Doing right by DC’s students

January 30, 2011

Last summer I castigated President Obama, his Secretary of Education, and the Democrats for killing a school voucher program in the District of Columbia that provided good educations to children who would otherwise be stuck in rotten schools. The benefits to these children weren’t just airy conservative theory: test scores were bearing them out in practice.

But, the president owed the teacher’s unions big-time for the work (and money) they poured into his election, and, of course, anything not smelling of statism goes against his nature anyway. Hence the voucher program was allowed to expire. (While his own children were placed in the toniest private school in Washington.)

But, not all public servants are willing to sacrifice a child’s education on the altars of ideology and union greed. Thus it is that Speaker Boehner (R-OH) and Senator Lieberman (I-CT) are going to introduce legislation reviving the voucher program:

The speaker, along with Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., on Wednesday plans to introduce legislation to revive a controversial program that provides private-school vouchers for kids of low-income parents in Washington, D.C. Boehner has long been a supporter of that program, which started to wind down in 2009, but is devoting some serious political capital to the cause this week.

(…)

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, as it is known, was launched in 2004 as the first federally funded program providing K-12 education grants. Though supporters say it gives poor students an alternative to the city’s underperforming public school system, teachers unions and other opponents say it draws sorely needed money away from the public system.

Lawmakers opposed to the program succeeded in eliminating it after Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. — who could not be reached for comment Tuesday — attached an amendment to a 2009 spending bill. President Obama stepped in and agreed to allow students currently enrolled to graduate. But the program is no longer accepting new applicants.

Click through to see video of Boehner and Lieberman’s announcement.

I think it’s a safe bet to say this will pass. The question is whether the President will sign it and do the right thing by the District’s children, or veto it to please his union backers. If he does veto it, not only will it be another sign that his “move to the center” is a bad joke, but it will let me ask again the question I offered last time: Why does President Obama hate poor kids?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Climate bill dead?

July 21, 2010

Politico is reporting that the Kerry-Lieberman bill to fight anthropogenic climate change (You know, the problem that doesn’t exist), which only a few days ago looked like it was heading for a vote in the Senate, may instead be dead:

The Senate climate bill has been at death’s door several times over the past year. But with the days before the August recess quickly slipping away, the case may truly be terminal now.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has wanted to introduce a sweeping energy and climate bill by next week, and Reid even told POLITICO on Monday night that the package was almost ready to go.

But by Tuesday afternoon, Reid was noncommittal about when a bill would come or what it would contain.

“We’re going to make a decision in the near future,” Reid said, describing plans for a Democratic caucus on the issue Thursday. “We’re really not at a point where I can determine what I think is the best for the caucus and the country at this stage.”

Key advocates for legislation to cap greenhouse gases emitted by power plants are pleading for more time as they try to cut a deal with the industry, but it’s time that Reid doesn’t have as he races to finish other Senate business — including the confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan — while girding for a bruising midterm election.

Meanwhile, swing-vote Democrats and Republicans are still clinging to the fence, if not saying no outright. And President Barack Obama has yet to deploy the kind of whip operation his allies think is necessary if the bill has any chance of notching 60 votes.

“The clock is our biggest enemy,” Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) told reporters Tuesday, shortly after a meeting with several major electric utility industry CEOs who asked for a delay in the floor debate. “Some people know that. We have to figure out what is doable in this short span of time. That’s the test, and we’re going to take a look at that.”

The article goes on to detail the problems: comprehensive regulation was too difficult to get through thanks to political and business opposition, so the bill was scaled back to “just” the electrical industry. (Which would mean your rates would still skyrocket.) But the utilities want concessions the environmentalists hate, and coal-state senators (coal being a fuel for power plants) complain their constituents would be hurt disproportionately. With all these obstacles to get past in the short time left in the legislative session, and with the prospect of a greatly reduced majority in the Senate and the very possible loss of the House after the next election, not to mention the reluctance of some vulnerable senators to further annoy their already angry voters, there doesn’t seem much likelihood this or any version of cap and tax going through this year or next.

Lucky for us.

(via Watt’s Up With That)

RELATED: Senator Kerry (D-Botox) says his bill is not dead yet.


There are times I really like Joe Lieberman – Updated!

May 5, 2010

And this is one of them:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) thinks he’s found a work-around on the whole Miranda rights debate for U.S. citizens accused of terrorism: Strip their citizenship and ship them to Guantanamo.

Lieberman plans to introduce a bill that would amend a decades-old law aimed at yanking citizenship from U.S. citizens who fight for a foreign military.

“I’m now putting together legislation to amend that to [specify that] any individual American citizen who is found to be involved in a foreign terrorist organization, as defined by the Department of State, would be deprived of their citizenship rights,” Lieberman said Tuesday.

Such a law would potentially cover terror suspect Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-born American citizen charged in connection with the attempted car bombing in New York City’s Times Square. He was apprehended Monday night at the city’s John F. Kennedy airport after he boarded a flight to Dubai.

“If you have joined an enemy of the United States in attacking the United States and trying to kill Americans, I think you sacrifice your rights of citizenship,” Lieberman said.

Citizenship has not only rights, but duties that are all too often forgotten; one of them is the duty of loyalty. Since I don’t think Lieberman’s proposal would meet constitutional muster in Shahzad’s case because of the ex post facto clause, they should add a charge that’s fitting for American citizens who betray their country – treason.

If only Joe weren’t such a  social liberal-statist in domestic affairs.

UPDATE: Allahpundit has objections worth bearing in mind, while Byron York looks at the government’s alternatives for dealing with the treasonous Shahzad. I still favor stripping citizenship from citizens who join foreign terrorist organizations, though I don’t think it can be applied to Shahzad for the reason given above.