It's Friday: Things I think about


Sen. Harry Reid said he would only accept a "clean" bill to end the government shutdown. In the end, he personally negotiated an "unclean" bill that benefited his Senate brotherhood.

Sen. Reid and Sen. Mitch McConnell negotiated the final bill that ended the government shutdown. What people didn't know until it came time to vote is that Reid and McConnell slipped in a few unrelated provisions in the shutdown bill that feathered their own senatorial nests.

First, they gave $174,000 payment to Sen. Frank Lautenberg's widow. It's one year's pay going to the estate of a guy who died with a net worth of $56.8.

Then, Reid and McConnell created a funding increase for a dam project helping McConnell's home state of Kentucky.

President Obama signed this "unclean" bill without so much as a peep. No debate. No nothing.

You wonder why the president and Congress are widely disrespected? It's stuff like this that gives rise to revolts like the Tea Party movement.

School choice works

Policy born of ignorance is the price we pay for imprecise reporting.

Take, for instance, this story from Politico on school choice programs. Politico makes the incorrect assertion that school choice yields little academic gains for the cost.

But a little digging -- just a little -- would have produced the opposite conclusion. In fact, school choice works quite well from a cost-effective standpoint.

Look, I know this is a hot political question that is especially opposed by the unionized education complex, but the studies are clear. Take a look at this story for a pretty convincing case that if we want student improvement at a lower cost, school choice is the best way to get it.

Nothing like a good dog story

And here's one by Vanessa Gregory that appeared in the October/November 2013 issue of "Garden and Gun."

Give it a look. You'll find nice turns of phrases like:

-- "Frank is a handsome animal with a coat like polished walnut and the lean muscles of a sporting dog. At home in Oxford (Miss.), he elicits compliments from men on the street. They think he's a gentleman's dog. In reality, we found him at a county animal shelter."

-- "His ears dip forward and he focuses on some point in the middle distance, past the grasses and anemic apple trees growing in the yard to our right. I tell him to sit and he obeys, slowly, his rear drifting downward in increments, his attention still fixed elsewhere. But he knows what’s coming. The muscles in his shoulders twitch. I reach down to release his collar and in the same instant he bursts forward like a sprinter out of the blocks, bounding past the sagebrush in long, graceful strides. The earth gives off a quiet thud each time his paws hit the dirt. We don’t know where Frank came from or the exact composition of his pedigree. But we know he is a runner. An athlete. A being who becomes his fullest self in these moments spent striding across hills and fields."

-- "In our early days together, I wasted countless afternoons trying to teach Frank to come on command. But he isn’t the kind of dog that will trade a liver snap for his freedom. Eventually, I learned to trust that he’d return on his own. "

Give Vanessa's fine dog prose a look. Makes an excellent one-cup-of-coffee read. I do love good writing and good dog stories.

'Redskins' is a slur

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer minces no words over the growing controversy of changing the name of the National Football League team "Washington Redskins."

Change it, he says, because "it is a slur."

"The word Negro, 50 years ago, was the most respected word in referring to an African American. It was used 15 times by Martin Luther King in the I Have a Dream speech," Krauthammer said. "Fifty years later, because of its own history, having to do with Black Power and a complicated history, it’s become a word that is patronizing. You would never say there are 30 Negroes in the U.S. House. You wouldn’t say that."

I see what Krauthammer is saying and I agree with him. It is a slur. Let's change the name "Redskins" and at the same time change the name of the NAACP -- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People?

Both slurs, right?

The fine art of doodling

If you want to see some hilarious stuff, click here to see some of the things students around the world do to their exams and textbooks. It includes this note written (from a Vegas high schooler, perhaps?) in big letters across a difficult math test: "Eff this. I'm going to be a stripper!"

Priceless. Enjoy.

Key Frederick Fact: In all of Wisconsin only 50 people enrolled in Obamacare in the first eight days.