Patterico's Pontifications


Gloom, Doom and Socialism

Filed under: Economics,Education,Obama — DRJ @ 12:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The financial news is gloomy as the sluggish economic recovery shows signs of faltering. As columnist Irwin Steltzer noted over a year ago, the Obama Administration is making America more like Europe everyday:

“In the end, Americans will live in smaller houses, drive cars more like those to which Europeans are accustomed, and will rely on European-style healthcare. In short, we will be more like you, which is after all the social democratic model to which Obama wants to convert America.

The president also intends to change the way our children are educated. He says he wants teachers to be compensated on a merit basis, and parents free to select schools they deem best for their children. But his allies in the teachers’ union won’t go along with this, and in the one test of his rhetoric so far he has allowed Democrats in Congress to kill a programme that provided funds to allow a few thousand poor, mostly black children to escape the horrors of the Washington DC school system and instead attend swanky private schools of the sort in which he has enrolled his daughters.

There is no doubt about one thing: the president intends to increase the number of students financially able to attend college. America will, in the end, have more degree-wielding students and fewer horny-handed sons of toil. That will produce another result the president has in mind as he rebuilds the American house on his rock: the earnings premium paid to highly educated workers will decline as the number of men and women competing for those jobs increases, and the relative wages of the fewer blue-collar – by then, green-collar – workers will increase.

This greater equality of income distribution is, for Obama, the summum bonum. He is redesigning the tax system to narrow the after-tax gap between “the rich” – family incomes above $250,000 (£170,000) a year – and lower earners, even if the economic cost of such a move (reduced risk-taking) is quite high. Equality, not economic efficiency, is his goal. Which is why he favours raising the rate at which capital gains are taxed even if the result is a fall, rather than an increase, in the Treasury’s net receipts.”

For someone who isn’t a socialist, he sure acts like one.



Boy Samson Prevails

Filed under: Education,Law — DRJ @ 6:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The 5th Circuit upheld a federal court ruling in favor of Boy Samson and his parents over the Principled Principal:

“The 5-year-old boy’s parents, Kenney Arocha and Michelle Betenbaugh, argued their son, identified in court papers as A.A., has a constitutional right to wear a hairstyle that conforms to his American Indian religious beliefs. Arocha hasn’t cut his own hair in 11 years, believing the long braids have religious meaning. His son’s hair has never been cut.”

There are earlier posts on this story here and here.



Court: School can Refuse to Fund Christian Group

Filed under: Education,Judiciary,Religion — DRJ @ 3:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In a case involving San Francisco’s Hastings College of Law, the Supreme Court ruled today that the school could refuse to fund a Christian group that violates the school’s nondiscrimination policy by excluding gays. Writing for the majority (the liberals and Justice Kennedy), Justice Ginsburg said the Christian group effectively sought preferential rather than equal treatment by seeking an exemption from the nondiscrimination policy.

Justice Samuel Alito’s dissent described it as “a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country.”



Concealed Carry on Colorado Campus

Filed under: Education,Second Amendment — DRJ @ 12:48 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In a 5-4 vote, the Board of Regents at the University of Colorado voted to appeal a court decision allowing permit holders to carry concealed weapons on campus. Faculty members and students have also expressed support for the ban. Frankly, though, it sounds to me like the Regents should be unhappy with the Colorado legislature because it has not included college campuses in the list of places excluded from the Concealed Carry law.

And Ken Salazar isn’t having much luck in court these days.



Condoms for Kids

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 8:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s Condom-Bonanza in the Provincetown, Massachusetts, school district:

“Earlier this month, the school committee overseeing Provincetown’s schools passed a resolution that will provide all students from elementary to high school with free, unlimited condoms. All you gotta do is step up and request one.

Let’s say you’re the parent of a 6-year-old and you don’t like the idea.

Tough! says the district.

You don’t get a say. School officials don’t even have to tell you if your….

…child requests a condom. Further, if you object, they can run roughshod over you. They can distribute at will.

Sounds like a condom-bonanza!

Not quite, sneered the committee chairman.

“It’s about availability; we’re not handing ‘em out like M&M’s,” Peter Grosso told the Boston Globe.

That’s true. You have to go talk to the school nurse and she can load the student up with a wallet-ful if necessary.

If the person requesting them is particularly young? Say, a kindergartner wanted a few dozen? These are professionals we’re talking about, so don’t worry.

The superintendent said that “if an especially young child requests a condom, the nurse will ask the student’s motive and act accordingly.”

Because it would be unthinkable to Just Say No.



UC Irvine Recommends Suspension of Muslim Student Group

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Education — DRJ @ 9:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The University of California at Irvine has recommended a Muslim student group be suspended for one year.

UC President Mark Yudof said he played no role in the decision, while UC Irvine Law School President Erwin Chemerinsky was supportive, saying: “Given the seriousness of the offense, I think it’s completely appropriate to suspend them for a year.” Meanwhile, Jewish groups were heartened by the suspension, calling it a victory against hate speech, and Muslim students claimed it unfairly punished the group for the actions of a few.

Although both groups want to portray this in ways that promote their views, I think this is what most colleges do with a school organization that knowingly breaks the law. It’s no different than suspending a fraternity for intentional hazing. It’s not the speech or the arrests that got the Muslim student group in hot water; It’s that the arrests resulted from an intentional, coordinated decision by the group.

There’s more at aunursa’s Jury post.



Harvard Student Can Stay in U.S.

Filed under: Education,Immigration — DRJ @ 7:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Harvard University student who emigrated illegally from Mexico to Texas with his family at age 4 will be allowed to stay in the U.S. for an indeterminate period.

The student, Balderas, had been traveling on a Mexican passport until his most recent trip, when he tried to use a student I.D. after losing his passport. Immigration reform advocates point to cases like Balderas as reasons to support the DREAM Act, which would grant citizenship to illegal immigrant children who pursue some college education.


Colleges Post Tuition Increases

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 6:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

College tuition is on the rise.

Florida’s state universities increased 2010-2011 tuition 15% for the second straight year, and the College of Charleston imposed a similar increase. Several Texas colleges saw tuition go up by 3-5%, with like changes at the Universities of Wisconsin and Louisville.

And according to this LA Times story, Cal State students will see their tuition go up 5%. Graduate and out-of-state students may see their fees go up even more.

With state funding down and college enrollments hitting record levels in 2008 and again in 2009, this isn’t a surprise. We may see similar increases at many colleges across the nation.



Resume Fraud

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 3:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A top administrator at Texas A&M University has resigned following disclosures about his resume.

This seems to be happening more, especially in higher education, although it could be that these stories are just getting more press. If it is more common, is resignation the solution or should something more be done?



Michelle Obama’s School Chefs

Filed under: Education,Obama — DRJ @ 7:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

At the White House today, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed 500 everyday and celebrity chefs from 37 states who are joining to fight childhood obesity. Their goal is to increase the use of healthy foods in school lunches, pair chefs with local schools to collaborate on healthier menus, and reduce reliance on junk food in school cafeterias. That’s a worthwhile goal, both now and in 2005 when British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver pioneered it in his Feed Me Better school campaign.

It’s good to involve chefs but I don’t agree that chefs necessarily know a lot about nutrition, healthy foods, and how to plan economical menus. Chefs know taste, as evidenced by some of the hefty chefs (who will remain unnamed here) in our communities and on TV. Then again, perhaps health-focused chefs like Jamie Oliver will be more interested in this program and more likely to sign up for it.

So kudos to Michelle Obama for trying to improve school food in our communities with volunteer chefs. And kudos to Jamie Oliver for actually doing it.


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