Would Matthew McConaughey be willing to promise that he never ever again appears in a movie with a gun in it anywhere?
Question of the Day
Paul Pelosi was arrested and briefly locked up for driving drunk in California. Where is the mug shot?
Washington Post Tries Again to Explain Abortion Controversy
When writers and editors are as committed to a political cause as the Washington Post’s writers and editors are committed to the cause of casual abortion, it becomes impossible for them to report on the issue with clarity. Their words get mushy and infused with bias, and their curiosity completely evaporates.
The Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson took to her keyboard again last week to attempt an explanation of the abortion controversy in America, and the results were predictable.
Henderson began by introducing a prominent figure in the abortion debate, Wendy Davis, the Democrat gubernatorial candidate in Texas who recently made headlines with her personal revelation that she has had two abortions: one that was medically necessary and another that was to end the life of a severely handicapped daughter. She quotes Davis on the latter abortion: “We knew that the most loving thing that we could do for our daughter was to say goodbye.”
Henderson must believe this is an effective and sympathetic quote in support of abortion on demand because she’s used it in two articles. But notice what an inaccurate description it is of what happened. Davis wasn’t a passive observer who merely said goodbye to a dying relative; she chose a “medical procedure” that would stop her daughter’s heart and end her life. Abortion is a life-and-death choice made by the powerful over the powerless, and the Washington Post does its readers no favors by playing along with abortion advocates who are trying to conceal this fact.
The Post’s pro-abortion bias continues with the way that leaders on the two sides of this controversy are portrayed.
Wendy Davis is presented as a courageous career woman who “[shot] to national prominence in 2013 on the strength of a 13-hour filibuster of the restrictive abortion laws.” Notice that although Davis opposes all restrictions on abortion, she is never described as pro-abortion or anti-unborn baby. She’s never given an ideological label such as “leftist” or portrayed as an ill-informed extremist trying to “frame” herself in a particular way. Instead, she is flattered with a portrayal that assumes her sincerity and mentions her national prominence.
Molly White, on the other hand, is a Texas Republican who has admitted having two abortions and suffering psychologically as a result. She opposes casual abortion, so Henderson promptly labels her “a conservative antiabortion activist.” Got that? She’s an ideological fanatic and a negative (anti-rights) activist.
Like Davis, Molly White is also nationally prominent and a hard worker on behalf of vulnerable women and babies, but she is not described that way in this article. The Post’s readers would have to do what I did– use an internet search engine– to learn about Molly White’s career.
The fact that many women suffer for years with regret and horror at the reality of what they did when they were younger is never acknowledged in this superficial piece. There is a mountain of evidence to prove this sad reality, but the Post’s readers would never know it. Instead, they are encouraged to dismiss a woman like Molly White because she merely “argues” that all women are emotionally traumatized by abortion. Readers are left to presume that this is a silly argument that fails to persuade thoughtful people.
When a woman chooses to destroy her own baby, often under duress, she is doing something that completely contradicts her human nature. It should surprise no one that many women pay a steep psychological price for this. It’s time the Washington Post made a serious effort to listen to them.
Washington Post Can’t Be Honest About Abortion
The Washington Post can’t be honest with its readers about what abortion is and why so many people reasonably object to it. They just can’t.
In an article over the weekend, Nia-Malika Henderson reports on Texas Democrat gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’s revelation that she has had two abortions. Henderson seems to think that Davis is merely doing what conservative women have already done in reverse (Sarah Palin talked about choosing NOT to have an abortion) and courageously opening up the abortion debate for a more “nuanced” discussion.
What Henderson doesn’t see is that Davis’s admission is calculated and carefully wrapped in language designed to fool the public.
Davis admits having two abortions, and they were both for serious medical conditions: a threat to her life in one case and a severely deformed infant in the other. She describes anguish and dark despair over the decision to abort her handicapped daughter, and she deserves our sympathy for both of these experiences.
But look at the contradiction that Henderson doesn’t see. After agonizing over the abortion of a deformed infant daughter, what does Wendy Davis have to say, I wonder, about the millions of healthy daughters who are aborted every year just for convenience or sex selection? If Davis has no objection to abortion on demand (and she obviously doesn’t), how does she reconcile the nation’s epidemic of casual abortion with her personal anguish over a medically necessary abortion? Henderson never points out the contradiction.
The problem here is that Davis’s experience is not a typical example of abortion in America. In spite of the Supreme Court’s decision limiting abortion to the first trimester, abortion is legal in America at all times and for any reason. It is a method of birth control for many people.
Henderson continues to push the abortion lobby’s propaganda by trying to make Wendy Davis look like an abortion moderate. Although Davis famously took to the floor of the Texas legislature in pink running shoes to filibuster a bill that contained a ban on late term abortions, Henderson reports that Davis “has also said that she could support such a prohibition, if deference is ultimately given to the woman and her doctor.” Did you catch what Henderson missed? Davis supports a 20-week ban as long as it’s not really a ban. What a ban! What a moderate!
At the end of her piece, Henderson stumbles across an important truth, but she fails to recognize it for what it is. When this debate began 50 years ago, abortion was called abortion. But it wasn’t popular with the public, so the name was changed to “choice,” and then the public caught on again, so it was changed to “reproductive rights.” Now that is failing too, so we are pushed by opinion makers to call abortion “women’s healthcare.” Henderson recognizes that this is a “benign catchall” for abortion and contraception, but she never asks the obvious question. If access to abortion is a right and a legitimate part of women’s healthcare, then it ought to be a good thing, right? So why do we need a benign euphemism to conceal such a good thing?
Maryland Reporter Calls Republican Leader a “Chair”
In a State Roundup today, the Maryland Reporter says the following (emphasis added):
“In another piece about the Rascovar column, Diana Waterman, chair of the Maryland Republican Party, writes in MarylandReporter.com that while Mr. Rascovar is entitled to his opinion, the Maryland Republican Party finds his partisan attack on members of the party to be both outrageous and slanderous.”
Konabianca has had the pleasure of meeting Diana Waterman, and she can assure the world that Mrs. Waterman is not a chair. She is a chairman. In fact, she is a very human chairman. And, to get personal about it, she is also a Waterman.
For those unfortunate few who have argued with Konabianca, I present today’s installment of the State Roundup as conclusive proof that feminism and political correctness make even smart people stupid.
An Open Letter to Joy Reid
I first learned of Joy Reid when I heard her on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. Hewitt is conservative, but he often invites lefties on his show. Reid is a lefty, but she’s spunky and articulate, so I enjoyed listening to the interview even though I disagreed with just about everything she said.
Reid is the managing editor of TheGrio.com and a political columnist for the Miami Herald. She also writes a blog called the Reid Report.
Following the recent cultural dust up over A&E’s suspension of Phil Robertson, the star of its wildly successful reality show Duck Dynasty, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana made a statement critical of the cable channel. In response to Jindal’s statement, Joy Reid published an open letter to the governor. As usual, Reid is spunky, but wrong. In defense of the governor, I have written an open letter to Joy Reid in the same, well, spunky style.
Dear Mrs. Joy Reid:
It’s me, Konabianca. Mind if I call you Sweetie? Barack Obama calls lady writers “Sweetie,” and I know how much you admire him.
You were pretty tough on the governor, Sweetie, accusing him of being ignorant and not knowing that the First Amendment restrains the government and not a cable channel. But I read the whole statement, and he’s clearly not claiming a violation of the Constitution. He’s pointing out the appalling cowardice and hypocrisy of the media.
Here’s the part of Governor Jindal’s statement that you quoted:
“The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with… [Here you removed the part in which he says he finds much that’s on TV to be offensive but tolerates it anyway] …this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”
You see, Sweetie, as the Left has taken control of our culture, our entertainment has become cruder and cruder. And “TV networks,” as well as print media and cable channels, used to loudly defend their right to say and do just about anything on the basis of the protection provided them by the First Amendment.
I won’t list all the disgusting entertainment that I’m talking about. You know what it is. And Governor Jindal mentioned just one recent example, the degrading public sex dance of a formerly wholesome young actress. (Thanks, Lefties!) The governor’s point is that these media businesses that once fought government censors in order to air their trash are now censoring one of their biggest stars merely because he expressed an opinion about homosexual behavior that is out of favor with powerful American elites.
You don’t seem to have read the governor’s statement very carefully because after accusing the former Rhodes Scholar of not understanding the First Amendment, you next accuse him of trying to expand the government to give it control over a cable channel’s business decisions. Read his statement again. He made no such call for government intervention. After all, he is a conservative.
Then, just as I was about to give up on your reasoning skills, you ran headlong into the truth with this quote: “…freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.” Absolutely right! By definition, all our freedoms are costly. Phil Robertson has the freedom to say what he thinks, and other people are free to disagree with him and abandon him. But this works in the other direction too. People in our society are free to engage in homosexual sex and be quite open about it; other people who disapprove of this behavior must also be free to disassociate from those who practice and promote it. Nobody should ever be forced to bake a wedding cake for an event that violates his conscience. Not in America. We may be free to live as we please, but we are not free to force others to abandon their beliefs and pretend they approve of our behavior.
And finally, you have an error about Phil Robertson’s comments in your letter. You said that he is a guy who “equates LGBT Americans with people who have sex with animals.” This isn’t correct. To equate things is to say that they are the same. What Robertson actually said was “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.” He’s plainly NOT equating homosexual behavior with bestiality. To morph is to transform. When we tolerate small sins in our lives, those small sins have a way of morphing into much bigger sins. This is a profound truth that has been taught to Christians for a long, long time.
I’m surprised, Sweetie, that with your Harvard education you don’t have better reading comprehension skills. But hey, I’m just a housewife who went to public schools.
p.s. About that “stupid party” thing. They must have taught you at Harvard that we have two major political parties in this country. Informally, they are known as the Stupid Party and the Evil Party. Given those two choices, I’ll take stupid any day.
Living Under the Tree
Slandering Rafael Cruz
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a blogger for the Atlantic. I disagree with him on nearly every political issue, but I do enjoy reading him. And I like him. He’s an autodidact like me, and he’s constantly trying to learn new things and read more books. It’s just fun to read about what he’s up to.
I have also learned new perspectives on race from Coates. He’s at his best when he’s talking about his own experience growing up black in Baltimore, but sometimes he lets his dislike for conservatives get the better of him. When conservatives are involved, Coates is capable of jumping to the ugliest conclusion without pausing to give a man the benefit of the doubt. He did that recently when he commented on an article by David Corn in the far-left magazine Mother Jones.
Corn found a video of Senator Ted Cruz’s elderly father, Rafael Cruz, giving a speech this past spring. Unfortunately, the video is no longer online, so I have to describe it from memory.
Rafael Cruz was speaking about Obama’s presidency. He was urging the crowd to oppose Obama, and he said he wanted to “send him back to Chicago.” This is an ordinary political line, and it’s utterly unremarkable. Then Cruz added, “or preferably back to Kenya or [inaudible]. I listened to the recording three times and could not make out the third location. My guess is that it was either Hawaii or Indonesia.
The point is that Rafael Cruz was talking about defeating Obama politically and sending him back home. Obama has had many homes. Chicago was Obama’s home from the time he completed graduate school until he was elected president. Kenya was the home of the father who abandoned him, and Obama famously traveled there to meet his family and wrote about it affectionately. Hawaii and Indonesia were both places where Obama lived as a child.
There was nothing offensive or newsworthy about this comment. It was valuable to the left, however, because it was Ted Cruz’s father. That meant it was an opportunity to harm Senator Cruz by attacking his father, and David Corn grabbed it, writing about what a terrible person Rafael Cruz was for urging that Obama be sent back to Kenya.
Unfortunately, Coates read Corn’s article and wrote a post in which he went even further than Corn. Coates changed Rafael Cruz’s words. He completely ignored the fact that Cruz first mentioned Chicago, and he replaced the word Kenya with the much broader word “Africa.” So now the story that Coates tells is that Rafael Cruz said Obama should be sent back to Africa because he’s black and black men don’t belong in America.
No honest observer of that video clip could conclude that Rafael Cruz was making such an exhortation. The story that Coates tells is a slander on Rafael Cruz (himself an immigrant from Cuba who speaks with an accent and has likely experienced ethnic discrimination in America), and it’s a vicarious slander on Senator Ted Cruz. Coates should remove the inaccurate language in his headline and correct the post. There’s enough real racism in the world already. We don’t need to invent more of it just to win political battles.
Government Schools: Arguing the Same Stuff for 50 Years
There’s really no reason to follow the fights over government schooling. Unless there’s been some outrageous new low that makes the newspapers, there’s nothing new when it comes to the government’s monopoly on education. The power structure is the same as it’s been for decades. And the same battles that have been fought in meetings and letters to the editor for more than 50 years are still being fought today with the same predictable results.
Here’s how it goes. The superintendent (now called a CEO!) hosts a meeting with parents and makes a show of listening to them. The parents talk about how the schools are failing their children, and the politicians (including the superintendent) make promises about how everything will be different in the future. Then everybody goes home, and nothing happens.
The Gazette has another story about one of these familiar, useless meetings. Kevin Maxwell, CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools, came to District 9 and… wait for it… “listened to concerns.” Parents demanded “teacher accountability,” and the CEO assured them that “his administration would evaluate teachers.”
Before they left the meeting, the CEO threw in a comforting platitude. “If you want to be successful, you can’t tolerate mediocrity,” he said. Then they all went home.
And that will be the end of that.
The demand for teacher accountability is not new. The problem is that having the government evaluate its own teachers is like having the students grade their own papers. The government will rarely fail anyone on its enormous payroll, even when his work is terrible.
Teachers and principals need to be accountable to parents, not to the special interest groups that control the schools. And the only way for teachers and principals to be accountable to parents is for parents to have the power to vote with their feet. They must be free to choose the school and the type of education that is best for their child, or they will never have a say in their child’s education. All they will have is another useless meeting with a CEO who pretends to listen to concerns.
NJ Teacher Pens Error-Filled Letter to Governor Christie
Fordham University professor Mark Naison has posted on his blog an open letter to Governor Christie from a New Jersey teacher. The teacher wants… wait for it… more taxpayer money for government schools and the elimination of choices for parents. But in venting her anger at the governor, she reveals more about the problem of government-run schools than she intends. Let’s see what this educator has to say:
Dear Governor Christie,
Yesterday I took the opportunity to come hear you speak on your campaign trail. I have never really heard you speak before except for sound bytes that I get on my computer. I don’t have cable, I don’t read newspapers. I don’t have enough time. I am a public school teacher that works an average of 60 hours a week in my building. Yes, you can check with my principal. I run the after-school program along with my my classroom position. I do even more work when I am at home. For verification of this, just ask my children.
She wants us to know that, unlike the rest of America, she works really hard.
I asked you one simple question yesterday. I wanted to know why you portray NJ Public Schools as failure factories. Apparently that question struck a nerve. When you swung around at me and raised your voice, asking me what I wanted, my first response “I want more money for my students.” Notice, I did not ask for more money for me. I did not ask for my health benefits, my pension, a raise, my tenure, or even my contract that I have not had for nearly three years.
We got into a small debate about how much money has been spent on education. Too me, there is never enough money that is spent on education. To invest in education is to invest in our future. We cannot keep short-changing our children and taking away opportunities for them to explore and learn. As more money is required for state-mandated curriculum changes and high-stakes standardized testing, it is our children that are losing. Programs are being cut all over the state as budget changes are forcing districts to cut music, art, after-school transportation, and youth-centered clubs.
Oh my, she’s a middle school teacher, and she doesn’t know the difference between “to” and “too.”
But let’s put money aside for a moment. What do I want? What do ‘we people’ want? We want to be allowed to teach. Do you know that the past two months has been spent of our time preparing and completing paperwork for the Student Growth Objectives? Assessments were created and administered to our students on material that we have not even taught yet. Can you imagine how that made us feel? The students felt like they were worthless for not having any clue how to complete the assessments. The teachers felt like horrible monsters for having to make the students endure this. How is that helping the development of a child? How will that help them see the value in their own self-worth. This futile exercise took time away from planning and preparing meaningful lessons as well as the time spent in class actually completing the assessments. The evaluations have no statistical worth and has even been recognized as such by the NJ Department of Education. I am all for evaluation of a teacher. I recognize that I should be held accountable for my job. This does not worry me, as long as I am evaluated on my methods of teaching. I can not be held wholly accountable for the learning growth of a student when I am not accountable for all of the factors that influence this growth. Are you aware that poverty is the biggest determination of a child’s educational success. If not, I suggest you read Diane Ravitch’s new book Reign of Error. Take a moment and become enlightened.
Oops. Did you see the two (yes, two!) sentences in which the subject and verb don’t agree? Hint: “two months has” and “evaluations has”.
Getting back to the issue of money. I am fully aware of our educational budget. Where is all of this money? To me it seems like it is being siphoned right off into the hands of private companies as they reap the benefits of the charter schools and voucher programs that you have put into place. It certainly hasn’t gone to improve school conditions in urban areas such as Jersey City. The conditions that these students and teachers are forced to be in are horrifying. Yet you are not allowing the funds needed to improve these conditions. Are you hoping that these schools get closed down and more students are forced to go to private charter schools while the districts are being forced to pay their tuition? I know for a fact that this is what has happened in Camden and Newark. Yet these charter schools are not held to the same accountability as our public schools. Why is that? Because deep down you know that you are not really dealing with the issues that influence a child’s education. You are simply putting a temporary band-aid into place. Unfortunately that temporary fix is already starting to be exposed as Charter Schools are showing that they actually are not able to do better than public schools.
You are setting up teachers to take the blame for all of this. You have portrayed us as greedy, lazy money-draining public servants that do nothing. I invite you to come do my job for one week Governor Christie. I invite you to come see my students, see how little they really have during the school day as they are being forced to keep learning for a single snapshot of their educational worth. For that one end-all, be-all test, the NJASK. The one that the future of my job and my life is now based upon.
Commas are an important part of writing, and a middle school teacher ought to know how to use them properly. In the second sentence, she has items in a series that should be separated by commas. In the third sentence, she uses direct address and fails to use the required comma. And then there’s the sentence fragment (sentence fragment!) in the penultimate sentence.
Why do you portray schools as failure factories? What benefit do you reap from this? Have you acquired financial promises for your future campaigns as you eye the presidential nomination? Has there been back-room meetings as you agree to divert public funds to private companies that are seeking to take over our public educational system? This is my theory. To accomplish all of this, you are setting up the teachers to take the blame. Unfortunately, you are not the only governor in our country that has this agenda.
Darn! That subject-and-verb-agreement thing is tricky! Did you catch it? It’s in the fourth question.
What do “we people’ want, Governor Christie? We want our schools back. We want to teach. We want to be allowed to help these children to grow, educationally, socially, and emotionally. We want to be respected as we do this, not bullied.
This letter should be funny, but it’s not. No parents, in any state, should ever be forced to send their child to a government-run school that employs teachers with substandard language skills. That’s why school choice is a right that wealthy parents like the Obamas, the Clintons, the Gores, and the Kennedys have all exercised for their children. It’s time to extend that right to everyone.