Monthly Archives: August 2009

Breitbart on Ted Kennedy, Michael Jackson

More brilliance from Breitbart. From the piece:

“Our country was not built to support blood dynasties or to elevate the rich and famous to a higher ethical or constitutional plain. But through the power of celebrity, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Jackson worked the media to twist truths. They manipulated their constituencies and fans to obscure their misdeeds. They played the faithful to confer this manufactured innocence on the rest of us. And, in the end, they placed themselves above the law.”

“Forty years have passed since Chappaquiddick. Immediately after the accident, Mr. Kennedy scrambled to organize the best and brightest to save his career, rather than to save the life of 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne.”

…”Upon the deaths of Mr. Jackson and Mr. Kennedy, the media continue to erase their ugly backgrounds hoping their eternal celebrity can serve these collective ideals.”

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KC school employees will pick up paychecks in person

The Kansas City Star reports today that city schools superintendent John Covington is having all employees of the district pick up their paychecks in person next month. The move comes amidst concerns that some people are still receiving paychecks who are actually no longer employed by the district.

This reminds me of the scene in Office Space where the consultants (Bob & Bob) discover that Milton (stapler guy) was fired a while ago but due to a glitch in accounting, still receives a paycheck (so he keeps showing up for work).

Covington has a tough job, and I don’t envy the task of managing an unwieldy bureaucracy and fighting school district political battles. He made the right call on this, and should be commended.

Now, maybe this is a bit cynical of me to wonder, but will the teachers union oppose this?

I couldn’t find the Bob and Bob meeting where they talk about “fixing the glitch” that allows Milton to still get a paycheck, but this scene is just as funny.

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Edward M. Kennedy (1932 – 2009)

There’s been a lot of worthy – and some not so worthy – reflections on the life of Edward Kennedy. While I am not an admirer of the man or his family, I also believe it is fitting to reflect on positive aspects of his life at the time of his passing. Many of his colleagues have praised his skill and diligence as a legislator, one of the highest compliments a public official could hope for.

At the same time, it is also important to look soberly upon the private life of this public figure, if we care about a realistic understanding of who he was.

We all have all failed and made mistakes, and wrestle with our own difficult challenges. Growth and redemption – on multiple levels – is available to all. The question is whether one grabs hold of and fights to realize these opportunities.

His defenders say Kennedy most certainly did, while the critics contend otherwise.

  • Here’s a relatively generous piece by staunch conservative George F. Will in the Washington Post, who writes that on balance, Kennedy’s life was positive. Beyond that, Will asserts Ted may have even become the most consequential Kennedy.
  • And a more skeptical take by Dominc Lawson of the Sunday Times, who evaluates the decedent’s life as a “gruesomely public display of emotional neediness.” Some interesting historical context by Lawson as well, on the topic of the personal lives of significant figures on the Left.
  • Jonah Goldberg, in the online pages of National Review, writes that liberals celebrate Ted Kennedy for “never abandoning his fundamental principles.” Neither should conservatives in the current health care debate, in spite of potential sympathy-infused arguments from Democrats, says the author.

I’ll leave it at that for now on Kennedy. On a related note, it appears his widow, Vicki Kennedy, may be tapped to assume the now vacant Senate seat from Massachusetts despite her possible reluctance.

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Group of youth assault girl on playground

This one comes from my backyard. In Columbia, Missouri that is. It is a disturbing story.

According to a report yesterday by Brennan Davis in the Columbia Daily-Tribune, a thirteen year old reported being attacked by a group of fourth and fifth graders on the playground of Derby Ridge Elementary School. “The girl told police she was tripped, punched, kicked and hit in the back of the head while trying to escape.”

Apparently there was a witness, and one of the alleged perpetrators may have videotaped the incident, according to the girl’s father. Hopefully that tape surfaces to shed light on the event.

The girl told police that the incident started when a boy called her “ugly,” and she responded by calling him a name. Then, he threatened to return with his “family,” which turned out to be as many as 15 black boys and girls. The victim was white.

It’s early, and not many conclusions should be drawn at this time. There are serious questions that need to be asked, and information still to emerge.

Here’s something I didn’t quite understand from the story:

In the third and fourth paragraphs, Brennan writes:

“The boy responded by saying he was going to ‘go get his family to take care of her,’ Westbrook said, reading from the report. A short time later, he said, 15 black boys and girls returned to the playground and assaulted the victim, who is white.”

“A witness told police the assailants were fourth and fifth graders at the school at 4000 Derby Ridge Drive.”

But in the sixth paragraph, it is stated:

“Because the alleged assailants are younger than the victim and the girl and her assailants attend different schools, Westbrook said, police have no information about the suspects’ identities. The victim did not recognize any of her attackers.” (emphasis added)

Does this mean police suspect fourth and fifth graders from Derby Ridge, who are also black, but do not have leads as to particular names and identities of individual suspects?

How many fourth and fifth graders could there be at Derby Ridge? And how many of them are black? That would seem to narrow things down.

In 2008, 29.10% of Derby Ridge’s student population was black, according to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. That percentage has increased every year, from nineteen percent only four years previously.

Now, since that percentage has increased we can make a statistical inference that the percentage is slightly higher than the 29.1% average at the lower grades, and slightly lower than average in the higher grades (Derby is a K-5 school).

Using last year’s data and extrapolating the numbers, it would be reasonable to estimate that there may be roughly 30 African American students in the fourth grade and about the same amount in the fifth grade. Again, that’s only a crude estimate, but it at least gets us in the ballpark.

On the matter of evidence, it will interesting to see if by any chance the school has any video surveillance of the playground. I believe – this is something I will need to verify – that Derby Ridge is one of the newer elementary schools in Columbia, and it’s possible something like that could be in place. I’m merely thinking out loud here.

Juvenile officers are looking into the matter. Neither the principal (Tina Windett) or vice-principal (Kelsey Morris) could be reached for comment by the CDT yesterday. We’ll see if they or the district issues any sort of statement today. Last year, DESE reported only one discipline incident for the whole school for the whole year, and no violent acts.

Finally, will the race questioned be asked? Should it be? What, if anything did the victim report to police that would indicate a racial dimension to the assault? What, if anything about the incident itself might indicate a racial component?

Race may have had nothing to do with it, and let’s hope not. Regardless of motivation, a young girl was violently attacked by a group of peers, and that is the crime here. However, when a victim of one race is physically attacked by as many as fifteen assailants of another, it’s fair to ask whether racial considerations were at all at play.

How will police, the juvenile investigators and local media investigate the case and ask these types of questions? What really happened, and who is responsible? Only time will tell.

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Filed under Crime, Education, Race

New strategy proposal for Dems

The latest from Krauthammer. He suggests “Obamacare 2.0” focus on using the insurance industry to impose government control on the health care system. It’s politically feasible while still ultimately getting you where you want to go, if you’re the statist type.

I must wonder why this great conservative mind is offering Dems serious strategy advice on health care. Maybe he knows they will eschew it, and threw in for the intellectual thrill of offering genuinely good advice to one’s adversaries before they themselves could think of it or put it into action.

Recall, it was Krauthammer whose column advocating a withdrawal strategy for the Harrier Miers Supreme Court nomination appeared strikingly similar to that the White House employed only six days later. So he’s got a track record on this sort of thing. Will Democrats be as smart as the Bush administration and follow Krauthammer’s advice?

Let’s hope not. (come on, you know I loved writing those last couple lines).

A few bits from the piece:

“You don’t need a Ph.D. [or an MD from Harvard, like the author] to see that the promise to expand coverage and reduce costs is a crude deception, or that cutting $500 billion from Medicare without affecting care is a fiction.”

“Promise nothing but pleasure — for now. Make health insurance universal and permanently protected. Tear up the existing bills and write a clean one — Obamacare 2.0 — promulgating draconian health-insurance regulation that prohibits (a) denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, (b) dropping coverage if the client gets sick, and (c) capping insurance company reimbursement.”

“Government-subsidized universal and virtually unlimited coverage will vastly compound already out-of-control government spending on health care. The financial and budgetary consequences will be catastrophic.”

“But by then, resistance will be feeble. Why? Because at that point the only remaining option will be to give up the benefits we will have become accustomed to. Once granted, guaranteed universal health care is not relinquished. Look at Canada. Look at Britain. They got hooked; now they ration. So will we.”

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The ad NBC and ABC do not want you to see

Literally. According to Fox News.com, the two networks have refused to air the ad critical of health care nationalizion schemes. Via Drudge.

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Filed under Health Care, Media

Careerists at State push Hillary, Obama to isolate Honduras

According to an anonymous source at Foggy Bottom, staff of the State Department have recommended to Secretary Hillary Clinton that the U.S. declare recent events in Honduras as a “military coup,” according to a Reuters piece today. The move would prevent the Central American nation from receiving $150 million in American aid.

Firstly, this leak is unacceptable. Was it authorized? If so, by whom – the White House? Or by Clinton’s team itself, to make it look in advance as though an impending decision by Clinton was not her personal political judgment, but rather than consensus wisdom of career professionals at State?

Or it was a real leak – someone with an axe to grind, who went to a reporter anonymously, without authorization? Perhaps to pressure the administration to isolate Honduras?

Whatever the identity of the leak, it’s all pretty much the same end game. Whoever was doing it has a problem with the democratic, peaceful preservation of power in Honduras and presumably would rather see a left wing thug like Manuel Zelaya in office. And assuming the source for the story is accurately representing the staff consensus at State, this story is also a disturbing commentary on the mass of career employees at the country’s diplomatic nerve center.

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