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July 4, 2014: Salon Crowns Obama Our Messiah

Sunday, July 6th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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In a long-winded, rambling essay (as its long-winded, rambling title indicates), Jim Sleeper used Salon to perform one of the most out-in-the-open disinformation and glasnost operations yet seen in the pages of the liberal press.

On the face of it, Sleeper’s complaint comes off as yet another intellectual bemoaning of the state of American culture dressed up for a hot night out in multi-syllabic tones, much akin to Julia Roberts’s whore of  a character in Pretty Woman. I’ll be the first to bemoan our declining literacy rate among adults, but really, Jim?

Our cure would also require reweaving a fabric of public candor and comity strong enough to resist the rise of ressentiment, a public psychopathology, once associated with the rise of fascism, in which insecurities, envy and hatreds that many have been nursing in private converge in scary public eruptions that diminish their participants even in seeming to make them big.

Working that hard to tart up your prose can blow even the best Mata Hari’s cover. And so it did, as I quickly sniffed out the disinformation in the works. Sleeper’s intense obsession with the politically correct “white boys with guns” myth, that has been carved into the shiv meant to take down the Second Amendment, acted as the sole defense of his thesis: We have no shared culture and it’s driving our young boys mad! A lack of shared culture is the grain of truth, blaming the guns is the disinformation that suits the bill.

Sleeper’s solution? Glasnost, of course: Obama as Messiah has come to save the day, embodying the best of shared American culture of years’ past only, somehow, in his mystical way, making it even better:

In 2008, Barack Obama seemed to incarnate so brilliantly the promise of weaving our diversity into a new republican discipline — he even invoked Puritan and biblical wellsprings in some of his speeches — that many people ’round the world considered him a prophet who would satisfy their hunger for new narratives. Probably no national political leader ever can do that.

Bow in praise of the political leader incarnate! A prophet! Our  promised Savior! That is the glasnost: not an “openness to the West” but opening to the best of the West in order to use it to glorify the leader. It should come as no surprise that two days after learning that Americans believe Obama to be the worst president since World War II, Jim Sleeper is running a glasnost campaign over at Salon for his Messiah-in-Chief.

That is how disinformation and glasnost work. These are no longer foreign nor ancient terms. These are 21st century strategies for political conquest. In his essay, Sleeper was also quick to criticize the “invisible hand of God” cited by America’s founders. He would have to, considering that invisible hand carried within its Divine reach the implication of human independence. And on July 4, Sleeper, so quick to crown his earthly messiah, was keen to have none of that.

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Hobby Lobby, Disinformation and the Real War on Women

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Birth control advocates were quick to crow “War on Women” this week when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby’s ability to deny funding 4 out of 20 forms of birth control for their employees. Opponents have made a tidy disinformation campaign out of debating the merits of RFRA and hanging chad-like definitions of what is and isn’t an acceptable contraceptive. If you can concentrate past the shouting, you’ll see the gaping hole in the conversation regarding women’s health.

For all their wailing and gnashing of teeth, the anti-Hobby Lobby gang has yet to campaign against the right to restrict women to pap smears on a 3-5 year basis. Perhaps that is because pap smears aren’t being restricted by closely-held companies on the basis of religious beliefs, but by the tenets of the Affordable Healthcare Act, which follow government guidelines that have determined women no longer need PAP smears on a yearly basis.

A pap smear is a 5 second gynecological test that screens for pre-cancerous cells and cervical cancer. It also tests for HPV, the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the United States that can lead to genital warts, and as Michael Douglas will inform you, certain types of cancer in both women and men. Despite following guidelines to the contrary, President Obama cited the importance of pap smears when justifying Planned Parenthood’s $487 million annual grant from the government, claiming the money is meant for “mammograms and cervical cancer screenings.”

With mammograms that aren’t provided for women under 50 (women over 50 qualify once every 2 years) and Pap smears that are only paid for, at a minimum once every 3 years, the real deficit in women’s healthcare has nothing to do with birth control and everything to do with women’s health beyond their supposed immediate and ceaseless need to diffuse all threats of conception. After all, cervical cancer is slower to develop than a baby in the womb.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was quick to react to this week’s Supreme Court ruling, saying, “This is deeply troubling, because you have organized religions that oppose health care, period.” If this was an argument about health care, Pap smears and mammograms would be on the table. Wasserman Schultz’s complaint has nothing to do with health care and everything to do with a religious belief that ranks higher than a woman’s right to choose life or death for her unborn child.

Which is potentially why the public remains consumed with the compelling dead horse that is a “woman’s right to choose”. The tension over whether or not Roe v. Wade will ever be repealed is much more engaging than the stark reality of a healthcare system that is willing to let cancer go undetected. Disinformation campaign well played, and not without its irony. Obamacare supporters’ ardent trumpeting of the War on Women should come as no surprise given that they have become the generals in charge of the massacre.

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FIRE Fights for Speech Freedom on College Campuses

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I know I’m a day late getting to this story, but it’s still worth flagging. FIRE — the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — is taking on speech codes at four universities. Speech codes are those draconian, arbitrary means of squelching debate and policing thoughts that leftists have imposed on university campuses across the country. They will impose them off campuses if they’re ever given enough power. It’s a totalitarian move made allegedly in the name of tolerance, but mostly in the name of people wanting and gaining power over other people.

FIRE is fighting that.

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2014—This morning, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) coordinated the filing of lawsuits against Ohio University, Chicago State University, Iowa State University, and Citrus College (Calif.). The filings launch FIRE’s new Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, a national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits. The project and lawsuits were announced today at a press conference at the National Press Club.

FIRE has retained preeminent First Amendment attorney Robert Corn-Revere of the national law firm Davis Wright Tremaine as counsel for students and faculty members participating in the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.

“Unconstitutional campus speech codes have been a national scandal for decades. But today, 25 years after the first of the modern generation of speech codes was defeated in court, 58% of public campuses still hold onto shockingly illiberal codes,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “For 15 years, FIRE has fought for free speech on campus using public awareness as our main weapon, but more is needed. Today, we announce the launch of the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, an expansive new campaign to eliminate speech codes nationwide. We have already coordinated two lawsuits in the past nine months, and this morning we brought four more. The lawsuits will continue until campuses understand that time is finally up for unconstitutional speech codes in academia.”

Read the rest at FIRE’s site. They say they won’t stop until speech codes are eradicated from all US college campuses. Anyone who has a problem with FIRE over these lawsuits has a problem with freedom.

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Gary Oldman & the Right’s Latent Antisemitism

Monday, June 30th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

We all know by now that actor Gary Oldman denounced political correctness in his recent interview with Playboy magazine. However, if you’re only a reader of conservative news sources, you most likely aren’t aware of the fact that Oldman dropped the n-word repeatedly, used a grotesque and derogatory slang word for the female anatomy, and included one of the oldest and most offensive Jewish American stereotypes in his rant:

Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him—and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough. He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know? But some Jewish guy in his office somewhere hasn’t turned and said, “That f***ing kraut” or “F*** those Germans,” whatever it is? We all hide and try to be so politically correct. That’s what gets me. It’s just the sheer hypocrisy of everyone, that we all stand on this thing going, “Isn’t that shocking?”

Conservative news readers couldn’t possibly be aware of these immoral platitudes because the story was covered in right-wing media with the following headlines:

Conservative Star Gary Oldman Denounces Liberal Hollywood, Hillary Clinton

Scott Whitlock, the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center, published a report in NewsBusters that focused on Oldman’s anti-Hillary comments and criticism of Obama. Whitlock prefaced Oldman’s quote about Pelosi being a “c**t” with the statement, “In the Playboy interview, Oldman used offensive and vulgar language to complain about political correctness.” The article was promoted on Facebook with the following statement: “What this Hollywood Star Just Said About Liberals Will Make You Stand and Cheer.”

Gary Oldman Rails Against PC “Crap,” Liberal Double Standards in Hollywood

Josh Feldman at Mediaite made Oldman’s grotesque comment regarding Nancy Pelosi the centerpiece of his short coverage of the now infamous Playboy interview. But when it came to the Hollywood Jews, he summarized Oldman’s antisemitic rant down to, “He said so many ‘f***ing hypocrites’ condemned Gibson, but they privately use words like he did.”

Gary Oldman Attacks Outrage Culture in Playboy, Gets Outraged Response

Mollie Hemingway at the Federalist crowed about reading “the entire interview” and quoted several excerpts, except for the ones about the Jews who run Hollywood, n*****s, and f*gs. Because those wouldn’t really help support her point that “people lost their everliving minds” over Oldman’s belief that “political correctness is crap,” a belief Hemingway and her editors at the Federalist wholeheartedly share.

Famous Actor’s Fiery Rant Against “Political Correctness,” Hollywood Double Standards — and His Theoretical Nancy Pelosi Joke Will Make Jaws Drop

Jason Howerton’s story from The Blaze did not originally include the comments. It was later “updated with additional comments from Oldman’s interview,” including the Hollywood comment that every other conservative-leaning news outlet I’ve found so far has failed to print.

When I confronted conservative friends over their defense of Oldman’s commentary, I was told that I was “getting my panties in a bunch” over being “noogie’d” for the greater good of the anti-PC campaign. When I asked what the dividing line was between being anti-PC and pro-antisemitism, I was told that I was insinuating that my friends were antisemitic, and therefore I should issue them an apology. Again, I pressed the question and, again, I received the same response: In essence, I was being a touchy, oversensitive Jew.

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School Accuses Five-Year-Old Boy of ‘Sexual Misconduct.’ You Won’t Believe Why.

Thursday, June 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Idiots.

SURPRISE, Ariz. — A 5-year-old boy in Surprise is accused of sexual misconduct for pulling his pants down on the playground. The mother of Eric Lopez says back in April, her son was on the playground at Ashton Ranch Elementary School when another student told him to pull his pants down or else he would do it for him. Erica Martinez’s son complied, pulling down his pants and underwear in front of several other students. When teachers saw what happened, they hauled Eric into the principal’s office where he was forced to sign a document that labeled his actions “sexual misconduct.” Eric received detention as punishment. Martinez says she was not present for the meeting and not notified about the incident until after the fact. “He’s a 5-year-old,” Martinez said, angrily. “He does not know right from wrong yet.”

They forced a little kid to sign a document, as if he is a grown man with legal training or something.

The mom tried to appeal. The school will have none of it; they would rather mess with a little kid than be reasonable, intelligent people. Because there is some “district policy” that expects totally adult behavior out of five-year-old boys.

The school responded in a letter saying it followed proper procedures and protocols. Dysart Unified School District policy labels indecent exposure as a form of sexual misconduct. Under the district rules, administrators must present the student with the accusations, but they are not required to have a parent present for the meeting unless a student specifically asks for his or her parent to be there. Martinez said her kindergartner did not know he had the right to do that and signed the documents because school administrators told him to.

Because he’s five.

Schools keeping doing stupid things like this to little boys, yet Bill Clinton is the education establishment’s patron saint.

Our country may be mentally ill.

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NPR Ponders ‘Free College’ And It’s Not An Awful Pondering

Thursday, June 19th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Maybe I’m just tired.

Predictably, I thought this was going to be an all-out cheerleading piece on higher education being a “right” and a guarantee to a unicorn-filled future.

It quickly dismissed the notion of “free” and that alone was refreshing enough to keep me going. Most progressives who talk about things like this really do believe that the federal government has a secret money tree somewhere.

In reality there’s no free college, just as there’s no free lunch. The real policy discussion is about how to best distribute the burden of paying for it — between individual families and the public at large — and, secondly, how to hold down the cost of providing it. All while leveraging the power of “free” responsibly.

The author gets around to discussing lowering the cost of education rather than just looking for new people to make pay for it. She concludes without offering a magic fix and by acknowledging an important point: the value of education is dependent upon what the student does with it along the way, and after having received it.

I post this here because I was surprised to see it on the NPR site. It’s a somewhat balanced examination of what is generally a heart string tugging fave of the Occupy freaks. There is even some spirited discussion in the comments that features some predictable “Koch brothers” whining and some push back by center-right types.

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California Legislature Gearing Up to Ignore Court on Teacher Tenure

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

When this happened last week, there was a lot of talk about court challenges to the ruling.

But this is California, where the teachers’ unions so thoroughly and completely own the progressive whack-jobs in Sacramento that they can make them dance at will.

A union-backed bill in the California legislature would expand tenure protections for public school teachers to include other employees, despite a court ruling last week that the practice is unconstitutional and hurts students.

The measure comes as officials in the most populous U.S. state continue to wrestle with whether to appeal the ruling by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, which overturned five laws meant to protect teachers’ jobs, saying the protections make it too hard to fire ineffective teachers and inadvertently lead to placing the worst teachers at schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

“The issue remains that there are a number of teachers, nurses, counselors – folks who take care of kids every single day – who don’t have basic protections,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the bill’s author. “So while we may have a future compromise or fight over the dismissal process, this about having some basic protections.”

Her bill, which passed the Assembly and was set for a vote Wednesday in the Senate’s education committee, would require small school districts to grant tenure to credentialed teachers after three years on the job. Districts with fewer than 250 students are not currently required to grant tenure. It also would require all districts to grant tenure to vocational education teachers, nurses, psychologists and counselors after three years.

Only in the diseased minds of public employee union loons is guaranteed employment after three years a “basic protection.” And there will be no “future fight over the dismissal process,” because these tenure laws which shouldn’t even exist below the university level are all about making teachers as close to unfireable (if it’s not a word, it is now) as possible.

These are the same teachers’ unions who kept this pervert in a job for so long it has cost his school district $30 million in lawsuit settlements so far. But it’s just the taxpayers’ money, so they’re not worried.

Crush the public employee unions. It’s the only way to completely get rid of the infestation.

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School Tells Distinguished Graduate Not to Mention God. The Young Man Does Not Comply.

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Brooks Hamby was the salutatorian of his high school graduating class. He had to submit drafts of the address that he wanted to give, to the school for approval. The school forbade him to mention God.

Watch what he does.

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That is a man.

h/t Clash Daily

 

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Did This Judge Just Change Everything in Education?

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Common sense and courage…in a courtroom?

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that teacher tenure laws deprive students of their constitutional right to an education, a decision that hands teachers’ unions a major defeat in a landmark case that overturns several California laws that govern the way teachers are hired and fired.

“Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students,” Judge Rolf M. Treu wrote in the ruling. “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”

Indeed it does. In California, teachers are eligible for tenure after just 18 months on the job. How can that possibly help students? It’s tough to see how students ever benefited from that system, but it’s very easy to see how the teachers and their unions benefited from it. If firing incompetent teachers is nearly impossible, obviously, many of them will stay in classrooms where they will harm students’ educations and hurt their futures — and keep on paying their union dues. The unions were so happy with this arrangement that they spent a pile of teacher dues defending the practice. Today, they lost.

Honestly, I can’t think of a good argument for granting public school teachers tenure. Not one. It’s not hard at all to see why the unions want it. It’s not hard at all to see why liberals in office want it, too.

Good teachers surely outnumber the bad ones by a wide margin. Good teachers will be retained in the vast majority of circumstances. Bad teachers ought to be fired.

For the children.

For once, that’s actually the truth. Judge Treu has just bucked union power and given kids in bad schools a fighting chance.

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Leftists Apoplectic Over Koch Bros. Donation to United Negro College Fund

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

Our friends over The Daily Caller have compiled left-wing Twitter outrage over a $25 million donation from the infamous Koch Brothers to the United Negro College Fund. Eric Owens writes:

Marybeth Gasman, a higher education professor at the University of Pennsylvania claimed that the UNCF – a charitable organization dedicated to helping black people get college degrees – is “wrong” to accept this particular $25 million to help black people get college degrees, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Gasman bellowed that Koch organizations have been “deeply affiliated with the Tea Party.” She alleges that Tea Party leaders want to weaken the political interests of black Americans.

As a black man operating within and alongside the Tea Party since 2009, I can speak to the movement’s agenda for black Americans. It involves a lot of freedom to do what we want, with whomever we want, on whatever terms we agree to. The Tea Party agenda includes such dastardly highlights as free association, true tolerance, security in person and property, and an unfettered pursuit of something called “happiness.” Don’t trust it!

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(Today’s Fightin Words podcast on this topic. 9:33 minutes long; 9.23 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

This story stands as evidence that the political left holds no genuine concern for the well-being of black Americans, or any other minority group. Professor Gasman would rather see the 3,000 students who will be helped by the Koch Brothers donation go without scholarships than have her preferred political narrative discredited.

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Advocating for the Devil: Obama’s Student Loan Decree

Monday, June 9th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

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Reading this popular post from my PJM colleague Rick Moran regarding a move by President Obama to forgive a significant portion of student loan debt, I find myself torn both personally and politically. It directly affects my life because I have student loans. But I’m also sensitive to the political effect of brushing off young people’s fears regarding their economic future.

Let’s start with the personal. It’s difficult for me to approach the topic of student loans objectively. My wife and I have both racked up a tremendous amount of student loan debt obtaining educations which have proven economically worthless. Neither of us hold jobs that require the degrees we obtained, and the path to entering those careers proves elusive. That’s our fault, as Rick points out. But it’s not solely our fault.

The market works when people are free to interact by consent, dealing with each other through reason. When lots of people do that, all holding different pieces to an informational puzzle, the resulting prices signal to producers and consumers what they ought to do. I may feel like I need an Xbox One, and Microsoft may feel like selling it to me. But the market price of $399.99, considered in the broader context of my household’s financial circumstance, signals that I ought to hold off on the purchase.

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(Today’s Fightin Words podcast on this topic. 14:45 minutes long; 14.23MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

When force intrudes upon the market, whether in the form of criminal activity or state decree, that dynamic shifts. If the government decided to subsidize Xbox Ones to the tune of $300 per unit, the new sticker price of $99.99 sends a completely different signal. Now, I would buy. But the economic reality which commanded $399.99 in a free market would not have changed. That would foster long-term consequences if maintained. Supply problems would emerge. Production quality would drop. Demand would surge artificially high, and so forth.

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Putin Actively Trolls Your Favorite Websites

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

BuzzFeed broke the news that the Kremlin has been actively operating a disinformation campaign targeted at readers of a number of American-based internet publications including, but not limited to, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and BuzzFeed. Additional reports name Fox News, Huffington Post, The Blaze and World Net Daily in the list of targets. Russian agents would act as trolls on these sites, filling comment sections with various forms of anti-American propaganda.

In a report dated May 21, Internet Research Agency commercial director Svetlana Boiko discussed the progress of the trolling project’s $75,000 trial period, which began April 10. The report says that during that period, the trolls left more than 2,500 comments on 30 different news websites, tweeted 1,220 times from 12 accounts, wrote 85 Facebook posts, posted 175 times in an unspecified number of forums, and made five bizarre YouTube videos attacking the U.S. government andHarry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe.

As with many previous disinformation campaigns, the goal of the trolling operation is to:

…turn public opinion against the U.S. government on 40 different subjects ranging from Russia’s role in the world and the Ukraine crisis to unrelated American domestic issues like gun rights, taxes, and religion. The trolls also campaigned heavily against U.S. President Barack Obama on Twitter, where they used the hashtag #Obama to promote the keywords “fuck obama,” “ass obama,” and “ObamaCare.” The most popular account, @I_am_ass_, has 3,363 followers.

Millions of dollars are being spent on the Kremlin’s latest disinformation campaign, meant to manipulate internet freedom abroad while simultaneously increasing control within Russian territory:

The bizarre hive of social media activity appears to be part of a two-pronged Kremlin campaign to claim control over the internet, launching a million-dollar army of trolls to mold American public opinion as it cracks down on internet freedom at home.

A new law that comes into effect in August also forces bloggers with more than 3,000 followers to register with the government. The move entails significant and cumbersome restrictions for bloggers, who previously wrote free of Russia’s complicated media law bureaucracy, while denying them anonymity and opening them up to political pressure.

“The internet has become the main threat — a sphere that isn’t controlled by the Kremlin,” said Pavel Chikov, a member of Russia’s presidential human rights council. “That’s why they’re going after it. Its very existence as we know it is being undermined by these measures.”

The trolls have also set up YouTube accounts to post anti-American and anti-LGBT propaganda videos.  Comments on these videos illustrate the poor English skills of some of the Kremlin’s trolls, one of the dead giveaways of the now defamed disinformation campaign.

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12-Year-Old Girls Plotted Murder, Stabbed Girl Nearly Two-Dozen Times

Monday, June 2nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This is so disturbing.

Police say two 12-year-old girls lured a friend into some woods in southeastern Wisconsin where one of them held her down as the other stabbed her 19 times.

The 12-year-old victim survived the attack on Saturday in Waukesha and police say her condition is stable.

Authorities say the suspects had planned to kill the victim for several months. Police say both girls were interested in a website containing stories of death and horror.

The victim survived and her attackers are expected to be in court today.

Lately we’ve all heard, and I’ve even written, stories focusing on the disturbing militarization of the police. It is disturbing. But this story is a flip side to that — the police should not be militarizing and buying up-armored tank-like vehicles and all that, but on the other hand, they are dealing with a less predictable environment than we’ve had in the past. Crime overall is down, but what might be called crazy crime is still out there and it’s likely that as the family weakens and society disintegrates at its foundation, and kids are less and less productively occupied in our post-agriculture economy, and kids grow up in a more and more coarse media environment with social media amplifying everything to maddening levels, there will be more crazy crime. Police don’t always know what they’re dealing with when they go into any environment. Could be a kid with a knife, or a barking dog that never deserved to be shot — or they could be facing a violent wacko looking to take out his whole neighborhood and commit suicide by cop. Or the cops could be in the wrong house, making deadly mistakes because they think they’re entitled to act like Marines in a war zone.

Life isn’t always as simple as we’d like it to be, where we can just denounce “bad militarized cop!” and never think about how things got to be the way they are. Sure, big government is feeling its oats. It’s also largely doing that because alternatives to its power — namely, the family, the church, private institutions generally — are falling prey to libertinism, and chaos increases as a result. Government is also to blame, to a great extent, for fostering the destruction of those institutions that challenge its hold on us.

Along these lines, there’s a push these days among some younger libertarian-flavored folks on the right to do away with things like mandatory minimum sentencing. But how did we get to the point where mandatory minimums became so prevalent? A millennial probably has no idea, as it’s certainly not taught in schools, but those of us who lived through the 1970s and 1980s remember well, or should.

It became a routine thing in those decades for a multiple murderer to get handed a light prison sentence by liberal lifer judges, judges who based their weak justice on leftwing arguments placing poverty or social injustice on trial instead of dealing with the crimes at hand. Parole boards also routinely freed violent criminals who had been sentenced to “life” but only actually spent a few short years in prison on conviction for heinous crimes. That judicial activism put dangerous rapists and killers back on the streets to terrorize the public, and provided little sense that violent criminals would face justice, and that their victims or victims’ families would ever get any sense of justice. Using prison as a deterrent to crime just about disappeared.

Mandatory minimum sentences became the answer, forcing through legislation what those lifer liberal judges had proven themselves untrustworthy to do. Mandatory minimums were a reaction to judges who had proven that they would misuse their power and leave us all exposed to terrible criminals. Crime is down over the last couple decades at least in part because we decided, as a society, to force the system to keep violent criminals locked up. And also, because state gun laws have opened up and allowed more Americans to arm ourselves, and state castle laws have tilted the balance in favor of the law-abiding property and gun owner. The law wasn’t always tilted in favor of the law-abiding. It was also a routine thing in the past to hear about the man or woman who shot a suspect breaking into their house in the middle of the night, only to have the suspect survive and sue them, and for the law-abiding person to find themselves facing charges from the local DA.

Maybe mandatory minimums aren’t the answer. But what is the answer to keeping liberal judges from abusing their positions to pervert justice and blame the innocent for the actions of the guilty? It’s easy to rail from a libertarian perspective that mandatory minimums are wrong. It’s much harder to come up with an alternative that stands a chance of getting through legislatures, and stands any chance of doing any good for law-abiding Americans.

Opinionated rants are so easy that everyone can do them, even people who would be wiser to close their mouths tight and open up their minds a bit.

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The Dude Dissects Disinformation

Sunday, June 1st, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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(Warning: Profanity)

After actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s untimely death, The Daily Beast ran an opinion piece by James Poulos, “Everything is Politics to the Right, Even Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death.” One need not point out the irony that the article itself, written from a presumably Leftist perspective, politicizes Hoffman’s death. In this instance, we are too busy being asked to contemplate the dearth of morality on the Right, a movement so committed to their politics that not even death can rest in peace. Poulos essentially took offense at Ben Shapiro’s critique of “‘the broken leftist culture that dominates Hollywood,’ allegedly ‘enabling’ the suicides of its great talents.’” He then spun that offense into a critique of the inhumanity among the stereotypical Christian Right (note: Shapiro is an Orthodox Jew).

Originally dismissed by my editor and friend, David Swindle, as a puff piece written by a “contrarian narcissist” looking to make a buck off of the latest political controversy on the web, I was half tempted to ignore the story myself. But, certain elements within Poulos’s writing smacked of more than self-congratulatory prose.

Firstly, I noticed that the author blames conservatives for what has been a Leftist problem for decades – specifically that, to a Marxist especially, “everything is political.” (The wording I first heard from a critical studies professor, but an avowed Communist later backed him up.) Secondly, I noticed how the author attempted to defend a religious point of view by claiming that conservatives have none – specifically that they have no mercy. It’s a rather abusive point of view given the history of Marxism, specifically the way socialist governments relate to their constituents. Yet, it works to elevate progressive liberalism/Marxism to a holy state of reverence.

The bottom line is that critiques like this are published consistently.  They seem fairly innocuous to most people because they address cultural issues as opposed to pressing political ones. But, I couldn’t help but wonder if they play an integral part in the broader disinformation campaign actively at work within our culture. So, I reached out to Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa for his take on the story.

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(Warning: Profanity)

Poulos’ story smacks of disinformation. Remember? There is a major condition for a disinformation to succeed: to be built around a “kernel of truth” that would lend credibility. Shapiro’s 130-word  post about Hoffman’s death provided that kernel of truth. The rest of Poulos’ story is, in my view, a diversion. Hoffman’s horrible death risked stirring up ugly debates about liberals’ legalization of drugs in the US, and Poulos did  his best to change the subject. In the process, he demonized Shapiro’s conservatism.

Poulos story looks to me like a version of  Hillary’s “It takes a Village.” That was another diversion. In 1996 she was  defending her involvement in Whitewater & Travelgate, and she changed the subject. Hillary also killed two birds with one stone — remember Obama’s “if you’ve got a  business, you did not build that”?

Hillary’s diversion worked–in spite of all her problems,  she became a US senator.

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Obama Unveils Blueprint for Helping Young Men of Color Get Ahead

Friday, May 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama received recommendations from his task force on the My Brother’s Keeper program, which is intended to support boys and young men of color through the education system and job market.

Obama said the recommendations are intended to address “the fact that we have too many young men of color — black boys and young men, Latino boys and young men — who are adrift and don’t have those same opportunities and don’t have those same structures of support.”

“And so what I did was assign a process for us to inventory everything that’s already being done to help young boys of color and men of color to succeed, to have every agency — from Justice Department to Education to HUD to USDA — look at how they could contribute to the process to make sure that we’ve got the best data possible, and then to report back to me so that we can have a plan of attack,” he added.

“…How do we modify policies in schools where young men of color are being disproportionally suspended — which we know results in higher dropout rates, which we know results potentially in them ending up in the prison system — all the way to how do we deal with young people who have gotten into trouble with the law but can be redeemed if we have effective ways of reaching them.”

The blueprint delivered to Obama includes eliminating suspensions and expulsions in preschool and launching a public-private campaign “to actively recruit mentors for youth and improve the quality of mentoring programs.” Another initiative would encourage “a reading culture in more homes” so kids are at grade level by the third grade while yet another would focus on increasing Advanced Placement classes and other opportunities to get ahead in schools.

“We’ve got businesses who are saying, we know this is going to be the workforce of the future, and if we do not address this demographic, our companies aren’t going to prosper and the American economy as a whole is not going to grow as quickly as it could,” Obama said.

The blueprint also calls for addressing “racial and ethnic bias within the juvenile and criminal justice systems” as well as trying to “transform” the schools that produce the most dropouts.

“I’m just reminded that I am only here because a bunch of folks invested in me. We’ve got a huge number of kids out there who have as much talent, and more talent than I had, but nobody is investing in them,” Obama said. “And I want to make sure that I use this platform, and every Cabinet member here wants to make sure that they use the tools that they’ve got, so that these young men, young boys, know somebody cares about them, somebody is thinking about them, and that they can succeed, and making America stronger as a consequence.”

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Pepperdine Business Grads Return to the Classroom to Help Students Succeed

Friday, May 30th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Pepperdine University’s business school vaulted into the national Top 25 rankings a year ago, but like the business leaders that the school develops, the Graziado School isn’t one to rest on its accomplishments. Pepperdine is now embarking on a new initiative that could prove to be a game-changer:  It is bringing distinguished alumni back into the classroom as unpaid advisers to students in the Presidential MBA program.

Noelle Nguyen went through the Presidential and Key Executives MBA program a few years back. E-commerce retailer of USA-made products, American Love Affair, was her Presidential MBA capstone project (which went live after she graduated), and has since garnered much national press attention. But she and other successful alums wanted to give back to the school that shaped them and their careers.

“What students proposed to professors, is we said ‘Look, we loved our experience so much that we want to come back and advise — for free,’” Nguyen says. “Free” isn’t a word one hears often in business or anywhere else, and when you do hear it, there is usually a catch. But there was no catch in this case.

“Our alums have always been very keen on giving back,” says Dr. Demos Vardiabasis, economics professor and former adviser to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “This is yet another display of that initiative.” Nguyen credits him and Dr. William Smith, the Presidential MBA committee chairman, for being the first at the Graziado School to embrace the initiative.

Robert Radi, one of the inaugural volunteer advisers, agrees that Pepperdine’s core values played a role in making the initiative possible: “The Pepperdine motto is cemented onto the moral value of giving back. Give back to our communities, our colleagues, our peers, and our school. It is most appropriate to contribute to the professional development of those that are joining the 43 year tradition of the Presidential MBA at Pepperdine.”

The Graziado School’s Presidential MBA programs cater to established professionals who seek to continue their education while they keep working and taking care of their families. The classes stay small, with just 15 to 20 students at a time, they meet on weekends, and the alumni advisers are available in and outside of the classroom during the 15-month schedule. They attend all classes with students and are advisers to the current crop of students, but they are not supplanting the existing faculty. They’re an add-on that both students and professors are finding to be valuable.

Mark Borao, a partner at Ernst & Young, says “Students have been taking full advantage.  I have personally had about a half dozen calls from current students wanting to bounce business ideas and concepts off of me…they see me (and the others) as an independent set of advisers who are vested in them.”

As for faculty, any initial hesitation to try out a new program has been quickly set aside as the advisers’ value has shown through, according to Associate Dean Dr. Gary Mangiofico. The faculty, he says, has been “Very supportive,” adding that “Much like we teach, in terms of how to lead change in business, we practice it ourselves here. We involve the faculty for this degree in the dialogue and the discussions. It wasn’t like the alumni demanded to do this, or the administration just created it. Everybody was involved and felt good about it.”

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Mike Bloomberg Warns Today’s College Kids, Profs to Knock Off the Neo-McCarthyism

Thursday, May 29th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Big Gulp banning Mayor Mike Bloomberg delivered an extraordinary speech at Harvard University. With conservative speakers getting banned and/or uninvited from university commencement ceremonies, Bloomberg took the opportunity at Harvard to, basically, tell the banners and uninviters to knock it off. He likened them to McCarthyism, which is unfair as McCarthy was actually fighting a totalitarian idea that was being pushed into the US by a hostile foreign power for the express purpose of weakening us and overthrowing capitalism. But that bit of moral confusion aside, and his support for the Ground Zero mosque aside along with it, Bloomberg delivers a strong defense of free speech. Stirring, even.

I’m as stunned to write that as you surely are reading it.

The important part starts after the six minute mark.

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Bloomberg’s defenses of freedom of thought and speech are not a mere sidebar in the speech. They are the speech. Bloomberg strongly defends all dissent from the current leftist orthodoxy, even on gay marriage, and calls out universities for going so far left that they have become the very forces of intolerance they claim to oppose. And earns applause. No one even threw a pie at him.

Via Allahpundit, a few quotes.

“It is just a modern form of McCarthyism,” Bloomberg said of university “censorship” of conservatives. “Think about the irony: In the 1950s, the right wing was attempting to repress left wing ideas. Today, on many college campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species.”

“And that is probably nowhere more true than it is here in the Ivy League,” declared Bloomberg…

“In the 2012 presidential race, according to Federal Election Commission data, 96% of all campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty and employees went to Barack Obama,” he said. “There was more disagreement among the old Soviet politburo than there is among Ivy League donors.”

“Neither party has a monopoly of truth or God on its side. When 96% of Ivy League donors prefer one candidate to another, you really have to wonder whether students are being exposed to the diversity of views that a great university should offer,” Bloomberg continued, occasionally being interrupted by moderate applause.

That comment about the Politburo surely went over most of the students’ heads, but it found its mark among the faculty. Well done.

I am aware that Bloomberg remains a hypocrite on guns who believes that his use of wealth to push his policy preferences whether people want them or not will buy his way into heaven, even though he doesn’t really believe in God. He’s a small man with a gargantuan ego. But when he’s right, he’s right, and in this speech, he’s right. His commencement address is an important one.

Contra Allah, that doesn’t make Bloomberg presidential material. President of Harvard, maybe.

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Michelle Obama Calls It ‘Unacceptable’ for Congress to Worry About Edible School Lunches

Thursday, May 29th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

First lady Michelle Obama called congressional efforts to cut school districts some slack on strict nutritional standards “unacceptable to me not just as First Lady, but as a mother,” while the Alabama Republican backing the bill said lawmakers’ efforts are being mischaracterized.

“It’s really not opt out. They’re granted a one-year waiver. And it’s only for the schools that are finding it hard to meet,” Rep. Robert Aderholt told CNN. “What is happening as more students are not eating the food, the participation is going down. And the students that are eating it are throwing the food away. And you’re seeing just a tremendous amount of waste.”

“A lot of schools operator on a very tight budget. They’re having trouble meeting — financially trying to meet the standards that are required by them by this act and by the USDA as they are telling the schools what they have to do,” he added. “This is saying if you’re having a problem, that you can ask for a waiver and the USDA can grant you a waiver.”

Aderholt said the rules intended to ensure kids get nutrition they may not be getting at home are “onerous.”

“I was reading an article a couple of weeks ago where a school in Illinois decided to completely get out of the program because a bald egg does not meet the standards that are coming out of USDA. And anything over 12 ounces of skim milk has too much fat in it for these standards,” the congressman said.

“So we’re not talking about, you know, feeding hamburgers and hot dogs and pizza every day to the kids. The nutritional workers in these lunch rooms, they want to provide healthy foods for their kids. They’re wanting to do the right thing. And it’s not like they’re trying to make the kids obese.”

Michelle Obama, though, said at a roundtable yesterday with school leaders and nutrition experts that “so many kids write me every day” about the “health crisis in this country.”

“And so many families are looking for help now in their efforts to find new ways to feed their families balanced meals,” she said. “So moms and dads don’t want their efforts undermined when they send their kids off to school. Parents have a right to expect that their kids will get decent food in our schools. And we all have a right to expect that our hard-earned taxpayer dollars won’t be spent on junk food for our kids.”

“And with kids, it takes them a second to change their habits. We know that. Look, my kids growl at me every time we sit at the dinner table and there’s fish,” she added. “So we know that it’s tough to change the habits of kids, but that can’t be the reason why we start rolling these back.”

Aderholt said with “very little catsup, very little salt, the food is not tasty anymore.”

“The kids are not eating it. They’re going to McDonald’s. They go into — they’re bringing foods that are not half as healthy as the normal lunch program and it’s killing the program,” he said. “And a lot of these schools are having problems. And all they’re saying is we just are having problems. We’re asking for a waiver for 12 months to see if we can try to meet these standards.”

“That’s all we’re doing. We’re not asking to completely roll back the standards.”

 

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The Saddest, Scariest Millennial Statistic You’ll See Today

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Who are the millennial generation, and what does their rise mean for the future of the country?

Everyone is trying to figure millennials out — what makes them tick, what they care about. Like previous generations, millennials aren’t monolithic. They don’t all agree with each other on society and politics anymore than previous generations did. There are some divisions among millennials that hinge on racial background — white millennials prefer less government, while non-white millennials strongly prefer more. While they are more liberal on average than previous generations, according to Pew Research’s most recent major study, we all tend to be more liberal when we’re young and don’t own anything, and haven’t yet met the iron hand of the taxman. Not all of today’s earnest young liberals will remain so.

A couple of statistics suggest that many millennials will never outgrow their youthful leftism. One stat suggests that they are bequeathing a generation that will be even more in favor of big government than their own generation.

According to Pew:

Millennials lead all generations in the share of out-of-wedlock births. In 2012, 47% of births to women in the Millennial generation were non-marital, compared with 21% among older women. … In 1996, when Gen Xers were about the same age that Millennials were in 2012, just 35% of births to that generation’s mothers were outside of marriage (compared with 15% among older women in 1996).

Millennials are slower to marry than previous generations. They have moved the median marriage age up to 29 for men and 27 for women. They are largely delaying marriage because they are loaded down with massive student debt, and because there are few jobs available to them upon which they can build their lives. The current Democratic administration’s anti-jobs policies are largely to blame for the latter. The lack of accountability in university practices and tuition is largely to blame for the former. Millennials are being squeezed by the Obama economy. Yet they remain more likely to vote for Democrats, if they vote.

I’m not here to slam single parenthood, but single parenthood has proven to be a very strong predictor of one’s economic outcome and one’s politics, meaning, one’s relationship to the government and the policies one tends to vote for. Simply put, single adults tend to vote in a certain way, and children of single adults tend to have poorer economic outcomes, which leads to a certain voting pattern. Marriage is a strong predictor of political behavior.

Currently just 26% of millennials — those between age 18 and 33 — are married. At the same age, 36% of GenX and 48% of the Baby Boomers were married. And 69% of millennials say they want to get married, but the lack of jobs is holding them back.

Children who grow up in single parent homes tend to have higher rates of incarceration, higher rates of drug use, lower academic performance, lower overall income — greater overall dependence on government, in one way or another — than children in two-parent homes. They tend to produce less for the economy and cost more taxpayer dollars.

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The Obama Admin Has a Good Idea, but They’re the Worst Thing in the World for Implementing It

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Let’s start this post on a basic premise: There ought to be more accountability in higher education. Without much accountability, which is what we have right now, tuition rates zoom up well past the point at which most families can afford college without going into debt, universities become administration-heavy and teacher-light, and ridiculous fields of study pop up based more on activist whims than anything else. Also, politicians start pulling strings to get their underperforming relatives spots at prestigious institutions — University of Texas, I’m looking at you.

Accountability would be a good thing in higher ed, and there’s precious little of it. The Ivory Tower heaps hot tar on anyone who tries to introduce any level of market-based accountability.

The Obama administration has an idea to increase accountability. But it’s a terrible idea, and would be implemented by a gang of politicians who themselves have shown that they don’t even know what the word “accountability” means.

Put it this way: Do you trust the group that still employs the man who failed to clean up the Veterans Administration, and which kept failure Kathleen Sebelius around long after the botched Obamacare rollout, to demand and get real accountability from anyone else? This is a man who rose to the dizzying heights of adjunct professor in his stellar academic career. So, sure, he’s now qualified to tell university presidents what to do and how to do it.

WASHINGTON — The college presidents were appalled. Not only had President Obama called for a government rating system for their schools, but now one of his top education officials was actually suggesting it would be as easy as evaluating a kitchen appliance.

“It’s like rating a blender,” Jamienne Studley, a deputy under secretary at the Education Department, said to the college presidents after a meeting in the department’s Washington headquarters in November, according to several who were present. “This is not so hard to get your mind around.”

The rating system is in fact a radical new effort by the federal government to hold America’s 7,000 colleges and universities accountable by injecting the executive branch into the business of helping prospective students weigh collegiate pros and cons. For years that task has been dominated by private companies like Barron’s and U.S. News & World Report.

College presidents appalled because the government is proposing a top-down, Washington-centric solution to a problem? Or are they appalled at the idea of accountability itself?

These are people who pull down lavish salaries while, in many cases, their universities give them a house and a car or two and a driver while picking up a heavy portion of their living expenses. These are people who have done nothing at all to keep costs for students down. These are people who by and large favor Washington-centric top-down approaches as long as they’re imposed on other people and other industries. These are not people who deserve our sympathy.

And yet they have a point. And so does the Obama administration, as I’ll explain on the next page.

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Taking a Tip from Hitch: Putin’s Excellent MacGuffin

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
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The media is aghast that the Russian Dictator-to-Be has banned cursing in the arts. The story is intriguing to both Left and Right largely because of its inherent controversy, but also because of Putin’s attempts to “pose as the defender of Christian civilization” and because of the place Putin’s latest law holds in the ongoing cultural conversation about political correctness.

But what does the seemingly socially idiotic law against vulgarity really mean for Russia? I brought the story to Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa for his take on the cursing ban, popular reaction, and Putin’s apparent attempt to restore traditional Christianity to the West:

I am encouraged by your interest in Putin’s ban on cursing. According to Suetonius and Cassius Dio, Nero sang the “Sack of Ilium” in stage costume while Rome burned, and popular legend claims that he was fiddling at the time — though there were no fiddles in the 1st-century.

Fast forward two thousand years. The international media had been busy day and night dealing with the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-370, while being almost silent as masked KGB/FSB troops were quietly taking over the Crimea. Now the media is busy with Putin’s “ban on cursing” while he is quietly igniting a civil war in Ukraine. This is just another disinformation operation aimed at distracting attention from Putin’s secret efforts to rebuild the Soviet empire and to enthrone himself as tsar. I would not wonder to hear that he will sign a decree prohibiting the public consumption of vodka in Russia when his masked KGB/FSB troops will quietly start to take over.

People and the media understand the “Sack of Ilium” fiddling, airplane highjacking, cursing and drinking a lot better than they understand disinformation, which is clothed in innocuous civilian dress (as were the terrorists on 9/11) and is not easy to be discovered. This makes this “science” the most dangerous weapon of our century.

“I looked the man [Putin] in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy,” once stated George W. Bush. “I had looked into Putin’s eyes and I saw a stone-cold killer,” stated former CIA director Robert Gates. In my view, this immense difference is not rooted in American “political correctness,” and it has nothing to do with Putin’s desire to craft himself into the “savior of the Christian Church.” It is the secret, widely unknown “science” of disinformation at work. Knowing it could change night into day.

Alfred Hitchcock embraced a fairly common fictional device known as a MacGuffin, an element upon which the main character in a film is so totally focused that it misdirects their attention away from the real situation at hand. For example,his 1958 film Vertigo was never about the main character’s vertigo, despite the fact that the character was obsessed with and controlled by it throughout the film. The audience, given the advantage of a third person perspective, knows better than the main character and can often see the plot unfold long before the lead catches on.

When we encounter the latest story of Putin’s pariah-like behavior, we are easily outraged. Left or Right, it is easy for us to criticize Putin’s ban on cursing, easier than facing the reality of his dictatorial ambitions head-on. Putin’s silly actions are excellent MacGuffins. I wonder, though, if those in the media who are so quickly outrage realize that they have become the lead characters in a movie written, directed by, and starring this century’s little dictator?

Conquering Disinformation 101: Approach every action with impersonal indifference, understanding that the purveyors of disinformation seek to cause a distracting offense in order to accomplish a much more serious, global, and deadly goal.

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USDA Gives Short Reprieve to Schools That Can Prove Whole-Grain Pasta Falls Apart

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Schools that are having trouble finding economical whole-grain pastas will get a short reprieve from the cafeteria police at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA announced “new flexibility for school districts working to meet updated whole grain requirements for school meals.”

“During the current school year, USDA received feedback from schools that the whole grain rich products currently on the market did not hold together when produced in large quantities for school cafeterias,” the agency said. “Based on this input, schools that demonstrate significant challenges in serving whole-grain rich pastas can now continue serving traditional enriched pasta products for up to two more years, as industry works to develop healthy pasta that works for schools.”

“Schools raised legitimate concerns that acceptable whole-grain rich pasta products were not available. We worked to find a solution which will allow more time for industry to develop products that will work for schools,” said Agriculture Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon in a statement. “We continue to listen and work closely with schools and parents to implement common sense nutritional guidance that supports a healthier next generation. But, with one third of American children fighting obesity, we cannot accept politically motivated efforts to undermine standards and deny kids healthier options.”

That wasn’t just a stab at Republicans, as Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) had raised concerns with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that “schools in Michigan and throughout the country are still struggling to serve some whole grain items like pasta.”

“Like the modification to meat and grain maximums, the change to whole grains shows that we can work together to address these issues when they arise without rolling back important steps we have taken to improve the foods kids eat throughout the school day,” Stabenow said today.

Beginning next school year, all grains and breads in school meal programs must be “whole grain-rich,” meaning that they contain at least 50 percent whole grain meal and/or flour.

The USDA said school districts complained that the whole-grain noodles “degraded easily during preparation” in large-scale kitchen operations.

“Whole grain-rich pastas made from blends of whole grain and enriched flours maintain better consistency, but these products are still emerging in the marketplace. Therefore, USDA recognizes that USDA Foods and industry may need additional time to develop a range of acceptable whole grain-rich pastas. As such, USDA is offering flexibility in this area for those districts serving menu items with whole grain-rich pastas that do not hold together well,” the USDA said.

“School districts that wish to take advantage of this two-year flexibility must obtain approval from their state agency by demonstrating that they experienced significant challenges in preparing and serving whole grain-rich pasta products in their schools. This is a temporary flexibility intended to provide additional time for the development of acceptable whole grain products that meet USDA’s science-based standards.”

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Rhode Island School Decides ‘Honors Night’ Hurts Too Many Slacker Students’ Feelings [UPDATED]

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

UPDATED They backtracked a bit and are blah blahing about better communication. So they’ve decided to do it after hours rather than during school, which is good but still is all about making sure the underachievers don’t feel bad about themselves.

American public school educators have lost their minds.

Concerned that an annual honors night for students is too “exclusive,” officials at a Rhode Island school have decided to scrap the event.

An email sent out to parents of students at Archie R. Cole Middle School in East Greenwich said students who would normally be honored at the spring event would instead be recognized during team-based ceremonies and graduation, the East Greenwich Patch reports.

“This will afford us the opportunity to celebrate the individual and collective successes of all students and their effort, progress and excellence,” said the email sent out over the weekend, which was signed by Principal Alexis Meyer and Assistant Principal Dan Seger.

The email added that “Members of the school community have long expressed concerns related to the exclusive nature of Honors Night.”

“Collective” successes?

We are supposed to let the C+ students who devote most of their time to PlayStation piggyback on the work of the students who worked hard to achieve something for celebratory purposes?

Yeah…no.

My daughter is a varsity sophomore athlete and gets very good grades. She never gets to sleep in. She is either studying or working out. We had to cut her Confirmation celebration short last Sunday because she was at a track meet all day Saturday and had homework she still needed to do. Guess what? That kind of kid is more “exclusive” than some Doritos-munching, eye-rolling little miscreant who spends his homework time watching YouTube vids.

Exactly how do modern American educators exhort a student to put in the extra effort to achieve greater things if they are teaching them that greater things shouldn’t be rewarded? I know the lefties have had a good few years whining since The Idiot King became president but running around barking, “1%!” and “Privilege!” isn’t going to work as a life plan for very long, no matter how big the nanny state teats grow.

Here is an utterly shameless plug, but I cover most of this kind of nonsense that public educators are ruining our kids with in my Amazon bestselling ebook, Don’t Let The Hippies Shower. I would say “read it and weep” but I made it somewhat humorous, so you can laugh through the tears.

While the best options for the moment are private and charter schools or homeschooling, not everyone has those available. Also, we can’t cede taxpayer funded public education to these loons. We have to fight to take it back.

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Majority of Millennials’ View of the World Looks Good Until You Ask One Simple Question

Monday, May 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There is yet another new survey of millennials out. Like previous ones, this one shows that — surprise! — young people tend to be liberal.

This was also true of previous generations, spawning the saying that “If you’re not a liberal at 20 you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at 40 you have no brain.” That saying has been attributed to some old white guy most millennials probably haven’t heard of, thanks to our pitiful schools and universities. All that guy did was save Western civilization, which is demonized these days in those same pitiful schools.

The new survey was conducted by Harstad Strategic Research, Inc. They work for Democrats. Their survey of millennials found that most millennials like lots and lots of government.

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That’s a depressing set of graphs, as I’ll explain on the next page.

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Sen. Scott: Brown v. Board of Education Anniversary a Reminder of School Choice Need

Monday, May 19th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education ruling striking down racial segregation in schools should reinvigorate the school-choice movement.

“As we mark the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision, we pause and remember its impact on our nation’s education system. It plainly said that the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ had no place in education and that every child, regardless of race, must have access to a quality education. The May 17th decision sparked new activism, engagement and action in the ongoing Civil Rights Movement,” Scott said in a statement.

“Our nation is indebted to the parents, community members, organizations and attorneys involved in the various cases resulting in Brown vs. Board. I think specifically about the parent and their determination to demand more for their children. They are an inspiration,” the senator continued.

“Today, we also remember that education is one of the strongest opportunities that too many children trapped in chronically failing schools are denied. I hope this anniversary reminds everyone to recommit themselves to the vital work of providing true opportunity to all, regardless of background.”

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said that tenets of the original decision were being threatened by affirmative action rulings.

“As we remember this great achievement, we must keep in mind recent shifts in jurisprudence that may drastically affect the social, economic, and political landscape between races in America. In two recent decisions, Shelby County v. Holder (2013) and Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action (2014), the Supreme Court undid much of our nation’s progress, despite precedence and recorded acknowledgement of the inequalities and inequities that minorities have endured,” Hastings said.

“Let us build upon Brown and commit ourselves to ensuring equality for all Americans,” he added.

President Obama said the anniversary was a day to “recommit ourselves to the long struggle to stamp out bigotry and racism in all their forms.”

“We reaffirm our belief that all children deserve an education worthy of their promise. And we remember that change did not come overnight – that it took many years and a nationwide movement to fully realize the dream of civil rights for all of God’s children,” Obama said in a statement. “We will never forget the men, women, and children who took extraordinary risks  in order to make our country more fair and more free.  Today, it falls on us to honor their legacy by taking our place in their march, and doing our part to perfect the union we love.”

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Senate Dems Push ‘National School Board’ for Preschoolers

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The senior Republican on the Senate committee that oversees education charged that an early education proposal by HELP committee Democrats would essentially create a national school board for preschoolers.

The Democrats’ early education plan would put decisions for states on such details as teacher salaries, class sizes, staff qualifications and length of the school day in federal hands, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said. States would then be required to pay half of the program’s cost after 8 years.

“The Democrat bill that’s being proposed today would, in effect, create a national school board for 3- and 4-year-olds. It would spend $27 billion in new funding over 5 years with Washington making the decisions about how states should run their preschool programs. It includes requirements I don’t think the federal government has ever even attempted with elementary and secondary education,” Alexander said.

“Never before, not even in No Child Left Behind, has the federal government told school districts from Maryville to Memphis how to run their schools in such detail,” he added.

HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D) said at the bill’s Wednesday markup that it’s a “disappointment” that the bill is “supported on only one side of the aisle here in the Senate.”

“States and localities are already moving in the direction of supporting high-quality early learning, but their efforts are limited in large part by inadequate resource,” Harkin said. “…The Strong Start for America’s Children Act will encourage the expansion of these types of programs. In the case of preschool, it will provide states with robust matching grants so that they can establish, enhance, or expand on their current efforts. In exchange, and over a period of several years, states will increase their current levels of investment in preschool programs.”

Harkin has slightly adjusted his bill from one he introduced last November — “among the most notable changes is that this bill will allow every state in the country to receive formula grants to expand high-quality preschool.”

He added that arguments against the bill don’t hold up “when we look at the harsh realities of early learning in the U.S. Despite states’ investments in preschool, and our federal investments in child care and Head Start which are the only major investments the federal government makes in early learning, we fall far short of meeting the needs of children from birth to age five.”

Alexander has a counter-bill that gives states the option of using up to $20 billion that the federal government is already spending across 45 programs on early education “and allow states to use it in the way that best suits their needs.”

“Under my proposal, in Tennessee, we’d have about $440 million a year. If we were given this kind of flexibility, we could increase the vouchers for child care from 39,000 to 139,000; or the state-funded voluntary preschool program, from 18,000 4-year olds to 109,000; or we could expand Head Start, from 17,000 children to 56,000; we could create Centers of Excellence—otherwise leave to Tennessee to figure out what works best for Tennesseans,” he said in a statement.

“So, the question is not whether, but how best to make early childhood education available to the largest possible number of children.”

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The Growing Problem of Campus Thought Police Protests Over Commencement Speakers

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Even NPR is noticing.

Graduation Season? More like Disinvitation Season.

As students across the country prepare for pomp and circumstance, college and university administrators are grappling with a series of commencement speech boondoggles.

This year alone, nearly a dozen big-name commencement speakers — including the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — have been invited to speak at graduation ceremonies, only to withdraw or have their invitations rescinded in the wake of campus protests.

“It’s not necessarily that all that many people get disinvited, but students and faculty get together and demand that speakers get disinvited,” says Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

This kind of commencement controversy has picked up steam since 2009, Lukianoff says, with campus protests hitting a new peak in the last year.

These are dumb college kids (heavy emphasis on the “dumb”) who are egged on by activist professors, so it’s not really the popular uprising that the academics would have you believe. Academia is polluted with 1960s hippie remnants who offer virtually nothing to society but get to hijack our campuses to work out their various issues with capitalism, America and freedom in general.

As has been established time and again, nothing terrifies a leftist more than diversity of thought.

“I think we are seeing a disturbing trend,” says McCartney of Smith College. “I’ve been describing it as a lack of tolerance for a wide variety of views.”

Lawrence Bacow, the former president of Tufts College, says the uptick in back-outs is worrying. Universities are meant to be environments that promote free speech and open-mindedness, but, he argues, by protesting, students are self-selecting speakers who only reinforce what they believe.

“The role of a speaker — any speaker — who seeks to educate the audience that they’re speaking to is to challenge their beliefs and not necessarily to reinforce them,” Bacow says. “And so if the test for giving a speech on campus or commencement speech is that one has never offended anyone by virtue of anything ever one has done in public life, there are going to be very few people who can give commencement speeches.”

Except for radicals, of course.

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Common Core Meltdown

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

confused-student

On today’s Fightin Words podcast: The Obama administration has threatened to hold back federal funding from Indiana after the state dared to repeal Common Core standards, highlighting what may be the most pervasive obstacle to protecting individual rights – a corrupt federalism wherein state and local units of government are beholden to the feds.

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(12:18 minutes long; 11.88 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

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Meet the White, Male Leftist Professors Who Kept a Black Woman from Speaking at Rutgers

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Pick over what’s left of Rutgers University’s reputation, and you’ll quickly find that a pair of professors are largely responsible for blocking former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from addressing the university’s commencement. They are a professor of poetry and a professor of history.

cornilliatThe first is Distinguished Professor François Cornilliat. The Frenchman says that his “research mainly focuses on the evolving role of poetry and poetics in the rhetorical culture of the Renaissance.” That’s ironic, given how the Renaissance was a time when Europe awakened from the medieval period of superstition to develop the scientific method and examine ideas on evidence. Professor Cornilliat’s actions in blocking Rice’s speech indicate that he has no interest in ideas other than those he already agrees with, whatever contrary evidence may exist. He also wants others blocked from hearing evidence that might not comport with his own worldview. He may consider himself a Renaissance man, but his actions place him more comfortably among the medievalists.

His professor page at Rutgers is about as gassy as one might expect. It claims that the Frenchman has “worked on the use of verbal ornament in the epideictic verse and prose of the so-called ‘Grands Rhétoriqueurs,’ on the conception(s) of truth, praise, pleasure, beauty and persuasion developed by later poets from Marot to the Pléiade, and on the experience of ‘poetic failure.’ My last book studied the notion of subject matter in Renaissance poetry from Petrarch to Ronsard, which was another way to examine how poetry manages (or fails) to promote itself as a specific art; areas of investigation included genre theory and practice, the antagonistic roles of glory and love, and the poet’s actual or imagined relationship with the prince.”

He has apparently spent some time in culinary training. He sure knows how to build a word salad.

Professor Cornilliat distinguished himself a few years back when SUNY was facing budget cuts. In an open letter he titled “SUNY Under Siege,” the Frenchman called the university’s decisions to cut some departments “brutal,” and ironically called on the university to exhibit “human decency and institutional fairness.” Those are values that Professor Cornilliat did not extend to Professor Rice.

bellThe other professor who led the protests against Rice, the first black woman in history to represent American foreign policy to the world, is Distinguished Professor Rudolph M. Bell. Bell is a history professor, who writes “I work in all aspects of Italian history but with particular attention to religion, gender, popular culture, mysticism, and the history of the book.”

Bell hasn’t left quite the hypocritical paper trail as his colleague, though both obviously share an intolerance for views they do not happen to agree with.

He is the author of a book, called Holy Anorexia, which seeks to establish a link between the Christian idea of fasting for the sake of spiritual cleansing, and the very secular idea of tossing one’s already eaten cookies for the sake of trying to look like a skinny supermodel. I don’t even have to read beyond the blurb to know that Professor Rudolph really isn’t onto anything. The connection is facile, at best.

Neither Cornillat nor Bell evidently had any problem with their university, which shut its doors to a former secretary of state because they wanted it to, opening those same doors — and the university’s wallet, to the tune of $32,000 — to Jersey Shore’s Snooki.

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Holocaust Denial Comes to Common Core

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Common Core’s apologists, who now include education hero Michelle Rhee, can say whatever they want to defend the “national standards” program. This is indefensible.

The Rialto (California) school district planned to revise an eighth-grade assignment that raised red flags by asking students to consider arguments about whether the Holocaust — the systematic killing by the Nazis of some 6 million Jews and millions of others — was not an “actual event” but instead a “propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain.”

In a statement released Monday, a spokeswoman for the Rialto Unified School District said an academic team was meeting to revise the assignment.

Interim Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam was set to talk with administrators to “assure that any references to the holocaust ‘not occurring’ will be stricken on any current or future Argumentative Research assignments,” a statement from district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri read.

“The holocaust should be taught in classrooms with sensitivity and profound consideration to the victims who endured the atrocities committed,” Jafri said.

You can’t make this stuff up.

It’s interesting how we never, ever see people questioning whether, say, the Battle of Gettysburg happened or whether Mohammed ever lived. It’s always the Holocaust, which is one of the most well-documented sequence of crimes in human history. There are still living survivors around to testify to what happened to them.

The English/Language Arts assignment, first reported Sunday by the San Bernardino Sun and provided to KTLA by the newspaper, asked students to write an argumentative essay about the Holocaust describing “whether or not you believe this was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.”

An eighth-grade assignment, shown, raised questions from a Jewish civil rights group.

The 18-page assignment instructions included three sources that students were told to use, including one that stated gassings in concentration camps were a “hoax” and that no evidence has shown Jews died in gas chambers.

“With all this money at stake for Israel, it is easy to comprehend why this Holocaust hoax is so secretly guarded,” states the source, which is a attributed to a webpage on biblebelievers.org.au. “In whatever way you can, please help shatter this profitable myth. It is time we stop sacrificing America’s welfare for the sake of Israel and spend our hard-earned dollars on Americans.”

The other sources were from the websites history.com and about.com.

In an interview, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, noted a section in the assignment that stated Anne Frank was a fraud.

The school district initially defended the assignment, with Jafri saying it was meant to engage students in “critical thinking.”

The district’s “CORE team” planned meet to revise the assignment, Jafri said in her statement provided to KTLA on Monday.

“This was a mistake. It should be corrected. It will be corrected,” Jafri said in an interview. “We all know it was real. The Holocaust is not a hoax. … I believe our classroom teachers are teaching it with sensitivity and compassion.”

The Common Core State Standards, adopted by most U.S. states including California, include writing standards that seek to have students make arguments and defend their answers based on texts they have read, among other goals.

It’s pretty clear that the school is only taking action because it got caught. There need to be some firings.

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Another Reason that Duke Sucks

Monday, April 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Some people just need to man up already and quit whining about words they don’t like.

A new word-discouragement campaign at Duke University has labeled phrases such as “Man Up,” “That’s So Gay,” and “Don’t Be a Pussy” offensive language that “delegitimizes” homosexuality and oppresses and insults people.

But as the campaign has gained national popularity, its detractors have bristled at the effort, calling it a politically correct war on words that will stifle free speech and suggesting its true aim is to redefine terms to control public opinion and – ultimately – public policy.

In fact, the “You Don’t Say” campaign creators have admitted as much.

“Language is a reflection of how we think about others and view the world,” Jay Sullivan, a student leader of the campaign, tells Duke Today. “My goal is to…. help facilitate discussion about how language affects many social issues, from race to gender and sexuality.”

No, the goal is to shut down discussion. It’s to shift standards in ways that give whiny leftists more power.

If they get their way, soon enough we won’t have any language left at all.

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Emanuel’s Plan to Build Elite ‘Barack Obama High School’ in an Upscale Chicago Neighborhood Has Parents Enraged

Friday, April 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Le’t work through a few things. Shortly after he became president, Barack Obama killed Washington, DC’s school voucher program. His own Department of Education had concluded that students who received the vouchers benefited from it and improved, but that did not matter a bit. He callously turned a deaf ear to pleas from parents and students who found the vouchers to be an escape from the city’s terrible schools. He sided with the teachers’ unions against those families and their children, even while claiming to be a champion of the oppressed and under-represented. Obama also sided with the unions on charter schools, another escape path for children from terrible public schools in Washington. He only relented under massive pressure three years later, in an election year.

So, Barack Obama’s record on education opened to scenes of him siding with the powerful teachers’ unions against the powerless children our public schools are supposed to exist to educate. Barack Obama stood in the doorways of private schoolhouses, keeping poor children out.

His former chief of staff from those days is now Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago. Emanuel’s ear is made of even thicker tin than Obama’s. Emanuel announced Thursday that he intends to build a selective-enrollment elite public school in one of Chicago’s upscale neighborhoods, and he is naming it after one Barack H. Obama.

Many of Emanuel’s constituents are not amused, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mary Mitchell.

Concerned African-American families on the South and West sides are still so outraged over the mayor’s decision to shutter 50 public schools last year, that “Anybody but Rahm” political campaign has formed to challenge Emanuel’s re-election bid.

And despite emotional pleas from community stakeholders outside of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, the mayor’s handpicked school board moved forward with plans on Wednesday to turn three more public schools over to a private contractor.

Now, Emanuel’s decision to open a selective-enrollment school named for President Barack Obama in an upscale community where roughly 70 percent of the seats will be filled through an admissions process adds insult to injury.

The poor and under-served lose again, just as they lost in Washington when Obama became president. Am I the only one who sees a pattern here?

To borrow from Emanuel’s language when he attacked Chick-fil-A, is favoring the rich over the poor and slapping the president’s name on a school that offends the latter “Chicago values”?

 

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Professor Tells Students to Hate Republicans

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Prof. Brent Terry teaches Introduction to Creative Writing at Eastern Connecticut State University. In a lecture Monday morning, he said that Republicans are “racist, misogynistic, money-grubbing people” who want to turn the clock back and keep blacks and Latinos from voting. The Republican Party was founded to end slavery while the Democrats started a civil war to preserve slavery, but ESCU’s history department probably doesn’t teach that. He also said that if the Republicans win the Senate this fall, America will be a “very, very different kind of country” in which colleges will start closing up.

Campus Reform reports that the audio was captured by a student, who wishes to remain anonymous. ESCU has released a statement saying “Our faculty has academic freedom to conduct their classes in whatever way they choose, this is not a university matter.”

Just another day in academia.

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Wendy Davis Campaign Morphs Into Clown Show

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

What do you do if you’re falling behind and you’re wrong about, well, everything? If you’re Wendy Davis, you hire a castoff from Harry Reid’s house of lies and you just lie about whatever comes up.

The example is in today’s Dallas Morning News, via editorial writer Rodger Jones.

Fact No. 1: Texas public school districts that offer Pre-K already assess them for effectiveness.
Fact No. 2: The Davis campaign has been ridiculing the idea of assessing Pre-K kids, calling it “standardized testing for four-year-olds” and imposition of “Baby STAAR” tests.
Fact No. 3: The Davis campaign has been mum on whether she would ban Pre-K assessments that districts now administer.

Just this afternoon, the campaign put out an email that starts with this headline: “DAVIS CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN RESPONDS TO DMN EDITOR RODGER JONES”

Never mind that I’m not editor of the DMN, or an editor of any kind. The release continued this way:

FORT WORTH – Wendy Davis campaign communications director Zac Petkanas responded to editorial board editor Rodger Jones’ defense of Greg Abbott’s plan to impose standardized testing onto four year olds.

“Greg Abbott’s so-called education plan does something that Texas currently does not do: impose a top down mandate tying additional state resources for pre-K classrooms with how well four year olds do on standardized test assessments.

“Under Abbott’s plan, school districts with pre-K students who don’t meet the mark have their resources slashed.

“To say that this currently takes place in Texas today is just plain wrong.”

I’m saying one simple thing: Pre-K assessments happen today, a reality that may have caught the Davis campaign by surprise as they set out to criticize the very idea of making sure tax money is used properly.

This is aside from any comparison of the Abbott and Davis Pre-K plans. This is a reality check for the Davis folks. A sample of what they put out last week:

“Four-year-olds should be coloring with crayons, not filling in bubbles with No. 2 pencils,” Davis told a crowd of about 80 people at the Texas State Teachers Association.

It’s a distortion for effect, and they know it.

It’s cute, how Wendy Davis and Zac Petkanas think they can just make up whatever reality they want.

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Charges Dropped in Ridiculous PA Student Wiretapping Case

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The story of the bullied kid who recorded his bullies, only to then get bullied by his school and the local police, is about to end on a happy note. The District Attorney is getting the last say, and will drop the charges entirely.

No one in our office who was authorized to give advice on wiretap issues or school conduct issues was ever contacted in this matter. We have made multiple attempts to contact the officer who wrote the citation. Those attempts have been unsuccessful. It is our intention to withdraw the citation on April 29 because we do not believe his conduct rises to the level of a citation.

Would there have been a positive ending if blogs hadn’t turned the story into a national issue? Unlikely.

h/t Eugene Volokh.

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