Links for 12-7-2017

Links for 12-3-2017

Links for 10-7-2017

  • The Department of Defense identified the fourth U.S. Army Green Beret killed in Niger as Sgt. La David T. Johnson.

  • Michael Brendan Dougherty takes on the argument that we don’t need a Second Amendment because ordinary Americans can’t defend themselves from a tyrannical government equipped with sophisticated weapons:

    Sometimes people put Schermer’s argument more baldly. They ask something like this: “Do you really think Bubba in camo gear hiding in the forest is going to take on the U.S. military? The U.S. military has nuclear weapons!”

    Who exactly do you think has stymied the U.S. in Afghanistan for 16 years? The Taliban is made up of Afghan Bubbas. The Taliban doesn’t need to defeat nuclear weapons, though they are humiliating a nuclear power for the second time in history. They use a mix of Kalashnikovs and WWII-era bolt-action rifles. Determined insurgencies are really difficult to fight, even if they are only armed with Enfield rifles and you can target them with a TOW missiles system that can spot a cat in the dark from two miles away. In Iraq, expensive tanks were destroyed with simple improvised explosives.

  • Racial identity politics is ruining one of Minnesota’s best public school districts:

    For years, the Edina Public Schools (EPS) have been one of the brightest stars in the firmament of Minnesota public education. Parents who moved to the affluent Twin Cities suburb gladly paid a hefty premium for a house, because it meant their kids could attend the district’s top-notch schools.

    But today, test scores are sinking in Edina’s fabled schools. One in five Edina High School students can’t read at grade level and one in three can’t do grade-level math. These test results dropped EHS’s ranking among Minnesota high schools from 5th to 29th in reading proficiency, and from 10th to 40th in math proficiency between 2014 and 2017. Across the district, about 30 percent of kids are not “on track for success” in reading, and the same is true for math.

    A number of factors may be at work here. Clearly, however, there’s been a profound shift in district leaders’ educational philosophy. In place of academic excellence for all, the district’s primary mission is now to ensure that students think correctly on social and political issues — most importantly, on race and “white privilege.”

  • The U.S. government finally stopped buying Russian helicopters for the Afghan military. The Afghan military’s “new” helicopters are refurbished Blackhawks.

Links for 7-23-2017

Links for 7-22-2017

  • Donald Trump helped commission the aircraft carrier USS Ford. Unfortunately the Ford won’t be ready for operational deployment for years.

  • Donald Trump is bypassing the State Department and assembling a White House team to make the case that the U.S. shouldn’t certify Iran’s compliance with Barack Obama’s nuclear deal. The Trump administration has certified Iran’s compliance twice, and the next deadline is the end of October. Supposedly Trump asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to lay the groundwork for withholding certification, and Tillerson didn’t do it.

  • The co-founder of Fusion GPS, the company that created the largely false “Trump dossier,” refused to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The committee chairman, Chuck Grassley, then subpoenaed the co-founder, Glenn Simpson. Simpson’s lawyer says he’ll plead the Fifth.

  • Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort negotiated private interviews with Senate Judiciary Committee members and staff. The committee reserves the right to subpoena them in the future.

  • The Senate parliamentarian doesn’t think defunding Planned Parenthood can be included in the “Better Care Reconciliation Act.”

  • A Department of Labor whistleblower, Stephen Silbiger, claims the department delayed paying compensation to people who worked in nuclear weapons plants and became sick:

    Under the law, the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA), qualified workers or their survivors who were diagnosed with certain types of cancer or other diseases from exposure to toxic substances at covered facilities are entitled to between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation to help pay medical bills and loss of wages due to their illnesses, with a cap of $400,000.

    However, Silbiger and other critics say government officials often purposely thwarted workers’ attempts to seek the compensation by writing regulations that made qualification much more stringent than Congress intended, failing to disclose all the application rules, changing eligibility rules midstream, and delaying compensation for years until the sick workers died.

  • David Andrew Weinberg delivered interesting testimony to a House subcommittee explaining how Saudi school textbooks incite violence against non-Muslims:

    I will then endeavor to present everything we know about incitement in the latest edition of Saudi Arabia’s official textbooks. Examples of such incitement include: (1) directives to kill people in response to their non-violent personal life choices, (2) messages that are undoubtedly anti-Semitic or anti-Christian, (3) lessons that are intolerant toward adherents of non-monotheistic religions as well as implicitly toward Shiite and Sufi Muslims, and (4) several other passages encouraging violence.

    I will explain how Riyadh regularly oversells the success of its textbook reforms. I will then argue for why U.S. policy in this regard needs to change urgently. Next, I will refute some common counterarguments by those who claim that U.S. pressure cannot have a positive impact on the Saudi curriculum. Finally, I will conclude by offering a list of policy recommendations for Congress which could help encourage the Saudi government to address this issue in a more effective and timely manner.

  • Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau resigned at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges. This happened in reaction to the police shooting of Australian immigrant Justine Damond, who called the police to report an incident outside her home, only to be killed by one of the police officers who responded.

  • A Palestinian man murdered three Israelis in a West Bank settlement yesterday. Israeli forces raided the attacker’s home and arrested his brother.

Links for 11-3-2016

Links for 10-1-2016