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Author Topic: Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!  (Read 12798 times)

Zxcv

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Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!
« on: January 22, 2003, 01:32:13 am »

I took Jason's recent paper:
http://www.freestateproject.org/stateanalysis2.htm
to heart, and tried to generate weight vectors that would make each state win. The idea was to find out how implausible I had to make the vector to get each state to win.

I was using my large spreadsheet, which normalizes a bit differently than Jason's (does not penalize poor performers as badly) as well as leaving some flexibility in choice of ideal value for each row. It also has more rows. I will send this spreadsheet to anyone who wants to play with it. However, this analysis will work with the regular spreadsheet as well. It's just that I have saved the weights favoring the different states in mine, reducing some work.

The criteria I started with was this:
Pop variable always at 20% of total weight.
Some weight in Gov2, Inc, Dep, Tax, EFI, Job and Ideology if possible.

This spreadsheet, when I run it, generally shows WY the clear winner by quite a margin, so I did not bother to find a vector to make WY look good. Also, when figuring my vectors to make other states look good, the task was always to get a number better than WY's. Here are the results:

AK: It was relatively easy to make a plausible case for Alaska, and to get a reasonable margin over WY. This was surprising to me.

VT, NH: Not too hard to get these to beat WY, but the margin was small.

ND, SD, DE: Hard to get these to beat WY (the vector has to be fairly implausible) and the margin is small.

ID: Could not quite get ID to beat WY. However I put the ideal value for the job forecast at an intermediate number. The reasoning here is that we want enough jobs to employ FSP folks, but not so many that the state draws statists. If I had made jobs a simple "higher is better" measure, ID would probably be up with ND, SD and DE above.

MT: Could not make MT beat WY with any plausible weighting.

ME: Maine is utterly hopeless.

If you put the Pop variable weight lower, this would be helpful for other states (esp. ID and NH), but there is a limit to how low we want to put this weight. Of course, putting it higher just helps WY out more.

As far as I'm concerned, we have a clear winner, and it would take a real shake-up to see another state de-throne Wyoming. Take a look at my weight vectors (I've saved one for each state) and see if you don't agree. Jason, I will email this to you so you can take a look.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2003, 11:02:30 am by Zxcv »
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Robert H.

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Re:Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2003, 01:24:39 pm »

Zxcv,

Could you post your final scores for each state based on your calculations?  I don't have the best head for number-crunching and mathematical theory, so the whole spreadsheet probably wouldn't do me much good, but I would like to see how close the states are to one another on your base criteria (or maybe a couple variations).

If you have the time of course.    ;)

Zxcv

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Re:Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2003, 01:53:17 pm »

Well, Robert, I could, but that would be pretty pointless. Everyone is going to have their own way to weigh things, so the scores derived from my particular weighing would not be too helpful.

What Jason was getting at, was that some sort of weighing needs to be cooked up to make a given state #1. So proponents of each state ought to propose weighings to do that, and we can then argue over those weighings. Additionaly, I am saying I tried to follow Jason's prescription, to make each state win, and that is impossible with some states, and it requires a very implausible weighing for others. I would like to get some of these state proponents to pick up the gauntlet, and come out with a vector that will be plausible and that puts their state at #1. Especially, proponents of ND, SD, DE, ID, MT and ME ought to give this a try; I'd be very interested in what they come up with.

For example, this is my best weighing to put Idaho as high as I could get it, using the constraints I mention above:
Pop20
Area0
Native%0
Geo0
Vot0
Fin0
Blm0
Den0
Liv0
Crm0
Urb0
Gov10
Gov25
Inc0
Dep5
Tax5
EFI25
Job0
Land0
Pres0
Gun0
GovEmp%10
GovEmp0
Perpupil$0
NEATeach0
AllTeach0
UrbClu%0
UrbArea%0
Rural%0
PrivateLand0
Homeschool5
Ideology25
HunterOrange0
Gov2percapita0
Revenue0

(this post has been modified per Joe's tips below - thanks, Joe! - to get the formatting right)

Note EFI and Ideology are very high to get Idaho up in the rankings. The good news is that these are two important variables; the bad news is it still didn't do the trick, and an awful lot of other things had to be ignored.

I'm not saying better vectors are impossible to come by for Idaho or any other state; but I am saying I didn't have much luck doing it (FYI this yielded a score of 805 for ID against 812 for 1st-place WY).
« Last Edit: January 25, 2003, 12:37:10 pm by Zxcv »
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Kelton

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Re:Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2003, 01:58:06 pm »

I have to concede defeat, It's all over for me, I will most likely vote for Wyoming first.  I had to stare blankly for five minutes then think about it for another hour or so when you presented some of your findings last night, just to know what all that data was about and all of that explanation of weightings, Zxcv.  But I finally got it, I will mention that I have a few problems with some of the original data on the FSP research page and I am going to see if I can find some better sources or at least challenge some of the numbers.

On the other thread, Zxcv, you mentioned how Wyoming has a weakness :
Quote
You can see for example, if we ended up in Wyoming, we'd need to work on the judicial end of things to improve the picture, e.g., tort reform.

A vibrant source of the problems that Wyoming has in regard to excessive litigation come from the tremendous amount of powerful activism and change inspired by Gerry Spence and his fellow "country lawyers for the little people".
But to say that Gerry Spence is a menace in Wyoming is incorrect.  He is a very strong constitutionalist and as far as I can tell, he leans somewhat libertarian, mostly on social issues, where he works pro bono using the law and the system as it is to work for justice for all people.  He has trained thousands of lawyers and a great number of judges in this country to think passionately in the cause of liberty for individuals.  He and his fellows just get a little carried away with their love for excessively large damage awards and their fight against "big business and corporate culture".  I also understand that many successful trial lawyers have homes in the artsy city of Jackson, Wy.  (who says that Wyoming is so different from Vermont?)    
« Last Edit: January 22, 2003, 04:56:47 pm by exitus »
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Zxcv

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Re:Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2003, 02:08:38 pm »

Wow, I actually convinced someone of something in an argument? That's something new!   ;)

Don't give up the ghost yet, exitus. Consider:

1) I'm using my own extended spreadsheet. This exercise needs to be re-run (by the various state proponents) on the official sheet, which is somewhat different.

2) There are always more rows that need to be added to spreadsheets, and we also ought to filter out variables that are dependent ones so we don't end up double-weighing things. It's amazing what a few extra rows can do to the rankings.

3) This analysis mostly ignores intangibles. They have to be worth something...

I'll send you my spreadsheet, you can take a look at it and see what you think...

BTW, that's very interesting info you found about Gerry Spence. How the heck did you know where to find that, anyway?
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Zxcv

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Re:Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2003, 02:58:16 pm »

I am trying to figure out how to post things in nice columns in this dang YaBB, so I can show the tentative weight vectors to favor each state. The best I can do is below. Does anyone know how to show columns?  >:(

Variable   AK   ND   VT   SD   DE   MT   ID   NH   ME
Pop      20   20   20   20   20   20   20   20   20
Area      0   5   0   5   0   0   0   0   0
Native%    5   0   0   0   0   0   0   5   0
Geo      10   10   5   0   0   0   0   0   0
Vot      0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Fin      0   5   5   0   0   0   0   0   0
Blm      0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Den      0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Liv      0   5   5   5   0   0   0   0   0
Crm      0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Urb      0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Gov1      0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Gov2      10   0   5   15   10   5   5   15   0
Inc      10   0   0   0   10   5   0   15   0
Dep      10   0   10   5   15   5   5   15   0
Tax      10   0   5   5   10   5   5   10   0
EFI      10   10   5   10   10   5   25   10   0
Job      0   0   0   10   10   0   0   0   10
Land      5   5   0   5   0   10   0   0   0
Pres      0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Gun      0   0   5   0   0   0   0   0   0
GovEmp%      0   0   0   5   0   10   10   0   0
GovEmp      0   15   15   0   5   0   0   0   0
Perpupil$   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
NEATeach   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
AllTeach   0   5   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
UrbClu%      5   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
UrbArea%   0   0   10   0   5   0   0   0   0
Rural%      0   5   5   5   0   0   0   0   10
PrivateLand   0   0   0   0   0   10   0   0   0
Homeschool   5   0   0   0   0   0   5   0   0
Ideology   0   5   0   10   5   0   25   10   0
HunterOrange   0   0   5   0   0   0   0   0   0
Gov2percapita   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Revenue      0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0

« Last Edit: January 28, 2003, 01:14:37 pm by JasonPSorens »
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Kelton

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Re:Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2003, 03:14:46 pm »

Wow, I actually convinced someone of something in an argument? That's something new!   ;)

Don't give up the ghost yet, exitus. . . .
I still have many more important variables that nobody has thought of yet coming down the pipeline.  Don't worry, I'm still going to keep thumpin' the virtues of Idaho, if for no other reason than to get a few Downeaster- Mainiacs to consider entirely leaving beautiful Maine.

Quote
BTW, that's very interesting info you found about Gerry Spence. How the heck did you know where to find that, anyway?
I have been following Gerry for years.  I first was inspired by his words watching those old Fred Friendly debates on PBS years ago.  My brother's boss, who received his doctorate from the U. of Wyoming a few years ago mentioned that his name is all over the place there, probably a very generous alumnus.  

« Last Edit: January 22, 2003, 04:33:14 pm by exitus »
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2003, 01:08:36 pm »

I also did some weightings using Paul's spreadsheet to see what would be needed to help each state win.  In general, it wasn't too difficult to get AK to win.  The weightings for AK are similar to my ideal weightings.  I basically just had to tinker with smaller variables to get AK past WY.  On major variables, de-emphasizing size by reducing the weightings on # of voters and campaign spending helped; I also reduced the weighting on dependence and presidential conservatism.  But these changes were all relatively small.

To get ND over the top, changes had to be a bit more radical.  Size emphasis was almost the same as under the ideal weightings, though voting age population was reduced by 1.5.  Federal land ownership had to be de-emphasized by 50%, state & local spending had to be significantly emphasized (5.5 total weighting, increase of 1.5 on ideal), & of course federal dependence had to be radically de-emphasized (from 10 to 6.5).  Government employment and geography also had to be notably increased in emphasis.

To get VT over the top, there had to be some significant changes, but generally in areas different from those that helped ND.  De-emphasizing size variables except for campaign spending helped.  Putting a good bit more emphasis on low land area helped.  Slightly more emphasis on crime, state & local spending, income, dependence, jobs, government employment, & gun control helped.  A major emphasis on lack of urbanization and a high rural population was necessary.  Presidential conservatism and federal land ownership had to be totally de-emphasized.  Surprisingly, increasing the weighting on geography slightly helped Vermont, in combination with the above changes.

Getting SD to win was quite difficult.  Campaign spending had to be radically discounted; private land had to be radically emphasized.  Area & native population required significant emphasis.  Total population, voting age population, and # of voters had to be reduced in emphasis.  Crime, state and local spending, state and local taxes, government employment, EFI, Jobs, and SBSI all had to be increased, some of these substantially.  In general, South Dakota does well the more you take economic policy & environment into account.  Presidential conservatism had to be almost totally discounted.  Geography's significance was slashed, and the importance of rurality was weighted heavily.  Doing all of this sneaks SD past WY by a point.

Even though DE finished a distant fourth under my ideal weightings, it's not difficult to put DE into a comfortable first, provided you accept certain assumptions.  By putting slightly more emphasis on small area, much less emphasis on federal land, slightly more emphasis on state & local spending, slightly more emphasis on jobs, much less emphasis on presidential conservatism, less emphasis on gun control, much less emphasis on urbanization, and significantly more emphasis on geography, Delaware comes out tops by a decent margin.  You don't have to zero out any variables except rural population, which is zero in my ideal weighting anyway.

To get MT on top you have to make radical & fundamental changes to my ideal weighting and accept some assumptions that, in my view, are problematic.  Size in all its aspects - population, voting age population, 2000 voters, area, campaign spending - must be radically discounted.  The following variables must be essentially zeroed out: native %, livability, crime, income, EFI, AllTeach, homeschooling regs, hunter orange, SBSI, kids kidnapped, kids sold.  Dependence and state spending weights must be slashed.  So what's left?  Well, if you make lack of urbanization/more rural population as the most important factor (the 2 variables combined) and make amount of private land also one of the most important variables, then Montana beats everyone else - except Wyoming, so you need to increase the importance of geography to put Montana over Wyoming.  Long story short: Montana is the Maine of the West.  Let's forget about it.  In my spreadsheet I reached about the same conclusion, though I gave MT the benefit of the doubt on "intangible" factors.  But Paul's spreadsheet quantifies many of those intangible factors, and it turns out MT does not do particularly well on them.

Getting ID to come out first is just as difficult as MT.  The main problem ID faces in this spreadsheet is that the Jobs variable has been changed.  In the website spreadsheet, more Jobs is always better.  In Paul's spreadsheet, you can specify an ideal # of Jobs.  I specified 75 (thousand), which makes ID look pretty bad - they have too many jobs!  To get ID to come first, I had to radically de-emphasize all size variables, even more than I did with MT.  I had to drastically increase the importance of federal land ownership.  I had to increase the importance of presidential conservatism, gun control, government employment, EFI, citizen ideology, homeschooling regs, kids kidnapped, & kids sold, while downplaying federal dependence.  On top of all that, I had to calibrate the geography variable just right to get Idaho past Alaska and Wyoming, both of which are 1 point behind ID in the weighting scheme in that column below.

It wasn't very difficult to get NH in first place with a few assumptions.  Size was de-emphasized somewhat, but not nearly as much as was necessary to help MT and ID.  Some de-emphasis of federal land ownership also helped.    Increasing the weighting on federal dependence by 1.5 put NH ahead of many other states.  I also increased the weightings on jobs, gun freedom, income, crime, state & local spending, citizen ideology, rural population, government employment, and a host of minor policy measures.  Overall, the NH-first weighting did not deviate immensely from the ideal weighting.

ME is hopeless.  Getting it into 1st place took me a long time.  Eventually I found a weighting that did it: I gave geography a "13" weighting (almost twice as important as voting population), urbanization an "8" weighting, rurality a "7" weighting (making this combined concept the most heavily weighted measure), and private land an "8" weighting.  All size variables had to be dramatically cut.  So did federal dependence.


Click on the URL below for a captured image with the weightings that were necessary to put each of these states into first place (barely).  The "JPS" column lists my ideal weightings, which gave Wyoming a significant lead.

http://pantheon.yale.edu/~jps35/weightings.jpg
« Last Edit: January 28, 2003, 01:17:55 pm by JasonPSorens »
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Zxcv

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Re:Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2003, 11:49:27 pm »

Sounds like you got roughly the results I did, although I confined my experimentation to fewer, more important variables. It was more a quick and dirty thing.

Interesting that your ideal weight vector is quite a bit different than mine, but our results are not that far apart:

You
1 WY
2 AK
3 ND
4 VT

Me
1 WY
2 SD
3 AK
4 ND

I think my vector could use some more tweaking.

I'm impressed you managed to get Maine into first place.  :o

It's starting to look like WY is the default champ, we need to look at AK and ND some more, and the ease of getting NH into 1st place for both of us makes it look good too.

Now that we're starting to get a handle on the weight vectors needed to put states in 1st, I'm anxious to see if proponents can defend them.   ;)
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Kelton Baker

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What the Spreadsheets Tell Us
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2003, 10:10:53 am »

Before getting swayed too far by anecdotal evidence, I would remind all to not ignore and dismiss the quantifiable factors.

Some people have said a lot of negative things about relying on spreadsheets.  I too have been a critic, but before running from them, consider:

The research work of dozens of individuals went into these spreadsheets, well over a thousand hours of research went into this data.  All of the data entered has been widely discussed by hundreds on this forum from different persuasions and by different state fans.  It is a popular myth that the work of collecting data for the spreadsheets was only done by biased Wyoming fans, far from it.
Here is a discussion of that very spreadsheet and the factors in it:
What the Spreadsheets Tell Us

Then , the State Data page has factors that have been considered from the beginning of the FSP that are on the State Data Charts and the rankings found just below these on that same page.
 
Best summarized by this though it is outdated :
A Re-Examination of the State Comparison Matrix


Just a quick note from the extensive "huge" spreadsheet report and the weighed vectors, as presented:

Freedom Culture, as per the spreadsheet data report, as of last printing:
WY> ID> NH> SD> AK> ND> MT> VT> DE> ME
Alaska likely has surpassed SD with the adoption of "Vermont carry" by now in the most current update.
Note: population and livability had nothing to do with this ranking, this is a composite of all measures of freedom culture alone.

Personal Freedom as per the spreadsheet data, as of last printing:
ID> WY> NH> AK> ND> MT> SD> VT> ME> DE
Alaska likely has surpassed NH with the adoption of "Vermont carry" by now in the most current update.
Note: population and livability had nothing to do with this ranking, this is a composite of all measures of 'personal freedom' culture alone.

Economic Freedom, again, per the report:
WY> SD> ID> ND> AK> NH> MT> VT> ME> DE
Again, please note that population was not a factor in this ranking.

Government Spending Tendencies
NH> ID> SD> ND> DE> ME> MT> VT> WY> AK
Ah hah!  The New Hampshire folks were right, NH is pretty impressive in this regard.

Government Taxing Tendencies
AK> NH> WY> ID> SD> MT> ND> VT> ME> DE

Many more, but best to read the report yourself to get a handle on all this, I can't do it justice by summarizing it here in this post. ... http://www.freestateproject.org/spreadsheetstellus.htm

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Re:What the Spreadsheets Tell Us
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2003, 10:21:05 am »

WY> ID> NH> SD> AK> ND> MT> VT> DE> ME
ID> WY> NH> AK> ND> MT> SD> VT> ME> DE
WY> SD> ID> ND> AK> NH> MT> VT> ME> DE
NH> ID> SD> ND> DE> ME> MT> VT> WY> AK
AK> NH> WY> ID> SD> MT> ND> VT> ME> DE

WY: 1, 2, 1, 9, 3
NH: 3, 3, 6, 1, 2
ID: 2, 1, 3, 2, 4

Averages?  WY: 3.2  NH: 3  ID:  2.4
Worst score?  WY
First places:  WY: 2  NH: 1  ID: 1
Second or better:  WY: 3  NH: 2  ID  3
Highest low score:  ID

Conclusion - NH doesn't do so well.  WY has the most wins, but ID actually scores better on average and has the highest low score.

- edit - rephrase above statement:

Conclusion - Though WY has the lowest average, it has the most first place wins in this analysis.  NH doesn't do so well (it wins neither the averages, first place wins, or best low score).  ID actually scores best on average *and* has the highest low score of the three.

V-

« Last Edit: July 01, 2003, 10:28:24 am by varrin »
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Kelton Baker

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Re:What the Spreadsheets Tell Us
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2003, 10:33:15 am »

WY> ID> NH> SD> AK> ND> MT> VT> DE> ME
ID> WY> NH> AK> ND> MT> SD> VT> ME> DE
WY> SD> ID> ND> AK> NH> MT> VT> ME> DE
NH> ID> SD> ND> DE> ME> MT> VT> WY> AK
AK> NH> WY> ID> SD> MT> ND> VT> ME> DE

WY: 1, 2, 1, 9, 3
NH: 3, 3, 6, 1, 2
ID: 2, 1, 3, 2, 4

Averages?  WY: 3.2  NH: 3  ID:  2.4
Worst score?  WY
First places:  WY: 2  NH: 1  ID: 1
Second or better:  WY: 3  NH: 2  ID  3
Highest low score:  ID

Conclusion - NH doesn't do so well.  WY has the most wins, but ID actually scores better on average and has the highest low score.



Of course, that is using only the factors that I cited, Freedom Culture, Presonal Freedom, Economic Freedom, Government Tendencies, Government Taxing Tendencies...
there are more.

Yes, Somehow Idaho just doesn't come out all that bad, time and time again, despite having several negatives against it.

Spreadsheets aside, New Hampshire clearly wins the whole race on reputation, anecdotal evidence, history, personal examples, support from LP, and other hard-to quantify factors.

Please note that many of the quantifiable factors that are in the 101 Reasons to Vote For New Hampshire made it into the spreadsheet, nobody has tried to stonewall anybody out of Zxcv's massive project.

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Re:Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2003, 10:48:35 am »

The spreadsheet doesn't tell us that the western states have government school mandates in their constitutions that may stonewall our most important reforms.

The spreadsheet doesn't reflect NH's huge electoral system advantage that will give far more porcupines the critical political experience needed to seek more competitive higher offices.

The spreadsheet doesn't accurately reflect the jobs picture, the single most important factor in our daily lives.
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Re:Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2003, 10:52:28 am »

The spreadsheet doesn't tell us that the western states have government school mandates in their constitutions that may stonewall our most important reforms.

The spreadsheet doesn't reflect NH's huge electoral system advantage that will give far more porcupines the critical political experience needed to seek more competitive higher offices.

The spreadsheet doesn't accurately reflect the jobs picture, the single most important factor in our daily lives.

Actually it does reflect those things. Just reflects them in an unbiased manner.
FYI, Wyoming allows you to amend the state constitution from what I have read.
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varrin

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Re:Extended spreadsheet analysis: It's all over, folks!
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2003, 11:14:37 am »

FYI, Wyoming allows you to amend the state constitution from what I have read.

That'll be an impressive feat too...  "We're here... now can we amend the Constitution?"  ;-)

Actually, if the freedom culture is sufficient, *and* interested parties are successful at providing alternatives, the WY state school system (or any other in a state with a Constitution mandating schooling) could be reduced to one teacher somewhere in a closet drawing a small salary to 'school' an empty room...

If it got to that point, it'd be a no brainer to amend the constitution...

V-

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Departed Fresno, PRC (Peoples Republic of California): October 18, 2004
Arrived Keene, FS (Free State!): October 25, 2004!
To contact me, please use email, not PM here.
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