Friday Open Comments

Arne Duncan and Barack Obama created the single, largest comprehensive project to improve American public schools in history, the School Improvement Grant program.  They spent $7,000,000,000 of taxpayer money and did not improve one classroom in a solitary school anywhere in this nation.  The President and Secretary of Education were warned in the beginning, but they ignored it all. It was an abject failure, as concluded by the Department of Education’s own hired evaluation team in their 419 page report released this month.

The final IES report on the School Improvement Grant program is devastating to Arne Duncan’s and the Obama administration’s education legacy. A major evaluation commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education and conducted by two highly respected research institutions delivered a crushing verdict: The program failed and failed badly. (The Washington Posts article by Emma Brown does an exceptional job recounting the administration’s $7 billion folly.)

Despite its gargantuan price tag, SIG generated no academic gains for the students it was meant to help. Failing schools that received multi-year grants from the program to “turn around” ended up with results no better than similar schools that received zero dollars from the program. To be clear: Billions spent had no effect.


Femsquatch Thursday Open Thread

While actress Ashley Judd complained at a Washington D.C. “Women’s March” that “tampons are taxed when Viagra and Rogaine are not,” thousands of Yazidi children and women were being forced into sexual slavery in Iraq and Syria at the hands of Islamic State.

“I remember a man who looked at least 40 years old coming and taking a ten-year-old girl. When she resisted him, he beat her severely, using stones, and would have opened fire on her if she had not gone with him. Everything against her will. They used to come and buy the girls without a price, I mean, they used to tell us Yazidi girls, you are sabiya [spoils of war, sex slaves], you are kuffar [infidels], you are to be sold without a price,” meaning they had no base value. Some Yazidi girls were sold for a few packs of cigarettes.


To so many persecuted peoples in the Middle East, Trump’s presidency represents hope for a positive change.

On November 7, the Yezidi Human Rights Organization-International issued a public statement titled “Yezidis look forward to a Trump presidency to help them wipe out ISIS.” A Yazidi woman in Iraq has recently named her newborn baby boy “Trump.”

The women’s march, for all the good intentions on the part of many, violated the core principle of human rights: “The worst first.”

Sadly, many of the organizers and participants of the march chose to stand by and ignore women being tortured and exterminated by Islamic terrorists, and in other parts of the world, not being able to receive an education or even leave the house without the permission of a male.

If only these women felt as motivated to protest about the enslavement, rape and torture of Yazidi women and children, as about the cost of tampons.

Read the whole thing.

Monday Open Thread

John Fund writes:

But Obama’s first statement, that the U.S. is unique in trying to enforce ballot integrity, is demonstrably false.

All industrialized democracies — and most that are not — require voters to prove their identity before voting. Britain was a holdout, but last month it announced that persistent examples of voter fraud will require officials to see passports or other documentation from voters in areas prone to corruption.

In 2012, I attended a conference in Washington, D.C., of election officials from more than 60 countries; they convened there to observe the U.S. presidential election. Most were astonished that so many U.S. states don’t require voter ID. Lawyers with whom I spoke are also astonished to see Obama link voter ID with the Jim Crow era. As John Hinderaker of the Powerline blog wrote…

Fighting the Legacy of Roe and the Culture of Death

On this day, the anniversary of the legal and moral abomination known as Roe v Wade, we salute two men, one living and one recently gone, one a Cardinal, the other a Jewish atheist, both heroic warriors in their struggle for the sanctity of life.

Cardinal Thomas Collins

We have been made more aware recently of the merciless assault on human dignity which is sometimes falsely called “mercy killing,” and even more falsely “medical assistance in dying,” and most falsely of all “death with dignity.” When we are dying, especially if it is the result of a long illness, we may well not have … [the] wholeness of mind and body we had when we were young and in good health. But everyone dies with dignity, and it is not right to hasten death in the mistaken belief that doing that is what is needed to allow a person to die with dignity.

It is essential that … we show the mercy of the Good Samaritan not only to the homeless, to the sick, to those suffering or in prison, to any victims of violence, and to refugees, but especially to those who are dying. We do that through true palliative care, by using the best medical expertise available to control pain, and by surrounding the one who is dying with the love that we all hope to sustain us as we come to that crucial moment which we Catholics mention in our most frequent prayer, “the hour of our death.”

Nat Hentoff

And then I heard the head of the Reproductive Freedom Rights unit of the ACLU saying—this was at the same time as the Baby Jane Doe story was developing on Long Island—at a forum, “I don’t know what all this fuss is about. Dealing with these handicapped infants is really an extension of women’s reproductive freedom rights, women’s right to control their own bodies.”

That stopped me. It seemed to me we were not talking about Roe v. Wade. These infants were born. And having been born, as persons under the Constitution, they were entitled to at least the same rights as people on death row—due process, equal protection of the law. So for the first time, I began to pay attention to the “slippery slope” warnings of pro-lifers I read about or had seen on television. Because abortion had become legal and easily available, that argument ran—as you well know—Infanticide would eventually become openly permissible, to be followed by euthanasia for infirm, expensive senior citizens.