Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is closing charter schools in deference to the Teacher's Unions. The result? Hundreds of minority children evicted from schools that work and thrown back into disfunctional public schools. Mona Charen wonders what it would be like if a Republican mayor did the same thing.

Just try to envision the scene: A newly elected Republican mayor of a large American city takes steps to close down some of the best schools serving an almost exclusively minority population. You know how it would go. We'd be hearing that Republicans "hate" the poor. The words "cruel," "vicious," and "racist" would circle the new mayor like sharks. News organizations would examine where the mayor sent his own children, and his hypocrisy would be fiercely denounced.

She goes on to note that this sort of behavior, though largely unremarked-upon by the press, is standard operating procedure for the left:

Mayor de Blasio bulldozed into office swearing to take aim at the privileged and defend the powerless. If you know anything about leftists, you won't be surprised that he is actually training his fire on the poorest and most vulnerable. Remember that one of Barack Obama's first acts was to attack the school-choice program in the District of Columbia.
Economist Thomas Sowell has noticed the same thing:

Not all charter schools are successful, of course, but the ones that are completely undermine the excuses for failure in the public school system as a whole. That is why teachers' unions hate them, as a threat not only to their members' jobs but a threat to the whole range of frauds and fetishes in the educational system.

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, put his ideology above the education - and the future life - 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.

Daniel Greenfield notes that the very same Bill de Blasio, apparently not content to meddle with poor children, has his sights set on another defenseless New York constituency: the horses of Central Park.

Horses have long been the chosen prey of Homo progressivus and this election, PETA, an animal rights organization that killed 2,000 cats and dogs in one year, and NYCLASS, a wealthy anti-horse group dominated by a real estate tycoon who appears more interested in seizing the stables where the horses live, than in their welfare, finally got their way.

Bill de Blasio, who had picked fights with such New York traditions as the Columbus Day Parade and the St. Patrick's Day Parade, vowed to get rid of the horses in his first week in office.

The horses are still there for now, but one suspects it won't be for long. Indeed, de Blasio isn't interested in even hearing the other side of the story:

The anti-horse activists of Homo progressivus spent $1.3 million on Bill de Blasio. The drivers bring their own coffee with them in a thermos because a Starbucks coffee is too pricy for their budgets.

Bill de Blasio refused to visit the stables where the horses are kept. The money has changed hands, his mind is made up and he doesn't want to be confronted with the anger and suffering of the working men whose jobs he is taking away.

Victor Davis Hanson, in an essay dismantling the myth that the Obama administration's foreign policy compares favorable with the Eisenhower administration's, offers this observation:

The problem with the Obama administration is not that it does or does not intervene, given the differing contours of each crisis, but rather that it persists in giving loud sermons that bear no relationship to the actions that do or do not follow: red lines in Syria followed by Hamlet-like deliberations and acceptance of Putin's bogus WMD removal plan; flip-flop-flip in Egypt; in Libya, lead from behind followed by Benghazi and chaos; deadlines and sanctions to no deadlines and no sanctions with Iran; reset reset with Russia; constant public scapegoating of his predecessors, especially Bush; missile defense and then no missile defense in Eastern Europe; Guantanamo, renditions, drones, and preventive detentions all bad in 2008 and apparently essential in 2009; civilian trials for terrorists and then not; and Orwellian new terms like overseas contingency operations, workplace violence, man-caused disasters, a secular Muslim Brotherhood, jihad as a personal journey, and a chief NASA mission being outreach to Muslims. We forget that the non-interventionist policies of Jimmy Carter abruptly ended with his bellicose "Carter Doctrine" - birthed after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, American hostages were taken in Tehran and Khomeinists had taken power, China went into Vietnam, and Communist insurgencies swept Central America.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Jonah Goldberg listens to National Public Radio so we don't have to. And what did he hear today? This bit of "reporting:"

Just now on NPR's Morning Edition (yes, I often listen), a story on yesterday's failed vote on Debo Adegbile began "a handful of southern Democrats joined Republicans yesterday to defeat President Obama's choice to head the Justice Department's civil rights division."

One supposes these Senators are descibed as "southern" as a means of explaining their apparent bigotry in opposing an Obama nominee. Here's a list of the Democratic no votes:

Chris Coons (Delaware)
Bob Casey (Pennsylvania)
Mark Pryor (Arkansas)
Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota)
Joe Manchin (West Virginia)
Joe Donnelly (Indiana)
John Walsh (Montana)

As Goldberg says, "Not exactly sons of the Confederacy."

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The Nannies have turned smokers into pariahs. Who's next? The meat eaters.

A diet rich in meat, eggs, milk and cheese could be as harmful to health as smoking, according to a controversial study into the impact of protein consumption on longevity.

High levels of dietary animal protein in people under 65 years of age was linked to a fourfold increase in their risk of death from cancer or diabetes, and almost double the risk of dying from any cause over an 18-year period, researchers found.

Here's another great moment from the zero-tolerance crowd:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A central Ohio principal says she suspended a 10-year-old boy from school for three days for pretending his finger was a gun and pointing it at another student's head. [ . . . ]

Since zero-tolerance policies were adopted following school shootings around the country, Columbus schools have disciplined students for violations including firing a Nerf foam-dart gun at school. A similar policy was cited last year when a Maryland school suspended a 7-year-old boy who had chewed a Pop-Tart into a gun shape.

Charles C.W. Cooke notices the Obama administration is looking at further delaying the implementation of Obamacare:

that law was passed through Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court. If its opponents are expected to accept that Obamacare is the "law of the land" - and, too, that it can only be altered if they win an election and pass their coveted changes through the established order - shouldn't its supporters be expected to accept that rule, too?

This law, remember, was a tantalizingly close affair - haggled over, subject to extraordinary political conflict, and passed by the slimmest of partisan margins. The Democratic party "won," yes. But they won Obamacare-as-written - an overly broad and overly executive-friendly monstrosity to be sure, but not a carte blanche enabling act that affords the president the unassailable right to control the entire healthcare sector until such time as he is replaced by a Republican. Does the party know this? [ . . . ]

(T)here is only one thing worse for a free country than for it to have got the stage at which the executive branch is rewriting the laws with impunity, and that is for it to have got to the stage at which the executive branch is rewriting the laws with impunity while the media nonchalantly explains that it had to do that or it could have lost the next election.

"LEED certified" buildings in Washington D.C. use more energy than non-certified buildings.

The report examined energy-usage statistics released by the city's Department of the Environment, analyzing the data for hundreds of privately owned structures. It compared non-certified buildings with those that participated in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Created by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED's goal is to help buildings lower their carbon footprint.

D.C. leads the nation in the number of LEED buildings per capita, and the city has also mandated the use of LEED standards for many of the new public and private buildings being constructed.

Environmental Policy Alliance research analyst Anastasia Swearingen says, "We found that, on average, LEED-certified buildings actually perform worse than traditional buildings when it comes to energy usage."

Defenders of the LEED program say it's okay if they use more energy, because LEED is about more than energy. For instance, LEED certified buildings also have bike racks. I kid you not, that is their defense.

The EPA has effectively banned wood stoves. Is there no place the government won't stick its filthy paws?

The latest act of aggression by the bureaucratic behemoth is the severe restrictions imposed upon rural Americans who choose to heat their homes with wood stoves. What has been an important source of heat for both heating and cooking in areas which are off-the-grid has now been effectively taken away.[ ...]

With coal, oil and now wood are being eliminated as heating sources, is the intent merely just to drive people off of their land?