So I’m reading Kevin Williams National Review article about the state of Connecticut wanting to pass a law that requires homeschooling parents “to present their children to the local authorities periodically for inspection, to see to it that their psychological and social growth is proceeding in the desired direction.” This is in the wake of the Sandy Hook killings and implies that the problem was centered in “homeschooling” and not the fact that the killer was a mental case. Not only that he was a well-known mental case having been in public schools until, as a last resort, he was home schooled. Williamson then goes on to put forward the real reason the Sandy Hook excuse is being used. And it is something any life long observer of the “progressive left” figured out years and years ago:
The Left’s model of society is still the model of Marx and Bismarck: one big factory to be managed by experts. The government schools are an assembly line for human widgets, who are in theory there to be taught what the state requires them to know in order to fulfill their roles as workers, administrators, and other bits of human machinery. That is the assumption behind President Obama’s insistence that “if you quit on school, you’re not just quitting on yourself — you’re quitting on your country.” Students are also there to be instructed in the official, unspoken state ideology: submission to official power.
The Left’s organizing principle is control, and the possibility that children might commonly be raised outside of its control matrix is an existential threat from the progressive point of view. Institutions such as free markets and free speech terrify progressives, because they are the result of arrangements in which nobody is in control.
This is just another attempt at exerting control over a segment of society which eschews that control and the indoctrination it entails. And the thin gruel provided by the Sandy Hook tragedy was all the excuse necessary to try to exert control over this segment. It also sends a message – “we believe homeschooling may be the bastion of extremists”.
More than anything exerting such control serves both a constituency and an ideology which identified education decades ago as the road to political success.
If you have not followed the issue closely, it is probably impossible for you to understand how intensely the Left and the government-school monopoly hate, loathe, and distrust home-schooling and home-school families. Purportedly serious scholars such as Robin West of Georgetown denounce them as trailer trash living “on tarps in fields or parking lots” and write wistfully of the day when home-schooling was properly understood: “Parents who did so were criminals, and their kids were truants.” The implicit rationale for the heavy regulation of home-schooling — that your children are yours only at the sufferance of the state — is creepy enough; in fact, it is unambiguously totalitarian and reduces children to the status of chattel. That this is now being framed in mental-health terms, under the theory that Lanza might not have committed his crimes if he had had the benefit of the tender attentions of his local school authorities, is yet another reminder of the Left’s long and grotesque history of using corrupt psychiatry as a tool of politics.
But take a moment to fully appreciate the absurdity of the Malloy gang’s assumption. Our public schools are dysfunctional, depressing, frequently dangerous places. Their architecture is generally penal, incorporating precisely the same sort of perimeter control as one sees in a low-security prison, with dogs, metal detectors, and the whole apparatus of control at hand. They are frequently run bynakedly corrupt, self-serving men and women who are not above rigging test scores to pad out their bonuses and who will fight to the end to keep pedophiles on the payroll if doing so serves their political interests, as in the case of California. They cannot even keep their teachers from raping their students, but they feel competent issuing orders that every family present its children for regular inspection in the name of the children’s “social and emotional learning needs.”
Contrary to all of the sanctimony surrounding them, the government schools are in fact the single most destructive institution in American public life, and they are the bedrock of the Left’s power, providing billions of dollars in campaign contributions and millions of man-hours for Democratic campaigns. But they do more than that: They are the real-life version of those nightmarish incubator pods from The Matrix, and home-schooling is a red pill. We entrust our children to the state for twelve or thirteen years, during which time they are subjected to a daily regimen that is, like the school buildings themselves, more than a little reminiscent of the penitentiary: “bells and cells,” as one of my teachers used to call it. They are instructed in obedience and compliance, as though the most important skill in life were the ability to sit quietly and follow instructions; those children who are more energetic than the authorities care for are given psychiatric diagnoses and very often put on psychiatric drugs: Since the 1980s, the rate of antidepressant prescription for children has increased five-fold, while the rate of antipsychotic prescription has increased six-fold. Locking children up for the largest part of the day, in a dreary room with 20 to 30 other children all born within nine or ten months of each other, is a model that make sense — that is something other than insane — only if you think of children as batches — if you believe, as our president and those who share his views believe, that the children are the government schools’ product rather than their customers.
And that “product” is trained and expected to follow its indoctrination – you know, things like this:
A Nebraska school district has instructed its teachers to stop referring to students by “gendered expressions” such as “boys and girls,” and use “gender inclusive” ones such as “purple penguins” instead.
“Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” instructs a training document given to middle-school teachers at the Lincoln Public Schools.
“Create classroom names and then ask all of the ‘purple penguins’ to meet on the rug,” it advises.
The document also warns against asking students to “line up as boys or girls,” and suggests asking them to line up by whether they prefer “skateboards or bikes/milk or juice/dogs or cats/summer or winter/talking or listening.”
“Always ask yourself . . . ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?’” the document says.
The instructions were part of a list called “12 steps on the way to gender inclusiveness” developed by Gender Spectrum, an organization that “provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages.”
Other items on the list include asking all students about their preferred pronouns and decorating the classroom with “all genders welcome” door hangers.
If teachers still find it “necessary” to mention that genders exist at all, the document states, they must list them as “boy, girl, both or neither.”
Furthermore, it instructs teachers to interfere and interrupt if they ever hear a student talking about gender in terms of “boys and girls” so the student can learn that this is wrong.
“Point out and inquire when you hear others referencing gender in a binary manner,” it states. “Ask things like . . . ‘What makes you say that? I think of it a little differently.’ Provide counter-narratives that challenge students to think more expansively about their notions of gender.”
The teachers were also given a handout created by the Center for Gender Sanity, which explains to them that “Gender identity . . . can’t be observed or measured, only reported by the individual,” and an infographic called “The Genderbred Person,” which was produced by www.ItsPronouncedMetroSexual.com.
But the real problem and danger is among the homeschooled. Meanwhile, in the public schools, the enculturation continues unabated. The product, if metaphorically beaten over the head with nonsense like “purple penguins” will learn to eventually pretend reality doesn’t exist and that “gender” is actually a figment of the oppressor’s imagination. What they can’t risk is individualism – those who will pull the curtain back and reintroduce reality into the world. Homeschoolers are one segment that threaten that exposure because they reject the indoctrination. Time to get them under control. Time to make it more and more difficult for homeschoolers to continue to do what they do. Because as far as the left is concerned, the future belongs to “purple penguins” – as determined by their betters, of course.
The Obama economy is a mess, with median incomes retreating, fudged employment numbers and generally the usual mess you can expect from a over-regulated and highly manipulated “market”. In other words, it stinks because of government as much as anything else. Our betters seem not to understand the very basics of human nature – humans respond to incentives. So they continue to cobble together more and more feel good projects (i.e. they make the “elite” feel good) that backfire. Why? Because humans respond to disincentives as well – and their feel good projects are long on disincentives, something they can’t seem to wrap their heads around.
By design, the next example of that will take place after the November mid-term elections:
Starting this year, the United States’ working population will face three major employment disincentives resulting from the very benefits the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides: (1) an explicit tax on full-time work, (2) an implicit tax on full-time work for those who are ineligible for the ACA’s health insurance subsidies, and (3) an implicit tax that links the amount of available subsidies to workers’ incomes.
A new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University advances the understanding of how much these ACA taxes will reduce overall employment, and why. It concludes that the reduction will be nearly double that projected by previous analyses. Labor markets ultimately will reduce weekly employment per person by about 3 percent—translating to roughly 4 million fewer full-time-equivalent workers.
4 million more jobs in an economy already suffering one of the lowest labor participation rates in its history. Why have “middle class” wages stagnated or dropped? One major reason has to do with disincentives like this. Its like the $15 minimum wage trope. Force it on business and they have a “disincentive” to hire people for jobs that aren’t worth that and an incentive to automate or go short handed and double up the work on someone else.
That’s precisely the type of disincentive that ObamaCare is about to inflict on the economy. We’ll then hear the usual nonsense about greedy and uncaring companies and how the “market” has failed us. It is as predictable as the next blizzard being somehow blamed on global warming.
Meanwhile, these 4 million that may join the currently unemployed are real people who will suffer real problems because of the disincentive provided by a very poorly thought out law that won’t effect those who passed it. All Democrats can hope is that enough people will drop off the unemployment roles by the time the next presidential election rolls around that the fudged unemployment stats look acceptable.
What a hell of a way to run a railroad.
I’m not sure how else to describe actions like this. Here’s the lede from an article about George Will being uninvited from an appearance at Scripps College:
A prominent conservative political pundit was uninvited from speaking at Scripps College, in a program designed to promote conservative views on campus, because of his conservative views.
Got that? Yes, it is terribly written, but still, you have to almost laugh at the irony. Because of his conservative views, he was uninvited from a speaking engagement that was supposed to promote conservative views.
You simply can’t make up half the stuff the left does. Apparently the trigger was a column Will wrote about campus “rape”. I put rape in scare quotes because many schools now have such a broad definition of rape that you may be at risk by simply saying “hello” to a woman who doesn’t particularly care for you. Like “racism”, rape is being radically redefined on campus and Will had the temerity to address that.
Apparently, those at the college disagree with much of what Will said in the column. And so, totally untrue to their supposed academic claims, they’ve cancelled Will:
The Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program was established under the belief that “a range of opinions about the world – especially opinions with which we may not agree, or think we do not agree – leads to a better educational experience,” according to the Scripps College website.
That’s certainly one way to discourage “opinions with which they may not agree”, but the cancellation certainly doesn’t lead “to a better educational experience” does it? In fact it should make it clear that opinions they don’t agree with are not at all welcome at the campus. Instead of taking the opportunity to challenge Will on their own home ground, they ban him. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me then, to find out that the college also bans certain books that don’t conform to their orthodoxy. I mean, why not?
If I were considering going there, that would be a huge warning sign that I would be sure to heed.
Unless, of course, you’ve a desire for indoctrination. Then Scripps may be the place for you.
Gone till Monday on my annual hang out with my old college buds.
See you then.
The Financial Times [subscription] is reporting that the US is poised to become the world’s largest producer of liquid petroleum (oil and natural gas liquids):
US production of oil and related liquids such as ethane and propane was neck-and-neck with Saudi Arabia in June and again in August at about 11.5m barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency, the watchdog backed by rich countries.
With US production continuing to boom, its output is set to exceed Saudi Arabia’s this month or next for the first time since 1991. […]
Rising oil and gas production has caused the US trade deficit in energy to shrink, and prompted a wave of investment in petrochemicals and other related industries. […] It is also having an impact on global security. Imports are expected to provide just 21 per cent of US liquid fuel consumption next year, down from 60 per cent in 2005.
The reason? Fracking. As Walter Russell Mead points out:
With productivity continuing to rise, the United States has a chance to become the single biggest producer of crude oil sometime in the near future. If you had said that a decade ago, you would’ve been laughed at and called a fool. What a difference fracking makes.
Indeed. The “peak oil” pundits were sure we were on the precipice of running out of oil. Now, it seems, the sky is indeed the limit. Which is why it makes little sense, given the state of climate science, that our President is busily engaged via the UN and other domestic agencies, in throttling back one of the most economically viable growth engines the American economy has at the moment (and for the foreseeable future).
Instead of working on a policy to limit future use of hydrocarbons, this White House should be pushing a policy that helps us safely and sustainably exploit these assets for all. Additionally, while petroleum is indeed a global commodity, this level of production would go a long way toward the promise of energy independence in time of crisis. It helps remove oil as a weapon of choice by various less than friendly states and allies of convenience.
Two winners for the US: economic growth and national security.
Instead we get an attempt to establish an new tax based on specious science.
Sort of par for the course, no pun intended.
Apparently we “underestimated” ebola and ISIS, but when it comes to the economy and our well being, our man in the White House did us proud, but we’re just not apt enough to realize that. From Obama’s “60 Minutes” interview:
Steve Kroft: You’ve got midterm elections coming up. Are you going to get shellacked?
President Obama: Well…
Steve Kroft: Or do you think that, I mean, are you optimistic? What are the issues and what are you going to tell the American people?
President Obama: Here’s what I’m going to tell the American people. When I came into office, our economy was in crisis. We had unemployment up at 10 percent. It’s now down to 6.1. We’ve had the longest run of uninterrupted private sector job growth in our history. We have seen deficits cut by more than half. Corporate balance sheets are probably the best they’ve been in the last several decades. We are producing more energy than we had before. We are producing more clean energy than we ever had before. I can put my record against any leader around the world in terms of digging ourselves out of a terrible, almost unprecedented financial crisis. Ronald Reagan used to ask the question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” In this case, are you better off than you were in six? And the answer is, the country is definitely better off than we were when I came into office, but now we have to make…
Steve Kroft: Do you think people will feel that?
President Obama: They don’t feel it. And the reason they don’t feel it is because incomes and wages are not going up. There are solutions to that. If we raise the minimum wage, if we make sure women are getting paid the same as men for doing the same work, if we are rebuilding our infrastructure, if we’re doing more to invest in job training so people are able to get the jobs that are out there right now, because manufacturing is coming back to this country. Not just the auto industry that we’ve saved, but you’re starting to see reinvestment here in the United States. Businesses around the world are saying for the first time in a long time, “The place to invest isn’t in China. It’s the United States.”
So there you go. When you ask the salient question (are you better off now than you were 6 years ago), you dumbasses always give the wrong answer. You ARE better off because our King says so. Screw the fact that “income and wages” are not going up, or the labor participation rates is at historic lows or real unemployment is considerably higher than the manipulated number! You’re better off, dammit! And government can fix the wage problem – you know, just raise the minimum wage for heaven sake.
Given that level of cluelessness, are you at all surprised this administration underestimated ISIS and ebola?
The first comes from our “hoist on their own petard” department:
A study from three sociologists based out of North Carolina State University charges that First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign topromote healthy eating and decrease childhood obesity rates is classist and sexist in its implementation. This is because the model Obama advocates tends to put the onus of preparing healthy meals specifically on women, and also expects a level of disposable income, transportation options, and free time, which low-income families may lack.
The researchers interviewed 150 mothers and spent 250 hours observing 12 working-class and poor families as they shopped for food, cooked, and ate. They note:
In the fight to combat rising obesity rates, modern-day food gurus advocate a return to the kitchen. […] First lady Michelle Obama has also been influential in popularizing public health messages that emphasize the role that mothers play when it comes to helping children make healthy choices. The message that good parents — and in particular, good mothers — cook for their families dovetails with increasingly intensive and unrealistic standards of “good” mothering. [Sage Journals]
The study concludes that, “this emerging standard is a tasty illusion, one that is moralistic, and rather elitist, instead of a realistic vision of cooking today.”
Yes that’s right, the Interferer in Chief’s campaign has been declared classist and sexist. Of course if this were a right winger we were talking about all the lefty blogs would be blaring this in the headlines with a healthy dose of “I told you so” and “they just can’t seem to help it, can they” thrown in.
Irony. You have to love it. Its things like this that make my day go somewhat easier.
The second comes to us from Seattle, WA and is an example of what happens when people lose control of their government and that government decides to micro-manage every aspect of their lives with the intent of making sure they live it the way their betters decide they should live it:
The City of Seattle just passed a new trash ordinance that would fine residents and businesses for throwing away too much food.
The new rules would allow garbage collectors to inspect trash cans and ticket offending parties if food and compostable material makes up 10 percent or more of the trash.
The fines will begin at $1 for residents and $50 for businesses and apartment buildings, according to the Seattle Times.
So who will be the biggest offenders? Well, most likely schools which use the Michelle Obama program – okay, I had to tie them together somehow. No word, however, on how restaurants will fare under the law.
But think of it in a larger sense. You buy the food. It’s yours, your property. You can prepare it however you like (within reason) and eat it if you care too or … not. What you throw away or decide not to keep is entirely up to you — it’s YOUR property. It is none of anyone’s business.
On the other hand, you pay a fee or taxes to have your trash hauled away. That’s their job. Nothing more. Haul your trash away. In steps government and arbitrarily decides that you’re throwing too much food away (goodness knows where that perception comes from) and the “there ought to be a law” folks step up. They give those who pick up your trash the power to ticket you if they find you’ve thrown away too much food. Yeah, that’s right – the garbage police!
Most of the time these yahoos can’t even pick up the trash on time, and, of course they’re all math majors, so figuring out what percentage of your weekly trash pick up is over 10% should be a snap. They have plenty of time, right? I mean, good lord.
And if, in fact, people take this seriously, what do you suppose might happen? They’ll dump elsewhere. If they’re smart they’ll find dumpsters outside the Seattle city hall and dump their food excess there. Then the city can fine itself.
But it is another example of an unworkable law which will be arbitrarily imposed (if at all) and will see people attempting to circumvent it by means that I would guess will be less than sanitary and good for the city’s overall health.
Good riddance to the worst Attorney General in living history. In fact, I came to consider his department the “Department of Just Us” in which “justice” was a political tool to be wielded selectively and only when it helped those constituencies that comprised the “us”. And, of course, that included selective enforcement of the laws. Or said another way “rule of man” vs. “rule of law”.
The scandals such as Fast and Furious, were simply something to be expected from such a department. How could it be otherwise? They weren’t of the law, they considered themselves above the law. I have nothing nice to say about Eric Holder except I’m glad this day has finally come.
The Justice Department has been horribly harmed by that man’s tenure at the helm. Like America’s reputation in the world under Barack Obama, DOJ has a long climb back to respectability.
Meanwhile the “us” faction has immediately gone into action:
The Rev. Al Sharpton said his civil rights organization, the National Action Network, is “engaged in immediate conversations” with the White House as they work to name a successor to Attorney General Eric Holder, who is set to announce his resignation Thursday afternoon.
“We are engaged in immediate conversations with the White House on deliberations over a successor whom we hope will continue in the general direction of Attorney General Holder,” Sharpton said in a statement.
All my life, racism has been defined as you see it below. It is a “belief” that your race is superior to other races based on nothing other than racial characteristics, such as skin color.
racism [ ˈrāˌsizəm ]
1. the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
2. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
Racism, then is displaying the “prejudice, discrimination or antagonism” to others of different races based on that “belief”. Makes sense. Simple. Direct to the point. Racists think they’re superior to other races because of the color of their skin.
However, as such, the definition is unacceptable to the left. For the left it fails in two particular areas. It means that, based on this definition, anyone can be a racist which means, then, it doesn’t allow them to identify and cultivate a victim class (or in this case, race) while excusing what they perceive as an oppressive race. Useless. The solution? Move the goal posts. Redefine the word so it has a more culturally useful meaning for the left. Too many people were pointing out that the definition was something that correctly identified all races as susceptible to racism. No good.
Enter academia. What better place to make this happen than by pitching an ideologically biased new definition to those impressionable students who walked their hallowed halls? Here, for instance, is how the University of Delaware defines racism:
A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality.
Now the left has a useful definition. Now the oppressors are clearly identified as is the victim class. This allows them to “capture” the victim classes into their entitlement schemes. And, of course, when you load in the race baiters such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, a virtual cottage industry is created in which the discontent this sort of nonsense inspires is kept hot and fresh. With this definition, all whites are racists, have been forever and will be forever if the left has anything to do with it. This definition conveniently removes the expiration date from the definition and gives it a forever fresh date. With the first definition, it is obvious that it depended on a “belief” – a belief which could be changed. However with the second definition, that belief is relegated to irrelevancy and now, per the left, racism is only based on the color of one’s skin.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Ebola continues to ravage the western part of the continent:
Yet another set of ominous projections about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was released Tuesday, in a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that gave worst- and best-case estimates for Liberia and Sierra Leone based on computer modeling.
In the worst-case scenario, Liberia and Sierra Leone could have 21,000 cases of Ebola by Sept. 30 and 1.4 million cases by Jan. 20 if the disease keeps spreading without effective methods to contain it. These figures take into account the fact that many cases go undetected, and estimate that there are actually 2.5 times as many as reported.
If that’s the case, then containment would seem all but impossible.
However, if it is able to be contained and everything goes to plan, there is a “best case” scenario:
In the best-case model — which assumes that the dead are buried safely and that 70 percent of patients are treated in settings that reduce the risk of transmission — the epidemic in both countries would be “almost ended” by Jan. 20, the report said. It showed the proportion of patients now in such settings as about 18 percent in Liberia and 40 percent in Sierra Leone.
Unfortunately, best case scenarios rarely if ever come to pass. They assume too much goes well with “the plan”, communication, cooperation, behavior and many other human activities, and rule out people acting on misinformation and self-interest contrary to the “best case” scenario’s plan. That’s not to say epidemic can’t eventually be contained … or burn itself out. It’s to say betting on the “best case” scenario puts you at odds with human nature.
There’s another reason not to expect the “best case” scenario. The agencies who are spouting all the stats really don’t know the actual extent of the outbreak:
The World Health Organization acknowledged weeks ago that despite its efforts to tally the thousands of cases in the region, the official statistics probably “vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.”
The report does not include figures for Guinea because case counts there have gone up and down in ways that cannot be reliably modeled.
The point? We’re going to hear a lot of happy talk about how the world’s effort is going to contain this outbreak and, at least for a while, they’re going to point toward the best case scenario as their goal. And it is a worthy goal. But you have to remember that as with many government or quasi-government bureaucracies, their worth is measured in how successful they are – or report they are. It’s how they receive funds. So the propensity is to “happy talk” and favorable stats. And, as we’ve all learned with “climate change”, models can be monkeyed with.
As an example of why the best case scenario is unlikely, the plan for containment relies on “effective methods” to contain it – such as treatment centers where patients go and allow the problem to be isolated. But in reality, there aren’t enough beds to do that:
At least one aid group working in Liberia is already shifting its focus to teaching people about home care and providing materials to help. Ken Isaacs, a vice president of the aid group Samaritan’s Purse, said, “I believe inevitably this is going to move into people’s houses, and the notion of home-based care has to play a more prominent role.” He said there could be 100,000 or more cases by the end of 2014.
“Where are they going to go?” Mr. Isaacs asked. “It’s too late. Nobody’s going to build 100,000 beds.”
He’s right. And so isolation, a key portion of “the plan”, is put in severe jeopardy.
Key take away? Beware of all the happy talk. This isn’t a time for propaganda and misleading stats. But we are dealing with bureaucracies, spokespersons and the like. This is a time for honest, above-board information so the public can stay informed about something that could threaten their lives.
Let’s see what we actually get.