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.

The War Over America’s Past Is Really About the Future - The Daily Signal

The War Over America’s Past Is Really About the Future

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

The summer season has ripped off the thin scab that covered an American wound, revealing a festering disagreement about the nature and origins of the United States.

The San Francisco Board of Education recently voted to paint over, and thus destroy, a 1,600-square-foot mural of George Washington’s life in San Francisco’s George Washington High School.

Victor Arnautoff, a communist Russian-American artist and Stanford University art professor, had painted “Life of Washington” in 1936, commissioned by the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration. A community task force appointed by the school district had recommended that the board address student and parent objections to the 83-year-old mural, which some viewed as racist for its depiction of black slaves and Native Americans.

Nike pitchman and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently objected to the company’s release of a special Fourth of July sneaker emblazoned with a 13-star Betsy Ross flag. The terrified Nike immediately pulled the shoe off the market.

The New York Times opinion team issued a Fourth of July video about “the myth of America as the greatest nation on earth.” The Times’ journalists conceded that the United States is “just OK.”

During a recent speech to students at a Minnesota high school, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., offered a scathing appraisal of her adopted country, which she depicted as a disappointment whose racism and inequality did not meet her expectations as an idealistic refugee. Omar’s family had fled worn-torn Somalia and spent four-years in a Kenyan refugee camp before reaching Minnesota, where Omar received a subsidized education and ended up a congresswoman.

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won the World Cup earlier this month. Team stalwart Megan Rapinoe refused to put her hand over heart during the playing of the national anthem, boasted that she would never visit the “f—ing White House” and, with others, nonchalantly let the American flag fall to the ground during the victory celebration.

>>> Women’s Soccer Team More Proof the Left Ruins Everything It Touches

The city council in St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, voted to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before its meeting on the rationale that it wished not to offend a “diverse community.”

The list of these public pushbacks at traditional American patriotic customs and rituals could be multiplied. They follow the recent frequent toppling of statues of 19th-century American figures, many of them from the South, and the renaming of streets and buildings to blot out mention of famous men and women from the past now deemed illiberal enemies of the people.

Such theater is the street version of what candidates in the Democratic presidential primary have been saying for months. They want to disband border enforcement, issue blanket amnesties, demand reparations for descendants of slaves, issue formal apologies to groups perceived to be the subjects of discrimination, and rail against American unfairness, inequality, and a racist and sexist past.

>>> The War on History Comes for George Washington

In their radical progressive view—shared by billionaires from Silicon Valley, recent immigrants, and the new Democratic Party—America was flawed, perhaps fatally, at its origins. Things have not gotten much better in the country’s subsequent 243 years, nor will they get any better—at least not until America as we know it is dismantled and replaced by a new nation predicated on race, class, and gender identity-politics agendas.

In this view, an “OK” America is no better than other countries. As Barack Obama once bluntly put it, America is only exceptional in relative terms, given that citizens of Greece and the United Kingdom believe their own countries are just as exceptional. In other words, there is no absolute standard to judge a nation’s excellence.

About half the country disagrees. It insists that America’s sins, past and present, are those of mankind. But only in America were human failings constantly critiqued and addressed.

America does not have to be perfect to be good. As the world’s wealthiest democracy, it certainly has given people from all over the world greater security and affluence than any other nation in history—with the largest economy, largest military, greatest energy production, and most top-ranked universities in the world.

America alone kept the postwar peace and still preserves free and safe global communications, travel, and commerce.

The traditionalists see American history as a unique effort to overcome human weakness, bias, and sin. That effort is unmatched by other cultures and nations, and explains why millions of foreign nationals swarm into the United States, both legally and illegally.

These arguments over our past are really over the present—and especially the future.

If progressives and socialists can at last convince the American public that their country was always hopelessly flawed, they can gain power to remake it based on their own interests. These elites see Americans not as unique individuals but as race, class, and gender collectives, with shared grievances from the past that must be paid out in the present and the future.

We’ve seen something like this fight before, in 1861—and it didn’t end well.

UK Knife Crime Hits Record High, Despite London Mayor’s ‘Knife Control’ - The Daily Signal

UK Knife Crime Hits Record High, Despite London Mayor’s ‘Knife Control’

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Victor Davis Hanson / Jake Dima /

The U.K., most notably London, has experienced a sharp increase in knife-related crime, despite “knife control” efforts to curb the violence, newly released figures detail.

Knife crime in both England and Wales is up 8% from April 2018 to May 2019. U.K. police reports from 43 departments recorded 47,136 incidents involving sharp objects, an Office of National Statistics crime report says.


London Mayor Sadiq Khan implemented blade bans in London in April 2018, but they don’t appear to be working as intended. Blades found on one’s person have increased 21% since 2018, the report details.

The 8% rise is calculated to equate to an increase of over 3,300 knife-related incidents compared with this time last year. It’s supposed that even more stabbings or cuttings occurred and went unrecorded, as the U.K.’s Greater Manchester Police was excluded from the data for undercounting, according to the report.

The number of knife-related incidents has been on the rise for years, increasing by more than 42% since 2011. Similarly, rape at knifepoint and threats to kill with blades are up 18% since last year.

Khan acknowledges the rise in crime over the years—much of it during his tenure. He blamed a system of “increasing inequality” for the wave of violence earlier this week, Fox News reports.

“The sad reality is the violence we’re seeing on our streets today is an appalling side effect of increasing inequality and alienation caused by years of austerity and neglect,” Khan said. But knives don’t seem to be the U.K.’s only problem.

Firearm offenses have increased by 3% in the U.K. and unregistered guns are being found at a rate as high as 40% greater than 2018. The U.K. has some of the most stringent laws in the world on private ownership of firearms.

“There has been one fatal stabbing every 1.45 days so far this year in England and Wales,” BBC reported in May.

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].

City of Berkeley Bans Gendered Words Like ‘Manhole’ and ‘Manpower’ From Code Book - The Daily Signal

City of Berkeley Bans Gendered Words Like ‘Manhole’ and ‘Manpower’ From Code Book

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Victor Davis Hanson / Jake Dima / Chuck Ross /

One of California’s most liberal cities voted Tuesday to revamp its city code book by replacing terms like “manhole” and “manpower” with gender-neutral terms.

The Berkeley City Council voted to replace around three dozen terms found in the municipal code. Terms like “policeman,” “policewoman,” “chairwoman,” and “chairman” will be changed, as will “he,” “she,” “him,” and “her.”


Rigel Robinson, the Democratic city council member who wrote the ordinance, said the change is necessary because a “male-centric” city code is “inaccurate and not reflective of our reality.”

“Women and non-binary individuals are just as entitled to accurate representation. Our laws are for everyone, and our municipal code should reflect that,” Robinson told CNN.

The measure passed without debate Tuesday night. It will cost the city $600 to implement the ordinance.

Berkeley City Council’s proposed changes to gendered terms in municipal code are pictured. (Photo: City of Berkeley)

“Ombudsman” will become “ombuds,” while “manhole” will be replaced in the code book with “maintenance hole.”

“Human effort” will take the place of “manpower.”

Cities and companies across the U.S., as well as the U.S. military, have in recent years adopted gender-neutral language amid a larger debate about transgender rights. The Canadian government in March 2018 also ordered government agencies to stop using gendered terms like “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” and “mother.”

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].

Trump Wins Big in Emoluments Lawsuits: 2 Down and 1 to Go - The Daily Signal

Trump Wins Big in Emoluments Lawsuits: 2 Down and 1 to Go

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Victor Davis Hanson / Jake Dima / Chuck Ross / Hans von Spakovsky / GianCarlo Canaparo /

President Donald Trump has won the second of three lawsuits alleging he violated the Constitution because foreigners and state officials patronize his businesses, such as the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the claim by Maryland and the District of Columbia that Trump was violating the Constitution’s domestic and foreign emoluments clauses.

The foreign emoluments clause reads:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

The domestic emoluments clause reads:

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

In throwing out this latest suit, the 4th Circuit chastised the plaintiffs for wasting the court’s time with a plainly meritless case.

The court also scolded federal Judge Peter Messitte, a Clinton appointee, for not throwing out the case sooner and for refusing to let the president appeal his erroneous rulings.

Messitte’s faulty reasoning “blinks reality,” the court said, and his actions “amounted to a clear abuse of discretion.”

Messitte’s rulings were so erroneous that the 4th Circuit didn’t even wait for an appeal. It accepted the president’s request for writ of mandamus—a rarely granted procedural tool that allows early review of an otherwise nonappealable issue—to take the case away from Messitte, reverse his rulings, and force him to throw the case out for good, without the possibility of further appeal.

The lawsuit alleged that, because government employees and foreign officials pay for services they receive from Trump’s businesses, payment produces a constitutionally forbidden “present” to the president.

The court held that Maryland and the District’s interest in the case was “abstract” and “simply too attenuated” for the case to proceed.

Maryland and the District argued that they are harmed by the alleged constitutional violation because the Trump Hotel “competes” with conference centers and hotels they own. Which, of course, brings up a question not dealt with in the lawsuit: Why are Maryland and D.C. involved in the conference and hospitality industry to begin with and competing with private industry?

Their claims rested on the speculation (accepted at face value by Messitte) that government officials patronize the Trump Hotel because it distributes profits to the president and not for any other reason.

But there are, of course, two equally plausible competing speculations: that some government officials avoid the Trump Hotel because of its association with the president, and that some government officials stay at the Trump Hotel because it’s a nice place to stay.

Regardless, courts don’t decide cases based on speculations.

What’s more, Maryland and the District couldn’t explain how prohibiting the president from earning money from the hotel would stop government officials from going there. In other words, even if they had a viable legal claim, there is no possible remedy.

Assuming that foreign officials were trying to curry the president’s favor by staying at his hotel, the hotel is associated with him and would financially benefit his family even if it didn’t benefit him—and the emoluments clauses have no application to the family members of a federal official.

The 4th Circuit found this a fatal flaw in the plaintiffs’ argument and noted that the lawyer for Maryland and the District was “repeatedly unable to articulate the terms of the injunction” that was being sought to remedy the supposed violation of the Constitution.

As the court expostulated, “when plaintiffs before a court are unable to specify the relief they seek, one must wonder why they came to the court for relief in the first place.”

The only other interest that Maryland or the District had in the case was “a general interest in having the law followed.” And a plaintiff “raising only a generally available grievance about government” has no right to do so in court.

So ended the second of three emoluments clauses cases. The president won the first case in 2017 when a federal court in New York tossed out an almost identical lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal advocacy organization.

One emoluments case remains, this one before federal Judge Emmet Sullivan in the District of Columbia. In that case, Democratic members of Congress, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., personally sued the president for allegedly violating the foreign emoluments clause.

In an order reminiscent of Messitte’s “clearly erroneous” orders, Sullivan simply accepted the speculation—with no supporting evidence—that foreign officials are staying at the Trump Hotel only because it pays the president part of its profits.

Sullivan then went on to say that congressional Democrats have a personal interest in the case because—and now hang on, because this is wild ride—the president, by accepting the alleged foreign payments, has denied Congress, as an institution, the right to vote on these payments.

You might wonder how Sullivan made the logical leap from the Democrats’ personal interest to Congress’ institutional interest. Sullivan answers that question by calling that distinction “relevant … but not dispositive.”

That case is ongoing, and Sullivan is letting the congressional Democrats subpoena the president’s financial information. Additionally, Sullivan recently denied the president’s request to delay the case while he appeals.

Political fights belong in the political arena. As the 4th Circuit said here, the claims made by Maryland and the District were “so attenuated and abstract that the prosecution of this case readily provokes the question of whether this action against the President is an appropriate use of the courts.”

It isn’t. And in light of the 4th Circuit’s opinion, perhaps the president should seek another writ of mandamus in the D.C. Circuit to overrule what is clearly an erroneous decision by Sullivan.

Originally published in National Review

The True, Behind-the-Scenes Story of the Kavanaugh Confirmation - The Daily Signal

The True, Behind-the-Scenes Story of the Kavanaugh Confirmation

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Victor Davis Hanson / Jake Dima / Chuck Ross / Hans von Spakovsky / GianCarlo Canaparo / Kelsey Bolar / Lauren Evans /

Did the confirmation battle of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh help or hurt the #MeToo movement? How did the mainstream media miss so many red flags regarding his multiple accusers? And what was the horrific media storm like for the Kavanaugh family? Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino, authors of the best-selling new book “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court” share what really happened during the hearings, and what that means for the future of the court and all Americans. Read the transcript, posted below, or listen on the podcast:

Also in today’s “Problematic Women” podcast:

The head of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen, is being forced out of the organization for reportedly not emphasizing abortion enough.

—Pop singer Miley Cyrus says she doesn’t want to have kids because “the Earth can’t handle it,” and her “complex, and modern, and new” marriage with actor Liam Hemsworth.

—“The Bachelorette” featuresfeud between Luke Parker and Hannah Brown over Christians having sex before marriage.

Kelsey Bolar: Mollie and Carrie, thank you so much for making time to join the show today.

Carrie Severino: We’re happy to be here.

Mollie Hemingway: It’s great to be here.

Bolar: I just had the privilege of attending your book launch at The Heritage Foundation and after walking out I noticed that there were Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and, I have to say, that is a sign that you have officially made it in this world when Heritage upgrades your sandwich options at your book event from the regular Heritage sandwiches to Chick-Fil-A.

Hemingway: That’s fantastic. I love it. Chick-Fil-A is such a wonderful place that makes me cry when I go there because everybody is so nice.

Bolar: I know, and you always hear those stories about employees helping others, like saving lives. I think an employee saved a kid’s life who was choking the other day.

Hemingway: Jumped out of the drive-thru window to save a life. … I’ve been there with kids and they take such good care of my family, just when you need someone to show you a bit of kindness, so I’m very grateful to them.

Bolar: All right. Well, we do have some important things to talk about today, so let’s get to it.

Your new book really reads like a novel because of all the details. I want to know, how did you collect all these details in such a relatively short time since the confirmation?

Severino: Yeah, it was so exciting working on this book because both Mollie and I knew this is like one of the most important things that happened last year.

It was not just about “Is Brett Kavanaugh going to be confirmed?” But justice really was on trial. We’re looking at all these notions of due process and the rule of law. We knew there were so many great stories that hadn’t been fully explored.

We knew we had great access. So we talked to over a hundred different people, from the president, the vice president, people in the White House working on this project. They were a lot of people in the Senate from dozens of senators and their staffers, many members of the Supreme Court, people who knew the Kavanaughs, people who knew Christine Blasey Ford.

So we really spent the first part of this process just doing intensive amounts of interviewing because we needed to know what the story was … It was a wild rush of trying to tell and not forget all the great storylines that we had learned in this process.

Hemingway: Right. Carrie and I began actually by reading a ton of history on Supreme Court nominations. She actually knew a lot of this already. She was a clerk on the Supreme Court for Clarence Thomas. She went to Harvard Law School. She had a bit of an advantage on that.

But we spent a lot of time reading the history, seeing other books, then doing all these interviews, and then figuring out how to put everything together.

There was one day where we interviewed a senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee. We met him while it was still dark out. It was that early in the morning. Then we ran from there to interview someone high level at the White House for several hours. Went from there to interviewing a Supreme Court Justice for several hours.

So it wasn’t just that we were interviewing people, sometimes these interviews were lasting like five hours. I mean, just unbelievable.

Severino: Multiple interviews, going back with the same person because it was a really intense process. Sometimes you’d sit there for hours and you’d realize, “Oh my gosh, we’re only to the end of August. We’ve got to get through October here.” …

Hemingway: Right, or you talked to other people and you realize, “I have more questions for that person that I didn’t get through,” but it was exhilarating.

Bolar: Mollie, most of these interviews were conducted on background, which not all of our listeners might not know what that means.

So first off, can you talk about that decision to publish this book with on background interviews and how you thought through that decision as one of the nation’s most prominent media critics?

Hemingway: Well, I am happy to deal with sources who need to be on background or anonymous. I think the question is what you’re willing to do with that information.

So in our case, we did have access to people who are not in a practice of speaking with journalists, who for them, the only condition upon which they gave us this access was that we would not identify them.

The fact that they spoke with us didn’t mean that we just ran with it though. We would take their stories. Then we would also make sure that we checked it with other people who were witnesses or privy to that same information.

So, we wanted to just write the definitive account. That doesn’t mean just going with what one person says, but when they say that’s how a conversation went down, you talk to the other person who was in the conversation or other people that were in the conversation or people that those people spoke to or you look for corroborating evidence.

There were times when we actually did not use information that we got and sometimes it was just the most exciting stuff.

So we did speak with a lot of people who knew Christine Blasey Ford. We had unbelievable stories. Well, just very salacious stories, and I would have loved to have put them in the book, and I think Carrie would have, too.

We felt because of the nature of those stories, they needed to be on the record and people were understandably scared to do that.

They would say, “I have a kid going to college. I don’t want to be out here and have the media destroy me while my kid’s trying to get into college.” Or, you know, “I live in this community.”

So we thought, “Well, if that’s their decision, that’s fine, but we’re not going to put those stories in there.” So you just have to make a decision about about how to handle each piece of information.

Bolar: On that note, media bias was a major and consistent theme throughout the book in the confirmation process. The press certainly didn’t hold back in investigating Kavanaugh’s past, but hardly made any attempt to dig up inconsistencies regarding Christine Blasey Ford’s past or inconsistencies in her stories.

In one case, which you really walk through in the book, well, for readers who didn’t follow that closely, The Washington Post actually covered up some of these inconsistencies.

So looking back, how one-sided was the coverage and what were some of the major details that you think the press really had an obligation and an ability to dig up at the time, but either turned a blind eye or proactively covered up?

Hemingway: I think the big problems with media coverage of this were the overarching problems, the narrative push.

They’d sort of decided early on that they were hostile to Brett Kavanaugh, in the same way that they decided early on that they’re pretty much hostile to anything that’s coming out of the Trump administration.

That colored all of their editorial choices from that point forward. Sometimes that was displayed in what they were elevating and what they were not elevating. There is no question that everything, no matter how small or tangential, that was in the high school yearbook of Brett Kavanaugh was considered fair game.

Allegations that were not well sourced were considered fair to publish in nationwide magazines. You weren’t seeing the similar level of scrutiny or really any scrutiny of accusers. There is an example, too, of NBC News knew that.

Well, to back up, Michael Avenatti put forth a claim of serial gang rape perpetrated by Brett Kavanaugh and he said he had a witness. She had a sworn affidavit and he said he had a second witness.

NBC News actually knew that that supposed second witness was denying what his claims were. They sat on that until after he was confirmed, until weeks after he was confirmed, even though they had it before the confirmation vote.

This is not appropriate journalistic behavior.

What’s unfortunate is we didn’t see much of a reckoning with the poor decisions that were made. People were giving themselves awards for how they handled this coverage, even though by any objective standard they’ve fell down on the job.

Bolar: Carrie, I know you both cite a couple examples that you did feel comfortable publishing about Ford that were previously unknown to the public. Is there one or two examples that stand out to you that you can share with our listeners?

Severino: One thing that we heard repeatedly from the people who knew her at the time—and many of whom were and some continue to be friends of hers—was that the image that was being portrayed was of someone who … was saying, “Well, I went to this party. I only had one beer.”

We learned that she actually was a very heavy drinker, or this is what everyone is reporting, right? They’re saying that she was a heavy drinker at the time. They were saying that she was actually very aggressive with boys at the time.

So all of this is at odds with the public image as well as she was being portrayed as someone who was marginally political, if political at all.

That was significant because we also spoke to people familiar with her social media presence before it was scrubbed. Because, of course, before her story came out, all of that was scrubbed from the internet. Not even just right in September when it happened, but actually earlier than that.

So we learned that in fact on Facebook, one person described her as crazy liberal. We all know the kind of people who have the wild Facebook feeds on either extreme. That’s the kind of person that she was.

So people who were saying, “Well, she’s not even political. She could have no possible motive here to not want Kavanaugh on the court, ” well, that’s really belied by the information that is out there.

It was information that was intentionally kept quiet and hidden, and it’s something that, unfortunately, not enough people dug to find out whether that was true or not or they just kind of accepted the claims of, “Oh no, no, she’s not political at all,” and just went with that.

Bolar: Right. She pretty clearly scrubbed her social media accounts, and as a journalist, no matter what side you’re on, that should be a pretty glaring red flag.

Severino: Well, there might’ve been legitimate reasons. You know, you can understand that someone would say, “Oh, I was about to go public with a pretty big story. I didn’t want people going through my records.”

There’s a reasonable approach to it, but to not mention it, to not address the issue or even to not address the fact that that explanation would be at odds with her own claims of not wanting her name to be public.

There are things that we have from her letters [that] she didn’t want to be public. We also know that she called The Washington Post tip line, which is not normally something you do when you’re trying to keep information from getting out publicly.

Bolar: Speaking of one of the more salacious allegations, Michael Avenatti, who represented Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick, who also, by the way, has been arrested in New York on federal fraud, embezzlement, and extortion charges, is disputing some of the details in the book about his client, and actually invited you both on national TV to talk about it.

He tweeted at Mollie and your co-author saying you have “fabricated a number of facts for your recent book relating to Kavanaugh, including relating to Miss Swetnick. I am calling her on it. Mollie, pick any network, even your beloved Fox, and let’s discuss what really happened. Time to step up.”

Are you going to take him up on this offer?

Hemingway: I got a note from someone that said, “How much are you paying Michael Avenatti to promote your book?” I think that is a surreal moment. We were kind of enjoying that.

It is interesting to note that Michael Avenatti went on MSNBC and CNN, I think it was like 250 times last year. He was a welcome guest by these networks who were happy to hear whatever he had to say.

Carrie and I have a book that is topping the best-seller lists on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is doing incredibly well. It breaks news. It is an inside look at an institution that very few people get an inside look at and we have not been welcomed by MSNBC and CNN.

So I think it’s funny that he wants to get back on those networks, but I do not think he rises to the level of who we want to be discussing.

Bolar: Would you say that these sorts of dubious allegations, big picture damaged the #MeToo movement?

Severino: Oh yeah, absolutely. And that’s one of the frustrations of this whole process and it was kind of going on the coattails of a movement that was making some important and serious points about men who were in positions of power-abusing their roles.

But when you have allegations like this, which were, first of all, not even in that same category, this is talking about something between two high schoolers, but more importantly, one that had no cooperation, no support.

In fact, a lot of all the evidence we have come to find out afterward has cast doubt on the allegations. That actually brings all of the rest of the #MeToo movement kind of down with it.

I think a lot of people who got caught on a bandwagon and just started saying … “Believe all women.” No, believe women who actually have claims that are backed up by facts because it’s important to not allow a crying wolf phenomenon to distract us from the really serious problems that need to be dealt with in our society.

Bolar: Right. Then we saw one allegation with no cooperation lead to the snowball effect of these other allegations.

Severino: Yeah, increasingly bizarre. Some of them just crazy on their face and many of which the people admitted almost as soon as they made the allegations that they were false. So … people who are admitted liars to the committee, that is not going to be good for anyone. Least of all women who are victims of sexual assault.

Bolar: There’s many reasons to actually go pick up this book, “Justice on Trial,” and read it for yourself.

But I think if you are interested in the #MeToo movement, it is really important to understand the context of this because we’re not just talking about the allegations that you mostly heard about in the mainstream media. There were other ones brought forward that didn’t even fully make it to the media that you all discussed being brought to the committees.

Hemingway: Exactly, just the general climate. It’s called “Justice on Trial” because it’s not just about Justice Brett Kavanaugh being on trial, but the very notion of justice, of due process, of rule of law, of presumption of innocence.

I think that’s what really gripped the country last year and probably why it’s having such reaction.

Why the book is having such a reaction is it is terrifying to see people and institutions that should know better casting that principle of innocence being a presumption. That when you make an allegation that it does need to be treated respectfully and it needs to have corroborating evidence in order to be taken seriously and to make a case. An allegation is not sufficient for conviction.

It was so disappointing to see people who should know better not holding to that which should be a common value among all Americans.

Bolar: “Justice on Trial” talks about a number of key Republicans who were pivotal in pushing forward Kavanaugh’s nomination. This clip from Sen. Lindsey Graham that we’ll listen to is one of them.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy. Are you a gang rapist?

Judge Brett Kavanaugh: No.

Graham: I cannot imagine what you and your family [have] been going through. Boy, y’all want power, God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham. That you knew about it and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. None. She’s as much of a victim as you are.

God, I hate to say that because these had been my friends, but let me tell you, when it comes to this, you’re looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend. Do you consider this a job?

Bolar: There were a number of breakout, memorable sound bites from this confirmation process. That one really comes to mind. Also, just the general fact that we had President Trump, who did not buckle under pressure to withdraw Cabinet nomination.

Do you think this was a unique political environment and would this happen again? What can we learn from this moment?

Hemingway: They think that was a very powerful moment because it showed the frustration amongst the Republican senators with the game playing and the politicization here.

I think also because he spoke for a lot of Americans in that moment … and he’s right, the American people do not want to see those games played.

Our concern is that many of those same people have not yet been held accountable. If we want to make sure this doesn’t happen again, we need to make sure that people don’t view this as a successful technique.

Now we know that they weren’t able to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation with this means and that is a good thing. It’s wonderful that Kavanaugh was strong through the process. That President Trump stuck with him because a lot of people we talked to, they speculated not every Republican president would have stood by a nominee under these kinds of circumstances. President Trump did consistently throughout, even when some people around him were suggesting otherwise.

Severino: And a few key senators, Sen. [Chuck] Grassley, Sen. [Mitch] McConnell, were absolutely steadfast.

What is perhaps troubling is that not every Republican senator was so steadfast. We go through some of those tails in “Justice on Trial.”

Going forward, I do think it’s incumbent upon people to understand the need to fight. That this is one of the themes we look at in the book is how now Justice Kavanaugh is getting different advice about how to handle the smearing of his reputation and some, I guess you might call them like older, old school Republicans, are telling him to just emphasize his wonderful treatment of women over the years and talk about the courage and bravery of Blasey Ford and just to be nice and deferential and to keep those values at high.

Other people are saying, “Are you kidding? They’re trying to destroy you as a person. You have to fight for your name and honor and reputation.”

That struggle that he goes through where he’s transitioning from … he was longtime Bush White House employee. He was nominated by President Bush for his federal court that he served on for 12 years. He’s close family friends with the Bush family and his evolution from that way of being into understanding that they are coming to destroy everything he holds dear and that he needs to fight for it is a similar evolution to what I think many people in the country have gone through in recent years.

Bolar: I sped through this book in, I think, less than a week, and I have to say, coming from the perspective of someone who only covered it as a conservative journalist and really just as a public bystander, it was kind of traumatizing to relive it.

I want to know what it was like for both of you to pour your hearts and souls into this book for months and then now be reliving it.

Severino: Yeah. Going through some of many of those interviews, it was like having to relive it, sometimes multiple times in a day as it goes through this drama with each person.

You know, they were over and over and over and the people we interview are going … I think some of them thought both it kind of was sparking PTSD after the crazy experience they went through, but also it was almost like therapy. They’re kind of talking through all of those emotions. So it was really actually challenging.

Hemingway: I don’t know if we talked about this, Carrie, but when we were reading the audiobook, there were parts where I was reading where I was getting emotional and I’m thinking, “OK, we wrote this, we went through this, why is it still affecting me after going through a dozens or hundreds of times?”

Bolar: Why was it ultimately worth it to go through all this?

Severino: Coming from my perspective, as someone who clerked for Justice [Clarence] Thomas, I feel like what we’re seeing here is just a repeat of many things we saw in his confirmation process, not just the attempts to defeat him and the use of unverified allegations to do so, etc. But when Thomas was confirmed, 2-to-1 Americans believed him over Anita Hill. Black, white men, women.

The people who watched and lived through those hearings believed Justice Thomas. But they weren’t content to just pack up and go home after kind of being defeated and Thomas was confirmed and he’s in the court for life.

The other side then instituted a campaign to discredit everything that he did in the court. In doing so, they tried to continue to smear his name.

I think if you took that survey today, you would see that many Americans either weren’t paying attention, have forgotten, or many people weren’t around and old enough to appreciate what happened to him.

We wanted to make sure that we got ahead of the revisionist history in this case until the very thorough and accurate account of what really happened. So that campaign of discrediting a justice can’t happen again. So that people understand what to expect the next time.

Because this is what happened, when we were placed a swing vote on the court with a conservative nominee by President Trump. What happens if President Trump gets to appoint a nominee to replace a liberal justice who might retire? That, I think, could frighteningly be even worse.

We need Americans to have their eyes wide open now to know what they’re getting into in the hopes that we can prevent it from happening to another person.

Bolar: Right. And Mollie, just from a journalism perspective, given the horrific coverage of this confirmation process, how important was it to set the record straight in this book?

Hemingway:  It wasn’t just about setting the record straight, although, obviously, that was important.

On that note, that is something that really motivated me during the confirmation battle, I became privy to some stories showing just really bad behavior and thoughtless and cruel behavior by some reporters to cause problems between friends, between Kavanaugh friends. It just seemed, again, more cruel than the normal things you’re dealing with of journalistic bad behavior.

But it’s about setting the record straight. But also just as a journalist, I knew we had a good story. We both, Carrie and I both went through it. We knew some of the stories. We knew we had good stories. We knew it would just be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to talk about something exciting.

That also enabled us to talk about deeper and more important issues and you just can’t pass up an opportunity like that. So I’m so glad that we teamed together to do it.

Bolar: What lessons should we be taking away for the conservative movement specifically when it comes to the nomination of the next Supreme Court justice?

Severino: … We’ve learned something from every nomination battle, I hope, especially the ones that have been hard like the Bork or the Thomas battle.

We’ve learned to make sure we had people with solid traditional philosophies, not to appoint people with a blank slate kind of record, who have an actual solid record.

We learned to appoint people who have courage and are willing to stand by their difficult decisions on the court so they aren’t going to flinch in the face of public pressure.

Then from this nomination, I think we really learned that you have to be ready for anything and that you have to stand up and fight and can’t just hope that the truth will just become obvious in and of itself.

You have to make sure that you are out there fighting, sometimes against a public information campaign coming from the other side that’s not always going to be playing fair.

Hemingway: I think there is a naivete that we’ve seen on the right sometimes and sometimes, unfortunately, from the right’s leaders of thinking that the political situation has not broken down as significantly as it has. And the Kavanaugh confirmation battle should have been a wake-up call about how seriously the progressive left is taking the battle for institutions and what lengths they will go to to control those institutions and that, we hope, as Americans we never lose our good virtues and our civility and whatnot.

We need to also just be aware of the seriousness of the fight and how it requires thinking very smartly, strategically about how to combat.

Bolar: Every week here on “Problematic Women,” we honor a strong woman as the Problematic Woman of the Week. This week we want to highlight Ashley Kavanaugh, who, according to this amazing new book, “Justice on Trial,” was a rock throughout this pretty horrific confirmation process.

Mollie or Carrie, can one of you tell us more about Ashley?

Hemingway: This was one of the more fun people to learn about as part of our reporting. Ashley Kavanaugh, the wife of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a woman who in her own right has had quite the career.

She was a secretary to Gov. George W. Bush, worked on his initial campaign, and comes to work in the White House as his personal secretary seated right outside the oval office, being a witness to so many events in history—including the terror attacks on 9/11—and goes on to work on setting up the George W. Bush Presidential Library, becomes town manager of Chevy Chase.

When her husband is being considered for the nomination, she actually prays that he will not receive the nomination. They’d already gone through two very difficult confirmation battles and she did not particularly want to go through it again.

When we started reporting the story, we were talking to people close to the Kavanaughs who kept telling us that Ashley had been a source of strength for them, as they were going through the battle, like they were upset at what was happening to their friend and they were getting support from Ashley, words of encouragement, songs to listen to, scripture verses.

So we knew when we were dealing with something, an interesting situation that someone who’s going through what has to be the worst episode in her life, is so strong in her faith and in her marriage that she is able to support other people.

We tell stories in “Justice on Trial” about how they share what’s going on with their young daughters. I don’t know if people have really thought about that, had thought about when you’re making these allegations against someone without evidence and when the media are running wild with them, that has to be explained to children who are relatively young.

We learned a lot about her that we liked. I don’t know if you want to add to that, Carrie.

Severino: Yeah, I think it was fascinating, even just some of the fun stories of how the press is camping out in front of their house and we remembered stories where they’re like, “OK, we’ve got some people in front of the Barretts’ house and got people in front of the Kavanaughs’ house, who’s it going to be?”

They didn’t want to to be giving away who the nominee was. So even before it was maybe fully decided, certainly before they knew whether Brett Kavanaugh would be the nominee, they decided they should just get out of the house so no one can be figuring out anything based on them.

So they ended up having to sneak out the backyard. They had to stash their clothes in a treehouse of a neighbor’s, so no one sees them leaving with things. They go out to dinner to make sure no one’s trailing them before they head to their undisclosed location where they’re hiding out at a friend’s house.

So it was really just fun to see that … excitement part of it. But then, of course, the challenge of how does she go through the difficult process?

But it was also great to see the support that she had from friends around her and from her neighbors, many of whom didn’t share their political approach, perhaps.

But, for example, right at the very end of this process, as town manager, she has to host a neighborhood barbecue and she’s hosting it at her house—remember that the press are camping out in front—and managed to ask the press like, “Please, we promise we’re not going to try to sneak out and do anything. Can you just give us one day?”

So she was able to have people over and she was nervous. How are my neighbors going to respond? But everyone was so gracious and so supportive and thoughtful and just seeing that side of how some of these good things and good moments of courage can come out of such a horrible process.

Bolar: Yeah, I loved the way you both weaved in these very vivid little stories that are so relatable. I think that’s why she’s such a compelling character in this narrative because I would imagine even some of Kavanaugh’s strongest opponents could possibly feel for him or feel for her in this regard and what she went through.

Hemingway: We did talk to people who were in the hearing room when the hearing is reopened and you have Blasey Ford testifying and Judge Kavanaugh testifying and they were saying that it was such an emotional experience, frankly, for all people involved, whether you were watching the first set of hearings or the second that I think it was a very intimate setting by that point.

It’s a much smaller hearing room where that’s happening and people who are on one side or the other sitting right next to each other, they’re all emotional and moved by, again, by both sets of testimony.

Bolar: Kavanaugh’s two daughters were also a source of quiet strength behind him in this process and, I think, a big reason why he wouldn’t back down. Let’s take a walk back and listen to this quick soundbite from the hearing, when Judge Kavanaugh talks about their little girls.

Kavanaugh: Not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time, but I have never done this to her or to anyone. That’s not who I am. It is not who I was. I am innocent of this charge. I intend no ill will to Dr. Ford and her family.

The other night, Ashley and my daughter Liza said their prayers and little Liza, all 10 years old, said to Ashley, “We should pray for the woman.” It’s a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old. We mean no ill will.

Bolar: I know this is a podcast so you can’t see, but Mollie is sitting here almost in tears.

Hemingway: It’s just horrific to listen to. This is a judge who served for 12 years by that point, had a stellar reputation cultivated over decades, and you can just hear the brokenness there, but also learn a little bit about the Kavanaugh family, that they are operating in such a way that they are praying with their children, that they know to care about other people.

Severino: We did learn stories about the children that moved us, including that before this reopened set of hearings, there were crazy hearings that lasted for four days where there were protests and people being dragged out and getting arrested and shouts and whatnot.

The children were actually there for part of that time. It was really unfortunate for them to have to witness how some senators were treating him and how the protesters were treating him. But they were critiquing the protest signs, including the chants and the protest signs. They did not like that they did not rhyme, for instance. I just thought that was funny.

… That they’re able to see, even in the midst of all this chaos, … that’s ridiculous. Those chants don’t even rhyme. So they did have a really good spirit about it. That moment in the hearing room … I don’t know if there was a dry eye in the country at that point.

We talked to so many people, in particular, men who were in that room or who were watching and who, we’re talking about how moving it was, and said, “No, just whatever you do, don’t put this in the book, but I have to say I did tear up a little bit at that point.”

And we heard that from so many different men that we thought it’s really funny. They’re all very concerned, but they don’t know that everyone was crying.

And you know, we had people in the room who were telling us that even people on the other side of the room were crying. So you had the people who were there for Christine Blasey Ford who were just moved by the power of that testimony as well.

Bolar: Well, the question I want to end on comes perfectly after this because, Mollie, you have two little girls, and Carrie, you have six children.

I’m wondering, first off, you both have full-time jobs and then some, and did this book on top of that and are also pretty incredible mothers. How the heck do you do this all?

Hemingway: I have been giggling when people ask us like, “Why did you decide to do this or how did this come about?” Because I have no idea of what we were thinking.

We are two of the busiest people I know and [have] so many responsibilities and we kept coming up with reasons why we shouldn’t write the book and they just kept getting knocked down.

Lack of time was a huge one for both of us, particularly because we’d both been through several years of quite busy activity that takes a toll on the family.

I’ll go ahead and speak for myself, I guess, even though this applies to both of us, but I’m blessed with an incredibly supportive husband, very loving children, and could not have done my part without my husband Mark’s complete support from start to finish.

Both of our husbands actually helped us with just thinking through the project and finishing the project and I firmly believe that neither of us could have done it without the support of our husbands and families.

But, I felt bad sometimes. My children were sleeping on the floor of my office sometimes just so that they could get time with me, which is not how I want it to be. But that’s one of the blessings of us finishing this project so quickly, no more office floor sleeping for the kids.

Severino: You can go back. It’s a discrete period of time and it’s like, “OK, this is going to be a sprint.” Although it was a marathon-linked sprint, we knew there was an end to it.

Hemingway: Before you talk, Carrie, I do want to mention there is something so amazing about seeing Carrie in action. She has six kids. She is an incredible mother and she would sometimes be holding her baby in her lap while she’s typing and working on this and just seeing that love that she has for her family and also our project was really wonderful.

Severino: Thank you so much for that. … I remember saying when Justice [Anthony] Kennedy retired like, “OK, this is going to be a really busy summer, but it’s going to be done. It’ll be done by October. We’ll be good.” And I had all these things, like I had signed up for carpooling to volleyball starting first week of October because it’s all going to be over and things kept on getting crazy.

I remember my 8-year-old being like, “Mom, I thought you said this [was] going to be done last week?” Like, “Oh my gosh, it’s going to be done. Maybe this week, maybe next week.” And explaining to her at one point, “I know you’re not going to understand this right now, but the reason that this is so important to me,”—and I know, I’m sure Mollie would say the same thing—”is because we want to have a country that our children can grow up in that does have that respect for the rule of law.”

That’s something that is worth fighting for. … Justice Kavanaugh is going to be a justice on the court through much of our children’s adult lives and the next nominee and the next one. All of those people are going to be confirmed in the shadow of what happened here.

In the moment, it meant definitely some later nights. I know at the end, my craziest time going through this last read-through, we were trying to catch all the typos and the kids are like, “We want a bedtime story.” And I said, “OK, the bedtime story is ‘Justice on Trial.'”

So there are some times when you can kind of make it all happen simultaneously. … They actually were definitely helpful and found a couple of little wording changes they suggested. So they have been wonderfully good sports on it.

Now my oldest one, for our library summer reading challenge, has to read a book by a local author as one of the things to check off her list. So she can read the local list of authors, the one that lives in her house, and I hope that one day they’ll all be able to look back on it and be thankful that they’re living, hopefully, in an America where we’ve learned some of the lessons of this crazy confirmation.

Bolar: I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy hormones or what, but you guys are making me emotional now.

Thank you both so much for joining us on the podcast today. You both are inspiration to me, everybody, all of our listeners at “Problematic Women.” We are so grateful for your efforts in writing this book.

Again, it is “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court.” Please go out and buy it. Support these two incredible women and all they’re doing to save this country.

Hemingway: Thank you very much, Kelsey.

A Time for Trade Schools - The Daily Signal

A Time for Trade Schools

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Victor Davis Hanson / Jake Dima / Chuck Ross / Hans von Spakovsky / GianCarlo Canaparo / Kelsey Bolar / Lauren Evans / Nayeli Riano /

Solving the huge debt incurred by young adults who took out loans to attend college has become a key policy debate.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for example, recently announced proposed legislation to eliminate student loan debt by taxing bonds and stocks.

By the beginning of 2019, student loan debt was at an all-time high: Over 44 million borrowers owed a total of $1.6 trillion. Student debt now is the second-highest consumer debt category, after mortgage debt.

Behind Sanders’ motivation for pushing legislation to forgive student loans is a belief that education is a human right. Those students who find themselves in exorbitant debt are being unjustly punished for wanting to do “the right thing,” Sanders said, “and that is going out and getting a higher education.”

But the importance of getting an education doesn’t necessarily correlate with a college education, especially considering the current state of higher education institutions across the country.

Many colleges have demonstrated a commitment to limiting intellectual diversity on campuses, as we have seen with the absurd instances of protest against free speech on campus. More importantly, many students who graduate from college struggle to find a job immediately,  as they lack a practical skill set to market beyond their education.

“When I am looking to hire you, I don’t care about where you went to school. I want to see what experience you have … what can you do for me?” Jose Sanchez, a senior mechanical engineer, said.

Sanchez is of the opinion that what matters in the job market shouldn’t be who you know or where you come from, but your ability to demonstrate skills and a willingness to grow those skills.

Loan forgiveness might be one solution that politicians will contemplate. But to truly fix the rising wave of student debt, we must begin to reconsider the value of college education for all young adults.

Although college might be a road that some students enjoy, higher education is not an infallible route toward financial stability, nor is it the sole route toward a meaningful and profitable career. 

Other opportunities exist. Technical and trade schools provide a rich alternative to higher education that allows students to gauge what they want to get from their post-secondary education according to their own abilities and life goals. What stands in the way is a prejudice against trade schools as places that are inferior to university.

An article in Popular Mechanics reports: “Over the past year, media from the The Wall Street Journal to PBS have hailed technology schools and programs as harbingers of a new economy and reformers of a postsecondary education system that’s become over-priced, over-valued, and often irrelevant.”

Compared to most community colleges, vocational schools have a higher graduation rate, and the demand for careers in different trades has increased. For students who view college as a step toward a job and don’t focus so much on a liberal arts education, trade school is a quicker, hands-on option, as several industries that provide a wealth of jobs do not require a bachelor’s degree.

Citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the organization Career Education Colleges and Universities noted that while 7.8 million Americans were listed as being unemployed in 2016, about 5.8 million jobs went unfilled because employers couldn’t find candidates with the necessary skills for these technical jobs, many of them in the construction industry.

Erwin Tejada, 24, entered the trucking industry because he knew that college was not a viable option for him. His experience working in nontrade jobs proved to him that wages were too low if you don’t know a skill.

Tejada realized that what he needed for his economic stability was to take up a trade with a strong market in the United States. Obtaining a commercial driver’s license was his solution, and he got it within six months and found work almost immediately after.

Finding ways to get millions of Americans out of debt through a forgiveness program will not educate rising generations of college students to truly consider all of their options and to weigh all of the consequences and benefits that might come from attending college at a high cost that does not guarantee a job right out of school.

The future for vocational schools looks bright, since jobs in the trades are a vital part of any economy.

A 2013 study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce concluded that “middle-skill jobs,” which require education and training beyond high school but not college, are always necessary: Of the 55 million job openings created by 2020, about 30 percent will require some college or a two-year associate degree.

A summary of a 2018 report by the Association for Career and Technical Education notes how technical education can improve state economies:

Communities across the nation benefit from [career and technical education]. Oklahoma’s economy reaps a net benefit of $3.5 billion annually from graduates of the CareerTech System. Wisconsin taxpayers receive $12.20 in benefits for every dollar invested in the technical college system. Students who attended Iowa Community Colleges in Fiscal Year 2014-15 are expected to grow the state’s economy by almost $15 billion over the course of their working lives.

Trade schools are regaining popularity. This fact is something that we should applaud as more Americans become disenchanted in a world of cubicles and debt. They’re finding greater reward in learning a trade.

Nominee for Joint Chiefs Chairman Holds Forward-Looking Vision for Military - The Daily Signal

Nominee for Joint Chiefs Chairman Holds Forward-Looking Vision for Military

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Victor Davis Hanson / Jake Dima / Chuck Ross / Hans von Spakovsky / GianCarlo Canaparo / Kelsey Bolar / Lauren Evans / Nayeli Riano / Emma Watkins / Nathan Royce /

The chief of staff of the Army, poised for the ultimate military promotion, says he will bring a forward-looking, high-tech vision to the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Army Gen. Mark Milley has been nominated to replace Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, who will be retiring upon the completion of his second term as the president’s foremost military adviser and highest-ranking member of the armed forces.

When asked what his priorities would be as chairman, Milley made clear he wanted to focus on modernizing the nuclear capabilities of the nation and developing President Donald Trump’s proposed Space Force.

Milley also supports investment in artificial intelligence and hypersonic weapon capabilities.

An alumnus of both Princeton and Columbia universities, Milley has had a long and distinguished career. He has served in notable units, such as the Green Berets, the 10th Mountain Division, and the 101st Airborne. Prior to his current role, Milley commanded the U.S. Army Forces Command.

He has earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Legion of Merit, and numerous other commendations. During his tenure as chief of staff of the Army, Milley has overseen the integration of women into combat roles and worked to eliminate recruitment shortfalls.

At his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing July 11, Milley vowed to provide candid advice to the president, no matter the consequences. A combat veteran, Milley said he would “not be intimidated into making stupid decisions” by the president or other civilian leader.

Milley asserted that he wouldn’t follow any orders that were “illegal, unethical, or immoral,” although he also drew a distinction between orders that met those criteria and those that were ill-advised. In doing so, he emphasized the importance of civilian command over the military, even regarding decisions he personally disagreed with.

Milley is the first chairman nominated to a single four-year term. Previous chairmen have served a two-year term, after which they are eligible for renomination. That change, enacted in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, was designed to ensure continuity through presidential administrations in the face of the numerous challenges presented to our nation.

Milley concurs with the Pentagon’s current focus on China and Russia as strategic rivals. However, he also acknowledged regional powers, such as Iran and North Korea, which will continue to threaten American interests and allies.

If confirmed, Milley will face many challenges. He will have to deal with hostile nations that are closing the gap on our technological advantages, the future of space, and the difficulties of rebuilding a military that has experienced years of underfunding, thus eroding its overall capability.

The U.S. armed forces will require strong leadership to guide it through a period of transition from counterterrorism to an era of great-power competition. Milley’s record suggests he is more than up to the challenge.

Washing Machine Tariffs Are Still Putting Consumers Through the Wringers - The Daily Signal

Washing Machine Tariffs Are Still Putting Consumers Through the Wringers

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Victor Davis Hanson / Jake Dima / Chuck Ross / Hans von Spakovsky / GianCarlo Canaparo / Kelsey Bolar / Lauren Evans / Nayeli Riano / Emma Watkins / Nathan Royce / Derek Hosford / Tori Whiting /

While tariffs are forcing American families to pay 12% more for their washing machines, 12 members of Congress from Ohio—from both sides of the political aisle—are urging President Donald Trump to maintain tariffs on washers.

These tariffs, which range from 20% to 50%, were imposed back in January 2018 after an investigation that determined the domestic washer industry was being injured by imports, when the primary domestic manufacturer affected was just one firm; namely, Whirlpool.

Since that decision, washer tariffs and additional duties on washing machine parts have resulted in minimal job creation for Whirlpool.

These tariffs are on top of the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed in 2018, both of which are vital inputs for washer manufacturing. Marc Bitzer, the company’s CEO, stated that “the net impact of all remedies and tariffs has turned into a headwind for us.”

Results from Whirlpool’s recent first-quarter statement show a significant decrease in units sold, from 8 million to 6 million, and a loss of about $500 million in revenues. That’s no doubt a reaction from American families to the increased prices.

Recent studies indicate that washing machine prices have increased $86 per unit since the tariffs were introduced. Despite having had no tariffs placed on them, commercial clothes dryers have increased in price by $92 per unit.

Instead of opting to raise prices significantly just on washers, companies have instead chosen to raise both washer and dryer prices, given that most people buy them together.

Therefore, businesses such as Whirlpool have chosen to pass on the high cost burden directly to American families. “There is just not enough margin in our business to just absorb it. So, we had to pass on that cost,” Bitzer conceded this year.

The American people have felt the full effect of the cost of these tariffs, roughly $1.5 billion in new taxes paid to the federal government.

Whirlpool—along with foreign manufacturers, such as Samsung and LG—have added a total of 1,800 jobs in the United States since then. Since Samsung and LG already had plans to add new jobs in America before the tariffs, it’s doubtful that those jobs were related to the tariffs at all.

In total, that means American families have paid more than $800,000 to create each new job. That’s not exactly a fair deal for the American people.

Tariffs have not made companies like Whirlpool more competitive to foreign rivals. Instead, the company is selling fewer products and growth is slow at best, thereby harming its employees, customers, and the economy as a whole.

American families should not be forced to continue to pay higher prices due to failed tariffs. Trump should remove the tariffs immediately.

The High Cost of ‘Free’ College Tuition - The Daily Signal

The High Cost of ‘Free’ College Tuition

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Victor Davis Hanson / Jake Dima / Chuck Ross / Hans von Spakovsky / GianCarlo Canaparo / Kelsey Bolar / Lauren Evans / Nayeli Riano / Emma Watkins / Nathan Royce / Derek Hosford / Tori Whiting / Kay Coles James /

In the lead-up to the 2020 elections, we’ve heard several proposals offering free college tuition for all, and loan forgiveness for those still carrying debt.

While proponents call these proposals “investments in our future,” the reality is they would be a suffocating financial burden on every taxpayer, but especially on middle- and lower-income citizens.

There’s an inherent unfairness to forcing many working-class Americans who couldn’t afford to go to college themselves to pay off the loans of those who could.

Requiring a family making $50,000 a year to pay off the college debts of doctors, lawyers, engineers, and even some members of Congress who make $174,000 a year is unconscionable.

Moreover, how fair is it for those who did go to college and worked hard to pay off their loans to then be forced to pay off everyone else’s?

What would the American people be paying for with all this “investment”? As a former university dean, someone who has been involved in education policy for decades, and as a parent and grandparent, I’ve seen firsthand everything from the decline in educational quality to the toll of massive college debt on students and their families.

American colleges and universities are failing in one of their most basic missions: to equip students with the tools they need for a career. Many students graduate ill-prepared to earn a living and pay off the enormous debt they accumulated getting their degrees.

Forty percent of those who start college don’t even finish within six years.

Despite these systemic issues, colleges continue to raise tuition. Because federal loan money is handed out with little scrutiny as to the student’s ability to pay it back, colleges have had free rein to raise prices at rates often double the inflation rate.

Flush with all that money, their first spending priority often isn’t the classroom but the bureaucracy. From 1987 to 2012, America’s higher education system added more than half a million administrators, doubling the number of administrators relative to the number of faculty.

With federal loans accounting for much of the $1.6 trillion in outstanding student loan debt and more than a million people defaulting on their loans each year, taxpayers are already picking up much of the tab for this broken system.

“Free” college tuition would only make things worse, creating an inflationary spiral: As more taxpayer dollars were funneled to schools with even less discretion than exists today, schools would keep raising costs.

So, what’s a real solution to student debt?

Rather than throw more money at the problem, the surest way to stop the sharp rise in both college tuition and student debt would be to get the federal government out of the student loan business. That would cut off the open spigot of money that has allowed colleges to increase costs virtually without limit.

Restoring private lending would require both the lenders and the borrowers to be more responsible with loan amounts and would cause colleges to rein in costs to create more affordable choices for students.

Private lending would also limit taxpayers’ exposure to billions of dollars in loan defaults.

One emerging lending solution is income share agreements, where students obtain financing through the schools themselves and pay it back based on a fixed percentage of their income after graduation. That means when their income is lower, their monthly loan payments are, too. As their income grows, their payments go up proportionally.

Income share agreements aren’t a blanket solution for every student, but they are one new innovation. They allow students to see—before they take on debt or choose a major—what types of careers will allow them to pay off their loans quicker and what kind of future they are investing in for themselves.

They also incentivize colleges to ensure their students graduate and enter careers that enable them to pay off their debt.

Cost-saving and more transparent solutions like these can be a win for both students and taxpayers. Moreover, getting the government out of the student loan business, rather than deeper into it, would also eliminate much of the politics in higher education.

Wouldn’t that be a good thing for everyone?

Originally published in The Washington Times.

Ted Cruz Presses Executive on Why Google Disbanded Panel Rather Than Include Conservative Leader - The Daily Signal

Ted Cruz Presses Executive on Why Google Disbanded Panel Rather Than Include Conservative Leader

Joshua Nelson / Thomas Jipping / Grace Melton / Joshua Nelson / Dennis Prager / Hans von Spakovsky / Joshua Nelson / Joshua Nelson / Victor Davis Hanson / Jake Dima / Chuck Ross / Hans von Spakovsky / GianCarlo Canaparo / Kelsey Bolar / Lauren Evans / Nayeli Riano / Emma Watkins / Nathan Royce / Derek Hosford / Tori Whiting / Kay Coles James / Rachel del Guidice /

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called out a Google vice president Tuesday afternoon for the tech giant’s decision to dissolve an advisory council on artificial intelligence after inviting Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James to join the panel. 

Cruz asked Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of government affairs and public policy, about the worldwide internet company’s disbanding of the advisory council after Google employees objected to including the head of the leading conservative think tank. 

“You worked at The Heritage Foundation, I believe you said,” Cruz told Bhatia during a hearing held by the Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution. “Do you consider The Heritage Foundation to be some fringe organization?” 

Bhatia replied that he considered Heritage to be a conservative organization. 

“So 2,500 Google employees signed a petition to have Ms. James removed from the council and they said, quote, ‘By appointing James to the ATEAC, Google elevates and endorses her views implying that hers is a valid perspective worthy of its inclusion in this decision making, this is unacceptable,’” Cruz said.

The formal name of Google’s short-lived panel was the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council.

The petition accused James of being “vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant,” and said, “In selecting James, Google is making clear that its version of ‘ethics’ values proximity to power over the wellbeing of trans people, other LGBTQ people, and immigrants.”

“Google, in response to this, dissolved the entire committee,” Cruz said to Bhatia. “Do you understand when you see that kind of bias, saying, ‘A conservative African-American woman’s views are not valid and not worthy of inclusion,’ that the American people would say, ‘These guys are silencing voices they disagree with’?”

James, who is black, overcame racial discrimination in Virginia as a girl and eventually became an educator and top state and federal government official before being named president of The Heritage Foundation, where she had been a trustee for more than a decade.

Bhatia told Cruz, chairman of the subcommittee, that the 2,500 employees who objected to James did not make up a large percentage of the Google workforce.

“Senator, the 2,500 amounts to something around 2% of the Google employees,” Bhatia said. 

“But Google acted on their recommendation. You dissolved the committee,” Cruz replied. 

>>> Commentary: Google Caves to the Intolerant Left, Betraying Its Own Ideals

Bhatia disagreed. 

“No, Senator, we did not,” he said. “What happened in that situation is that it’s a committee that consisted of a number of members; as time progressed, a number of members of the committee other than Ms. James decided to fall off the committee, to withdraw from the committee.”

Cruz continued to press the issue.

“Is this your testimony, Mr. Bhatia? Because I’m finding this difficult to credit. Is it your testimony that Google did not dissolve the committee because your employees were mad that anyone right of center was included?” 

The Google vice president answered Cruz by saying the company pulled the plug on the advisory council because executives didn’t see it going anywhere. 

“We dissolved the committee, Senator. I think we were clear at the end of the day that it was not going to be viable to continue the council given what we were seeing happen with other members of the committee,” Bhatia said.

Heritage’s James discussed the experience in an April op-ed for The Washington Post, writing that “the Google employees didn’t just attempt to remove me; they greeted the news of my appointment to the council with name-calling and character assassination.”

“They called me anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ and a bigot. That was an odd one, because I’m a 69-year-old black woman who grew up fighting segregation,” James added.

Referring to Google’s decision to end the panel, James wrote, “The company has given in to the mentality of a rage mob.”