Good news. The problems of the inner city have been solved. We’re giving everyone free iPads. It’s like looting, but the government and private companies will do the looting.

If you pay taxes or buy Apple products, you’ll be subsidizing it [2].

How to address inner-city problems like unemployment, drugs, and violence? President Obama says he thinks books are part of the solution.

In a visit to Anacostia Library in Southeast Washington, D.C. Thursday, Mr. Obama announced a plan to give low-income children access to 10,000 e-books, part of a larger strategy to lift inner city communities by improving educational opportunities for kids.

There are hundreds of thousands of free e-books already available, including most of the classics, through assorted apps. Your average poor oppressed inner city dweller already has a smartphone, if not an iPad (and plenty of them do).

Cheap e-book readers go for around thirty to forty bucks. There’s nothing stopping them from having access to e-books.

The announcement comes just two days after Obama said the country has to do “some soul searching” following the deaths of a number of black men in police custody and the racial unrest that has followed, most recently in Baltimore.

By soul-searching, he meant we have to give them free stuff.

Finally, the White House is working with technology companies to get devices in the hands of low-income students. Apple has pledged $100 million in devices to low-income schools, and others may follow suit.

LA already tried this. It went about as badly as anything [3] could go.

Fallout over the Los Angeles school district’s $1.3-billion plan to provide iPads to every student intensified Tuesday with the revelation that the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation into the failed effort.

FBI agents seized 20 boxes of records related to the iPad program Monday, and court documents reviewed by The Times show a federal grand jury is examining the matter.

The subpoena demanded that the district produce a wide array of documents related to deals with Apple, maker of the iPad, and curriculuum provider Pearson, the companies that won a lucrative, multiyear contract.

But the iPad rollout quickly foundered, amid claims of inadequate training and security breaches by high school students who deleted security filters so they could freely browse the Internet.

It failed miserably in LA. Let’s do the same stupid thing nationwide. This time it’s bound to work/bring in the FBI.

Jeff Zients, Obama’s top economic adviser, told reporters that there are 13 books per child in middle-income neighborhoods but only one book for every 300 children in poor neighborhoods.

I’ve seen this statistic touted before and I don’t buy it. There have been sizable public libraries in every inner city neighborhood I’ve been in.

Many libraries have cut back on books in favor of computers, but giving them more money will just mean less books and more computers.

Chasing down the source of this claim leads back to books for sale in Philly [4] specifically, rather than poor neighborhoods in general.

 A study (pdf) of low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia, for example, found a ratio of one book for sale for every 300 children.

One book for sale. That means a shortage of bookstores, not libraries.

There’s a shortage of bookstores these days in general, blame Amazon and e-books, and inner city neighborhoods don’t have many because residents don’t tend to shop at them regularly enough. They do some reading, mainly spiritual books and some fiction, often put out by low level urban presses, sometimes people who print their own books and sell them, but their kids don’t tend to read. That’s a choice they make.

Zients is dishonestly pushing a bookstore statistic without clarifying that. Par for the course for Obama Inc.

And according to the announcement, the New York Public Library is playing a key role in the White House’s plan. It is developing an app to connect low-income kids with books.

The New York Public Library is great at apps. It’s terrible at actually stocking books.


 Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century. He blogs at Sultan Knish. Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here [15].

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