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Political Hay

Republicans Must Take a Stand and Deliver for Voucher Kids

By 1.11.16

My friend Jeanne Allen from the indispensable Center for Education Reform calls school choice “the civil rights issue of our time.” She’s so right. The issue is teed up for Republicans because Democrats and the teachers unions (they are one in the same) despise school choice.

So Republicans can run with the issue because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s a way for them to demonstrate that they care about those at the bottom of the income scale.

But sometimes I wonder if they do.

Last year Republicans did something unforgivable and monumentally stupid. The House leadership admits that they “inadvertently” left out of the $1 trillion omnibus spending bill that passed late last year a Washington, D.C.‎ voucher program for poor black and Hispanic parents. Can you imagine the Democrats forgetting to fund their deranged climate change agenda? No chance.

Apparently Republicans were too busy funding the Export Import Bank and sanctuary cities.

But these minority parents should have been the highest priority if Republicans still want America to be an opportunity society.

The Hillary Watch

A Killer Endorsement

By 1.11.16

In what should be viewed as a statement of damnation, but will be embraced by Hillary Clinton as the highest praise, Planned Parenthood, America’s undisputed premier producer (literally) of baby parts, is enthusiastically endorsing Clinton for president. In fact, Clinton can boast the first-ever endorsement of a candidate in a presidential primary in the nearly 100-year existence of Planned Parenthood.

The Planned Parenthood endorsement contains this eye-opener from its leader, Cecile Richards: “Everything Planned Parenthood has believed in and fought for over the past 100 years is on the ballot.” That is true. And it’s embodied in the person of Hillary Clinton, whom Richards and friends rightly view as the truest true believer.

Special Report From Texas

Legitimate Judicial Candidates Must Be ‘Judicious’

By 1.11.16

Texas is an unusual state in many respects: the largest of the contiguous United States; home of three of America’s ten most populous cities; the biggest producer of oil, beef, cotton, and wool in the U.S.; the best economic climate; one of the few states to exist as a sovereign nation (1836-1845) prior to joining the union; and the only one to fight and win a war for independence. Texans are extraordinarily proud of these distinctions, as well as barbecue, the University of Texas, Willie Nelson, Tex-Mex, and Blue Bell Ice Cream. (The Dallas Cowboys, alas, not so much anymore.) Texans should also be proud of the Texas Supreme Court — and care enough to look into who they are voting for.

Political Hay

GOP Falls Into Purity Trap

By 1.11.16

Republicans fulfilled a popular campaign pledge Wednesday when, by a 240-181 vote, the House passed a bill repealing the Affordable Care Act and defunding Planned Parenthood. The bill, already passed by the Senate, now goes to the desk of President Barack Obama, where it surely will be vetoed.

Just when, I have to ask, did my Grand Old Party’s idea of victory become passing bills that won’t become law? What’s so glorious about fecklessness? The GOP House put an awful lot of work — it has voted to repeal Obamacare 62 times — into passing something that cannot become law while Obama is president and there are not enough Republicans to override a veto. Yet I see progress.

This was the first time the Senate passed a repeal bill — thanks to a budget reconciliation rule that allows leadership to bypass cloture rules that require 60 votes. “Every single member of our conference campaigned on repeal of this disastrous law,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s . spokesman, Don Stewart, told me. They all delivered.

Bulletin From Ben Stein

The Trouble in China Should Be of Little Moment to Us

By 1.8.16

Hmm. Time to put on my economist’s hat again.

There is a worldwide turmoil about a slowdown in the Chinese economy. Because of noticeably tepid growth in manufacturing in the People’s Republic, there has been a dramatic, even phenomenal drop in the Shanghai Market. Twice in one week it dropped so far so fast that the circuit breakers put in to prevent a total wipeout popped and closed the markets early. On one day they closed within half an hour of opening on a tidal wave of selling.

The U.S. stock markets, in some weird sympathy with China, also went down fast, although nowhere near as much as China, but still by a whopping six plus percent in just one week.

The newspapers and Internet are filled with gloomy tidings, but do they make sense?

I cannot predict the short term movements of markets and I don’t pretend to be able to. But I can count, and this is what I count.

United States exports to the PRC are roughly $125 billion per annum. That sounds like a lot but the total output of the U.S. economy is roughly $18 TRILLION. That means U.S. exports to China are far less than one percent of GDP. But it gets much better.

The Obama Watch

The Tears of a Clown

By 1.8.16

Barack Obama went full Boehner this week. He pulled a Patsy Schroeder, an Ed Muskie even.

People died. Obama cried.

Not since Marlon Brando broke down in A Streetcar Named Desire did a watery-eyed performance receive such rave reviews. Amanda Marcotte wrote at Salon: “It was an excellent demonstration of the fact that emotion need not be the enemy of reason.” Chris Cillizza, in a piece titled “President Obama Cried in Public Today. That’s a Good Thing,” concluded, “We could use a little more emotion and feeling in politics after all.”

If friends called the tears bona fide, foes said his eyes lied.

Breaking News

The Bells Toll for Hillary

By 1.8.16

The Federal Bureau of Investigation will recommend that the Justice Department bring criminal charges against Hillary Clinton and various of her aides, and soon. The evidence consists of materials that the Bureau has gathered in the course of its months-long investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s personal server. The recommendations will come very soon.

The charges will consist of some of the following:

1. Improper disclosure or retention of classified information.
2. Destruction of government records.
3. Lying to federal agents.
4. Lying under oath.
5. Obstruction of justice.

All the counts are familiar to those of us who have followed the Clintons for a quarter of a century, but, as one source familiar with the FBI’s investigation told me, the evidence has now reached a “critical mass.”

There are those who have told me that the FBI has been engaged in a ruse. And that the Bureau will report it has come across nothing criminal. Then the whole imbroglio is expected to blow over.

The Nation's Pulse

Make Room at the Periodic Table: Four New Elements Have Been Born

By 1.8.16

When I took high school chemistry in the late ’50s, the classroom/lab featured a large colorful chart of the periodic table of elements which hung over the blackboard at the front of the room. It featured an arrangement of the chemical elements, ordered by their atomic number (number of protons in the nucleus), electron configurations, and recurring chemical properties.

We learned the symbols for the basic elements like iron (Fe), copper (Cu), oxygen (O), hydrogen (H), and a few that were more difficult to remember like silver (Ag), gold (Au), and tungsten (W). The periodic table displayed the 94 elements then known to exist, but we were told to expect a few more discoveries in the future.

Well, the future is now. We’re up to 118 elements. So, throw out the old periodic tables and start drafting a new more complete version including the 24 new elements.

Political Hay

The Possibility of a Heterosexual in the White House

By 1.8.16

Oh, Johnny get angry, Johnny get mad
Give me the biggest lecture I ever had
I want a brave man, I want a cave man
Johnny, show me that you care, really care for me
 — Joanie Sommers, “Johnny Get Angry

The conservative establishment media is becoming increasingly irrational in its attempts to deal with the Donald Trump phenomenon. After all these months of denial, it looks like Trump just might be the Republican nominee. How to cope?

A Bigger Perspective

Forward Into the Election Year

By 1.7.16

We go into a presidential year, imperiled by our own faults. Could it be our public leaders are afraid of winning, with all the responsibilities that will then fall upon their entitled shoulders? The message we should send them is that we understand the need to take chances, many of which will entail sacrifices — meaning blood and treasure, in all likelihood — if we are to preserve our freedoms, our way of life, our national sovereignty. But the message has an edge: if you cannot lead, don’t run. We’ve experienced that and it doesn’t work.

My brother, L.P. (Phil) Kaplan, has put forth the beginning of a platform which he believes any serious candidate for the presidency ought to consider. It is simple and direct. It commences thus:

I. “Income/Privilege Inequality” & “Racism/Discrimination”

By Day 90 of New Administration:

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