CROSS: Blassio’s War on Poor Asian Children

From To make elite schools ‘fair,’ city will punish poor Asians | New York Post:

New York’s specialized high schools, including Stuyvesant and the equally storied Bronx High School of Science, along with Brooklyn Technical High School and five smaller schools, have produced 14 Nobel laureates — more than most countries.

For more than 70 years, admission to these schools has been based upon a competitive examination of math, verbal and logical reasoning skills. In 1971, the state legislature, heading off city efforts to scrap the merit selection test as culturally biased against minorities, reaffirmed that admission to the schools be based on the competitive exam.

But now, troubled by declining black and Hispanic enrollment at the schools, opponents of the exam have resurfaced. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has filed a civil-rights complaint challenging the admissions process. A bill in Albany to eliminate the test requirement has garnered the support of Sheldon Silver, the powerful Assembly speaker.

And new Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose son, Dante, attends Brooklyn Tech, has called for changing the admissions criteria. The mayor argues that relying solely on the test creates a “rich-get-richer” dynamic that benefits the wealthy, who can afford expensive test preparation.

As Ting’s story illustrates, however, the reality is just the opposite. It’s not affluent whites, but rather the city’s burgeoning population of Asian-American immigrants — a group that, despite its successes, remains disproportionately poor and working-class — whose children have aced the exam in overwhelming numbers.

And, ironically, the more “holistic” and subjective admissions criteria that de Blasio and the NAACP favor would be much more likely to benefit children of the city’s professional elite than African-American and Latino applicants — while penalizing lower-middle-class Asian-American kids like Ting. The result would not be a specialized high school student body that “looks like New York,” but rather one that looks more like Bill de Blasio’s upscale Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Ironic?

To modern “progressive” elites, though, the story is intolerable, starting with the hard work. These liberal elites seem particularly troubled by the Asian-American work ethic and the difficult questions that it raises about the role of culture in group success.

While the advancement of Asian students has come overwhelmingly at the expense of more affluent whites, it has also had an undeniable impact on black and Latino students, whose foothold at these schools, small to begin with, has all but vanished.

[...]

Subjective selection criteria also inevitably favor the affluent and connected — as a comptroller’s audit of the screened-school admissions process revealed. The study found that most of the schools examined did not follow their stated selection criteria and could not explain the criteria that they actually did use.

[...]

Critics of the SHSAT will reply that something must be done about declining black and Hispanic enrollment at the specialized high schools. The answer, however, can never be to lower objective standards.

Adopting this cynical approach would do no favors for black and Latino children, while opening the door to discrimination against Asian kids like Ting. It is not the specialized schools’ emphasis on merit, but rather the advocates’ defeatist worldview that is truly — and tragically — wrongheaded.

 

 

 

0

DOLLAR: Crush Hamas

From Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas – The Washington Post:

“Life in Gaza is miserable now, but if Israel is permitted to prevail, circumstances can improve markedly. U.S.- and Canadian-trained security forces of the Palestinian Authority can take over key crossings and patrol Gaza’s porous border with Egypt. Rather than be funneled into Hamas’s war chest, international aid can be transferred directly to the civilian population to repair war damage and stimulate economic growth. Terrorist groups and their state patrons can be put on notice: The game has changed unalterably.

And by letting Israel regain its security with regard to Gaza — with all the pain it entails — the United States and its allies will be safeguarding their own. Though bitter, the fighting between Israel and Hamas raging in Gaza’s alleyways is merely part of the far vaster struggle between rational nations and the al-Qaeda and Islamic State-like forces seeking their destruction. Relative to that global conflict, Operation Protective Edge may seem small, but it is nevertheless pivotal. To ensure that it concludes with a categorical Israeli win is in the world’s fundamental interest. To guarantee peace, this war must be given a chance.”

1

Boston Tea Party Opera: A Mythic Modern Take on the Moment Americans Discovered Their Identity as a People

MZJ Music is proud to present the world premiere of the BOSTON TEA PARTY OPERA at the 18th annual New York International Fringe Festival – FringeNYC, a production of The Present Company:

New love blooms – and old loyalty dies,

as Sam Adams leads a rebellion

against an Empire’s high taxes, heavy-handedness and invasions of privacy.

A mythic, modern version of the moment Americans discovered their identity as a people.

This epic but accessible music-drama rides the line between traditional opera and modern musical theater. The show features an interracial cast, and touches upon the controversial yet ever-evolving meaning of the term “Tea Party.” The Boston Tea Party Opera invites the audience to compare the patterns of injustice and oppression suffered by the American colonists leading up to the Revolutionary War—and similar patterns unfolding in America today. The comical and satirical elements of the show are directed not at the scrappy Americans, but at those who kneel to the King’s Empire.

Portions of the show were recently presented at StageFest 2014 in Jersey City, and at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum in Boston.

The show is created and directed by Matthew Zachary Johnson, faculty at Mannes College the New School for Music. Johnson is the composer of a body of often-performed works for saxophone, including Scherzo, Grand Sonata, and the instrumental soliloquy Serenade. According to About.com classical guide Aaron Green, “If this is the direction classical music is heading, well, I’d say the future will be full of wonderful music.”

Choreography is a significant part of the show, with poetic gestural dance used to communicate the major events including the Boston Massacre and the culminating Tea Party itself. Choreographer Karen Gayle—an alum of Toronto Dance Theater and Alvin Ailey American Dance Center—serves on the faculty at Steps on Broadway, Ballet Hispanico, and the New Dance Group. She is also the choreographer and host of Deante Dance, a series of modern dance based fitness videos, and Street Fusion, an instructional street jazz and hip hop DVD.

The Boston Tea Party Opera will be premiering at: Venue #13: Sheen Center – THE LORETTO, 18 Bleecker St (at Elizabeth). Show Times:  Sat 8/9 @ 8:15pm – opening night! Wed 8/13 @ 4:15pm (talk back following this performance); Sat 8/16 @ Noon; Mon 8/18 @ 4:45pm; Fri 8/22 @ 5:15pm.  Tickets: $18 on sale starting July 18. For tickets visit www.FringeNYC.org. For more information about the show, go to www.bostonteapartyopera.com

 

 

 

0

CROSS: The IRS Does Not Back Up Their Computers

From IRS Claims to Have Lost Over 2 Years of Lerner Emails | House Committee on Ways & Means:

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement regarding the Internal Revenue Service informing the Committee that they have lost Lois Lerner emails from a period of January 2009 – April 2011.  Due to a supposed computer crash, the agency only has Lerner emails to and from other IRS employees during this time frame.  The IRS claims it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.

“The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to Congressional inquiries.  There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.

“Just a short time ago, Commissioner Koskinen promised to produce all Lerner documents.  It appears now that was an empty promise.  Frankly, these are the critical years of the targeting of conservative groups that could explain who knew what when, and what, if any, coordination there was between agencies.  Instead, because of this loss of documents, we are conveniently left to believe that Lois Lerner acted alone.  This failure of the IRS requires the White House, which promised to get to the bottom of this, to do an Administration-wide search and production of any emails to or from Lois Lerner.  The Administration has repeatedly referred us back to the IRS for production of materials.  It is clear that is wholly insufficient when it comes to determining the full scope of the violation of taxpayer rights.”

Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany Jr., M.D. (R-LA) added, “In the course of the Committee’s investigation, the Administration repeatedly claimed we were getting access to all relevant IRS documents. Only now - thirteen months into the investigation – the IRS reveals that key emails from the time of the targeting have been lost.  And they bury that fact deep in an unrelated letter on a Friday afternoon.  In that same letter, they urge Congress to end the investigations into IRS wrongdoing. This is not the transparency promised to the American people.  If there is no smidgeon of corruption what is the Administration hiding?”

More like deleted.

I wonder what would happen if a citizen told the IRS that all their records were lost in a computer crash? Shame the IRS never heard of making backups. Perhaps they used the computer consultants in charge of running the Obamacare website. Or, perhaps the NSA will have them!

1

CROSS: Obama and Benghazi Cover Up Continues

From US spy agencies heard Benghazi attackers using State Dept. cell phones to call terrorist leaders | Fox News:

The terrorists who attacked the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 used cell phones, seized from State Department personnel during the attacks, and U.S. spy agencies overheard them contacting more senior terrorist leaders to report on the success of the operation, multiple sources confirmed to Fox News.

The disclosure is important because it adds to the body of evidence establishing that senior U.S. officials in the Obama administration knew early on that Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and not a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam video that had gone awry, as the administration claimed for several weeks after the attacks.

Eric Stahl, who recently retired as a major in the U.S. Air Force, served as commander and pilot of the C-17 aircraft that was used to transport the corpses of the four casualties from the Benghazi attacks – then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods – as well as the assault’s survivors from Tripoli to the safety of an American military base in Ramstein, Germany.

In an exclusive interview on Fox News’ “Special Report,” Stahl said members of a CIA-trained Global Response Staff who raced to the scene of the attacks were “confused” by the administration’s repeated implication of the video as a trigger for the attacks, because “they knew during the attack…who was doing the attacking.” Asked how, Stahl told anchor Bret Baier: “Right after they left the consulate in Benghazi and went to the [CIA] safehouse, they were getting reports that cell phones, consulate cell phones, were being used to make calls to the attackers’ higher ups.”

[...]

Stahl also contended that given his crew’s alert status and location, they could have reached Benghazi in time to have played a role in rescuing the victims of the assault, and ferrying them to safety in Germany, had they been asked to do so. “We were on a 45-day deployment to Ramstein air base,” he told Fox News. “And we were there basically to pick up priority missions, last-minute missions that needed to be accomplished.”

“You would’ve thought that we would have had a little bit more of an alert posture on 9/11,” Stahl added. “A hurried-up timeline probably would take us [an] hour-and-a-half to get off the ground and three hours and fifteen minutes to get down there. So we could’ve gone down there and gotten them easily.”

1

DOLLAR: Students Defeat Teacher Unions in California

Writes Campbell Brown in A historic victory for America’s kids  – NY Daily News on the Vergara v. California decision:

The case began with courageous students, because they had to endure the nightmare: grossly incompetent teachers, mainly in poor and minority schools, protected by state laws. And when the court ruling thundered down Tuesday, the impact was profoundly clear: Students, you win.

[...] Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu said the evidence of the deleterious effect of ineffective teachers on students is so compelling that it “shocks the conscience” — a line that instantly gave voice to countless parents.The court found that the nine student plaintiffs and their team had proven both of their points. One, that California’s laws directly cause students to be unreasonably exposed to grossly ineffective teachers. And two, that poor and minority students, in particular, are saddled with those teachers. The ruling was so complete that the judge declared every state law in question unconstitutional:

-California teachers are permitted to earn lifetime employment after a mere 18 months in class, well before they could truly earn that status or even be properly evaluated for it. The upshot, said the judge, is that “both students and teachers are unfairly, unnecessarily and for no legally cognizable reasons (let alone a compelling one) disadvantaged.”

-The dismissal process for grossly ineffective teachers in California is so complex and costly that it does not work; many districts do not even bother trying. That leaves thousands of underperforming teachers knowingly remaining in front of students. The judge blasted the system as so problematic that it turned dismissal into an illusion.

-California’s “last-in, first-out” law gives top priority in a time of layoffs to ineffective teachers if they have seniority while better teachers with fewer years are sent packing. The judge called that a lose-lose situation, supported by logic that was “unfathomable.”

[...]

It should never have come to this: Students taking on the powerful governments and teachers unions, all to challenge laws that inexplicably and directly lead to a worse public education.

0

CROSS: Snowden would NOT get a fair trial

Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden would not get a fair trial – and Kerry is wrong | Comment is free | theguardian.com

As Snowden told Brian Williams on NBC later that night and Snowden’s lawyer told me the next morning, he would have no chance whatsoever to come home and make his case – in public or in court.

Snowden would come back home to a jail cell – and not just an ordinary cell-block but isolation in solitary confinement, not just for months like Chelsea Manning but for the rest of his sentence, and probably the rest of his life. His legal adviser, Ben Wizner, told me that he estimates Snowden’s chance of being allowed out on bail as zero. (I was out on bond, speaking against the Vietnam war, the whole 23 months I was under indictment).

More importantly, the current state of whistleblowing prosecutions under the Espionage Act makes a truly fair trial wholly unavailable to an American who has exposed classified wrongdoing. Legal scholars have strongly argued that the US supreme court – which has never yet addressed the constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act to leaks to the American public – should find the use of it overbroad and unconstitutional in the absence of a public interest defense. The Espionage Act, as applied to whistleblowers, violates the First Amendment, is what they’re saying.

[...]

John Kerry’s challenge to Snowden to return and face trial is either disingenuous or simply ignorant that current prosecutions under the Espionage Act allow no distinction whatever between a patriotic whistleblower and a spy. Either way, nothing excuses Kerry’s slanderous and despicable characterizations of a young man who, in my opinion, has done more than anyone in or out of government in this century to demonstrate his patriotism, moral courage and loyalty to the oath of office the three of us swore: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

4

DOLLAR: New Book on the Business Cycle and a Free Market in Money and Banking

Dr. Brian P. Simpson, author of Markets Don’t Fail! (Lexington Books, 2005) and an economist at National University in San Diego, CA, has written a new book on the business cycle and a free monetary and banking system.  The book shows how government interference—particularly in the monetary and banking system—causes the business cycle, including the recessions, depressions, and financial crises that are a part of it.  The book also shows how establishing a free market in money and banking can virtually eliminate the business cycle.

This book is a major contribution to the monetary, banking, and business cycle literature.  It builds on the business cycle theory developed by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek.  The two-volume book is published by Palgrave Macmillan and is titled Money, Banking, and the Business Cycle, with subtitles of Integrating Theory and Practice for volume one and Remedies and Alternative Theories for volume two.  Volume one was published in April.  Volume two is due out in July.

Part one of volume one shows how manipulations of the supply of money and credit by the government are the primary cause of the cycle.  Part two applies the theory to over 100 years of U.S. history to illustrate the explanatory power of the theory.  The author uses extensive quantities of data to make his case, including data for interest rates, the rate of profit in the economy, the money supply, the velocity of money, industrial production, GDP/GNP, gross national revenue (a more comprehensive measure of spending and output than GDP/GNP), and more.  He shows how the theory explains the Great Depression, the Great Recession, the recession of the early 1980s, and all episodes of the cycle in the U.S. since 1900.  In addition, he goes back to 18th century France and the Mississippi Bubble to demonstrate the explanatory power of the theory.

Part one of volume two critiques alternative theories of the cycle, including Keynes’s theories of depressions and fluctuations, Keynesian “sticky” price and wage theory, and real business cycle theory.  Part two shows what a free market in money and banking would look like, provides an outline to transition to a free market in money and banking, and gives a detailed explanation of why it would lead to greater stability in the monetary and banking system and raise the rate of economic progress in the economy.

Here are links to the two volumes:

Volume 1: http://us.macmillan.com/moneybankingandthebusinesscycle/BrianPSimpson
Volume 2: http://us.macmillan.com/moneybankingandthebusinesscycle-1/BrianPSimpson

It is also available at Amazon at a discounted price.

Money, Banking, and the Business Cycle: Volume I: Integrating Theory and Practice: 1
Money, Banking, and the Business Cycle: Volume II: Remedies and Alternative Theories

The book is highly recommended for anyone interested in free-market ideas or monetary, banking, and business cycle theory.  Economics professors will find both volumes excellent for courses on “macroeconomics,” money and banking, Austrian economics, or the business cycle.  Both volumes would also be great additions to the collections of university libraries and libraries of free-market institutions.

4

DOLLAR: Binswanger Torpedoes Piketty

Thomas Piketty’s latest book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has had its fair share of criticisms.  The political right continues to bludgeon the latest critique of capitalism by challenging the veracity of the book’s mathematics, formulas, and quantitative reasoning.  But Harry Binswanger understands that the basis for every attack against capitalism is grounded in the idea that capitalism is inherently immoral.  Therefore, any defense of capitalism cannot, and should not, be grounded in statistics, but must challenge the existing moral premises that permeate today’s society…

“Capital in the Twenty-First Century” offers up the same failed, blood-soaked doctrines as its forbearer, “Das Kapital.” But in our Twitterized culture, yesterday’s disgraced notions, now forgotten, can be re-Tweeted as revelations.

[...]

Evil cannot be combated by offering counter-statistics, as many conservatives are doing. No one is concerned with the statistics, only with the moral narrative. And the book’s opening epigraph gives us that, via a quote from France’s 1789 “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen”:

“Social distinctions can be based only on common utility.”

In quiet, understated language, that statement lays down the formula for total collectivism. It cuts the ground out from under individual rights, substituting “common utility” as the standard for state action. It demands the yoking of the individual to the group.

M. Piketty doesn’t mention that four years after that ill-named Declaration of Rights came the Reign of Terror. The sequence is logical: the Declaration appealed to the raw envy of the mob, whose instrument became the guillotine.

The whole thing can be read here.

2

CROSS: No Justice for Gibson Guitars

Bill Frezza revives the Gibson Guitars case in a piece published in Forbes.   The whole affair stands as an appalling example of the law run amok.  The owners believe they suffered heavy-handed treatment from the feds due to the “protectionist” interests of labor unions and environmentalists.  But when the law can be warped to satisfy the whim of any bureaucrat or power-holder, that’s not protectionism, that’s tyranny.  More specifically, the Gibson Guitars case epitomizes the tyranny of non-objective law.

While 30 men in SWAT attire dispatched from Homeland Security and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cart away about half a million dollars of wood and guitars, seven armed agents interrogate an employee without benefit of a lawyer. The next day Juszkiewicz receives a letter warning that he cannot touch any guitar left in the plant, under threat of being charged with a separate federal offense for each “violation,” punishable by a jail term.

Up until that point Gibson had not received so much as a postcard telling the company it might be doing something wrong. Thus began a five-year saga, extensively covered by the press, with reputation-destroying leaks and shady allegations that Gibson was illegally importing wood from endangered tree species. In the end, formal charges were never filed, but the disruption to Gibson’s business and the mounting legal fees and threat of imprisonment induced Juszkiewicz to settle for $250,000—with an additional $50,000 “donation” piled on to pay off an environmental activist group.

You can read the rest here.

2

CROSS: Democratic Libya or “Scumbag Woodstock?”

Courtesy of Nick Gillespie at Reason.com:

The Daily Beast‘s Eli Lake reports that Libya, the site of an American-enabled kinetic-action-lead-from-behind-super-duper NATO triumph that somehow led to U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens being croaked by really irate YouTube consumers, is now packed with more domestic terrorists than your neighborhood Tea Party HQ:

In the nearly 20 months since the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks, al Qaeda operatives and allied terrorists have flocked to Libya, making the fragile North African country a hub for those seeking to wage jihad from north Africa, current and former U.S. counterterrorism officials tell The Daily Beast.

Not only does al Qaeda host Ansar al-Sharia, one of the militias responsible for the Benghazi attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. But U.S. intelligence now assesses that leaders from at least three regional al Qaeda affiliates—al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and members of the organization of Al-Mulathameen Brigade loyal to Algerian terrorist, Mokhtar BelMokhtar—have all established havens in the lawless regions of Libya outside the control of the central government.

One U.S. military contractor working on counter-terrorism in Africa summed up the situation in Libya today as simply, “Scumbag Woodstock.” The country has attracted that star-studded roster of notorious terrorists and fanatics seeking to wage war on the West.

The piece provides additional insight on how the events in Benghazi reveal the abysmal lack of a sound foreign policy.  You can read the whole thing here.

0