American Elephants


The Odd Business of Waivers to ObamaCare. by The Elephant's Child

So far, the Obama administration has approved 1,372 waivers from ObamaCare, with the latest 204 new waivers announced on May 13. The waivers are temporary, designed to prevent wholesale bankruptcies  before most of the law’s provisions take effect.  “We are committed to making the waiver process transparent to the public,” an HHS spokesman said,  The identities of those who have received waivers have been made public, but those who were denied have not, nor have the reasons for either been spelled out.

You can make some good guesses though. Labor unions have received some 26 percent of waivers although they are only 12 percent of workers. There have been some suggestions of favoritism.  Of the 204 new waivers, some 20 percent are for gourmet restaurants, nightclubs and fancy hotels in Nancy Pelosi’s district.

Matthew Boyle of the Daily Caller made an effort to track down San Francisco’s  four star hotels and watering holes who are receiving waivers. Campton Place and Hotel Nikko San Francisco got waivers, as did Tru Spa, the best day spa in San Francisco, but were not anxious to discuss their reason for seeking a waiver.  Nancy Pelosi’s office didn’t respond to DC’s request for comment either.

Nobody really knows just how Health and Human Services will use its power to issue waivers.  The legislation says that the Secretary “shall have discretion.” There is tremendous potential for abuse of power.  Companies that have successfully sought waivers from ObamaCare’s provisions are Pepsico, Foot Locker, the Pew Charitable Trusts, local chapters of the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers union and many public-employee unions.  Companies can reapply for waivers annually through 2014. The world of ObamaCare is a dangerous place.

ADDENDUM: Now the news comes that just about the whole state of Nevada gets waivers. No favoritism here, it’s just a coincidence that waivers are going to the constituents of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, the two cheerleaders and backroom monitors for ObamaCare.



The Obama Administration Announces Their Plan to Indoctrinate Your Kids. by The Elephant's Child

There is much conversation on the web about the “Education Bubble.” Even as President Obama expresses his aim of wanting every American kid to go to college, others want to get the federal government out of the education business. Democrats, as usual, think that all those bright people in Washington D.C. know way more about how to educate your children than you do.

Whenever there is an international comparison of education and kids abilities at math and science in particular, there are cries to reform education.  Our kids do not measure up well in math and science. They don’t measure up well in history, geography, economics or writing ability either. That information does not come from international tests, but from complaints about college freshmen by professors. Colleges and universities have to do a lot of remedial education to bring entering students up to college level.

Homeschooling is increasing every year.  Estimates of how many homeschooled students there are give a high of 1,739,000 and an average of 1.508,000.  Studies show that home schooled students do better on standardized tests, better in college, and post-college they are more involved with their community and generally happier.

It is not surprising that most of the animus towards homeschooling comes from the teachers’ unions. Much of the animus toward public schools concerns the quality of the academic environment. The Left has long regarded children as blank slates who must be trained to be good members of society.  The Right is inclined to oppose indoctrination.

Which brings me to today’s headline: “Obama Administration to Honor “Green” Schools That Teach “Environmental Literacy.” If schools were doing a decent job of teaching basic science, there would be no need for “environmental literacy.”

Next year, on Earth Day, the Obama administration will announce which schools have been selected as “Green Ribbon Schools.” Details of this indoctrination have not yet been worked out, but it will recognize schools for “engaging students on environmental issues and producing environmentally literate students, increasing energy efficiency and using renewable energy technologies,” as well as “creating healthy learning environments by addressing environmental issues in the schools.”

Time to homeschool, people.

Despite having authored two autobiographies, Barack Obama has never written about his most important executive experience. From 1995 to 1999, he led an education foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), and remained on the board until 2001. The group poured more than $100 million into the hands of community organizers and radical education activists.The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was created ostensibly to improve Chicago’s public schools. The funding came from a national education initiative by Ambassador Walter Annenberg. In early 1995, Mr. Obama was appointed the first chairman of the board, which handled fiscal matters. Mr. Ayers co-chaired the foundation’s other key body, the “Collaborative,” which shaped education policy. ,,,

The CAC’s agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers’s educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Ayers taught at a radical alternative school, and served as a community organizer in Cleveland’s ghetto. …

Mr. Ayers is the founder of the “small schools” movement (heavily funded by CAC), in which individual schools built around specific political themes push students to “confront issues of inequity, war, and violence.” He believes teacher education programs should serve as “sites of resistance” to an oppressive system. (His teacher-training programs were also CAC funded.) The point, says Mr. Ayers in his “Teaching Toward Freedom,” is to “teach against oppression,” against America’s history of evil and racism, thereby forcing social transformation.

By its own account, the Annenberg Challenge was a failure. There was no effect on student achievement, and the $100 million was largely wasted.

The Constitution does not give authority over education to the federal government. We really need to get the federal government out of the education business. The founders were remarkably sensible.




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