Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Ken Berwitz

I just read an interesting article at pewsocialtrends.org, which discusses the gaps between Black and White education in the United States.  And one paragraph particularly caught my eye:

Education. High school completion rates have converged since the 1960s, and now about nine-in-ten blacks and whites have a high school diploma. The trend in college completion rates tell a more nuanced story. Today, white adults 25 and older are significantly more likely than blacks to have completed at least a bachelor's degree (34% vs. 21%, a 13 percentage point difference). Fifty years ago, the completion gap between whites and blacks was about 6 percentage points (10% vs. 4%). But expressed a different way, the black completion rate as a percentage of the white rate has improved from 42% then to 62% now.

From this, a casual reader would deduce that almost all Black and White students get a high school education.  And while more Whites than Blacks complete college, the happy news is that Black completion rages are zooming upward.

What wonderful news.


Here, excerpted from an Associated Press article,  is the part that Pew did not measure:

-According to ACT (American College Testing) data, only about one-quarter of this year's high school graduates have the reading, math, English and sicience skills necessary to succeed in college or a career;

-But, as bad as those data are overall, they are far worse for Black students.  Only about 5% of Black students meet these standards

-And - hardly a surprise here - according to Jon Erickson, President of ACT's Education Division, "the lower performing students often attend the worst schools".

What does this tell you? That diplomas are being handed out to Black students regardless of whether they have been taught, regardless of whether they are learning?

And, if so, what does it tell you about college degrees being given to students from schools like these?  Are they little more than the next round of pass-along, i.e. useless, "education"?

Look, apart from friendships and work relationships, as a long-time focus group moderator I have personally interviewed literally thousands and thousands of Black people.  And in the course of doing so, I have met and conversed with way too many intelligent, knowledgeable Black people to believe that skin color indicates a lesser capability of being educated.  It is just plain not true. 

As I have said numerous times in here, being Black makes you just one thing:  Black.  It doesn't make you smart or dumb or educated or uneducated or anything else.

With this in mind, can we be realistic enough to honestly admit that most Black students - especially in inner cities - are not being educated in any way that prepares them for later life?

Some of the reasons, of course, have nothing to do with schools.  I'll save those for another blog.  But some of them are directly related - and there is no good reason for them to go unaddressed.

Over the years, I have talked a lot about the value of charter schools and voucher programs, which are specifically designed to rescue motivated minority students from schools like the ones described above.  And I have talked a lot about the resistance of many people and groups who claim to advocate for minority students, but are opposed to these schools.

Can you explain to me how anyone who supposedly cares about the education of Black people - not as measured by "window dressing" diplomas suitable for wiping their backsides with but from a real-world perspective - can read the statistics I've put up here, without demanding that charter schools and vouchers not only continue to exist, but expand as much as possible?

Give these children a chance at a future.  Please.


Ken Berwitz

Word has just come down that the Army will not pay to have bradley manning turn into bradley womanning.

I suggest that he immediately appeal to the Geneva Conversion.

Or just, er, man up.


Ken Berwitz

Dear Miley

I don't know what you sing. Or even if you can sing. 

I have never watched Hannah Montana. 

All I know about you is your performance at MTV's music award show, and only because media have been so generous in publicizing the apparently successful recalibration of your image from sweet little teen to two-bit tramp.

Congratulations on your ascent (or is it descent) into the same league as Lindsay Lohan and Brittney Spears.

Can rehab be far away?  I doubt it.



Ken Berwitz

Today's Quote Of The Day comes to us from Juan Williams, who said what you are about to read on yesterday's O'Reilly Factor.

If you read the previous blog, you won't need any explanation of why Mr. Williams gets today's very well-deserved honors:

"[Martin Luther King] is not one who would simply cry, as you were saying, over the awful lyrics and the bad schools.  He would act. He would stand up.

"That's the tradition of Dr. King - stand up and act against bad schools that are condemning these kids to useless lives because they never have an opportunity to climb that ladder of upward mobility.

"And the civil rights challenge of this generation is education, and Dr. King would never allow anybody to buy his silence, to buy him off, to sell out the kids and that's whats happening right now.

"I look today at some of the reports on union spending,  it's unbelievable.  You know, AFT and their affiliates in New York, tens of thousands of dollars going to Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and NAACP. Same thing with the National Education Association - NEA.

Why? Because they know that they don't want those civil rights leaders to ever stand up and say yes to charter schools, yes to vouchers, yes to school reform. Yes to Rahm Emanuel in Chicago saying that we need the black community. Poor people need better schools, and you can't make excuses at the cost of our children and our children's future."

Congratulations to Juan Williams, for telling the blunt, plain truth.  And shame on the multitudes of so-called "journalists" whose refusal to do so make Mr. Williams' comments that much rarer, thus that much more courageous.


Ken Berwitz

Who is the dumbest police chief in the country? 

My vote is for Spokane (WA) Police Chief frank straub.  Here is why.

As you probably know, Delbert Belton, an 88 year old World War II veteran, was beaten to death last week in Spokane.  Based on surveillance camera evidence - and, as you will see in a moment, much previous experience - two suspects have been apprehended.  They are demetrius glenn and kenan adams-kinard, both 16 years of age.

According to the article in London's Daily Mail (as opposed to the lack of any substantial coverage by most mainstream media in the USA, of course):

Glenn faces a first-degree murder charge and one count of robbery. The local station KHQ reported that he will be tried as an adult.

The teen has an extensive juvenile criminal history, which includes malicious mischief, fourth-degree assault, driving without a license and riot with a deadly weapon charges.

Adams-Kinard also has had a few run-ins with the law, The Spokesman Review reported. He was convicted of third-degree theft and fourth-degree assault in June.

Lovely.  And that's just what they were caught for.  We can only wonder what other activities these two pillars of the community engaged in that they weren't caught for.

So here we have two serial criminals in custody for beating an elderly man to death.  And what does Police Chief frank straub have to say about it?

This, so help me, is an exact quote:

"Our information is that the individual fought back and that may have made this, you know, a worse situation"

What????????  Can Police Chief straub possibly be admonishing Mr. Bolton for not just sitting back and allowing these two to rob and beat the crap out of him? 

straub's comment was so dumb, so infuriating, that he apparently realized what a dimwitted moron he sounded like, so he quickly added this:

"I'm not being critical of Mr. Belton.  We certainly encourage individuals to fight back, and he should have. But it shouldn't have happened to begin with."

Sorry frank.  Your gratuitous, cover-your-ass add-on doesn't even begin to make amends for the first comment.

Want to know what would have improved the situation?  Let's think real hard and come up with an answer.

-The one and only reason that Mr. Delbert Bolton was killed by these two subhuman scumbags is that Spokane allowed the scumbags, with their record of crime after crime after crime, to walk the streets freely and commit more of them.

-This leads to the question of what in hell it takes to send someone to jail, or at least a juvenile facility in Spokane.  Evidently assault, rioting with a deadly weapon and theft don't make the cut, because that is just a sampling of the rap sheet on demetrius glenn and kenan adams-kinard.

To summarize:  if the only reason Mr. Bolton was killed is that two serial criminals, both with violent rap sheets, were allowed to walk the streets freely, what possible alternative course of action might there have been other than Mr. Bolton not fighting back?. 

Well, how about this:   when you have criminals who are found guilty of one violent crime after another.....


That's right.  You put people like that away, where they can't keep hurting others.

Is that a tough one for you, Police Chief straub?  Difficult to comprehend?  After all, I realize that you are only Spokane's police chief;  its highest ranking law enforcement officer (though I shudder at the thought of this being true).  But maybe, just maybe, you might consider incorporating it into your body of logic. 

So:  is frank straub the dumbest law enforcement officer in the country?  Tell you what:  If anyone can show me one who is dumber - specific examples, please - I will apologize to Police Chief straub, even capitalize his name, and give that person full credit for the find.

Somehow, I doubt there will be any takers.


Ken Berwitz

Excerpted from Chris Lawrence. Jill Dougherty and Tom Cohen's article at cnn.com:

With a flurry of diplomatic signals and activity, U.S. officials sought Tuesday to lay the groundwork for a possible military attack on Syria in response to last week's suspected chemical weapons attack that Washington blames on President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry both consulted allies and indicated potential imminent action by a coalition likely to include key NATO partners and regional powers.

Days after the United States moved warships armed with cruise missiles into the region, Hagel told the BBC on Tuesday that forces were ready to carry out a strike if ordered. A senior Defense Department official told CNN that any strike could be completed "within several days."

"We are ready to go, like that," Hagel told the BBC reporter.

We are ready to go, like that? 

We are ready to remove a mass murderer...on behalf of rebels who are now al-qaeda infested, because we waited too long to act?

Or is the party line still that al-qaeda is "decimated", "on the run" and the various other lies this administration has told us for years?

I don't know that there are any good solutions to what is happening in Syria.  But I do know that taking al-assad out on behalf of zawahiri and his friends - while infuriating Russia and China in the process - is not one of them. 

Don't do it, Mr. President.

Zeke .. .. .. .. Yuh, "Swift Boat Johnny" lied to Congress in his testimony about the Viet Nam War. . . . . . Now he get to lie about the Syrian Civil War. . . . . . . Nice to know that Swift Boat Johnny is arming and fighting for al Q'aida, the nice folks who murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens. . . . . . . .And, if Assad is thrown out, exactly WHAT will the outcome be -- al Q'aida running Syria. . . . . Of course, Assad could claim the US attack killed civilians, and in retaliation, Syria will conduct guerilla attacks in the US. . . . . . . . Sure seems this is another issue that Genius Obama has not thought through. . . . . . . . . The "Unexpected Byproduct" is quite real. . . . . Also, the world's 2nd and 3rd major superpowers (China and Russia) are solidly behind Assad, and will veto any Security Council resolution against Syria. . . . . . . . Obama and Johnny Swift Boat are out of their depth. . . . . . . . . (08/27/13)


Ken Berwitz

Barack Obama, discussing ObamaCare, during a radio interview with Tom Joyner and Sybil Wilkes:

"We were just talking with some folks earlier about the fact that, for a lot of people, it will be cheaper than your cell phone bill..."

Me, upon reading Mr. Obama's quote:

"Yeah, if they have a free Obamaphone..."

Does this man every say anything truthful?

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