Wednesday, November 29, 2006
American Federation of Teachers vs. Education
A couple of nights ago there was a report on ABC news about American high-school students being tutored over the internet. This is not necessarily a huge, new concept, but the tutors in question are in
What’s most noteworthy is that objections are coming from those who are supposed to be among the most interested in academic improvement…teachers. Or at least their labor unions, like the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Their objection, according to the story, is possible lack of familiarity with state standards and local curriculum by the foreign tutors.
It’s tough to know where to start on AFTs response; the group fights any sort of on-going competency standards for teachers as well as performance rewards. They’ll go to the mat to protect the job of any teacher no matter how poorly they educate their students.
AFTs objection is based in the fact that K-12 education is shielded from any real competitive pressure. Teachers unions (a special interest group if there ever was one) have an unhealthy stranglehold on many state legislatures, and the Democrat party in particular. It will be interesting to see if they will seek political action, and what kind. Right now tutoring can be tax deductible, or outright paid for under the No Child Left Behind Act if the child’s school is tagged a “failing school.” Will AFT move to have these tax benefits apply only to local-based tutoring?
Unlike the AFT, the first concern over education is about how well kids are learning. Internet tutoring is a no-lose proposition in the long run; if it doesn’t bring up math abilities, the parents will drop it rather than pay for it. That's the marketplace at work. If scores do get better, everyone wins, even the teacher in the classroom. Only the teachers unions might lose. But then, their primary concern has never been about kids learning.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
The ‘Six Imam’ set-up.
As I think about it I am becoming more convinced that the ‘Six Imam’ incident was indeed a deliberate stunt. Dean Barnett lays some compelling groundwork:
It is inconceivable that the Imams were unaware that their prayer ritual would scare the stuffing out of their fellow-passengers. Since we know that Islamophobia is actually a fear and a not particularly irrational one especially when boarding an airliner, the Imams were at best insensitive.
But when you consider the facts that a few of the Imams requested extra-long seatbelts (that they didn’t need) and engaged in a loud dialogue condemning
America’s role in , it’s obvious that the Imams had mischief on their minds. For whatever reason, they deliberately intended to unnerve the plane’s other passengers. One can only wonder, to what ends? Iraq
Add to this one other factor…since 9/11 there have been how many Muslims taking how many flights in the
The ‘Six Imam’ are reveling in the spotlight, pressing all the right ‘victim’ buttons. Almost as if they got exactly what they were after.
Scottish Right makes a salient point:
The biggest risk the West faces is allowing ourselves to be guilted into foregoing all good sense. It's quite brilliant, really. The United States is almost impervious to conventional invading armies, but a terrorist group wearing the cloak of religious devotion is the perfect virus to penetrate our defenses. The political objectives of the terrorists are inseparable from their religious beliefs. Terror suspects who scream "Islamophobia" or accuse their captors of violating their religious rights know that they will generate a great deal of sympathy with the media establishment....
Monday, November 27, 2006
Islam; the religion of the temper tantrum
President Bush has been going out of his way since 9/11 in declaring Islam “a peaceful religion.” Yet the followers of the prophet of Mohammed are going out of their way to prove otherwise.
Then there are the ‘Six Imam’ who were removed from a
And, of course, there are the assassinations by
Conjecture is beginning to flow around the blogosphere that the ‘Six Imam’ intentionally used their ‘religious observances’ obtrusively to provoke the situation that erupted. While I would have earlier resisted this presumption, I would no longer be surprised. Islam seems to have decided on two-pronged approach to the non-Islamic world; please tolerate and accept us while you are blown to bits.
One thing I’ve learned in this venture…
Holidays and travel are hell on blogging.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The Daily Dummkopf
The Star Tribune has a running ‘reader response’ section to their story on the six Imam mentioned below, begging the question “Were the imams treated unfairly?” One reader, a Steve Philion, produced the following gem of colossal ignorance:
"Uhm, let's see, Right wing Christian extremists did bomb a federal building to smitherens [sic]...I guess I better report anyone with a white collar or carrying a bible and praying in a federal building to the police and demand they be handcuffed just in case they should pull a Timothy McVeigh on us...You never can be too careful."
The reference is, of course, to the demolition of the
This silly attempt at moral equivalence is typical of what might be charitably called “liberal thinking.”
The clash of cultures
Last night 6 Islamic Imam (ministers, priests, whatever) were not allowed to board a U.S. Airways flight out of
The Islamic ‘community,’ most notably CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), is crying foul. Education of Americans is needed to further the ‘understanding’ of how Muslims worship. I would think that CAIR needs an education on the understandable reaction of Americans to such displays after 9/11.
Shahin, president of the group said that "If up to now [Americans] don't know about prayers, this is a real problem."
But a bigger and more real problem is the lack of effort put forth by Islam to bring the large sect of extreme violence to heel. The Imam were leaving a conference in
Powerline has some interesting background on the leader of the group.To any of the Islamic faith looking in, here’s my position; You own the terrorist problem. It comes from a large sect within your faith. Don’t try and shift the burden onto my shoulders through some rhetorical slight of hand. It’s up to you to show responsibility and leadership in ridding the world of this menace rather than crying about being misunderstood; it’s the flip side of the freedom America has to offer. And if you don’t take the lead, we will, and in our own fashion. The choice is and has been yours, and so far, you have not done well by any means.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Pawlenty assumes punt formation
High on the list of this year’s pols to watch was Tim Pawlenty, it being said that he was a rising star in Republican politics and gaining ground on the Vice Presidential sweepstakes. One reason is his being a winning GOP governor in a ‘purple’ state in a tough year for Republicans. But more importantly he’s a GOP governor in what Michael Barone has labeled "Minnewisowa," a pivotal electoral region encompassing the purple states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
All that may very well be gone now as Pawlenty has positioned himself not as a pillar of Republican strength surrounded by a DFL eager to spend, but rather as someone who wants to beat the DFL to the entitlement punchbowl.
Witness this performance reported in the Star Tribune:
"We all, I think, can chart a path toward universal coverage…We're going to have to move in stages. ... We should start with covering all kids."
Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten points to another part of Pawlenty’s comments on HMOs at a Minneapolis health care conference, and responds:
"'What is the health value of what they do?' he said. 'How have the outcomes improved? Are we less obese? Are we less diabetic? Do we have less heart disease? Do we have less cancer? Are our children more engaged and active? Do we have less mental health challenge?'"
While the answer to some of these questions is no, Americans are in fact living longer than ever. And you've got to have a utopian vision to believe that, without HMOs, we'd be "less obese" or that our children would be "more active and engaged."
Democrats, of course, are thrilled at Pawlenty's change of heart.
This was not a good election for Minnesota Republicans, but it’s the taxpayers, employers (and employed) and medical consumers that will eventually feel the loss in a concrete fashion. Expanded state regulation and ‘ownership’ of the health care market has not improved cost or delivery of services elsewhere. Why does Pawlenty think it will now? Even more, why does he think it’s such a great career move?
If Pawlenty truly follows the ‘Hillary care’ path that his words presage, it will be the end of any higher aspirations he might have had. The Minnesota GOP appears to be in tatters and Pawlenty doesn’t appear to have any desire to be the leader that brings them back.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The Envelope Please...
Monday, November 13, 2006
'Big Education' on the move
A visit to the advertised web page yields a glimpse of the upcoming agenda. It starts with a push for more pre-K programs, but knowing this organization, it has more to do with funding than results; look for parental choice to be a completely lost concept in the state.
It’s interesting to note, though, that all this effort focuses on the system, not the child. There’s little demonstrated reason to believe that Education Minnesota cares about academic achievement if it comes at the expense of their own influence or income.
I particularly love this part…
More than half of Minnesota children start kindergarten without the skills they need to succeed in school. Our youngest students require comprehensive, high-quality early childhood education, one step to help narrow the achievement gap.Excuse me, but acquiring the skills to succeed in school is what I went to Kindergarten FOR! If teachers don’t actually want to do the teaching, then perhaps they’d best find a different line of work.
Also, given that I find the public schools NOT providing “comprehensive, high-quality” education, why should I think they’ll accomplish it at an earlier age?
A question for Education Minnesota…What is it you do so well that you should be trusted with more of it? Hands off the pre-5s until you get your act together and can once again teach a K-12 kid the basic 3-Rs and history.
Ok...NOW it's like Vietnam.
If this comes to pass, it will underscore something I wrote to a friend this past weekend about this very same possibility. If the Baker commission suggests such a 'reaching out' it will prove that one can be 'highly credentialed' and 'blindingly stupid' at the same time.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
The gears and the cranks
Really, I might like to help Andy push the party in the right direction, but first he’ll need to calm down, stop talking ‘shop’ and start from square one.
Why Republicans lost
If you are a conservative Republican, as I am, you have a right to be worried. An overconfident and complacent Republican Party could be facing electoral disaster. Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, and a host of others could be looming in our future and undoing all the good we've tried to do.
It is break the glass and pull the alarm time for the Republican Party. The elections looming in November 2006 are shaping up to be disastrous for the GOP as the elections of 1994 were for the Democrats. Most GOP insiders seem unaware of the party's political peril. Some are resigned to a major defeat as the price we have to pay for a decade of consistent gains, which, they think, couldn't have gone on forever.
Had the GOP heeded this warning eight months ago, they would have salvaged the Senate, and maybe even the House. Now Hugh has given them a roadmap for recovery and it's time for them to get their heads out of the beltway and listen up to the people that put them there.
Read it, read it read it!!
The big winner, Terrorists. The big loser, Iraqi democracy.
For their parts, the Democrats have never been serious when it comes to the war on terror. Winning it never seems to cross their minds. As I mentioned in a previous post, the word ‘victory’ just doesn’t seem to be in their lexicon. They can’t even admit that there is a war on. Being hated by others must mean that WE’VE done something wrong. It doesn’t matter if some part of the world has declared war on the U.S., they’ll have none of it.
For his part, Mr. Gates is of the Beltway Crowd that sees all conflict as ‘failures to communicate.’ It’s possible that he might change his stripes this go-around, but he’s coming fresh out of the Baker commission that’s going to tell us how to ‘solve the Iraq problem.’ The folks on that panel have little or no practical wartime victory experience but love the ‘talk’ game. If rumor is to be trusted, their recommendations will include, if not center on, negotiating with Iran and Syria to assist us in Iraq. It takes a certain amount of foolish intellectualism to even seriously consider such a proposal.
As such, I was not surprised to read the following in an AP story today:
After Democrats swept to majorities in both houses of the U.S. Congress and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld resigned, Iraqis appeared unsettled and seemed to sense the potential for an even bloodier conflict because future American policy is uncertain. As a result, positions hardened on both sides of the country's deepening sectarian divide.Well, duh! Part of the unreported success due the American presence in Iraq is some ability to keep these two nuclear rods apart. It looks like that buffer will soon diminish.
If all the signs are accurate, history will repeat itself. As in the early ‘90s, once again brave Iraqis who believed the United States when it said they would stand by them will be disappointed and thrown to the tender mercies of the crazed sadists who will be left to roam free. Iraqi's who placed their bets on a better life will be slaughtered, along with any reason to trust or respect American "resolve." And rightly so.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
So where's the "Victory?"
Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi only demanded a "new direction" and a "solution."
Democrats have yet to express the desire or will to "win" the war on terror. The terrorists will die rather than lose. When such attitudes come into unavoidable conflict the outcome is easy to predict.
Update: Howard Dean adds following: "Democrats are united and ready to get to work with Republicans to find real solutions to the challenges we are facing in Iraq."
What is wrong with this party that just can't utter anything near the effect of "defeat the terrorists?"
Update 2: Nancy Pelosi just uttered this gem to Brit Hume; "[Iraq is] not a war to be won but a situation to be solved." What a warped world view.
This series of updates could become rather long...
The first head to roll...
Update: During the QA, Bush responded to a question by saying something like "Democrats are going to honor our troops just like Republicans do…" Right...they'll have to do something about the Kerry-Murtha-Durbin brigades in order for that to happen.
I have no doubt this will come to pass!
Here is a prediction for next year...
In January or February, the New York Times will run a headline: "Economy Turning Around Under Democratic Leadership." The subtitle will be "Dow Hits New Record High". The story will interview a few citizens on the street who will claim they have more money to spend, and an obscure economist that will point out how the gap between the rich and poor is now closing.
Recipe for disaster
And it’s true. The GOP has always had great difficulty acting like a majority party, failing to take control when the opportunity was there, going weak-kneed when the D.C. press corp conducted their one-sided interviews (would someone PLEASE put Lynn Cheney in charge of back-bone transplants?). They abandoned issues that clearly would have worked for them like immigration reform, tort reform, tax reform, judicial confirmations, social security reform.
Some of this was due to lack of strong, committed leadership in both Houses. I had hopes that Frist would be a better manager of the issues and the caucus in the Senate than Trent Lott had been, but that was not to be; the ‘Gang of 14’ emerged in the vacuum. The Contract with America is now dead because there weren’t enough defenders left in the chambers. Instead, the GOP became too ‘D.C.’-like, repeating the same sort of behavior they used to rail against, spending like there was no tomorrow. Rep. Mike Pence said it best today; “…we did not just lose our majority, we lost our way”
Party discipline was rarely present. The farthest out of the 'big tent,' like Lincoln Chafee, were treated no differently than those members most loyal to party principles (when they existed…). This resulted in much of the base abandoning Elizabeth Dole and the National Republican Senatorial Committee during this cycle.
But one of the biggest burrs under the GOP saddle is that while the Democrats are street fighters in the arena, the GOP cowers from rhetorical blasts lest someone get offended or they appear ‘intolerant.’ The GOP needs both a set of bearings and a set of cojones. To quote Captain Ed's 4/14/2005 post linked above, "To hell with Frist, to hell with Thune, and to hell with the GOP if they wait until the session is half-over before finding their spine or other significant parts of their anatomy."
It should be noted that the strategy the Democrats used to bring about this victory was to make a large feint to the RIGHT! But it will be obvious fairly soon that the newly-elected ‘moderate-conservative’ Democrats in the Senate, like Webb and Casey, will be mere cannon fodder for the likes of Leahy and Reid.
I guess what best sums up a big reason for the loss…if you’re going to have Democrats in charge of Congress, why not vote for the real thing?
The GOP is now at a fork in the road. Either follow the ideological examples of Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich over the next two or three cycles and be in a position to take back Congress, or fall back to a ‘moderate’ leadership style like the old Jerry Ford/ Michaels group and remain also-rans. Best not to sit and bicker about it. The time to chose is now.
As for my own predictions...
As far as the Senate goes, I’m not the only one who blew the call, so I have good company.
I was correct in the results for three Minnesota races, but way off on two of the margins. Pawlenty won by 1% (not 6%), and Kennedy got totally pounded (20% instead of 5%). Bachman won by 8%. I predicted 10%, close enough for me to scratch out a little saving of face…
The bloom is off the Rove
First, a question…what happened to that vaunted ‘Get Out The Vote’ machine? In spite of early signs of huge success, it didn’t work.
Second, an observation…When it came time to setting the table for the GOP in this election, Rove really blew it. Now, it may not have been fully in his control; the Congressional Republicans didn’t give him a lot to work with, and I’ll cover that in later post-mortems throughout the day.
That being said, however, Rove is still a brilliant strategist, and that sort tends to learn from their mistakes. The question is, will he be able to regain his winning sheen (assuming he wants to), or will he go the way of James Carville?
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Looks like this is gonna be a mess!
If this is any indication, it could be a nation-wide Florida situation, concentrated in Pennsylvania and Missouri.
The last word from TKS
Final pre-vote thoughts
In a nutshell, if I’m correct, it will have at be at the expense of the traditional media which will be so discredited it’s predictions will never be believed again. And that will truly be a watershed moment.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Official election prediction: Minnesota Edition
Pawlenty will win the governor's race by 6 points.
Bachman (MN-6) will win by 10 points.
Kennedy will lose his Senate race by 5 points.
Terrorists endorse Democrats...Take 2
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Offical Election Prediction
The GOP will hold 50% +2 seats of each chamber in Congress.
Friday, November 03, 2006
I couldn't help but wonder...
Since their activities are so news-worthy, I wonder if they'll report terrorist endorsement of Democrat candidates mentioned below?
Terrorists Endorse Democrats
A couple key quotes from the article:
Three things come to mind reading the above. First, the ‘Nancy Pelosi’ world view is completely incorrect (if we leave Iraq, the terrorists will leave; the real war is in Afghanistan; fighting them only makes them mad).
"Of course Americans should vote Democrat," Jihad Jaara, a senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades…”because there is an atmosphere in America that encourages those who want to withdraw from Iraq.”
Muhammad Saadi, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank town of Jenin; "As Arabs and Muslims we feel proud of this talk [by Democrats of withdrawal]. Very proud from the great successes of the Iraqi resistance. This success that brought the big superpower of the world to discuss a possible withdrawal."
WND read Pelosi's remarks to the terror leaders, who unanimously rejected her contention an American withdrawal would end the insurgency….Islamic Jihad's Saadi, laughing, stated, "There is no chance that the resistance will stop."
Hamas' Abu Abdullah argued a withdrawal from Iraq would "convince those among the Palestinians who still have doubts in the efficiency of the resistance...I tell the American people vote for withdrawal. Abandon Israel if you want to save America. "
Second, if the enemy can’t win in Iraq until America leaves, they must not be winning. That means we’re not losing.
Third, these are the people that Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) apparently wants to "negotiate" with.
Read the whole thing.
Update: In Powerline's coverage of this story they contact WND to confirm actual contact with the terrorists. WND's reply:
Aaron Klein is WND Bureau Chief in Jerusalem. He interviewed the terrorists in person.
Aaron is the only journalist doing this sort of work-he has risked his life continually for two years developing sources deep within the terrorist organizations.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
A pre-mortem summary
"Observing [Michele Bachman's] race makes me wonder how many Republican candidates might have done better if they had stayed true to conservative principles, refused to abandon the President--both President and Mrs. Bush made appearances here for Michele--and stuck resolutely to talking about issues, not sideshows."
As if to prove Victor Davis Hanson correct...
Right on cue.
This morning I reproduced a segment by VDH where he questions the quality of those who populate our college campuses.
Tonight we're treated to pictures from a Halloween party hosted by University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann where one of the guests came as a Palestinian suicide bomber.
Democracy project rightly asks "Would a guest get away with pretending to lynch someone?"
Click here to view the whole symptom of cultural dysfunction, including a mock execution.
Victor Davis Hanson on Democrats and ‘Kerryism’
While the whole thing should be read, two points are worth extra attention:
"Without being gratuitously cruel, the problem of mediocrity is not in the ranks of the military, but on our university campuses, where half-educated professors and non-serious students killing time are ubiquitous….
"And why is the supposedly lame Bush so careful in speech, and the self-acclaimed geniuses like a Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, or Howard Dean serially spouting ever more stupidities?"
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
U2 channels John Kerry
Never gave anyone else a choice.
An intellectual tortoise…
Racing with your bullet train."
"All Because of You"
from the album How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb
ABC does it AGAIN!
Hugh Hewitt has been having a series of conversations with ABC news director Mark Halperin and they’re very interesting.
Here’s a cut from the latest installment, which occurred after Kerry’s now famous ‘uneducated soldiers’ gaff…
HH: Mark Halperin, how did ABC handle the John Kerry story today? How ought it handle it tomorrow in the morning show, and in the evening news?
MH: We led with it, as did the other networks. It’s an interesting story. Sometimes in politics, interesting trumps everything else. But it’s also a complicated story, because you’ve got to decide what standards do you use to decide what matters about John Kerry says, something we don’t normally care about much in the evening news these days, and also about whether or not what he said is being mischaracterized, how it’s being used by you and other conservatives. So we did lead with it. I suspect it’ll play very big on the news tomorrow. I’m not sure about after that, how much shelf life it will have, or should have.
HH: Do you believe he was making a joke?
MH: I do believe he was making a joke.
What Mr. Halperin failed to mention: on his nightly news, ABC anchor Charles Gibson followed the opening report on the Kerry soldier insult by turning to George Stephonopolis and asking in a tsk-tsk voice ‘Now George, is there anyone on the White House who really believes that this was an insult against the troops and not George Bush?’ Stephonopolis dutifully responded, in effect, 'no.'
I’m not using quotes on that because I can’t guarantee 100% accuracy, but the sentiment is completely accurate. It was one of those famous ‘asked and answered’ questions that allowed ABC to side with John Kerry in an effort to say 'See, it's nothing but a bunch of silly Republicans making it up' while at the same time maintaining ‘plausible deniability’ against the obvious bias.