls), pouring money into education is a luminously clear necessity. We have talked about Seattle becoming a second-rate city for simply losing the Sonics. We are becoming a second-rate nation for becoming moonbats who chafe against knowledge. How about The Producers who live in this state, which is far better off than most states, start emphasizing education? I think Ballmer is articulating a no-brainer.

  38. 45

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Roger@35 I’d be the last person to advise you on stocks. That being said, I have several thoughts for you, if you have a ‘position’ in M$ equities.
    First, some reading: Peter Salus’ book The Daemon,the GNU, and the Penguin, available free for downloading on the ‘net. Second, peruse almost anything by my favorite intellectual property lawyer, Eblen Moglen, of the Free Software foundation and ‘Creative Commons’ fame. His discussions of the GNU Public License are luminously informing, and highlight many of the future shoals M$ faces.
    Third: A little story. I have a brother who spent thirty plus years as a Senior Chief Engineer at DEC. His extensive options portfolio was ‘underwater’ until the day Compaq bought DEC out. I believe he hurt himself getting to the telephone the day this was announced. There is no way you could induce him into investing in any hi-tech stock in today’s market.

  39. 46

    Real Life Fact spews:

    Hypocrite (definition)- Anyone who yells “cheap Labor” whose party employs volunteers.

  40. 47

    Real Life Fact spews:

    Hypocrite (definition)#2- Anyone who spews “cheap Labor” whose party employs volunteers.

  41. 48

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @37 Even if I knew nothing else about him, the fact you hate him would be reason enough to vote for him, and I hope he gets elected just to get your goat! Pay your fucking gambling debt, welsher!

  42. 49

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @38 “show me how hydrogen plus time equals life”

    Hold a match under your ass.

  43. 50

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @49 I used to know a guy who blew up a toilet that way. The explosion cracked the bastard in two! The toilet, I mean.

  44. 51

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @40 No, you’re mistaking me for someone else. I love to pontificate about how poor trailer park trash like you should pay their gambling debts! If you can’t afford to gamble, then don’t.

  45. 52

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @43 Well let’s see, Redneck. The rich are making a profit off the labor of all those college-educated kids … so why shouldn’t they help pay for it?

  46. 53

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @45 Hmmm … right now I’m making money on the Xbox. I know the OS sucks, but is there anything wrong with the Xbox?

  47. 54

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @46 I gladly donate my time to the Democratic Party in order to save my country from you fascist ratfuckers. If you don’t like it, write your complaint here [ ] and send it here __.

  48. 55


    Ah, Mr. “Fact”

    I keep reading this tripe from you under your many names and was wondering what problem you had with volunteers.

    Then I realized that Republicans generally do not volunteer. You folks have become the “what’s in it for me?” party, and cannot conceive of the idea that people might actually donate their own time for no reason beyond wanting to make the country a better place.

    Yes, the hours I volunteer sorting eyeglasses for the Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center takes money away from some multinational corporation that would like to get tax dollars to supply eyeglasses for poor people in other countries. If only the Lions Club had to pay me for my time, they might go out of business and let some “deserving” company get a government contract to provide a couple hundred pairs of glasses and make a couple million dollars in the process.

    And the time, effort and food I supply to the local food bank means that some other huge corporation cannot make a profit on some government contract to perform that function. Wow. How selfish of me.

    Oh, and because I and a bunch of other volunteers put together the playground equipment at local elementary schools means that yet another company couldn’t charge the school district hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it. Some poor, beleaguered corporate executive might miss out on his million dollar bonus this year. His children might not get new yachts this Christmas. (Year old yachts! How will they face their friends?)

    And yes, while I (and many others) spent hours volunteering on the phone bank calling Democrats and encouraging them to get out and vote, those poor Republicans had to spend good money hiring telemarketing firms and robo-callers to try and discourage those same voters. Hardly seems fair, does it?

  49. 56

    Dan Rather spews:


    At least the burger flippers are actually doing something productive. If you democrats want to volunteer in fucking the country that your business, keep your commie noses out of everyone elses.

  50. 57

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Hey Redneck! Why does Bush threaten to veto every piece of legislation that helps workers? Is he a worker-hater? I think so. Kind of ironic that a politican who devoted his career to helping the rich get richer hates the workers whose labor is the source of all the wealthy class’ money.

  51. 59

    Dan Rather spews:


    Then I realized that Republicans generally do not volunteer. You folks have become the “what’s in it for me?” party, and cannot conceive of the idea that people might actually donate their own time for no reason beyond wanting to make the country a better place.

    What a bunch of BS. You democrats want to dip into someone elses pocket to make yourself feel better. Democrats are always charitble with other people’s money.

  52. 61

    Al Gore spews:

    Democrats love to volunteer for their silly causes and claim “It’s from the heart” or “look how charitible I am”, but if a 19 year old volunteers to take a lower wage in order to learn a skill it’s slavery. What was that definition again (see #46).

  53. 62

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The rightwing media must be scared shitless of John Edwards, because they’re out to get him:

    “Are Media Out to Get John Edwards?

    “by Jeff Cohen

    “Give me a break about John Edwards’ pricey haircut, mansion, lecture fees, and the rest. The focus on these topics tells us two things about corporate media. One we’ve long known — that they elevate personal stuff above issues. The other is now becoming clear — that they have a special animosity toward Edwards.

    “Is it hypocritical for the former Senator to base a presidential campaign on alleviating poverty while building himself a sprawling mansion? Perhaps. But isn’t that preferable to all the millionaire candidates who neither talk about nor care about the poor? Elite media seem more comfortable with millionaire politicians who identify with their class ….

    … I’m growing quite suspicious about the media barrage against Edwards, who got his wealth as a trial lawyer suing hospitals and corporations. Among ‘top-tier’ presidential candidates, Edwards is alone in … criticizing corporate-drafted trade treaties and talking about workers’ rights and the poor and higher taxes on the rich. …

    “Given a national media elite that worships ‘free trade’ and disparages Democrats for catering to ‘extremists’ such as on Iraq withdrawal, the media’s rather obsessive focus on Edwards’ alleged hypocrisy should not surprise us. Nor should it surprise us that we’ve been shown aerial pictures of Edwards’ mansion in North Carolina, but not of the mansions of the other well-off candidates. Or that a snob such as Brit Hume of Fox News is chortling: ‘What Would Jesus Do With John Edwards’ Mansion?’ Or that we’ve heard so much about Edwards’ connection to one Wall Street firm, but relatively little about the fact that other candidates … are so heavily funded by Wall Street interests.

    “Or that Juan Williams and NPR this weekend teed off on Edwards for saying he’s ‘so concerned about poverty’ while pocketing hedge fund profits and $55,000 for a lecture at University of California, Davis. NPR … didn’t mention that Davis paid other politicians the same or more for lectures. Or that Rudy Giuliani gets many times as much for speeches. You see, those other pols aren’t hypocrites: They don’t lecture about poverty.

    “What’s really behind the media animus toward Edwards is his ‘all-out courting of the liberal left-wing base’ (ABC News) or his ‘looking for some steam from the left’ (CNN). One of the wise men of mainstream punditry, Stuart Rothenberg, said it clearest in a … column complaining of Edwards’ ‘class warfare message’ and his ‘seeming insatiable desire to run to the left'; the column pointed fingers of blame at Edwards’ progressive campaign co-chair David Bonior; consultant Joe Trippi; groups such as and Democracy for America; and a bring-our-troops-home message ‘imitating either Jimmy Stewart or Cindy Sheehan.’

    “Leave it to Fox’s Bill O’Reilly to take the mainstream current over the cliff – bellowing Tuesday that Edwards has ‘sold his soul to the far left … MoveOn’s running him … His support on the Internet is coming from the far left, which is telling him what to do.’

    “What seems to worry pundits — whether centrist or rightist — is that Edwards is leading in polls in Iowa, where the first caucuses vote next January. … If Edwards is still ahead as the Iowa balloting nears, expect coverage to get far nastier. …

    “Today, elite media are doing their best to raise Edwards’ unfavorable rating. But … it’s hard for mainstream pundits to paint Edwards as ‘unelectable.’ Polls suggest he has wide appeal to non-liberals and swing voters. After years of pontificating about how Southern white candidates are the most electable Democrats for president, it’d be ironic for even nimble Beltway pundits to flip-flop and declare that this particular white Southerner is a bad bet simply because he talks about class issues.”

    Quoted under fair use; for complete article and/or copyright info see

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: The rightwing MSM media believes ideas like everyone having access to health care and making a living wage are “radical” and “left.” The fact they don’t like Edwards, in my book, is a good enough reason to vote for him! If he’s pissing off the rightwing MSM media, he’s doing something right.

  54. 63

    A democrat volunteer spews:

    The rightwing MSM media believes ideas like everyone having access to health care and making a living wage are “radical” and “left.” The fact they don’t like Edwards, in my book, is a good enough reason to vote for him! If he’s pissing off the rightwing MSM media, he’s doing something right.

    Now if I can only get my own party to believe that.

  55. 64


    Actually, Mr. Rather, you do have a bit of a point.

    Some of those folks volunteering with me are, indeed, Republicans. We have some very interesting political discussions, and occasionally have to “agree to disagree”.

    None of them, however, routinely agree with everything the Bush administration says. A number of them feel more than a bit betrayed by the current bunch in the White House, because they believe in what the Republican party keeps saying that it stands for. You remember, small government, personal responsibility balanced with personal freedom, individual rights and liberties.

    In some cases, there are one or two important beliefs that prevent them from becoming Democrats, and they realize that under the current system, if they don’t belong to a major party, they get no input as to candidates for office.

    They give me a bit of hope for the Republicans. I have said before that I would like to see honest people of good will retake control of that party, although I really think that it may simply be too far gone.

    So, Mr. Rather, while I do not agree with almost anything you say, I’m hoping that you are one of those volunteers providing hours of free labor to the many volunteer outfits that need your help.

    Do that, and I won’t even object if you volunteer at a Republican phone bank.

  56. 67

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @66 It’s time for Democrats, like stern parents, to take control of the kids’ allowances and cut off their credit privileges at the candy store.

  57. 68

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Speaking of “hypocrites,” GOP candidate Fred Thompson is a tin-plated phony. Do you want the next president to be a guy who spent nearly 20 years in the Beltway as a highly paid lobbyist representing America’s biggest corporations? Does that someone like someone you’d trust to look after your health care, pensions, social security, the safety of your food supply?

    “Critics point out that Thompson’s aw-shucks, shit-kicker populism is more than a little bit phony. That he spent 18 years as a registered Washington lobbyist, doing the bidding of such high-powered clients as General Electric and Westinghouse, pushing for the passage of the deregulatory legislation that led to the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s.”

    Yeah, does this sound like someone you want as PRESIDENT? Me — I don’t fucking THINK so … !!!

  58. 69

    proud leftist spews:

    On further consideration, you’re correct. The theory of evolution is horseshit. Humankind certainly does not seem to be improving. Indeed, you seem to prove your point–as a species, we are regressing. When neanderthals like you think that you have something of value to say, and others of our species believe you, then the concept of evolutionary progress looks quite nonsensical.

    With love,
    Proud leftist

  59. 70

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @63 Just what this blog needs — another wingnut liar pretending to be a Democrat! Or is it the same wingnut liar posting this same-old wingnut bullshit under 20 different screen names?

  60. 71

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @61 You aren’t Al Gore. You’re a wingnut bullshitter pretending to be Al Gore. Isn’t it funny how all the wingnuts on this board pretend to be Democrats? That’s because they don’t want anyone to know they’re Republicans. The GOP brand name is a bit tarnished these days.

  61. 72

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @56 If you want to see someone who’s an expert at sticking his nose up someone else’s butt, look in a mirror.

  62. 73

    A democrat volunteer spews:


    Hell yes I am a democrat when coming to charity. I am not going to give any of my hard earned entitlements away.

  63. 74

    Al Gore spews:


    That’s internet talk. Now do you believe I am Al?

  64. 76

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Actually, the ‘corporate headquarters’ MS keeps in Nevada is the offices of its Licensing department. I know this because it’s barely a mile from my apartment here in Reno, and I drive by it nearly every day. It does make sense that MS would move some of its operations to Nevada, with its lower B&O taxes, though the traffic around here is beginning to remind me of rush hour on Southcenter Hill.

    I also agree with previous posts that Vancouver and SW Washington could use a true four-year college in its area. I’d guess that means that the Wazzu branch campus there doesn’t really cut it.

  65. 77



    Senator Edwards is about as far left as I am, so having the mainstream media call him “far-left” is absurd.

    But I really haven’t heard that much in the real media about haircuts and the like. The right wing pundits keep making the noise, but the MSM seems to be resisting the bait.

    I doubt this is because of any political stand that the MSM is taking. They seem to like clear, easy decisions with known names and faces, so they’re focusing on a couple of anointed “front runners” and are ignoring everyone else.

    As I type this, CNN is busy fawning over Ms. Clinton, while ignoring the rest of the Democrats. In a few minutes, they’ll start in for Mr. Giuliani and probably talk about Fred Thompson, and ignore the rest of them. (Yes, they seem like a pretty ignorable bunch.)

    Senators Clinton and Obama are the folks getting 98% of the attention in the Democratic race, unfortunately for reasons having little to do with their qualifications or positions on issues.

  66. 78


    So, “democrat volunteer”, where do you volunteer? Is the time you’re putting in here, working hard for the Republican party, part of what you consider charity?

    Or, like the other Republican trolls around here, are you living in your mother’s basement, drawing unemployment and reading “Soldier of Fortune” while complaining that other people don’t work hard enough.

  67. 79

    proud leftist spews:

    John Edwards has more integrity in his piss than do all of the Republican presidential candidates combined. I have no idea which of the Democratic candidates I want to win. I am quite pleased, however, at the rich choices we have. Lord, Mike Gravel is better than any of the Republicans. Of course, as an old Alaskan, I’m a bit partial to whatever the Great Land throws our way.

  68. 80


    From a UW Prof

    Goldy has it right but his answer is wrong.

    Feeding more comm college students into the UW makes no more sense then it would do have the UW print diplomas and sell them for $199.

    We already have two examples of this sort of thing… one in Tacoma and one in Bothell. These branch universities represent half hearted attempts at spreading the availability of a University education on the cheap. Kids who go that route are ebign cheated and all UW students suffer form the diminution of the vlaue of their degrees.

    Currently the State requires that UW reserve 1/3 of all slots for comm. college grads. This can only mean one of thwo things .. the first two UW years are overpriced, ineffective alternatives to a community college OR we are diluting the quality of the UW in return for the lowr4 cost of a CC education.

    I suspect both are true .. entry livel courses at the UW are not what they should be ebcause we do nto have the finds or the facilities we need to do a good job. So we fail the Freeshman and Sophmores and they might as well save a buck and go to comm college.

    This idiocy represent a form f educaitonal inflation that dflates the value of the student’s degrees. .

    If we are to be hinest, the UW should take fewer students abd d a better job with those we do get,

  69. 81



    Years ago, an old friend of mine was going to UC Berkely. He did all of his undergrad work at UC, and later went on to his Master’s.

    He told me of basic classes taught in auditorium sized classrooms, where the actual teaching was done primarily by grad students. Looking back and comparing notes with me, he was convinced that his first two years would have been better spent in the CC system, with occasional classes at UC.

    You’ve in a far better position to evaluate UW than I am, but as far as those basic background classes that students need in order to really understand what you’re trying to teach, are they really better classes at UW than at TCC?

    Don’t sell the CC system short. Rather, it would be more productive to ensure that they coordinate with UW to make sure that they have classes designed to give their students the lower division “basic” classes they need to succeed at UW.

    As we both know, some students spend their first couple of years at college exploring newfound freedoms and gaining valuable information about the choices that they will make later.

    For some, the social aspects of being at a “four-year” school are important, and if the students and/or parents are willing to pick up the extra tab for that, great. Schools often say that those social aspects are an important part of the overall education, and I suspect that for some students, they are correct.

    But I suspect that the actual academic portion of their educations is equally well served by the community college system.

  70. 83

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    “What a bunch of BS. You democrats want to dip into someone elses pocket to make yourself feel better. Democrats are always charitble with other people’s money.”

    Just like the George Bush, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh wing of the Publican party always wants to go to war with other people’s kids! Asshole.

  71. 85


    @81 John

    I do not disagree that the first two years at the uW are NOT what they should be. BUT, the implication is that we should do away with these years, reduce the UW to a two year school RATHER than improve those two years.

    To illustrate the absurd result of such a policy, imagine a proposal to close Harvard’s Freshman and Sophomore years?

    The problem with the UW is that it has become a diploma mill. Because too many students go there, we lack the resources to provide the quality of education our top kids deserve.

    As an example you derifde the use of grad students in freshman classes. I agree wiht you IF those grad students are not up to the job. BUT, if they are the advantage to the freshman student of working with a student who has the commitment to be a grad student are immense. That does not gainsay the role of the faculty. What we should have is a manageable class size and model where students can be exposed to the quality of ideas that is normal at a great research school. Replacing the current model with part time, poorly paid teachers who are not working in their fields, is not a good answer for Harvard or for the UW.

  72. 86


    While my friend did comment that he would have been better served taking those classes at the CC level, the main complaint he had was the auditorium sized classroom and limited interaction between students and instructors.

    And in that sort of one-way, limited interaction setting, those grad students were probably just as qualified as anyone to teach background subjects, and the grad students probably gained valuable experience as well.

    But I cannot envision a grad student able to direct the sort of interactive course that I have always found to be far more instructive and useful, even at the basic level, without the close supervision of a more experienced instructor.

    I’m pretty sure that we’re actually on the same side of this issue. My concern is that the CC system is, and should remain a viable way of pursuing a “four year” degree.

    I do not advocate that the UW should be limited to simply upper division classes. First, different students thrive under different circumstances, and second, academic advancement is only one aspect of college life. Additionally, there is something important that can be gained by the interaction of students at various levels of academic achievement.

    Because of that, I would very much like to see more emphasis given to lower division classes at UW. But at the same time, the level of instruction being given at most CCs is (and should be) as high as that given at UW, at least in those classes designated as being in the UW input track.

    Back to my friend. He had little interest in the social aspects of UC life. His goal was to learn what he needed to know in order to do the work he wanted to do. (It would probably not surprise you to learn that he was going for a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and has been rather successful.)

    Different needs, different goals.

    In closing, I would be careful about deriding the “part time, poorly paid teachers”, although I agree when those teachers are not working in their fields, and it would also be nice if that “poorly paid” description was not so accurate.

    But some of the best, most instructive courses I’ve taken were at University of Phoenix, where the instructor was only teaching one course, three nights a week. He taught a marketing class at night, and was marketing director for a successful business during the day.

  73. 87


    Hi John,

    I am certainly not deriding the CC teachers. They are victims of our system. By defining their roles as we do, these poeple are the intellectual equivalents of farm workers.

    That said, the vlaue of a University should be in both the classes and the extra-classroom activities. These can not be mimicked at a CC.

    Should folks be able to urn 4 year degrees in many venues? Of course. BUT, if we accept the paradigm of the CCs, we will lose the upper level expertise that we need to be competitive.

    Here is an innovative idea:

    ABOLISH the current system and recreate it as the Washington Higher Education Learning Program. All post-secondary education would be within WHELP and we would try to maximize use of or resources.

    In this model, attendance at the UW would decrease so that we use the UW to provide the access to professionals required by the most demanding students. However, a UW student might take practical courses at a CC where that model works better. E.g. why use UW faculty to teach introductory Spanish? At the other extreme, a student at Evergreen interested in Molecular Genetics might take that course electronically via UW while a UW student interested in a writing class at Evergreen might work online with some writer who prefers the Evergreen atmosphere.

    The UW and Evergreen kid might well be required to take a second language as a spoken language .. as a skill. That might well mean these students have to use CC resources! On the other hand, students planning to work as technicians might be enrolled in work study programs in UW labs.

    Of course, then the football team would be up for grabs! Where wold we send atheletes?