School Choice and Unions

There’s a contradiction in terms.

In January parents filed a petition to convert Palm Lane Elementary in Anaheim into a charter under California’s 2010 parent-trigger law, which allows a majority of parents in any failing school to force changes.

Naturally, the school’s district officials and teachers union demurred. Never mind that

Palm Lane had made the state Department of Education’s list of underperforming schools since 2003. Fewer than 40% of students scored proficient in English in 2013. About 85% are Hispanic, and most are low-income.

(Where is the Obama DoJ and disparate impact? Oh, wait…).

Hillary Clinton’s Emails

It just gets better and better. Hillary Clinton has released a “FAQ” about her emails and her destruction of a significant fraction of them. Byron York, writing in The Washington Examiner, had some thoughts about them.

One of the FAQ questions Clinton posed concerned whether any of her emails were under subpoena at the time they were destroyed.

The emails that Clinton chose not to keep were personal emails—they were not federal records or even work-related—and therefore were not subject to any preservation obligation under the Federal Records Act or any request. Nor would they have been subject to the subpoena—which did not exist at the time….

National Security Teams

USMC General Joseph Dunford, in a Senate confirmation hearing concerning his nomination as our new Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, had this to say about threats to our national security.

My assessment today…is that Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security.

So if you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia.

In Russia we have a nuclear power. We have one that not only has the capability to violate the sovereignty of our allies and to do things that are inconsistent with our national interests, but they’re in the process of doing so.

Oxen and Gorings

Howard Kurtz is upset about some (Republican) politicians pushing back on press foolishness. He spent much of his column at the link writing about Republican candidates objecting to the press’ hyping of manufactured problems (Rubio’s traffic tickets, Christie’s bridge problems, and so on) and decrying the candidates for spending so much time acting like their oxen were getting stabbed. Then Kurtz made this remarkable remark:

[A]t some point candidates have to figure out how to use the press to sell their message, rather than just complaining.

Because if the candidates bypass the press, rather than “figure out how to use the press,” the press wouldn’t have much to do.

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Free Speech

Not directly, because this Oregon law predates Kennedy’s Obergefell ruling, but this is the inevitable outcome of his ruling on free speech.

Aaron and Melissa Klein, bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, lost in an Oregon court and have been ordered to pay $135,000 in “emotional damages” to the couple for whom they refused the baking. Administrative Law Judge Alan McCullough, who found for the victimhood couple, ordered the fine, but nothing further.

People’s Republic of China’s Stock Market Drop

The PRC’s Shanghai Composite Index, which is an index of the stocks that trade on that country’s major stock exchange, the Shanghai Stock Exchange, has fallen by some 28% in the last week. This is the second time since 2007 that this index has fallen this far (in 2007 it dropped by roughly 2/3 over the course of 13 months beginning in October 2007). In response, the PRC has decided to close the market to IPOs until the central planners in Beijing decide conditions are suitable for IPOs.

This central planning foolishness got me wondering. How big a deal is the Shanghai Stock Exchange for the PRC’s economy?

They Disagreed with Me!?

[Juncker] said we were ready to front-load EU funds at the disposal of Greece for the future and the Greek government didn’t take the offer, which convinced them that [the Greeks] weren’t interested in an agreement and it was ideological,” an MEP who was in the room told Politico after the meeting.

How dare they not immediately take our deal!? How dare they put patriotism against the wishes of their creditors!?

“He said, ‘We were so close, in fact, we were so close that it was just €60 million that we were arguing over.”

A Thought on Iron Curtains

Shortly after World War II, Winston Churchill spoke of an Iron Curtain descended across Europe. The curtain was made concrete with the erection by the Soviets of the Berlin Wall in 1961. The purpose of that wall was more than simply to divide the USSR and its occupied territories from the rest of Europe; it was to keep the people inside that wall—inside the USSR or those occupied territories—from leaving for a better place, for a place where freedom and individual choice could be had.

Shortly after our Revolutionary War, our Founders wrote, and We the People ratified, our Constitution and its attendant Bill of Rights, which include the 10th Amendment:

Random Paranoid Thought on Future Tech

In just 15 years, [Ray, inventor, futurist, and a director of engineering at Google] Kurzweil believes, the human brain will become a hybrid of biology and technology, and we will “put gateways to the cloud in our brains.” And as the cloud becomes more and more advanced and is able to store increasing amounts of information, so too will our brains. By the late 2030’s or early 2040’s, Kurzweil said, the majority of brain function, at least in terms of information processing and thought processes, will be non-biological.

American Security

Thinks about the Obama administration’s current, and ongoing, failure regarding the Office of Personnel Management. After having “lost” the background check data it had “stored” in its computer facility last fall, the Inspector General of OPM said that

parts of its network should be shut down because they were riddled with weaknesses that “could potentially have national security implications.”

OPM didn’t bother. Now we learn that People’s Republic of China hackers (should we start calling them invaders?) entered OPM’s computer network and stole the personal data of all 2+ million Federal employees and the personal data of a skosh under an addition 2 million past Federal employees. As The Wall Street Journal put it,