Big govt, Issues

Don’t Let Trump Hatred Thwart the School Choice Movement

The Detroit school board recently voted 6-to-1 to consider removing Dr. Ben Carson’s name from one of its high schools. Carson, a former Detroit student and former head of pediatric neurology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, pioneered several groundbreaking neurosurgical procedures. He now serves as President Donald Trump’s secretary of housing and urban development. But one school board member said Carson’s name on the school is comparable to “having Trump’s name on our school in blackface.”

About Detroit public schools, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty’s C.J. Szafir and Cori Petersen recently wrote, “In 2017 Detroit ranked last in proficiency out of 27 large urban school districts with a measly 5 percent of fourth-graders proficient in math and 7 percent in reading.” Maybe the Detroit school board should invest the time they spent inquiring about Carson’s reputation in improving its pupils’ education.

Let’s hope that hatred for Trump does not stall the growing movement for private school choice as an alternative to public K-12 education. A 2015 survey conducted by Knowledge Networks for Education Next found that nationally, 13 percent of non-teacher parents have sent one or more of their school-age kids to private school for at least some of their K-12 schooling. But 20 percent of teachers with children have done the same. The number is much higher for teachers in urban areas.

A 2004 Fordham Institute study found that in Philadelphia, a staggering 44 percent of public-school teachers with school-age kids sent their own children to private schools. In Cincinnati-Hamilton County and Chicago, 41 and 39 percent of public school teachers, respectively, paid for a private school education for their children. In Rochester, New York, it was 38 percent. In Baltimore, it was 35 percent. San Francisco-Oakland-Vallejo was 34 percent, and New York-Northeastern New Jersey was almost 33 percent. In Los Angeles-Long Beach, nearly 25 percent of public school teachers sent their kids to private school versus 16 percent of all Angelenos who did so.

Hats off to all the hardworking teachers and administrators working in urban schools, which are frequently in and among the worst schools in the worst areas, with often unmotivated students from homes where education is not emphasized. Without an authority figure in the home ensuring that that the child has done his homework and gone to bed on time, the teacher’s job becomes exponentially more difficult. And bravo to hardworking parents who want to ensure that their children get a quality education.

Most urban parents support choice in education, despite the opposition of the public education establishment. Polls show about 80 percent of inner-city parents want vouchers, and most careful studies show that private school choice produces better outcomes.

But wait. A recent study from the University of Virginia’s highly regarded Curry School of Education found “no evidence that private schools, exclusive of family background or income, are more effective for promoting student success.” Hogwash, says Michael Q. McShane, the national research director of EdChoice, a pro-choice advocacy group, who argues that the UVA study lacked “randomization.” Under “randomization,” McShane says: “Everyone who wants a voucher gets their name thrown in a hopper and random chance is the only thing that differs between those who get a voucher and those who don’t. That’s how we know that any differences between the two groups can be attributed to the program.”

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty wrote last year: “The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program works. … Out of 11 gold standard studies on the program, 10 have shown that students in the MPCP outperform their peers at Milwaukee Public Schools (one study showed no significant difference). … Students in the MPCP outperformed their peers in public schools in both math and reading on the Forward Exam when appropriate ‘apples-to-apples’ comparisons are made. We also found that MPCP students score about 7.7 percent higher on the ACT than MPS students, a difference that could determine whether a student gets into college or not in some cases.”

Thomas Sowell, who supports private school choice, also emphasizes the importance of comparing apples to apples. “My favorite way of making comparisons among truly comparable students,” says Sowell, “is to get educational results from schools where both the charter school and the traditional public school are located in the very same building, teaching the same grade levels, and with the students being tested by the very same tests.” When examined that way, school choice works.

About Milwaukee, Szafir and Petersen wrote: “Many parents have turned to the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, passed in 1990, which provides low-income children with vouchers for private schools. Over the past decade, enrollment has increased 45 percent at MPCP schools and by 47 percent at the city’s charter schools.”
If private school choice does not yield benefit, can someone explain why programs that provide choice consistently have long lines of parents who want to enroll their students? Trump wants to give urban parents an opt-out of an underperforming government school. Resistance against Trump ought not to translate into resistance against parents who want a better future for their children.

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2018 LAURENCE A. ELDER
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Read More...

Big govt, Elections, Politics

Nancy Pelosi Picks One Off

According to a report by the Washington Examiner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has secured another voter for her speakership bid in the upcoming Congress in New York Rep. Brian Higgins. Higgins has traded his vote purportedly for Pelosi’s promise to prioritize an infrastructure package as well as letting him put his face on a bill lowering the age of Medicare eligibility to 50. “I will vote to elect Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House of Representatives,” Higgins said in a statement released Wednesday. “Power has been too consolidated atop the Caucus and it was my hope that along with like-minded members, we would forge a new leadership structure.” Apparently, the price for treason wasn’t all that low after all.

Here’s more from Washington Examiner…

In a show of political strength, Nancy Pelosi picked off another defector Wednesday — this time it was a Democrat who had signed his name to a letter just two days prior vowing to vote against the California Democrat on the House floor.

New York Democrat Brian Higgins decided to buck his fellow dissidents in exchange for a commitment from Pelosi that she would prioritize and infrastructure package and let him take a lead role in passing legislation that would lower the age of Medicare eligibility to 50.

“I will vote to elect Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House of Representatives,” Higgins said in a statement released Wednesday. “Power has been too consolidated atop the Caucus and it was my hope that along with like-minded members, we would forge a new leadership structure…”

Read More...

Big govt, International, Issues

White House Authorizes Use of Force at the U.S.-Mexico Border

President Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly signed a “Cabinet order” Tuesday giving the 5,800 active-duty U.S. troops and 2,100 National Guard troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border permission to use force and to carry out permissible law enforcement task in their duty to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border. Military Times reports that the authorized use of force can include “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention. and cursory search.” According to Kelly, the move was deemed necessary because the caravan “may prompt incidents of violence and disorder.”

Here’s more from Washington Examiner…

President Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, reportedly signed a “Cabinet order” late Tuesday that gives the thousands of U.S. troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border permission to carry out some law enforcement tasks and use force in certain situations in dealing with as many as 10,000 Central American migrants who have traveled to the country as part of a caravan.

The memo says “Department of Defense military personnel” can “perform those military protective activities that the Secretary of Defense determines are reasonably necessary” to protect themselves and all U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, including “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention. and cursory search,” according to the Military Times.

Approximately 5,800 active-duty troops and 2,100 National Guard troops are stationed at various regions of the southern border.

Read More...

Big govt, International, Issues

Busiest U.S.-Mexico Border Crossing Closed

U.S. border officials shut down the San Ysidro port of entry to all northbound vehicular traffic on Monday to better secure it with “temporary impediment measures” ahead of the arrival of the thousands-strong caravan from Central America. As many as 20,000 pedestrians and 70,000 vehicles use this lawful port of entry traveling between Tijuana and San Diego every day. It is the busiest crossing in the Western Hemisphere according to a Washington Examiner report. Read more…

Here’s more from Washington Examiner… 

U.S. border officials on Monday shut down all vehicular traffic flowing north from Mexico into California at the country’s busiest border crossing and diverted staff to help bulk up the infrastructure and security there, in anticipation of the arrival of thousands of migrants traveling in caravans from Central America.

The San Ysidro port of entry, which processes 20,000 pedestrians and 70,000 vehicles moving from Tijuana to San Diego each day, closed all passenger and commercial lanes and one of its two pedestrian crossings.

The port’s 26 passenger lanes and 22 pedestrian lanes see more traffic than any in the entire Western Hemisphere.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have temporarily suspended vehicle processing for northbound travelers at the San Ysidro port of entry Monday morning to position additional port hardening materials,” CBP, the federal agency that oversees all port activity, said in a statement issued Monday.

Read More...

Big govt, Elections, Politics

Loser Stacey Abrams May Use Legal System to Trigger New Election

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is refusing to accept defeat fair and square and is prepared to derail Republican Brian Kemp from his win by filing a legal challenge that would trigger an entirely new election – an unprecedented move. According to the AP – which is refusing to call the race despite Kemp’s position of 18,000 votes above the recount threshold – the state statute has never been used for a governor’s race in the state of Georgia. State law allows the challenge if the results were based on “misconduct, fraud, irregularities … sufficient to change or place in doubt the results.” The lesson is clear: if at first you don’t succeed, sue and sue again.

Here’s more from The Daily Wire…

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and her campaign, claiming that her loss to GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp was caused by voting irregularities, are preparing to take a drastic step in order to derail Kemp taking office if state officials declare Kemp the winner: a legal challenge that would call for an entirely new election.

As the Associated Press (AP) reports, Adams and her team may rely on a state statute that has never been used for a race as important as a governor’s race in Georgia. Even before the election, Abrams ripped Kemp, saying on MSNBC, “Brian Kemp has been an exquisite architect of voter suppression for the last decade, and the outside agitators he so blithely dismisses include Asian American groups based in the state of Georgia, Latino groups based in the state of Georgia, African American community organizations based in the state of Georgia who have been doing this work for decades.”

Read More...

Big govt, Courts, Politics

Avenatti Falls Hard

Karma’s working mighty fast these days. Michael Avenatti, the huckster lawyer who skyrocketed to fame representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in an attempt to derail the Trump administration, was arrested Wednesday by the Los Angeles Police Department and released on $50,000 bail for alleged domestic violence. He is denying the allegations, despite reportedly telling cops on the scene, “She hit me first.” Avenatti’s 2020 presidential aspirations, as far-fetched as they were, are now on ice “She hit me first” is no way to get the women’s vote; that’s for sure.

The creepy porn lawyer, as he’s often described, is now asking for due process and the presumption of innocence, neither of which he afforded to Brett Kavanaugh during the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings. To the contrary, Avenatti and his sketchy client Julie Swetnick — a colorful character with her own checkered past — made wild and unfounded sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, involving gang rape parties and tales of Kavanaugh’s drugging female victims back in the 1980s when President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick was in high school. The allegations were so outrageous and unbelievable that even Swetnick backtracked on statements made in her September affidavit given to lawmakers by Avenatti.

Last month, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley made criminal referrals against the duo for “materially false” statements, which the Department of Justice is now investigating. “When charlatans make false claims to the committee — claims that may earn them short-term media exposure and financial gain, but which hinder the committee’s ability to do its job — there should be consequences,” Grassley wrote to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray. “These laws exist to ensure there are.” Now the shoe is on the other foot.

Avenatti, who peddled unsubstantiated sexual assault allegations both in legal affidavits and on every anti-Trump TV network he could find against the respected former U.S. Court of Appeals judge, insisted Swetnick was to be believed. But now that he’s been arrested on suspicion of criminal assault, the porn lawyer is asking for the presumption of innocence and due process. He wants us, the American people and authorities, not to believe his female accuser.
Wait a minute.

Democrats such as Avenatti and scores of high-powered liberal lawmakers insisted during the Kavanaugh hearings that women who make sexual harassment and assault allegations should be believed — even before the facts come in and there’s an investigation. Now the huckster wants the American people and the U.S. judicial system to believe him?

The hypocrisy and double standards are beyond striking. Seeing how quickly the tide can turn — if not boomerang — perhaps the left will now take pause whenever a woman makes an allegation. Instead of deciding the man is guilty without knowing all the facts, maybe Democrats will review the evidence before attempting to destroy his career and reputation. Perhaps they will wait for a full investigation instead of relying on automatic gender preferences and hearsay and automatically convicting him in the court of public opinion. Given the toxic political climate in America today, that could be wishful thinking.

Adriana Cohen is a syndicated columnist with the Boston Herald. Follow her on Twitter @AdrianaCohen16. To find out more about Adriana Cohen and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM

Read More...

Big govt, Elections, Politics

Schumer Urging Florida to Run Out the Recount Clock?

Speaking at a joint press conference with incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged Florida election officials to ignore deadlines for vote tallies. “The more time that passes since election day, the better things keep looking for Democrats. Supervisors of the elections should have all the time they need to count Floridians’ ballots to make sure that the candidate with the most votes is actually seated in January even if the vote count has to go beyond Sunday.” Republican Sen. Rick Scott holds a slim margin over Nelson, but that advantage continues to diminish as election officials keep “finding” more ballots to tally ahead of Saturday’s cutoff.

Here’s more from The Daily Wire…

On Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) offered his typically partisan perspective, this time urging Florida election officials to disregard deadlines for submitting vote tallies in the Senate race in which Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott holds a narrow lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Nelson in Washington, D.C., Schumer boasted, “The more time that passes since election day, the better things keep looking for Democrats. Supervisors of the elections should have all the time they need to count Floridians’ ballots to make sure that the candidate with the most votes is actually seated in January. Even if the vote count has to go beyond Sunday.”

Schumer sounded ebullient about Nelson’s chances, saying, “Republicans know that if this recount is conducted fairly and thoroughly that Sen. Nelson has an excellent chance of being reelected. If this is done fair and square, we believe Sen. Nelson has an excellent chance, a much greater than half chance of being reelected.”

Read More...

Big govt, Issues, Politics

Brown: Climate-Change Deniers “Definitely Contributing” to Wildfires

The blame game is in full swing on the West Coast, with California Gov. Jerry Brown claiming that “climate-change deniers” – namely President Trump – are “definitely contributing” to the “new normal” of wildfires blazing. The Camp Fire in Butte County, California, the most destructive fire in California history, has killed 29 people and is only 25 percent contained at 111,000 acres. Further to the south, the Woolsey Fire has burned 85,000 acres outside Los Angeles, resulting in two deaths. Read more…

Here’s more from PJ Media…

California Gov. Jerry Brown said all climate-change deniers are “definitely contributing” to the fatal wind-whipped wildfires that have pummeled northern and southern parts of the state over the past few days, as well as blazes “in the coming years.”

The Camp Fire in Butte County, north of Sacramento in California’s Gold Rush country, has claimed the lives of at least 29 people, according to Cal Fire incident stats this evening. The blaze, which started Thursday, has destroyed 6,453 residences and 260 commercial buildings, making it the most destructive fire in the state’s history as it ripped through Paradise, Calif., at a speed of 80 acres per minute, and was 25 percent contained at 111,000 acres. The cause is still under investigation.

California’s Office of Emergency Services estimated late this afternoon that about 100 people are still unaccounted for in the area of the Camp Fire.

Read More...

Big govt, Issues, Politics

Recounts Rarely Swing to the Right

According to a PJ Media report, election recounts rarely swing elections, but when they do, they rarely swing right. In the wake of the recount uproar in Florida’s Broward County and Arizona, there are common themes of ballots mysteriously being “found” in the trunks of cars or delivery trucks and illegal votes getting tallied. Perhaps more disturbing is that despite the rampant evidence of ballot stuffing or other wrongdoing, there appears to be no follow-up with criminal investigation. Lack of reprisal for overt election fraud only encourages more fraud…

Here’s more from PJ Media…

As crucial elections in Arizona and Florida are still not settled, we’re seeing signs of all kinds of shenanigans going on in Florida. Palm Beach and Broward counties, both liberal strongholds, are Ground Zero for what appears to be an attempt to overturn the election results in favor of incumbent Senator Bill Nelson (D) over winner Governor Rick Scott (R), and Andrew Gillum (D) over winner Ron DeSantis (R).

The media is intent on labeling those suggesting that fraud is at play as conspiracy theorists, even as Broward County supervisor of elections Brenda Snipes has refused to allow the media access to the counting process, has refused to announce the total number of ballots they have, and has already been declared to have violated the state constitution by a state judge.

It’s worth mentioning that historically speaking, recounts rarely ever reverse election night results. However, there are a handful of examples where they have:

Read More...

Big govt, Politics

Whitaker’s Allowed to Have an Opinion

Now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is out at the Department of Justice and President Donald Trump has installed Matt Whitaker — Sessions’ former chief of staff — as his acting replacement, anti-Trump forces are seeing red. Some on the left are accusing the president of firing Sessions to obstruct special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation, while others are saying Whitaker must recuse himself for having expressed opinions about the scope of Mueller’s probe.

Both are false narratives designed to protect and empower the special counsel’s fanged cabal of Trump-hating prosecutors while also attempting to intimidate the president.
Trump would be wise not to take the bait.

For starters, the attorney general serves at the pleasure of the president and can be replaced at any time for any reason. It’s not unusual for an administration to make staffing changes after midterm elections. Secondly, fair-minded Americans are also questioning the unwieldy scope of the year-and-a-half-long Mueller probe, given that it has strayed far from its original mandate of investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election by delving into Paul Manafort’s business dealings from long ago and other matters that have nothing to do with President Trump or protecting the integrity of future elections.

“It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump’s finances or his family’s finances falls completely outside of the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else,” Whitaker wrote in an op-ed for CNN in August 2017.

It also doesn’t go unnoticed that the special counsel’s investigation, despite having unlimited resources and turning over every stone, has not produced a scintilla of evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

Hence, Whitaker and others have naturally questioned whether Mueller and his henchmen are engaging in a political fishing expedition, which some on the left are now saying is grounds for Whitaker’s recusal — a ridiculous and partisan notion, given that these are the same Democrats who insisted that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who expressed extremely partisan anti-Trump sentiments in a slew of text messages, could do their jobs without letting their political opinions and biases interfere with their duties of overseeing both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Trump campaign investigation. Two sets of rules? Clearly.

If Strzok, Page, James Comey, James Clapper, John Brennan and other former powerful figures in U.S. intelligence agencies and elsewhere within the Department of Justice were allowed to have partisan opinions, the new acting attorney general should be, too.

Then there’s the chatter about whether the attorney general should be loyal to the president or not. Democrats and their media lap dogs are trying to have it both ways by insisting that any attorney general in the Trump administration must serve the country and have a fidelity to our laws and not his or her boss. Sounds noble, but the rest of us know that former Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch and other high-ranking officials within the deep state under Democrat Barack Obama were fiercely loyal to him.
To think or say otherwise would be disingenuous.

With the Mueller probe now squarely back in the spotlight, acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and the president should stay the course and not accept two sets of rules — one for them and another for Democratic administrations.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Adriana Cohen is a syndicated columnist with the Boston Herald. Follow her on Twitter @AdrianaCohen16. To find out more about Adriana Cohen and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM

Read More...