Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Democrats raise questions about Trump’s mental health


The Hill reports,

A growing number of Democrats are openly questioning President Trump’s mental health.
Better yet,

Thirty-five psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers also signed a letter to The New York Times saying that “the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.”

Because, of course, they examined Mr. Trump and arrived  at the "medical" opinion that Mr. Trump suffered from instability, and grave enough to make him "incapable" of serving as President. There it is. If a social worker looks at CNN and determines someone isn't capable of serving in office, that is certainly good enough for me.

I HATE defending Trump. I don't like him and I disagree with many of his positions. But this ongoing campaign is what word should I use? How about INSANE. 1) Trump lost the popular vote therefore... 2) we should convince the electoral college to vote against their commitments, 3) but since that didn't work let's accuse the Russians of hacking the election, 4) but since that didn't work let's accuse the Russians of hacking the electoral college (sigh) but since that is more insipid than the previous tries 5) lets say Trump is controlled by the Russians but since that is unproven let's throw more spaghetti against the wall and claim 6) Trump is emotionally instable and incapable of holding office. We know this because some random social worker said so.

Here's another way you can go. Do the hard work of convincing the American electorate you are capable of governing.  What you've done so far is convince me you are puerile sore losers.


Friday, February 10, 2017

DeVos Storms the Ramparts


The Hill reports:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she would “not be deterred” after protesters briefly blocked her from entering a Washington public school on Friday

 Twitter is great for snarky comments:

From Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey)

Unions last month: DeVos never set foot in a public school classroom!
Unions this month: How dare DeVos set foot in a pub-school classroom!

 Even better was the comment: (I'm too lazy to search for the author)
This wasn't the first time Democrats blocked access to schools.


Who'da thunk it. Liz Warren and I agree


The Wall St. Journal excerpts from  “The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are (Still) Going Broke” (2003) by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi.

Any policy that loosens the ironclad relationship between location-location-location and school-school-school would eliminate the need for parents to pay an inflated price for a home just because it happens to lie within the boundaries of a desirable school district...

Short of buying a new home, parents currently have only one way to escape a failing public school: Send the kids to private school. But there is another alternative, one that would keep much-needed tax dollars inside the public school system while still reaping the advantages offered by a voucher program. Local governments could enact meaningful reform by enabling parents to choose from among all the public schools in a locale, with no presumptive assignment based on neighborhood. Under a public school voucher program, parents, not bureaucrats, would have the power to pick schools for their children—and to choose which schools would get their children’s vouchers.
I'm with her!

The right frames this issue as 1) parents/kids deserve a choice and 2) unions, and their water-bearers prevent that choice.

I think Liz brings up a the more important issue: funding. Right now, schools are mostly funded by property taxes. In affluent communities like mine, our town budget is $100 million annually. $80 million is for the schools. We gladly agree to property tax increases to fund more school (teachers, programs, facilities) because we know a 2% increase in taxes will protect the value of our home investment. I don't know what the average price of a home is in my town, but lets say, just for grins, that it's $100,000. If property taxes are 1% (about what they are in my town), that's $1,000 a year. If the town comes to me and says, we want to offer Spanish classes to 3rd graders and it will cost you an additional $50 (a 5% increase) I'll probably say yes because it will protect my $100,000 investment. Easy decision. Even worse. The federal government and the state government subsidizes me! Because my property taxes are tax deductible. Let's say the marginal rates my average townsperson faces is 25% federal and 6% state, it means the feds and states pickup a third of my tab.

In order to really blow up this system and in order to really get choice you need to remove the tax deductibility of property taxes AND remove local government control of schools. The teacher's unions are child's play compared to that. Imagine middle class homeowners across the nation suddenly facing a higher tax bill and uncertainty on home values when the link between location and schools is severed.

All of this might happen without Liz, or her acolyte Betsy DeVos. There are already vibrant markets in education delivered via the Internet: Khan Academy, Coursera, Wyzant, Chegg and others. And more are coming. Many colleges video classes and make them available to existing students, some to alum, and some share with other universities.

Of course, I'm trying to figure out how to make money on this since I'm a greedy capitalist pig.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Run, Liz, run


I enjoyed this piece by David Harsanyi at the Federalist, which includes this:

As The Washington Post points out, however, McConnell probably gave Warren’s 2020 presidential aspirations a huge “in-kind contribution” by forcing her to follow rules of decorum. It’s possible, I suppose, that the GOP is playing the same 3D chess mastered by Donald Trump. Maybe shutting down Warren was a surreptitious means of making her the de facto voice of the Democratic Party and #TheResistance (formerly known as “unprecedented obstructionism”). Maybe it was just good luck.

Warren as the voice of the Left might be the best-case scenario for Republicans. For one thing, Warren is no Barack Obama on the charisma front. For another, Warren saves conservatives the trouble of going after socialist strawmen. They’ll have a real one.

He attaches this youtube video, which is now my favorite video, trumping this one.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cory Booker on School choice


Making the rounds on the interweb today, Cory Booker speaking to the American Federation of Children in 2012:


The group he is speaking to is the American Federation of Children.  Betsy DeVos was the chairman until November of last year.


Friday, February 3, 2017

NYU Professor Joins Committee to Re-Elect Trump


A self-proclaimed NYU professor publicly joins the The Committee to Re-Elect Trump.

Here's the story from Reason magazine.

and the story from the NY Post;

Maybe there were violent Tea Party protests against opponents trying to speak, but I dont' remember them. And maybe there were violent demonstrations on campus, like the one at Berkeley earlier this week protesting Obama or Obamacare, but I don't remember those either.

I didn't vote for Trump. But I am much more willing to vote for Trump than let these people anywhere close to power.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Incompetence is Bipartisan


I didn't pay much attention to Trump's Executive Order, nor the response by the outrage machine.

I did go back in time to October 2013, when this happened:

Many Americans got "please wait" messages Tuesday when they tried to start shopping for health coverage on the federal government's new health insurance website, healthcare.gov. A series of technological glitches, delays and crashes kept people from getting to several of the 16 state exchanges, too.
But I'm sure ideology had nothing to do with that incompetence. (nor the VA, nor the decimation of the Democratic Party over the past 8 years).

I'm not going to defend Trump. I'm not going to defend this Executive Order. And I'm not going to defend how it was implemented.  My only reaction after seeing pictures of the airports was relief I wasn't flying.


Ps. National Review is at best my third favorite conservative publication. I much prefer Cato and The Federalist (thefederalist.com), not to be confused with The Federalist Society. 

Ideology Trumps Competance


From your favorite conservative publication, the National Review, comes Yuval Levins' take on the weekend's events.

Passing off reckless ineptitude as strategic genius seems to be a coping mechanism for some people on all sides of our politics these days. I hope it’s helping them cope. But what we saw this weekend was rank incompetence creating dangerous chaos. We saw it here on a very small scale, and ultimately a manageable one. But the scale of the challenges confronting the American president isn’t always so manageable. Many of those problems aren’t self-created, like this one was, but instead rush at our government unpredictably and need to be swiftly and ably detected, assessed, and confronted. The last few days need to serve as a bright, blaring warning to the new administration that it is not yet prepared to do its job...

Just when, I wonder, will it be prepared? Or is it even interested in being prepared?