Friday, September 24, 2010

A Primary Challenge for Obama? I Say Count On It.

Over at Commentary, Peter Wehner speculates that President Obama may have to deal with a primary chanllenge in 2012. I think he will and I'm predicting it will be Hillary Clinton. Obama is sinking in the job approval polls and you can bet that Hillary is still nursing a grudge from 2008 when she probably should have won her party's nomination. The Clinton's could never let an opportunity to take out a severely weakened Obama go to waste. My predicton is that shortly after the upcoming mid-term election, and certainly no later than the middle of next year, she will resign as Secretary of State and after a very brief break she will be hitting the road for one of her "listening tours."

Obama's numbers are terrible now. After the expected mid-term rout in Congress, he will become positively toxic, indeed he already is to some extent, as evidenced by all the Democrat congress critters that don't want his help campaigning and indeed actively avoid making appearances with him, even in their home states.

As for this comment in Wehner's article:

"If Obama remains or becomes increasingly radioactive in 2011, liberals will seek to separate their movement from a deeply unpopular president. And the man who in the past has been so quick to throw others (like Jeremiah Wright) under the bus may find himself suffering a similar fate. The cruelest cut of all, of course, would be for this act to come courtesy of those who were once Obama’s more worshipful supporters."

To paraphrase Matthew 26:52; He who lives by the bus, dies by the bus.  It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Boehner Indicates Willingness to Compromise and Avoids Walking Into a Trap

Jennifer Rubin takes House Minority Leader John Boehner to task for a statement he made on Face the Nation on Sunday, that if he couldn't get all of the Bush tax cuts extended, that is for everyone, then he would settle for getting them extended for those making less than $250,000/year.  Ms. Rubin says this muddies the waters. Glenn Reynolds says he "is  squishing." I think Neal Boortz has it right though:

... what if Boehner had said that he would absolutely NOT vote for ANY extension of the Bush tax cuts unless they applied to everybody. Then we would have had a media outrage today and Democrats would have been dancing in the aisles over the idea that the man who wants to be Speaker of the House would vote against tax cuts for the middle class if wealthy people didn't get their tax cut as well.

Boehner gave the only reasonable answer he could here. In doing so he avoided a trap (cue Admiral Akbar) the Democrats were setting for him, counting on a compliant MSM to create the right narrative. The headlines were not going to say, "Boehner Stands on Principle, All or Nothing on Tax Cut Extension." They would say rather: "Boehner Defends Tax Cut Extension for His Rich Friends at Expense of Middle Class." Remember, the Democrats are masters of the art of dividing people into interest groups and then driving wedges between them.  Boehner's answer also deprives the Democrats of the stand-by argument that Republicans are the party of "no" and won't compromise. It's all part of Standard Leftist Operating Procedure, or SLOP, as I like to call it.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Another Delicious Smack-Down by NJ Governor Chris Christie

Via Roger Kimball at Pajamas Media we have this delightful smack-down of a clueless New Jersey teacher's union member.

It really is too bad this man has (so far) ruled out running for President in 2012. The country as a whole could benefit from someone who isn't afraid to spell out reality the way he can and the Republicans in particular can learn a few lessons from listening to him. No apologies and no prisoners. Go and read Roger's commentary on it too. You'll be glad you did.
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The United States Is Being Governed by a Ghost

That is the conclusion reached by Dinesh D'Souza:

"......our President is trapped in his father's time machine. Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father's dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost."

It's an excellent article. Read the whole thing.
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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Victor Davis Hanson On the Origins of Barack Obama's Petulance

Victor Davis Hanson's Works and Days column at Pajamas Media is, as usual, a must read today. He talks about why President Obama seems to be so sensitive and touchy. He also talks about the series of happy seemignly accidental events that have gotten him to where he is now.  This passage in particular caught my eye:

"He is our collective Peter Sellers of Being There. To paraphrase the embarrassed awards committee, Obama was granted the prize more on his symbolic potential, rather than on the basis of anything he did."

Actually, he has always reminded me more of Forrest Gump, a man who just seemed to always be in the picture, in the right place at the right time, by sheer accident. We all know what Forrest's Mama always said too: "Stupid is as stupid does."

Read the whole thing.
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Monday, September 06, 2010

If You Still Think Islam Is the "Religion of Peace"...

...Here are three things you should know.

The video was put together by a Swedish group called the White R0ses, named for a German resistance group from WWII. Pay particular attention to the concept of Taquiyya, about 5:53 in.
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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Expiring Tax Provisions 2009-2020 - Prepare to Pay

The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation has a list of expiring tax provisions from 2009 through 2020 available for download in PDF format here. A lot of the expiring provisions are tax credits, e.g., the credit for purchasing an qualified alternative fuel vehicle. I actually think that's a good thing because offering credits for buying something that someone might not choose to buy absent the credit, or might have bought anyway without it but just changed the timng of the purchase to take advatage of it. This just introduces distortions into the market in the name of producing some social outcome of dubious benefit.

A prime example was last year's Cash for Clunkers program which did nothing more than pull forward the purchases of cars that were going to be purchased anyway at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars and had the perverse side-effect of taking a portion of the  supply of affordable used cars out of the market, making what was left more expensive. And what market demographic buys used cars? Yup, lower income people. Cash for Clunkers subsidized relatively more affluent people to buy cars they would have bought anyway at the expense of the poor and of the taxpayers and was incompetently administered to boot [Ed.; Well what did you expect? It is a government program after all.].

Anyway, all that being said, almost all the expiring tax provisions will result in higher taxes for nearly everyone. To paraphrase a certain barbarian; what will be left in your wallet?
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Zombie Part Five - Proposals for an Educational Renaissance

In parts  one through four of this five part series, Zombie has laid out the problems with our educational system. Well, anyone can criticize and point out problems, right? In part five he proposes some possible solutions for fixng the problems. Some are more practical/attainable than others but the suggestions are worth discussing. Examples:

Educational structures

  • Introduce competition into the educational marketplace.
  • Encourage homeschooling
  • Break the monopoly of public education, but keep it as a safety net


  • Get back to basics
  • End the practice of mass-adoption of a few major textbooks
  • Form centrist national pressure groups to make textbooks indoctrination-free
  • Get politics and religion out of science classes
  • Introduce and popularize “skills survey” courses

Pedagogy (methods of instruction)

  • Group students by ability, not age or ethnicity; bring back “tracking”
  • Have “small schools” or “departments” within large high schools
  • Allow teachers with creative ideas to be idiosyncratic

Transparency and Independence
  • Parental notification
  • Break the teachers’ unions
  • Bring back competition and individuality
Read the whole thing. 

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Zombie Part Four - In Pursuit of Cultural Hegemony

Here is part four of Zombie's excellent series on education. So far he has laid out the thesis that there is a battle going on for the hearts and minds of the nation's children as it plays out in how text books are written.  We have seen how the 800 pound gorillas in influencing how they are written, the Texas State Board of Education and the California State Board of Education, approach the task. Today, he takes on the "self-esteem" crowd. An excerpt:

While educators may be unconsciously relying on dubious theories of psychological modeling (as mentioned in yesterday’s essay) to justify the unrelenting ethnic tokenism in our nation’s schoolbooks, their official explanation revolves around the supposed need to boost students’ “self-esteem.” Those kids who do poorly in school, the theory goes, fail only because they have low self-esteem, leading to low expectations. Therefore, the best way to boost performance for struggling students is not to make their curriculum more challenging or to tailor it to their needs, but rather to use the curriculum as a mechanism to improve students’ self-image. If kids love themselves, the educational theorists claim, they’ll want to succeed, and if they want to succeed, they will succeed. Problem solved!

And so the entire educational system has systematically been re-tooled to focus on self-esteem building. In early grades this involves unsubtle classroom activities — assignments, songs, everybody-wins “contests” — directly informing each student how wonderful they are. In later grades, however, kids begin to grow more sophisticated and skeptical of such heavy-handed methods, so the curriculum designers “cleverly” embed self-esteem building hidden messages into the reading material where it can work on each student’s subconscious. Usually this involves praising and glamorizing “heroes” who just happen to share some ethnic/cultural/gender/appearance attribute with kids in the class, the assumption being that the students’ minds will internalize the message, “If this hero who looks just like me can succeed, then so can I!”

Needless to say, this is the biggest crock of baloney ever foisted on the American public. True self-esteem is not a precursor to achievement and success, it comes as the natural consequence of achievement and success. It’s something you earn, not something you’re given. And to the extent that one can artificially induce baseless self-esteem in someone who has not done anything noteworthy to earn it, one has only succeeded in creating a child with a personality disorder whose swollen ego and sense of entitlement will only later serve as a hindrance in adult real-world interactions.

It's all good stuff. Read the whole series, if you haven't already.
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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Zombie Part Three - Indoctrination Nation

Installment three of Zombie's five part series on education is here.  This time, California is compared to Texas.

While the media generally goes into hysterics every time the Texas State Board of Education meets, with commentators hurling mockery, outrage and vitriol at the board members, there is a total lack of interest when other states’ boards of education meet for the same purpose. Yet Texas is not the only state that influences the content of American schooling: a few other states also determine textbook standards that end up being used in other parts of the country. California, in particular, is also an important textbook market for publishers. Yet mysteriously, one never hears of any controversy erupting when the California State Board of Education meets to decide the content of textbooks used throughout the state and in many other school districts around the country which shun the Texas-approved textbooks.
Why is that? Could it simply be that California-approved textbooks aren’t as politicized as those in Texas?
Quite the contrary. If anything, the textbooks approved by the California State Board of Education are even more politicized than Texas textbooks, and more ideologically biased. So: Why does the media ignore what happens in California textbooks? Because the state’s bias goes the other way. California-approved social studies textbooks are politically correct in the extreme, with multiculturalism and “social justice” as the defining characteristics. The pressure groups and board members setting policy for California’s (and hence a substantial portion of America’s) textbooks exceed their Texan counterparts in their extremism, but since California pushes the “correct” kind of extremism, you never hear about it.

Read the whole thing.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Zombie on the Ideological War Over School Curricula

Over at Pajamas Media, the blogger known as Zombie has the first two parts of a five part essay up on the battle for the hearts and minds of today's children, how the extremes of the left and of the right have crowded out the middle and how Texas has become a central battlefield in the debate over what our children should be taught and how. The thesis:

Students are returning to school this week. But they’re not heading back to class — they’re walking straight into a war zone. Our kids have become cannon fodder for two rival ideologies battling to control America’s future.

In one camp are conservative Christians and their champion, the Texas State Board of Education; in the other are politically radical multiculturalists and their de facto champion, President Barack Obama. The two competing visions couldn’t be more different. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. Unfortunately, whichever side wins — your kid ends up losing.

That’s because this war is for the power to dictate what our children are taught — and, by extension, how future generations of Americans will view the world. Long gone are the days when classrooms were for learning: now each side sees the public school system as a vast indoctrination camp in which future culture-warriors are trained. The problem is, two diametrically opposed philosophies are struggling for supremacy, and neither is willing to give an inch, so the end result is extremism, no matter which side temporarily comes out on top.

Both visions are grotesque and unacceptable — and yet they are currently the only two choices on the national menu. Which shall it be, sir: Brainwashing Fricassee, or a Fried Ignorance Sandwich?

He goes on to describe the opposing sides in general and in installment two Zombie dissects what the Texas State Board of  Education is trying to accomplish. It's very thought-provking reading.
Part one can be found here.
Part two can be found here.
Read the whole thing.
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