from Lisa Rich in Califormina:
“This call is to inform you that Grove Public Schools will be conducting an emergency exercise on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. The drill’s purpose is to extend the school’s preparedness in the event of areal emergency. Please be aware, this is only a drill. Thanks and have a good evening.”
A short article also appeared in the local paper to inform of the drill, but made no mention that kids would be transported away from school grounds. The Grove Police Chief himself stated that they were trying to “get the word out to parents” about the drill:“Which ever site it takes place at, there will be a tremendous amount of emergency vehicles and we need to get the word out to parents that this is a drill. The exact location of the drill will be released early that morning. This allows us to better prepare in case of an actual emergency.”
“No, because, um, if it were a true emergency, you know, we have to evacuate. Uh, I guess if there’s a parent out there that doesn’t want their child to be prepared and practice for a drill, then they can send in a note and I’d send the child to another campus or something during the drill.”
“We are not taking them out of town, they are going to be on school buses and school property, so no, no I don’t think we have to have parent consent to practice a drill.”
Why Do So Many Americans Drop Out of College?
from the National Center for Policy Analysis:
The phrase “dropout factory” is ordinarily applied to America’s failing high schools — the ones where students are expected to fall through the cracks, where those who make it past graduation and on to college are considered the exceptions, the lucky survivors. But by that definition, another level of U.S. education counts as a “dropout factory” — our entire higher education system, say The Atlantic.
- Just 56 percent of students who embark on a bachelor’s degree program finish within six years, according to a 2011 Harvard study titled Pathways to Prosperity.
- Just 29 percent of those who seek an associate’s degree obtain it within three years.
- According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, just 46 percent of Americans complete college once they start, worst among the 18 countries it tracks.
Looking for an explanation, many focus largely on the cost of school, but there’s another factor at play that has less to do with the cost of a degree and more to do with the changing nature of our job market, as well as the way our education system has failed to keep up with it.
Today, it’s harder to earn a middle-class wage without a college degree. That demand for skills is causing more students to sign up for school than ever before. But once they get to class, not every student is prepared. Nor do they necessarily want to be at college, or have a clear notion of what they’re doing there, making the system incredibly wasteful.
This isn’t how it works in the rest of the developed world.
- When all is said and done, about 40 percent of Americans earn a college degree, roughly the same as European countries such as France, Finland and Sweden.
- The difference? Young Europeans who opt out of college can take extensive vocational training during their equivalent of high school.
- Rather than spending money on community college courses or a bachelor’s degree they aren’t sure what to do with, they can learn hard skills that will prepare them for employment.
Europe’s own youth unemployment problems are evidence that more vocational training won’t be a panacea the problems facing young Americans. But they would be a first step towards a less expensive, less wasteful educational system geared more towards the realities of the economy.
Source: Jordan Weissmann, “Why Do So Many Americans Drop Out of College?” The Atlantic, March 29 2012.
For more on Education Issues:
Comment: These folks kinda missed the answers, didn’t they! What kind of a job does one get getting a graduate degree in “Vagina Studies”, at the cost of $25,000 for the piece of diploma?……and one still doesn’t know anything worthwhile.
Learning knowledge was ‘in’ when I began university studies. One could fail at the exercise as well. Marxism was popular in Josef Stalin’s USSR or Mao’s Communist China. American politicians used to pay attention to the Law of the Land, the Federal Constitution.
So, with the absence of knowledge among the American voter, we have foreigner, Barack Hussein Obama projection man with forked tongue acting president.
received from Lisa Rich:
Anti-Obama protest in SF
far outdraws any Occupy event this year; still ignored by MSM
Photo courtesy of Larry in SF
The crowd of 1000 was about half men, half women, with significant numbers of Hispanic, Asian and African Americans.Attendance in San Francisco was double that reported by Catholic San Francisco Online, the National Catholic Register or the San Jose Mercury News. High resolution photographs captured by Fund47 reveal at least a 30×30 grid of protesters, with an additional hundred around the periphery. Also, the crowd turned over at a decent clip during the 90–120 minute event, scheduled on a workday, meaning even higher numbers.
…The silence by San Francisco mainstream media on the Catholic protest is deafening. I could not find a report in the San Francisco Chronicle online, which recently gave full page coverage to a “bum rush” by 25 protestors (and 30 photographers) on the residence of Wells Fargo’s CEO by an OccupySF splinter group, revealed as utter farce by Fund47. Two weeks ago, a war protest with 15 professional protestors received frothy local TV news coverage.
Photo courtesy of Larry in SF
San Francisco Catholics Defend American Exceptionalism
They Don’t Know Us
“Apparently, many liberals were disappointed in the administration’s performance before the Supreme Court. They felt that the government’s lawyer, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, did not respond effectively to the challenges of some of the conservative justices.
The editor of Commentary, John Podhoretz, offered an explanation on his magazine’s blog. “American liberals,” he wrote, “know their own language, but they don’t know the language of their ideological and partisan opposite numbers. … Conservatives speak liberal, but for liberals in the United States, conservatism might as well be Esperanto.”
I have argued this point for many years. In my book to be published later this month (“Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph”), I argue that the left is a victim of its own brainwash. How could they not be? All they hear, see and read from childhood on, from elementary school through graduate school, on TV and in the movies, are leftist ideas.
Yet this is not true for conservatives. One would have to grow up in a silent monastery not to be regularly exposed to liberal and leftist ideas.
For 30 years, I have had leading left-wing thinkers on my radio show, and I continue to be shocked at their lack of awareness of conservative arguments. About two years ago, for example, I asked one of the most powerful Democratic members of Congress — a major force behind every tax increase — what tax rate he thought might be too high. He replied that he had not given it thought. I asked a leading liberal writer who maintained that all American wars since World War II had been imperialist if he thought the Korean War was also imperialistic. He replied that he didn’t know enough about that war to respond.
After interviewing leftists, liberal listeners frequently ask me why I don’t invite the best liberals on to my show.
The answer is that I have had some of the best liberals on my show. They just don’t tend to do well when challenged by thoughtful conservatives.
That may be why the majority of influential liberals refuse to go on conservative talk radio or to debate conservatives.
I bumped into New York Times columnist Tom Friedman at Dulles Airport a few months ago and asked him if he would ever come on talk radio. He said he doesn’t do such shows. Yet shortly thereafter he went on NPR. What he meant to say was that he doesn’t go on conservative shows.
Why don’t liberals read us or listen to us or debate us?
Because the left has convinced itself that the right is unworthy of such attention.
They are certain that conservatives are sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic Islamophobic, racist and bigoted, not to mention anti-intellectual and anti-science.
The left has a mutually reinforcing dynamic at work here. Because liberals believe conservatives are all these terrible things, they do not bother acquainting themselves with conservative arguments. And because they do not acquaint themselves with conservative arguments, they are able to go on believing conservatives are all these terrible things.
Take race-based affirmative action. There is overwhelming evidence that it has hurt black college students. Nevertheless, liberals dismiss conservative opposition to affirmative action as racist. Therefore they do not read any of the empirically based studies and arguments against affirmative action. Why read racist hate?
I wonder what it would take to persuade Cornel West to debate Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell on the issue of race-based affirmative action.
One other example: Some of the most eminent climate scientists and physicists have questioned the manmade global warming computer models. Nevertheless, no liberal I am aware of has ever responded to what MIT meteorologist Richard Lindzen or Princeton physicist William Happer has written. After all, if every scientist who challenges global warming orthodoxy is anti-science, why read anti-scientific literature?
I wonder what it would take to persuade Al Gore to debate Richard Lindzen on whether manmade carbon dioxide emissions are leading to a worldwide environmental catastrophe.
So, it is rather rare for to see a liberal actually forced to debate conservative intellectuals. And after last week in the Supreme Court, it may become even rarer.”
Obama vs. Marbury v. Madison
The President needs a remedial course in judicial review.
From the Opinion Page at the Wall Street Journal:
President Obama is a former president of the Harvard Law Review and famously taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. But did he somehow not teach the historic case of Marbury v. Madison?
That’s a fair question after Mr. Obama’s astonishing remarks on Monday at the White House when he ruminated for the first time in public on the Supreme Court’s recent ObamaCare deliberations. “I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,” he declared.
Presidents are paid to be confident about their own laws, but what’s up with that “unprecedented”? In Marbury in 1803, Chief Justice John Marshall laid down the doctrine of judicial review. In the 209 years since, the Supreme Court has invalidated part or all of countless laws on grounds that they violated the Constitution. All of those laws were passed by a “democratically elected” legislature of some kind, either Congress or in one of the states. And no doubt many of them were passed by “strong” majorities.
As it happens, probably stronger majorities than passed the Affordable Care Act. Readers may recall that the law was dragooned through a reluctant Senate without a single GOP vote and barely the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster. Despite a huge Democratic majority in the House, it passed by only 219-212.
One reason the law may be overturned is because it was rushed through Congress without a standard “severability” clause that says that the rest of the law stands if one part is judged unconstitutional. Congress jammed it into law because it became ever more unpopular the more the public looked at it. The law is even less popular today than it was on the day it passed in 2010.
Mr. Obama’s remarks suggest he is joining others on the left in warning the Justices that they will pay a political price if they dare to overturn even part of the law. As he runs for re-election, Mr. Obama’s inner community organizer seems to be winning out over the law professor.
A version of this article appeared April 3, 2012, on page A14 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Obama vs. Marbury v. Madison.
By W. James Antle, III at the American Spectator
What’s ahead if the president doesn’t get his way on the health care decision?
“Harry Truman ran against the “Do Nothing” Congress in the 1948 presidential election. Will Barack Obama run against the Supreme Court this year? Answer: he will if the nation’s highest court repudiates his signature health care reform law as unconstitutional.
The president nearly gave away the game during his press conference yesterday. After a long soliloquy about the “human element” the justices would be letting down if they ruled against his administration, Obama slipped and almost said he expected the law to be overturned rather than upheld. (He corrected himself mid-sentence.)
“Ultimately I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,” Obama averred. Perhaps he meant “democratic” with a capital d. Only Democrats voted for the law and it passed the House by just seven votes despite a three-fifths Democratic majority in that chamber.
According to one careful estimate, the Supreme Court has struck down 53 federal statutes between 1981 and 2005. So in post-Marbury v. Madison America, it wouldn’t be exactly “unprecedented.” Didn’t Linda Greenhouse teach us that “unprecedented” was a word used by people whose legal arguments are without merit?
Obama chided conservative commentators who complained about “judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint” when “an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.” He concluded: “Well, this is a pretty good example.”
Supporters of the president have been laying the groundwork for this reaction ever since it became clear that the Supreme Court wasn’t simply going to rubber stamp the adminstration’s request for untrammeled federal power. Greenhouse insisted the constitutional challenge was baseless but sighed “the justices will do what they will do.” Paul Krugman asserted “while most legal experts seem to think that the case for striking the law down is very weak, these days everything is political.”
This has nothing to do with the law, they chant. It is simply the “wingnuts” on the Supreme Court deciding to impose the Tea Party’s vision of the Constitution on America. (Yet if the law is upheld, the same people will celebrate the Court as a great and powerful body whose wise rulings should go unquestioned, with the “wingnut” who cast the deciding vote venerated as the preeminent jurist of modern times.)
What is at stake here isn’t the Tea Party’s Constitution. It is the Constitution written by the Founding Fathers and ratified by the American people. It is the idea that the federal government derives its power from the consent of the governed, consent given not merely every two to six years at the ballot box but when a large majority of the states and the people expressly delegate power to the central government.
Nowhere in the confident declarations of the health care law’s constitutionality do we see any evidence that the people who wrote or ratified the Constitution intended to give the federal government these powers. More than half the states in the country have joined in the constitutional challenge and plainly don’t want to delegate this police power to Washington.
What we see instead is the insistence that liberal policy preferences simply must be constitutional. “I’m confident that this will be upheld because it should be upheld,” said Obama.
For all the talk of ideologically rigid conservative justices, it was always the four members of the Supreme Court’s liberal bloc who were viewed as locks to uphold Obamacare. The persuadable justices were John Roberts, the chief justice nominated by George W. Bush, and Anthony Kennedy, who was nominated by Ronald Reagan. They tried in vain to get the solicitor general to establish some limiting principle for the power he ascribed to the federal government, to tie the mandate to something enumerated in the Constitution.
“The plaintiffs had no coherent constitutional theory on severability and on Medicaid,” writes American Enterprise Institute legal scholar Michael Greve. “For that reason they will lose on both issues, and all the partisanship on the Court, real and imagined, won’t help them.” Greve continued by noting “the justices gave the government every chance in the world to draw a constitutionally grounded enumerated powers line. It couldn’t, and so it will lose.”
Just as he did when he lectured the justices about Citizens United, Obama plans to demagogue any Supreme Court ruling that is unfavorable to his health care program. The same president who holds Roe v. Wade inviolate, a decision that invalidated the laws of all 50 states on an issue no one had previously imagined to be under federal jurisdiction, will inveigh against judicial activism.
But Obama’s cheering section also gives away the game when they lament that the Supreme Court has for the past 75 years allowed Congress, with the president’s permission, to act as a national problem-solving machine without the Constitution getting in the way. What changed in the last 75 years? The Constitution or the composition of the courts? Raw political power, indeed.
In fact, it was 75 years ago that FDR unveiled his “court packing” scheme to scare justices away from enforcing the enumerated powers doctrine when it interfered with his legislative agenda. It worked then. Will Obama’s version work now?”
Since When does Obama Honor Sound Rules or American Tradition? but He Honors Money from Phony Donors!
Here we go again:
Obama website accepting contributions
from phony donors?
by Allahpundit at HotAir:
Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor’s identity, campaign officials confirmed.
Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited…
When asked whether the campaign takes steps to verify whether a donor’s name matches the name on the credit card used to make a payment, Obama’s campaign replied in an e-mail: “Name-matching is not a standard check conducted or made available in the credit card processing industry. We believe Visa and MasterCard do not even have the ability to do this…
Juan Proaño, whose technology firm handled online contributions for John Edwards’s presidential primary campaign, and for John F. Kerry’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee in 2004, said it is possible to require donors’ names and addresses to match those on their credit card accounts. But, he said, some campaigns are reluctant to impose that extra layer of security.
Republican Patrick Ruffini tested Obama’s AVS procedures at the time, attempting to donate five dollars by providing an address different from the one linked to the credit card he used. Result: Transaction accepted. Said Ruffini, who worked on online organizing for Bush’s campaign, “The ability to contribute with a false address, when the technology to prevent it not only exists but comes standard, is a green light for fraud.” Note the part too about AVS protections being “standard.” Mark Steyn checked the prefab template for his own little web store at the time and found that the defaults were all set for maximum verification. To make the system as lax as it was — and apparently still is — at BarackObama.com, you had to deliberately weaken its security checks. Which, per the staff’s own admission to WaPo, they did.
I recommend re-reading that old WaPo piece in its entirety as it cites the case of a retired insurance manager whose name had been stolen to donate $174,800 to Obama. In reality, the manager had never donated a cent. Team O claims that they catch all this stuff on the back end when they review the names and donations to look for suspicious activity, which is easy to do when the phony contribution came from “Bart Simpson” but not so easy to do when it came from “Paul Smith” or some other generic yet plausible (and possibly stolen) name. In fact, the end result of all this nonsense was an FEC discretionary review (i.e. audit) of the campaign. You would think, after that, that they’d do everything by the book this time. But when your fundraising’s going worse than expected, maybe your priorities change — assuming anti-fraud priorities were ever there to begin with.
Exit question: Should we be worried that these same guys are pioneering new ways to donate electronically?”
Scott Johnson at PowerLine writes on the same topic:
Dubious donations (2012 edition)
Barack Obama has proved the greatest campaign fund-raiser of all time by a long shot. In 2008 his campaign raised more than $750 million. The Obama campaign even went the extra mile to raise campaign funds by failing to adopt standard protections against fraudulent and illegal giving. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions and requires the disclosure of identifying information for contributions in excess of $200. Campaigns must accordingly keep running totals for each donor and report them once they exceed $200.
As we and others noted, the 2008 Obama campaign’s records revealed big contributors with names like “Doodad Pro” (employer: “Loving,” profession: “You”) and “Good Will” (same employer and profession). Both donated via credit card. I believe it was Pamela Geller who reported that some donations came from overseas — raising the question of whether Obama was accepting donations from foreigners.
All of which prompted an enterprising reader to test the controls put in place to enforce compliance with federal campaign law by the Obama and McCain campaigns. He decided to conduct an experiment. He went to the Obama campaign Web site and made a donation under the name “John Galt” (the hero of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged). He provided the equally fictitious address “1957 Ayn Rand Lane, Galts Gulch, CO 99999.” He checked the box next to $15 and entered his actual credit-card number and expiration date. He was then taken to the next page and notified that his donation had been processed. Others repeated “John Galt’s” experiment, giving to Obama under such fictitious names as Della Ware, Joe Plumber, Idiot Savant, Ima BadDonation (with a Canadian bank card) and Fake Donor.
The Obama campaign was able to take these donations because it had turned off the standard Address Verification System that screens credit-card charges for matching names and addresses. (It can also screen cards issued by foreign banks.) The McCain campaign used AVS and provided a searchable database of all donors, including those who fell below the $200 threshold. The Obama campaign chose not to use the AVS system to screen donations. (The McCain campaign rejected such donations through the use of the AVS system.) You can find a good description of the AVS and CVV fraud prevention devices here.
I wrote about this in the New York Post column “Dubious donations.” The Post subhead observed: “Bam’s Web site invites fraud.” The Washington Post reported on the matter two days later in the story “Obama accepting untraceable donations,” by Matthew Mosk. Mosk quotes Obama campaign officials on their practices. According to them, everything was copascetic.
Urgent Agenda reader Adrian Murray wondered if the Obama campaign has become any more compliant this time around than it was last time. He conducted the necessary experiment and wrote Urgent Agenda proprietor Bill Katz:
If you go here you will note that credit card donations to the Obama election campaign do not require the credit card security code [i.e., the CVV code]. What they have done is disable the Address Verification System (AVS) which prevents credit card fraud. Yesterday, just to see what would happen, I submitted a donation and filled out the form as follows:
Name – Adolph Hitler
Address – 123 Nuremburg Way, Berlin, Germany
Occupation – Dictator
Employer – Nazi Party
After submitting, I received an email that began, “Dear Adolph, thank you for your generous donation….”
I then went to the Romney and Santorum websites and tried the same thing. Both rejected the donations with a message that the address could not be verified as belonging to the card holder.
Try it. Make up a name and an address and donate to Obama. Then try it with the other two. Only Obama will accept the donation.
Why is this important? Federal law prohibits any foreign nationals from financially contributing to any election in the United States. It’s on the FEC website and is one of our most important safeguards against foreign influence in our elections. But anybody in the world can contribute to Obama. Not only that, but they can do so anonymously. Not only that, they can contribute an unlimited amount since there is no record of who made the donation. I could contribute $49 every day for the rest of my life by just changing names every time I reach $2,500 and no one would be the wiser.
I haven’t repeated Mr. Murray’s experiment, but I believe the situation is as described in the words of the Talking Heads: “Same as it ever was.”
Did the Supreme Court’s initial ObamaCare vote
leak to Obama?
by Allahpundit at HotAir:
Speaking of which, having endured a “train wreck” and a “plane wreck” at the Supreme Court last week, Jeffrey Toobin shakes off the trauma and joins in the left’s newfound appreciation for why judicial activism is a bad thing:
For example, the Justices had no trouble upholding the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which used the [Commerce Clause] to mandate the integration of hotels and restaurants. “It may be argued that Congress could have pursued other methods to eliminate the obstructions it found in interstate commerce caused by racial discrimination,” Justice Tom C. Clark wrote, for his unanimous brethren. “But this is a matter of policy that rests entirely with the Congress, not with the courts. How obstructions in commerce may be removed—what means are to be employed—is within the sound and exclusive discretion of the Congress.” In other words, Justice Kennedy had it backward. The “heavy burden” is not on the defenders of the law but on its challengers. Acts of Congress, like the health-care law, are presumed to be constitutional, and it is—or should be—a grave and unusual step for unelected, unaccountable, life-tenured judges to overrule the work of the democratically elected branches of government…
It is simply not the Supreme Court’s business to be making these kinds of judgments. The awesome, and final, powers of the Justices are best exercised sparingly and with restraint. Their normal burdens of interpreting laws are heavy enough. No one expects the Justices to be making health-care policy any more than we expect them to be picking Presidents, which, it may be remembered, is not exactly their strength, either.
Rest assured, if Obama wins reelection and replaces Scalia or Kennedy with a hardcore liberal, the revered principle of judicial deference to Congress will be power-flushed down the toilet once a Republican president and legislature are in office together again. But never mind that, and never mind the fact that he sidesteps the question of whether people who aren’t participating in commerce are reachable by the Commerce Clause. He seems to be imagining here an almost conclusory deference to Congress by the Court on all things commerce. Imagine that the Court took his advice and declared that the “heavy burden” is on the states to show why Congress doesn’t have this entirely novel power to force people to buy things. What would the states have to show to convince Justice Toobin that they’d met that burden? This is a case of first impression so there’s no direct precedent that either side can point to. What argument, then, could the states theoretically make to convince Toobin that Congress had exceeded its commerce power?
I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that, like so much of the left, he thinks there is no conceptual limit on the Commerce Clause except the Bill of Rights. If you can’t show that the mandate violates, say, the Establishment Clause or the Free Exercise Clause, then you’re out of luck. But that’s absurd; the whole point of enumerated powers is to set limits on what Congress can do apart from the Bill of Rights (which, of course, wasn’t even part of the Constitution originally). Within that larger context of circumscribed federal power, when you have Congress seeking to do something that it’s never done before, why should its prerogative enjoy heavy deference and not the states’?
Click below for video of Obama’s negative view and voice about the Supreme Court and Obamacare. You will notice that the president does not present his usual arrogant self. His remarks reflect his devious self, but they aren’t earthshaking lies as sometime occurs with Mr. Obama’s mouth: