News and Commentary for March 9, 10 and 11

If you can make sense of this new Common Core math, you're a better person than I.

If you can make sense of this new Common Core math, you’re a better person than I. Hat tip: The Heritage Foundation

Stories of the Day

This is SERIOUSLY a BLOOD BOILER of the year (emphasis mine). This: “Top administration officials have directed 21,000 border patrol officers to retreat whenever illegal immigrants throw rocks at them, and to avoid getting in front of foreign drug-smugglers’ vehicles as they head north with their drug shipments.” And this: “The new rules were issued at the direction of Jeh Johnston, the new head of the Department of Homeland Security. And this: The commissioned report was challenged by mid-level DHS officials, who argued that the rules barring self-defense from rock-throwers “could create a more dangerous environment [especially for agents operating] in rural or desolate areas, often alone, where concealment, cover and egress is not an option,” according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.” And this: “But Johnston overrode the internal response, and forced the implementation of the advocacy groups’ recommendations. The rules match the recommendation of a report by an advocacy group that wants to reduce policing of illegal immigration.” DHS tells American border guards to run away from illegal immigrants hurling rocks at them, fleeing in vehicles

The Left is truly insane. “The donation was the largest in the hospital’s history, and will presumably create a fair number of new nursing jobs. So why are the usual suspects up in arms? Well, the agitators were apparently agitated because this particular hospital didn’t need all the money. Oh yeah, and because it was International Women’s Day, and the Kochs are the primary funders of the “war on women’s reproductive rights … and many other issues of concern to American women.” They’re also behind “the effort to defeat and repeal healthcare to all Americans,” whatever that means.” Koch Brother Donates Money to Hospital, Liberals Protest

Read this article to find out why the Left and the Right will never come together. “Liberals give low priority to dealing with the deficit. Obama’s recent budget avoids tackling entitlement reform, and he’s condemned the GOP’s focus on austerity. As The New York Times reports, his $3.9 trillion budget “seeks to energize Democratic voters with populist proposals like a more generous tax credit for the working poor, paid for with higher taxes on the rich.” Likewise, liberals are the only political segment in the Pew survey that expresses majority support for paying higher prices to help the environment.” Time for Truth in Labeling: Obama Is Not Centrist

If you want to listen to someone that will make you stand up and cheer, then I highly recommend that you click on over and watch. Pat Caddell Eviscerates ‘Political Class’ of Both Parties Who Put Privileged Access Ahead of Patriotism

Another reason not to sleep well at night. “A key fleet of U.S. reconnaissance planes used to detect enemy aircraft in hostile settings will to be cut by 25 percent under President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget, according to multiple sources familiar with the budget proposal. A fleet of 31 AWACs, or Airborne Warning and Control System planes, will be reduced to 24 by 2015 under Obama’s budget proposal. The situation has prompted concern in defense circles and elsewhere, where sources have pointed out that AWACS are currently deployed in Poland and Romania in order to help monitor the standoff in Ukraine.

AWACS are a highly advanced type of reconnaissance craft able to monitor enemy movements in the sky and ground from great distances. Each AWAC unit costs $270 million, according to the Air Force.” Obama to cut AWACS fleet by 25%

From California, more “social justice” in education. “SAN GABRIEL >> Asians in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond joined forces Friday to rally against a proposed Senate constitutional amendment that they said would punish their children for working hard to achieve the American Dream. Olivia Liao, president of the Joint Chinese University Alumni Association, said Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 5 is racist because it allows public education institutions to give preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.” Asians rally against SCA 5, call it revival of Affirmative Action

Something to pay attention to. “It appears CAIR is now seeking to further mask its activities by adopting a nondescript-sounding name, the Washington Trust Foundation. I think they made a boo boo with this one though, because from now on, they are going to be known by their sorry acronym.” Muslim Brotherhood’s Front Group, C.A.I.R. (Council on American-Islamic Relations) Has Changed Its Name…Why? Hat tip: Gayla Coletto, Palo Verde RW member

The Left keeps putting Band-Aids on its ill-conceived policies. “Democrats’ solution to the water crisis is to give farmers handouts. President Obama dropped by Democratic Rep. Jim Costa’s Fresno district Feb. 14 to announce $135 million to restock food banks and indemnify ranchers for dead cattle. Mr. Obama “came out, did his face time, and threw some money at” the problem, says Mr. Watte. “It’s a slap in our face. It’s like leaving a waitress a quarter tip.” As if helping to prove Mr. Watte’s point, President Obama, Gov. Jerry Brown and Sens. Feinstein and Barbara Boxer have denounced a congressional bill backed by California’s GOP delegation that would temporarily waive species protections so farmers would be first in the water line when it rains. Mr. Brown called the bill an “unwelcome and divisive intrusion into California’s efforts to manage this severe crisis.” A few days after the president issued a veto threat, northern California was hit by a deluge. Government responded quickly: To protect the three-inch smelt from the delta pumps that would have directed the rainfall to Central Valley farmers desperate to irrigate their land, regulators flushed 95,000 acre-feet of water into the ocean.How the Other California Lives: Some of the most productive farm land in the world is going fallow thanks to a man-made water shortage. A long-time grower explains.

I am starting to realize that half of our country really is fine with the way things are going. “DeMint warned that Americans’ love of country was being threatened by top-down policies coming from Washington. What Edmund Burke called “little platoons” of society — the family and civic ties that constitute the grounds of public affection and patriotism — are being “bludgeoned” by federal policies, he said. “We feel divided and angry with those whose views are being forced down our throats,” he said. “When Washington stops trying to direct all aspects of our lives, Americans will fall in love with each other and our country” again, he added. DeMint said that the solution was federalism — a return of power to communities and the people in the states, one of the few lines that earned sustained applause.” DeMint: Love Is Threatened by the Federal Government

Back scratching that would never be tolerated if it were being done by a Republican. “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials will pay $22.3 million to lease temporary offices in addition to the record-breaking $145 million being spent to renovate the agency’s headquarters, according to documents obtained by the Washington Examiner. The temporary offices to be occupied by CFPB for the next two years are being leased in a building owned by Neil G. Bluhm, a longtime friend and campaign bundler for President Obama. Bluhm made headlines in 2010 when he hosted Obama’s 49th birthday party at his Chicago home. Admission was $30,000 per person, with the proceeds going to the Democratic National Committee.” CFPB to pay $22.3 million to lease building owned by Obama bundler

Unintended consequences. “A bunch of labor unions’ massive retrenchment from directly supporting the passage of ObamaCare to publicly taking the legislation to the woodshed is well documented by now, but yet another big union just came out swinging against the law by levying one of President Obama’s favorite intellectually bankrupt themes against him: Income inequality, of course. Via the Washington Examiner: ‘A national union that represents 300,000 low-wage hospitality workers charges in a new report that Obamacare will slam wages, cut hours, limit access to health insurance and worsen the very “income equality” President Obama says he is campaigning to fix.’” Big Labor: ObamaCare is making income inequality worse, you know

Arizona

We can beat her in November! “Democrat political consultant Mario Diaz, a signer of the letter was quoted as saying, “I just want to make sure that this playing field is fair and that the rules to the game aren’t changed in mid-stream, and Kyrsten Sinema coming over to this district with a million dollars in her purse really changes the rules of the game.” Pressured to stay put in CD 9, Sinema has decided not to seek the seat being vacated by Pastor.” AZ CD7: Race boils down to race — and sex

Everyone should be appalled, and informed. “On Tuesday, labor union activist Dolores Huerta attended a rally in honor of Cesar Chavez at Davis Bilingual Magnet School. Huerta has been in town to throw her support behind the City of Tucson’s proposal to increase the number of paid holidays for Tucson employees to accommodate a Cesar Chavez Day. A TUSD father was on hand to see Huerta address the Davis Bilingual Magnet School children. According to the father, the atmosphere was exciting; the students ranging in age from about 5 to 11 years old were swept away with the chants and cheering by the adults on stage. He then described having a chill run down his spine as the children and the atmosphere in the room transformed. “These kids were being told that they needed to hold each other’s hands, which was cool, we all should be supportive of each other in this world,” said the father, who wishes to remain anonymous for his children’s well-being. “But then all of the sudden the principal was yelling viva Cesar Chavez and viva Dolores Huerta, and si se puede, and then they started the Cesar Chavez clap and the room changed. This was not to honor a civil rights hero, it was a political rally.” “It had everything you need to turn kids into little followers. The chanting, the kids’ pictures of Cesar and Delores all around the room, kids’ drawings of the migrant worker symbol,” continued the father. “It had all the stuff you need. The cult of personality and kids being told that they were all one and not individuals. It was really bad. They were indoctrinating these kids.” Huerta, TUSD principal urge children to join them at City Council meeting Hat tip: Arizona Freedom Alliance

Common Core

How any Republican can support this, I will never know. “Common Core is the nationwide education initiative being jammed down the throats of students and parents around the United States whether we want it or not. 45 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have all adopted the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which is funded with money from the likes of Microsoft’s Bill Gates.” Counting down the top Glenn moments of 2013: Exposing Common Core Hat tip: Gayla Coletto, Palo Verde RW member

Dumbing down. “And the point is: none of this stuff is accidental. None of it fell out of the sky or was caused by germs. Every fatuous little detail was carefully crafted by our Education Establishment and systematically inserted into the schools.  Here’s how you know that Common Core is up to no good. It does not try to fix any of these problems. Rather, Common Core embraces them all and recycles them into supposedly new standards.” 9 Reasons Why Public Schools Wallow In Mediocrity

It is indoctrination, pure and simple. “Not only do the Next Generation Science Standards shirk the necessary foundations in math and science knowledge, but they explicitly call for including ideological lessons, such as “Human impacts on Earth systems.”  For grades K-2, students are to understand, “Things people do can affect the environment but they can make choices to reduce their impact.” In grades 3 through 5, students will learn “Societal activities have had major effects on the land, ocean, atmosphere, and even outer space.  Societal activities can also help protect Earth’s resources and environments.”  This is from part ESS3.C of the NGSS standards. “Human impacts on Earth systems” are huge topics, when approached legitimately.  They present quandaries to scientists at the top levels.  Yet NGSS imposes them on kindergartners.  The objective, of course, is not teaching legitimate science, but indoctrination.” Common Core’s Little Green Soldiers

The nation’s largest teachers union is pulling back on its once-enthusiastic support of the Common Core academic standards, labeling their rollout “completely botched.”

But unfortunately NOT because of the “dumbed down” educational standards. “National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel said he still believes the standards can improve education. But he said they will not succeed without a major “course correction” — including possibly rewriting some of the standards and revising the related tests with teacher input.” Nation’s biggest teachers union slams ‘botched’ Common Core implementation Hat tip: Gayla Coletto, Palo Verde RW member

Unreal. “Question: What test was created to eliminate the advantages that wealthy families used to influence and advance their children’s educational cause? Answer: The Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT): a test created to end the discrimination and aristocracy in college admissions. It leveled the playing field by relying on an empirical test score that was valid, aligned with college success, and incapable of determining color, race, or socio-economic condition.” Changing the SAT for ‘Social Justice’

It’s more like a down grade. “So the attempt to use the SAT as an instrument to advance “social justice” is, in a sense, more of the same.  We can expect most colleges and universities to welcome Coleman’s changes in that spirit.  But there are always costs, and sooner or later we will pay them.  We are embarking on a great expansion of the left’s long-term project of trading off our best chances to foster individual excellence for broadly-distributed access to mediocre education.” The SAT Upgrade Is a Big Mistake

“It turns out that SAT words were too abstruse. The College Board is updating its iconic test yet again in ways that are indistinguishable from dumbing it down. The old vocabulary words are out, the math is easier, guessing is no longer punished in the scoring — and we’re supposed to believe that the test is better than ever. The SAT, relied on heavily in college admissions, has long been attacked for not producing sufficiently egalitarian results. The multiple-choice test has been accused of everything from racism to classism. It is almost certainly the most hated exam in America, and the easiest way to placate the critics is simply to make it less exacting.” Dumbing Down the SAT\“While the idea of aligning high school curriculum with a major aptitude test may be welcomed in theory, the new SAT has been critiqued as merely a dumbed-down version of the old one — dropping standards that proved difficult for many students — and Common Core has also faced criticism for dropping many subjects as well as for being unnecessarily confusing.” SAT, Common Core Form Seamless Tissue of Mediocrity

“I’ve received some useful comments about my post on the dumbing down of the SAT. A long-time college professor suggests that the changes will have very little impact. Scores will rise, so colleges will adjust their evaluations accordingly. He adds, however, that the changes will make it harder to identify the truly exceptional, which will impact the top schools. And, of course, making the test easier will help mask the decline in the pre-college education Americans receive.” The SAT and the American dream

Foreign Policy

“The essay is almost too good to be excerpted. Be sure to read it all, as suddenly we’re discovering the consequences of the return to moral relativism in US foreign policy. It’s eerily similar to the Carter years, where an American President scolded his countrymen over their “inordinate fear of communism” in an attempt to “reset” the Cold War, and even kissed Soviet premiere Leonid Brezhnev on the cheek to show friendship after the SALT II agreement in June 1979. Brezhnev responded by invading Afghanistan in December 1979 to rescue a socialist revolution that had taken power in 1978. Carter’s response? A boycott of the Moscow Olympics. Weakness never produces good results. History repeats itself, too, the first time as tragedy, and the second time as farce.” Ukraine: Another 3 AM wake-up call going unheeded

Time traveling, in a bad way. “Not since the nadir of the Carter years has military spending fallen into such confusion and uncertainty.  The Subcommittee has to begin the process of turning that around by sending a serious budget to the full Committee and the Committee forwarding it on to the House.  The caps have to be set aside and the focus put back on the Congress’ first job of protecting the United States.  If the events in Ukraine have had any good effect, it will be the light shed on the fact that the world isn’t the way President Obama has long asserted it was.  There will be more terrible surprises ahead –from Iran, the PRC, the Norks.  The Congress needs to do its job even if the president won’t.  Send him a Department of Defense appropriations bill that is serious about national defense, and make 2014 a referendum not just on Obamacare but also on president’s radical plans for the nation’s military.” The Most Important Subcommittee

The IRS

“Democrats are embracing their inner tyrant.  Voters tell pollsters they are ready to hand the Senate to Republicans in 2014 so we can repeal Obamacare.  Not to worry, Democrats have an answer, and it is not to respect their constituents and repeal the monstrosity. The Democrat answer to the voter’s revolt is the IRS.  From now on, the IRS will openly suppress the conservative vote.” Democrats Unleash the IRS Tyrant

The Left

This (emphasis mine): After San Francisco introduced its ban on non-compostable plastic bags in large grocery stores in 2007, researchers discovered a curious spike in E. coli infections, which can be fatal, and a 46% increase in deaths from food-borne illnesses, according to a study published in November 2012 by the University of Pennsylvania and George Mason University. “We show that the health costs associated with the San Francisco ban swamp any budgetary savings from reduced litter,” the study’s authors observed.” And this: “I have been living under this same set of rules thanks to the geniuses that run Alameda County, California, where I live. And I have a clue to offer. Those damn multi-use bags that they sell the stores tend to fall apart after you wash them a few times. And calculations of the ecological impact of manufacturing and distributing  these multi-use bags show that the net environmental impact requires a few hundred uses before you are better off than simply using the one-use bags. But who cares?  It is all about feeling good. Ed Lasky points out that George Will calls this “gesture liberalism.” A self-righteous feeling trumps reality when it comes to the environment and regulations.California legislative stupidity (continued)

“De Blasio has such a hatred for free enterprise that he would rather see minority children get miserable educations than support their superior charter school educations through state funding without a tax hike.  He would rather lower us all to the common denominator than raise our children up to their potentials.  He does not support excellence.  He believes in the spreading fog of mediocrity.” Mayor de Blasio has a Twisted need to Punish the Rich

“The autonomy of charter schools is also a threat to the powers that be, who want to impose their own vision on the schools, regardless of what the parents want. Attorney General Eric Holder wants to impose his own notion of racial balance in the schools, while many black parents want their children to learn, regardless of whether they are seated next to a white child or a black child. There have been all-black schools whose students met or exceeded national norms in education, whether in Louisiana, California, or other places around the country. But Eric Holder, like Bill de Blasio, puts his ideology above the education — and the future lives — of minority students. Charter schools take power from politicians and bureaucrats, letting parents decide where their children will go to school. That is obviously offensive to those on the left, who think that our betters should be making our decisions for us.” The Left Versus Minorities

Personally, I wouldn’t call them Liberals. They aren’t. They’re Leftists. Big difference. “You see, liberals, a world without personal responsibility is not a Kumbaya world of fuzzy collective consensus.  It is a world wrenched back in time to the rule of the patriarch or its modern derivative, the charismatic lightbringer.  In the age of cities, science, markets, commerce, it fails every time it’s been tried. But you liberals are educated.  You already knew that.” Liberals You are to Blame

Mainstream Media

“But, as Dylan Byers wrote in Politico, Attkisson had an even bigger problem: most of her colleagues at CBS didn’t like the fact that she had spent the last few years reporting aggressively about the Obama administration’s various shortcomings and scandals. Journalists at mainstream media outlets like to pretend that they play it down the middle when it comes to whoever is in power. But it was hardly a coincidence that the prevailing office culture at the network that the president trusted, in Steve Kroft’s memorable phrase, not to make him “look stupid,” would think ill of a reporter that thought it worth her time to investigate stories like Fast and Furious, Solyndra and Benghazi.” The Media’s Obama Protection Society

“Completely unrelated I’m sure, but Sharyl Attkisson’s stories dropped by two thirds in terms of making it on to the CBS Evening News since shortly after Obama took office. She was the 18th most aired reporter among all network reporters from 2008-2009… and then fell to 78th place. Apparently her digging into political wrongdoing was appreciated up until Obama was sworn into office, and not so much thereafter.” Former Think Progress Blogger: I Criticized Obama’s Afghanistan Surge, and Center for American Progress Read Me the Riot Act For Creating “Daylight” Between CAP and the Obama Administration

Millennials

Dismal. “The portrait painted of Millennial Americans by the Pew Research Center in its new report Millennials in Adulthood is not rosy. Sure, compared with earlier generations, Millennials (now aged 18 to 33) are exceptionally tolerant, optimistic about their economic future, and connected to friends, family, and colleagues on the “new platforms of the digital era” — from Facebook to Twitter. But this report makes clear that Millennial ties to the core human institutions that have sustained the American experiment — work, marriage, and civil society — are worryingly weak. Take work. About 80 percent of young adults aged 25 to 29 are currently working, and Gallup estimates that only about 44 percent of young adults aged 18 to 29 are employed full-time. In fact, full-time employment for young men remains at or near record lows. This matters because full-time work remains the best way to avoid poverty and to chart a path into the middle class for ordinary Americans. Work also affords most Americans an important sense of dignity and meaning — the psychological boost provided by what American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks calls a sense of ‘earned success.’” What Could Go Wrong? Millennials are underemployed, unhitched, and unchurched at record rates.

Obamacare

They can’t postpone the pain forever. “By allowing many people to keep their old plans for two years longer, the administration softened the blow for congressional Democrats up for reelection this fall. No longer do members have to fear a wave of cancellation letters right before the November midterm election. But the changes have contributed to consumer confusion, as people try to sort through their options on the already hard-to-understand subject of health insurance, and race to meet a March 31 deadline to carry health coverage or face a fine. And the changes fuel suspicions that the law is deeply flawed, forcing the administration to try to patch it on the fly.” Slew of changes to health-care law creates more confusion for consumers

“A new labor union research report offers a scathing indictment of how Obamacare affects middle-class workers. The report features a series of arguments that conservatives have long made about the law, right down to mentioning the language of “unintended consequences.” Jon Ralston has the report. “Ironically, the administration’s own signature healthcare victory poses one of the most immediate challenges to redressing inequality,” says Unite Here, which is comprised of service workers. “Yes, the Affordable Care Act will help many more Americans gain some health insurance coverage, a significant step forward for equality. At the same time, without smart fixes, the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage.” It’s a criticism that could have been written by any Republican — in fact, Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., wrote the same thing in a Politico op-ed last month.” Liberal labor union makes Republican arguments against Obamacare

President Obama

“History has already given Obama several, and in my view Wieseltier’s only false note is his suggestion that this particularly back kick may cause Obama to realize the errors induced by his narcissism and arrogance.” Obama needs to stop believing his own BS

Religious Liberty

“The controversy around the concept of religious liberty — whether in the form of birth control mandates resulting from the Affordable Care Act, or nondiscrimination lawsuits related to same-sex marriage — can seem like a straightforward conflict between retrograde religion and the progressive state. But in truth the battle over religious liberty is a conflict within liberalism itself. In one corner are the liberal values of pluralism and tolerance. In the other are the liberal projects of egalitarianism and administrative efficiency. The quick and decisive defeat of Arizona’s attempt to clarify its state version of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is evidence that our increasingly monocultural elite class is inclined to resolve these conflicts in favor of its egalitarian goals. But, it should tread carefully.” Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too

 Ukraine

A good overview of the history of Russia and Ukraine.Ukraine has been part of Russia on and off for centuries. Why does Russia feel justified in interfering in its affairs?” Ukraine’s fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history Ukraine’s fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history

“The latest exhibition of stunning incompetence, of course, is the little dance Obama, Susan Rice, and John “reporting for duty” Kerry are performing while Vladimir Putin conducts the invasion by, er, the  “uncontested arrival” of Russian troops in the (formerly) “Autonomous Republic” of Crimea. In a way, the Obama administration’s routine is funny, in a Keystone Cops sort of way.  The comedy palls however when you realize that the Obama-Rice-Kerry vaudeville act is being performed as an excuse for foreign policy.  As Hayes reminds us, team Obama just doesn’t understand the way the world works. They are completely out of touch with the unpleasant realities of power politics.  They believe evil is confined to their domestic rivals, whom they propose to regulate and police into conformity, employing where necessary the suited, bureaucratic Gauleiters from the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service to establish what an earlier age called Gleichschaltung, that “coordination,” that “bringing into line” that made Deutschland and its satellites such a place of fun and frolic from 1934 until 1945.” Uncontested Arrivals’ and Obama’s Foreign Policy

“Most important, the United States must restore its standing in the international community, which has been eroded by too many extended hands of friendship to our adversaries, sometimes at the expense of our friends. Continued inaction in Syria, which has strengthened Moscow’s hand in the Middle East, and signs that we are desperate for a nuclear agreement with Iran cannot be separated from Putin’s recent actions. Radically declining U.S. defense budgets signal that we no longer have the will or intention to sustain global order, as does talk of withdrawal from Afghanistan whether the security situation warrants it or not. We must not fail, as we did in Iraq, to leave behind a residual presence. Anything less than the American military’s requirement for 10,000 troops will say that we are not serious about helping to stabilize that country.“ Will America heed the wake-up call of Ukraine?

Our Veterans

They’re our masters, we’re their little pawns. “The Department of the Interior knew beforehand that two groups of aging veterans would be visiting the World War II Memorial as the partial government shutdown began on Oct. 1 but decided to barricade the site anyway, according to e-mails obtained by National Review Online. The newly released public records also show National Park Service employees busily monitoring the news for any bad publicity and making shutdown exceptions for their co-workers.” Park Service Knew World War II Veterans Would Be Locked Out

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