Patterico's Pontifications


Elites In DC Demonstrate More Of That ‘Diversity’ Lip Service

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:19 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In yet another example of how we got Trump, and further confirmation that the Left’s claims of valuing diversity runs only skin deep, consider the difficulties that newly hired Counselor to the President and mom of four, Kellyanne Conway, is having as she tries to find a private school for her children in Washington, DC. According to a parent at her children’s current school, Conway is “asking everyone with connections to DC schools for help” in locating a school that will welcome her children:

“I would not characterize myself as ‘worried’ so much as amused by the silence and sighs on the other end of the phone when friends and allies have made preliminary inquiries on my behalf,” Conway told the Post while visiting schools in D.C. She also pointed to the double standard of the schools that tout diversity while at the same time not wanting to be associated with different points-of-view.

While the posh private schools’ handbooks and websites all preach “diversity” and “open-mindedness,” Conway said, “For some, there is a comfort in sameness.”

Unfortunately, Conway is not moving to a city which celebrates diversity. Because when more than 90% of residents voted for President Obama, there clearly exists a demonstrable lack of diverse political thought.

I don’t know which schools have hesitated at the possibility of the Conway family becoming a part of their community, but given that the Sidwell Friends School has been the go-to school for the Obamas for the past 8 years, what a fabulous opportunity for the renowned institution to reach out and welcome the Conway family, and demonstrate that their Quaker values and philosophy mean something more than just paying mere lip service. What a great opportunity for them to reach across the aisle, if you will. After all, when an organization espouses an open-minded embrace of diversity, should it not also include those whose political philosophies and worldviews differ from their own? Wouldn’t welcoming the Conway family give even more merit to the foundations upon which the school was built?

The Quaker belief that there is “that of God” in each of us shapes everything we do at Sidwell Friends School. It inspires us to show kindness and respect toward one another. It motivates us to recognize and nurture each person’s unique gifts. It teaches us to apply our talents in service to others and to work courageously for peace.

…Differences among us enhance intellectual inquiry, expand understanding, and deepen empathy.

What an opportune moment for any number of left-leaning individuals running D.C.’s private schools to eat their words remember that which their side has repeatedly scolded us with, It’s for the children.


Trump Considers Privatizing VA

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:19 am

[guest post by Dana]

Reportedly, Donald Trump is looking at ways to possibly privatize the Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs:

Mr. Trump is considering changing the department to allow some veterans to bypass the VA heath-care system completely and get care exclusively from private-sector hospitals and clinics, the official said. It is an option that could give veterans full choice over their health care, but which many veterans groups argue is the first step toward privatization and one that will reduce the quality of health care over the long term.

“It’s one of the options on the table,” the transition official said Wednesday. ”Definitely an option on the table to have a system where potentially vets can choose either or, or all private.”

VA bureaucrats see this as problematic. Apparently, the specialized care and guidance that the VA currently provides is so unique that private hospitals would not be able to match it, and the issue of a former member of the military navigating a system on their own might be more than they can handle:

Veterans groups, and the department itself, say a private-sector care program without adequate VA oversight or coordination leaves former members of the military navigating a private system that isn’t necessarily equipped to handle the unique problems veterans face, including post-traumatic stress and injuries sustained on the battlefield.

“Veterans suffer very specific illnesses and injuries that come from the battlefield and that come from service and they tend to be multiple in nature,” VA Secretary Bob McDonald said in an interview on Dec. 13, when asked why the VA needs to remain the coordinating hub of care for veterans. “Veterans want a doctor, or want a provider, who understands these illnesses and these injuries and knows how to deal with them and deals with them every day.”

I suspect that there are any number of families of wounded veterans that might like to weigh in on this issue.

Consider this from Tiffany Smiley:

On an April day in Iraq in 2005, my husband’s world went black.

It came by way of a suicide car bomb. In one second, all the plans we had—for a military career, children and a happy life—seemed to go out the window. Quickly we learned that the federal bureaucracy, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, that would determine so much of our future was not up to the job.

Smiley goes on to lay out the struggles and frustration she and her husband experienced in their efforts to get her husband the help he needed:

My first encounter with the military bureaucracy came days after I arrived at Walter Reed to see Scotty, a West Point graduate, after he’d been flown in from Iraq. This was the other side of the country for me, away from everything and everyone I knew. I was supposed to be on “orders” and receiving a stipend for food, but somewhere along the way someone filled out the form incorrectly. The man I spoke to said that it would be a huge hassle to try to fix it, which seemed ridiculous in light of all that had happened, but I just accepted what he told me.

We got by on Scotty’s first lieutenant pay and the generosity of friends and family. But there has to be a better way for our federal government to make it easier for the spouses, parents and siblings who have to quit their jobs and forfeit their livelihoods to care for an injured veteran.

My next challenge came when we entered the world of rehabilitation for the blind. Scotty was 24-years-old and had his whole life ahead of him. I knew he needed a center that would teach him new things, challenge him and give him the confidence that he would once again be a contributing member of society. We were promised customized care at a blind rehab center. Unfortunately, when we got there, it was clear that no one was ready to rehabilitate post 9-11 warriors.

Here’s an example. We kept asking for computer training because we knew that technology and computers were going to be key to a future of dignity and productivity for Scotty. So imagine how appalled I was when I was informed that computer training came last—behind belt braiding and woodshop. Also, he was given books on cassette. Cassettes!

Smiley and her husband, with the support of friends and family, made it through the many obstacles and frustrations they faced. Smiley also makes several solid points that surely echo untold numbers of military families who have found themselves in the same frustrating boat of difficulties:

In a world where technology is making almost all aspects of life easier, why isn’t there a website, a liaison, or an advocate to fill out government paperwork and get deserving veterans the benefits they were promised and deserved? When I asked for help, someone suggested we hire a lawyer.

Our men and women who have sacrificed on the battlefield deserve better when they come home. So unlike others who worry that our new president is a businessman, this background gives me hope. Because unlike most federal agencies, the VA is primarily about dealing with people—customers. If Donald Trump hopes to make America great again, a good start would be making the VA run more like a business, and giving the customer what the customer needs.


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