This is the seventh and final segment in the series on K-12 education.
A front-page August 16 Washington Times’ headline screamed: “Scores show students aren’t ready for college — 75% may need remedial classes.”
Seventy-five percent is a number that gets people’s attention. It isn’t the usual trifling stuff the U.S. Department of Education puts out about math or reading scores being up by two percent one year and down by three percent the next. Add to that another finding reported in the same article: “A 2008 report by the education advocacy group Strong American Schools found that 80 percent of college students taking remedial classes had a high school GPA of 3.0 or better.”
Congressional Democrats have brushed off President Obama's personal decree to swear off special-interest campaigning for his reelection bid. According to an Associated Press analysis on campaign fundraising, Democrats aspiring to regain control of the House in 2012 have pocketed more than $15 million from political action committees this year, including donations from labor unions, sugar producers, and defense contractors. Over $1 million alone went to campaign committees of House Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).
Congressional Democrats condemn Republicans for special-interest campaigning, while pressuring GOP presidential hopefuls to disclose their top campaign donors. "The refusal to accept donations from federal lobbyists and PACs is critical to limiting the influence of special interests in the political process," Wasserman Schultz said in a recent conference call. "Unfortunately, every single Republican candidate for president today happily accepts donations from lobbyists and PACs."
Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security Secretary, confessed last week that the Obama administration will not deport illegal-alien students who would have fallen under the protection of the failed DREAM Act, the amnesty for illegal aliens that traveled under the name of immigration reform.
She made the remarks at a webinar and roundtable on border issues sponsored by NDN, a leftist think tank. The Washington Times reported what she said:
“I will say, and can say, that you know what? They are not, that group, if they truly meet all those criteria, and we see very few of them actually in the immigration system, if they truly meet those [criteria], they’re not the priority,” the secretary said at an event sponsored by NDN, a progressive think tank and advocacy group, on the future of the nation’s border policies.
“The reason we set priorities is so that the focus could be on those in the country who are also committing other illegal acts,” she said.
The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a state pro-life law, blocked two years ago by a lower court, that requires, among other provisions, that a woman seeking an abortion be informed by a physician about the risks and alternatives to the deadly procedure.
LifeNews.com reported that the appeals court had heard oral arguments in June in Planned Parenthood Arizona v. Horne, “a case the abortion business filed which challenges key aspects of the 2009 Abortion Consent Act.” The measure, signed by pro-life Governor Jan Brewer, was immediately challenged by Planned Parenthood and blocked by a Superior Court judge while the case moved through the legal system.
LifeNews reported that the pro-life Center for Arizona Policy had drafted the Abortion Consent Act, and was part of a team — which included the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the Bioethics Defense Fund, and Life Legal Defense Foundation — working to defend the law’s constitutionality.
The European Union has threatened Sweden with legal action unless it rescinds its first issuance of wolf-hunting licenses in 45 years. Swedish Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren announced that his country has no wish to engage in long legal proceedings in Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union, which would be the next step if the EU member-state failed to comply.
EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik asserted that the Swedish wolf-hunting licenses violated EU directives, although Carlgren observed that the interpretation of what is allowed is “rigid.”
It can hardly be asserted that the New Age socialist politics of Sweden are insensitive to animal welfare. The fact that there have not been licenses to hunt wolves — costly pests in largely rural Sweden — since 1966 suggests that the policy decision to issue the permits was not made lightly.
Despite its less-than-stellar record of picking winning solar energy companies — subsidizing, for instance, Solyndra of California and Evergreen Solar of Massachusetts — the Obama administration is determined to continue the practice of unconstitutionally financing these boondoggles. This time, however, it is doing so in a more roundabout way via the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank), which is making $575 million in taxpayer-guaranteed loans to companies in India to purchase solar modules from U.S. firms.
According to CNSNews.com, the Ex-Im Bank has already loaned $75 million for four solar projects in India this year, and the bank says it “has about $500 million of India solar projects in the pipeline that will generate an estimated 315 [megawatts] of solar power.” Among the projects already receiving loans are two five-megawatt solar photovoltaic plants in Rajasthan, for which the Ex-Im Bank is providing a total of $25.2 million in financing to purchase thin-film solar modules from First Solar, Inc., of Tempe, Arizona, and Abound Solar, Inc., of Loveland, Colorado.
The orgies of violent attacks against strangers on the streets — in both England and the United States — are not necessarily just passing episodes. They should be wake-up calls, warning of the continuing degeneration of Western society.
As British doctor and author Theodore Dalrymple said, long before these riots broke out, "the good are afraid of the bad and the bad are afraid of nothing."
Not only the trends over the years leading up to these riots but also the squeamish responses to them by officials — on both sides of the Atlantic — reveal the moral dry rot that has spread deep into Western societies.
Even when black youth gangs target white strangers on the streets and spew out racial hatred as they batter them and rob them, mayors, police chiefs and the media tiptoe around their racism and many in the media either don't cover these stories or leave out the race and racism involved.
Do you remember the mess our economy was in when Ronald Reagan took office 30 years ago? Five years earlier, during the 1976 campaign, Jimmy Carter had hammered away at the so-called Misery Index, the combination of unemployment and the inflation rate. In the summer of 1976, it reached 13.57 percent; and worried voters handed the keys to the White House to the peanut farmer.
Unfortunately, Jimmy did nothing to make things better. By 1980, when he was running for re-election against Ronald Reagan, the Misery Index had climbed to an all-time high of 21.9 percent — more than 61 percent higher. Ouch! As a result, the voters booted him out and decided to give the former Governor of California a chance.
But all Reagan did for the next four years was blame Jimmy Carter for the mess he inherited, while things in the country got worse and worse.
Wafa Sultan is an Arab-American woman who was born in Syria, raised in the Islamic faith of her ancestors, rebelled against it, and emigrated to the U.S. She could not abide a faith that denigrates women and treats them worse than slaves. She’s written an extraordinary book, A God Who Hates, which for the non-Islamic reader explains why the so-called Arab Spring may well turn into another Arab Winter.
For me, the most compelling statement in her book sums up why the Western world has had such a difficult time understanding the Muslim mind. It sums up why it is virtually impossible to be optimistic about the future of the Arab world:
“When we were young, our elders drummed a saying into us: ‘We love death as much as our enemy loves life.’ A man imbued with a culture of death cannot be a human being, because a person’s humanity is not complete unless he respects human life and takes action to protect it.”