Commentary: America’s Students Deserve a History and Civics Education Free of Political Agendas

Across the political spectrum, Americans are recognizing the importance not just of school choice but of what students actually learn in schools. Elected representatives have finally taken notice as well. In Michigan, the state legislature has proposed two bills that seek to address how American history and civics are taught.

Unfortunately, some want teachers to tell students that they should understand American history primarily by looking for racism, injustice, and oppression. The phrase “critical race theory” (CRT) has been used mainly in academia to describe this filter on history and civic instruction.

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Commentary: Hillary’s Secretive, Russiagate-Flogging Pair of Super-Lawyers

The indictment of Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann for allegedly lying to the FBI sheds new light on the pivotal role of Democratic operatives in the Russiagate affair. The emerging picture shows Sussmann and his Perkins Coie colleague Marc Elias, the chief counsel for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, proceeding on parallel, coordinated tracks to solicit and spread disinformation tying Donald Trump to the Kremlin.

In a detailed charging document last month, Special Counsel John Durham accused Sussmann of concealing his work for the Clinton campaign while trying to sell the FBI on the false claim of a secret Trump backchannel to Russia’s Alfa Bank. But Sussmann’s alleged false statement to the FBI in September 2016 wasn’t all. Just months before, he helped generate an even more consequential Russia allegation that he also brought to the FBI. In April of that year, Sussmann hired CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm that publicly triggered the Russiagate saga by lodging the still unproven claim that Russia was behind the hack of Democratic National Committee emails released by WikiLeaks.

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Commentary: Biden’s Possible Abandonment of Taiwan

Joe Biden

“Goodbye, great power competition and hello, strategic competition,” this is what the Biden Administration’s Pentagon spokesperson recently told Daniel Lipmann of Politico. According to analysts, these comments signal a shift toward a more cooperative, even conciliatory, American posture toward the Chinese Communist Party. Further, President Joe Biden told the media on October 6 that he had “spoken with [Chinese President Xi Jinping] about Taiwan. We agree that we will abide by the Taiwan Agreement.” 

The agreement that Mr. Biden was referring to was the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, an ambiguous agreement forged between China and the United States in which Taiwan would be treated by the United States as a foreign country without being formally recognized as such. While the 1979 agreement does allow for the provision of American military aid to Taiwan such that Taiwan can “maintain a sufficient self-defense capability,” the terms of this agreement allow for the Americans to shirk away from Taiwan whenever it is convenient for Washington do so.  

The Biden-Xi call came on the heels of China’s brazen violation of Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) during the week of October 1. At that time, China deployed more than 50 warplanes to violate Taiwan’s ADIZ, testing Taiwan’s overworked air defense network and pushing the island’s military to the point of exasperation. At some point, a grave miscalculation will occur between China and Taiwan—a mistake that could spark another world war that Washington is not prepared or willing to fight.

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Commentary: Educating Students About the Victims of Communism

Olbram Zoubek Communism Victims Memorial

Many Americans today assume that the threat of Communism subsided with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But “We continue to see Communist and socialist regimes pop up and spread not only in Latin America – for example, in Venezuela and Nicaragua – but around the world,” says Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, president and CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC). “These regimes regularly kill their own citizens and have a devastating effect on human rights and their national economies.” In fact, over 1.5 billion people – including those living in Laos, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and, of course, China – currently live under oppressive Communist and socialist governments.

Founded in 1993 by a bipartisan, unanimous Act of Congress, VOC is “devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to pursuing the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes.”

Before coming to VOC, Bremberg served as the Trump administration’s Representative of the United States to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva. During his time there, which he describes as a “profound and life changing experience,” he “became aware of the challenge of China,” which was “far worse” than he had realized. He notes that the U.N. International Human Rights Council made investigating the United States’ record on racism during the summer of 2020 its highest priority – putting it above China’s appalling human rights violations against Uyghurs, among other ethnic groups within its borders.

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Commentary: Ten Ways the Chinese Government Lied, Misled, and Messed Up Early on in the Pandemic

A plethora of politicians and government officials across the globe screwed up in their handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Chinese government, however, was acutely damaging with its ineptitude, because it, more than any other entity, had a chance to limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus when it first emerged in late 2019. Instead of trying to contain the virus with the help of the international community, however, the Chinese government lied, misled, and stalled. All of humanity has experienced the disastrous result of this negligence.

In his new book, Uncontrolled Spread, physician, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb focused his considerable expertise on pointing out the ways in which the world’s response to COVID-19 fell short, and how we can better prepare for the next inevitable pandemic. Early on in the book, he chronicled numerous examples of the Chinese government’s inept, corrupt handling of what was then an emerging outbreak. Here are ten of them:

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Commentary: A Call to Amend Section 230 for Social Media Transparency

Smart phone opened on home screen

Amid growing bipartisan agreement that increased regulation of social media platforms and their content moderation policies is needed, the path forward remains murky. Should Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act be discarded or strengthened? Should companies be broken up using antitrust laws? Should government set speech rules for the web? Should users decide them? Or should there be no rules at all?

There is no shortage of solutions being put forth to solve the challenge of social media censorship. The problem is that without a better understanding of how social platforms invisibly shape the public square of democracy today, we don’t know which of these possible solutions might have the greatest impact. In short, to fix social media, we first need a better understanding of its ills: Section 230 must be amended to legislate social platform transparency.

A new RealClearFoundation report, “Transparency Is the First Step Toward Addressing Social Media Censorship,” outlines the public data sets we need to usher in transparency and better understand the challenges we face.

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Commentary: I’m Leaving My California Teachers’ Union

I have been a middle school special education teacher for 18 years. Every day I spend in the classroom is a joy – the work is hard, but so rewarding – and with almost two decades of experience, I know how my students learn best.

Imagine my surprise when the California Teachers Association – which spends zero days per year with students – tries to tell teachers how to run their classrooms.

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Roger Simon Commentary: Time to Stop ‘Communism, American-Style’

Some will remember that comedy classic from 1961, “Divorce, Italian Style,” starring Marcello Mastroianni. Unfortunately, 60 years later, we seem to be moving toward, even living through, a far less funny, real-life “Communism, American Style.”

What is “Communism, American Style”? As yet one would think it bears little resemblance to the Soviet kind with its gulags and so forth.

Or does it?

On Oct. 6, the Los Angeles City Council proclaimed, nearly unanimously (11–2), COVID-19 mandates that require proof of vaccination to enter indoor restaurants, movie theaters, salons, shopping centers, and just about every other public indoor space you could think of in the entertainment capital.

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Commentary: A Closer Look at a Supreme Court Case That Could Help Decide the Legality of Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

Every now and again, an otherwise arcane legal topic suddenly becomes relevant to contemporary political debate. At that point, general commentary suddenly becomes filled with newly minted experts with strong positions on what is typically a nuanced issue. Thus, at various points during the past decade, Twitter saw a flood of hitherto undisclosed connoisseurs on the intricacies of the Logan Act, a constitutionally problematic piece of legislation that emerged from the same 18th century administration that brought us the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, some observers suddenly expressed deep-seated opinions on the Jones Act, a complex piece of maritime law most people had probably never heard of prior to 2017.

So it seems to be with Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the previously obscure 116-year-old precedent – it barely warrants a footnote in most constitutional law treatises – that people have taken to citing whenever anyone questions the legality or constitutionality of vaccine mandates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Jacobson is not some sort of argumentative checkmate. If the decision were actually taken to the lengths that some of its proponents suggest, it would be a truly terrifying ruling.

Although I drafted most of this article before encountering Josh Blackman’s excellent law review article on Jacobson (available here), I did rely on it for some of the procedural history of the case, as well as some of the cases from the pandemic that relied upon Jacobson. It is well worth a read for anyone else interested in learning more about the case.

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Commentary: The First Step to Rightsizing Education Spending Is Reforming Teacher Pensions

In the past year, Congress has rushed more than $204 billion in federal emergency funds to states to support K-12 schools. 

But 23 states had fewer incoming students this fall. This declining enrollment is likely in part due to pandemic-related trends but is also a symptom of changing birth rates and families geographically relocating.

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Commentary: The Problems with Censoring Doctors over Their COVID-19 Stances

Everyone has a right to their opinion. The question is: does everyone have a right to voice their opinion? Increasingly, in these strange times, it seems that we physicians have the right to voice only certain opinions, when it comes to discussing Covid-19.

Wanting to hit the mute button on physicians who choose to challenge the public health narrative, especially in regard to vaccination for Covid-19, is understandably tempting. We carry a bit more authority than lawyers or statisticians when we share our thoughts about medical matters; and quite a few physicians seem to have little interest in toeing the party line. However, appealing as it might be to silence these voices, succumbing to the temptation of censorship might end up costing our society more than it gains.

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Commentary: If Polls Are Right, Democrats Are Doomed But If They’re Wrong, It’s Worse

In less than three months, President Biden’s approval rating has tumbled from a remarkable position in a polarized nation to the lowest of all but two presidents since 1945. Democrats are panicked though refusing to course-correct, hoping the pandemic will retreat, the economy will rebound, and their agenda will pass through Congress and turn out to be popular down the line.

The standing of the party with voters, at this time, isn’t in doubt. It’s awful. Biden’s average job approval rating on July 20 was 52.4% in the RealClearPolitics average before tanking precipitously and taking the party’s fortunes with him as the delta variant surged and American troops withdrew from Afghanistan in a deadly and tragic exit. RCP currently has him at 43.3%. His approval in Gallup has dropped 13 points since June, six points in this last month. The latest Quinnipiac University poll had Biden’s approval/disapproval at 38/53, down four points in three weeks. Specific findings on leadership questions were dreadful, with Biden’s numbers falling since April by nine points on the question of whether he cares about average Americans, seven points on whether he is honest, and nine points on whether he has good leadership skills.

The latest Morning Consult/Politico findings from last week showed Biden’s approval underwater across the board, at 45% approval overall, at 40% on the economy, 44% on health care, 40% on national security, 33% on immigration and 36% on foreign policy. The only number not underwater was Biden’s COVID approval of 49%-46%, 30 points lower than it was last spring. Across all polling Biden’s approval on the questions of competence and accomplishment have suffered. And that Morning Consult/Politico survey stated, “The shares of independent and Democratic voters who say Biden has underperformed expectations have doubled over the past three months.”

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Commentary: America’s Universities Are Learning the Legal Costs of Wokeness

As they reel from revenue losses connected to the pandemic, many colleges and universities are racking up other costs not likely to turn up in their glossy brochures or as line items on staggering tuition bills: untold millions of dollars in legal fees and settlements for allegedly violating the rights of students, professors, and applicants on free speech, admissions and other matters as the schools pursue social justice causes.

Harvard University’s legal costs fighting a continuing 2017 challenge to its racial admissions practices have surpassed $25 million, the cap of its primary insurer, and it is now suing a secondary legal insurer, the Zurich American Insurance Company, over its refusal to pick up the tab going forward.

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Commentary: Real Estate Scams Are on the Rise as the Housing Market Remains Hot

When Jeff, a retired marketing consultant from Chicago, was closing on his home sale, he received a new set of instructions at the last minute on where to send several thousand dollars in closing expenses. At first blush, the email looked legit with an official-looking logo and professional language specifying the amount owed and itemized expenses. But one thing caught his eye: The email address looked strange. Just to be safe, he called his mortgage broker.

“Don’t do that!” his broker told him in an alarmed voice. It was a scam. If he hit “send,” his closing fees would go to a thief who had been monitoring his emails. “I was a keystroke away from losing thousands of dollars,” Jeff recalled.

As the housing market sizzles across the country – with nearly 6 million homes bought last year – scammers have been finding new ways to tap into this once-secure market. Real estate transactions still demand reams of paperwork and regulations involving lawyers, brokers, title insurance companies and banks, but the fact that much of this work now takes place online gives thieves countless opportunities to exploit vulnerable buyers. Last year, more than 11,000 homeowners were scammed out of more than $220 million in closing funds alone, according to the American Land and Title Association, a trade group that represents professionals who perform property transactions.

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Commentary: Hyde Amendment Is New Obstacle to Biden Spending Plan

The White House is once again at odds with the senior senator from West Virginia.

Joe Manchin has made clear for months that the administration’s sprawling $3.5 trillion social spending package is too large, and just as progressives seemed to agree that the top-line number could be whittled down somewhat, the moderate Democrat drew another line in the sand, this one underscoring the Hyde Amendment.

The amendment represents a decades-long agreement by both parties that prohibits federal dollars from funding abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger. Manchin wants it included in the spending bill. The White House does not. Thus has emerged another obstacle to passing the president’s legislative agenda.

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Commentary: The Worst Campus in America for Free Speech is Indiana’s DePauw University

For the second straight year, survey data shows that a small private school in western Indiana is the nation’s worst college for free speech.

DePauw University again finished last in the 2021 College Free Speech Rankings, the second annual campus-speech-related survey and rankings project sponsored by the research firm College Pulse, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and RealClearEducation. More than 37,000 students at 159 colleges and universities participated in the survey, and their responses helped determine each school’s place in the 2021 rankings.

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Commentary: A New Meta-Study Breaks Through Institutional Bias, Finds Smarter People Oppose ‘Governmental Intervention in Markets’

The overwhelming majority of social psychologists are liberal, so that could at least partly explain why the field’s scientific literature is overflowing with studies linking conservative political views to lower levels of intelligence.

“That’s just what the data say,” psychologists might counter, glossing over the publication bias, p-hacking, and slanted studies that are rife within the discipline.

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Commentary: Joe Biden’s Energy Policies Hurt My Family

I started pipelining in 2008 during one of the worst economic recessions our country has ever witnessed. I’ve seen disaster after disaster, both natural and policy-related, devastate our oil and gas supply over the past 13 years of my pipelining career. Yet through all of this, I have never been more concerned for our nation and its energy security than I am right now, watching the Biden administration minimize the progress we have made over the past decade.

I began my career as a welder’s helper before realizing that I had all of the necessary skills to be a pipeline welder myself. I’ve become passionate about doing my part to bring reliable, affordable, safe energy to the American people. Being married to someone in the pipeline industry as well, we’ve seen the industry change over the years— sometimes for the better and lately, for the worst.

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Commentary: Guided by Faith, Divinity Student Fought His ‘Anti-Racist’ Princeton Seminary — and Won

Timothy Keiderling’s decision to enroll in the Princeton Theological Seminary reflected his commitment “to give my life to work for justice and to live out the values of the Kingdom of God.” In a letter to the seminary’s president, Craig Barnes, he wrote that he “would sacrifice anything to make sure that my brothers and sisters see relief from their oppression.”

But the seminary’s concept of justice clashed with Keiderling’s conscience when PTS required him to attend “anti-racism” training sessions that he considered a form of indoctrination. He refused to participate in the sessions even after being reminded that they were mandatory. And then – early this year, with the potent support of the newly founded Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA) – he convinced the seminary to exempt him from the training.

It was “a real victory which can advance the academic freedom cause substantially,” says Princeton Professor Robert George, a leader of the AFA who acted as an adviser to Keiderling, and whom the latter credits with making his victory possible. “Instead of a victim, we have a victor — one who stuck to his guns and persuaded his institution not only to respect his right of conscience, but to acknowledge the difference between education and indoctrination.”

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Commentary: New Ways to Diagnose Alzheimer’s Are Here, and Better Ones Are on the Way

In sharp contrast to every other top-ten cause of death, Alzheimer’s disease has long lacked affordable and accessible ways to diagnose it. While doctors have been able to tell patients with almost 100% certainty whether they have diabetes, heart disease or cancer, until recently, Alzheimer’s was a diagnosis of exclusion.

Doctors could look for signs of Alzheimer’s. They could test memory and other cognitive skills, judge a patient’s ability to perform routine tasks, and ask their friends and family about any behavior changes. MRIs could determine brain volume, which diminishes as Alzheimer’s progresses. But blood and other diagnostic tests were used only to rule out other possible causes of their symptoms, such as B12 deficiency or thyroid disorders.

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Commentary: Second Thoughts About That FBI Report of a 40 Percent Spike in Anti-Black Hate Crime

The FBI’s latest annual report on hate crimes seemed to deliver more grim news about race relations in America, announcing a nearly 40% rise in anti-black hate crimes in 2020. Major news outlets trumpeted the headline-grabbing statistic, noting that it coincided with a rise in “white nationalism” and came amid a surge in anti-black “hostility” caused by summer 2020 protests. Attorney General Merrick Garland quickly promised “a comprehensive response” by the Department of Justice.

But a closer look at the data reveals a more complicated picture. Some of the biggest increases in anti-black hate crimes occurred in Democratic Party strongholds yet, perhaps surprisingly, almost no increases were reported in major cities riven by the racially tinged protests and riots after George Floyd’s murder. It’s no surprise, then, that experts caution against using these numbers to claim an epidemic of anti-black crime – both because of the FBI data’s limitations, as well as the small absolute and relative size of the reported increase.

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Investigation: Biden Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Tied to Alleged 2016 Clinton Scheme to Co-Opt the CIA and FBI to Tar Trump

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan figures prominently in a grand jury investigation run by Special Counsel John Durham into an alleged 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign scheme to use both the FBI and CIA to tar Donald Trump as a colluder with Russia, according to people familiar with the criminal probe, which they say has broadened into a conspiracy case.

Sullivan is facing scrutiny, sources say, over potentially false statements he made about his involvement in the effort, which continued after the election and into 2017. As a senior foreign policy adviser to Clinton, Sullivan spearheaded what was known inside her campaign as a “confidential project” to link Trump to the Kremlin through dubious email-server records provided to the agencies, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Commentary: Two Unique, Powerful Forces Will Influence the Midterms

If the 2022 midterm elections had an official soundtrack, it would be the ominous music from the 1975 movie “Jaws.”

Although the election is 13 months away, mounting intensity feels like great white sharks are circling our national boat with a convergence of two powerful, never-before-seen political forces. Both forces are hangovers from the 2020 election with the potential to make the 2022 midterms the most tumultuous in modern American history.

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Commentary: The Proposed Methane Fee Is an All-Downside Proposal

Person filling up red car with petrol/gasoline

The Methane Emissions Reduction Act of 2021 has been proposed as a “pay-for” – a source of revenue – in the reconciliation infrastructure package. It would impose a “fee” on methane emissions from natural gas and petroleum production systems and related processes, but not on such emissions from agricultural and other operations. Accordingly, it is worse than a mere money grab: it’s a blatant exercise in punitive politics directed at the fossil-fuel energy sector, a tax on conventional energy.

Not so, says Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), as summarized by the Washington Examiner:

“This is not a tax. It’s a fee on natural gas waste,” adding oil and gas operators have the technologies to combat methane leaks at low cost. “The smart players want to prevent waste because they can capitalize it to make money. Customers won’t be paying a fee on gas delivered. The only fee will be paid [by an operator] on what doesn’t make it to the consumer.”

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Commentary: Little Outcry over Antifa’s Equal-Opportunity Beatdowns of Journalists Left and Right

From covering displaced refugees around the globe to the obstacles faced by protesters seeking change in America, freelance photojournalist Maranie Staab believes her camera can be a force for truth and social justice. The work of a “conflict photographer” often requires physical courage in places she has reported from, such as Africa and the Middle East. It certainly did so on Aug. 22, while Staab was covering demonstrations in Portland, Ore.

Members of the left-wing group antifa called her a “slut” and then demanded that journalists assembled to cover the protests “get the f— out.” Staab, a 2020 reporting fellow for the liberal Pulitzer Center, tried to calm the situation. She was assaulted. She told the Willamette Week that they grabbed her phone and smashed it. Then they threw her to the pavement and sprayed her with mace. The ugly assault on Staab (below) was filmed and distributed quickly online, resulting in widespread condemnation.  “If we’re on a public street and a newsworthy event is occurring, you’re not going to tell me what I can and cannot film,” Staab told the weekly newspaper.

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Commentary: The Media Doesn’t Accurately Cover Defensive Gun Usage in America

While Americans know that guns take many innocent lives every year, many don’t know that firearms also save them.

On May 15, an attacker at an apartment complex in Fort Smith, Ark., fatally shot a woman and then fired 93 rounds at other people before a man killed him with a bolt-action rifle. Police said he “likely saved a number of lives in the process.”

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Roger Simon Commentary: The Democrats’ War on Blacks Keeps Growing in the Pandemic

One of the key reasons I left the Democratic Party years ago was the atrocious way they treated black people.

I’m not just talking about “Jim Crow” or LBJ’s well-known patriarchal and racist use of the “n-word” to celebrate blacks voting Democratic forever in gratitude for his ultimately useless early “virtue signaling” called the “War on Poverty.”

(Notice any difference between South Central then and now?)

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Commentary: IRS Guidance Would Punish Small Business Owners with Families

Outside of IRS building

Most IRS guidance documents make for poor pleasure reading. Then again, most IRS guidance doesn’t effectively impose a retroactive tax on small business owners merely for having a family. IRS Notice 2021-49, issued on August 4, includes a bizarre interpretation of the law that will effectively raise taxes for business owners with close relatives, even if their family members have no involvement in the company.

A core goal of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed early on in the pandemic was to assist businesses in keeping employees on their payroll even as they dealt with the economic effects of lockdowns. Part of the plan was the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), which provides a tax credit against employer payroll tax liabilities.

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26 Governors Seek Meeting with Biden over Border Surge

More than half of the country’s governors would like a moment of the president’s time – and soon: Twenty-six Republican governors are urging Joe Biden to do more to address the deteriorating situation along the southern U.S. border.

“As chief executives of our states,” they write in a letter postmarked for Monday and first obtained by RealClearPolitics, “we request a meeting with you at The White House to bring an end to the national security crisis created by eight months of unenforced borders.”

The GOP chief executives are requesting an audience “within 15 days” given that the “the crisis that began at our southern border now extends beyond to every state and requires immediate action before the situation worsens.”

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Commentary: Conservatives Should Not Listen to the Eco-Right

If there’s one thing the Left knows cold, it’s deception. From Vladimir Lenin to Saul Alinsky, leftists are unparalleled masters of the art of victory through hoodwinking: Defeating opponents by fooling them into false agreement.

Owning the battlefield in this war starts with controlling the language. We’ve seen this play out in the debate over abortion access, with pro-choice activists redefining “pro-life” to mean anything but the conviction that life begins at conception—and swindling unwitting Christians into their ranks.

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Commentary: Biden’s Medical Apartheid

Joe Biden

Events this weekend showcased the intense bifurcation of America into two separate realities. As our country observed the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, former presidents gathered, sans Donald Trump, in New York for a solemn ceremony — wearing masks even though they are fully vaccinated and were outside. In Shanksville, Pa., George W. Bush leveraged the occasion to take a not-very-veiled shot at the MAGA movement, comparing its most fervent adherents to the 9/11 terrorists.

Meanwhile, at stadiums across America, massive crowds of rowdy, unmasked college football fans tailgated, packed into stadiums, and also recalled the grim events of 2001, but in far more boisterous displays of patriotism.

This same-day divergence highlights the sharply divided nation of 2021. That chasm will now only widen as Joe Biden targets many of those same people, the ones unwilling to live under the thumb of onerous government virus mitigation restrictions. These ineffective mandates may nominally emanate from science, but they moreover stem from a preference for coercion and control by Democrat politicians, all with the assistance of powerful business interests, including Big Tech and Big Pharma.

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Commentary: The Other Back to School Story

Back to school stories this year will focus, naturally, on the Covid-19 pandemic’s toll on students and families and on remedying these difficulties.

But another story is being shortchanged: it’s about how parents sought new options for their children like homeschooling, small learning pods, and micro-schools, with civic entrepreneurs and their partners creating new organizations or expanding existing ones to meet this demand.

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Commentary: Cancel Culture is Both a Scarlet Letter and a Reign of Terror

In a recent Atlantic article, Anne Applebaum compares our college campuses to New England Puritanism. She did so by drawing on the storyline of the novel “The Scarlet Letter,” wherein Hester Prynne suffers eternal ignominy for having sex and getting pregnant outside of wedlock. So, too, Applebaum wrote, do many today receive a scarlet “C,” marked for shunning at the behest of a “Cancel Culture.”

While Applebaum’s comparison is helpful, a more fitting reference exists, one both historical and literary. The French Revolution, which began in 1789, provided the backdrop for Charles Dickens’snovel “A Tale of Two Cities.” It tells a tale with parallels to the college experience of today.

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Commentary: Four Scientific Questions We May Never Know the Answers To

Questions set the scientific method in motion. Without that initial curiosity, that “I wonder…”, that “What if…”, we would not have the technology, the medicine, nor the knowledge that we have today.

But not all questions have readily attainable answers. Despite our formidable advances in probing reality over the years, there are some things we are still incapable of concretely knowing. One day, that could change, but for these topics it’s currently hard to fathom how. Here are four questions that humans may never know the answers to:

Do You See Red Like I See Red?

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Commentary: Biden’s Job Approval Has Entered Dangerous Territory

In 1880, Americans did something momentous: They all elected their congressional delegations in the same year. Prior to that, elections had been a hodgepodge affair. For example, the first elections for the 28th Congress, which ostensibly met from 1843 to 1845, were held in Missouri on Aug. 1, 1842. But only five other states held elections that year; almost all other states held them over the course of the odd numbered year of 1843. Maryland finally got around to holding its elections on Feb. 14, 1844, a half-year before the presidential election and less than a year before the next Congress convened.

Even after 1880, a truly uniform Election Day did not arrive until 1960, when Maine gave up its stubborn insistence on holding its congressional elections in September. But for all intents and purposes, 1882 marks the birth of the phenomenon we know today as the midterm election year.

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Commentary: After Botched Afghanistan Withdrawal, Pro-Biden National Security Experts Conspicuously Quiet

In the aftermath of any botched U.S. military operation, what inevitably follows are numerous news cycles of noisy recriminations across Washington’s national security and foreign policy establishment. Republican lawmakers and some conservative military and diplomatic hands have blasted President Biden as the Afghanistan withdrawal spiraled out of control over the last two weeks, but there have been glaring exceptions.

Conspicuously absent from the after-action finger-pointing are nearly all of the 500 national security experts — both civilians and former senior uniformed officers — who endorsed Joe Biden for president last fall, while denouncing President Trump as an unfit commander-in-chief.

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Poll: Youngkin Now Tied with McAuliffe in Virginia Governor Race

The race for Virginia governor is now a dead heat as Republican Glenn Youngkin has pulled within a single point of Democrat Terry McAuliffe at summer’s end, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The survey of 1,074 likely voters, conducted over the weekend by the Republican polling firm Trafalgar Group, showed 46.6% backing McAuliffe while 46.3% support Youngkin, a result well within the margin of error. Robert Cahaly, the pollster, called it “a virtual tie.”

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Commentary: BidenCare Blows ObamaCare Costs Out of the Water

PolitiFact’s 2013 “Lie of the Year” came from former President Barack Obama selling ObamaCare, his massive government takeover of healthcare. “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it,” Obama said. That was a lie. Now President Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) want to expand that lie through their $3.5 trillion federal spending blowout pending in Congress. 

Obama also said we could keep our doctors under ObamaCare. Obama lied to me and millions of other people. When I left a full-time job in 2013 for contract work, I switched to an ObamaCare exchange plan. And no, I didn’t get to keep my doctor on that new plan. I also saw the cost of my ObamaCare plan increase by double digit rates for 2014.

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Commentary: A School Movement Targeting Minorities That Works, Progressives Don’t Like It

Michael Landsbaum hit bottom after his father lost his job and couldn’t pay rent, leaving the teenager homeless in Dallas. He slept on friends’ couches for months until he was rescued by an unlikely source: his high school.

But Pathways in Technology Early College High School did much more than provide him with a place to stay at a counselor’s home. Its accelerated program, including college courses, gave Landsbaum the drive to get through the tough times and the hope for better days.

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Commentary: Christian Schools Vastly Outperforming Public Schools During COVID-19, According to New Survey of Parents

Among last year’s other lessons, none may be more important than this: Our taxpayer-funded education establishment cares more about adults than children.

Consider the evidence: public school union bosses pressured officials to close schools and keep them shuttered beyond what medical authorities recommended. In spite of the obvious harm to children of school closures, unions throughout the country lobbed threats and issued demands. In Chicago, the union went so far as to sue the Mayor to keep schools closed; in San Francisco, the city had to sue its school board.

A public education system that failed to do right by our children has kept union bosses empowered and politicians cowed. Thankfully, our country offers an alternative—one that proved its mettle this past year. In a recent survey of public school and Christian school parents, the Herzog Foundation found that parents of children who attended a Christian school were vastly more satisfied with their school experience.

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Commentary: Moving Space Command

This August, thousands of space professionals from across government, industry, and academia will descend on Colorado Springs for the space industry’s big annual conference: the 36th Space Symposium. Colorado Springs has played host to the symposium since its launch in 1985. The Symposium is held there (and its sponsoring organization, the Space Foundation, is headquartered there) because Colorado Springs is a center of gravity for space activity in government and industry. All of which makes the early 2021 decision of the previous administration to move the headquarters of U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama a bit puzzling.

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Commentary: Biden’s Eviction Moratorium Reveals Tragic Disdain for the Constitution

One night while we were sleeping, America lost its Constitution.

That’s not such an unrealistic scenario, and it can happen without gunfire or marches in the streets. In fact, with very little drama, it may be occurring at this moment. By itself, the U.S. Constitution is merely a collection of words. Only citizens who cherish liberty give the document real meaning, and if they remain silent when it’s under threat – as it surely is at this hour – our rights and freedoms become imperiled.

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Commentary: Kamala Harris Backed Afghan Exit Despite Intel Warning Taliban Would Abuse Women

Just 12 days before President Biden ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the U.S. intelligence community warned the White House that allowing the Taliban to control the country would put Afghan women at grave risk, according to a little-noticed intelligence assessment.

Biden nonetheless pressed ahead with the plan – with the support of his vice president, Kamala Harris, who boasted that she was the last person in the room with the president when he made the decision and felt comfortable with the plan.

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Commentary: Biden’s Electric Car Plan Means Rigging Manufacturing to Favor Unions

At NREL future research should focus on understanding consumer driving and charging behavior and the nuances determining the choice of residential charging infrastructure for plug-in electric vehicles (PEV). Shown is in the Power Systems Lab in the Energy systems Integration Facility (ESIF)

In a highly orchestrated and publicized White House gathering this month, President Biden presented a detailed plan for the development of a U.S. fleet of clean, high-mileage electric automobiles that would reduce reliance on gasoline and generate thousands of good union jobs. It’s a new, government-encouraged, taxpayer-subsidized auto world. The plan calls for U.S. auto production to become 50% electric by 2030. Today, the electric share stands at a paltry 2%.

Top leaders from Ford, GM, and Stellantis (formerly Fiat-Chrysler), along with environmentalists and governors, were prominently invited to share in the announcement. Yet the absence of any non-union, America-located auto producers was glaring. There were no representatives from Hyundai, Nissan, or Toyota – companies that have long produced popular vehicles within our borders and recently expressed some support for Biden’s goal. Also striking was the absence of Tesla’s Elon Musk, the world’s acknowledged leader in the electric car and battery revolution. Tesla is an American firm, but it is not unionized.

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Commentary: Election Rules Have to Mean Something

The rule of law must be respected for liberty to be protected.  Changing the rules to achieve a desired outcome undermines both, and when this is done in the administration of elections, democracy itself is imperiled.

Unfortunately, the left shows no compunction about wielding power for partisan advantage, especially when it comes to election administration. They’ve even gone so far as to create new rules to suit their purposes, regardless of whether they possess the authority to do so.

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Commentary: Teacher Codes of Conduct Offer Alternative to Critical Race Theory Bans

The firing of Matthew Hawn, a high school teacher in Sullivan County, Tennessee, recently made national news and seemed to confirm fears that newly-enacted state bans on critical race theory (CRT) would have a chilling effect on teacher speech. Hawn, a 16-year veteran tenured teacher and baseball coach, had assigned students in his contemporary issues class Ta-Nehisi Coates’s essay, “The First White President,” and a spoken word poem from Kyla Jenée Lacey called “White Privilege.” One headline declared, “A Tennessee teacher taught a Ta-Nehisi Coates essay and a poem about white privilege. He was fired for it.” A Georgetown professor tweeted, “This really seems extreme and a harbinger of what is to come.”

But contrary to news coverage and social media chatter, Hawn wasn’t fired for violating the state’s newly passed CRT ban. Really, he was dismissed for failing to adhere to the Tennessee “Teacher Code of Ethics,” a seldom-invoked but sensible state requirement for teachers to provide students access to varying points of view on controversial topics. Not only did Hawn fail to follow this code when he assigned the contentious poem and Coates’ essay from The Atlantic, which contains claims such as, “With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness,” he also later asserted that “there is no credible source for a differing point of view.” (Hawn recently denied making such a claim, though he declined to explain why the district attributed this statement to him.)

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Commentary: Distrust and Verify

Every member of America’s expert class possessing even a modicum of integrity and self-awareness has long been aware of a simple truth: Only a fool would trust the emanations of America’s leading experts.

Worse, the more prestigious the job title, the less trustworthy the pronouncement. Official experts who speak for the government are the most suspect of all. Worse still, you can’t write off anything they say because a great deal of it is informed and valid.

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Commentary: Distrust in Television Ratings

While they may not agree on nearly anything else, one issue manages to unite Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN: an archaic television ratings system that is known to wildly misrepresent viewership.

At a time when cord-cutting has brought about many new ways to consume television news and entertainment, the industry’s primary measurement tool, Nielsen Ratings, seems stuck in another era. Those chosen as “Nielsen families” have complained for years about the cumbersome, almost primitive methods used to track their viewership.

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Commentary: 1619 Project, Touted as Racial Reckoning, Ignores Democratic Party Racism

Democrats who advanced a bill in June to remove statues of white supremacists from the U.S. Capitol ignored a central fact about those figures: All of them had been icons of their party, from Andrew Jackson’s adamantly pro-slavery vice president, John C. Calhoun, to North Carolina Gov. Charles B. Aycock, an architect of the white-supremacist campaign of 1898 that ushered in the era of Jim Crow.

At a time when governments, sports teams, schools and other bastions of American society are rushing to expunge legacies of slavery or racism, this was another instance of the Democratic Party’s failure to acknowledge that it did more than any other institution in American life to preserve the “peculiar institution” — and later enforce Jim Crow-style apartheid in the Old South.

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Commentary: Climate Change Activists Misrepresent Extreme Weather Events

The Pacific Northwest was hit with a record-shattering heat wave in June, with temperatures over 35 degrees higher than normal in some places. On June 28, Portland, Ore., reached 116 degrees. Late last week the region suffered another blast of hot weather, with a high in Portland of 103 degrees. The New York Times didn’t hesitate to pronounce the region’s bouts of extreme weather proof that the climate wasn’t just changing, but catastrophically so.

To make that claim, the Times relied on a “consortium of climate experts” that calls itself World Weather Attribution, a group organized not just to attribute extreme weather events to climate change, but to do so quickly. Within days of the June heat wave, the researchers released an analysis, declaring that the torrid spell “was virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.”

World Weather Attribution and its alarming report were trumpeted by Time magazine, touted by the NOAA website  Climate.gov , and featured by CBS News, CNBC, Scientific American, CNN, the Washington Post, USAToday, and the New York Times, among others.

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