In Wisconsin, School Choice Has Unexpected Benefits

Joshua Nelson /

Elisha Doerr would not have had an opportunity to attend Wisconsin Lutheran High School, a Milwaukee-based private boarding school, if it weren’t for a school choice program.

The school’s excellent curricula and the religious community were valuable to Doerr, 18, who now attends Harvard University and is deciding between majoring in government or computer science.

Raised in rural Waupun, Wisconsin, with six younger siblings, Doerr’s choice for a superior education in his hometown appeared limited.

His parents, who had homeschooled Elisha, looked at Wisconsin Lutheran High School for its religious affiliation, but they needed financial assistance to send their son there.

“With there being seven kids in my family and just having gotten a mortgage on our house that we just moved into,” Doerr said in an interview with The Daily Signal, “it didn’t seem particularly feasible to try to go to a private school that we were hoping to go to without getting some sort of financial support.”

Wisconsin Lutheran is one of 129 schools that are part of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, launched in 1990 to provide alternatives to troubled public schools.

The program had 28,917 participating students in kindergarten through 12th grade during the 2018-19 school year. Under the program, a school receives a state aid payment on behalf of the eligible student and parent or guardian.

Before Doerr could get into the school voucher program, his parents first had to save money in an education savings account to cover his freshman year.

Doerr’s parents saw the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program as giving them control of their son’s education. The student’s father, a Lutheran pastor, had ties to Wisconsin Lutheran and wanted his son to grow not only academically but spiritually.

Commonly referred to as the nation’s first modern school choice initiative, the Milwaukee program provides vouchers to students from lower-income families for use in attending private schools.

Doerr’s parents gained the flexibility to decide what was best for him.

Before the Doerrs’ experience, though, Milwaukee lawmakers had some disagreements in the mid-2000s about the future of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, which had not been analyzed since 1995.

Two researchers evaluated the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program after pitching the idea in 2007 to then-Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat in office from 2003 until 2011, and legislative leaders who wanted to reduce funding for the program.

The researchers were Patrick Wolf, a professor in the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform, and Corey DeAngelis, a former student of Wolf’s who now is an education policy analyst with Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C.  

“There was a group of legislators who wanted to put additional restrictions on the program, and there [was] a group of legislators who wanted to raise the cap on enrollment and expand the program,” Wolf told The Daily Signal in a phone interview about the paper that resulted.

The Wisconsin lawmakers, he said, “came to a compromise” that included calling for an evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

Initially, the research by Wolf and DeAngelis focused on analyzing test scores from 2007 to 2012, but “test scores are not everything that we want from a child,” Wolf said in the interview. They found the program had positive effects on reading scores and a neutral effect on math scores.

Wolf and DeAngelis decided to look beyond test scores and also evaluate school vouchers for their impact on character. The result was what Wolf and DeAngelis say is the first research report on the effect of school choice on reducing crime.

The report, released Feb. 26 and titled “Private School Choice and Character: More Evidence from Milwaukee,” found an intersection between greater school choice and less crime committed by young adults.

“We took a representative sample of participants in the [Milwaukee Parental Choice Program] and carefully matched them to similar Milwaukee public school students, and then tracked their outcomes over time,” Wolf said.

The two researchers found that students who took advantage of the school choice program committed fewer crimes than their counterparts in public schools. Specifically, students committed 53% fewer drug crimes and 86% fewer property crimes.

The study also found that 38% fewer paternity suits were filed once students reached their mid-20s. When difficulty in identifying a biological father occurs, lawsuits can be used to force child support payments.

Asked what could have contributed to the results beyond curricula, Wolf said the religious component in many private schools may have had a deep influence. Most teachers in public schools are stifled by regulations, he suggested:

It could be because of the religious environment that many of these schools foster. The majority of the schools participating in the program have a religious affiliation. And so maybe just going to school with a religion, you make it a lot easier to instill these values in the students. Public schools are limited in the values they can communicate to students.

What does Doerr think was the advantage provided by Wisconsin Lutheran High that a traditional public school could not provide?

“The interactions with the teachers, like having chapel every day and knowing that they’re of the same faith as you,” Doerr said.

Doerr said his parents valued this specific experience through the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program the most.

Although academic success helped him become a Harvard freshman, he said, he and his parents gained the power to customize his education.

Democrats Vote Against Trump’s Judicial Nominees Far More Than Republicans Did Against Obama’s - The Daily Signal

Democrats Vote Against Trump’s Judicial Nominees Far More Than Republicans Did Against Obama’s

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping /

The Senate has confirmed Neomi Rao to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She’s exactly the kind of impartial judge that we need across the judiciary. That makes 91 judges overall, and 36 to the federal appeals court, since President Donald Trump took office.

Whatever those numbers mean on their own, the fact is that Trump’s judicial nominees are being treated very differently than those of previous presidents.

Those 91 judges, for example, have received a total of 1,824 votes against their confirmation in 782 days. When Barack Obama was president, it took 2,123 days to rack up this many negative votes, and he had to appoint 282 judges to do it.

Trump’s 91 judges have received more negative confirmation votes than the 2,653 judges confirmed to the same courts during the entire 20th century combined.

Let’s look at this another way. Obama appointed 16 judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals during his first two years, when his own party controlled the Senate. Each of those nominees had a confirmation vote, and only two also had a separate vote to invoke cloture, or end debate.

With 41 Republicans in the Senate, that’s a total of 738 opportunities on the Senate floor for a Republican to vote for an Obama nominee. Republicans took 556 of those opportunities, or 75 percent.

Trump had appointed 16 judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals by May 2018, when his own party controlled the Senate. Each of those nominees had a confirmation, and all 16 also had a separate cloture vote.

With 48 Democrats in the Senate in 2017 and 49 in 2018, that’s a total of 1,544 opportunities for a Democrat to vote for a Trump nominee. Democrats took 259 of those opportunities, or 17 percent. Not even close.

You might think that, well, Obama’s nominees must have been more qualified than Trump’s. Not according to the American Bar Association. Nine of each president’s nominees received a unanimous well qualified rating, but five other Trump nominees received at least a majority well qualified rating, compared to just one Obama nominee.

Since several studies (hereherehere, and here) have found that the ABA is systematically biased against Republican nominees, that really puts Trump’s nominees ahead.

Shifting from the votes that nominees receive to the votes that senators cast, the average Democrat has voted against 36 of the 91 judges Trump has appointed so far. This compares to the average Republican voting against six of the first 91 judges Obama appointed.

No matter how you slice or dice it, no matter what measure or standard you use, the judicial confirmation process today is radically different than it was just a few years ago.

Originally published by National Review.

Don’t Erase Women at the United Nations - The Daily Signal

Don’t Erase Women at the United Nations

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton /

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women is being pressured to embrace “gender identity” ideology at its annual meeting this week. If successful, the move could erase women from international law and economic development.

Gender identity refers to an individual’s perception of themselves as male, female, both, neither, or something in between. Historically, U.N. efforts to foster gender equality have focused on biological women. If this focus shifts to equality for all possible gender identities, women lose.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists and some Western nations are spearheading the U.N. bureaucracy’s reinterpretation of “sex” in treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. And although U.N. member states have never voted to adopt these new definitions, U.N. entities that police compliance with human rights treaties have added “sexual orientation” to the definition of “sex.”

They have also read “gender identity” into nondiscrimination provisions. These actions are neither binding on member states nor authoritative, but they do influence member states’ domestic policies and affect their eligibility for development assistance.

At the Commission on the Status of Women, nongovermment organizations such as Outright International are calling for recognition of gender identity, arguing that they suffer from a “foreclosed definition of ‘women.’” For the first time, the U.N. LGBTI Core Group, of which the U.S. had been a member since the Obama administration, also made a similar statement.

Advancing the notion that gender is fluid is not a priority for women in non-Western countries. Unsurprisingly then, the LGBTI Core Group’s statement received a tepid reception from the global gathering.

Accusations of cultural imperialism have often been unfairly cast upon the universal human rights movement. But advancing a progressive ideology that conflicts with a scientific understanding of sex gives critics ammunition to attack the commission’s noble goals.

If the U.N. begins to treat biological men as if they are women because they perceive themselves to be women, then the discussion of women’s economic empowerment will turn into one about everyone’s economic empowerment.

That defeats the purpose of having separate discussions about women’s roles in the informal economy and as caregivers for children and the elderly, to say nothing of improving women’s access to credit, pensions, and unemployment benefits, a priority theme of the commission.

Legally recognizing gender identity also endangers women and girls.

In nations that recognize the concept of gender identity, male sexual predators have exploited the laws to gain access to private spaces. In England, this led to sexual assaults against women in prison, and in the U.S. against a 5-year-old girl in her school bathroom.

This is not to accuse those who identify as transgender of desiring to harm women. But giving men access to female-only spaces removes critical barriers designed to protect women.

The rights of those who identify as transgender must be protected like everyone else’s simply because they are human. But their legitimate claims to human rights are not based on their membership in any particular group, nor should they justify reducing the rights of women and girls.

Furthermore, transgender ideology perpetuates gender stereotypes that feminists have long fought against, such as what constitutes “women’s work” or what sports are appropriate for girls.

Sex is a biological fact, not a feeling. Women and girls around the world face discrimination and harm as a result of historical and cultural factors related to biological sex. Therefore, international law and economic development policy should continue to be based on this reality.

At the commission, the U.S. delegation should focus on advancing opportunities for biological women and girls, as it has rightly pledged to do. Women around the world still need to secure their legal and economic rights, to gain access to quality medical care and education, and to combat violence.

To respond to their most pressing needs, the U.S. must protect women from being erased in international law through a radical redefinition of sex.

Originally published by The Washington Times.

House Republicans Press Democrats to Allow Vote on Protecting Abortion Survivors - The Daily Signal

House Republicans Press Democrats to Allow Vote on Protecting Abortion Survivors

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson /

House Republican leaders are waiting to see whether their appeal to voters will convince Democrat colleagues to allow a vote on a bill requiring medical care for babies who survive an abortion procedure.

Pro-life lawmakers, led by the House’s top two Republicans, hope to force a vote on the legislation by using a procedure called a discharge petition.

Minority Whip Steve Scalise last week urged Americans to call their representative in the House to request that he or she sign the petition, which requires at least 218 signatures to proceed. Democrats hold 235 seats in the House, Republicans 197.

“I’m calling on every member of Congress to sign the discharge petition so that we can bring this bill to the floor, have this debate, so all the country can see this barbaric process of murdering babies when they’re alive is legal in many states,” Scalise, R-La., said Wednesday at a news conference also attended by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

McCarthy, Scalise, and other Republicans demanded that Democrats bypass House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s authority to help set up a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

Besides requiring proper medical care for abortion survivors, the legislation would make it a felony to harm a baby who survives an abortion procedure.

Pelosi, D-Calif., “doesn’t want to give those babies who were born alive the same legal protection that everybody else enjoys,” Scalise told reporters, but “we can still force a vote by getting 218 signatures.”

A Senate vote on similar legislation failed by a 44-53 vote Feb. 25, when all but three Democrats voted against the bill.  

President Donald Trump commented on the bill’s defeat via Twitter at the time, saying: “Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children. The Democrat position on abortion is now so extreme that they don’t mind executing babies after birth.”

Other House Republicans at the news conference were Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, chairman of the GOP conference; James Inhofe of Oklahoma; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; and Ben Cline of Virginia.

Also attending were pro-life activists Jill Stanek, Olivia Gans Turner, and Melissa Cifuentes.

Scalise and Inhofe co-authored a recent op-ed on the issue for Fox News, writing:

It should be common sense in a just and moral society. This bill requires medical practitioners—those who have sworn to ‘do no harm’—to exercise equal care to a baby who survives an abortion as any other child, and provides criminal penalties for anyone who intentionally kills or denies lifesaving care to a child who is born alive after an abortion.

While members of the Senate are on the record with a vote on this legislation, the Democrat leadership that controls the House of Representatives has blocked its consideration. They don’t want to have to vote on infanticide because they know the rest of the country doesn’t agree—77 percent of Americans support protections for abortion survivors and 62 percent oppose late-term abortion.

Too Few Immigrants Value Limited Government - The Daily Signal

Too Few Immigrants Value Limited Government

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager /

Given the constantly reiterated left-wing charge that opposition to massive immigration is racist and xenophobic, it is important to restate the truth: The reason for opposition to mass immigration into the United States—from almost anywhere in the world, whether legal or illegal—has nothing to do with race or ethnicity.

The issue is entirely one of values. Every immigrant, to anywhere, brings a set of social, moral, political, and religious values. No one on earth is devoid of values, be they noble, ignoble, or merely confused.

Wishful-thinking conservatives and Republicans have long argued that Latinos are potential Republicans because at heart they are social conservatives. They are said, for example, to oppose abortion and to have a strong commitment to the traditional nuclear family.

Yet, even assuming Latinos’ overall opposition to abortion and strong belief in the mother and father-led family, this has paled in significance compared to Latinos’ belief in big government.

That the state should take care of people is now the most widely held belief in the world.

More people believe in big government than believe in the God of the Bible. That is one reason, as I frequently note, that the most dynamic religion of the last hundred years has not been Christianity or Islam, but leftism.

America is the only country in the world founded on a belief in limited government. It is a uniquely American value. And that is precisely the problem: It is uniquely American. Very few immigrants to America bring with them a belief in limited government.

That is one reason Democrats want more and more immigrants—more or less from anywhere (except Western Europe). Almost every immigrant is another vote for the Democratic Party. The only exceptions are some Europeans who crave individual liberty, and people fleeing socialist and communist dictatorships, such as those of the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Venezuela.

First-generation Cubans became a bedrock of the Republican Party in Florida. So, too, first-generation immigrants from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe formed a strong conservative block. And today, one suspects most Venezuelans allowed to immigrate to the United States would find American millennials’ love affair with socialism ludicrous.

However, in every case, the words “first generation” are operative. Once the children of first-generation immigrants from left-wing tyrannies attend American colleges (or, increasingly, American high schools), they are likely to become left-wing Democrats. Their parents’ horrific experience with big government—nearly always meaning left-wing government—becomes irrelevant to them.

Take, for example, Sergey Brin, a co-founder of Google. Brin, about the 10th-richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $50 billion, was born in the Soviet Union, which he and his family fled, immigrating to the United States when he was 6 years old.

Yet he is a man of the left who now censors PragerU videos and other conservative content and plays a major role in making Silicon Valley the closed left-wing world it is. Though his family fled the Soviet state, Soviet values have apparently influenced Brin more than American values have.

So, whether immigrants bring big-government values with them or embrace them within a generation, few immigrants of the last generation either brought American values or embraced them for long after coming here.

Nor is it only a belief in big government that nearly all immigrants bring with them. For example, many Muslim immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa bring with them a value that permeates the societies from which they came—anti-Semitism. Witness the two newest Muslim members of Congress: Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who came from Somalia, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., whose parents are Palestinian.

The problem with mass immigration into America has nothing to do with ethnicity or race. It is entirely about values.

The proof is this: The problem is the same with “internal” immigration. New Yorkers immigrating to Florida and Californians immigrating to Texas and Arizona do to those states what Latin Americans do to America: They bring different values—specifically, left-wing values, starting with belief in big government.

Next time someone labels your opposition to mass immigration “racist” or “xenophobic,” tell them you are equally opposed to New Yorkers immigrating to Florida and Californians immigrating to Arizona.

And for the same reason: They bring with them the very values that caused them to flee. The only difference is Latin Americans are largely unaware of what they are doing; New Yorkers, Californians, and other leftists who move to conservative states know exactly what they’re doing: voting for the government policies from which they fled.


How Covington’s Nick Sandmann Could Win His Defamation Claim Against Washington Post - The Daily Signal

How Covington’s Nick Sandmann Could Win His Defamation Claim Against Washington Post

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky /

Nicholas Sandmann is one of the Covington Catholic High School students caught in a media firestorm while attending the March for Life last month in Washington, D.C. Now, he is pushing back.

Last week, his lawyers filed a defamation lawsuit against The Washington Post for $250 million—the amount that Jeff Bezos spent to buy the newspaper.

Does Sandmann have any chance of winning? The short answer is “yes.” But it’s not a sure thing. He’s taking on a defendant with very deep pockets and absolutely no incentive to settle.

Sandmann has sent letters threatening legal action to more than 50 media organizations, celebrities, and politicians about their public statements condemning and attacking Sandmann. The Washington Post is the first media organization to be sued.

What’s Sandmann’s beef? He was accused of racist behavior toward Native American activist Nathan Phillips, based almost entirely on what his lawyers call a “deceptively edited” 59-second video clip. More complete videos of the incident show that the allegations were false.

Sandmann’s lawyers claim The Washington Post stories were “falsely accusing him of instigating the January 18 incident” and “conveyed that Nicholas engaged in acts of racism by ‘swarming’ Phillips, ‘blocking’ his exit away from the students, and otherwise engaging in racist misconduct.” The lawsuit says the newspaper “ignored basic journalistic standards” and engaged in “negligent, reckless, and malicious attacks” on Sandmann, leading a “mainstream and social media mob of bullies which attacked, vilified and threatened” him.

So what are the legal standards governing this type of defamation lawsuit? As Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas explained in a recent opinion, the legal right to sue someone for damaging your reputation depends on whether you are a “public” or a “private” individual. 

The Supreme Court’s 1964 decision in New York Times v. Sullivan established two different standards for proving a defamation case. A “public” figure, such as a government official or celebrity, must prove that the false statement was made with “actual malice,” i.e., with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. A private individual has to prove only that the statement was false.

In a 1967 case, Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, the court expanded the definition of a “public” figure to include private individuals who “thrust themselves to the forefront of particular public controversies in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved.”

Sandmann’s lawyers maintain, quite reasonably, that the 16-year-old is a private figure who has “lived his entire life outside of the public eye.” Further, he did not “engage the public’s attention to resolve any public issue that could impact the community at large” and “has not inserted himself into the forefront of any public issue.”

His lawyers say that his issuance of a statement and his appearance on NBC’s “Today” show were only to provide a “detailed and accurate factual description of his encounter with Phillips.” They were intended to refute the accusations made against him and were “reasonable, proportionate, and in direct response to the false accusation.” That did not turn him into a “public figure” under the legal standard governing defamation lawsuits according to his lawyers.

On this issue, Sandmann will probably be successful. It is doubtful that a court would consider attending the March for Life as meeting the standard for an individual voluntarily injecting himself into a public issue. As First Amendment expert Eugene Volokh says, the Covington High School students “weren’t famous or influential” before this incident, and he doubts that “just showing up at a rally” would qualify them as public figures.

But the law does not allow you to recover damages for an opinion that you consider defamatory. Thus, Sandmann would have a hard time recovering from The Washington Post or anyone else for expressing an opinion that he is racially insensitive or a racist. While that opinion may be unfair or unjust, it is not actionable. Sandmann is going to have to show that factually false statements were made about his behavior.

That is no doubt why the lawsuit claims that The Washington Post falsely stated that Sandman swarmed, confronted, and mocked Phillips, as well as “engaged in racist conduct.” Sandmann’s lawyers also claim that the stories “communicated the false and defamatory gist that Nicholas assaulted and/or physically intimidated Phillips” and “engaged in racist taunts.”

Once you get past the public figure/private person standard established by the Supreme Court, state law is going to apply. In Kentucky, where this lawsuit was filed, you can get damages without proving actual harm if the defamatory statement made against you is “defamatory per se.” That includes: statements falsely accusing you of committing a serious crime; conduct affecting your fitness for office, trade, occupation, or business; or having a “loathsome” disease.

Sandmann’s lawyers argue that The Washington Post’s statements were defamatory per se because they were “libelous on their face” and subjected him to “public hatred, contempt, scorn, obloquy, and shame.” Sandmann has “suffered permanent harm to his reputation” and “severe emotional distress.” His lawyers are also asking for punitive damages because the newspaper published the false accusations “with actual malice” by failing to verify them and by failing to review the complete video that showed what actually happened.

Can he win? Maybe. Rolling Stone agreed to pay $1.65 million to settle the defamation lawsuit filed by the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia after it published an article that implicated the fraternity in a false gang rape story. The Washington Post is probably willing to put a lot of resources into fighting this case in order to avoid encouraging other lawsuits. But just like Rolling Stone, it may eventually agree to a settlement to buy peace.

This article was originally published on Fox News.

House Eyes Votes on 2 Gun Control Measures - The Daily Signal

House Eyes Votes on 2 Gun Control Measures

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson /

The Democrat-controlled House is expected to vote this week on two gun control bills, one of which would subject gun sales by licensed dealers to federal review while the other would impose a universal background check on gun owners.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee passed both measures on a 23-15 vote along party lines.

In a public statement, the National Rifle Association said the measures would not cut off criminals’ access to firearms and instead would inconvenience law-abiding citizens.

Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and Pete King, R-N.Y., are spearheading what some call the most high-profile action on gun control in two decades. Neither is a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Titled the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, one of the bills targets firearms purchased online or at gun shows, requiring these purchases to be subject to the federal background check system.

The legislation would amend current law that mandates only licensed firearms dealers must perform background checks before approving a gun sale. The amendment would require all gun transfers go through licensed firearm dealers to run background checks.

Gifts between family members and temporary transfers for use at a shooting range and hunting would be exempt from a background check.

The bill isn’t as bipartisan as its title suggests, with only four Republicans co-sponsoring the measure besides King: Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Brian Mast of Florida, Fred Upton of Michigan, and Chris Smith of New Jersey.

The other bill, sponsored by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., would extend the review period for a gun sale for up to 20 days. It is co-sponsored by King and Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C.

Under the proposed Enhanced Background Checks Act, gun owners no longer would be able to bypass a background check if it isn’t completed within three days.

The review period would be extended to 10 days and the bill would allow the buyer to request a review if the check hasn’t been completed by then. If another 10 days goes by without notification from the background check system, the gun sale could advance.

House Democrats said the three-day safety valve allowed a gunman to fatally shoot nine persons at a Bible study inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015.

Proponents of the bill cite that time period as the central justification to enhance communications between local law enforcement and the federal background check system. The gunman was able to buy a gun despite pending felony drug charges against him.

The National Rifle Association countered the notion that the three-day waiting period led to the Charleston shooting, noting that the shooter’s attempt to purchase the firearm on April 11, 2015, was delayed because of his arrest for drug possession.

However, the NRA also said the firearm “was transferred to him five days later, absent a direct proceed order from the National Instant Background Check System,” adding:

The attack did not occur until June 17. In the intervening time, the FBI had the opportunity to continue to investigate whether the perpetrator was prohibited from possessing firearms and could have referred the case to ATF [the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] for a firearm retrieval had they determined he was indeed prohibited.

The NRA concludes that due to the FBI’s failure to continue an investigation on the gun transfer, lawmakers’ attempt to connect the Charleston shooting to the three-day waiting period is false.

Teachers Strike Over Performance Pay Ends in Denver - The Daily Signal

Teachers Strike Over Performance Pay Ends in Denver

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson /

Revising the once mutually lauded performance-based teacher payment model known as ProComp was at the heart of the three-day teachers strike in Denver that ended in time for classes Thursday morning.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association and Denver Public Schools announced a tentative agreement early Thursday.

An amended version of ProComp has a retroactive effective date of Jan. 19 and runs through Aug. 31, 2022, updating a teacher salary schedule that starts at $45,800 a year. It also gives average raises of 11.7 percent next year and opens renegotiation of financial terms that could add $23.1 million to teacher compensation along with other benefits.

“This is a victory for Denver kids and their parents and our teachers,”
the union’s lead negotiator, Rob Gould, said after the last bargaining session. “Educators in Denver Public Schools now have a fair, predictable, transparent salary schedule. We’re happy to get back to work.”

Last weekend, the two sides tried unsuccessfully to negotiate an agreement. The strike that ensued Monday was Denver’s first in 25 years.

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova had noted “real progress” by Tuesday night.

The ProComp contract, which expired Jan. 18, paid Denver’s teachers based on performance and incentives, rather than seniority and education level, in addition to their base pay.

The school system offered bonuses to teachers based on factors such as working in schools with a high poverty rate in positions difficult to fill, or working in high-performing schools that are growing rapidly, among others. The goal was to increase teacher pay and attract top talent to challenging schools and subjects.

But as Denver’s school district has grown and the budget has stretched, the teachers union contended that bonuses siphoned off too much of their base pay. They wanted either to reduce or completely ax some bonuses, arguing that higher base pay would prevent teacher turnover, to the benefit of students.

Although the school district and the teachers union agreed to a starting base pay of $45,800 a year, school officials said they wouldn’t compromise on incentives for teachers who work in high-poverty areas or one of the district’s “high priority schools.”

“There was a recognition that we share many areas of agreement, and we worked hard to listen and find common ground on the few areas where we had different perspectives,” Cordova said Thursday morning.

Taxpayer funding of ProComp was expected to reach $33 million this year.

“If the district is proposing to reallocate resources to cover teacher salaries, that’s certainly better than asking local taxpayers to cover it,” said Jonathan Butcher, senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation. “Still, across-the-board increases do not reward the hardest-working educators. Districts should be looking for ways to cut administration and focus on classroom instruction.”

Thorny issues included “professional development units” for teachers, or PDUs, which are district-based teacher education courses offered at no cost.

While talks continued, Denver’s 71,000 students were taught by school administrators and substitute teachers.

Problematic Women: Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage - The Daily Signal

Problematic Women: Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Lauren Evans / Kelsey Bolar /

In a special episode of “Problematic Women,” Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James joins us to talk about the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission.

President Donald Trump appointed James to the bipartisan commission formed to celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment, which secured women’s right to vote. In this week’s podcast, we discuss the history of the movement, what “suffrage” really means, and the importance of celebrating this historic event.

We also break down the left’s continued unhinged comments about abortion, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., calling for taxpayer-funded, no-restriction abortions and comedian Jim Carrey’s depiction of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey being aborted.

Finally, has the #MeToo movement harmed or helped women? According to CBS News, male managers are now more hesitant interacting with their female employees at work—we discuss. Listen to the podcast below, or read the transcript of our full interview with Kay Coles James.

This is a lightly-edited transcript.

Lauren Evans: Mrs. James, so why are we talking about [the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission] now?

Kay Coles James: Well, you know, I was so honored when President Trump asked me to be his representative to the women’s suffrage commission.

It was a commission that was established by Congress to bring a bipartisan group of women together to plan how we’re going to educate and to celebrate women having the right to vote in our country. It will be the 100th year, centennial, this celebration year.

Having joined that commission, I was honored that this bipartisan group asked if I would, in fact, chair this commission.

Given the importance of this issue, the significance of it—what it means to me as an American and as a woman in this wonderful country—it is indeed an honor.

And serving beside and along with some folks who I just admire and respect so much, your audience may know some of the names—Penny Nance from Concerned Women For America; Marjorie Dannenfelser, who heads up that fabulous pro-life group; Cleta Mitchell, who is an attorney in our country, second to none.

But also on the other side of the aisle as well, and I think she is an absolute icon, and every woman in this country ought to know Sen. [Barbara] Mikulski and the incredible work she has done in the United States Senate, as one of, if not the longest serving woman in the United States Senate.

And so she is the vice chair of the commission and we considered it absolutely important to demonstrate to this country and to some of the guys in this town what it looks like when we come together as women across partisan lines to do something of great importance and great significance.

So I have a learned a great deal from her. We have stormed a hill together and are working side by side every day to make sure that if anyone repeats that little prank, that the women in this country will know what the women’s suffrage movement is and some of the heroes that paved the way for us to have the opportunity to vote.

Kelsey Bolar: Yeah. Before we get into the significance of this 100-year anniversary, I do want to mention the commission is composed of 14 members, appointed by the president, as you had the honor.

[These include] the speaker of the House, the minority leader of the House, the majority leader of the Senate, the minority of the Senate, the librarian of Congress, the archivist of the United States, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, and the director of the National Park Service.

So, it really does feature a mix of different ideological perspectives and in this time, when our country is unfortunately so divided, do you think that it is possible that we could unite around the celebration around this monumental event?

James: Not only can we, but we will. And our job is to encourage that kind of bipartisan work and support across the country so we will be doing it at the national level and providing opportunities at the state level to celebrate, as well.

As each state ratified originally, we’re hoping that those states will come on board with their own individual celebrations.

And, I forgot to mention, a very important woman in all of this who is the executive director, Rebecca Kleefisch, and some of our listeners may remember her. She ran for lieutenant governor in the state of Wisconsin with Scott Walker and she is giving her time and talent now to chair this very important commission.

Evans: We’d love for you to walk us back through history and share what women today should know about the suffragettes and who some of the most prominent ones that stick out to you are?

James: Well, first of all, they should know it was a very long and hard slug. And I think that’s important to remember because today’s young people sometimes think we should have instant gratification.

But, just to give you a few dates, a lot of people think that the real beginning happened in 1848 in Seneca Falls. And that’s in New York and that’s the location of the first [regional] women’s rights convention. And one very important woman wrote the Declaration of Sentiments with the help of many of the women who were there at that convention: Elizabeth [Cady] Stanton.

I think probably the next data of note was 1850 in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was the site of the first National Women’s Rights Convention. And it was a stellar lineup of individuals who actually participated there, from Frederick Douglass to Abby Kelley Foster, William Lloyd Garrison, Sojourner Truth—it was a real strong alliance.

I think it’s also important to note that the alliance between the abolitionists in this country and the suffragists was so, so important in making it happen.

Of course, with the Civil War, things sort of died down a little bit as women turned their attention toward the war effort.

In 1866, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony formed the American Equal Rights Association. It was an organization that was dedicated to the goal of suffrage for all, regardless of gender or race.

However, there was a little bit of an upset in the movement and Frederick Douglass, who had been such a great supporter and worked hand-in-hand with these two women.

We think intersectionality is a new thing, but, boy, you begin to see this way back then in this battle because Frederick Douglass was so concerned that he thought that the leaders in the suffragist movement were taking resources from racists and there was some back and forth about what should come first.

Should women gain the right to vote first or should blacks in America gain the right to vote first? And there was a little bit of conflict as they worked through some of those issues.

But I think what’s important for today, if we fast forward a little bit, is to recognize that when the Congress actually passed the 19th Amendment and then it went out to be ratified by the various states, it took a very long time for this to all unfold.

And I think those of us who came through with the television and where all problems were resolved in 30 minutes with time for commercials, to recognize that sometimes it can take a very, very long time to change the culture, to change the processes, and to really win the rights we so desperately want.

Evans: What strategy did the suffragettes use to employ that change?

James: Well, you know, it’s really interesting given the strategies people use today. But they used everything.

Bolar: I heard something about a hunger strike.

James: Yeah, yeah. I would like to think that I would’ve been tough enough to go along with the hunger strike, but I’m not real sure. So they used a hunger strike, and there was tension about whether or not these should be national efforts or state-by-state.

But at the national level, they did picketing, they did demonstrations, they did hunger strikes, and women were determined to use the power that they had in the home to influence their husbands as well to get on board with the movement.

Now, you may notice—and I think it’s worthy of note—that I tend to use the term “suffragist” instead of “suffragettes.” And I don’t know if you know that there is significance behind that.

“The suffragettes” was a derogatory term that came out of England, and when you think about women’s suffrage, they tried to demean women by saying, “Oh, you cute little suffragettes, aren’t you.”

So they wanted to minimize and demean and it was a derogatory term. So American women tended to use and prefer the term “suffragist.” So we just have to be very careful with our language and make sure we don’t use the derogatory term.

Bolar: Tricky. You mentioned Susan B. Anthony earlier. She’s a very interesting figure to me because most people have actually heard of her name today because of the amazing pro-life group that The Heritage Foundation works with from time to time.

So Susan B. Anthony is known as a pro-life figure today, but she did play such an important role in leading this movement to get women the right to vote.

Do you think that left-leaning women today have a difficult time reckoning with the fact that some of the most important women who fought for and gained women’s rights throughout history, were, dare I say, pro-life?

James: You know, I think it’s a great lesson for them. And I only wish that we as women in today’s culture could come together around issues that are important across party and ideological lines. I see less of that.

But I happen to know that there are women who are feminist, who feel strongly about women’s rights, who are profoundly pro-life. And, you know, there’s even an organization called Feminists for Life and that’s so difficult for some on the left to wrap their heads around, but that’s always been true.

And I happen to believe that to be pro-life is probably one of the most feminist positions you can take because I say that I refuse to change anything about who I am, to be equal to any man. I bear children, and I don’t need to change that, or to mutilate my body, or to do anything to be equal. And I think that’s a very strong feminist position.

Bolar: Absolutely, I agree with you. And I have to say, I’ve personally noticed what I’ve been calling a “revisionist history” when it comes to pro-life women’s roles in securing women’s rights throughout history.

Especially with conversations surrounding some of the abortion laws that are circulating throughout the states right now, I’ve seen a lot of women tell me you can’t be pro-life and be a feminist.

They constantly want to box us out of the conversation, not just surrounding the life issue but the “Me Too” issue as well, battling sexual assault and so forth.

My question for you is, what more can we do as conservative women to make it known that not only do we want to be a part of the solution now, but we were a part of the solution throughout history?

James: That’s exactly right. What more can we do? I think as women, we have learned that one of the most empowering things we have are our voices and we have to make sure that our voices are heard.

I know many pro-life, conservative, Evangelical, Republican women, you name it all, who’ve had their own “Me Too” moments. And our voices need to be heard on that issue as well.

I know many conservative women who have a lot to say about discrimination that they’ve faced in the workforce and I think it would be strategic and smart of the women on the left to understand that when they cut out our voices from the issues that are important to us that what they’re doing is missing an entire element that could help get these issues over the finish line. We have influence and voices and we can promote these issues as well.

That’s one of the things that I think is so significant and not to be overlooked about this particular commission. We have women on that commission from a broad political perspective and who have differing opinions on many of the issues that are at the forefront of the political debate today.

But we have come together in solidarity on this issue. So we’re really hoping that this particular commission can be a role model going forward of how we can come together as Americans on issues that are important to us.

Evans: Earlier this year, Google decided to create an advisory council that would help guide the company in the responsible development of artificial intelligence and asked you, Mrs. James, to join.

After your involvement was announced, Google employees started a petition to have you removed from the panel because of your stance on some social issues.

The employees were successful, Google removed you, and effectively silenced your voice due to political disagreement.

James: Well, sure. That was so unfortunate. You know, anyone who listens to what’s going on in the news today knows that we have some major issues with many of the social platforms.

And as conservatives, we feel that our voices, very often on those platforms, are silenced, are rejected, or deleted, and so I thought it was significant that Google reached out and said, “We’d like to hear your perspective as we deal with some of the complex issues surrounding artificial intelligence.”

And so, I was shocked at the backlash from many of their employees. But, you know, we started the show talking about the ignorance surrounding just the term “suffrage” and it occurs to me that in this particular issue with Google, there was so much ignorance because the employees, some 2,000-plus who signed the petition that said I should not be involved, had a caricature of who this person, Kay Coles James, is that bared no resemblance to reality.

They just didn’t do their homework. And probably my favorite characterization was when they called me a white nationalist. Well, you know, a slight Google search would have turned up that I am actually African-American and I laughed about it and said, “Well, I’m glad I’m finally outed. I don’t have to get up every day and put this black face on.”

I mean, how silly can you possibly be? But the other terms were just as insulting and just as ill-informed that I am anti-immigration. That says you do not really want to do your homework and understand what the real positions of conservatives are.

To say that you’re anti-gay, I mean that is absolutely ridiculous. And I think that they missed out on an opportunity to have a conversation and dialogue with someone who may have a different perspective.

And I didn’t necessarily think they would end up agreeing with my perspective, but, boy, could we have had interesting conversations and could we have understood each other better and perhaps reached consensus on some very important issues.

Evans: Mrs. James, you handled it with such toughness, but also grace. And I think a lot of our listeners find themselves in similar positions, maybe not so high-profile, but they might be the only conservative on their college campus, or maybe they’re a young professional and they’re the only conservative in their peer group.

What is your advice to these young women?

James: I would say, one of the best gifts that we can give ourselves, as women, is to learn to be comfortable in our own skin. “I am who I am.”

And one of the best pieces of advice that I got when I got to Washington was keep the group of people whose opinions you care about really small—my family, my husband, my friends, my church, you know. And as long as I stay true to who I am, all the attacks that come just bounce off.

When they were describing that person, it was humorous to me because I knew that just wasn’t who I was. And so, to be able to go to bed every night knowing you are faithful to who you are, to your family, to your God, puts you in a position of absolute confidence.

And I think even biblically, it talks about the peace that passes all understanding. I sleep really well at night unless my husband, my family, are upset over something and I value their opinions that I want to have a conversation and straighten it out. Short of that, you can say almost anything you want and it really doesn’t matter. And I think that’s one of the best gifts that we can give ourselves, to be confident in who we are.

Bolar: Getting back to the reason we’re having you on the podcast today, we’re very grateful that through this commission, you’re having a very different experience than you did with Google.

So, on Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment finally became part of the U.S. Constitution. It states that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State, on account of sex.”

Is that the end of the story?

James: It never is the end of the story. Just because the 19th Amendment was passed, didn’t mean that every state would ratify it. There was still a lot in the culture that needed to change.

There’s always debates in political circles, which comes first, the cultural change or the political change, or does the political change drive the culture? And I don’t think it’s either, I think it’s both.

And so it was many years before men really let it sink into their souls that women had a right to be in the political process and express their views.

And I think we again so desperately want to see change happen, and we want to see it happen quickly, that we don’t understand that sometimes it takes years and years and years.

And sometimes when we’re involved in those kinds of struggles and debates and battles, we don’t live to see it fully come to fruition. So, patience, patience, patience.

Evans: Mrs. James, can you let our listeners know how they can get involved with the commission?

James: Well, you can find us on the web, dare say it again: Google the women’s suffrage commission, it’s actually called the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission.

And there they will find lots of help and tool kits that give suggestions for what they can do at the state level and for what national programs and projects they can get involved in.

Evans: Well, thank you so much for joining us. You are truly an inspiration to all of us Problematic Women.

The Surrogacy Risks the Media Won’t Cover - The Daily Signal

The Surrogacy Risks the Media Won’t Cover

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Lauren Evans / Kelsey Bolar / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis /

Surrogacy is touted by some celebrities, including Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West, who have had two children via surrogates. But is it as safe as the media coverage suggests? Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture breaks down the medical risks the procedure has, as well as some of the legal and personal consequences surrogacy and egg donation have had for some. Read the interview, posted below, or listen to it in the podcast:

We also cover these stories:

The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunesSoundCloudGoogle Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at [email protected]. Enjoy the show!

Kate Trinko: Joining us today is, Jennifer Lahl, who is the president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture. She’s also produced several documentaries on third-party reproduction, including “Eggsploitation” and “Breeders: A Subclass of Women?” as well as “Big Fertility.”

Jennifer, thanks for joining us today.

Jennifer Lahl: Thank you, it’s good to be with you today.

Trinko: First off, let’s talk about the health risks. What are the health risks to the woman, when she is a surrogate for pregnancy, and what are the health risks to the baby?

Lahl: You know, it’s funny, because most people just think all pregnancies are equal, and that’s not the case.

When you think of surrogacy, the woman is pregnant, carrying somebody else’s baby, so if you equate what’s happening to organ donation, we don’t just take a kidney from somebody and put it into somebody else’s body because we know that body will probably reject it. That’s what’s actually going on with surrogacy.

When the woman has the embryo, or embryos transferred into her womb or her uterus, her body immediately undergoes a rejection. This is foreign, this is not my baby.

In the medical literature, you’ll see that a surrogate mother is going to be at higher risk for pre-eclampsia, maternal hypertension, gestational diabetes, and of course, if the mother is at risk, and in a high-risk pregnancy category, that also stresses the baby or babies that she’s carrying, so that they are also at risk.

Daniel Davis: This is something that people know about rejecting kidneys, and that kind of thing, but we don’t often think about this.

I almost think that surrogacy is not talked about. People don’t really think about it, but it’s increasingly common, right?

Lahl: Yeah, and people don’t talk about it, and all they see mostly is the covers of People Magazine, where you’ll see celebrities—Jimmy Fallon, Kim Kardashian, Elton John—all these people that are having babies in this new way.

Since this is a relatively new practice, we’re only now starting to get data in the medical literature. The data is showing that these are high-risk pregnancies because a woman’s not carrying her own child.

Davis: Right.

Trinko: Just out of curiosity, obviously, they can test for kidneys and which ones would work better or worse for you. Is there anything like that possible for embryos?

Lahl: I suppose they could, but you have to get back to the question, why would you want to do this?

Because, in the case of organ donation, even if you have a really good match, the person’s who’s receiving that organ is going to have to take all these extra drugs, anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their life.

Why would you take a healthy woman, who’s not a patient, put her into a medically risky situation, and then say, “But, that’s OK. We’ll just give her more medication in managing these risks.”

You have to come back and say, “Why would we even want to do this in the beginning? Because surrogates are overwhelmingly young moms, busy at home, taking care of their own children, and why would we want to put them in a compromised pregnancy situation that may jeopardize their ability to mother their own children?

Davis: Your organization is waving a red flag here, saying, “Let’s actually look as a society at what this is and the risks.” Have you gotten much interest from the media in covering and bringing that to the surface?

Lahl: … We’ve actually been silenced by the media. The media has adopted the big fertility industry narrative that everybody wins. Otherwise, these wonderful couples couldn’t have children, and the children are all fine, and the surrogate mothers are all fine. It’s a narrative that’s very strong and powerful. And the media, so far, has not wanted to report on the full story.

I lamented in my remarks at The Heritage Foundation today that we have a surrogate mother in the United States who died carrying twins for a couple in Spain. The twins died and we could not get any media interest whatsoever in three people losing their lives.

Trinko: I assume her death was connected to carrying the twins?

Lahl: It was definitely connected to being pregnant. She had placental abruption, and you don’t get placental abruption if you’re not pregnant.

Trinko: So tragic.

Lahl: There’s no placenta.

Trinko: You just mentioned the big fertility industry. Tell us a bit about it. I think a lot of Americans know it’s extremely expensive to use IVF or involve a surrogate, but is this a profitable industry?

Lahl: It’s a huge profitable industry, and of course, the surrogate mother is the low person on the receiving end, if you will, of the economic gain.

We say often that the person, the buyers, the intended parents who get a take-home IVF baby through surrogacy, it’s a six-figure baby, so this is clearly a very wealthy, lucrative industry.

It’s a growing industry, it’s in the billions and billions of dollars, it’s a global industry, because embryos are tiny and egg and sperm are tiny. They can be frozen and shipped all around the world. So it’s definitely a big, big industry.

Davis: Here in the United States, what is the regulation like? You mentioned a Spanish couple having their child here. What’s the regulation like?

Lahl: The United States is a peculiar country in that we have 50 states, which means we have 50 different pieces of legislation, if you will. Of course, some states have the same laws, but commercial surrogacy is all illegal in New York state.

My state of California, where I live, it’s literally a reproductive tourist destination zone, so people from all around the world will come to California because it’s very friendly to surrogacy.

The global south has just recently, over the last several years, closed their borders, shut down commercial surrogacy, because women and children have been harmed and exploited, which makes the market just move and shift to more surrogacy-friendly places like the United States.

Right now, we’re fighting a very tough uphill battle to keep commercial surrogacy illegal in New York state, and Gov. Cuomo is poised to legalize commercial surrogacy there. It’ll be interesting to see if we’re successful or not because that’s an active piece of legislation right now.

But, in the last few years, because of the work I do, I’ve been involved in Washington state, in Louisiana, in the District of Columbia, where we’ve lost. These are states that normally, in the past, did not permit surrogacy, and have now become surrogacy-friendly states.

Trinko: You mentioned the instance of the mom with the Spanish twins, but you also discussed at the event a woman who ended up having both a child she was carrying as a surrogate, but also her natural child.

You said she faced legal obstacles in getting the rights to her own child back. Can you talk about that? Also, are there other stories of things like this, where things have gone wrong?

Lahl: Oh, there’s so many stories. …

I remember sitting in my office the moment Jessica Allan contacted me. She’s a young woman in Southern California, who literally gave birth to a Chinese baby and her own baby, and did not realize that at the time.

The whole time she was pregnant, she thought she was pregnant for this Chinese couple with their two Chinese babies.

Most surrogates do not see the babies when they’re born. They’re immediately taken away. That was the case with Jessica, so she didn’t immediately see these two babies that came out of her body.

It was only within the hours and days later that she could sense that there was something amiss. The Chinese mother came in and on her phone showed Jessica a picture of the two twins, and said, “What do you think about these babies?”

Jessica said, “They don’t look like they’re brothers and sisters. They don’t look the same.”

Jessica Allan is a white women, who is married to an African-American man, and in fact, what happened was, through a rare occurrence called superfetation, she got pregnant about a week to 10 days after the embryo transfer.

Throughout the pregnancy, they thought she was carrying Chinese twins, when in fact, she was carrying one Chinese baby and then got pregnant with her own child.

It took her two months to get her baby back because immediately, her maternal rights were already severed when the children were born, and the Chinese mother and the Chinese father were the parents on the birth certificate.

Then, it took her another about 10 months to get the Chinese name off of the birth certificate of her son, and to put the name they gave their son, and herself and her husband listed as the birth mother and birth father of their own child.

I could tell stories like that all day long. In my film, “Big Fertility,” I rattle off a couple of very provocative cases that I personally know of, and I say, “How many? How many more of these kind of stories are the media going to not tell, or not listen to, or our government officials not step in, and act, before … ”

Are we going to just keep letting women be harmed, and children be harmed, before good laws are passed?

Davis: It seems like surrogacy is closely related nowadays to gay couples, the issue of gay couples wanting to have their biological kids.

Trinko: Although, I would just point out also, more and more older straight couples as well.

Davis: Yeah.

Lahl: Yeah.

Davis: Yeah, fair. But it seems, at least to me, that a lot of people think, “Oh, well, surrogacy, that’s just enabling these couples to have full equality in society, enabling them to have access to what everyone else has access to.”

How would you speak to those who maybe support gay couples being able to marry and that kind of thing, but aren’t sure how to think about surrogacy? Because it seems like what you’re saying is it’s not just about the parents’ rights. There’s a lot more involved here.

Lahl: Yeah. … Of course, my position is that I am 100% against surrogacy for anybody—gay couples, heterosexual couples, single people who just want to have a baby and don’t want to be involved, or Mrs. Right or Mr. Right haven’t come along.

It gets back to the point: You don’t have a right to a child and you certainly don’t have a right to another woman’s body.

In the case of gay couples, they overwhelmingly exploit two women. They exploit one woman for her eggs and they exploit one woman for her uterus, so that they can have the child of their dreams.

Now, I’m overwhelmingly sympathetic to people who can’t have children. I don’t ever want my message to be misconstrued of I don’t feel sympathy or have any kind of empathy for people who really want to have children, and for some reason, all the different reasons why people can’t have children can’t.

But I do draw a very bright line between you don’t have a right to put another woman, or in the case of an egg donor, two women in harm’s way. You don’t have a right to intentionally separate children from their birth mother and their biological identities and realities.

I was a pediatric nurse for almost two decades and I say often that the only thing a newborn baby knows at the time of birth is their mother. You don’t have to teach them that. They’ve learned that from being nine months in the womb with this woman. They know her sounds, they know her voice, they know her smell. They know her rhythm and her movements.

There’s a trauma, and that’s in the medical literature, that’s broken when that bond is severed. …

So, Jessica’s son, who was taken away for two months, I wonder what kind of long-term trauma there might be on that child, who was placed in a very undesirable situation. …

He was with intended parents, who knew “this is not our baby,” so they weren’t attaching to this child, and Jessica being clueless that she had given away her own child, and then, only to be reunited with him two months later, you have to imagine that there is some kind of trauma that was happening at that time.

Trinko: You just mentioned that, in cases of surrogacy that involve an egg donor, there are also health risks to the egg donor.

I was wondering if you could get into that because I think it’s becoming more and more popular to encourage young women to freeze their eggs, so if they don’t meet the right guy until they’re older, they can have children then.

But then of course, there are also ads that say you’ll get a lot of money if you donate your eggs right now. Why is that a concern?

Lahl: Well, for one, they’re getting a lot of money to sell their eggs, and it’s all under the guise of donation.

When you think of organ donation, organ donors are truly donors. They’re not being compensated. But egg donors … are being heavily compensated, and especially the more beautiful, and smart, and if they go to an Ivy League school, they can really be compensated heavily.

There’s serious health risks to young women who are being paid to sell their eggs. They take very powerful hormones, super powerful doses, because if you’re going to pay an egg donor $10,000 or $15,000, you don’t want one egg. You want as many as you can get her body to produce.

These women are bombarded with very high doses of powerful fertility drugs that have never been tested on healthy women.

What the medical literature shows is what the drugs have done as far as negative effects on infertile women. So you can’t compare those studies because you’re taking a healthy woman, an egg donor, who has nothing wrong with her fertility, she’s not sick, and then, you’re putting her on high doses.

She’s undergoing surgery, anesthesia, so there’s all those short-term risks associated with the procedure and the drugs. Then, there’s the longer-term risks.

For example, in my film, “Eggsploitation,” two women lost their ability to ever have their own children. So in helping somebody have a baby, these women will never be able to have their own children.

One of the women went on and developed bilateral breast cancer at a very young age, where breast cancer doesn’t normally strike younger women. It’s a much older women kind of a cancer. Women of my age are more at risk.

Two women had massive strokes, massive strokes. They live with permanent damage from the strokes. And you have to think again, back to “Big Fertility,” why for the sake of the all-mighty dollar and somebody else who really wants a child would we be willing to risk the health and well-being of otherwise healthy women, surrogate mothers, or egg donors?

They’re not patients. They’re not doing any of this because they have a medical need to assume risks of drugs and pregnancy. They’re doing it because they need money.

Davis: Wow, it’s pretty sobering. Jennifer Lahl, I really appreciate your time and being on. Where can our listeners find your work?

Lahl: My website is

Davis: Fantastic, thank you.

Lahl: You’re welcome.

The SAT’s New ‘Adversity Score’ Isn’t Just Unfair. It’s Self-Destructive. - The Daily Signal

The SAT’s New ‘Adversity Score’ Isn’t Just Unfair. It’s Self-Destructive.

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Lauren Evans / Kelsey Bolar / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kenny Xu /

We all thought those online quizzes that give you a score based on “how privileged you are” were funny. Except now, the score is real—and it will affect your life dramatically if you’re an anxious high schooler applying to college. 

A new report by The Wall Street Journal describes the efforts of The College Board, the private organization behind the SAT, to implement an “adversity score” to track the hardship of a test-taker’s circumstances. 

The adversity score will consider “15 factors,” according to the report, including the student’s socioeconomic status, the neighborhood crime rate, and parental education level.

Race won’t explicitly be a factor, so the College Board can avoid lawsuits over racial discrimination and preferences, which are illegal by federal statute. However, scholars who have commented on the new feature have acknowledged that “the purpose is to get to race without using race,” in the words of Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University’s Center of Education and the Workforce. 

Notably, students will not be told what their adversity score is, thereby rendering them oblivious to a critical factor in the college admissions process—and powerless to address any perceived inaccuracy. 

Distorting the Student’s Narrative

This policy change comes at a time when SAT opposition movements have become increasingly vocal, and college admissions has come under heightened scrutiny due to the recent college bribery scandal involving Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. 

Of course, many colleges and universities already have their own ways of determining how underprivileged a student is, and accordingly, how much they should consider these factors in admitting said student. There is, in fact, an ongoing lawsuit against Harvard University for using exactly this sort of “privilege scale,” of which race is a factor, according to the plaintiffs. 

But the addition of the adversity score on the SAT is the boldest and most explicit move yet by the top college admissions gatekeeper in the country to attempt to pre-empt a student’s ability to control his own narrative when applying to college. 

Only a few of the 15 factors used to determine a student’s adversity score have been revealed. But it’s unlikely that any of them will include irregular hardships, such as “My father died when I was little” or “I was bullied in middle school.” 

The College Board’s overreaching attempt to determine what constitutes “adversity” for millions upon millions of high school students in America will inevitably capture only certain visible, easily researchable fractions of a student’s experience—a small portion of who they really are. 

After all, the aspects that usually affect students’ lives the most are not easily researchable and are not stored in the public databases the College Board plans to mine. The sweeping, collective generalizations this adversity score will make about a person will hinder a student’s ability to craft his own story and advocate for himself.

Imagine, for example, that you are a high school student writing a college essay about your service trip to Costa Rica. If you had an adversity score of 20 (a low adversity score), the admissions officer might question your intentions or the privilege you had to go to Costa Rica. 

But if you had an adversity score of 80 (a high adversity score), the admissions officer might be skeptical that you even went on the trip, uncertain about how you could afford such an endeavor.

The adversity score has the potential to invite all kinds of unwelcome stereotypes to creep into the college-admissions process, factors that the student cannot quell or control, since he doesn’t know his own adversity score in the first place.

The score will also homogenize college applications and stifle real diversity in the name of artificial, surface-level “diversity.” Once students (and perhaps more importantly, parents of students) figure out what factors the College Board emphasizes in their adversity score, they will seek to emphasize only those parts of themselves that fit into the College Board’s adversity criteria. 

A unitary and opaque algorithm designed to explain the full breadth of your circumstances doesn’t sound like real diversity at all. It sounds like social engineering. 

But Don’t Underprivileged Students Deserve Help?

One defense of the adversity score centers on the fact that it will help uplift applicants from poor or underprivileged backgrounds, by showing that their somewhat lower SAT score can be attributed to meager circumstances.

It may well be true that schools should factor in a student’s circumstances in their selection process, but it is not the College Board’s job to decide whose life is more difficult than another’s, especially without personally consulting the student. 

Rather, it is the student’s job to use the personal statement to highlight his best qualities in the most challenging of circumstances. An adversity score would pigeonhole a student before he even gets the chance to speak for himself. 

The absurd thing about this whole initiative is that the College Board was founded and still functions primarily as a test-takingservice. When people take tests, they should not expect the bar to be set lower for them. But the College Board is now moving the goalposts for every person who takes the SAT, thus betraying the very purpose of its main product. 

Despite the anti-SAT brouhaha that has emerged over the past few years, an objective standard of merit is still necessary to conduct a functioning college-admissions system. There must be a way for colleges to adjudicate between students with similar grades at different schools. Otherwise, they risk admitting a student who would not fit intellectually with the rest of the class. 

For a long time, the College Board defended the SAT as the test to fit this role of objective gatekeeper. It’s simply not possible to take this argument seriously if the SAT’s own parent organization says it needs an “adversity balancer.” 

The SAT is not a perfect predictor of scholastic capability, but there’s a strong case to be made that is a necessary feature of a societally beneficial college-admissions system. The College Board just gave up on defending that argument—and with it, the rationale for the relevance of its own test.   

Carson Hounded by Open Borders Liberals for Putting Americans First - The Daily Signal

Carson Hounded by Open Borders Liberals for Putting Americans First

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Lauren Evans / Kelsey Bolar / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kenny Xu / Michelle Malkin /

We no longer live in a constitutional republic. We live in an idiocracy.

Only in modern-day America, under the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, is the basic proposition that federally subsidized public housing should benefit American citizens and legal residents slammed as “despicable” and “damaging.”

Those are the hysterical words used by Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York City to condemn the proposal discussed by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Tuesday to ban government aid to residents of the agency who shelter illegal immigrants.

The rule change would end a Clinton-era regulation that allowed immigrants to obtain aid without having to disclose whether they were here legally. The Trump plan could free up an estimated 32,000 public housing slots, according to the department, as 1.6 million applicants nationwide wait to be considered.

Democratic Rep. Juan Vargas of San Diego County couldn’t believe Carson could be so “mean-spirited” in prioritizing law-abiding people over law-breaking ones.

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of Los Angeles called the illegal alien prohibition “cruel.”

Only in America are American public servants, who are sworn to uphold American laws and the U.S. Constitution, hounded by open borders liberals about putting Americans first.

Instead of being forced to defend their own twisted and treasonous priorities, Democrats got an assist from open borders tools in the media making hay of Carson’s unfamiliarity with some stupid real estate acronym.

The squirrel-chasers at Newsweek sputtered: “Ben Carson doesn’t know what an REO property is, thinks he’s being asked about Oreos.” Politico clucked, “Ben Carson confuses a real-estate term and a cookie.”

Fake news narrative set: He’s dastardly, dumb, and hates immigrants!

Carson had patiently explained at the House Financial Services Committee hearing that families with illegal immigrants would still have up to 18 months to defer eviction and find somewhere else to live or to move back to their home countries.

But that (undeserved) generosity was met with still more unhinged cries of “What about the children?” from the “America Last” Democrats whose first allegiance is to thousands of anchor babies born here to irresponsible border-trespassers, visa overstayers, and deportation fugitives. They put their own children at risk in the first place. Not us.

You want to engage in “What about-ism?” What about the native-born military veterans? What about the elderly? And what about the destitute citizens down on their luck waiting for public housing slots to open up?

In Maloney’s city, it reportedly takes an average of 99 months for a public housing applicant to secure an apartment.

In Waters’ city, the waiting list for low-income Americans seeking Section 8 vouchers is 40,000 people and up to 11 years long.

In Vargas’ county, the region now boasts the fourth-highest homeless population in the nation.

It is “only logical,” Carson pointed out, to put Americans ahead of the 32,000 HUD-housed residents deemed ineligible because of their immigration status. But logic is toxic to the Make America Disappear Lobby.

When I hear the impassioned paeans of Democrats on behalf of illegal immigrants fighting for their federal Section 8 vouchers, I am reminded of the most notorious deportation-evading denizen of government-subsidized housing: Zeituni Onyango, President Barack Obama’s illegal immigrant aunt, who died of cancer in 2014.

Remember? Onyango was a beneficiary of the welfare state run amok, and a perfect symbol of open borders ingratitude and metastatic entitlement. She overstayed a temporary visa for 14 years, never going home to Kenya. Screw our rules.

Onyango had no job skills, no special talent, and no claim of persecution. She didn’t value the American dream. She was a dependency nightmare. She collected $700 a month in welfare benefits and disability payments totaling $51,000. Somehow, Onyango also drummed up money to apply for asylum and finagled her way into federal and state public housing in Boston.

She gamed the system under both Democratic and Republican administrations, dragged out her phony “asylum case” three times, dodged two deportation orders, illegally donated to her nephew’s presidential campaign along the way, and then eventually secured a green card in 2010.

Such are the perks of illegal immigrant privilege.

In a raging interview she gave to a Boston TV station before she died, Onyango savaged and taunted her American hosts. “If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen,” she spouted. “I didn’t ask for it,” she retorted when asked about her public housing benefits. “They gave it to me. Ask your system. I didn’t create the system.”

Well, Obama’s ingrate aunt was right about that: She didn’t create the system. Idiocrats built it. Idiocrats are defending it. And idiocrats would rather mock Carson’s ignorance of a real estate acronym than own up to their own suicidal stupidity.

Here’s the only acronym you need to know if idiocrats prevail: R.I.P., America. R.I.P.


In Another Reversal, Apple Allows App Countering Climate Alarmism - The Daily Signal

In Another Reversal, Apple Allows App Countering Climate Alarmism

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Lauren Evans / Kelsey Bolar / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kenny Xu / Michelle Malkin / Kevin Mooney /

Apple’s on-again, off-again relationship with an online smartphone application that challenges global warming alarmism is back on.

The app, Inconvenient Facts, is available again in Apple’s App Store, much to the delight of the geologist who inspired it.

“I thought that it was entirely political,” Gregory Wrightstone, author of the book “Inconvenient Facts: The Science That Al Gore Doesn’t Want You to Know,” said of Apple’s original ban of the app in March. “I still don’t know, but we are back up and available.”

The book by Wrightstone, who has more than three decades of experience as a geologist, serves as the source of information on the app.

As The Daily Signal previously reported on Apple’s decision to backpedal on offering the app, Wrightstone points out that the board of the California-based tech giant includes former Vice President Al Gore, a leading proponent of the view that mankind’s activities propel dangerous climate change.

Apple initially approved the Inconvenient Facts app for sale on its iPhones on Feb. 3, then reversed itself and pulled the app March 4.

“In their rejection, Apple blamed several factors,” Wrightstone said in an email to The Daily Signal. “One was lack of compelling content. Another was limited functionality and use of the iPhone features.”

“The limited functionality meant that it was an app that could be web-based,” he said. “So, we added the phone component so that you can take a picture using the app and your camera, and we added an I LOVE CO2 banner at the bottom of the photo. My app developer and partner thought that might do the trick.”

The Daily Signal sought comment from Apple’s media relations office by phone and email, but the company had not responded by publication time.

For more than two months, the app remained available to Android users through the Google Play Store, where it has been downloaded about 16,000 times.

Apple reinserted the Inconvenient Facts app into its App Store on May 17, making a total of 60 facts about the climate change debate from Wrightstone’s book available to Apple users as well as Android users.

Complete with data, charts, and videos, the facts challenge the premise of alarmist theories linking man-made carbon dioxide emissions to dangerous levels of global warming or climate change.

Gore’s campaign to convince the public that rising levels of carbon dioxide could trigger catastrophic global warming was the subject of the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth” and the 2017 follow-up An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”

The Daily Signal also sought comment from Gore via Delaware-based Carthage Group LLC, with which he is associated, and from the Climate Reality Project, which he founded. Neither organization had responded by publication time.

Karl G. Kowalski, Wrightstone’s app developer, told The Daily Signal that he isn’t clear on why Apple decided to readmit the Inconvenient Facts app.

“They generally only tell you why they reject something, not why they approve of it,” Kowalski said in an email, adding:

There’s a lot of posts about the inscrutableness of Apple’s approval/rejection process.

I’m glad we’re alive at Apple again. Of course, the work is never done! So, I’ll be thinking about other ways to increase features in the app, so we can dodge the next Apple review.

One addition to the app is what Kowalski and Wrightstone call  a Model of Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Induced Climate Change.

“This MAGICC is an important concept of just how tiny any reduction in warming would be for any given reduction in CO2,” Wrightstone said.

The feature models how much various reductions of carbon dioxide in the U.S. would curtail increases in temperature.

Wrightstone’s online commentary demonstrates the utility of the MAGICC feature in critiquing a “Climate Action Plan” rolled out in April by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat.

Wrightstone found that Wolf’s proposed 80 percent reduction in CO2 for Pennsylvania would avert only 0.0023 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050 and 0.0061 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

“This extremely small effect should be a very important component in the discussions on whether to impose the significant burdens of the Climate Action Plan on the state and its citizens,” Wrightstone writes. “The justifications for imposing this plan are flawed, the costs and regulations are economically crippling, and the result is a temperature reduction so low that it is indistinguishable from zero.”

Users of the app simply tap on it to activate the features, including these “inconvenient facts”:

—“First and foremost, CO2 is plant food.”

—“140-million-year trend of dangerously decreasing CO2.”

—“Recent inconvenient pause of 18 years in warming, despite rise in CO2.”

—“The current warming trend is neither unusual nor unprecedented.”

—“Cold kills far more people than heat every year.”

—“There are more polar bears now than we’ve had for 50 years.”

Information about Wrightstone’s book and the app may be found at and on YouTube and Facebook.

The Trans Lobby Is Now Marketing to Your Kids - The Daily Signal

The Trans Lobby Is Now Marketing to Your Kids

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Lauren Evans / Kelsey Bolar / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kenny Xu / Michelle Malkin / Kevin Mooney / Nicole Russell /

As the LGBT movement continues to grow in power and influence, it has started to market drag and transgender ideology to the most gullible group out there: children.

These efforts normalize concepts that are unscientific and that promote medical treatments that many medical professionals oppose.

Take what happened recently on Mother’s Day. Chips Ahoy!, king of the commercialized, processed cookie, tweeted an endorsement of its product by Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, the name of a well-known drag queen.

“I’m so thankful to have a mother, like mine, who supports me, who loves me through all of my craziness … . What’s a sweet gesture for you to do to your mama? Your real mama, your drag mama, whichever mama … whoever you feel or consider your mama, it’s their day today. Get them a cookie,” Vanjie Mateo said in the clip.

For those unfamiliar, Vanjie Mateo was a star on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” seasons 10 and 11, which airs on VH1. Vanjie Mateo is featured prominently in drag and in one episode is seen sharing a sneaky kiss with another drag contestant.

While the clip is clearly not an official Chips Ahoy! commercial—at least it doesn’t appear to be given the quality of the film—the brand tweeted something directly aimed at children, portraying “choice,” drag, cookies, and love together as one marketable package.

This is confusing for kids, to say the least.

To clarify, drag queens and individuals who identify as transgender are not the same. In fact, transgender advocates often oppose any correlation. RuPaul Charles, one of the most famous provocateurs who marketed drag to the masses as merely an occasion to play make-believe, said on an episode of “The Real”:

Drag is really making fun of identity. We are shapeshifters. We’re like, ‘OK, today I’m this, now I’m a cowboy, now I’m this.’ … Transgender people take identity very seriously—their identity is who they are.

While this bit of nuance is undoubtedly true, drag “queens” are often gay, and because of their penchant for dramatic dress are placed into the same category of transgender—for good reason.

Many adults, and definitely even more children, do not realize the differences between the two. All children can see, in this case, is a person who looks like a woman but sounds like a man, encouraging them to purchase one of their favorite snacks to give to one of their favorite people: mom.

A Nielsen report backs up this marketing trend and the economic forces that are helping drive it. Nielsen called the LGBT community “a significant contributor to the U.S. economy” and suggested that “savvy companies should plan their strategies accordingly.”

The report stated:

Not only do American LGBT households make 10% more shopping trips in a year than the average U.S. household, they buy more at checkout. In aggregate, LGBT households spent an average of $4,135 at retail stores in 2014—7% more than non-LGBT consumers. This type of spending makes LGBT consumers attractive for marketing appeal across music, sports, TV, and brand sponsorships. Not only are they watching and listening at higher rates than non-LGBT households, but in many cases, they’re also influencing the content and characters in those outlets.

Given those statistics, it’s not surprising that Chips Ahoy! jumped on the LGBT bandwagon to market cookies via a drag queen. Of course, eating a cookie or giving one as a gift is certainly an age-appropriate decision that a child is capable of making. Pursuing “sex reassignment,” however, is not—and it is irresponsible to combine the two into one message.

But cookie ads aren’t the only way kids are receiving the LGBT message. “Drag queen storytime” for children has sprung up at local libraries nationwide. At these gatherings, men, dressed in drag, read books to young children—usually books about LGBT issues, but not always.

The public response has been mixed. While one drag story hour in Louisville was applauded, another in Houston was shut down due to protests.

The drag trend is even spreading to children themselves. “Desmond is Amazing” is an 11-year-old drag kid, a boy who dresses as a girl. He recently posted a video with another adult drag queen in which the adult made a comment about snorting ketamine.

Many LGBT organizations applaud Desmond, despite his age. He has been featured on several talk shows without criticism, communicating the idea that a pre-pubescent boy dressed in drag is not only normal but healthy, and in fact, cool.

Even traditional kids’ shows are now promoting progressive sexual ideas. Less shocking than Desmond, but still pushing the envelope, the cartoon show “Arthur” recently featured a gay wedding in which Mr. Ratburn—Arthur’s third-grade teacher—marries another man. One of the students then praises the union, saying, “It’s a brand new world.”

This prompted congratulatory tweets, even from GLAAD, signifying the cultural significance of such an episode. (Alabama has refused to air it.)

The socialization and normalization of drag queens, transgender ideology, and child cross-dressing is a dangerous trend. This aggressive effort to place LGBT identity and ideology in the center of American culture—through television, marketing campaigns, and social media—is a clear demonstration of how much they want children to accept and embrace their thinking, and even become one of them.

The LGBT community is marketing its lifestyle to children even as more data reveals that children who participate—particularly in transitioning from one gender to another—remain miserable. This article in The Atlantic demonstrated how much pain children go through when they try to pursue sex reassignment due to gender dysphoria, rather than addressing the underlying causes of the dysphoria.

There should be a clear line between adults living according to their beliefs about sexuality and gender, and imposing those beliefs on young children and suggesting that irreversible medical treatments are the answer.

The LGBT movement doesn’t seem to respect that line at all.

New York Lawmakers Pass Bill That Would Allow Congress Access to Trump’s Tax Returns in the State - The Daily Signal

New York Lawmakers Pass Bill That Would Allow Congress Access to Trump’s Tax Returns in the State

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Lauren Evans / Kelsey Bolar / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kenny Xu / Michelle Malkin / Kevin Mooney / Nicole Russell / Neetu Chandak /

The New York state Assembly passed a bill Wednesday to allow Congress to obtain information on state tax returns for elected officials, which would include President Donald Trump’s returns.

The bill passed 84-53 and would allow the New York Department of Taxation and Finance commissioner to release any state tax returns about those in federal, state, and local elected or other upper-level public offices to leaders of congressional tax-writing committees, NBC News reported Wednesday.


It would apply to personal and business income taxes filed in the state, according to The Associated Press.

The House Ways and Means chairman, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal, wants to obtain six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns.

An earlier version of the New York bill that passed through the state Senate in early May would allow Congress to take a look at “any” New Yorker’s state tax returns, NBC reported. This provision, however, has been changed after some believed such a ruling would go too far.

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo will need to sign the legislation to make it official, but it is unclear whether he will do so. A spokesman for Cuomo said the governor supports the principle behind the bill, but will carefully look over the bill before making a decision, according to The AP.

Proponents of the bill say it is about increasing transparency.

“We are affirming Congress’s role as a co-equal branch of government and the sacred constitutional principle that nobody is above the law, not even the highest elected official in the land,” Democratic New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman said, The AP reported.

Those against the legislation say it is politically driven, with Republican Assemblyman Doug Smith saying the bill was about “using this body as a weapon against” Trump, NBC reported.

The bill’s language does not mention Trump by name, according to The AP.

“We are traveling down a path that we should not be traveling down,” Democratic lawmaker Michael Benedetto said, NBC reported. “No legislature should craft legislation for political reasons just to get a few people they consider their enemies.”

Cuomo’s office did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment in time for publication.

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William Barr: More Nationwide Injunctions in Trump Era Than in Entire 20th Century - The Daily Signal

William Barr: More Nationwide Injunctions in Trump Era Than in Entire 20th Century

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Lauren Evans / Kelsey Bolar / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kenny Xu / Michelle Malkin / Kevin Mooney / Nicole Russell / Neetu Chandak / Kevin Daley /

Attorney General William Barr condemned the rise of nationwide injunctions Tuesday, saying such sweeping orders undermine the rule of law.

Nationwide injunctions prohibit the federal government from enforcing a particular law or policy across the entire country. Progressive cause lawyering groups have used such injunctions to stymie a wide array of Trump policy priorities.


“Since President Trump took office, federal district courts have issued 37 nationwide injunctions against the executive branch—that’s more than one a month,” Barr said during a Tuesday evening speech to the American Law Institute.

“According to the [Justice] Department’s best estimates, courts issued only 27 nationwide injunctions­ in all of the 20th century,” he added, before bristling at the notion that the disparity is a function of the president’s “lawlessness.”

Barr cited the Trump administration’s attempt to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as the starkest example of a nationwide injunction’s harmful effects. After the government took steps to terminate DACA in 2017, three federal trial judges entered injunctions requiring that Trump maintain the program.

Appeals of those injunctions have since reached the Supreme Court, though the justices have declined to broach the issue for months. As a result, Barr says the nationwide injunctions have paralyzed political debates around immigration, culminating in the 35-day government shutdown that extended from December 2018 to January 2019.

“What have these nationwide injunctions wrought? ‘Dreamers’ remain in limbo, the political process has been pre-empted, and we have had over a year of bitter political division that included a government shutdown of unprecedented length,” Barr said. “Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis at our southern border persists, while legislative efforts remain frozen as both sides await the courts’ word on DACA and other immigration issues.”

Aside from the DACA cases, nationwide injunctions are also in effect against the administration’s bid to strip so-called sanctuary cities of federal funds, among other items.

Barr leveled other arguments against nationwide injunctions. He said such orders inflate the power of a single federal trial judge, turn ordinary cases into emergency situations requiring prompt resolution, and undermine public confidence in the judiciary, to the extent that lawyers bring cases in ideologically-friendly jurisdictions. Such “forum shopping,” he said, creates the impression of partisanship in judging.

“Nationwide injunctions undermine the democratic process, depart from history and tradition, violate constitutional principles, and impede sound judicial administration, all at the cost of public confidence in our institutions and particularly in our courts as apolitical decision-makers dispassionately applying objective law,” the attorney general said.

Conservative litigators used nationwide injunctions to good effect against former President Barack Obama. For example, a federal trial judge in Texas enjoined enforcement of an administration policy requiring that public schools allow students to use bathrooms corresponding with their stated gender identity, rather than their biological sex.

Vice President Mike Pence revealed that the administration is looking for an appropriate case in which to ask the Supreme Court to end nationwide injunctions during a May 8 address to the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers group.

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Investigation of Northam’s Yearbook Photo Unable to Determine Whether He’s in Photo - The Daily Signal

Investigation of Northam’s Yearbook Photo Unable to Determine Whether He’s in Photo

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Lauren Evans / Kelsey Bolar / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kenny Xu / Michelle Malkin / Kevin Mooney / Nicole Russell / Neetu Chandak / Kevin Daley / Tim Pearce /

Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) released the results of a monthslong investigation into offensive images on Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 senior yearbook page Wednesday.

EVMS hired the law firm McGuireWoods to conduct the investigation. The McGuireWoods investigation ended inconclusively, and attorneys blamed the passage of time and lack of documented evidence for the vague results.


“We could not conclusively determine the origin of that photograph,” an attorney at McGuireWoods said at a press conference Wednesday.

The law firm could neither find evidence that the photo was placed on Northam’s yearbook page in error nor that Northam had requested the photo. Northam has made his own contradicting statements on the matter, the attorney said.

Northam’s yearbook page surfaced online on Feb. 1. The page included a photo of two costumed people standing side-by-side, one in blackface and the other in a KKK cloak. The photo prompted an apology from the Virginia governor the same day:

I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now. This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.

Northam backtracked on his apology on Feb. 2, saying he was neither of the people in the photo, though he did admit to wearing blackface in a separate instance as part of a Michael Jackson costume.

Northam resisted calls to resign over the scandal. Virginians overall were split on the issue with 47% saying he should resign and 47% saying he should stay, according to a Washington Post/Schar School poll released Feb. 10.

Northam’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Greenpeace Co-Founder Tells Congress to Ignore UN’s Latest Extinction Warning - The Daily Signal

Greenpeace Co-Founder Tells Congress to Ignore UN’s Latest Extinction Warning

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Lauren Evans / Kelsey Bolar / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / Kenny Xu / Michelle Malkin / Kevin Mooney / Nicole Russell / Neetu Chandak / Kevin Daley / Tim Pearce / Michael Bastasch /

Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore will tell House lawmakers an alarming United Nations report on biodiversity is political activism masquerading as credible science, according to written testimony.

“It is clear that the highly exaggerated claims of the [U.N.] are not so much out of concern for endangered species as they are a front for a radical political, social, and economic ‘transformation’ of our entire civilization,” Moore will tell lawmakers Wednesday, according to written testimony The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained.


Moore is set to testify in front of the House Committee on Natural Resources, sitting alongside U.N. scientists who recently issued an alarming report warning that 1 million species were threatened with extinction.

“Their recommendation for an end to economic growth alone condemns the developing world to increased poverty and suffering, and economic stagnation in the developed countries,” Moore wrote.

Experts on the U.N.’s biodiversity panel, called the IPBES, will likely present a different picture than Moore. Sir Robert Watson, a British chemist who led the most recent IPBES assessment, called the report an “ominous warning.”

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever,” Watson said on the assessment’s release in early May.

The IPBES report generated apocalyptic media headlines. A CNN correspondent summarized the report as humans need to be “consuming less, polluting less and having fewer children.”

“This is not a new phenomenon,” Moore says. “The so-called Sixth Great Extinction has been predicted for decades. It has not come to pass, similar to virtually every doomsday prediction made in human history.”

Moore is skeptical of IPBES’s extinction warning, which is an extrapolation of data gathered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Moore put more weight behind the IUCN numbers.

The IUCN has evaluated roughly 98,500 plant and animal species since 2000. Of those, the IUCN considers about 27,100 threatened with extinction, but that also includes “vulnerable species” with a small chance of extinction this century.

IPBES assessed that “an average of around 25 percent of species in assessed animal and plant groups are threatened, suggesting that around one million species already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken.” That’s based on highly uncertain estimates there are 8 million species on Earth.

“This is highly unprofessional,” Moore says. “Scientists should not—in fact, cannot—predict estimates of endangered species or species extinction based on millions of undocumented species.”

“The IBPES claims there are 8 million species,” Moore says. “Yet only 1.8 million species have been identified and named. Thus the IBPES believes there are 6.2 million unidentified and unnamed species. Therefore one million of the unknown species could go extinct overnight and we would not notice it because we would not know they had existed.”

The IUCN admits its assessments focus “on those species that are likely to be threatened” and that any extrapolation “would be heavily biased”—in other words, an overestimate.

When reached for comment, however, the IUCN said, “It is wholly appropriate for scientific researchers such as the IPBES assessment authors to” extrapolate extinction threats based on their limited data. IUCN experts worked on the IPBES report, the group said.

The IPBES told The Daily Caller News Foundation its experts “conservatively” extrapolated out the extinction based on methods “that have been subjected to no fewer than two full rounds of open international peer-review over a three-year period.”

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email[email protected].