January 11: Week in Review

January 11: Week in Review

I was cited by Watchdog education reporter Mary Tillotson in her latest piece titled "New Orleans Tops School Choice Index":Closing unpopular schools contributed to the increase. A reform-minded majority on the school board probably helped the district implement choice-friendly policies such as the common application, said Ben DeGrow, senior education policy analyst at Colorado’s Independence Institute. More from the Independence Institute "If I've Told You Once": K-12 Financial Transparency Isn't New to Colorado (Ed Is Watching) Evidence Doesn't Back Keeping Kids "English Language Learners" Longer (Ed Is Watching) Amy Oliver Show: The Latest Colorado School Grades Are Out (Podcast) Finished Two Good(reads) Books This … [Read more...]

If Obama Didn’t Avoid Gettysburg…

Thank you for indulging me in a moment of satire. For more serious fare, you can read my review of the 2012 movie Lincoln, a brief reflection on the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's First Inaugural Address, and my recommended list of essential Lincoln books. News reports indicated that President Obama had opted to steer clear of the festivities surrounding the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's immortal Gettysburg Address. But at the last moment, searching desperately for some positive publicity to stimulate his flagging poll numbers, the Commander-in-Chief changed his mind. Quietly trying to stay out of the limelight, and pull off a public relations surprise, Obama and his contingent of senior staff and security boarded the high-speed … [Read more...]

How Bad Was the Fiscal Cliff Deal? Michael Bennet May Have Teed One Up for the Teetering GOP

Conservatives have plenty of reason to mope in the fiscal gloom these days, maybe even enough to indulge in a bit of dark humor. That brings us to the Colorado political junkie joke of the week, the first of 2013: "How bad was the fiscal cliff deal Congress approved?" "I don't know. How bad was it?" "The fiscal cliff deal was so bad that Michael Bennet couldn't even vote for it." The serious question, though, that follows Congress' pathetic kicking-the-can-down-the-road exercise -- which strangely divided Colorado's Democratic tag-team duo in the U.S. Senate -- is whether Colorado Senator Michael Bennet's dissent may have set the stage for Republicans to start taking a necessary hard line on the next tough issue around the bend. … [Read more...]

Despite Minor Flaws, Spielberg’s Lincoln Worthwhile Viewing for History Geeks

Finding enjoyable movie fare for American history geeks typically presents a challenge. The nature of the genre leaves diehard purists perpetually frustrated. Yet even those of us willing to allow some minor transgressions of fact or character to pass too often are disappointed by the shallow Hollywood luster that insults its audience and kicks a compelling true story to the curb. Now and again, though, one can leave the theater with a contented smile. On Friday evening my wife and I took in Lincoln at the local multiplex. The usher at Arvada's Olde Town Stadium Theatre entered the nearly packed auditorium and gave some introductory remarks about the movie's production and casting. The movie, already a long time in director Steven … [Read more...]

Supreme Court Campaign Case Pits Colorado Ethics Watch vs. Colorado Education Association

This little tidbit I uncovered either shatters the grand Colorado Democracy Alliance (CoDA) conspiracy theory or proves it to be even more convoluted and diabolical than previously imagined. But court documents show two of the Alliance's core groups -- sue-happy Colorado Ethics Watch (CEW) and the Colorado Education Association (CEA), the state's largest teachers union -- on opposite ends of a state supreme court case regarding elections law. Back in 2008 CEW filed suit against a couple of Republican 527 groups (Senate Majority Fund LLC and Colorado Leadership Fund LLC) claiming that they had overstepped the bounds of campaign finance law by participating in "express advocacy" of state legislative candidates. The administrative law judge … [Read more...]

New MAD Video: Debt Ceiling

Mothers Against Debt (MAD) has launched a powerful video update about the crushing load of national debt we already face and the danger behind plans to raise the debt ceiling: Don't crush the baby! As a dad of two (and soon to be three) young girls, the message hits home with me. Fiscal responsibility and spending discipline, already fixtures in our own household budget, are the watchwords of the day for the federal government Leviathan. Delaying today's decisions only magnifies tomorrow's pain. Let's start imposing the bitter medicine. Our children will thank us later. … [Read more...]

Lincoln’s “Better Angels of Our Nature”: For Wisconsin 150 Years Later?

It's easy to overlook, especially if you're not a student of U.S. history. But once upon a time, before the ratification of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, presidents were inaugurated on March 4. Which makes today the sesquicentennial (that's the 150th anniversary, for Buckeye fans) of Abraham Lincoln swearing the oath of presidential office in a moment of profound national crisis and delivering his First Inaugural Address:We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the … [Read more...]

Irony, Hypocrisy (and Independence?) in Lefties’ Anti-Koch Brother Campaign

Update, 9:00 PM: Common Cause issued a formal "apology" for the vile behavior of its rally attendees, a statement thoroughly deconstructed by James Taranto, who concludes with the zinger: "For the sake of truth in advertising, Common Cause should change its name to Hypocrisy Hub." Ouch. That's going to leave a mark. Independent new media journalist Christian Hartsock has a compelling piece up at Andrew Breitbart's Big Government blog. Hartsock went to cover an event sponsored by the Progressive group Common Cause. The goal seemingly was to organize a grassroots protest of the pro-free market billionaire Koch Brothers and conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas for some imaginary collusion on the … [Read more...]