Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Education, Law, Politics, Regulation | Tags: Discovering Racial Bias, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Federal Court Slapdowns
One of the big stories about the Obama administration is how often federal courts are overturning executive overreach. But last week’s slapdown of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals was something special.
The EEOC had sued Kaplan, the for-profit education company, for using the same kind you background check that the EEOC itself uses. The EEOC has made a practice of suing private companies because it claims that credit and criminal background checks discriminate against minorities. In 2012 the agency issued “guidance” to get companies to take special care before using checks for criminal records, but stopped short for checking credit records.
The EEOC sued Kaplan for using credit checks, which the EEOC said had no business necessity and resulted in a “disparate impact” on blacks. A federal judge rejected the case, but the EEOC was so convinced of their virtue that it appealed. Mistake.
Judge Kethledge eviscerated the EEOC, writing that Kaplan had good reason to conduct credit checks on “applicants for positions that provide access to students’ financial-loan information because employees had “stolen payments” and “engaged in self-dealing.” As far as disparate racial impact was concerned, the Judge noted that the credit-check process is racially blind, the company does not report the applicant’s race with her other information.
The EEOC’s methodology left something to be desired. Raters were to look at drivers’ license pictures of applicants and if 4 out of 5 raters agreed on the race of the person, the applicant was classified by that race — and that was how you determined discrimination. As Judge Kethledge put it in closing”
We need not belabor the issue further. The EEOC brought this case on the basis of a homemade methodology, crafted by a witness with no particular expertise to craft it, administered by persons with no particular expertise to administer it, tested by no one, and accepted only by the witness himself.
And thus the bureaucracy grinds on, altering and illuminating the affairs of man. Isn’t it somewhat racist to assume that blacks would have more trouble with credit and criminal background checks, and thus checking such records is racist?
Filed under: Education, Energy, Environment, Global Warming, History, Junk Science, Media Bias, United Nations | Tags: Climate Change Panic Ends, The IPCC Is Over, We Can't Predict the Future
Mankind cannot predict the future. We attempt it constantly. Prediction has become a profession of sorts, with strategists, planners, futurists—and governmental agencies. We’re not always successful with our plans for tomorrow, which should teach us something about prediction, but hope springs eternal.
The IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, is a prime example. Weather forecasters can predict the future pretty well for the rest of the week, but the IPCC attempts to do a “gigantic weather forecast for a century or more.”And they know that because they have computer programs the tell them so. The total absurdity of such predictions is clearly expressed by Christopher Booker in The Telegraph:
When future generations come to look back on the alarm over global warming that seized the world towards the end of the 20th century, much will puzzle them as to how such a scare could have arisen. They will wonder why there was such a panic over a 0.4 per cent rise in global temperatures between 1975 and 1998, when similar rises between 1860 and 1880 and 1910 and 1940 had given no cause for concern. They will see these modest rises as just part of a general warming that began at the start of the 19th century, as the world emerged from the Little Ice Age, when the Earth had grown cooler for 400 years.
That’s four-tenths of one percent! And the panic over that 0.4 percent of warming has become a religion, with ardent true believers who want to send “denialists” to prison. That 0.4 percent has drawn forth massive government investment in low-flush toilets, banning lightbulbs, massive wind farms, solar arrays, electric cars, ethanol, biofuels, and pages and pages of regulations. The stage of the panic can be partly measured by the list of things caused by global warming. The amount of money misapplied to preventing global warming, with no visible result, is immeasurable. The totals would be humiliating, and we will probably never know. Wasted. Completely wasted.
Also in The Telegraph, Charles Moore reviews The Age of Global Warming by Rupert Darwall.
The theory of global warming is a gigantic weather forecast for a century or more. However interesting the scientific inquiries involved, therefore, it can have almost no value as a prediction. Yet it is as a prediction that global warming (or, as we are now ordered to call it in the face of a stubbornly parky 21st century, “global weirding”) has captured the political and bureaucratic elites. All the action plans, taxes, green levies, protocols and carbon-emitting flights to massive summit meetings, after all, are not because of what its supporters call “The Science”. Proper science studies what is – which is, in principle, knowable – and is consequently very cautious about the future – which isn’t. No, they are the result of a belief that something big and bad is going to hit us one of these days.
James Delingpole, another Brit, reports on the latest Climate Change Reconsidered report by the NIPCC — the Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change, an independent research body funded by the Heartland Institute:
The latest verdict is in on ‘climate change’— and the news is good. The planet is greening, the oceans are blooming, food production is up, animals are thriving and humans are doing better than ever; and all thanks to CO2 and global warming.
Mr. Delingpole summarizes the work of the NIPCC, and the scientific studies which support it. Nice to have a concise summary of where we stand. And the scientists and ordinary people who disagree with the true believers are not “deniers,” they are skeptics— skeptical that humans are causing a disruption in the climate of the earth, skeptical that computer programs based on a superficial understanding of climate and a lot of sheer guesses can predict the climate 50 to 100 years out, and very skeptical that we should be spending billions to attempt to change the climate.
Do read all three pieces. They’re not long, and they give a good picture of the real world of climate change.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Education, Freedom, History, National Security, The United States | Tags: Accepting Human Nature, Facing Up to Hard Things, Honoring Committments
Walter Russell Mead is a professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College and editor at large of the American Interest, a man of the Left, but modestly so. In Friday’s Wall Street Journal, he gently chides the president for his ambitious foreign policy goals, but unusual parsimony in engaging with them. The president, he says, isn’t satisfied with he world as it is, and wants a world fundamentally different from the one we live in.
He wants a world in which poverty is on the wane, international law is respected, and the U.S., if it must lead, can do so on the cheap, and from behind.
To get to this world, Mr. Obama wants nuclear proliferation stopped, new arms-control agreements ratified, and the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons. He wants a tough global climate treaty that will keep carbon emissions at levels low enough to prevent further global warming. He wants the Arab-Israeli dispute settled and a new relationship with Iran. He wants terrorism to be contained and Afghanistan to be stable when the Americans leave. He wants to reassert U.S. power in the Pacific, and to see China accept the territorial status quo. He wants democracy advanced, human rights protected, poverty reduced, women empowered, and lesbians and gays treated better world-wide.
Professor Mead suggested that this paradox arises from Obama’s channeling the voters who want to eliminate the budget deficit without cutting the programs they favor, and a more peaceful world without so much effort on our part.
We also hear this week about American University students who couldn’t manage to name one senator, and were clueless about how many senators there are.
Makes you yearn for a poll-test. You don’t get to vote unless you know a few basic facts. But that is the job of candidates and political parties, to inform voters before they go to the polls. Yes I know that’s absurd as well. Civilization is messy at best. We are multitudes who have trouble getting along with members of our own family. let alone the guy across the street, and creating a more felicitous state of the world. Some of us are very smart, which doesn’t necessarily mean we know much about many subjects.
Our schools are failing our kids, not because we don’t want good schools, but because the goals of others trump educational excellence. Our colleges attract students from all over the world, yet our graduates can’t name a single senator, can’t locate Florida, and are unqualified to work in today’s world.
The free market recognizes the failures of individuals and companies, but relies on the wisdom of the multitudes, who, of course, can be easily swayed by glamour or charisma, bad information, and conspiracy theories.
Americans, however, have a sort of genius for muddling through. We make dreadful mistakes, and then turn around and try to fix them. Americans all, in one generation or another, gave up everything known in their home country packed up their belongings and set out for an unknown new world. There’s a kind of fearlessness there, that seems to be an inherited characteristic, a genius for risk-taking and adapting that has served our country well for almost 500 years. Mr. Mead says:
Mr. Obama came into office telling voters what they badly wanted to hear, which was that on foreign policy, they could have it all. No risks to be run, no adversarial great powers to oppose, and no boots on the ground. Now he must tell them that he, and they, were wrong, and he must choose. Does he give up on some of his dreams for improving the world, or does he begin to urge the country to pay a higher price and run greater risks to make the world better and safer?
The truth is that he—and we—will have to do some of both. As a country we are going to be working harder than we wanted in a world that is more frustrating than we hoped.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Education, Health Care, Junk Science, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: Arbitrary And Political, Childhood Obesity Epidemic, Is Not And Never Was!
Do you find yourself wondering these days just what you can believe? When they are not just plain lying to you for political purposes, they are exaggerating, or making false claims, or insisting that you ignore what you know to be true. I’m at the point where I don’t want to hear any of those innocuous public service announcements from some federal agency and the ad council, and I’m irritated at the ad council for participating.
Take, for example, the Childhood Obesity Epidemic, please. It seems now, there is not and never was any childhood obesity epidemic. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported on a study that indicates that obesity rates among two to five-year olds have plunged over the past decade.
The prevalence of obesity in two to five-year olds declined by an estimated 39.6 percent between 2003-04 and 2011-12 from 13.9 percent to 8.4 percent. According to the same study, it declined by 23 percent between 2003-04 and 2005-06 and then rose by 19.8 percent between 2007-08 and 2009-10. Huh?
Childhood obesity is a brand-new concept, invented a few years ago for essentially political reasons. It is arbitrary. They took the 95th percentile of the height-weight chart from the 60′s and 70′s and treated that as a definition of childhood obesity. Besides that, it was based on a deeply flawed Body-Mass Index height-weight ratio (BMI) that inflates the obesity rate. And it was self-reported!
The United States at the present time has an enormous weight loss industry. Stop and think about a day’s accumulation of messages about diet or weight control on the radio, in magazines, online (“Eat this one weird food”), weight-loss programs, diet foods, diet programs, health clubs, fashion models, latest fashions, and so on. Fat is big business. Some of that enthusiasm was bound to overflow to the kids.
I have a small modicum of expertise in little kids and fat. Many years of Red-Cross swim lessons and you see a lot of small bodies. Some little kids are naturally and healthily — skinny. Really skinny. Other kids of the same age are naturally and healthily — stocky, not fat, but stocky. I don’t know what they were measuring, but it wasn’t real kids.
I assume with the best of intentions, Michelle Obama set out to cope with the epidemic of childhood obesity. (Naturally with reports of the decline, Ms. Obama is being credited with the improvement) Not so.
Michelle Obama’s well-intentioned National School Lunch Program has not gone well. There has been a sharp decline in participation, a total of 1,086,000 students stopped buying school lunch. 321 districts left the National School Lunch Program altogether, many citing the new standards as a factor. (Translation: The kids hated the meals.) The waste problem was huge, kids threw out the healthy fruits and vegetables. Lunchroom costs went up because schools needed additional kitchen equipment to comply with the new lunch requirements.
Calorie counts were specified for each age group, but kids in athletic programs weren’t getting enough to eat. This is not a small problem. The National School Lunch Program served more than 31 million children in fiscal 2012, with $11.6 billion in federal support. In many cases schools had to raise the price of meals to cope with increased requirements, an estimated $3.2 billion overall for school districts to come up with. Participation dropped even more in 2012-2013.
Reformers believe that the kids will get used to the “healthy food” and eventually get to like it. Students discarded roughly 60 to 75 percent of the vegetables and 40 percent of the fruit. Some nutritionists say that fruit is simply sugar anyway. I don’t know. I saw a menu a while back, and I thought it was pretty gross.
Undeterred, Ms. Obama is proposing a ban on marketing junk food and sodas in schools, and an expansion of food service to free breakfast and lunch. She is also pushing new food nutrition labels for grocery store products to make them easier to read and easier for people to understand. If you are wondering who elected…, and where does the authority… nevermind. If you are pondering the similarities between this boondoggle and ObamaCare, it’s all in the family, isn’t it.
As for the nutrition labeling program (do they not have any understanding of the costs this kind of thing imposes on business or what it does to the cost of food? Of course not.) A. Barton Hinkle takes that program on in a piece entitled “Big Government Will Help You Eat Right.” Funny! Do read the whole thing, you will need the laugh.
Americans so dumb. Not know how to do basic stuff, like eat. Or read. Or math. Dumber than sack of hammers, really. Take labels on boxes and cans of food.
Filed under: Education, History, Science/Technology | Tags: A Mammoth Tusk, A Seattle Construction Site, Ten Thousand Years Ago
Local news: A tusk, believed to be from an Ice Age mammoth, was found Tuesday at a South Lake Union construction project. The tusk was found on private property, so the landowner will decide what to do with it, but the Burke Museum paleontologists are very interested in excavating it. It’s a good way to learn a little more about what is under Seattle’s fabled seven hills and the bluest skies bit. (both are fables—there were bits of blue today and the temperature hit 58°). The Seattle Times said:
Mammoths and their ancient elephant elephant relative, mastodons, inhabited the ice-free lands of North America. Mammoths arrived from Asia about 2 million years ago, while mastodons lived in North America from about 15 million to 9,000 years ago. Both became extinct as the glaciers started receding at the end of the Ice Age, between 10,000 and 11,000 years ago.
Some mammoths grew to 12 feet at the shoulder, their tusks curved down from the face and then upwards at the ends. They chewed grass with large, flat teeth similar to elephant’s teeth.
Mammoth fossils have been found in various locations around the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, for those unfamiliar with the area, borders on Puget Sound to the West, and lies between the Sound and Lake Washington on the East which borders Bellevue on the West, then Lake Sammamish on the East. Lake Union is a smaller affair, connecting the Sound and Lake Washington with locks and canals.
(photo: Jeff Estep/Transit Plumbing)
Filed under: Education, Economy, Democrat Corruption, Taxes, Capitalism, The United States, Regulation | Tags: Gangster Government, Chicago Politics, President Obama's Economics
One of the problems is that President Obama learned his economics from Saul Alinsky, I guess. We are not allowed to see his transcripts, so no one knows if he ever had a course in economics. He was reported to be the best student of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals ever.
Andy McCarthy summed up the Alinsky approach in his excellent book, The Grand Jihad.
Alinskyites, though, are more sophisticated, patient, and practical. They bore in, hollowing out the system from within, taking on the appearance and argot of the heartland. Their single, animating goal is to overthrow the capitalist social order, which they claim to see as racist, corrupt, exploitative, imperialistic, etc. Everything else — including the cultivation of like-minded Islamists — is negotiable. They reserve the right to take any position on any matter, to say anything at any time, based on the ebb and flow of popular opinion. That keeps them politically viable while they radically transform society. Transform it into what, they haven’t worked out in great detail — except that it will be perfect, communal, equal and just.
Filed under: Education, Freedom, Politics, Terrorism | Tags: Lack of Common Sense, The American Schoolhouse, Zero Tolerance Policies
Liberty Pen has assembled recent examples of the zero tolerance policies of our schools. It’s time for a zero tolerance policy for over-zealous principals who do damage to our children because they themselves cannot distinguish between absurd levels of political correctness and a real threat.
In the meantime, the acts of violence prevented by their zealotry — zero. Loss of respect for a school’s overzealous pursuit of a useless zero tolerance policy — immeasurable.
I’m for the kids. They have more sense.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Education, Economy, Democrat Corruption, Taxes, Election 2014 | Tags: electoral fraud, Silencing the Tea Party, IRS Regulations
During the long negotiations over the budget deal, Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal reports that Obama’s top priority was keeping the IRS clamp on Republican 501(c)(4) groups. The vehicle for that is the recently proposed IRS rule that redefines “educational activities” as excluding anything of a political nature that 501(c)(4) non-profits have routinely conducted.
This would be anything like moral opposition to ObamaCare’s contraception-coverage regulation. Or training poll-watchers, or other efforts to true the vote. This puts a muzzle on Tea Party groups who want to train their members in responding to political skullduggery, and intends to put them out of business. Democrats depend on fudging the vote with previously deceased voters, voting in more than one location, finding “extra” votes, and helping those who are not qualified voters — to vote, like illegals and felons.
Treasury is going to great lengths to keep the process behind the rule secret. The Obama supporter who was put in charge of the investigation of the IRS has unsurprisingly found no real fault, but only misunderstandings and a little mismanagement. The FBI could find no problem with the IRS, except careless mistakes and nothing that could be prosecuted. The 90-day comment period on the proposed IRS regulation ends on February 27.
Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who represents targeted tea party groups filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Treasury and the IRS in December, demanding documents or correspondence with the White House or outside groups in the formulation of this rule. By law, the government has 30 days to respond. Treasury sent a letter to Ms. Mitchell this week saying it wouldn’t have her documents until April — after the rule’s comment period closes. It added that if she didn’t like it, she can “file suit.” The IRS has not yet responded.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Education, Election 2014, History, Law, Politics, Progressivism, The Constitution | Tags: Eliminating Tea Party Opposition, IRS Targeting Continues, Winning Elections
Republicans are arguing — as usual — about who is a Conservative, an Establishment Republican, a Moderate, a RHINO, a Tea Party member, a Libertarian, and who is the right representative of the right side of the political spectrum. And not just that — but who is conservative enough — call it the purity test.
Republicans are arguing about ideas, principles and policies, what is Constitutional and what is not. They are furiously writing blogs, op-eds, books, tweets and deluging their members of Congress with their opinions, worries and anger.
Democrats, on the other hand, are focused intently and exclusively on winning the next election. That’s what Democrats do. They have gone to great pains to insist that they knew nothing about any IRS targeting of 501 (c)(4) conservative nonprofits before the 2012 election. The IRS has claimed, um, mismanagement, ever so sorry, all fixed now. The FBI has obediently said that criminal charges will not be filed, nothing to see here, and no, we didn’t find it necessary to interview any of the 501(c)(4) groups who were targeted by the IRS. We just knew that there couldn’t be any criminal act here. This is your federal government.
That taken care of, the Democrats have been at even greater pains this week to ensure that the same conservative groups are silenced in the 2014 midterms. Kim Strassel explains in the Wall Street Journal:
That’s the big, dirty secret of the omnibus negotiations. As one of the only bills destined to pass this year, the omnibus was—behind the scenes—a flurry of horse trading. One of the biggest fights was over GOP efforts to include language to stop the IRS from instituting a new round of 501(c)(4) targeting. The White House is so counting on the tax agency to muzzle its political opponents that it willingly sacrificed any manner of its own priorities to keep the muzzle in place.
The Treasury Department and the IRS introduced a new rule during the Thanksgiving recess to “improve” the law governing nonprofits. What the rule does is recategorize as “political” all manner of educational activities that 501(c)(4) groups now engage in. This is again IRS targeting, this time by administration design and with the straightforward political goal of putting tea party groups out of business, according to House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI).
Kim Strassel says according to her sources, Democrats had their own priorities, but “went all in” on keeping the IRS rule, even if it meant losing their own plans. Mr. Camp’s committee notes that Treasury appears to have combed through the list of previously targeted Tea Party groups, compiled a list of their main activities and then restricted those functions. The White House is using the IRS to win an election this fall.
Democrats have been alarmed by the Tea Party. They are unaccustomed to Republicans as activists, speaking out, picketing, holding demonstrations. The idea of ordinary Americans uniting in opposition to the policies of the administration is really scary. Who knows what they might do next? Treasury is going to great lengths to keep secret the process behind the rule which is directed only at 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups. Mr.Obama’s union foot soldiers who file as 501(c)(5) can continue to play politics.
Democrats freely admit that they have no principles, but act on circumstances. Their policies have not done too well, and ObamaCare has awakened the nation to that fact. They have, however, gone to great lengths to make sure they win elections by fair means or foul.
There was the “Secretary of State Project” designed to elect Democrats to that office in every state, because that was the officer in charge of elections. There is the ongoing effort to claim that asking a voter to show picture ID to prove their identity and their eligibility to vote is racist, and make it unlawful to require such identification. Here in Washington State where vote fraud has been a way of life, we now vote by mail, which makes fraud much easier, and voter ID more difficult to confirm.
If your only goal is winning, you don’t have to worry about the effect of your policies on the nation. That is becoming significantly apparent.