Supplemental: Hillary Clinton and the word gap!

FRIDAY, JUNE 13, 2014

Concerning the way our world works: Just last month, Hillary Clinton discussed the 30 million word gap.

She spoke at the New America Foundation Summit. This is part of what she said about the gap:
CLINTON (5/16/14): When I left the State Department, I joined my husband and daughter at The Clinton Foundation. I wanted to continue my lifelong work pursuing ways and answers and solutions that could help more people live up to their own God-given potential.


I was very struck by how difficult it was for so many children to be successful in school, despite all the education reform that we have done and experimented with over a very long time now.

And it really did come home to me that part of the problem is that too many of our children are not getting that very early start in those first years that will enable them to take advantage of advances in education.

Economic pressures on parents translate into less time in interaction with their children, less time reading and talking, and even singing, all of which we now know, which we didn't know 30 years ago, stimulates crucial brain development.

By age three, children from low income families have learned on average half as many words as children from middle and upper income families. By the time they enter school, they have substantially smaller vocabularies than many of their classmates. Experts call this the word gap. And it leads directly to an achievement gap.

So we've launched a public action campaign called Too Small to Fail to give parents the tools and information they need to do their part in beginning to close that word gap, that will give their children the best possible chance in school and later in life.
Clinton isn’t being asked about this. Tomorrow, we’ll take a short break from “Our month of the gaps” to see what she is being asked.

We’ll visit the fresh prince of Merrywood.
We’ll discuss Diane Sawyer’s rather large annual salary.

What do these people care about? Briefly, we’ll think about that.


  1. I was very struck by how difficult it was for so many children to be successful in school, despite all the education reform that we have done and experimented with over a very long time now.

    This is an example of The Butterfield Effect
    (Refers to a person who "makes a statement that is ludicrous on its face, yet it reveals what the speaker truly believes", especially if expressing a supposed paradox when a causal relationship should be obvious.)

    1. What is ludicrous about that statement?

    2. This seems to be an example of Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

  2. I was implying that "all the education reform that we have done and experimented with" was counter-productive overall. Thus, the supposed paradox was actually a causal relationship.

    1. Then her statement wasn't ludicrous.

  3. NBC stuffing big bucks in Chelsea Clinton's pants.

  4. "She spoke at the New America Foundation Summit."

    Whose top donor class includes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with additional largess from Microsoft.

    1. How dare she associate herself with the vile and evil Bill and Melinda Gates? They are of the "other" tribe!

  5. Good for HRC!

    The Merrywood link was poignant. Nowadays kids are more structured that a military platoon.

    There's a lot to be said for just being in the presence of your children.

    My father fell asleep at the drop of a hat and my brothers and I fondly recall sitting on the den floor leaning against his leg as he snored.

    I doubt that did much for our IQ, but it certainly made us aware of all that is signified in the word "home".

  6. Hillary Clinton also claimed she hadn't really thought about gay marriage at the time she opposed it. Really? Of course she did. The idea was around during the Clinton years, and liberals thought about it. Especially liberal activists the Clintons' age who were deeply involved in politics and who had thought about equality issues for years and years.

    It's incredibly disingenuous for Clinton to claim that she never thought about it. She did think about it, she probably thought it was a ridiculous idea, and she probably thinks exactly the same thing now that she thought about it then.

    She and Obama didn't "evolve," they identified the direction of the political winds and went along because even though they opposed or were utterly indifferent to gay marriage and could offer very good reasons why they might hold either of those attitudes, they really don't care about it one way or the other. Certainly not enough to alienate the number of voters they thought would be alienated had they taken a different position.

    1. anon 3:39. I don't know about Obama & Clinton, but speaking for myself, age 65, I changed my mind about (against it to being for it) and I have't run for any office. Lots of people have changed their minds on the subject/ Until relatively recently, it was unthinkable. I don't understand your sour attitude.

    2. As a same-sex marriage opponent, I think HRC would be wise to apologize for ever having been against same-sex marriage. They won't want a whole pint from HER, they'll settle for that drop of blood.

      It's unreasonable to expect her to say that she dissented from the idea because of political expediency. As eager as proponents are to demonize dissenters, this question will go away as soon as she declares.

    3. Gay marriage wasn't unthinkable or un thought about by political activists in recent decades and to those sympathetic to gay rights like the Clintons and Obama it would be a no brainer on first consideration unless they believed that it was not a good idea for some reason which they still would believe, or unless they lied about opposing it until it was safe to support it. All of these 3 politicians declared their views then and now for political expediency and anyone who believes they evolved is foolish.

    4. The legal history of same sex marriage dates back to 1970, when two men, Richard Baker and James McConnell sued Gerald Nelson, the clerk of the Hennepin County, Minnesota District Court, to force the issuance of a marriage license. The plaintiffs lost and appealed. They lost their appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which found against all their claims but most tellingly the claim of equal protection under the 14th Amendment, finding there to be no parallel between discrimination on the basis of race and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case on the grounds that there was no federal question involved!

      And that's pretty much where things remained until 1993, when the Supreme Court of Hawaii ruled on appeal that bans on same-sex marriage were discriminatory and left it to the trial court to determine whether such discrimination could pass the strict scrutiny test to remain constitutional. The trial court took three years to determine that the answer was no.

      The backlash was stark. In 1998, Hawaii passed an amendment to its constitution allowing the legislature to define marriage partners as opposite sex, and the legislature obliged. Congress beat Hawaii by two years, passing DOMA by veto-proof majorities in 1996. Gallup found in March of that year that the public opposed same-sex marriage 68% to 27%.

      I doubt there was a single politician during the Clinton administrations who gave much thought to same-sex marriage unless it was as a quixotic goal, unattainable during their lifetimes. And sure enough, over the dozen or so years after DOMA, 31 states passed constitutional amendments prohibiting same sex marriage. Some banned civil unions. Virginia banned any such agreement that "approximates" a marriage. Remember that the Supreme Court ruled in Bowers v Hardwick in 1986 that states could criminalize consensual homosexual sex. That decision wasn't overturned until 2003.

      In 2004, the Massachusetts Supreme Court struck down that state's ban. Gallup still showed 55-42 against. But in one decade, the landscape has changed with the courts leading the way. 8 state courts have overturned same-sex marriage bans, and there are 9 states that have federal district court overturns stayed. 8 legislatures and DC have followed suit, and 3 more have done so by referendum. All of this since 2009. Public opinion has reversed, standing at 55-42 for.

      Back in the day, same sex marriage looked as impossible as it looks inevitable now.

    5. I feel so sorry for Bob. He's writing an utterly brilliant series on black school children, and not even his sheep care. They would rather discuss the legal history of gay marriage.

    6. How the prospects for gay marriage "looked" during the days of the Clintons declaring their opposition to it is irrelevant. There was a position to be taken and contentious debate around DOMA and they declared their opposition to gay marriage. They changed their public position when more voters and "people on TV" did.

    7. Oh, I'm sorry, Anonymous @8:27A, did I forget to ask your permission to post a comment? My bad.

    8. The prospects for gay marriage were nil during the Clinton era. The levers of political power were in the hands of the opposition, and public opinion was overwhelmingly against. Politics is the art of the possible, and politicians choose their tactical battles and their priorities accordingly.

      Do you suppose things would have been different had Clinton vetoed DOMA?

    9. No need to apologize at all. Somerby has turned a very important subject into such a momumental bore that your brilliant analysis of gay marriage are quite refreshing.

      So continue to change the subject. Anything but another Somerby "series" with "supplementals" and "interludes" in order to say the same thing over and over for six weeks running.

      The stand-up comic ran out of material a long time ago. How nice of you to help bail him out.

    10. "Politics is the art of the possible," is a meaningless cliche of words. Leadership in politics requires taking a stand ahead of the curve if your beliefs contradict the current polls, which the Clintons did not do if they were in favor of gay marriage at that time. Nor did they do it if they were opposed when public sentiment shifted. They didn't evolve and they only sound like opportunistic politicians whey they claim they did. They followed the votes period and "political realities" are irrelevant to principle. "We just never thought about it" is just insulting.

    11. Anonymous @5:07P,

      Ah, yes, just a meaningless cliche of words. So much better, though, than those meaningless cliches not of words, dontchathink? Politics is always about balancing ideals and the political capital on hand to get things done. And yes, I agree that leadership may require taking a charge against the current polls and the current state of the law. Sometimes you just lead yourself over a cliff, though.

      I notice you didn't answer my question: what do you think would have been different had Clinton vetoed DOMA?

      You're looking for insult. There was no reason for anybody to give much thought to gay marriage in the 1990s. Especially at the federal level. The Supreme Court wouldn't even hear a discrimination case about marriage since it felt there was no federal issue. DOMA was just a nasty exercise in political posturing that affected not a single state.

      It's easy to look at the last four years and think gay marriage was inevitable, and that if only venal politician like the Clintons had given more thought and shown more courage, we wouldn't have had to wait so long.

    12. Anonymous @4:26P,

      Forgive me for asking (again), but I'm curious. Just what the fuck are you doing here? I just don't get it. You think the blog not just a bore but a "monumental" bore. You'd rather read what I write than what TDH writes. And I understand that you read my comments not just not for the pleasure of my pellucid prose, but because you'd rather read anything other than another TDH "series." I get that you think the blog is empty and has been for a long time.

      Generally, I find that people avoid optional exercises that are repetitively boring and pointless. Yet trolls like you can't seem to stay away. Really, why haven't you found more interesting material a long time ago?

    13. Deadrat doesn't care about black kids.

    14. Deadrat doesn't care about black kids.
      Hahahahahahahaha! It never gets old, does it?

      Send in the trolls.
      There ought to be trolls.

    15. Take it up with Somerby. He's the one who keeps saying "liberals don't care about black kids" because they aren't talking about the subject he wants them to talk about.

      Here he's been writing about black kids all month long, and you want to talk about gay marriage.

      Which brings up an interesting point. Isn't a "troll" someone who hijacks a thread and leads it completely off topic?

      Send in the hypocrites.
      There ought to be hypocrites.

      And speaking of that, since your getting your hiney spanked for about the umpteenth time, isn't it about time for you ton start whining and crying about ad hominems?

      After all, you would never engage in that, would you?

    16. Anonymous @10:36P,

      I'll take your trollishness or cluelessness, whichever it is, in order.

      It's unlikely that TDH is talking about people like me. His complaint is with liberals in public life -- journalists, writers, politicians, policy wonks, etc.

      A troll in common intertubes parlance is someone who posts inflammatory commentary with the sole objective of watching the resulting flame war. For instance, in a discussion about gay marriage, a troll will post that gay people are all pedophiles and should have no rights. And then sit back and wait for indignant replies.

      I forget who started calling people here trolls. Cecilia Mc, perhaps? These folks aren't trolls in the classic sense, but I've adopted the term for lack of a better one. I'll have to say I've never seen people like these trolls in a commentariat. I've posted a list of their characteristics, which include an obsession with blogger's hypocrisy and his alleged failure as a comedian. Trolls constantly announce how boring and worthless the blog is, but they can't seem to explain why they torture themselves by returning. Go figure.

      You think I'm getting my "hiney spanked"? Who's doing that spanking? David in Cal? Or some of the many trolls droning on about how big a waste of time TDH is? Or perhaps it's the trolls who continue to insist that after Governor Ultrasound was indicted, TDH posted that he hadn't been. Or the trolls who claim that TDH still thinks WMDs will be found in Iraq. Eye of the beholder, I suppose.

      An ad hominem says that an argument is wrong because the person who makes the argument is bad. I challenge you to find my saying that in anything I've posted. Perhaps by "ad hominem" you mean that I don't suffer fools like you gladly and I'm not loath to say so. In that case, guilty as charged.

      But I don't think I've ever complained about comments made about me. Do you have any examples? After all, this is just unmoderated commentary populated by trolls.

    17. I feel sorry for Bob too. But I don't think his series is brilliant.

    18. No, it isn't brilliant. It's rather boring and repetitive. But at least we have deadrat's tap dance to break up the monotony.

    19. "DOMA was just a nasty exercise in political posturing that affected not a single state."

      And yet to enact it when in your heart of hearts you see it as "nasty" and discriminatory and steeped in hate?

      And all for political expediency?

      I don't think you 're talking in cliches, Deadrat,. You 're describing a bloodless cynicism while couching it as political pragmatism. To the point where I think you might be doing the Clintons an injustice.

    20. "I forget who started calling people here trolls. Cecilia Mc, perhaps? These folks aren't trolls in the classic sense, but I've adopted the term for lack of a better one. I'll have to say I've never seen people like these trolls in a commentariat."

      I first called them that because I HAD seen them in action on other blogs. One in which they came close to shutting down before the owner erected a system of registration and something that prevented the use of proxies.

      Their goal is to marginalize the blogger, brand him as a crack-pot, and salt the comment board with sock puppetry...strawman sock puppets (hello...Lionel...) and flames.

      They are the proud flies in the ointment, saboteurs, punishers of the name of social justice...

      In reality, they're petty control-freak ham-bone pricks.

      If there's any positive aspect to their presence here it's that we've likely provided a brief moment of respite for the pin-cushions that are their families and co-workers.

    21. BTW-- the spam isn't "spam", it's trolley.

      They earn their tyrant merit badges via such time consuming persecutions.

    22. And now deadrat has a dance partner.

      Anything to distract us from Bob's "series."

    23. Deadrat wouldn't be caught dead with a conservative even if he really were a dead...well...even if he was dead.

    24. Anonymous @8:49A,

      I take your point, and perhaps we'd all be living in a political paradise, or at least one better than the shit-hole we have now, if Bill Clinton had taken a stand in favor of same-sex marriage in 1992. And I want to make it clear that I'm not talking about issues of employment and housing discrimination or anti-gay violence. Or about civil unions, which started in California in 2000. This is about changing the definition of marriage.

      Who do you think "enacted" DOMA? Bill Clinton? That's odd because his views on the law were irrelevant. Me? Sure I think DOMA was nasty, discriminatory, and steeped in hate, but I didn't have anything to do with its enactment, and I'm not speaking for anybody else. Hillary Clinton? What office did she hold in 1996?

      I'll ask yet again: What difference do you think it would have made if Bill Clinton had vetoed DOMA? Besides depriving you of something today to tut-tut about, I mean.

      When DOMA passed, it had been only two years since the APA had reversed a decades-old tradition of including homosexuality in the DSM. (They hid it under "gender identity disorder.") The first episode of Will and Grace was two years away. I just don't find it surprising that politicians on the left didn't think much about the issue.

      Is that really bloodless cynicism?

      And is that worse than bloody cynicism?

    25. Any possibility that Pres.Clinton (and HRC in '08) might actually have told the truth in saying that they weren't for a defining of marriage, but supported domestic partnership laws?

    26. WJC's support for civil unions dates to 1995; HRC's, to 1999.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Let me try again: The Blog on the Clinton-Gross interview is gone.

  9. I noticed that, too. Maybe Somerby thinks it just distracts from his work concerning the coverage of educational issues? Very curious.

  10. I listened to that clip of Hillary Clinton and Terri Gross that people in the blathersphere were typing furiously about. Some folks need to look up the word "contentious." And maybe next time get exercised over something that matters.

  11. Brilliant post. Robust, on topic commentary. Keep up excellent work all.