This past week President Obama went to El Paso, Texas and made a speech on immigration. During that speech Obama was in full campaign mode. Obama misrepresented the facts (or outright lied – such as when he stated the fence was almost done…hardly). He managed once again to make a mockery of the topic.
Michael Baron and Charles Krauthammer both point out that Obama squandered an opportunity to address the immigration issue like an adult. But why would that surprise anyone.
Obama’s hypocritical rhetoric on immigration reform
By: Michael Barone
Barack Obama’s immigration speech in El Paso, Texas, on May 10 was an exercise in electioneering and hypocrisy. Hypocrisy because while Obama complained about “politicians” blocking comprehensive immigration bills, he was one of them himself.
In 2007, when such a bill was backed by a lame-duck Republican president and had bipartisan backing from Senate heavyweights Edward Kennedy and Jon Kyl, Sen. Obama voted for union-backed amendments that Kennedy and Kyl opposed as bill killers.
In 2009 and 2010, President Obama acquiesced in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to pass cap and trade and bypass immigration, and in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision not to bring an immigration bill to the floor.
Both times the votes were probably there to pass a bill. Obama did not lift a finger to help.
But that did not stop the president who is constantly calling for civility to heap scorn on those who seek stronger enforcement. “They’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat,” he said to laughter from the largely Latino audience. “Maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat. They’ll never be satisfied.”
Was that on the teleprompter or was it ad-libbed? In either case Obama was showing his contempt for those who bitterly cling to the idea that the law should be enforced.
That’s no way to assemble the bipartisan coalition necessary to pass an immigration bill.
It’s obvious that nothing like the legalization (opponents say “amnesty”) provisions considered in 2007 can pass in this Congress. They can never pass the Republican House, where Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith is a long-standing opponent and Speaker John Boehner will not schedule a bill not approved in committee.
Nor will this Congress pass the most attractive proposal Obama mentioned, the DREAM Act, providing a path to legalization for those brought in illegally as children who enroll in college or serve in the military. That failed last December in a more Democratic Senate and won’t pass now.
Some new approach is needed, and Obama did little to point the way. One idea, advanced by a bipartisan Brookings Institution panel, is a bill that would strengthen enforcement and would shift the U.S. away from low-skill and toward high-skill immigration.
Canada and Australia have done this to their great benefit. And with a sluggish economy it makes little sense, as current law does, to give preference to low-skill siblings of minimum-wage workers rather than to engineering and science Ph.D.s. We need more job creators, not more job seekers.
The problem here is that the lobbying forces backing comprehensive legislation don’t favor such an approach. Latino groups and lobbies representing employers of low-skill workers are interested in legalizing the low-skill Latinos who make up the majority of the 11 million illegal immigrants.
High-tech firms seek more H-1B visas for high-skill graduates, but these tie immigrants to particular employers. They don’t have an interest in provisions allowing these people to work for anyone they don’t like or to start their own businesses, as they can in Canada and Australia.
In the absence of significant lobbying support, the only way to provide support for Brookings-style legislation is a bold presidential initiative advertising it as a clean break from past proposals.
Obama didn’t come close to doing that in El Paso. He included a few words about letting in more high-skill folks, but didn’t suggest any reduction in low-skill immigration.
And he said only a few words about workplace enforcement on which his administration has developed a valuable new tool.
That’s a refinement of the E-Verify electronic system now available in which employers can verify the Social Security numbers of new employees.
The Department of Homeland Security has been ironing out glitches in E-Verify and, as former National Security Agency General Counsel Stewart Baker reports, DHS now allows job seekers in some states to use E-Verify before applying for a job not only to check their status but also to protect against identity theft.
The administration has been attacking state laws requiring employers to use E-Verify. If Obama were serious about enforcement he would be calling for mandatory E-Verify. That would be a more effective tool against illegal immigration than even the strongest border enforcement.
But as Obama’s record makes clear, he’s not really interested in passing a law. He knows his support has been slipping among Latino voters and he wants to goose it back up. El Paso was all about election 2012, not serious immigration reform.
Michael Barone,The Examiner’s senior political analyst, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Wednesday and Sunday, and his stories and blog posts appear on ExaminerPolitics.com.
Obama playing politics with immigration
Washington — “I’m going to do my part to lead a constructive and civil debate on these issues.” — Barack Obama, speech on immigration, El Paso, Texas, May 10
Constructive and civil debate — like the one Obama initiated just four weeks ago on deficit reduction? The speech in which he accused the Republicans of abandoning families of autistic and Down syndrome kids? The debate in which Obama’s secretary of health and human services said that the Republican plan would make old folks “die sooner”?
In this same spirit of comity and mutual respect, Obama’s most recent invitation to civil discourse — on immigration — came just 11 minutes after he accused opponents of moving the goal posts on border enforcement. “Maybe they’ll need a moat,” he said sarcastically. “Maybe they want alligators in the moat.”
Nice touch. Looks like the Tucson truce — no demonization, no cross-hairs metaphors — is officially over. After all, the Republicans want to kill off the elderly, throw the disabled in the snow and watch alligators lunch on illegal immigrants.
The El Paso speech is notable not for breaking any new ground on immigration, but for perfectly illustrating Obama’s political style: the professorial, almost therapeutic, invitation to civil discourse, wrapped around the basest of rhetorical devices — charges of malice compounded with accusations of bad faith. “They’ll never be satisfied,” said Obama about border control. “And I understand that. That’s politics.”
How understanding. The other side plays “politics,” Obama acts in the public interest. Their eyes are on poll numbers, political power, the next election; Obama’s rest fixedly on the little children.
This impugning of motives is an Obama constant. “They” play politics with deficit reduction, with government shutdowns, with health care. And now immigration. It is ironic that such a charge should be made in a speech that is nothing but politics. There is zero chance of any immigration legislation passing Congress in the next two years. El Paso was simply an attempt to gin up the Hispanic vote as part of an openly political two-city, three-event campaign swing in preparation for 2012.
Accordingly, the El Paso speech featured two other staples: the breathtaking invention and the statistical sleight of hand.
“The (border) fence is now basically complete,” asserted the president. Complete? There are now 350 miles of pedestrian fencing along the Mexican border. The border is 1,954 miles long. That’s 18 percent. And only one-tenth of that 18 percent is the double and triple fencing that has proved so remarkably effective in, for example, the Yuma sector. Another 299 miles — 15 percent — are vehicle barriers that pedestrians can walk right through.
Obama then boasted that, on his watch, 31 percent more drugs have been seized, 64 percent more weapons — proof of how he has secured the border. And for more proof: Apprehension of illegal immigrants is down 40 percent. Down? Indeed, says Obama, this means that fewer people are trying to cross the border.
Interesting logic. Seizures of drugs and guns go up — proof of effective border control. Seizures of people go down — yet more proof of effective border control. Up or down, it matters not. Whatever the numbers, Obama vindicates himself.
You can believe this flimflam or you can believe the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The GAO reported in February that less than half the border is under “operational control” of the government. Which undermines the entire premise of Obama’s charge that, because the border is effectively secure, “Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement” didn’t really mean it.
I count myself among those who really do mean it. I have little doubt that most Americans would be quite willing to regularize and legalize the current millions of illegal immigrants if they were convinced that this was the last such cohort, as evidenced by, say, a GAO finding that the border is under full operational control and certification to the same effect by the governors of the four southern border states.
Americans are a generous people. Upon receipt of objective and reliable evidence that the border is secure — not Obama’s infinitely manipulable interdiction statistics — the question would be settled and the immigrants legalized.
Why doesn’t Obama put such a provision in comprehensive immigration legislation? Because for Obama, immigration reform is not about legislation, it’s about re-election. If I may quote the president: I understand that. That’s politics.
Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.
This week on New Hampshire Perspective
Segment One: The Constitution Failed
How can you say, “The Constitution failed?” Don’t you mean, “We failed the Constitution?” Or is that a distinction without a difference? Since the declared and understood purpose to the writing and ratification of the Constitution was to create and sustain a limited government and since We the People now face an unlimited government Dr. Owens maintains we face the painful reality, “The Constitution failed.”
Dr. Robert Owens, the author of the History of the Future builds upon Dispatches from that History to show not only that the Constitution has failed but that in many ways that failure was foretold before it was ever ratified by the arguments of the Anti-Federalists. He then goes on to offer recommendations for how We the People can organize and advocate for a solution which will preserve liberty in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Dr. Robert Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. Dr. Owens writes a weekly column of political/social commentary published by hundreds of print and online sources.
Segment Two: Project Pawistive
We are joined by the team from Project Pawistive (http://www.projectpawsitive.com/) as they discuss their mission. Think Extreme Makeover meets animals in need. The team:
Jill Sullivan Grueter, Team Leader
JB Bryne, Project Leader
Drew Davis, Jack of all trades
This was a fun conversation (you are going to love the Celtic wit of Drew) for an extremely worthy cause.
In light of the recent release of a report that indicates that Medicare and Social Security are approaching insolvency, I find it hilarious when members of the media make fun of the pending doom. Keep fiddling as Rome burns.
Krauthammer Scolds ‘Inside Washington’ Host for Calling GOP ‘Mediscare’ Letter Hypocritical
“Inside Washington” host Gordon Peterson on Friday joined the ranks of liberal media members claiming Republican calls for Democrats to stop saying the GOP is trying to destroy Medicare is hypocritical due to their support for Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) budget proposal.
When he got his chance to address this absurdity, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer marvelously set the record straight (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In 1995, in response to the Clinton budget, House Conservatives threatened to shut down the government in a effort to try and regain some sort of fiscal responsibility. But the situation we face today is much different than 15 years ago. The national debt has tripled, the U.S. economy is in chaos, foreign markets look at us as a weak comparator and no longer an ally.
What did we learn from 1995, and has it helped us?
What If the U.S. Treasury Defaults?
‘People aren’t going to wonder whether 20 years ago we delayed an interest payment for six days. They’re going to wonder whether we got our house in order.’
‘A financial crisis is surely going to happen as big or bigger than the one we had in 2008 if we continue to behave the way we’re behaving,” says Stanley Druckenmiller, the legendary investor and onetime fund manager for George Soros. Is this another warning from Wall Street that Congress must immediately raise the federal debt limit to prevent the end of civilization?
No—Mr. Druckenmiller has heard enough of such “clamor and hyperbole.” The grave danger he sees is that politicians might give the government authority to borrow beyond the current limit of $14.3 trillion without any conditions to control spending.
One of the world’s most successful money managers, the lanky, sandy-haired Mr. Druckenmiller is so concerned about the government’s ability to pay for its future obligations that he’s willing to accept a temporary delay in the interest payments he’s owed on his U.S. Treasury bonds—if the result is a Washington deal to restrain runaway entitlement costs.
“I think technical default would be horrible,” he says from the 24th floor of his midtown Manhattan office, “but I don’t think it’s going to be the end of the world. It’s not going to be catastrophic. What’s going to be catastrophic is if we don’t solve the real problem,” meaning Washington’s spending addiction.
Widely credited with orchestrating Mr. Soros’s successful shorting of the British pound in 1992, Mr. Druckenmiller also built his own fund, Duquesne Capital, into a $12 billion titan. He announced plans last year to close the fund and now reports, “I have no clients.” He is still managing his own money, which Forbes magazine recently estimated at $2.5 billion.
Whatever the correct figure is, it would be significantly larger if Mr. Druckenmiller hadn’t given away so much of his wealth. The online magazine Slate reported last year that Mr. Druckenmiller and his wife gave away more money in 2009—over $700 million—than anyone else in the country. Over the last two decades, he has been the largest benefactor of the Harlem Children’s Zone, a community service organization featured in the movie, “Waiting for ‘Superman.’”
Mary Kissel of the editorial board previews congressional action on the debt limit.
It’s hard to think of someone with more expertise in the currency and government-debt markets, but Mr. Druckenmiller’s view on the debt limit bumps up against virtually the entire Wall Street-Washington financial establishment. A recent note on behalf of giant banks on the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee warned of a “severe and long-lasting impact” if the debt limit is not raised immediately. The letter compared the resulting chaos to the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and warned of a run on money-market funds. This week more than 60 trade associations, representing virtually all of American big business, forecast “a massive spike in borrowing costs.”
On Thursday Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke raised the specter of a market crisis similar to the one that followed the 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. As usual, the most aggressive predictor of doom in the absence of increased government spending has been Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. In a May 2 letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Mr. Geithner warned of “a catastrophic economic impact” and said, “Default would cause a financial crisis potentially more severe than the crisis from which we are only now starting to recover.”
In a Monday speech at the New York Economic Club, Mr. Boehner fired back, saying that “It’s true that allowing America to default would be irresponsible. But it would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without simultaneously taking dramatic steps to reduce spending and reform the budget process.”
So the moment couldn’t be better to consult Mr. Druckenmiller, who almost never gives interviews but is willing to speak up now because he thinks that fears about using the debt-limit as a bargaining chip for spending cuts are overblown—and misunderstand the bond market. “The Treasury borrowing committee letter speaks about catastrophic financial crises, comparing it to Fannie and Freddie. That’s not what we’re talking about here,” he says.
He contemplates the possibilities for bond investors if a drawn-out negotiation in Washington creates a short-term problem in servicing the debt but ultimately reduces spending:
“Here are your two options: piece of paper number one—let’s just call it a 10-year Treasury. So I own this piece of paper. I get an income stream obviously over 10 years . . . and one of my interest payments is going to be delayed, I don’t know, six days, eight days, 15 days, but I know I’m going to get it. There’s not a doubt in my mind that it’s not going to pay, but it’s going to be delayed. But in exchange for that, let’s suppose I know I’m going to get massive cuts in entitlements and the government is going to get their house in order so my payments seven, eight, nine, 10 years out are much more assured,” he says.
Then there’s “piece of paper number two,” he says, under a scenario in which the debt limit is quickly raised to avoid any possible disruption in payments. “I don’t have to wait six, eight, or 10 days for one of my many payments over 10 years. I get it on time. But we’re going to continue to pile up trillions of dollars of debt and I may have a Greek situation on my hands in six or seven years. Now as an owner, which piece of paper do I want to own? To me it’s a no-brainer. It’s piece of paper number one.”
Mr. Druckenmiller says that markets know the difference between a default in which a country will not repay its debts and a technical default, in which investors may have to wait a short period for a particular interest payment. Under the second scenario, he doubts that investors such as the Chinese government would sell their Treasury debt and take losses on the way out—”because I’ll guarantee you people like me will buy it immediately.”
Now suppose, Mr. Druckenmiller adds, that he’s wrong. If the market implodes on day two of the technical default, Mr. Obama and Congress would be motivated to finally come to agreement. But he doesn’t expect such market chaos. “My guess is that the bond market would rally as long as it believed the ultimate outcome was going to be genuine entitlement reform—that we wouldn’t even have to find out about a meltdown because it wouldn’t happen. And I have some history on my side here.”
And the scars to prove it. In 1995, Bill Clinton was threatening to veto budget cuts advanced by the Republican House. In return, congressional leaders threatened not to increase the federal debt ceiling. Back then, before Americans knew what a real government spending crisis was, the debt stood at less than $5 trillion. (It has nearly tripled since then and is poised to race some $10 trillion higher in the next decade.)
Mr. Druckenmiller had already recognized that the government had embarked on a long-term march to financial ruin. So he publicly opposed the hysterical warnings from financial eminences, similar to those we hear today. He recalls that then-Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin warned that if the political stand-off forced the government to delay a debt payment, the Treasury bond market would be impaired for 20 years.
“Excuse me? Russia had a real default and two or three years later they had all-time low interest rates,” says Mr. Druckenmiller. In the future, he says, “People aren’t going to wonder whether 20 years ago we delayed an interest payment for six days. They’re going to wonder whether we got our house in order.”
Mr. Druckenmiller notes that from the time he started saying that markets would welcome a technical default in exchange for fundamental reform, in September 1995, “the bond market rallied throughout the period of the so-called train wreck . . . and, by the way, continued to rally. Interest rates went down the whole time, past the government-shutdown deadline, and really interest rates never went back up again until the Republicans caved and . . . supposedly the catastrophic problem was solved.”
He adds, “I owned [Treasury] bonds and Rubin accused me and Soros of being short them, and that this was some sort of conspiracy. We made a fortune being long bonds during the whole fight. We were advocating a default and we were long bonds. That’s kind of putting your money where your mouth is. By the way, I’m long them today.”
Mr. Druckenmiller is puzzled that so many financial commentators see the possible failure to raise the debt ceiling as more serious than the possibility that the government will accumulate too much debt. “I’m just flabbergasted that we’re getting all this commentary about catastrophic consequences, including from the chairman of the Federal Reserve, about this situation but none of these guys bothered to write letters or whatever about the real situation which is we’re piling up trillions of dollars of debt.”
He’s particularly puzzled that Mr. Geithner and others keep arguing that spending shouldn’t be cut, and yet the White House has ruled out reform of future entitlement liabilities—the one spending category Mr. Druckenmiller says you can cut without any near-term impact on the economy.
One reason Mr. Druckenmiller says he spoke up in 1995 was his recognition that the first baby boomers would turn 65 in 2010, so taxpayers would soon have to start supporting a much larger population of retirees. “Well,” he says today, “the last time I checked, it’s 2011. We don’t have another 16 years this time. We’re there. I don’t know whether the markets give us three years or four years or five years, but we’re there. We’re not going to be having this conversation in 16 years. We’re either going to solve it or we’re going to find ourselves being Greece somewhere down the road.”
Some have argued that since investors are still willing to lend to the Treasury at very low rates, the government’s financial future can’t really be that bad. “Complete nonsense,” Mr. Druckenmiller responds. “It’s not a free market. It’s not a clean market.” The Federal Reserve is doing much of the buying of Treasury bonds lately through its “quantitative easing” (QE) program, he points out. “The market isn’t saying anything about the future. It’s saying there’s a phony buyer of $19 billion of Treasurys a week.”
Warming to the topic, he asks, “When do you generally get action from governments? When their bond market blows up.” But that isn’t happening now, he says, because the Fed is “aiding and abetting” the politicians’ “reckless behavior.”
And they could get even more reckless. Mr. Druckenmiller acknowledged by 1996 that the Republican budget shutdown strategy had failed, and he agrees today that the worst outcome would be a technical default that still doesn’t muster enough pressure to force the Beltway to change its spending habits. This possibility “scares the hell out of me because I don’t know whether Obama would cave. I tell you one thing, if [Obama officials] believe what they’re saying, they’ll cave. If they believe this is Armageddon and this is worse than Lehman and this is the greatest catastrophe ever, they’ll cave.”
But what if Mr. Obama hangs tough, Republicans cave, and there is no spending reform between now and the 2012 elections? Would Mr. Druckenmiller sell his Treasurys? “Everything else being equal, that would be a big sell factor, not a buy factor. One of the reasons I bought the Treasurys a ways back was I thought [House Budget Chairman Paul] Ryan was serious. I mean I heard some serious things that I hadn’t heard in a long time.” When President Obama responded to Mr. Ryan with a harsh partisan attack instead of a serious policy proposal, “that made me feel not as good about my Treasurys as the day before. But I’m still long them,” he says.
Mr. Druckenmiller says he’s “a registered independent” but says he admires New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the way he has explained that the state has to reform its benefit plans if it is going to be able to take care of retired government workers. He argues that the same case needs to be made nationally. “We don’t have a choice between Paul Ryan’s plan and the current plan, because the current plan is a mirage. . . . That money is not going to be there.”
Given Mr. Druckenmiller’s track record, officials at the Fed and Treasury may not have a choice, either. They may finally have to try to explain why technical default is a crisis, but runaway spending is not.
Mr. Freeman is assistant editor of The Journal’s editorial page.
Say it isn’t so!!??!! For years many of use have been saying that these entitlement programs were going to go broke, but like ostrich with out head in the sand, we are ingoring the cold hard facts. If we do not reform Social Security and Medicare, it will go broke.
Report details financial difficulties of Social Security, Medicare
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/05/13/report-details-financial-difficulties-of-social-security-medicare/#ixzz1MLudaxl3
Social Security and Medicare Trustees Friday issued their annual report on the financial future of the two entitlement programs. The prognosis isn’t good, and, in fact, is even worse than was reported just one year ago.
According to the report, Social Security is now permanently cash negative and can no longer be funded solely from the payroll tax. It is projected to exhaust funds in 2036 — one year earlier than the report predicted last year.
Medicare isn’t faring any better. The trustees expect the fund to run out of money in 2024, and not 2029 as was previously expected. For the sixth year in a row, the trustees also, made an “excess general revenue Medicare funding” determination.
It only requires two consecutive determinations before the president is required to submit a legislative proposal to deal with the funding crisis within 15 day of his next budget.
“Today’s news that Social Security and Medicare will become insolvent even sooner than expected is a sobering wake up call and makes clear we must take action now to avoid catastrophe. Washington has no excuse. We have known for years this was coming.”
Social Security and Medicare have been front-and-center in recent months as lawmakers battle over the budget and which areas to cut spending. Those discussions were put into overdrive this week as debate about raising the debt ceiling heated up and lawmakers met at the White House for budget talks.
In a speech in New York Monday night, Speaker of the House John Boehner said that a vote to raise the debt ceiling would require “trillions” of dollars worth in spending cuts, suggesting that entitlement programs would be on the table.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came out Thursday night saying that he would not vote to raise the debt limit without significant cuts and revisions to programs like Medicare.
McConnell did say, however, that changes to Social Security are likely to be off the table when it comes to the debt ceiling, despite its dire finances.
“I would love for Social Security to be a part of it,” he said. “The president can speak for himself, but I think he’s not interested in doing Social Security without raising taxes. We don’t think that’s necessary.”
In his statement, Sessions continued to hound the Democrats for budget proposal. “It has been 744 days since the Democrat-led Senate has passed a budget,” he said. “If the Senate goes another year without passing a budget it would be a national scandal.”
Detroit spends far above the national average per student, yet almost half the adults in Detroit are functionally illiterate. Who and what are to blame for this outrage?
City leaders, think tankers suggest various causes of Detroit’s high illiteracy rate
By Caroline May
A damning report released this month showing that nearly half of all adults in Detroit, Michigan are functionally illiterate has pundits and officials playing the blame game.
“The National Institute for Literacy estimates that 47% of adults (more than 200,000 individuals) in the City of Detroit are functionally illiterate, referring to the inability of an individual to use reading, speaking, writing, and computational skills in everyday life situations,” a report from the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund reads.
Karen Tyler-Ruiz, the Fund’s director, explained the difficulties this presents to the average illiterate.
“Not able to fill out basic forms, for getting a job — those types of basic everyday [things]. Reading a prescription; what’s on the bottle, how many you should take…just your basic everyday tasks,” she said. “I don’t really know how they get by, but they do. Are they getting by well? Well, that’s another question,” she told WWJ Newsradio 950.
In a town where unions rule, some have pointed to the teachers’ union as a possible reason for the city’s high illiteracy rate.
Andrew J. Coulson, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, told The Daily Caller that the teachers’ union monopoly has contributed to much of the educational deterioration in the city.
“Apparently [the school system is] not learning that the cause of the problem is the monopoly because they would have gotten rid of it by now. That is the big message from this report, [it] is not what this particular organization is doing to try to alleviate the problem,” Coulson told TheDC. “What they need to do is get rid of the monopoly.”
According to Coulson’s calculations, Detroit spent $15,945 per pupil for the 2010-2011 school year. By comparison, the average per pupil expenditure during the 2007-2008 school year nationally was $10,259.
The Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), however, is adamant that the problem actually lies with the city’s failure to effectively enforce school attendance.
“I don’t think that that the teachers’ union has a responsibility for making sure that adults can read,” DFT president Keith Johnson told TheDC.
“I think the unfairness of the criticism [against the union] comes from the fact that there is a direct correlation between student attendance and student performance,” Johnson added. “During the 2008-2009 school year, the average Detroit school student — you ready for this — missed 46 days of school. That was on average. There were 10 percent of our students that missed 100 days or more. It may shock you to know that Detroit public schools do not have an attendance standard.”
According to Detroit’s attendance policy statement in their “Orientation Kit,” students are expected to attend 92 percent of classes, or miss no more than 14 days annually. Johnson believes there have to be harsher consequences for those who miss significantly more days.
Some say the responsibility for the absentee epidemic falls at the feet of parents who fail to supervise their children. Richard Rivers, a counselor at Cody’s Academy of Critical Thinkers and Medicine and Community Health, said that the best way to fix the literary problem is to get parents involved.
“I talk to truants all the time, and I call their parents,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “I do believe that truancy can be prevented when parents are working with me to get the students to school every day and on time.”
As people point fingers, the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund is largely focused on remedial work, aiding those adults who cannot read. While this is good, Coulson believes the goal ought to be fixing the problem at its root in the schools. School choice, he believes, is one policy that may help.
“What policies could they adopt to fix this problem? Virtually everything they have done has failed. What they need to do is give parents choice,” Coulson said, adding his preferred method is tuition tax credits.
Emergency financial manager for the Detroit Public Schools Robert Bobb told TheDC that the city has set goals to help mitigate the city’s illiteracy problem.
“DPS has set rigorous goals under its five year academic plan, and specific initiatives already implemented this year are 120 minutes of daily instruction in reading for every elementary student in every DPS school, and a corresponding double-dosing of English at the high school level,” Bobb said in a statement. “Such sustained focus on this and the other core content areas will lead to meeting our goals including a 98 percent graduation rate and all third grade students reading at grade level by 2014-2015.”
Responding to the argument that chronic absenteeism is a major contributor to the city’s illiteracy rate, Bobb responded, “equating adult literacy with current absenteeism of students does not make any sense.”
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Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/05/10/city-leaders-think-tankers-suggest-various-causes-of-detroits-high-illiteracy-rate/#ixzz1M0gJ8ypz
Before you read the story, write down on a piece a paper the names of he Congresspeople you think voted ‘present.’ You probably are a lot closer than you think.
Four Dems vote ‘present’ on honoring bin Laden mission
After more than a week of deliberation, the House overwhelmingly approved a measure honoring the intelligence community for the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.
The vote wasn’t unanimous, however. Four liberal Democrats – Reps. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Pete Stark (Calif.) and Lynn Woolsey (Calif.) – voted “present” on the measure, which was offered as an amendment to an intelligence authorization bill.
The White House is the people’s house, and certain things just cannot be tolerated in our house. Rapper-Poet COMMON has been invited to speak at the White House by President and First Lady Obama. That invitation needs to be rescinded.
Common and his supporters may see Common as the poet laureate for a generation of misguided malcontents that have been enslaved by failed progressive policies and liberal propaganda; but his inflammatory rhetoric does not represent the real values of America. Common makes millions by propagating hatred and enforcing stereotypes. He has a First Amendment Right to his opinions, but that does not grant him the right to espouse his hatred on a national stage, a sanctioned act that would be seen as approving if the President permits it to happen.
Common is more than welcome to take his shtick on the road, to the all coffee houses populated by anger liberals and college campuses overrun with brainwashed progressives, but leave the White House stage to the bland and uncontroversial, like Emily Bear.
Liberals support, conservatives attack rapper’s White House invite
The rapper’s 2007 rap, “A Letter to the Law,” talks of Uzi submachine guns, “the black strap to make the cops run,” and includes a call to “burn a Bush.”
The language and themes are very different from the lyrical poetry promoted in 2003 by then-first lady Laura Bush. Her planned White House reading of 19th century poets was derailed by protests from left-wing poets angered by President George W. Bush’s forced removal of Saddam Hussein.
The White House’s selection of Common spurred complaints from numerous conservatives, including former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. In a Tuesday morning tweet, she cited the TheDC’s transcript and commented “Oh lovely, White House.” Those criticisms were echoed through the Chicago Tribune, the L.A. Times, Fox News and in numerous blogs, where conservatives have long complained that liberals eagerly use charges of “hate speech” and “bigotry” to sideline conservatives in Hollywood, smear traditional culture, tarnish free-market ideas in academia, and sneer at one of the nation’s most popular and evolved music-genres, country music.
As the controversy flared online, conservative outlets reported that Common has voiced support for cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. In his rap, “God Is Freedom,” he declared that “flyers say ‘free Mumia’ on my freezer.” Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner. In an unfortunate coincidence, Common’s appearance at the White House event coincides with National Police Week.
In another rap, Common said “when I go/ I want to be known like El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz,” or Malcolm-X, a black-supremacist. The second rap reported the New Hampshire Journal also included a passage criticizing white women who date black men: “I don’t know what it is/ but white girls gettin’ ass/ I know what it is/ It’s cash.”
In turn, left-of-center activists rallied in support of Common’s White House invite. The Atlantic, Media Matters, and numerous bloggers and tweeters scorned Common’s critics, often without addressing Common’s words. Sam Stein, a writer at the Huffington Post, for example, tweeted to fellow progressives that “yeah, Obama is making a comprehensive case for immigration reform. but Common is gonna read poetry at the White House! Eye on prize, people.”
White House officials haven’t backed down, even though the president is scheduled to make opening remarks at the event. White House officials may have a political incentive to stand by its invite.
In 1992, presidential candidate Bill Clinton won support from swing-voters by denouncing anti-white rapper Sister Souljah. But these days, the nation’s voters are increasingly polarized and the pool of swing-voters is shrinking. Victory in the 2012 election may be decided by the candidate that motivates his base voters to turn out.
If Obama’s campaign officials see 2012 as a base election, they may welcome the criticism of Common because it can bolster his declining support among African-Americans. Their declining support for Obama may slip further, partly because they’re watching Obama woo Hispanic voters with promises of more low-skill immigration into an economy where at least one-in-six Africans-Americans are unemployed.
The event will also massage Obama’s ties to the influential arts-industry, which relies heavily on government funding. “First Lady Michelle Obama and administration officials will deliver brief remarks to highlight a new study detailing the importance of arts education,” said the statement.
Common’s supporters say he is not responsible for the failure of people unfamiliar with African-American, or “urban,” cultural themes, to understand his rap lyrics. “It shouldn’t take a genius to explain what’s going on in this poem: It is what the title suggests, a ‘letter’ to the source of moral authority written from the perspective of inner city black youths who feel that the police don’t protect them, that the media loves to blow up and then tear down their community’s celebrities and that the government has been acting more gangsta — in terms of their invasion/occupation of Iraq — than they could ever hope,” said Jason Linkins, a writer for the Huffington Post.
The most coherent support for Common’s work came from Bradley Markham, who grew up in an African-American neighborhood in Texas, and then studied science and poetry at Stanford University before working for Google. Common is “not my favorite poet, not my favorite actor, but not a cop killer, inciter of violence, or racist,” he said. Rather, he is “often mocked as a softy in the rap circles, an intellectual who thinks too much,” Markham said.
Common’s “Burn a Bush” statement, he said, “is basically another way to say ‘F… President Bush’, without using the curse word…but nobody in the intended audience thought he was saying anything else,” such as a murder attempt.
Common’s rap, Markham said, “goes on to list some grievances that the black community may have, and that’s where he says ‘don’t retaliate with guns, use your mind instead’… he’s saying he has one weapon, his mind, and its bigger and badder and better than what any police have,” he said.
“Hopefully when you look at it through the eyes and hear it through the ears of its intended audience, you’ll have a better appreciation for what he was saying,” Markham said.
But Common’s rap is entangled in Washington politics, where partisan tribalism usually trumps poetic virtues. For example, a conservative blog, Left Coast Rebel, caught Eric Boehlert, a senior advocate at the Democratic-affiliated advocacy group, Media Matters, shifting his analysis to match the Democrats’ needs.
In 2000, Boehlert eagerly cited words by rapper Eminem — “Bitch I’ma kill you!/ You don’t wanna f… with me/ Girls leave — you ain’t nuttin’ but a slut to me” — as deserving of criticism. “Should the nation’s tastemakers, the ones supposedly pondering the connection between art and society, align themselves with an artist as blatantly hateful, vengeful and violent as Eminem?… By defending and celebrating the likes of Eminem while willingly turning a blind eye to his catchy message of hate, music critics continue to cheapen their profession,” he wrote then.
But on Tuesday, Boehlert tweeted his derision of conservatives’ criticism as merely “RW freakout today over a rapper (!!) being invited to WH poetry event.”
Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?
Polls will come and go, and candidates will go up and down. In the end it is a lot of fun for those in the media, and of little consequence for those that will make the final decision.
The Fall Of Trump? New Poll Reveals His Numbers Have Dramatically Dropped
Donald Trump may have, for a time, captivated Republican voters to the point where many favored him as the front-runner among potential GOP presidential candidates. In late April, for instance, the businessman and reality television host led a Rasmussen poll of GOP primary voters, and, earlier that month, Public Policy Polling revealed that Trump led the entire GOP field by nine points.
At the time, Trump told radio host Rush Limbaugh that his popularity was simply the result of people responding to his “message” – specifically, the message that President Barack Obama may or may not have been born in the United States and, thus, owes it to the American people to prove his citizenship by releasing a copy of his long-form birth certificate. Daily Show host Jon Stewart called the early fervor over Trump “premature ejaculation,” while many big names within the Republican party – from “old school” Republicans like Karl Rove to the party’s “new blood,” like Rand Paul, and even conservative pundits like like Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck – all, at one time or another, expressed concern and frustration over Trump’s insistence on repeatedly trotting out the “birther” issue and, indeed, making it the cornerstone of what may or may not have been either a toe-dip into a formal campaign, a calculated effort to draw attention to his television show, or some combination thereof.
But it would now appear that Trump’s meteoric rise to the tops of these polls and the media frenzy that came along with it may end up being footnotes in his biography (Too Trump To Trump: A Portrait Of Donald Trump, with a foreword by Donald Trump. Illustrations by Trump, Donald). Today, Public Policy Polling revealed that his popularity has dropped both quickly and dramatically:
Donald Trump has had one of the quickest rises and falls in the history of Presidential politics. Last month we found him leading the Republican field with 26%. In the space of just four weeks he’s dropped all the way down to 8%, putting him in a tie for fifth place with Ron Paul.
Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are at the top of the GOP race with 19% and 18% respectively. Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are further back at 13% and 12%, followed by Trump and Paul at 8%, Michele Bachmann at 7%, and Tim Pawlenty at 5%.
As Trump got more and more exposure over the last month Republicans didn’t just decide they weren’t interested in having him as their nominee- they also decided they flat don’t like him. Only 34% of GOP voters now have a favorable opinion of Trump to 53% who view him in a negative light.
Conservative blog Hot Air does, however, offer to place the results in some sort of perspective:
This is PPP, of course, a pollster that identifies itself as “a Democratic polling company,” but this is a survey of Republican voters alone, so sampling won’t be as much of an issue. If this is accurate, Trump would do better to invest in his television series rather than a vanity campaign for President — and he’s probably smart enough to know it.
Either way you slice it, the takeaway here seems to be that Trump is a masterful marketing professional, who knows how to get attention and inspire headlines. Whether he also knows when to stop, when to bow out when people find themselves saturated by any given name or brand or idea, is yet to be seen.
Now. Won’t someone please reach out and make sure Lawrence O’Donnell didn’t strain something while clapping enthusiastically?
Draconian – rigorous; unusually severe or cruel
Some people believe if you use a word enough in describing something or someone than it must make it true. In fact all that is accomplished with over using a word is weakening the meaning. Case in point, draconian.
Draconian is the word included in the liberal playbook to attack any budget plan offered by Republicans If anyone is acting draconian, it is those liberals that insist at bankrupting our children with the immoral debt created by our failure to spend within our means. Shame on us!
Boehner to Wall Street: the Tea Party demands ‘trillions’ in ‘draconian’ spending cuts for debt ceiling increase
Republican House Speaker John Boehner warned top Wall Street officials in New York City that restless American voters will not tolerate less than “trillions” in spending cuts before Congress agrees to raise the debt ceiling, the first GOP bid in a pending high-stakes negotiation over the politically painful vote.
The Ohio Republican alluded to the Tea Party that swept his party into control of the House, saying rampant federal deficits and government overreach have triggered a political “rebellion” that demands steep, “draconian” cuts.
“Washington’s arrogance has triggered a political rebellion in our country. I don’t think ‘rebellion’ is too strong of a word. The revolt we have seen by ordinary citizens over the past few years is like nothing we’ve seen in our lifetime. And it’s happening in part because the arrogant habits of Washington are having real economic consequences,” Boehner said in a speech at the Economic Club of New York Monday.
Asked about the sheer size of the cuts necessary to balance the budget given rampant deficits, Boehner said, “The cuts that you point out, you’re right, they’re draconian. But we have to have controls on spending,” adding that with increased economic growth, “we can solve this problem.”
Boehner said without “significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase. And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given.”
“We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions,” Boehner said.
The specific demand that the spending cuts more than offset the size of the new debt authority is the first detailed GOP position on what Democrats must concede to acquire the GOP’s support for a debt ceiling increase in the House and are a departure from the process-oriented reforms that had been discussed previously, such as a balanced budget amendment.
But what Boehner, President Obama and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ultimately agree on is still up to the resultant negotiations. Boehner notably did not use absolute language – saying the cuts “should” be in his preferred range – allowing him room to maneuver later.
Boehner insisted several times during the speech that tax increases are “off the table.”
But the GOP Speaker said he supports “means testing” entitlement programs – changing the programs so that they no longer provide services for the wealthy.
Referring to Peter Peterson, the head of a foundation that pushes deficit reduction and one of two officials asking questions of Boehner, the Speaker said, “I gotta tell you, Pete, I love you to death, but I don’t think the taxpayers ought to be paying your Medicare premium….We’re broke. For those who have substantial means, you can pay your own premium.”
Boehner said the Ways and Means Committee will be considering tax reform, and offered several proposals to cut regulations and red tape, including legislation that would require congressional approval for any “major” new regulation, major being defined as one that costs over $100 million annually.
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/05/09/boehner-to-wall-street-the-tea-party-demands-trillions-in-draconian-spending-cuts-for-debt-ceiling-increase/#ixzz1Luh022sq