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"Finally, since we live in a twenty-first century economy that increasingly demands a college education, efforts at improvement can't stop at high school's end. Students must have access to a wide variety of options that will give them the skills they need for successful careers. We must stop fueling skyrocketing tuition prices that put higher education out of reach for some and leave others with crushing debt."[1] - Gov. Mitt Romney

YOCEMENTO, Kan. - Let's grant that tuition is "skyrocketing." What could Gov. Romney be advocating as a way of putting higher education in reach without crushing debt?

Broadly speaking, there are two strategies for making higher education accessible.

YOCEMENTO, Kan. - The Republican caucuses in Kansas today produced forty delegates to the Republican National Convention. It looks like thirty-three will be supporting Richard "Rick" Santorum and seven will be supporting Willard "Mitt" Romney for the Republican nomination for President. No other candidates are supposed to get votes from the Kansas delegation to the national convention this summer in the first round.

Here is a brief explanation of just why Mr. Santorum receives thirty-three and Mr. Romney his seven.

YOCEMENTO, Kan. - Since the possibility of an industrial wind operation in Ellis County, Kansas, became a real possibility, I have been among those who have been very concerned about placement of these 400 feet tall tower and blade assemblies. The experience of a significant number of people living near industrial wind operations elsewhere has been a bad one. Though many people are not affected by the audible noise and the inaudible low frequency waves of pressure, a significant number of people suffer health problems from living too close to a turbine.

Warren Zevon, to my knowledge, though he commented on US foreign policy, werewolves, and headless Thompson gunners, never got around to singing about industrial wind turbines or the election of 2010. Of course, he died of cancer in 2003; maybe we shouldn't hold it against him.

But his prayerful plea, "Don't Let Us Get Sick," which continues with "don't let me get old / don't let me get stupid, alright," seems designed particularly for the election of 2010. Stupidity seems to be more infectious than H1N1 this year, and in Ellis County, at least, there do not seem to be enough doses of the vaccine to go around.

HAYS, Kan. - The State of Kansas should plan on $130 million less than we had previously thought, says the Consensus Estimating Group in a memo sent yesterday to Governor Mark Parkinson and the Legislative Budget Committee.

The Consensus Estimating Group says that for the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, the state should now plan on $46 million less than it had been planning on. Next year's budget will have to incorporate that $46 million cut and then cut another $84 million.

The Fruit Is On the Ground

HAYS, Kan. - I know. Criticizing a campaign mailer -- or maybe that should be spelled "campain maler" -- is like picking the fruit hanging so low it's almost on the ground. But maybe you will allow a little venting.

I won't criticize the use of suggestive phrases instead of actual assertions ("Kansas values. Kansas commonsense.") Nor will I criticize the assertions that are only questionably relevant: "Five generations of Mann's [sic] have lived in the house his great-grandfather built." OK. But he lives more than 100 miles to the east.

But then we get these words: "Free market solutions for healthcare reform" and "protect Social Security and Medicare." Under the assumption that he is listing these things because he supports them, isn't there a problem here? Neither Social Security nor Medicare are "free market solutions," and that is their glory. We have learned from hundreds of years of experience now that free markets are greatly inventive, but without assistance they promote inequality. In fact, they promote so much inequality that those who can no longer sell their labor or intelligence on the free market would be left without the necessities of life.

So which do you want, Mr. Candidate, free market solutions or help for the elderly?

HAYS, Kan. - The Ellis County Zoning and Planning Commission met in its monthly meeting on Wednesday, November 18.

The one piece of business discussed by the commission came from Commissioner Keith Campbell. Mr. Campbell proposed that the commission adopt a bylaw which said that when considering board business, if a commissioner "anticipated the opportunity" to personally benefit by the action of the board in the value of $1000 or more, that commissioner should publicly state that. Any recommendation then going forward from the zoning board to the Ellis County Commission would include the notification of the anticipation of opportunity.

TOPEKA, Kan. - The state will have about $235 million less than the legislature had planned on in passing the state budget in May, 2009, says the estimate from the Consensus Estimating Group and released today by the Governor's office.

The $235 million deficit amounts to about 4.2% of the budget for the current fiscal year, which began July 1, 2009, and runs through June 30, 2010.

Governor Mark Parkinson promised last week that he would take executive action to cut the budgets of state agencies to keep state spending in line with the declining revenues. This line of action is in contrast with the actions of former Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who--when faced with revenue shortfalls a year ago--preferred to have the legislature take action when it returned to session in January.

HAYS, Kan. - Running around on the internet and sometimes on paper is a little story that tries to draw an analogy between students' performance in a class, socialism, and--sometimes--President Obama's public policy proposals. It was reprinted in my local newspaper this morning under the headline "Socialism and you: What lies ahead for the United States?"

This analogy could bear a little analysis.

First, here is a quick version of the story: a college professor and class agree that everyone in the class will get the class average as a grade. On the first exam, in which traditional behaviors prevail--some students are striving for good grades and some not so much--everyone gets a B. On the second, everyone gets lazier and they all get D's. Then for the final exam, discord is added to laziness, and everyone ends up failing.

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This is the main archives page for Paul Faber. To learn more about this author, you can also read a short biography of Paul Faber here.

Just a few of the most current posts by Paul Faber are excerpted in the center of this page. However, we have links to this author's complete archives, listed below.

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