It sounded like a freedom-of-religion case when a Columbus, Texas high school relay-race team was disqualified from the state track championship because Derrick Hayes pointed heavenward after his team won the race. That would seem odd in a red state like Texas. It turned out that officials were so strict, they warned runners to make no hand gestures after the finish line. Hayes had apparently pointed forward, and then upward, and for that, he was out.
It can be tough to be a student in today’s public schools. Never mind restrictions on the schools. It is becoming impossible to express a socially conservative or Christian viewpoint – as a student. Across the land, everyone is ordered to welcome without a discouraging word any expression of the gay or transgender variety. But try to say the G-word or oppose abortion, and watch someone lower the boom.
In 2005, USA Today uncovered the scandal that black columnist Armstrong Williams was paid to promote Bush’s Education Department initiatives. In 2013, it’s never a scandal when MSNBC anchors promote Obama’s Education Department initiatives. It’s another Great Leap Forward for government-media synchronicity.
Today at 4 pm, after her daily on-air hour is up, MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall is serving as moderator of a Google-Plus “hangout” at Howard University for the Education Department on “A Legacy of Excellence: Celebrating African American Teachers in our Classrooms.”
Two years ago, Jimmy McMillan ran for New York governor and became a viral sensation, with more than 7 million Youtube views. Now the creator of The Rent is Too Damn High party is running for New York City mayor and has expanded his platform is his new rap anthem video.
In the first 30 seconds of his video, the news reporter declared that rent in New York is at an all time high. “Critics say Bloomberg has failed.” McMillan pointed out that mayor’s economic record is one of failure.
Maybe MSNBC was trying to deflect some of the controversy surrounding Melissa Harris-Perry's previous "Lean Forward" promo by pushing out a new one. MH-P had provoked outrage in that earlier promo by proclaiming that "kids belong to their communities," not to their parents.
But if anything, the new promo aired during today's Morning Joe just adds fuel to MH-P's socialist fire. While claiming to defend meritocracy, Harris-Perry could only grudgingly admit that the most successful should earn "a little more." She then proceeded to proclaim as a right "health care, education, decent housing and quality food at all times." From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs, anyone? View the video after the jump.
Melissa Harris-Perry declaring in an ad that we must “break through” the “private notion” that “your kid is yours” because “kids belong to whole communities” is an outrage. This isn’t what Mediaite called “a collection of tired progressive cliches on steroids.” This is shredding the notion of family, replacing it with the commands of the state.
MSNBC has awarded itself a new acronym: My Son Needs to Belong to the Collective. How do you sell a private network with this dreadful collectivist advertising?
In a roundup of editorial commentary published on Wednesday, the Associated Press excerpted an editorial at the Los Angeles Times condemning the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal, which has thus far led to 35 arrests, including that the of the district's former superintendent. "Somehow," the excerpt omitted the specifics of the excuse-making on the part of the American Federation of Teachers and it President Randi Weingarten in the organization's press release.
What AP excerpted, followed by the key passage it chose not to, follow the jump.
Most Americans would agree that a federal study -- burning through hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars by the way -- on duck penises is not exactly a high priority when we need to get our fiscal house in order. But Patricia Brennan would disagree with you, and she took to the liberal online journal Slate to do so last Tuesday.
Wait, did I mention that Brennan has a vested interest in defending the study of duck dongs? She's a research professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst receiving federal money for the study?
Aside from insinuating that conservatives "miss the point of basic science" and whining about the “fierce” competition within the scientific community for federal funding, she explained why we should pick up the bill -- sorry I could resist -- for her study:
A question with a more obvious answer might yet be asked on national TV this morning, but someone's going to have to try very hard . . . On today's Morning Joe, during a segment on the Atlanta school-test scandal, Mike Barnicle actually wondered out loud why more top college grads take jobs with high-tech firms like Google, or in the financial-services sector, instead of teaching.
Barnicle had earlier declared that standardized tests don't teach kids how to think. Might Mike have taken one such test too many in his day? When Willie Geist gently pointed out the obvious to Mike—the difference in pay—Barnicle blubbered that he understood such was a given. So why ask? View the video after the jump.
Saturday's front-page New York Times story by education writer Michael Winerip on a school testing scandal involving Beverly Hall, former superintendent of Atlanta public schools: "35 Indicted in Test Scandal at Atlanta Schools." Hall is "charged with racketeering, theft, influencing witnesses, conspiracy and making false statements. Prosecutors recommended a $7.5 million bond for her; she could face up to 45 years in prison."
It's a sorry end to a saga that includes politically correct embarrassment for the paper and reporter Shaila Dewan, who defended Hall in two notorious stories from August 2010, trumpeting the false initial vindication of Superintendent Hall, who is black, while hinting at a racial element to criticism that Hall and the Atlanta school district had falsified minority student test scores.
Two years ago today, I chronicled wire service reports which appeared shortly after John Hinckley's unsuccessful attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981 reporting that schoolchildren in many parts of the country cheered when they heard that he had been shot.
At the time, I suggested that school teachers and administrators who were appalled at the reactions might have been protesting a bit too much. Today, I located a 2004 item at National Review by Stanley Kurtz about another group which was happy to hear about the assassination attempt. The left's hypocrisy about "civility" -- and for that matter, basic human decency -- clearly goes way, way back:
The Supreme Court of Indiana ruled unanimously that their state’s voucher program was constitutional, much to the chagrin of Washington Post blogger Valerie Strauss. “It isn’t the first time a supreme court has made a questionable call,” she wrote in her March 26 Answer Sheet post.
According to Strauss, voucher programs are bad for several reasons. First, she is quite offended that families can choose to use their funds at private religious schools who teach “anti-scientific notions” like creationism. Her article made no room for school voucher proponents, nor did it include any pro-voucher arguments.
When the Associated Press reported on the upcoming “Sex Week” program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, the reporter calmly noted that the “student-initiated” event will begin on Friday, April 5, and include several generic seminar topics.
However, when Fox News Radio's Todd Starnes described the same program, he indicated that it will include such controversial aspects as seminars by a lesbian bondage expert and a campus-wide scavenger hunt for a golden condom.
The University of Oklahoma, like every higher education institution in the country, is opposed to plagiarism. So why did the home of the Sooners invite admitted plagiarist Fareed Zakaria to deliver the class of 2013's commencement address after the CNN anchor and Time plagiarism scandal?
In a statement announcing Zakaria's selection, University of Oklahoma President David Boren insisted that, “Fareed Zakaria is truly an educator…he uses his forum through the public media to educate a worldwide audience about the important issues we all confront and how we can work together to meet them.” Yes, he sure does, especially when he lifts other people’s work to convey his point of view.
Last summer, Zakaria lifted material from Jill Lepore of the New Yorker in his column about gun control almost verbatim. Here’s a paragraph from his Time piece:
Thursday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning newscast to zero in on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's false assertion about the sequester – that "there are, literally, teachers now who are getting pink slips; who are getting notices they can't come back this fall". Correspondent Bill Plante noted that "Duncan conceded he knew of only one county nationwide where there had been notices", and underlined that "those notices weren't sequester-related."
CBS News political director John Dickerson also highlighted that "the Washington Post caught...Duncan in an exaggeration about those effects." Actually, "exaggeration" is an understatement on the part of Dickerson, as the Post's Glenn Kessler ripped the Cabinet official over several statements he's made on the sequester issue:
Nearly two years ago, U.S. News & World Report came out with a story titled "Educators Implicated in Atlanta Cheating Scandal." It reported that "for 10 years, hundreds of Atlanta public school teachers and principals changed answers on state tests in one of the largest cheating scandals in U.S. history." More than three-quarters of the 56 Atlanta schools investigated had cheated on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, sometimes called the national report card. Cheating orders came from school administrators and included brazen acts such as teachers reading answers aloud during the test and erasing incorrect answers. One teacher told a colleague, "I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they're dumb as hell." Atlanta's not alone. There have been investigations, reports and charges of teacher-assisted cheating in other cities, such as Philadelphia, Houston, New York, Detroit, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Washington.
Recently, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's blog carried a story titled "A new cheating scandal: Aspiring teachers hiring ringers." According to the story, for at least 15 years, teachers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee paid Clarence Mumford, who's now under indictment, between $1,500 and $3,000 to send someone else to take their Praxis exam, which is used for K-12 teacher certification in 40 states. Sandra Stotsky, an education professor at the University of Arkansas, said, "(Praxis I) is an easy test for anyone who has completed high school but has nothing to do with college-level ability or scores." She added, "The test is far too undemanding for a prospective teacher. ... The fact that these people hired somebody to take an easy test of their skills suggests that these prospective teachers were probably so academically weak it is questionable whether they would have been suitable teachers."
Paul "The Population Bomb" Ehrlich, call your office. Oh, never mind. You've never cared about the truth anyway, or the fact that your predictions of worldwide calamity have been far off the mark, but you sure have received a lot of attention from the establishment press over the past several decades.
According to Jeff Wise at Slate.com on Wednesday, "researchers at Austria’s International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis foresee the global population maxing out at 9 billion some time around 2070." After that (and before that in certain countries, pretty soon in Japan, much of Europe, Russia, and China,and not all that far away in the U.S.), the problem will be worldwide depopulation. Wise points out why the math points to peak population, and how that reality upsets the usual media reporting apple cart (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine):
Angela McCaskill, Chief Diversity Officer at Gallaudet University, has been reinstated following three months of administrative leave which began after the university learned that she had signed a petition supporting the placement of an initiative to repeal recently passed legislation legalizing same-sex "marriage" on the Maryland ballot.
The headline at the Associated Press story about Ms. McCaskill's statement ("GAY MARRIAGE FLAP: GALLAUDET REINSTATES OFFICIAL") should have instead read "free speech flap." That's what the McCaskill controversy was about, as the underlying AP story by Ben Nuckols, which virtually ignores the witch-hunt sentiment directed at her, still makes clear (bold is mine):
Well, at least we know one of the New Year's resolutions on a certain radical professor's list. That resolution, undermining the Constitution whenver and wherever possible to serve the "progressive" agenda, has been on the list of the paper for which this professor wrote for quite a while.
On Sunday, in a New York Times op-ed ("Let’s Give Up on the Constitution") which appeared in today's print edition, Louis Michael Seidman, a professor of constitutional law (seriously) at Georgetown University, and the author of the forthcoming book "On Constitutional Disobedience" (given the conduct of the Obama administration, it's hard to understand why such a book is even neceeary is a mystery), wrote that "our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions." Here's more of what we will likely see from other quarters in the new year:
Two blog posts today should shred the credibility of Meet the Press's David Gregory in making arguments for gun control and against appropriate armed staff or security personnel at schools -- or they would, if journalists had the least bit of interest in exposing lawbreaking and hyprocritical behavior by their professional colleagues.
During the show, as reported at the Patriot Perspective, relaying a point first brought out by a member of the AR15.com forum site, Gregory "decided to wave around a 30-round AR-15 magazine" in direct violation of the District of Columbia "DC High Capacity Ammunition Magazines" statute. Given the Supreme Court's Heller ruling affirming that the right to keep and bear arms (and ammo) is an individual right, that law may not be enforceable, but it would also be interesting to know if Gregory's possession of an AR-15 magazine or his showing it on the air violated any of NBC's corporate policies. Additionally, the Weekly Standard's Daniel Halper pointed to Gregory's hypocrisy in mocking the NRA's Wayne LaPierre over his organization's advocacy of having armed guards in schools (internal link is in original; bolds are mine):
Reports of rampant child sex abuse committed at an elementary school in Los Angeles continue to explode, but the national media does not seem too interested - at all. On the heels of other local reports involving child sex abuse in L.A. schools, NBC4 in Los Angeles has reported:
"On the same day that attorneys for students at Miramonte Elementary School announced that four additional lawsuits have been filed against LAUSD [Los Angeles Unified School District] over alleged sexual abuse at the school, the district said it faces 189 claims resulting from the scandal ...
"The claims are on behalf of 126 students, with the remainder from their family members, [LAUSD general counsel David] Holmquist said."
One fact of politics that has not received much attention is that many of America's most conservative geographic areas are also home to radical left media outlets that regularly produce stories sneering at the values of their neighbors.
In Oklahoma, one of the most conservative states, the perfect example of this is the Tulsa World newspaper which frequently derides conservative ideas and groups. The publication provided a perfect example of this tendency earlier in the year running a piece that smeared several well-established and accomplished conservative organizations as somehow being "controversial."
Stephen Colbert channeled the mother and teacher from the classic "A Christmas Story" on Thursday's Colbert Report, as he made fun of a proposed dormitory for undergraduates with gun permits at the University of Colorado. The only thing missing from his left-wing stereotypes of gun owners as trigger-happy yahoos was the famous "you'll shoot your eye out" line.
Colbert cracked that the move from the mountain state school would "forever ensur[e] that no one will think of it as a safety school." After pointing out that not one student had signed up for the dorm, he snarked, "Come on! This is college! It's time to get crazy - do shots, take shots, get shot....live a little - if not very long." As you might expect, CBS This Morning spotlighted the Colbert sketch on Friday. [audio available here; video below the jump]
From what I can tell, a major scandal involving teachers in three states has received almost no national press coverage since CNN first broke a story about it in July. Among the non-participants or nearly non-participants (again, from what I can tell based on archived news search attempts) is the Associated Press, which decided early this morning on a slow news weekend when few are paying attention to publish Adrian Sainz's 1,200-word story on the topic.
What follows are portions CNN's original report, today's AP item, and a "edu-blog" post, in wondering why the conspiracy hasn't received more attention, identifies a sadly predictable likely reason.
With the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis approaching and new documents surfacing about just how close to World War III the United States and the Soviet Union came in 1962, it’s interesting to look at how the incident is regarded in the media and, especially, how it’s taught as history.
The Cuban Missile Crisis is commonly portrayed as a firm display of President John F. Kennedy’s resolve in the face of Cold War Soviet aggression. President John F. Kennedy is popularly depicted as a courageous leader who forced the Soviet Union to withdraw nuclear missiles from Cuba pointed at the United States.
It’s surprising that Hollywood would make a film that sympathetically argues for school choice, the movie Won’t Back Down, starring accomplished actresses Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal. It’s not surprising that liberal Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday would then offer a withering one-star review that seemed more like a political judgment than an artistic estimate.
Hornaday huffed: “More than a portrait of spontaneous motherly outrage, it becomes clear that the movie has been designed as an anti-union, pro-charter screed, the fictional counterpart to the 2010 documentary Waiting for Superman.”
In a surprisingly tough interview with President Obama aired on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie cited Mitt Romney's criticism that the President has sided with teachers' unions against education reform, to which Obama shot back: "I think Governor Romney and a number of folks try to politicize the issue and do a lot of teacher-bashing."
Guthrie followed up: "Can you really say that teachers' unions aren't slowing the pace of reform?" Obama repeated the anti-Romney talking point: "I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform." While Guthrie made some effort to pin down the President, she ultimately allowed him to build up the "teacher-bashing" straw man as he dodged her questions.
If you tried to get a handle on the showdown between Chicago Public Schools and its teachers' union based on picture captions from the Associated Press, you would think that the teachers' strike has nothing to do with money.
The reality is that Chicago's teachers are, depending on the figures quoted, either the highest-paid cadre of K-12 educators in the nation or so darned close to it that their current demand for a 16% increase over the next four years (down from an original 35%, as Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters noted earlier today) will put them easily 10% ahead of any group of teachers anywhere else in the nation. With that in mind, let's look at the content of the various picture captions I located as I reviewed the wire service's latest strike-related stories.
Reporting from Chicago this afternoon on MSNBC, NBC News reporter Kevin Tibbles described yesterday's teachers union picket lines as "festive" occasions but worried that the mood may sour if an accord is not reached soon.
Yet while other media outlets have reported and confirmed that the Chicago teachers union had requested a 35 percent pay hike, Tibbles completely ignored the issue of pay, insisting the teachers union is concerned most with teacher evaluation policies.
Throughout its morning and afternoon news coverage today, MSNBC has dealt with the hours-old teachers strike in Chicago. NBC reporter Kevin Tibbles did a few standups next to a picket line "outside the Ray Elementary School in Chicago." During his 11:40 a.m. Eastern live report, Tibbles interviewed a union teacher, John Cusick, who said he'd heard from parents, "mostly" who "support us" because "they know we care for their children" and "have their children's best interest at heart."
Immediately after Cusick said that, rather than express skepticism, Tibbles seemed concerned about how the strike could hurt President Obama and the Democrats come November's election: