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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her long-awaited appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning to testify on Benghazi. In her prepared remarks, Clinton said: “As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility.” But this is responsibility in its unique Washington sense of responsibility without consequences. Clinton remains in her cabinet position and, while four underlings have been reassigned, she herself has suffered no consequences as a result of the disaster for which she says she is responsible.
Senator Rand Paul criticized Clinton for her alleged ignorance of the security concerns that were repeatedly expressed by Ambassador Chris Stevens and other diplomats in Libya. Clinton says she never read their emails and didn’t know about the security issues they described. Paul said that if he had been president, he would have fired her:
In another widely-reported exchange, Clinton blew up at Senator Ron Johnson, who asked her about the administration’s false but oft-repeated claim that the Benghazi attack was part of a protest against an anti-Islamic YouTube video. “What difference would it make?” Hillary shouted:
This is utterly disingenuous. While Clinton says that she was not the source for the infamous talking points, she is well aware that the Obama administration tried to cover up its malfeasance with respect to security by pretending that the Benghazi murders were part of a spontaneous–and therefore, implicitly, unpredictable–uprising over a YouTube video. In fact, Clinton herself participated in this deception. Has Clinton forgotten that some days after the event–not in “real time,” the term she used this morning–she told the family of one of the Benghazi victims that “We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video?” For whatever reasons, she certainly thought at the time that it was significant to blame the massacre, falsely, on a video.
All in all, it sounds like a tough morning for Mrs. Clinton. If she is serious about running for president in 2016, she can only hope that by then, memories of her service as Secretary of State will have faded. And that Joe Biden is her most formidable opponent.
People often refer to the whole renewable energy sector as a “racket,” as it depends on subsidies and mandates to make money. Hence the essentially corrupt deals cut in Washington to keep the subsidies in place.
Well guess what: it really is a racket. A police sting in Italy recently revealed heavy Mafia involvement in renewable energy projects. From yesterday’s Washington Post:
PALERMO, Italy — Inside a midnight-blue BMW, a Sicilian entrepreneur delivered his pitch to the accused mafia boss. A new business was blowing into Italy that could spin wind and sunlight into gold, ensuring the future of the Earth as well as the Cosa Nostra: renewable energy.
“Uncle Vincenzo,” implored the businessman, Angelo Salvatore, using a term of affection for the alleged head of Sicily’s Gimbellina crime family, 79-year-old Vincenzo Funari. According to a transcript of their wiretapped conversation, Salvatore continued, “for the love of our sons, renewable energy is important. . . . it’s a business we can live on.” . . .
The still-emerging links of the mafia to the once-booming wind and solar sector here are raising fresh questions about the use of government subsidies to fuel a shift toward cleaner energies, with critics claiming huge state incentives created excessive profits for companies and a market bubble ripe for fraud. . .
“The Cosa Nostra is adapting, acquiring more advanced knowledge in new areas like renewable energy that have become more profitable because of government subsidies,” said Teresa Maria Principato, the deputy prosecutor in charge of Palermo’s Anti-Mafia Squad, whose headquarters here are emblazoned with the images of assassinated judges. “It is casting a shadow over our renewables industry.”
Really, you can’t make this stuff up. So when are going to get wise about our own green energy racketeers?
(Hat tip: Ken Green.)
Sorry, President Obama. As young women, we prefer an AR-15 “assault” rifle with a 30-round magazine for self-defense.
In fact, we wouldn’t want to be stuck at home without one. In the wake of mass murders like Sandy Hook and the horrific rapes and murders of thousands of women each year, pepper spray, mace, or five-round handheld pistols aren’t going to cut it.
Keep reading this post . . .
Hillary Clinton lamented the lack of State Department funding at a hearing this morning on the Benghazi terror attack on Capitol Hill:
The implication in the exchange is that the Republican led House of Representatives has threatened the security of State Department officials abroad.
**Written by Doug Powers
Hillary Clinton’s testimony on Benghazi to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began at 9 a.m. est. At 2 p.m. Hillary will testify in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The Right Scoop will have a live video feed here during both hearings.
So far there has been at least one exchange that will be talked about for a while:
On Wednesday, Johnson accused her of “purposefully misleading the American people” by blaming nonexistent protests.
“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. If it was because of a protest or if it was because guys out for a walk decided to go kill some Americans. What difference does it make?” Clinton shot back in a raised voice.
If it didn’t make a difference what started the attack (or if they were unclear at the time), why was the administration so quick out of the box to blame the video?
–Rand Paul: If I were president, I’d have relieved you of your post.
–More on “what difference does it make” here. Isn’t “what difference does it make” also the name of Tim Geithner’s tax prep software?
–Of course: Dick Durbin blames the attack on… Bush — the previous previous administration.
Several Egyptian members of the squad of militants that lay bloody siege to an Algerian gas complex last week also took part in the deadly attack on the United States Mission in Libya in September, a senior Algerian official said Tuesday.
Flashback: Al Qaeda has been decimated.
–2:20 p.m.: The House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing is going on now. Dem Rep. Engel is trying to help out Hillary by agreeing with what she told the Senate committee regarding “what difference does it make.”
**Written by Doug Powers
“We will look forward to interrogating [John Kerry] mercilessly…. We will bring back for the only time waterboarding to get the truth out of him.”
|Is that okay?|
|Yes, because McCain has a special privilege to speak however he wants about torture.|
|Yes, because waterboarding is enhanced interrogation and not torture.|
|Yes, because I’d like to see Kerry, in particular, tortured (mildly).|
|No, because torture should be taken with the utmost seriousness.|
|No, because it’s just not funny enough.|
|No, because Kerry is a fine man of stunning gravitas.|
|pollcode.com free polls|
“An 80-year-old former Australian Catholic priest… bit off a fellow clergyman’s ear during a row over a parking spot.”
Ahead of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony today concerning the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, the New York Times has published an account that is potentially very important. The Times reports:
This year, I’ll be using my syndicated column and blog space to expose how progressive “reformers” — mal-formers — are corrupting our schools. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to provide you in-depth coverage of this vital issue that too often gets shunted off the daily political/partisan agenda. While the GOP tries to solve its ills with better software and communications consultants, the conservative movement — and America — face much larger problems. It doesn’t start with the “low-information voter.” It starts with the no-knowledge student. This is the first in an ongoing series on “Common Core,” the stealthy federal takeover of school curriculum and standards across the country. As longtime readers know, my own experience with this ongoing sabotage of academic excellence dates back to my early reporting on the Clinton-era “Goals 2000″ and “outcome-based” education and extends to my recent parental experience with “Everyday Math”.
The good news is that grass-roots education and parental groups, brave teachers, and professors are fighting back. See the resource list/links at the bottom of this column and stay tuned for much more.
Rotten to the Core: Obama’s War on Academic Standards (Part 1)
by Michelle Malkin
America’s downfall doesn’t begin with the “low-information voter.” It starts with the no-knowledge student.
For decades, collectivist agitators in our schools have chipped away at academic excellence in the name of fairness, diversity and social justice. “Progressive” reformers denounced Western civilization requirements, the Founding Fathers and the Great Books as racist. They attacked traditional grammar classes as irrelevant in modern life. They deemed ability grouping of students (tracking) bad for self-esteem. They replaced time-tested rote techniques and standard algorithms with fuzzy math, inventive spelling and multicultural claptrap.
Under President Obama, these top-down mal-formers — empowered by Washington education bureaucrats and backed by misguided liberal philanthropists led by billionaire Bill Gates — are now presiding over a radical makeover of your children’s school curriculum. It’s being done in the name of federal “Common Core” standards that do anything but raise achievement standards.
Common Core was enabled by Obama’s federal stimulus law and his Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” gimmickry. The administration bribed cash-starved states into adopting unseen instructional standards as a condition of winning billions of dollars in grants. Even states that lost their bids for Race to the Top money were required to commit to a dumbed-down and amorphous curricular “alignment.”
In practice, Common Core’s dubious “college- and career”-ready standards undermine local control of education, usurp state autonomy over curricular materials, and foist untested, mediocre and incoherent pedagogical theories on America’s schoolchildren.
Over the next several weeks and months, I’ll use this column space to expose who’s behind this disastrous scheme in D.C. backrooms. I’ll tell you who’s fighting it in grassroots tea party and parental revolts across the country from Massachusetts to Indiana, Texas, Georgia and Utah. And most importantly, I’ll explain how this unprecedented federal meddling is corrupting our children’s classrooms and textbooks.
There’s no better illustration of Common Core’s duplicitous talk of higher standards than to start with its math “reforms.” While Common Core promoters assert their standards are “internationally benchmarked,” independent members of the expert panel in charge of validating the standards refute the claim. Panel member Dr. Sandra Stotsky of the University of Arkansas reported, “No material was ever provided to the Validation Committee or to the public on the specific college readiness expectations of other leading nations in mathematics” or other subjects.
In fact, Stanford University professor James Milgram, the only mathematician on the validation panel, concluded that the Common Core math scheme would place American students two years behind their peers in other high-achieving countries. In protest, Milgram refused to sign off on the standards. He’s not alone.
Professor Jonathan Goodman of New York University found that the Common Core math standards imposed “significantly lower expectations with respect to algebra and geometry than the published standards of other countries.”
Under Common Core, as the American Principles Project and Pioneer Institute point out, algebra I instruction is pushed to 9th grade, instead of 8th grade, as commonly taught. Division is postponed from 5th to 6th grade. Prime factorization, common denominators, conversions of fractions and decimals, and algebraic manipulation are de-emphasized or eschewed. Traditional Euclidean geometry is replaced with an experimental approach that had not been previously pilot-tested in the U.S.
Ze’ev Wurman, a prominent software architect, electrical engineer and longtime math advisory expert in California and Washington, D.C., points out that Common Core delays proficiency with addition and subtraction until 4th grade and proficiency with basic multiplication until 5th grade, and skimps on logarithms, mathematical induction, parametric equations and trigonometry at the high school level.
I cannot sum up the stakes any more clearly than Wurman did in his critique of this mess and the vested interests behind it:
“I believe the Common Core marks the cessation of educational standards improvement in the United States. No state has any reason left to aspire for first-rate standards, as all states will be judged by the same mediocre national benchmark enforced by the federal government. Moreover, there are organizations that have reasons to work for lower and less-demanding standards, specifically teachers unions and professional teacher organizations. While they may not admit it, they have a vested interest in lowering the accountability bar for their members. …This will be done in the name of ‘critical thinking’ and ’21st-century’ skills, and in faraway Washington, D.C., well beyond the reach of parents and most states and employers.”
This is all in keeping with my own experience as a parent of elementary- and middle-school age kids who were exposed to “Everyday Math” nonsense. This and other fads abandon “drill and kill” memorization techniques for fuzzy “critical thinking” methods that put the cart of “why” in front of the horse of “how.” In other words: Instead of doing the grunt work of hammering times tables and basic functions into kids’ heads first, the faddists have turned to wacky, wordy non-math alternatives to encourage “conceptual” understanding — without any mastery of the fundamentals of math.
Common Core is rotten to the core. The corruption of math education is just the beginning.
A starter list of resources/background/related links:
Truth in American Education is a blog devoted to watchdogging Common Core across the country.
The MA-based Pioneer Institute is the leading think tank tracking and fighting Common Core.
Pioneer’s Jim Stergios has an education blog, Rock the Schoolhouse, on Boston.com.
Hoosier Moms Say No to Common Core is Ground Zero for the parental revolt against Common Core in Indiana.
Utah moms against Common Core have a great blog.
Mary Grabar has written about Common Core and Team Chicago’s lefties here.
Phyllis Schlafly, as always, sounded the alarm here.
This must-read piece by James Shuls connects Common Core, math corruption, and the need for school choice.
APP’s full video series on Common Core here. Here’s part one to get you started.
Cato’s Neal McCluskey dissects the Common Core folly:
ADDED, 8:31 A.M.: Hillary has a fairly authentic crying quality in her voice as she speaks of embracing the families of those who died in the attack. That comes just after she says in a steely voice that those who serve in countries like Libya know they are going into a dangerous place and cannot work “in a bunker.” Risk comes with the territory, and Chris Stevens fully understood where he was going and what he would face.
**Written by Doug Powers
From the White House transcript of yesterday’s press briefing, notice how Jay Carney quickly qualified his debt ceiling answer so “forever” was defined as “four years and two days”:
Q You said the President would not stand in the way if a piece of legislation similar to what is being voted on in the House tomorrow passes. That means he would sign it?
MR. CARNEY: It means he wouldn’t stand in the way. Clearly, we support extension of the debt ceiling without drama or delay. That has been his position forever — as President and since we’ve had these rather novel debates about whether or not we should engage in games of chicken over the full faith and credit of the United States.
Nice save. Carney didn’t want to leave the impression that “forever” included years as far back as 2006:
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure,” he said. “It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt and a failure of leadership.”
For an answer of how long it will take to pay off the amount of debt that continues to accumulate, consult the standard definition of “forever.”
**Written by Doug Powers