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#2 - LOL, Sumner hits it out of the ball park!

Yeah, it was pretty good.

Not quite. What Sumner misses is that the Republican party is stuck by their supporters, not by their critics, even fairly cosmopolitan ones. A large mass wants zero negotiation with the Democrats because they think commiseration with the enemy has gotten us here.

We have huge problems. Negotiating with the people who participated is obviously problematic unless you paying zero attention. The democrats are still viewing the government and the nation as a single entity and a lot of people are ready to let the government go down. Maybe it's too big to fail, but people are almost ready to not care.

Pt by pt
1. Obama ended the negotiation. Maybe being the one to blow up and end negotiations qualifies as "eager to negotiate" but I'm not familiar with that definition of the term.
2. IDK
3. See comment above, appearing bi-partisan is a liability to the people who elect Republicans. This is the democracy you guys gave us. The ship is going down. What we need is what Obama promised to be in his first campaign, a uniter, not who he turned out to be, The Divider..

The long-term fix was never gonna be before 2013, so I don't agree with Scott that 2011 was a 'missed opportunity' for Republicans.

The most important election of the year happened already, in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is gonna go for Obama. Anyone who interprets this as a rethink of the March vote for Scott Walker is plain wrong.

I'm ridiculously optimistic we'll see a Reagan/Rostenkowski or Clinton/Gingrich -type deal here in the next year. Second-term President who sees his chance for a legacy, hostile House, difficult legislation that MUST be bipartisan. C'mon Barack, you're a Chicago deal-maker, not a crypto-commie, right?

So, I guess I'm not reaching for the "two-state solution" just yet.

+100 to Brian, exactly what I'm thinking/hoping

Clinton wasn't very popular with the Reps either, he was being impeached for pete's sake. And the deals got done.

The main difference, and it could be fatal, is Clinton LOVED politics: dealmaking, schmoozing, backslapping, even with your 'enemy'. Obama hates that stuff.

Forest & trees. The debt ceiling is a routine legislative matter. Negotiations are not necessary unless you draw an arbitrary line in the sand. The GOP tried to turn the debt ceiling vote into club with which to beat the president over the head, then professed shocked when he grabbed it and beat them right back.

Clinton may have loved politics, but Gingrich apparently loved brinksmanship. The Clinton/Gingrich deal didn't happen until it was apparent Gingrich was losing support because of the government shutdown. The lesson Obama could take is, call the Republicans' bluff. Let them dig their own hole.

"I’m ridiculously optimistic we’ll see a Reagan/Rostenkowski or Clinton/Gingrich -type deal here in the next year. Second-term President who sees his chance for a legacy, hostile House, difficult legislation that MUST be bipartisan. C’mon Barack, you’re a Chicago deal-maker, not a crypto-commie, right?" &"Obama hates that stuff."

Obama is not a compromise deal maker. Everything I've read about him indicates that he's not interested in anything other than a clear victory. The "I won" comments make it clear. The Woodward book makes it clear. Obama will never agree to anything the Right can point back to as a victory for their side. If Obama wins we can expect at least two more years of grid lock, especially if Republicans actually make gains in the House and Senate. Seriously, what dynamic will have changed? The idea that Republican's will suddenly have to cave to Obama's demands is delusional. Perhaps Obama will be more willing to compromise in his second term, but I've seen no evidence to indicate that he will. Neither side will agree to a position that they consider to be an abrogation of their principals. It's gridlock all the way, baby. ;)

#4. Wasn't convinced by the article's conclusions.

As to the titular question:

I theorize that professors had greater autonomy in the past than they do now. Without that autonomy, they feel the need to juke the stats. The incentive before was to do a good job. Now, I suspect academics are just trying to survive in an economy that wants to see academia shift to 1) business models and 2) job training.

Prediction: we will see more juking until the economy improves. Standardization attempts will intensify the juking.

Not bad, I guess I hoping for more of a south american sweden but with open borders, but hey, for my part I know I've always wanted to live in a city run by a Texas for-profit based on that stellar Texas governance model, with no taxes (I love how the planned public infrastructure will be 'initially' funded by the business itself since the 'government' will have no revenue. If that's not sustainable I don't know what is). Assuming there's never a chance for another Dutch West Indies, though, personally I'm holding out for Exxon City. I can't even begin to imagine what a free market haven it will be, not having to worry about things like employee petrochemical exposure and leukemia lawsuits. The more things change.

#4 IMHO there is an inherent conflict in teachers grading. On the the one hand their goal is to to aid the students so that they learn as much as possible but they are also to grade them to aid the overall society to know who is more capable and to be rigorous for reputation reasons.
I think that it would be better separate grading and teaching. The graders could take attendance and give test and judge projects and participation. The teachers would be motivated to help the students learn and the graders would be motivated to grade students so society knows who is most capable and diligent.

For the record, here's how I grade: I evaluate each question, and on exams each part of a question, as "A", "B", "C", or "D" level. I make the average difficulty 2.5 by my standards, typical distribution 20%,30%,30%,20% of each but the spread can vary. I have a grading scheme (adapted from a senior colleague) with linchpins at one-third credit for understanding, one-third for digesting the main idea(s) needed to solve the problem, and one-third for rigorous execution, and to my mind this corresponds to a curve with 90% = A, 84% = A-, 78% = B+, 72% = B, and so on. Thus to get an A you can get all the B,C,D and half the A, or allow one 3-pt. glitch on B,C,D and get 2/3 of the A-points, and there is similar logic to the other levels. I do "curving after the fact" only if there is some systematic factor, such as a glitch in my question. I regard "B" as meaning "fully satisfactory" and B+.A-,A as degrees of excellence pointing toward advanced (graduate) study; my medians are usually B- or C+ but I've had B and I've had top-of-C-range. I do perceive downward pressure on standards in recent years, particularly in areas that require linear reasoning (proofs) and lexical ability (mathematical notation and concepts esp. set theory; C++ syntax), and I ascribe it mainly to causes discussed here.

The median stats are for undergraduate courses with usually 50--100 students.

Ryan I am totally agree with your thoughts.

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