Friday, September 28, 2012

Obama urges daughters to write Mom and ask for $18,000 for birth control. Ever hear of Wal-Mart?

     The Obama campaign is encouraging supporters to send the above "ecard," this one presumably designed for a daughter to send to her mother. They still haven't figured out that there are parents out there who don't want to know that their daughter is going at it so hard at college that she can't afford to buy birth control.
     Of course, the letter might not come from a college students, but that's the first thought since we heard about all the Georgetown Law students who could afford $65,000 per year in tuition and expenses but couldn't spring for their own birth control pill for a night out with their fella.
     There's lots of different types of drugs out there. For acid reflux I suppose I'd rather have Nexium than Prilosec. The two drugs are exactly the same, but Nexium is a "racemic" formulation, which means all the molecules point the same way. Nexium was introduced just as the patent for Prilosec was running out, and by some miracle they found in studies that Nexium actually promoted some esophageal healing. Prilosec probably would do the same thing, but of course nobody was going to run the tests for a drug going off-patent. In any event, if the drug is free or somebody else is paying, I'll take Nexium. If I'm buying, Prilosec is plenty good enough.
     One of the problems with the Obama administration's free-birth-control-for-all policy is that there is now no incentive for people to use cheaper birth control. Wal-Mart and Target sell off-patent products for $9 per month. Obviously no one is touting these products with flashy television advertising, but just as Prilosec prevents acid reflex, these $9 pills prevent pregnancy.
     If a woman stays on these pills for 30 years the cost will total $3,240, not $18,000. But do many women actually stay on birth control for 30 years without a break? I doubt it.
     I don't doubt that one could find a heavily advertised birth control pill that would cost $18,000 over 30 years. Yaz, which just went generic does, although the price is likely to decline. But maybe people who are feeding at the public trough don't have a right to demand Nexium. They don't have a right to demand Yaz. It's not unreasonable to demand that being treated for free use inexpensive drugs.
     In fact, if Mom is stupid enough to send her daughter $18,000, does anyone think the daughter will put the money away in a special account to purchase high-dollar, brand-name birth control for life? Not likely. The daughter might set aside $100 to buy a year's worth of birth control and then use the rest on high living. Once that money is hers, she's not likely to want to just throw it away.
     Savvy folks, these liberals.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Michelle Obama's school lunch rules leaving our kids really hungry

     If you want to understand how liberals view the world, take a look at the new lunch rules that schools have to follow in order to avoid a cut-off of federal aid. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach to school nutrition that is literally starving some of our students.
     Some Kansas students have created a video, posted above, that now has half-a-million Youtube hits. And while the video is funny, these new edicts are not.
     New school lunch rules pushed by Michelle Obama and other ultra-leftists impose an 850-calorie maximum on all high school lunches. This calorie-cap applies to all students, from the 80-pound waif to the 200-pound football player who burns 5,000 calories a day.
     But it gets worse! The feds are dictating what goes on the plate as well. The potato and tomato lobby managed to fight off efforts to essentially ban potatoes and pizza, but other rules have gone into effect that make school lunches pretty unappetizing.
     For example, instead of normal, delicious bread and pasta students are now served inedible whole-grain products. These have to be thrown away uneaten, but nevertheless are counted in the 850-calorie total as if they were actually consumed.
     Let’s consider a typical Obomameal: Two baked fish nuggets, a cup of vegetables, half a cup of mashed potatoes, one whole grain roll and 8 ounces of fat free milk. Milk tastes bad, so it has to be thrown away; whole grain rolls taste bad, so they have to be thrown away; the vegetable might or might not have to be thrown away, depending on what it is. That leaves students with a lunch consisting of two fish nuggets and a half-cup of mashed potatoes, which isn’t enough to get through the day. Even if a student were to eat it all, for many it’s not enough.
     And talk about waste! Students are allowed to refuse one item as they pass through the lunch line. Everything else is put on their tray whether they want it or not. So our lunch rules guarantee that a substantial portion of the food served is going to end up going straight into the trash.
     The Obama administration recently came up with a solution to the mess it has made. Snacks! That’s right, the government says students just need to buy snacks to get them through the day. I’m not sure what poor students on the free-lunch program are supposed to do. Perhaps they can enjoy their snacks vicariously by watching others eat.
     The solution isn’t snacks. Like most problems our school lunch woes have an easy solution: Serve our kids normal food! Let them have a Burger Day once a week when they are served a 6-oz. hamburger along with crinkle-cut fries and ketchup as a vegetable. Let them have cinnamon rolls for breakfast that are so good that they will still be talking about it 40 years later. Let them have white bread and potatoes and pizza and real cheese and Cokes to drink – all the things that we as adults eat. Let’s get Michelle Obama’s nose out of America’s lunch rooms and return control to local school districts.
     If we want to tackle childhood obesity, then let’s tackle it! Let’s have the courage to tell fat kids and their parents, “You’re fat.” Then we can require them to adhere to the new lunch rules that presumably will help them lose weight; it suits me if we require them to spend an hour on a treadmill every day. Let's stand up to the corn lobby and ban high fructose corn syrup – a dangerous poison which causes obesity. But don’t stop the entire high school from chomping down on a hamburger and fries just because a few kids are fat! Feed lettuce leaves to the kids who need them and leave everyone else alone.
     One size doesn’t fit all. Different students have different needs; Michelle Obama’s new lunch rules serve our nation poorly.
     It’s a lot like the problem with Obamacare, which assumes that every American wants and needs exactly the same insurance policy. We don’t. Our needs are different, just as the 80-lb. girl has different nutritional needs than a 200-lb. football player.
     When I was a second-grader at Sallie Cochran Elementary School in Holly Springs, one of the things I remember is how delicious the cinnamon rolls that we would get from time to time were. They were good enough that people talk about them decades later. All today’s students will be able to remember decades from now is how hungry they were.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Now Obama wants pledge of allegiance from supporters; where have we heard that before?

    The Obama for president campaign is enlisting celebrities to encourage supporters to take photos of themselves placing their hands over their hearts and pledging to support Obama, in a campaign led by actress Jessica Alba and others.
    Ironic when you consider the famous video of the group of candidates standing on the stage with hands over heart during the national anthem while Obama stood there with hands firmly at his side. Apparently a man who doesn't see fit to place his hand over his heart for our country's flag is willing to demand that his supporters place their hands over their heart for him.
     As soon as Jinny read this news story her mouth dropped open. She said one of the questions on her World History I.B. exam was to examine translations of original documents containing the oath of allegiance used by German civil servants in the 1930s. Here's the August 2, 1934, oath and its translation:

Diensteid der öffentlichen Beamten
Ich schwöre: Ich werde dem Führer des Deutschen Reiches und Volkes Adolf Hitler treu und gehorsam sein, die Gesetze beachten, und meine Amtspflichten gewissenhaft erfüllen, so wahr mir Gott helfe.
Service oath for public servants
I swear: I will be faithful and obedient to the leader of the German empire and people, Adolf Hitler, to observe the law, and to conscientiously fulfil my official duties, so help me God!
    Note that the new loyalty oath was not one to the German state nor one to serve the German people. It was an oath to be faithful to Adolf Hitler, designated as the leader of the German people. By urging his supporters to place their hands over their heart and pledge to support him, in the same fashion that citizen's pledge their allegiance to flag and country, Obama comes perilously close to creating the same type of personality cult.
     The people who make these pledges are no longer our fellow Americans until they renounce them. They now serve a non-American power; their pledge to Obama is no different than a pledge made to Kenya, Pakistan or Russia. Certainly they can support whomever they wish as a candidate, but a hand-over-heart pledge to Obama is no different than a palm outward pledge to Hitler. (For what it's worth, the pledge to the American flag was originally made with palm outward; that likely wouldn't be popular today).
     The left-wing press gives Obama a free ride. When he violated the War Powers Act in his illegal attack on Libya, the left ignored it. When he enacted the DREAM Act by executive fiat and announced that he would ignore the law, the left applauded. No action, no matter how outrageous, is deemed worthy of censure.
     Now Obama is urging his supporters to make personal pledges of allegiance to him and not to the country. Will the American public ever realize just how dangerous this man really is?

p.s. And by the way, Jinny made a "7" on her exam, so according to the folks in Switzerland she knows what she is talking about.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oxford High School sets record with 12 National Merit semi-finalists

    The National Merit Scholarship Foundation has announced the names of Mississippi's semi-finalists and Oxford High School has set a record with 12 semi-finalists. The school had 11 semi-finalists in 2010. Congratulations are in order!
    Oxford tied Jackson Prep, which also had 12 semi-finalists, and came in second only to giant Madison Central, which had 21.
    Sixteen thousand students nationwide and 138 in Mississippi earned semi-finalist status. Most of these students will earn Finalist status by validating their score with the SAT test and by having good grades.
    Oxford High School winners were: Robert Adamson, Dora Chen, Taide Ding, Rosalie Doerksen, Chase Gladden, Harleigh E. Huggins, Samuel Mossing, Jimmy Pan, Jessica L. Pearson, David E. Rozier, Tiffany Torma and Yujing Zhang.
    I'm fairly certain that back when I took the PSAT test there was one national qualifying score. I didn't make it and was instead a "Commended" student. Today each state has a separate cutoff score, while the "Commended" score remains at the 98th percentile. Last year the cutoff for a Commendation was 203. This year a score of 204 in Mississippi earned Semi-finalist status, so there would be no fate more frustrating than to be "Commended" in Mississippi. Looks like nobody got stuck in that wagon. Other state cutoff scores include: W. Va., 200; Ala., 209; Texas, 216; N.J., Mass., and D.C., 221. Click here to see a list of all states and their cutoff scores. Note that boarding schools have higher cutoff scores!
    Scoring in the 98.1 to 98.3rd percentile isn't easy -- but it's easier than having to score in the high-99th percentile, which is what students in Massachusetts and a few other states have to do. For many students, it's a reachable goal.
    I get the feeling that a lot of students don't prepare for the PSAT. Yet diligent preparation can easily add a few points and capture Semi-Finalist status. And Finalist status can easily be worth $100,000 or more at a school like Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama, or Oklahoma, which offer full- or nearly-full-ride scholarships to National Merit Finalists.
    The large number of Oxford Semi-finalists isn't an anomaly; it's the wave of the future as Oxford grows larger and attracts brighter students. Each year a slow trickle of students from Clarksdale, Marks, Batesville, Holly Springs, and elsewhere enrolls for the first time. Many of these students are from families that liked their local public or private school but are worried about the lack of Advanced Placement, foreign language, or other classes that an affluent school district like Oxford can offer. And Oxford has a cluster of high-IQ students which makes it attractive to parents looking for a place to place their own high-IQ children. For an interesting book on the benefits of clustering high-IQ students, see A Class Apart: Prodigies, Pressure, and Passion Inside One of America's Best High Schools
    This type of IQ clustering takes on a life of its own. Once a school establishes itself as having a substantial cluster of high-IQ students, parents of other high-IQ students will try to move in to allow their children to associate with their intellectual peers. College professors tend to have bright children; the presence of these bright children in the local school system can be a recruiting tool for the university.
    Last year my son took part in the Duke Tip program, where 7th-grade students take the ACT -- and a substantial number made a 20 or higher. Do a little number crunching and you soon realize that most of these students have a very good chance of earning National Merit honors in four years, barring illness or bad luck. My guess is that my son's class is in line to have a dozen or more National Merit scholars as well.
    In fact, my view is that if the school system would work to identify these high-ability students in fourth or fifth grade and give them an accelerated curriculum Oxford could easily have 20 National Merit Finalists each year. Right now the students are doing their job. It's time for the school district to step up to the plate and provide a more rigorous curriculum.
    Congratulations again to this year's winners. And to this year's juniors, you have about a month before you take the PSAT, so start studying. Oxford needs at least a dozen semi-finalists next year!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Skymiles not much good for flying, but still work for magazines

    Anyone with Delta Skymiles has been dismayed in recent years by the fact that they have become increasingly worthless.
    In the Golden Age of Skymiles we earned 1,000 miles per segment and Medallion flyers got 25- or 50-percent bonuses. Round-trip tickets were readily available for 20,000 miles and first class tickets cost 35,000 miles. A trip to Europe was 50,000 miles with business class at 80,000.
    Then Delta raised ticket redemption levels and put in draconian capacity controls. It's still possible to get a 25,000-mile round-trip ticket, but only in the dead of winter on a day when no one is flying. Eighteen months ago when I needed three domestic tickets I ended up spending almost 200,000 miles. At one time this would have been nearly enough to buy round-trip tickets for two on the Concorde!
    There is one good value floating around out there, and that is that magazines can be purchased for miles for far less then if you shelled out real money for them. The Economist magazine, for example, is one of the most expensive weekly magazines in print, with a yearly cost of almost $100. They rarely discount. But it's available through the Miles for Magazines program for 3,200 Skymiles. Nobody values Skymiles at two cents any more, but even if for some crazy reason you do, this is a great deal on a great magazine. So if we can't fly with our Skymiles, at least we can sit home and read!
    I recently ordered The Economist and Harper's Magazine. I was also going to order a couple of magazines that required $2 in cash, but found that these came with an "auto-renew" feature. Having learned my lesson, I will never allow a magazine permission to auto-renew on my credit card.
You can see the list of magazines available below. To order magazines for miles, click here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I called it 18 months ago; all the blame for this mess goes to Obama

    I have pointed out in numerous posts that our former enemy, Muammar Gaddafi, came in from the cold years ago and paid reparations for his past crimes and got rid of his weapons of mass destruction. He was a somewhat solid ally in the war on terror.
    Then Barack Obama showed the world that America couldn't be trusted by targeting him for murder and actually killing his children and grandchildren in cold blood -- a war crime. Not content merely to murder Gaddafi, Obama's henchmen first anally raped him, another war crime. Obama has not yet been arrested or tried for his numerous war crimes committed in Libya against a country which, unlike Iraq, we had no quarrel whatsoever.
    What brought this on? Well, the United States apparently decided to foment some revolution in the Arab world and it spilled over into Libya. When terrorists tried to stone Gaddafi's soldiers to death they responded by killing their attackers. Oh, this was just too much for the NATO goons! And so Obama and his henchmen murdered thousands upon thousands of innocent Libyans in order to teach our presumed ally a lesson.
    Today Obama's allies attacked the American embassies in Egypt and Libya, killing one American. Understand, these are Obama's people. Gaddafi would never have allowed this to happen. Under Gaddafi Libya was a secular country; in fact, Gaddafi was a frequent critic of growing Islamic extremism in countries like Turkey and was a strong champion of women's rights -- by Arab standards, anyway.

On April 19, 2011, I wrote the following:
I've noted before that America's unprovoked attacks on Libya are destabilizing the entire Middle East. Those who would overthrow the governments of Egypt (both old and new), Yemen, Syria, Iran, and yes, Saudi Arabia, look at the world's support for Libya's criminal rebels as a sign that they, too, shoud try to overthrow their governments. Much of the world's oil supply is in danger of disruption.
Nations act out of self-interest. For France, Britain and the United States to make the decision so quickly to seek sanctions and to attack Libya suggest some motive other than concern for that country's citizens. NATO's decision to use just enough force to keep the government from restoring order suggests a desire to forment a long-term civil war, which should keep the entire region in turmoil for some time, thus endangering the region's oil production.
    Note that I wrote this almost 18 months ago. The war and destruction that is happening right now in the Mid-East is not happening by accident. If it isn't entirely the result of U.S. effort, it has certainly been fanned into a fire of violence by intentional U.S. actions. As a nation our goal is clearly to destabilize the entire Mid-East. The only question is exactly why we want to do this.
    Possibility one is that we've decided that an unstable Mid-East hurts China and other countries and helps the United States. There is a reason that Russia is so eager to help Syria at any price -- they are eager to maintain an ally. And while high energy prices hurt the U.S., if the Mid-East is in turmoil then China is harmed far more -- and perhaps the high energy prices may help the U.S. in relation to China.
    Possibility two is that we've decided to create turmoil in an effort to create what amounts to a mass sectarian war to undermine Iran. It's no secret that Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia is funding the Sunni Syrian Rebels in an effort to break up the alliance between the Alawite Syrians and the Shiite Iranians. But do you expect the Shia and for that matter the Alawites to just lay down? And isn't Turkey something like 20 percent Alawite? This is going to be a real party!
    Possibility three is that Obama, whom I believe to be a crypto-Sunni-Muslim radical, is simply behaving like other Mid-East Sunni Muslim radicals. He's going after Jews, infidels, and Shiites. If you look at our Mid-East policy, it certainly explains a lot.
    In any event, when you hear that our embassy in Egypt or Libya has been overrun and Americans killed, crazy Muslims didn't do that, Obama did that. When you hear that thousands of people have died in Syria, don't blame that country's leader, Bashar al-Assad, blame Obama. This is his handiwork, so he gets all the credit or all the blame.

ADDENDUM: Since I wrote this the death toll in Libya has risen to four, including our ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens. These people were killed by Obama's allies. Gadaffi and his people never would have done it.

Obama repeatedly expressed sympathy with the so-called "Occupy" movement in the United States and told law enforcement officials not to enforce the law in controlling their behavior. The symbol of the Occupy movement was the Guy Fawkes mask. Shown below is a photo of Obama's allies after they swarmed United States embassy in Egypt.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Final convention ratings show Republicans, Democrats now have dedicated news channels

    Shown above are the final convention ratings for the prime time hour of the Democratic National Convention. They show that Obama edged Romney in his acceptance speech by about two million viewers.
    Obama clearly has gotten a bounce out of the Democratic convention. In election cycles past the Republicans held the second convention and always got a week or two of bounce out of it. This time the Democrats have benefited. I think they clearly overshot themselves by planning to fill a 75,000-seat stadium and then cancelling at the last minute, and I think the scene of the delegates furiously booing the inclusion of the word "God" in their platform is going to harm them.
    As far as honesty in convention speeches goes, Mitt Romney gets the prize. The speeches of Paul Ryan, Joe Biden and Barack Obama were riddled with inaccuracies and outright falsehoods while everything Romney said was pretty much true, said FactCheck.
    As I said in my earlier posts, I think it's interesting that to a large degree the cable networks have intentionally aligned themselves with political parties as a commercial strategy. Those who watched the Republican convention in its entirety did so on Fox News. For the DNC, ratings for CNN and MSNBC tripled while those of Fox dropped by two-thirds.
    It will be interesting to see what kind of advertising strategies the parties use, if any, in advertising on the opposing party's network.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

NBC's football game dampens Day Two DNC ratings, but 'God' vote will be seen again and again

    Shown above are the Democratic National Convention ratings for Day Two in the 10-11 p.m. timeslot when the convention was covered by both broadcast and cable networks.
    Viewership is virtually tied with the GOP second night despite a prime-time speech by former president Bill Clinton. The Republicans can thank the Giants-Coybows game on NBC which drew 20 million viewers, or about as many as watched the Democratic convention.
    I took a pass on most of the night's festivities. Clinton's speech was said to be outstanding. Yet the fact that I'm tuning out says that both conventions are preaching to the choir. I pointed this out in my previous post, by noting that Republicans are getting their cable convention coverage from Fox News while Democrats are clearly turning to MSNBC or CNN. The ratings shift suggests that despite its usually dismal ratings there may yet be market traction in MSNBC's strategy of serving as the news outlet of the extreme left.
    For those who missed night two, I suspect you will get to see a portion of it again, and again, and again. Democratic platform writers decided to remove the word "God" from their platform as well as a provision that Jerusalem be an open, International city and the capitol of Israel. Both provisions have been in Democratic platforms for many election cycles. Realizing they had made a mistake they decided to put it back in by voice vote. DNC convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa took three votes and after each call for a vote the delegates furiously bellowed, "NO!" Finally he declared the motion passed by a two-thirds majority although many observers believe it failed to even carry a simple majority. No matter how high-sounding the various Democratic speeches may be, the enduring images of these delegates screaming out their hatred for the word "God" will be the one that sticks with the public.
    Is the word "God" THAT awful? Here's the first ad, from Florida Congressman Allen West. It will be the first of many.

Oh, and by the way, if you think Allen West has engaged in selective editing, here's a Los Angeles Times story that includes a longer video. If anything it's more damning.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In convention coverage Fox News rates first for RNC, dead last for DNC

    In the "for what it's worth" department, listed above are the television ratings for all three nights of the 2012 Republican National Convention and the first night of the Democratic National Convention.
    Note that viewership of the two conventions is about tied, although the first night of the Republican convention had a large segment of the South without power and unable to watch.
    It certainly shouldn't come as a shock, but it is nevertheless interesting to see the difference in cable viewership or the two conventions. For the Republican convention Fox News blew every competitor, both cable and broadcast, out of the water by a substantial margin. For the first night of the Democratic Convention Fox News was dead last.
    I haven't seen these comparisons anywhere else, so I'll try to update it as the DNC continues. I'm sure there will be some minor corrections as well.

In many ways Julian Castro is another Obama

    San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is being touted as the "next Obama," and in so many ways he is.
    Castro admits that he only got into Stanford as a result of affirmative action. He had a 1210 on the SAT, which after the 1995 test recentering would be about a 1300 today -- far short of what an Anglo, Asian, or Jew would need for Stanford. Who knows about his Harvard Law application, but history shows that people who benefited from affirmative action once will do so again.
    I don't understand affirmative action for Hispanics. As as group they've suffered very little discrimination. There have always been highly successful Hispanics in America, and only in recent years when we've had lots of poor border-jumpers have there been any poor, needy Hispanics in need of extra points on their college-admission or employment scores. But what about the poor whites living in the "hollers" of West Virginia, Kentucky and East Tennessee? Or for that matter every white person in Mississippi, where the schools set the academic pace at that of a a snail, afraid that if they actually teach anything the children will break? Don't these white people need affirmative action just as badly as Hispanics?
    In so many ways Castro is the next Obama. He made it through elite colleges as a result of affirmative action not available to the rest of us. And now he's given a rousing speech. A speech! All hail our next leader!
    A leader who has done virtually nothing save hold a San Antonio city council post, and who now holds a purely ceremonial mayoral post which pays $4,000 per year. That's right, $4,000. He's like the queen of England without the castle. As to how this man and his brother support themselves, that's another story.
    So we've got a man who's gotten a free ride whose main accomplishment in life is to have given a speech before a national audience. By Obama's standards this qualifies him to be president.
    One problem, though. There is very little "white guilt" insofar as Hispanics are concerned, and white guilt is what put Obama in office. Most of us consider Hispanics who adopt American-style dress, speech, and mannerisms and just whites with a tan. We don't discriminate against them and never have. They're just white people who Democrats want to keep corralled as a separate ethnic group for political purposes.
    As a potential presidential candidate, Julian Castro is an empty suit, just like the one we've got in the White House today. But I doubt this suit will make it out of San Antonio.