American Elephants


School for Scandal: Social Justice Magnet Schools by The Elephant's Child

As we draw nearer to the beginning of another school year, Michelle Malkin has drawn our attention to  the disturbing fact that for an increasing number of school districts “back to school” doesn’t mean a return to learning. For many of our “educators” academics are subsidiary to political indoctrination for our children.

In Massachusetts, the John J. Duggan Middle School will open on August 25, with a new name and a new mission. It is now a “social justice magnet school.” A hiring advertisement for teachers explained earlier this  year, the emphasis will be on “helping students develop the necessary skills to analyze and synthesize information and to generate empathy by looking at multiple sides of important issues facing the world, be that hunger, water quality, racial barriers, child labor or imbalance of power.

The new principal says the school’s primary job i teaching “fairness.” They are serious about creating 21st century global citizens.

At the Crescent Heights Social Justice Magnet School in Los Angeles, children will work on “action projects: tied to the “United Nations Millennium Development Goals” Yes the will learn language arts. But basic reading and writing are only a focus of the magnet school, the founders explain, because “we want our students to recognize injustice in their world or the world at large and be able to fully express their outrage, their plan of attack, their progress in this endeavor.”

In Chicago, Ground Zero for social justice brainwashing, the Social Justice High School (SOJO) follows a similar mission. Activist teachers openly foster identity politics and systematically undermine individualism. Their specialties: “struggle and sacrifice.” SOJO’s mission statement sounds like a pot-addled Oberlin College freshperson’s Sociology 101 term paper.

At the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School, also in Massachusetts, students won’t learn math. They’ll be taught “social justice math.” (Freire was a Brazilian leftist who wrote a social justice teacher’s Bible called “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”)

His acolytes explain the push for radicalization of math: “Math is an instrument for detailing social justice issues and developing critical consciousness.” In the hands of progressive teachers, math “becomes an analytic tool to bring awareness to important world issues.”

Do read the whole thing. I had no idea. Transforming our schools into “leftist agitation labs” isn’t quite what we had in mind when we advocated reform for our schools. My schools were not up to the demanding curriculum of my parents’ schools, and its been all downhill since then, and keeps getting worse. Kids no longer learn cursive writing, for it is assumed they will always use a keyboard.  Thank you letters? Just tweet to Granny. And with a calculator always right at hand, who needs basic math? History? Howard Zinn’s little hate America handbook.

Magnet schools, eh. One would hope they draw no interest, and it’s hard to imagine that any parents would do so much to damage their kids. I suspect I’m wrong.



Did You Believe We’re Going In The Wrong Direction? You’re Right. by The Elephant's Child

From the New York Times via Paul Caron, the taxprof:

Median household net worth has fallen 36% since 2003. The typical household is now worth a third less.

Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.

The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Those are the figures for a household at the median point in the wealth distribution — the level at which there are an equal number of households whose worth is higher and lower. But during the same period, the net worth of wealthy households increased substantially.

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Funny, President Obama keeps telling us how much the economy has recovered, and all the new jobs.



The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is Unsustainable! by The Elephant's Child

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), in hot pursuit of telling everyone what to do and what to eat, has held its fourth meeting and is devoting a session to “sustainability,” (of course) which will be taken into account for nutrition standards that are used to create policy at the federal level.

Isn’t it interesting that they have to revise the standards every year, because they were wrong? Those things that they thought were good have been determined to be bad, and nutritionists now have new ideas, which will probably turn out to be incorrect as well. Is there any use for that diagram, whether in a pyramid or plate form, beyond giving the government rules which no one follows, except some school lunch programs.

sus•tain•able: able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed.
involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources.
able to last or continue for a long time.
[sustainable is currently in the top 1% of lookups and is the 158th most popular word on Merriam-Webster.com]

Sustainable is an environmentalist buzz-word intended to make you fear that we are using up our resources and if you don’t stop we’re all going to die.

To make us sustainable the USDA has hired an environmental food activist—one Angela Tagtow— to lead the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, which oversees DGAC. The DGAC’ Friday meeting included a presentation by the work group leader Miriam Nelson for “Environmental Determinants of Food, Diet, and Health,

Consistent evidence indicates that, in general, a dietary pattern that is lower in animal-based foods and higher in plant-based foods has a lesser environmental impact and at the same time is more health-promoting than the current American diet.

Promoting more sustainable diets will contribute to food security for present and future generations by conserving resources. This approach should be encouraged across all food sectors.

Nelson said there is “remarkable consistency” in research that vegetarian-like diets are better for the planet. The presentation focused on “sustainability outcomes” for the food system, which take into account “environment footprint,” including greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, and biodiversity (emphasis added)

The committee was enthusiastic about the hiring of Tagtow, who they called a “good food” activist who advocates for social justice in the food system and an “ecological approach to nutrition.” They consider Tagtow a cheerleader for sustainability. The goal is to push sustainability, not to push healthy eating.

Good grief. I think the left has gone completely insane. “Social justice in the food system?” If you want to do something for the food system, stop wasting taxpayer money on putting food crops into our gas tanks. The federal government does not need a committee to draw up nutrition guidelines. They are usually wrong anyway or they wouldn’t need revising every year. There are departments of nutrition, college majors in nutrition and huge aisles in every bookstore devoted to food — should we care to seek advice on what to eat for a healthy diet, there in no lack anywhere of plentiful information, including your public library. Honest, we can handle it without your advice. Butt out.



Now They Want to Make You Eat Your Vegetables if You Are On Food Stamps! by The Elephant's Child

I have often referred to Liberals as “the perpetually discontented.” They have no acceptance of the ordinary foibles of the human race, and they really, really don’t want anyone to disagree with them. Their reactions to those who do disagree, range from calling you a racist, to trying to get you fired, or arrested. I suspect the reason is that they are not sure enough of their own arguments to be confident of defeating you in a debate, thus they want to end any possible debate and just get rid of you.

They have told us in many leftist venues that they don’t have principles like the Republicans do, but react to events on a case-by-case basis. They think that’s a good thing. While Republicans are talking about principles and how they apply to the world as it is, Liberals are nitpicking and regulating and trying to pass laws to make Republicans more tolerable.

They don’t seem to have a very good opinion of the very people they claim they are trying to help. Those who are unemployed are viewed as mostly unemployable or they wouldn’t have lost their jobs. Those who are on food stamps are fat, lazy and don’t know how to properly spend their food stamps. More vegetables, more fruit, more whole grains!!

“The USDA  (Department of Agriculture) is suggesting major changes to grocery stores to “nudge” Americans to purchase healthier foods when they shop.

The agency commissioned an “expert panel” to make recommendations on how to guide the more than 47 million Americans on food stamps into spending their benefits on fruits and vegetables.

The group released an 80-page report this month presenting their ideas, which include talking shopping carts and a marketing strategy for grocery chains that would feature better store lighting for healthier items.

“Most Americans, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants, do not purchase enough whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, and legumes, and purchase too many items with excess calories from fats and added sugars,” the report said.

The report estimated that the new carts might cost as much as $30,000 per store. And they would like to rearrange the stores, change how stores stock and display their items. Improve the lighting, create “healthy aisles”. There is no end to the poking and prodding they would like to do in the interest of making sure that people don’t buy junk food with their food stamps.

Why is it that liberals are so intent on forcing everyone to adhere to their ideas of what is correct? It’s that little tyrant that lurks in their very souls, trying desperately to get out.

At the turn of the 21st century, there were 138,049 pages in the Code of Federal Regulations. At the end of 2013, there were 175,906. The George W. Bush administration added 2,490 pages a year. During the first five years of the Obama administration they have added 3,504 pages a year. Granted, some regulations are longer than others. But there are costs to comply with regulations — and those costs can be a real drag on the economy. When the economy shrank to a minus 2.9 percent in the first quarter, it was blamed on the weather. More likely, it was ObamaCare. Health and Human Services added 1,296 pages of new regulations just before the Fourth of July holiday.

The Federal Reserve considers that there is little inflation, but they don’t shop for groceries. People are shocked to find that their ObamaCare premiums have gone up by 40%. The White House reveled in the June jobs numbers which seemed to be really up, but the increase was all in part-time jobs, accounting for all the people who were cut back to less than thirty hours. So now they all work two jobs. That is excess regulation, liberals controlling your lives, improving you—so they will like the improved you better. You know its not going to work.



The Left Controls the Words We Use, Or Tries To. by The Elephant's Child

The administration has determined that in the current immigration crisis we should not use the word “illegal”, so demeaning, you know. We must be more compassionate.

Words, however, have meaning that is not determined by the Democratic party, but by the dictionary. In this case — Merriam Webster:

illegal, il•le•gal, adjective:  not allowed by law.
……………………………….not according to or authorized by law. …………………………………………
That’s pretty straightforward, and descriptive. The meaning is plain, solid fact. Do you see anything demeaning there?

alien, noun:  a person who was born in a different country and is not
……………….a citizen of the county in which he now lives.

……………….a foreign born resident who has not been naturalized ……………….and is still a subject or citizen of a foreign country.

The administration has said that we must not use these terms, although there are no others that accurately describe the situation.  We’re supposed to go for “unaccompanied children” though “minors” more accurately describes the situation, and the majority of the illegal alien “children” are between the ages of eleven and 18, and many are members of Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, a violent street gang already infesting many of our cities, whose members are mostly between age 11 and 21.

This is one of the great problems in our nation’s political battles. The Left spends a lot of time on words, slogans, bumper-stickers, and phrases. They believe if they can get the words right, they can control the narrative. Different words evoke differing emotions, and the right choice can compel people to do what you want.

The Right is so concerned with how a policy or program works and what it means and how it will play out. We worry about cost and incentives, the economics and probable effect—and seldom notice that they are manipulating us with clever use of words. Our minds are just off in a different direction, and we aren’t very good at slogans anyway. Propaganda works!



The Supreme Court Slapped Obama Down Again. He Just Plans More Executive Orders. by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration’s position has been defeated in at least thirteen cases before the Supreme Court since January 2012. These were all unanimous decisions. The Court ruled that the president does not get to decide when the Senate is in recess. A recess is the period when Congress is in recess between one congress and the next. The Court unanimously rejected the law establishing abortion-clinic “buffer zones” against pro-life protesters, and the administration argument that a search warrant wasn’t required for the government to look at cell-phone records and data was rejected.

Normally, the Justice Department wins about 70 percent of its cases, but in each of the last three terms, the Court has ruled against the administration a majority of the time. John Fund quotes George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin:”When the administration loses significant cases in unanimous decisions and cannot even hold the votes of its own appointees…it is an indication that they adopted such an extreme position on the scope of federal power that even generally sympathetic judges could not even support it.”

John Fund adds:

Those decisions are very revealing about the views of President Obama and Eric Holder: Their vision is one of unchecked federal power on immigration and environmental issues, on presidential prerogatives, and the taking of private property by the government; hostility to First Amendment freedoms that don’t meet the politically correct norms; and disregard of Fourth Amendment protections against warrantless government intrusion. These are positions that should alarm all Americans regardless of their political views, political-party affiliations, or background.

The president clearly has no intention of slowing his reliance on executive authority. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest earnestly explained that the Obama administration was getting impatient with Congress.

We’re not just going to sit around and wait interminably for Congress.

The president has given his Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson the job of figuring out what options are available to address the problems that have been created by our broken  immigration system. Well, yes, when the president encourages young people from Central America to come to America where they will not be deported it creates more problems than he expected. They’re finding it difficult to locate places to put the influx.

It is the Obama administration that has told the Border Patrol not to detain illegals, and defer deportations, and has released illegal immigrants who have been convicted of criminal violations. And who has refused to man the border, but it is Congress that is not dealing with our broken immigration system. It’s just the president who has made it “broken.”

“This administration does not learn constitutional lessons. It continues marching until it meets resistance. And it hasn’t met nearly enough,” said Charles Krauthammer.



The House Will Sue The President For Failing To Observe The Separation of Powers. by The Elephant's Child

Budget Talks Deteriorate Amid Republican Identity Shift On Tax Increases
House Speaker John Boehner told his colleagues on Wednesday that the House of Representatives will sue the executive branch of the government to defend the Constitution’s separation of powers. The Speaker, said the Wall Street Journal, is showing more care that the laws be faithfully executed as the Constitution demands than is President Obama.

The Congress, Mr. Boehner said in his memo to the House, is suffering institutional injury  under Mr. Obama’s “aggressive unilateralism” which is a pretty fair description of his governing philosophy. When the president suspends or rewrites laws across health care, drug policy, immigration laws, and so much else— elected legislators are stripped of their constitutional role.

The basic reason behind this step is Mr. Obama’s flagrant contempt for regular political order. For example, he has unilaterally revised, delayed or reinterpreted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on his own thirty-eight times.

Everyone would prefer that the Congress and the President would settle their disputes through the customary political debates and arguments. House members represent the people of their district by population, and are closest to the public for they must face reelection every two years. A senator represents a whole state. The president represents all the people of the country. It was designed by the Founders to slow things down, so that poorly considered laws were not enacted in haste, in the hopes that would result in better law.

In the current climate, potential laws are not getting through Congress. The lapdog media would blame it all on the Republicans, but the blame lies directly in the hands of the Majority Leader of the Senate—who refuses to allow laws passed by the House to even be voted on. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.

The Founders did not consider the possibility that a future president might pay no attention to his oath of office, or just take the law into his own hands. They assumed that a president’s honor and character would mean that even when he disagreed, he would abide by the rules.

“The major reason to involve the judiciary in this case is Mr. Obama’s flagrant contempt for the regular political order,” said the Wall Street Journal.

This president does not feel restrained by the Constitution that he swore to uphold. When Congress will not pass the laws that he wants, as he has said, “I’ve got a phone and a pen.” He will just take action on his own by “executive order.”All presidents have used executive orders from time to time, but none have ever used executive orders to rewrite laws duly passed and signed into law.

Far from a partisan caper, this implicates the foundation of the U.S. political architecture. The courts generally presume that individual Members of Congress lack the “standing” to make a legal challenge, but Mr. Obama is stealing inherent Article I powers that no party other than Congress can vindicate. Mr. Boehner said he will seek a House vote authorizing the lawsuit and put it under the direction of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group.

A single Congressman may not have standing, but Congress has the institutional standing to sue the president and are thus asking a constitutional question that has not been joined at the courts. More than a few judges and Supreme Court Justices seem to be concerned that Mr. Obama’s conduct is undermining the rule of law and political accountability. Just this week, the Supreme Court slapped down the EPA for defying the plain language of the law in the name of anti-carbon policy. More rebukes may be coming with cases about recess appointments and the ObamaCare contraception mandate.

Last summer, Mr. Obama proclaimed that “in a normal political environment” he’s ask Congress to fix laws such as ObamaCare, but since the House disagrees with his priorities, he’ll just go ahead and fix them himself without legislative consent. But then again, the president can hardly get through normal comments to the press without proclaiming that he is the President of the United States or The Commander in Chief. President Bush often said that “he was the Decider,” but that was not a proclamation of his importance, but a humble expression of the weight of the decisions that he must make. There’s a significant difference.

Thanks to Mr. Boehner, the courts will get a chance to weigh in on whether Mr. Obama or his successors can exercise imperial powers.

 




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