President Trump Considering Pro-Life Senate Candidate John James as UN Ambassador
As Nikki Haley’s days as US ambassador to the United Nations come to an end, President Trump is actively looking for a replacement. Among those reportedly being considered is John James, the businessman, Iraq War veteran, and former Michigan Senate candidate who ran against Sen. Debbie Stabenow in the midterm elections.
According to the Bloomberg report, “James was at the White House last week talking about an administration post with Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, two people said.”
Others reportedly being considered are the U.S. ambassadors to Germany, Canada, and France, as well as State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.
In James’s concession speech he hinted that while he may have lost his bid to become a senator, his political aspirations are not gone.
“This is why we’re not done, because too many families out there don’t have the ability to live the life we do,” he said, Detroit News reported, adding that a “passion for service doesn’t end with a poll or end with a vote.”
Christine Ford Thanks Donors Who Gave Her $650,000 After She Falsely Accused Brett Kavanaugh
Christine Ford has released a public statement for the first time since her controversial accusations against now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Ford claimed he sexually assaulted her when they were in high school but Kavanaugh denied the claims, every witness Ford produced who supposedly could corroborate her story said it never happened and an FBI investigation found no proof or evidence to support her claims.
Now, Ford is speaking out for the first time and is thanking donors who gave her well over half a million dollars. Here’s more:
Ford released a statement on a GoFundMe page collecting donations for her last week. The page was created on Sept. 18 with an initial goal of $150,00. It has raised nearly $650,000 on her behalf.
“Words are not adequate to thank all of you who supported me since I came forward to tell the Senate that I had been sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh,” Ford wrote. “Because of your support, I feel hopeful that our lives will return to normal.”
After thanking her supporters, Ford wrote that the “generous contributions” that have allowed her and her family to protect themselves from “frightening threats” and increase security on their home.
According to Ford, the funds were partly used to pay for a security service since Sept. 19, which “has recently begun to taper off,” as well as “housing and security costs incurred in Washington DC, and local housing for part of the time we have been displaced.”
The Senate voted in October to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, replacing pro-abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy following his retirement. Kavanaugh was confirmed on a 50-48 vote.
The FBI interviewed nine potential witnesses in search of possible corroboration of Christine Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh forcibly groped her when they were teenagers. Although the report is not expected to be made public as FBI reports are usually not made public to protect the confidentiality of witnesses, potential witnesses named by Ford previously said they had no knowledge of the party where she claims the attack occurred. They reiterated those statements to the FBI.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley viewed the FBI’s report and said nothing it in confirms the claims Christine Ford made about Kavanaugh.
U.S. Cuts 'Global Warming' Gases Faster Than Anyone Else, But Media Ignore It
Global Warming: When the U.S. announced last year it would withdraw from the job-killing Paris Climate Accords, it was treated by the media as a climate-change disaster. But don't worry: The U.S. is slashing output of greenhouse gases all on its own.
And no, we're not claiming this as a victory for Donald Trump or anyone else in government. It's due to fracking and the replacement of high-CO2 fuels like coal with far-cleaner natural gas.
That trend can be seen in another data series, which shows that emissions in the electric power sector plunged 25% since 2005, an unprecedented amount.
"This report confirms the president's critics are wrong again: one-size-fits-all regulations like the Clean Power Plan or misguided international agreements like the Paris Accords are not the solution," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "The U.S. has reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than any country on Earth over the last decade."
He added: "American ingenuity and technological breakthroughs, not top-down government mandates, have made the U.S. the world leader in achieving energy dominance while reducing emissions — one of the great environmental successes of our time."
Sounds almost too good to be true, but it is. Pruitt is right.
Meanwhile, among the other 194 countries that signed the Paris Accords to reduce their greenhouse gas output, emissions continue to rise. Many of these countries have promoted foolish policies, such as shutting down nuclear power plants, that actually make their skies dirtier, not cleaner.
By forcing a switch to "renewables" like wind and solar power, these countries had hoped to become clean-energy powerhouses. Instead, to make up for the growing energy shortages, higher cost and unreliability of renewables, they've had to rely on using even more coal for their energy — entirely foreseeable and avoidable problems that somehow the extreme green leaders of these nations neither foresaw nor avoided.
Still, if you're hoping to read about the U.S.' tremendous success in the mainstream media, good luck. Most of the media have entirely bought the global warming doomsday scenarios pushed by globalist leaders of a socialist bent, who see in climate change an opportunity to extend government's reach into every aspect of human life.
By focusing as they should on creating more abundant and cheaper energy, American companies are reducing our greenhouse gas output without being ordered to do so by dictatorial green bureaucrats. That's a lesson the rest of the world could learn from. Our friends in the U.S. media, too.
Climate Scientists Discover Error in Major Ocean-Warming Study
Two researchers have been forced to issue a major correction to a recent study indicating oceans have been warming at a significantly higher rate than previously thought due to climate change.
The paper, published October 31 in the scientific journal Nature, suggested ocean temperatures have risen roughly 60 percent higher than estimated by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But, after errors in the authors’ methodology were identified, they realized their findings were roughly in line with those of the IPCC, after all.
The researchers’ alarming findings were uncritically reported by numerous mainstream-media outlets but Nic Lewis, a mathematician and popular critic of the consensus on man-made climate change, quickly identified errors.
“The findings of the . . . paper were peer reviewed and published in the world’s premier scientific journal and were given wide coverage in the English-speaking media,” Lewis wrote in a critique of the paper. “Despite this, a quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results.”
Ralph Keeling, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who co-authored the paper, said he and his partner, Laure Resplandy of Princeton, quickly realized the implications of their mistake once Lewis pointed it out.
“When we were confronted with his insight it became immediately clear there was an issue there,” he said. “We’re grateful to have it be pointed out quickly so that we could correct it quickly.”
After correcting their mistake, Keeling said their research indicates oceans are warming only slightly faster than previously thought, not dramatically faster as they initially reported. Keeling said the miscalculation was made when they were calculating their margin of error, which had a larger range (10 to 70 percent) than they initially believed.
“Our error margins are too big now to really weigh in on the precise amount of warming that’s going on in the ocean,” Keeling said. “We really muffed the error margins.”
The IPCC released a report last month calling on governments to take drastic action to combat climate change. According to the report, global carbon emissions must be cut by 20 percent by 2030 and completely eliminated by 2075 in order to prevent temperatures from rising two degrees above pre-industrial levels, at which point coastal areas would be completely flooded and hundreds of millions of people would be in danger of starvation.
If you’re like me, you’re happy the White House released the latest version of the National Climate Assessment on Black Friday. Publishing the 1,700-page report the day after Thanksgiving saved me from unwanted dinner conversations about our planet’s impending climate doom.
But if your aunt calls you up this week spouting claims of mass deaths, global food shortages, economic destruction, and national security risks resulting from climate change, here’s what you need to know about this report.
1. It wildly exaggerates economic costs.
One statistic that media outlets have seized upon is that the worst climate scenario could cost the U.S. 10 percent of its gross domestic product by 2100. The 10 percent loss projection is more than twice the percentage that was lost during the Great Recession.
The study, funded in part by climate warrior Tom Steyer’s organization, calculates these costs on the assumption that the world will be 15 degrees Fahrenheit warmer. That temperature projection is even higher than the worst-case scenario predicted by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In other words, it is completely unrealistic.
2. It assumes the most extreme (and least likely)climate scenario.
The scary projections in the National Climate Assessment rely on a theoretical climate trajectory that is known as Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5. In estimating impacts on climate change, climatologists use four representative such trajectories to project different greenhouse gas concentrations.
To put it plainly, Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 assumes a combination of bad factors that are not likely to all coincide. It assumes “the fastest population growth (a doubling of Earth’s population to 12 billion), the lowest rate of technology development, slow GDP growth, a massive increase in world poverty, plus high energy use and emissions.”
Despite what the National Climate Assessment says, Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 is not a likely scenario. It estimates nearly impossible levels of coal consumption, fails to take into account the massive increase in natural gas production from the shale revolution, and ignores technological innovations that continue to occur in nuclear and renewable technologies.
When taking a more realistic view of the future of conventional fuel use and increased greenhouse gas emissions, the doomsday scenarios vanish. Climatologist Judith Curry recently wrote, “Many ‘catastrophic’ impacts of climate change don’t really kick at the lower CO2 concentrations, and [Representative Concentration Pathway] then becomes useful as a ‘scare’ tactic.”
3. It cherry-picks science on extreme weather and misrepresents timelines and causality.
But last year’s National Climate Assessment on extreme weather tells a different story. As University of Colorado Boulder professor Roger Pielke Jr. pointed out in a Twitter thread in August 2017, there were no increases in drought, no increases in frequency or magnitude of floods, no trends in frequency or intensity of hurricanes, and “low confidence for a detectable human climate change contribution in the Western United States based on existing studies.”
It’s hard to imagine all of that could be flipped on its head in a matter of a year.
Another sleight of hand in the National Climate Assessment is where certain graph timelines begin and end. For example, the framing of heat wave data from the 1960s to today makes it appear that there have been more heat wavesin recent years. Framing wildfire data from 1985 until today makes it appear as though wildfires have been increasing in number.
But going back further tells a different story on both counts, as Pielke Jr. has explained in testimony.
Moreover, correlation is not causality. Western wildfires have been particularly bad over the past decade, but it’s hard to say to what extent these are directly owing to hotter and drier temperatures. It’s even more difficult to pin down how much man-made warming is to blame.
Yet the narrative of the National Climate Assessment is that climate change is directly responsible for the increase in economic and environmental destruction of western wildfires. Dismissing the complexity of factors that contribute to a changing climate and how they affect certain areas of the country is irresponsible.
4. Energy taxes are a costly non-solution.
The National Climate Assessment stresses that this report “was created to inform policy-makers and makes no specific recommendations on how to remedy the problem.” Yet the takeaway was clear: The costs pf action (10 percent of America’s GDP) dwarf the costs of any climate policy.
The reality, however, is that policies endorsed to combat climate change would carry significant costs and would do nothing to mitigate warming, even if there were a looming catastrophe like the National Climate Association says.
Just last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proposed a carbon tax of between $135 and $5,500 by the year 2030. An energy tax of that magnitude would bankrupt families and businesses, and undoubtedly catapult the world into economic despair.
These policies would simply divert resources away from more valuable use, such as investing in more robust infrastructure to protect against natural disasters or investing in new technologies that make Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 even more of an afterthought than it already should be.
The Trump administration is coming under criticism for publishing the report on Black Friday. To the extent that was a conscious strategy, it certainly isn’t a new tactic. The Obama administration had frequent Friday night document dumps in responding to congressional inquiries about Solyndra and the Department of Energy’s taxpayer-funded failures in the loan portfolio. The Environmental Protection Agency even released its Tier 3 gas regulations, which increased the price at the pump, on Good Friday.
No matter what party is in charge, the opposite party will complain about their burying the story. Regardless, the American public would be better served by enjoying the holiday season and shopping, rather than worrying about an alarmist report.
Don't Tell Anyone, But We Just Had Two Years Of Record-Breaking Global Cooling
Inconvenient Science: NASA data show that global temperatures dropped sharply over the past two years. Not that you'd know it, since that wasn't deemed news. Does that make NASA a global warming denier?
Writing in Real Clear Markets, Aaron Brown looked at the official NASA global temperature data and noticed something surprising. From February 2016 to February 2018, "global average temperatures dropped by 0.56 degrees Celsius." That, he notes, is the biggest two-year drop in the past century.
"The 2016-2018 Big Chill," he writes, "was composed of two Little Chills, the biggest five month drop ever (February to June 2016) and the fourth biggest (February to June 2017). A similar event from February to June 2018 would bring global average temperatures below the 1980s average."
Isn't this just the sort of man-bites-dog story that the mainstream media always says is newsworthy?
In this case, it didn't warrant any news coverage.
In fact, in the three weeks since Real Clear Markets ran Brown's story, no other news outlet picked up on it. They did, however, find time to report on such things as tourism's impact on climate change, how global warming will generate more hurricanes this year, and threaten fish habitats, and make islands uninhabitable. They wrote about a UN official saying that "our window of time for addressing climate change is closing very quickly."
Reporters even found time to cover a group that says they want to carve President Trump's face into a glacier to prove climate change "is happening."
In other words, the mainstream news covered stories that repeated what climate change advocates have been saying ad nauseam for decades.
That's not to say that a two-year stretch of cooling means that global warming is a hoax. Two years out of hundreds or thousands doesn't necessarily mean anything. And there could be a reasonable explanation. But the drop in temperatures at least merits a "Hey, what's going on here?" story.
What's more, journalists are perfectly willing to jump on any individual weather anomaly — or even a picture of a starving polar bear — as proof of global warming. (We haven't seen any stories pinning Hawaii's recent volcanic activity on global warming yet, but won't be surprised if someone tries to make the connection.)
We've noted this refusal to cover inconvenient scientific findings many times in this space over the years.
Then there was the study in the journal Nature Geoscience that found that climate models were faulty, and that, as one of the authors put it, "We haven't seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models."
Nor did the press see fit to report on findings from the University of Alabama-Huntsvilleshowing that the Earth's atmosphere appears to be less sensitive to changing CO2 levels than previously assumed.
Reporters no doubt worry that covering such findings will only embolden "deniers" and undermine support for immediate, drastic action.
But if fears of catastrophic climate change are warranted — which we seriously doubt — ignoring things like the rapid cooling in the past two years carries an even bigger risk.
Suppose, Brown writes, the two-year cooling trend continues. "At some point the news will leak out that all global warming since 1980 has been wiped out in two and a half years, and that record-setting events went unreported."
He goes on: "Some people could go from uncritical acceptance of steadily rising temperatures to uncritical refusal to accept any warming at all."
Brown is right. News outlets should decide what gets covered based on its news value, not on whether it pushes an agenda. Otherwise, they're doing the public a disservice and putting their own already shaky credibility at greater risk.
Cyndi Miller Commentary: Tennessee Election Laws Make Fraud Legal in the Form of Cross-Over Primary Voting
Primaries are not for everyone. They are for the members of each party to nominate who will represent their party in the general elections – the candidates that best represent the beliefs and platform of that particular political party.
Should the members of the Rotary Club allow the members of the Lion’s Club to participate in the election of the Rotary Club President? Should just anyone in that city, whether or not they are a member of either club, be allowed to vote? Of course not! Democrats and Independents should not be allowed to vote in Republican primaries. Likewise, Republicans and Independents should not be allowed to vote in Democrat primaries.
Does this really happen in Tennessee? Yes! For instance, in Williamson County, Democrat candidates for the State House of Representatives and County Commission “crossed over”, voting in the May Republican Primary election. These Democrats didn’t even vote for themselves in their own primaries!
Tennessee law states that only “bona fide” members of a party should participate in that party’s primary. The voter effectively signs a pledge of loyalty to that party when they request a ballot for that party. Clearly, a candidate running as a Democrat is not a “bona fide” member of the Republican Party. They made a false affidavit. Yet the local District Attorney refused to prosecute this obvious violation of election law stating the law was “ambiguous.”
The intention of Tennessee’s election law is that ONLY members of a party should participate in that party’s primary. Sadly, the law currently has a weak provision for preventing cross-over voting. Each party is allowed to “challenge” voters at the polling locations if the party believes that voter is not a member of their party. For this to work, the parties must staff all of the polling locations, quickly identify people who may not be members of their party – as the voters request ballots – and immediately issue a “challenge” to each such voter before they are allowed to vote.
The challenge process gets more complicated from there. This labor-intensive procedure is never used in practice. Thus, Tennessee’s primaries, which are technically supposed to be closed, are truly open.
Cross-over voting is deceitful – and it’s against the law. But this fraud is allowed to happen in Tennessee without punishment. In a “red” state like Tennessee, it only serves to heighten the influence of Democrats and their values in the election of REPUBLICAN nominees for office.
A good first-step to preventing this fraud is to require voters to register their party affiliation in advance of the primaries. This is not a perfect solution, but will significantly reduce the fraud.
This Saturday, December 1, the Tennessee Republican State Executive Committee will consider a resolution which recommend that the General Assembly pass a bill to close the primaries. As a Republican SEC member, I will vigorously support that resolution to help stem the fraud and to make sure only Republicans are nominating Republicans. Tennessee needs closed primaries and if Republican leaders act now we can get that done.
Beijing to Judge Every Resident Based on Behavior by End of 2020
China’s plan to judge each of its 1.3 billion people based on their social behavior is moving a step closer to reality, with Beijing set to adopt a lifelong points program by 2021 that assigns personalized ratings for each resident.
The capital city will pool data from several departments to reward and punish some 22 million citizens based on their actions and reputations by the end of 2020, according to a plan posted on the Beijing municipal government’s website on Monday. Those with better so-called social credit will get “green channel” benefits while those who violate laws will find life more difficult.
The Beijing project will improve blacklist systems so that those deemed untrustworthy will be “unable to move even a single step,” according to the government’s plan. Xinhua reported on the proposal Tuesday, while the report posted on the municipal government’s website is dated July 18.
China has long experimented with systems that grade its citizens, rewarding good behavior with streamlined services while punishing bad actions with restrictions and penalties. Critics say such moves are fraught with risks and could lead to systems that reduce humans to little more than a report card.
Gross was lashing back at the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union for being part of a public records lawsuit claiming Boston police are too secretive about how they monitor suspected gang members.
That system, the ACLU claims, targets, labels and investigates a disproportionate amount of black and brown students who may not belong to a gang.
Police spokesman Sgt. John Boyle said last night the commissioner “shared his opinion on his personal Facebook page.” He declined to comment further.
That post included Gross calling out the ACLU on a number of fronts — especially about the ruthless MS-13 gang.
Tennessee House Democrats Elect State Rep. Camper of Memphis as Minority Leader
State Rep. Karen Camper (D-TN-87) has been elected by the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus to be the House minority leader for the 111th General Assembly.
The Tennessee Journal On the Hill reported the election Monday. The Memphis politician is the first black to be elected the House’s Democratic leader.
Democrats made the pick Sunday in leadership elections before the upcoming legislation session that begins in January, WREG reported, citing the Associated Press.
Camper replaces former Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley, who left the state Legislature in an unsuccessful gubernatorial run.
Camper will be the Democrats’ nominee for speaker. She has served in the House since 2008.
Camper defeated State Reps. Bo Mitchell (D-TN-50) of Nashville and Johnny Shaw (D-TN-80) of Bolivar for the job.
“I am honored by the faith the caucus has shown in me and I pledge to bring the type of aggressive leadership needed to advance legislation that promotes the Democratic agenda, such as quality health care and economic opportunities for all Tennesseans,” she said in a statement.
State Rep. Mike Stewart (D-TN-52) of Nashville was unopposed in his re-election campaign as Democratic caucus chair. Democrats hold 26 of 99 seats in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
Camper’s website says she previously worked for 21 years as a U.S. Army intelligence officer, is owner of Key II Entertainment and worked for seven years as a substitute teacher.
Gov.-elect Bill Lee tweeted, “Congratulations to @camperrep on being elected as Tennessee House Minority Leader and to @repmikestewart on your reelection as Democratic Caucus Chair. I look forward to working with you both this session.”
Court Rules Against Amish Family’s Religious Beliefs, Orders Them to Use Electricity
An Old Order Amish family in Pennsylvania will have to abandon their religious beliefs and hook up their home to the public sewer system, a Commonwealth Court panel decided earlier this month.
The Yoder family abstains from using electricity due to their religious beliefs, especially when the public grid is the source of the power. Instead of the modern-day sewer system, the family uses an “old-fashioned privy” — an outhouse — that doesn’t require electricity or running water.
However, Warren County ordered the Yoder’s connect to the municipal utilities “without further delay,” an act that the Yoder’s have fought the city over because connecting to the public line requires them to also install an electric grinder pump, a device that directs waste away from their home.
As noted by PennLive, the Yoder family made an appeal in June 2016, sending the case back to county court to be further debated.
However, in early January, two of three Commonwealth Court judges agreed with County President Maureen Skerda’s assessment that the pump was the only practical option for waste removal, according to the York Daily Record.
Judge Robert Simpson referenced multiple instances when the Yoder family had previously used electricity and not received any backlash from their religious community, observed that the family had used power tools, cell phones and ridden in cars.
Senior Judge Dan Pellegrini agreed with Simpson on the matter.
However, Judge Patricia A. McCullough disagreed with the decision to force the Yoder’s to access the public system, citing the right the family has to uphold their religious beliefs without influence from the government.
9 Years Into Common Core, Test Scores Are Down, Indoctrination Up
It’s been about nine years since the Obama administration lured states into adopting Common Core sight unseen, with promises it would improve student achievement. Like President Obama’s other big promises — “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” — this one’s been proven a scam.
“If you set and enforce rigorous and challenging standards and assessments; if you put outstanding teachers at the front of the classroom; if you turn around failing schools — your state can win a Race to the Top grant that will not only help students outcompete workers around the world, but let them fulfill their God-given potential,” President Obama said in July 2009.
He went on to state his faith that Common Core — at that point unwritten — would “not only make America’s entire education system the envy of the world, but we will launch a Race to the Top that will prepare every child, everywhere in America, for the challenges of the 21st century.” Race to the Top was a $4 billion money pot inside the 2009 stimulus that helped bribe states into Common Core.
So here we are, nine years later. Common Core has been officially rolled out into U.S. public and even many private schools for at least three to five years now. Are American children increasingly prepared for the “the challenges of the 21st century”? We’re actually seeing the opposite. They’re increasingly less prepared. And there’s mounting evidence that Common Core deserves some of the blame.
Student Achievement Largely Down or Flat
ACT scores released earlier this month show that students’ math achievement is at a 20-year low. The latest English ACT scores are slightly down since 2007, and students’ readiness for college-level English was at its lowest level since ACT’s creators began measuring that item, in 2002. Students’ preparedness for college-level math is at its lowest point since 2004.
SAT scores also dropped post-Common Core until it fully implemented a new version tailored for Common Core. How convenient. Even after the test was overhauled to match Common Core, average test scores increased by 0.7 percent in the most recent results. It represents almost no difference to pre-Common Core results, and the public can’t know exactly how the scores were recentered and altered, either.
Folks who claimed that declining ACT scores prove that Common Core isn't working: Will you reverse yourselves now that SAT scores are rising? Or can we agree that ACT & SAT scores are terrible measures of national progress or the lack thereof? Much less the impact of one policy?
Almost a year ago I wrote about the latest round of international tests that publish every five years. They showed U.S. fourth graders declining on reading achievement. The 2015 results on the most reliable nationwide U.S. test showed the “first ever significant decline of 2-3 points – about a quarter of a grade-level worth – in mathematics at both grades 4 and 8, and in grade 4 reading.” The next iteration of that test showed no gains again.
During the Obama administration, writes Harvard professor Paul Peterson, “No substantively significant nationwide gains were registered for any of the three racial and ethnic groupings in math or reading at either 4th or 8th grade.”
They Told Us Common Core Would Fix This Problem
We were promised that Common Core would reverse these trends. Think tankers Michael Petrilli and Robert Pondiscio wrote to West Virginians in 2015 that “The Common Core should help to boost college readiness — and college completion — by significantly raising expectations.” Jeb Bush wrote in National Review in 2013, “To compete with the rest of the world, we must produce competitive high-school graduates. That means we have to make sure that the skills they are learning are aligned with what employers and colleges expect high-school graduates to know…the Common Core State Standards, set an ambitious and voluntary goal line.”
“If young people today are to be productive adults in the knowledge economy, they need standards that truly prepare them for college and careers,” Obama education secretary Arne Duncan said in a 2010 speech touting Common Core. “We will end what has become a race to the bottom in our schools and instead spur a race to the top by encouraging better standards and assessments,” President Obama said in 2009. “Standards” is jargon for Common Core.
In fact, Common Core supporters used the same fail rates we still have almost a decade post-Common Core as a key argument to justify adopting, then keeping, Common Core. For example, Bush and former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein argued in the Wall Street Journal in 2011 that Common Core would help address ACT data showing “three-fourths of the young men and women entering colleges ‘were not adequately prepared academically for first-year college courses.'”
Instead, however, the evidence indicates that at best Common Core made negligible improvements, and at worst it’s reducedstudent achievement, all while soaking up huge amounts of time and money. The years of small but visible achievement growth under George W. Bush have been replaced by zero growth under and after Obama. The best evidence available indicates American kids have gotten all the academic boost they’re going to get out of Common Core already.
Learning Hasn’t Improved, But Indoctrination Is Amped
So if U.S. taxpayers spent billions of dollars and countless public employees’ man-hours switching schools to Common Core, what are we getting out of it? Certainly not academic achievement growth. What we do seem to be getting is plenty of political indoctrination.
Just recently, Rick Hess and Grant Addison wrote about what’s happened to people who have worked for and led organizations that received millions from Obama’s Common Core grants and from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which also bankrolled Common Core. At its annual Standards Institute, a prominent conference to teach teachers how to teach Common Core, the organization UnboundEd “slathers its Common Core workshops with race-based rancor and junk science,” providing a “snapshot…into the ongoing transformation of ‘school reform.'”
To keep their teaching licenses, many teachers have to regularly attend conferences like these for usually taxpayer-sponsored “professional development.” Nowadays teacher licensing mandates often specifically require teachers to learn Common Core-themed things. So basically, to keep their jobs, teachers have to learn more about Common Core.
The Standards Institute helps them fulfill that job requirement. It did so this year by using Common Core as a Trojan horse to insert wildly leftist, arguably racist, indoctrination. Here’s Hess and Addison describing some of their materials:
UnboundEd’s training in reading and math instruction is ‘grounded in conversations about the roles that race, bias and prejudice play in our schools and classrooms.’ Its Standards Institute prepares educators to be ‘Equity Change-Agents.’ To become one, participants are told, they must first acknowledge that ‘we are part of a systematically racist system of education.’
“If you are under the impression that there are good white people and bad white people, you’re wrong,” UnboundEd CEO Kate Gerson told the teachers this year, according to Hess and Addison. “Gerson informed her charges that racial biases are pervasive, universal, and something ‘you cannot be cured from.'”
Gerson used to be directly employed by New York taxpayers within the New York Department of Education’s project to create Common Core-compliant curriculum, EngageNY. The curricula she helped create didn’t stay in New York, however. It’s reached across the country because the Obama administration funded it to create one of the few earliest available and widely endorsed set of Common Core-compliant materials. So if you’re a taxpayer, you funded this under the guise of Common Core.
Funding Racism In the Name of Common Core
Items from EngageNY’s library of Common Core curricula had been downloaded 45 million times by 2016. Education Week reported “44 percent of elementary math teachers and 30 percent of secondary teachers in common-core states are using materials from EngageNY.” After its $28 million in federal funds dried up (which only took a few years, natch), EngageNY’s curriculum bank was spun off into UnboundEd’s control. So this organization now peddling wildly inflammatory and divisive political views has affected a third to a half of the country’s teachers, all oiled by packs of taxpayer cash.
“Once upon a time, Common Core critics were roundly mocked for fearing that the reading and math standards would somehow serve to promote sweeping ideological agendas; today, Gerson and her team are doing their best to vindicate those concerns,” write Hess and Addison.
To be sure, American education’s mediocrity and politicization predate Common Core, and would be present today if Common Core had never happened. But we were sold Common Core with the promise that it would improve learning for American kids. Just as the few independent analysts predicted, despite costing billions of dollars Common Core has proven to be of no overall benefit to children, teachers, families, or taxpayers.
Common Core sucked all the energy, money, and motivation right out of desperately needed potential reforms to U.S. public schools for a decade, and for nothing. It’s more money right down our nation’s gigantic debt hole, another generation lost to sickening ignorance, another set of corrupt bureaucrats‘ careers and bank accounts built out of the wreckage of American minds.
New Evidence Reveals Full Extent of Common Core’s Historic Failure
Most public schools are still afflicted with the Common Core national standards. Paid advocates such as the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation continue to push Common Core despite overwhelming evidence of the slow-motion train wreck that has resulted – reduced student achievement by almost every metric. Fordham refuses even to acknowledge the bad news, much less try to rationalize it.
That’s why it was refreshing to hear the blunt truth proclaimed at a Heritage Foundation event last week entitled “Rethinking Federal Intervention in K-12 Education.” At this program the authors of a new Pioneer Institute study, “Common Core, School Choice and Rethinking Standards-Based Reform,” explained how Common Core has not only damaged public education but also threatened the independence of private schools. How? By imposing government strings on the curricular autonomy of the schools that accept government funding via school-choice mechanisms such as vouchers.
Study authors Ted Rebarber of AccountabilityWorks and Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute advocate restoring genuine diversity in education models by removing centralized government control over K-12 school standards. But the prelude to that argument came from Rebarber, who minced no words in describing the doleful effect of Common Core on education.
“In my view,” Rebarber observed, “[Common Core] is really the worst large-scale educational failure in 40 years.”
Unlike Fordham and its allies, Rebarber offered actual evidence to support his thesis. He demonstrated that U.S. students’ math scores on the National Association of Educational Progress (NAEP) had long been creeping up ever since reliable test results became available in the 1970s. But after release of Common Core in 2010 and full implementation in the fall of 2014, NAEP scores plateaued and then began to decline.
Rebarber focused on scores of the bottom quartile of students, those who were already behind – “the students that were touted as the target for improvement.” Under Common Core, these students’ performance has fallen.
According to Rebarber, “That’s never happened at a consistent multi-year scale [on] the best test instruments we’ve had since we’ve been able to measure in the 1970s. And so that is historic.”
Higher-performing students have been hurt as well. Rebarber’s graph of recent ACT scores showed that the modest upward trend line flattens upon Common Core release and then begins a decline which accelerates with full implementation.
What about U.S. students’ performance in comparison with students in other countries? Rebarber showed another graph illustrating the percentage of 8th-graders internationally who are sufficiently proficient in math to tackle a high-school curriculum that will prepare them for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) studies in college. The graph showed that high-performing Asian countries prepare about one-third to one-half of their 8th-graders to reach this level, while the U.S. prepares only about ten percent. That places the U.S. in the middle tier of tested nations, along with Kazakhstan, Russia, Hungary, and Great Britain.
“Middle of the pack doesn’t sound that bad,” Rebarber said, “but Singapore gets five times as many of its students at that level. So being in the middle of the pack is not really acceptable.” He also pointed out that the lower-tier countries are just a few percentage points below the U.S.
Why has Common Core math failed so abysmally? Rebarber observed that rather than increasing the rigor of the math standards as promised, Common Core “just calcified the existing [deficient] rigor of the math program” – teaching algebra I and geometry content two years later than do the top-achieving countries. In addition, the standards “ended up pushing some progressive educational methods or dogmas . . . delaying introduction of standard algorithms and other methods that are enforced through the tests.”
The deficiencies that have made Common Core math a punchline are, by this point, well known. But the Pioneer report goes back further in time, exploring the history of “standards-based reform” that led to Common Core. Rebarber explained that when Congress, in 1994, required states to develop so-called “standards,” that word wasn’t presented to conservatives as “very detailed government regulation of curriculum content, curriculum sequencing, and teaching methods.” But over the years, that’s exactly what happened. “Standards became the blueprint around which schools organize their teaching, their day-to-day academic operations. They’re effectively curriculum central planning by government.”
Rebarber showed that the incremental improvements in test scores predated standards-based reform by many years, and that the reform did nothing to accelerate the improvement. In fact, Common Core developers were able to leverage dissatisfaction with the state-level version of standards-based reform to, as Rebarber put it, “double down” on such reform with national standards.
And here we are – not only treading water, but actually sinking. Historic.
Jane Robbins is an attorney and senior fellow with the American Principles Project.
9 Years Into Obama’s Common Core – Math Scores at 20 Year Low and Falling
Nine years after Barack Obama forced schools around the country to adopt Common Core, teachers are coming forward with results to prove the controversial teaching method is a failure, and significantly less effective than traditional teaching methods.
Parents and teachers across the nation are now urging schools to dump the toxic Common Core curriculum, arguing that it deliberately dumbs down children and creates unnecessary and complicated methods for working out relatively simple problems.
Students are recording results lower than previously thought possible, and frustrated teachers are warning that “if we do nothing” about Common Core the results “will keep on declining.”
The newest batch of ACT scores show “dangerous long-term declines in performance,” with students’ math achievement reaching a new 20-year low, according to results released last month.
The average math score for the graduating class of 2018 was 20.5, marking a steady decline from 20.9 five years ago, and virtually no progress since 1998, when it was 20.6. Each of the four sections of the college-entrance exam is graded on a 36-point scale.
“We’re at a very dangerous point. And if we do nothing, it will keep on declining,” ACT’s chief executive officer, Marten Roorda, said in an interview.
Education Weeks reports: The pattern in math scores is particularly worrisome at a time when strong math skills are important for the science, engineering, and technology jobs that play powerful roles in the U.S. economy, he said.
Matt Larson, the immediate past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, said the math scores “are extremely disappointing, but not entirely unexpected.”
Record Numbers of Women in Congress Disprove the Need for Feminist Policies
In January, a record number of women will serve in the U.S. House and Senate. Depending on the outcome of races that are still too close to call, the 116th Congress will have anywhere from 109 to 117 women.
That is three-and-a-half times as many women as were in the 102nd Congress of 1991-1992. And it’s cause for celebration.
But now imagine if all those women were headed to Congress following imposition of a gender quota. Few people would be celebrating women’s successes then. Instead, they would be viewed as “token legislators,” or “Title IX” recipients—incapable of being elected in their own right.
Ostensibly pro-women policies might sound good to those who want to impose certain measurable outcomes—such as equal numbers of women in high-power positions or exact parity between all men’s and all women’s wages—but they could instead backfire on women.
As it is today, male and female legislators are equal. They receive the exact same salaries, they can introduce and co-sponsor as many bills as they want (and historically, women introduce and co-sponsor more legislation than men), and they can hold committee chairs and leadership positions.
And having been elected by a free vote of their constituents—often defeating male candidates—female legislators earn the same respect as men.
If Congress were to pass a gender quota law for legislators, as California did for boardrooms of corporations headquartered there, it would demean female legislators instead of applauding their successes.
Imagine female lawmakers up against a bunch of male colleagues who resent the leg-up the women got into Congress, or being told by constituents at townhall meetings that they don’t deserve their position because they didn’t actually earn it.
That’s what’s happened with the “golden skirt” phenomenon. After Norway and other European countries passed corporate boardroom quotas, women suddenly had a huge advantage over men.
But instead of creating a general boost in the ranks for women, boardroom quotas in Norway led companies to all seek after the same small group of eligible women. One such “golden skirt” sat on the boards of as many as 90 companies at the same time.
And as an Economist article headline declared, “Gender quotas at board level in Europe have done little to boost corporate performance or to help women lower down.”
The same would be true for so-called equal pay laws. Except that while quotas would push women into roles they otherwise wouldn’t hold, equal pay laws would prevent women from holding roles they otherwise could have.
Forcing companies to maintain gender-based equity in pay would require them to impose one-size-fits-all jobs that actually wouldn’t fit many working women’s needs and desires.
Women tend to place more value on nonwage-based job benefits, such as a flexible work schedules, on-site child care, or more generous fringe benefits. But those features wouldn’t show up in employers’ pay records, so they would be unlikely to offer them.
Moreover, equal pay for equal work is already the law of the land.
And when you take into account the measurable choices men and women make regarding things such as their occupation and hours of work, women are essentially on par with men. (Non-measurable factors, such as flexibility, likely account for the small unexplained gap in pay.)
The fact that the number of women in Congress has increased three and a half-fold since 1992 without any legislation addressing the gap shows that women are fully capable, when they choose to, of shattering so-called “glass ceilings” on their own.
Let’s hope that the 116th Congress pursues policies that would create equal opportunities for all women and men alike, instead of ones that would benefit only an elite group of women or that would limit women’s access to jobs that meet their individual needs and desires.
NJ to allocate $2.1M in aid for illegal immigrants facing deportation, governor says
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that the Garden State would set aside more than $2 million to provide legal aid for low-income immigrants facing deportation.
The first-year Democrat announced the allocation in the current fiscal year's budget hours before a federal judge barred the Trump administration from enforcing a recently enacted rule denying asylum to anyone who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
"Families who came to New Jersey for a better life do not deserve to be torn apart by the federal government's cruel and discriminatory policies," Murphy said in a statement.
The budget agreement calls for $925,000 to go to Legal Services of New Jersey and the American Friends Service Committee. Legal Services is a nonprofit that helps low-income residents. The Friends committee is a Quaker, immigrants-rights organization. Rutgers and Seton Hall's law schools will also each get $125,000.
New Jersey joins other Democrat-controlled states like New York and California that offer legal help to poorer immigrants. Last year, a public-private partnership to help immigrants was announced in New York, whose immigrants are detained at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in New Jersey's Bergen and Hudson counties.
New Jersey Republicans criticized the expenditure on Monday.
State Sen. Kristen Corrado said she's concerned about Murphy constraining Legal Services' ability to help residents, including seniors and veterans, by requiring the organization spend on immigration aid.
"When Legal Services already turns away many people who are desperate for help due to resource limitations, we shouldn't limit how new funding can be used," she said.
Assemblyman John DiMaio was more critical, saying that state funds should not be used toward immigrants in the country illegally when school funding is a constant concern.
"The spending choices of this administration are indefensible and irresponsible," DiMaio said in an emailed statement.
The Friends Service Committee estimated that the annual cost of legal representation for immigrants in the state's detention centers is about $15 million. In addition to the Bergen and Hudson county jails, ICE holds immigrations at a jail in Essex County and maintains a facility in Elizabeth.
ICE doesn't release information on how many immigrants are detained in New Jersey.
Chia-Chia Wang, the director of organizing and advocacy at the American Friends Service Committee estimates that there are roughly 1,200 people detained in New Jersey. The Pew Research Center estimates that New Jersey has about 500,000 immigrants who are in the country illegally.
Both agencies have kicked in reward money, which totals up to $5,000 for information leading to his arrest, according to the TBI’s Facebook page.
TBI spokesman Josh DeVine told The Star that agency officials decided to put Torres-Rangel on their list Tuesday.
“We place people on our top 10 when they are wanted to face serious offenses and when there is some reason to believe that putting a little bit of reward money behind it might help to raise the profile of the case and might lead to tips that might lead to the individual’s capture,” DeVine said.
“We were contacted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. They indicated they had put up reward money and requested that we do the same, and we agreed that this is an individual that we would like to see in law enforcement custody.”
As reported, officials with the Tennessee Highway Patrol worked the crash scene the night of Oct. 21. Torres-Rangel sustained critical injuries. According to numerous sources, authorities transported Torres-Rangel to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
What happened to him afterward is a mystery.
Keri King died in the crash.
When contacted last week, Bedford County District Attorney Robert Carter said there is an ongoing investigation into the vehicular homicide and there are warrants out on Torres-Rangel.
“Beyond that I don’t think that, ethically, I can talk about what’s going on. I don’t think I can say any more than that,” Carter said.
The Starasked Carter if Vanderbilt turned Torres-Rangel loose on his own.
“I can’t answer that,” Carter said.
Does Carter know Torres-Rangel’s current whereabouts?
“That’s what I don’t think I’m allowed to speak on. I’m not going to answer that. That is an ethical call on my part as the elected district attorney. I don’t want to jeopardize not only the investigation, but if we end up on trial with this then I certainly don’t want to say anything now that will jeopardize that case.”
The Starthen asked about perceptions and how people in and around Bedford County might think this seems fishy.
To that, Carter said this:
“You asked me if I knew his whereabouts, and I told you I didn’t have a comment,” Carter said.
“I will leave it at that.”
If you have information about Torres-Rangel then contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND or email@example.com
Billionaire George Soros Used Millions of U.S. Taxpayer Dollars to Pay for Socialist-Communist Agendas
It was recently revealed that George Soros received approximately nine million dollars of United States taxpayer money from the Obama administration in 2016. The Hungarian born billionaire reportedly used the money to pay for his socialist-communist undertakings in the European country of Albania.
Last week, the Justice Department handed over 32 pages of documents to Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group. The delivery of the records was a result of a Freedom of Information Act, FOIA, lawsuit against the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, and the State Department.
The recently released information reveals USAID money was provided by its Civil Society Project to sponsor Soros’ left-leaning “East West Management Institute” via USAID’s “Justice for All” initiative. The “Justice for All” campaign sought to bolster the efficacy and transparency of the judicial system in Albania.
The USAID reported the initiative aspired to improve citizens’ trust in the courts and a more proficient judicial system. Judicial Watch enthusiastically disagreed with this premise. The conservative watchdog group insisted the funds were utilized specifically to award the Albanian socialist government more control of the judiciary system.
In a statement, Judicial Watch’s President said, “The Obama administration quietly spent at least $9 million in U.S. taxpayers’ dollars in direct collusion with left-wing billionaire George Soros’ backing of a socialist government in Albania. It is particularly outrageous that the State Department allowed the Soros operation to help direct taxpayer funds to other groups.”
According to Fox News, an official from the USAID notified the network on April 4, 2018 that the agency didn’t award grants to Soros’ Open Society Foundation in Albania. Judicial Watch stated the records unveiled the State Department provided the Hungarian born billionaire’s Open Society Foundation “direct input” concerning its own program funding reviews in the European country.
In a telling report from February 10, 2017 covering “Engagement with the Open Society Foundation for Albania” read, “as one of the major assistance providers in Albania, representatives for the Open Society Foundation are frequently asked to participate in technical reviews of applications that we receive for funding.”
However, the document cited the Embassy’s Public Affairs Section “has not received any funds from the Open Society Foundation to support any projects or activities.” The report also claimed the Public Affairs Section “has not provided any funds to the Open Society Foundation to support their projects or activities.”
In a statement to Fox News, a spokesperson for the Open Society Foundation remarked, “For decades, there has been broad bipartisan agreement in Washington, DC on the need to promote democracy and human rights abroad. Of late there has been an unfortunate and misguided effort to politicize this process.”
The statement went on to read, “The Open Society Foundations and the U.S. Government shared an interest in helping Albania and other similarly situated countries transition from communism and democracy, and in promoting an independent judiciary.”
However, Judicial Watch attained a memo from April of 2016 proving the U.S. Embassy in Tirana “sponsored” a survey while partnering with the Open Society Foundation to ascertain Albanian citizens’ “knowledge, support, and expectations on justice reform.” Amazingly, documents from February of 2017 reveal the State Department utilized taxpayer money to subsidize a second survey with the Open Society Foundation.
Regarding the outrageous use of taxpayer funds, Judicial Watch’s President remarked, “George Soros is a billionaire and he shouldn’t be receiving taxpayer support to advance his radical left agenda to undermine freedom here at home and abroad.”
In March of 2017, several U.S. Senators sent previous Secretary of State Rex Tillerson a letter urging him to open a probe regarding the claims the U.S. government was siphoning taxpayer funds to back Soros in Albania. Senator Mike Lee, Republican-Utah, led the charge.
In an April 4, 2018 e-mail, a spokesperson for the Senator informed Fox News that, “Sen. Lee was not satisfied with the State Department’s response to his letter about USAID funding for international progressive institutions that spread leftist ideas at tax payer expense. He hopes the next Secretary of State will put an end to these payments.”
Besides Albania, Judicial Watch is attempting to obtain information about Soros’ pursuits in Columbia, Macedonia, and Romania. We’ll have more on these stories as they develop.
Democrat ministers Rev. Jim Wallis and allies are now touring many states on "Vote Common Good" buses to "flip Congress" and "reclaiming Jesus" to split the evangelical vote before the mid-term elections.
The AAE video features the newly released voice recording of Wallis of Sojourners as he publicly denied that he was a recipient of Soros funding. Soon after, grants disappeared, but journalists found hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants from Soros' Open Society Foundation to Sojourners. Rev. Wallis later replied, "I didn't recall," as he finally admitted the Soros connection.
Kelly Monroe Kullberg, a spokesperson for the AAE, said, "Americans hate manipulation. Most now realize that the demoralization of America is not inevitable; it is being purchased. Anti-American globalists like Soros are funding a growth industry of paid anarchists and political activists to divide and weaken America, including the church. This brief video is a powerful tool and wake-up call to the church and nation."
In a longer 15-minute video on the AAE site, Soros' Formula for Killing America, radio host Eric Metaxas, author of the best-selling Bonhoeffer, said, "God help us ... please watch this video. Our country hangs in the balance." James Garlow, former pastor of Skyline Church, said: "Thank God for these fearless producers exposing one of the most sinister, destructive forces to the republic. Listen carefully. Your nation depends on it."
Kullberg, also editor and co-author of Finding God at Harvard and co-founder of American Evangelicals, added, "If Christians follow the advice of Soros' ministers, they will unwittingly elect politicians who favor taxpayer funded abortion on demand, gender confusion for children, higher taxes, open borders, criminal 'sanctuary' cities, drug legalization and legal attacks on religious freedom. What an anti-Christian and anti-human policy agenda to weaken people and nations. How unloving and cruel."
Rejecting cherry-picking Bible verses for political power, the AAE urges a return to "the whole counsel of Scripture as the highest love for human beings."
Now that it has passed, the following language will be added to the state constitution: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”
The amendment would make it easier for the state to pass pro-life laws, including a restriction on taxpayer funding for abortions. West Virginia funds elective abortions for low-income women through Medicaid.
“If Amendment 1 is ratified by the voters in November, then West Virginia will join 33 other states and the federal government in limiting taxpayer funding of abortion,” said West Virginians For Life Legislative Liaison Karen Cross, previously.
It was a West Virginia Supreme Court decision in 1993, not voters, that allowed taxpayer-funded abortions in the state.
West Virginians have paid about $10 million for about 35,000 unborn babies’ abortion deaths as a result. In 2017 alone, state taxpayers paid for 1,560 unborn babies to be aborted, according to the AP.
“We know that limiting abortion funding saves lives. In fact, 2 million people are alive today because of the federal Hyde Amendment,” Cross said.
This summer, the two major political parties in the state adopted resolutions about Amendment One. Unsurprisingly, the state Republican Party supports the measure, while the Democratic Party opposes it.
Polls consistently show that most Americans do not want their tax dollars to pay for abortions. A Marist poll found that two-thirds of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions, including a majority of women and people who identify as pro-choice.
In October 2016, a Politico/Harvard University poll also found that just 36 percent of likely voters supported taxpayer funding for abortions, while 58 percent opposed it.
These are the 17 states that force taxpayers to fund elective abortions: