Did you happen to read Jen Hatmaker’s hilarous viral blog post, “Worst End of School Year Mom Ever?” Hatmaker wrote:
“We are limping, limping across the finish line, folks. I tapped out somewhere in April and at this point, it is a miracle my kids are still even going to school. I haven’t checked homework folders in three weeks, because, well, I just can’t. Cannot. Can. Not. I can’t look at the homework in the folder. Is there homework in the folder? I don’t even know. Are other moms still looking in the homework folder? I don’t even care.”
She went on to list part of her to-do list for the end of the school year:
“The emails coming in for All Of The Things – class gift, end of year letters, luncheon signup, party supplies, awards ceremonies, pictures for the slide shows, final projects – are like a tsunami of doom. They are endless. I mean, they will never ever end. There is no end of it. I will never finish and turn it all in and get it to the (correct) Room Mom and get it all emailed and I am pretty sure the final week of school will never be over and this is the end for me.”
Oh my word! If you’ve ever wondered if you have what it takes to homeschool, reading Hatmaker’s blog post ought to at least convince you that sending your kids to school is no walk in the park, either. Or maybe you are on that hamster wheel and as you look toward another exhausting school year next fall, you wonder if your family will survive.
Looking back on our years of homeschooling, fourteen consecutive years in all, the most common thing I heard from people who found out we were homeschooling was, “I could never do that, I’m not _______ enough.” The blank was usually something like consistent or disciplined or patient. I understand completely because before we began our homeschooling journey, I was the mom who made comments like that to other parents.
There is still time to head over to Amazon to place an order in time for Father’s Day delivery! I’ve linked the images below to help you out.
by John McPhee
“The Swiss Army has served as a model for less languid nations. The Israeli Army is a copy of the Swiss Army. … They are a civilian army, a trained and practiced militia, ever ready to mobilize. They serve for thirty years. All six hundred and fifty thousand are prepared to be present at mobilization points and battle stations in considerably less than forty-eight hours.”
This book, written at the end of the Cold War, gives a compelling view of the Swiss military system. The pastoral views in the Alps don’t reveal that beneath those mountains are bunkers stocked with munitions caches and that the winding roads all have bridges that can be blown to pieces at a moment’s notice to thwart an attack.
The book might provoke some intriguing thoughts and conversations about forced conscription, responsibility as citizens, what some like to call “military adventurism,” and the implications of heavily armed neutrality.
“I think there’s another revolution coming. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like but I think it’s going to be very interesting and it’s going to unfold over the next ten years. And I think it needs to be a spiritual revolution because I think that our systems are broken. I don’t think our political system will ever work. No matter how great a man, if you cloned JFK and Abraham Lincoln and made them president it wouldn’t matter. Our system is just too corrupt and too broken.” Rainn Wilson
Wilson goes on to say that he expects to see wild pendulum swings between Left and Right in the coming years. The only answer he sees is a spiritual revolution among the young — “like they did in the ’60s.”
Because the ’60s brand of teen revolution that jettisoned God and authority and traditional values worked out so well the first time around? By all means, let’s try that again! Oy.
Wilson concludes: “It’s gonna have to go to that or we’re all going to destroy each other.”
Are those our only two options?
Wilson is right that our systems are broken — or at least many of them are. Every day it seems we discover a new reason to be concerned about the government infringing on our liberties or we see a sign that our society is in a state of moral decay. Who ever imagined an America where a government agency would demand to know the contents of a group’s prayers? President Obama recently told grads at The Ohio State University to beware of the voices doing their best to “gum up the works.” The sad reality is that “the works” have been gummed up for decades and, despite the best efforts of a generation of good Americans, the gears refuse to budge. Many are frustrated with both parties and are beginning to understand, perhaps for the first time, that our nation’s problems are too immense to be solved with political — or even human — solutions alone.
“Arming teachers” with guns is a subject often fraught with emotion and one that can divide communities into different “camps” — usually into the stereotypical left vs. right, NRA vs. gun-control arguments. But the issue is much more complex and nuanced and even those usually on the same side of the gun control debate disagree about whether teachers should carry guns in classrooms.
Ohio is no exception as the state grapples with school safety a year after T.J. Lane killed three classmates and paralyzed another in a shooting at Chardon High School.
“Twenty-two seconds from the time he shot the first shot until he left the school building. Twenty-two seconds.”
That’s how Superintendent Joseph Bergant described the shooting at Chardon High School. He spoke at an Ohio State Board of Education (SBE) meeting earlier this month and said that Lane fired the first shot through his backpack and killed the student next to him.
“How do you guarantee the safety of 3000 students in a school building?,” Bergant asked. “You can’t.”
The Chardon district had a comprehensive plan for what to do in the event of an active shooter. They practiced so that students, parents, and teachers knew exactly how to respond. That training included role playing — even discharging a firearm in the building — practice reunification with parents, and parents receiving text messages to make sure the notification system was operational.
Bergant said, “Teachers had more anxiety when we did the crisis drill than on the day of the shooting.”
Despite all the preparations, the shooting only ended as quickly as it did because of the heroic actions of teacher and football coach Frank Hall who risked his own life by charging Lane — while dodging bullets — and chasing him out of the building.
Metal detectors. Uniformed police officers (euphemistically called “school resource officers”), buzzer systems at the school entry, armed teachers, brave and burly football coaches, duck and cover drills. No single solution or combination of protective measures will guarantee the safety of children when there is an evil murderer bent on snuffing out human lives. Arming teachers is not “the” answer to preventing — or stopping — active shooters.
But are they one solution that could help to make kids safer? Are there legitimate safety concerns about arming teachers? And who should decide if teachers should be armed with guns in schools?
Happy Memorial Day! Have you heard the greeting on TV or seen it on Facebook this weekend? It always bothers me when I see it because the word “memorial’ generally connotes something other than “happy” — or at least it ought to. I understand that most people who proffer the greeting do so perfectly innocently, wishing upon their friends a pleasant holiday weekend spent barbecuing or shopping for mattresses. But whenever I hear the flippant greeting, my mind goes back to the trip our family made to our local national cemetery last year on Memorial Day. We went there to visit the grave of my husband’s grandfather, Ivan Kerr, a WWII veteran who had marched across Europe during the Battle of the Bulge, and also to pay tribute to those who had paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
It was a gorgeous Ohio day with a cloudless blue sky and row upon row of grave markers decorated with small American flags, courtesy of the local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. We arrived several hours after the official Memorial Day ceremony, after the crowds had dispersed. People were wandering around the cemetery, some looking like they had a purpose and others, like our family, reading the headstones and thinking about the individual lives and families and stories they represented. In the distance we heard a lone bugler playing “Taps.” There were no funerals or ceremonies going on, so we were left to wonder whether he played to honor a fallen friend or if he just played as a simple act of patriotism to pay tribute to all the fallen heroes, unknown to him, who lay beneath the tiny flags and white marble markers.
Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan
Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shore, China’s under martial law
Rock and Roll, cola wars, I can’t take it anymore
Billy Joel – “We Didn’t Start the Fire“
Benghazi, Boston bombings, the Gosnell trial, the Cleveland kidnappings, the IRS targeting conservatives, DOJ snooping on the AP, war games with Iran and North Korea, civil war in Syria…
Last week my ability to mentally process world events felt like a cell phone when the data is throttled — it was almost too much to wrap my mind around. Some days I fantasize about life as a low-information voter, not caring about anything more important than what some Kardashian is up to. Barring sudden brain malfunction, I’m not likely to experience that kind of apathy any time soon, and the fact that you’re reading PJ Media tells me that you’re likely in the same boat.
Instead of spending the weekend wallowing in all the terrible things happening in the country and around the world, I decided to instead consider many of the positive signs around us that all is not yet lost.
And so I bring you:
5 Signs That We Haven’t Lost America Yet:
When news of a horrific crime like the Cleveland kidnappings and subsequent escape and rescue breaks, what follows is a media circus and 24-hour news cycle. It’s not unusual to hear reporters, in their quest to fill space and time, making vapid comments and asking extraordinarily dumb questions. We can always count on Piers “That’s Appalling” Morgan to add to the collective tomfoolery. On Friday night he asked a “man on the street” in Cleveland (in his most earnest, probing voice), “Is there a sense of collective guilt?”
Morgan was referring to all the people who certainly overlooked clues that something was terribly wrong at the house on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland. How could a man keep three young women imprisoned in his home for ten years without anyone noticing? Shouldn’t the neighbors have known that something ghastly was going on there and then done something about it? Shouldn’t service workers like meter readers and mail carriers have noticed signs that this wasn’t a normal home with one resident? And perhaps most disturbing, shouldn’t police have investigated alleged calls by neighbors who reported odd things they saw at the residence?
Somebody should have done something, right?
Once I made the decision to exercise my 2nd Amendment right to self-defense rather than to be a helpless victim, I began to research my options for home protection. I contacted friends who are qualified to dispense advice on the topic and I sent them emails with my requirements. I said I wanted a gun for home use (not for concealed carry at this point), one that is easy to load and shoot (and wouldn’t require me to be an expert marksman), and one for which ammo is readily available. They responded with helpful suggestions and all had a 12-gauge shotgun at the top of their lists. One said a 12-gauge pump shotgun is “ tried and true, easy to use, and ammo is plentiful.” Another said, “For home protection get a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. A Mossberg 500 and a Remington 870 are essentially the same weapon. 12-gauge 00 buckshot is still fairly cheap and plentiful. Anything you shoot at will be vaporized at close range.”
That sounded good, though the thought of “vaporized at close range” in my home was unnerving. Let’s not forget that until a few weeks ago my weapon of choice was a bug vacuum (don’t judge me, this is a process).
My friend and neighbor, Doug Deeken, who is on the board of Ohioans for Concealed Carry, sent me a detailed email with a list of handgun and long gun options. He also thought a shotgun might be a good choice for home use, but offered some cautions,
Long guns are easier overall, and a bit safer for the user, but aren’t quite as easy to use in a hallway with that long barrel sticking out there. Personally, I have a pump-action Mossberg 500 12-gauge for my home-defense gun. Unless you are familiar with the recoil of a 12-gauge, you’d be well advised to look for either a 20-gauge or .410 gauge pump-action shotgun. Either a Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 will work fine. Get a “Youth” or “Bantam” model, because it’ll have a shorter stock that is easier for you to hold correctly.
When three out of three friends had shotguns at the top of their recommendation lists, I latched onto that idea and told my husband and son that I was leaning toward a shotgun. Ryan, my 21-year-old son, has many years of experience with a variety of guns (what happened at camp, stayed at camp — I didn’t want to know the scary details all those years). When I told him (via Facebook chat) about my plans to get a shotgun, he didn’t agree. Actually, “scoffed” might be a better word, but he tried to be gentle:
Last week I wrote about my “evolution” on guns during the Boston manhunt:
In the middle of that night listening to the Boston police scanner, I evolved. I realized right then that if I were holed up in my house while a cold-blooded terrorist roamed my neighborhood, I wouldn’t want to be a sitting duck with only a deadbolt lock between me and an armed intruder. There are not enough police and they cannot come to my rescue quickly enough. They carry guns to protect themselves, not me. I knew at that instant if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev showed up at my door while I was “sheltered-in-place” and aimed a gun at my head and only one of us would live, I could pull the trigger.
Once I made the decision that I would not be a victim, I began to research my options for home protection. I plan to share the experience of choosing my first gun in a future post but first I’d like to deal with some of the moral implications of the decision to purchase, own — and potentially use — a gun.
I wrote about one of the reasons I refrained from owning a gun for many years:
The other thing holding me back was my belief that if you’re going to own a gun, you must be willing to shoot to kill…I searched my heart and realized that in the heat of the moment of an attack, I wasn’t sure what I would do with a gun in my hand. I knew that could be more dangerous than being unarmed; it wasn’t worth the risk.
A gun is an inanimate object and as such is morally neutral. Lying on a table, tucked under a mattress, or locked in a gun safe it cannot kill, inflict harm, or protect its owner. However, the fact that a gun is in one’s home creates the potential for both danger and protection depending on many variables, including the training, skill, and temperament of the residents of the home and the mental capacity and willingness of the gun owners to use the weapon, whether in self-defense or to inflict intentional harm.
While I understand that many who grew up around guns accept them as a normal part of life, for me, it’s a decision that requires serious introspection and moral evaluation. Though I passionately support the Second Amendment, I confess that I had never taken the time to earnestly contemplate its practical applications. Perhaps this is because I’ve mostly lived in safe, virtually crime-free neighborhoods and have never experienced violent crime. Whatever the reason, it’s not an excuse to jump into gun ownership without first embarking on this intellectual exercise.
In the wee hours of Friday morning, April 19th, I evolved on guns.
First, a confession: I’ve never owned a gun. I never wanted one in my home and, like a lot of moms, I wanted to raise non-violent children and thought keeping guns out of our home was one way to do that. When my kids were young, I didn’t want them to play with toy guns — in fact, I was rather insistent about it. Eventually, I realized that little boys will make guns out of just about anything — bananas, sticks, the dog’s paw, their fingers — nothing is safe from their imaginative minds. So I compromised and allowed squirt guns and non-gun-looking Nerf guns, but nothing that resembled a “real” gun.
My sensible (ex-military) husband indulged me in this when they were toddlers, but as they grew, he convinced me that our boys needed to learn firearms safety. He took them to firing ranges where they learned to fire weapons and even to enjoy them. Our 21 year old couldn’t wait to get his concealed-carry permit the minute he reached the legal age. I’m thankful now for my husband’s insistence that our children not be raised to fear guns.
But I never wanted a gun in my home.
It probably goes back to my childhood. My dad always kept a shotgun in the bedroom closet, along with the ammo on the top shelf. He used it for his twice-a-year hunting trip with my mom’s brothers. As a bleeding-heart animal lover from a young age, it always pained me to see skinned bunnies and squirrels on the kitchen counter. So I have some “issues” — when I saw the gun in my dad’s closet my mind went to dead bunnies. And somewhere along the way (I don’t remember a specific conversation, but he had a way of doing this), my dad put the fear of God in me about touching that shotgun. The year my brother and I peeked at our Christmas gifts hidden behind the shotgun, I was terrified the thing would go off. I never, ever touched it. Not even once.
I realize it’s a completely irrational fear and in some ways I’ve always felt it was a betrayal of my strong support for the 2nd Amendment. Last year I dipped my toe in the water and experienced shooting for the first time. I enjoyed a trip to the Hillsdale College shooting range during Parents Weekend and it turns out I’m not a bad shot. Friends never understood why I didn’t own a gun and some urged me to purchase one for my protection. But still I hesitated because of my discomfort at having one in my home.
I recently wrote about an event called Occupy the DOE, where many of the speakers espoused radical views on education and society. While I disagreed with the extreme left-wing views of many of the speakers, I didn’t disagree with everything said during the 4-day event. In fact, several times I had to remind myself that I wasn’t listening to a Tea Party event or homeschool conference as speaker after speaker railed against high-stakes testing and the Common Core.
Parents and activists from across the political spectrum object to excessive testing and the implementation of Common Core in their states; there is much common ground to be found. But it’s important to dig beneath the surface and consider exactly what you’re signing up for when you join a movement to eliminate high-stakes testing or block the Common Core. Some groups have more than just the best interest of your child as their top priority and you may inadvertently be drafted into the public school monopoly-protection movement.
A group called “United Opt Out” organized the Occupy the DOE event in front of the Department of Education in April. Their mission statement claims that they are “dedicated to the elimination of high stakes testing in public education,” saying that high stakes testing is
destructive to ALL children, educators, communities, the quality of instruction in classrooms, equity in schooling, and the democratic principles which underlie the purposes of public education.
There is a lot to unpack in that statement, but hyperbole aside, many parents whose children attend public school do have legitimate complaints about high-stakes testing and its negative influence on education. In fact, the testing culture is sometimes cited as a reason parents remove their children from public schools for homeschooling or private schools. As states march forward with the implementation of the Common Core standards, teachers, parents and even many unions fear that schools will double-down on the worst aspects of the testing culture and lose even more local control, so in many aspects, parents and activists on both side of the political spectrum can find areas of agreement.
Timothy Slekar, a former teacher, is now an associate professor of teacher education at Penn State Altoona. At the Occupy the DOE rally he described a parent-teacher conference where he and his wife were told that their son had failed a writing test because of a technicality. They felt that the formulaic requirements of the writing test were stifling their son’s creativity and they decided then to opt out of all future high-stakes testing for their son. “This disastrous system was forcing his teachers to comply with the powers that be.” He said,
The [tests] were forcing Luke to parrot sentences in a pre-ordained structure so that a low-paid temp worker would be able to score it. … Our son was not going to take part in a system that forced the teachers to comply with educational mandates constructed by politicians. … We were opting out.
Did you happen to catch “Occupy the D.O.E. 2.0” at the Department of Education over the weekend? If you missed it, you’re not alone. It didn’t receive quite the attention some of the other Occupy events have received and it was only an “Occupy” event if by “Occupy” you mean people congregating in soccer-mom chairs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (with an hour break for lunch) and evening entertainment at Busboys & Poets at 5th and K Street. And hotels at night.
The Thursday-Sunday event was sponsored by United Opt Out, a group whose main mission is to convince teachers and families to opt out of high-stakes testing and to “resist all market-based reforms that seek to privatize and destroy public education.” The lineup of speakers included a collection of academic elites, union leaders, community organizers, teachers, and students. They only managed to attract a few dozen activists, which is why you probably didn’t see much about it on the news. But it’s important to hear what they had to say because these leaders in the education movement will have an important voice in shaping the schools many of our children and grandchildren will attend in the future.
While the speakers who were associated with United Opt Out were on-message, documenting their complaints about standardized testing and the corporate interests pushing the Common Core, other speakers attempted to work this message into their standard stump speeches and this is where it seemed to merge with your typical Occupy rally: There were dozens of different complaints and few (if any) solutions proposed.
As you might expect at a faculty lounge Occupation, there was plenty of radical rhetoric and Utopian vision-casting. (Most of the livestreamed videos are archived here, and you can read the speaker bios here.)
Shaun Johnson is a former public school teacher and online radio show host at the Chalk Face. He thinks teachers are too “meek” and need to get angry:
It’s finally about time that we start getting pissed off and angry…Nothing’s going to change unless people start cracking some skulls. I’m sorry, so, if you don’t get angry and go out there and start speaking out and not be so afraid, then nothing’s going to change. Because there’s a lot of money out there working against us. And we don’t have that kind of money. We don’t have that kind of political power. So we’ve gotta do something. Throw our bodies on the machine. But something’s gotta change. Something’s gotta give. And like I said, we’ve gotta start cracking some skulls.
It might be a good time to point out that they actually do have “that kind of money.” The NEA was the top contributor to state and federal races in 2008, with $45 million, more than 90% going to Democrats. And that doesn’t include tens of millions the teachers’ unions spend on political activity that is reported to the Department of Labor and doesn’t show up on campaign finance reports.
Johnson also led the crowd in a profanity-laced guessing game about the names of charter schools. He implied that kids using at-home charter schools are spending their days engaged in cybersex. “What are you doing with your hands?”
Should parents take over failing schools? Currently, seven states have “parent-trigger” laws, which empower parents to take control of the fate of low-performing schools their children attend. Depending on the state, parents can vote for various options when schools are failing their children: They can vote to convert to a charter school, replace teachers and administrators, have the state take over the school, or even close the school altogether.
Last year’s movie Won’t Back Down, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, told the story of a group of parents who took over their children’s failing school. “Inspired by true events,” it illustrated with heartbreaking clarity the frustrations parents—and often teachers— feel when children become lost in bureaucracies and schools where it seems rigor mortis has set in. Not surprisingly, the movie was panned by unions and other anti-school choice activists.
In California, the only place parents have actually pulled the trigger on a “Parent Empowerment” law, it has been tried twice. The first attempt was the Compton Unified School District, where fewer than half of students graduate from high school and just 2% attend college. Under the California law, parents can use the trigger law if a district has failed to meet adequate yearly progress three years in a row and is in “corrective action” status under the federal No Child Left Behind law. It seems like a no-brainer that a major overhaul was in order, but it will surprise no one that when Compton parents organized to call for change, the unions and administration objected. Strenuously. They promised that reforms were right around the corner and that they just needed a little more time for their programs to work. It’s understandable that parents grew tired of waiting for promised reforms that might never come while their children languished in lousy schools.
In order for parents to take control of a school, they must file a petition with signatures from 50% of the parents of each targeted school. Parents chose to try out the California law on McKinley Elementary School, ranked in the bottom 10% of schools in the state. They turned in signatures from 62% of parents in the district and that’s when the claws came out. The school district demanded that parents verify their signatures in person and—I am not making this up—that parents show photo identification. Some parents claimed the schools threatened them with deportation, and others said teachers told children the school would be closed or the kids wouldn’t receive special education services if the parents succeeded. Some parents rescinded their signatures. Board members claimed “outside groups” pressured the parents to sign the petition. Leaders of the trigger movement dispute that claim, as does the state school board president. The board also said the petition was “materially non-qualifying” and rejected it on a technicality with a 7-0 vote, saying it cited the wrong education code and didn’t contain correct information about the charter school operator they had selected. Despite pro bono legal help, parents failed in their bid to reform the school.
Something vile and horrific happened in a courtroom in Ohio last week, and as I’ve reflected upon the event, I’ve been disturbed by the thought that we have become a nation of compliant sheep that no longer produces citizens capable of standing up to injustice.
At a sentencing hearing for school shooter T.J. Lane, who gunned down six high school students, killing three and paralyzing one from the chest down, Judge David Fuhry gave Lane three life sentences in prison, to be served consecutively.
In what should have been a day of closure and justice for the families of the victims and the community of Chardon that suffered so much in the wake of the school shooting last year, a courtroom full of people stood by and allowed T.J. Lane to victimize the families in a base, contemptible way that likely added exponentially to the heavy burden the families already bear.
The courtroom for Lane’s sentencing hearing on Tuesday was packed with families of the victims, students, teachers, and members of the media. As the hearing began, Lane slipped off the button-down shirt he was wearing, revealing a t-shirt onto which he had written “KILLER” with a marker. A collective gasp filled the courtroom. As the families of the victims gave their statements, Lane smiled and leered at the families, almost seeming to enjoy the moment.
After the sentence was read, Lane had the opportunity to make a statement. At that point, he said something so horrific that I’m not even going to write it here, simply to spare you if you haven’t already heard it. (You can read it and watch the video here.) Trust me, you will have to bleach your soul once you hear it. It should be added to The Book of Things That Shall Never Be Repeated. Then Lane flipped the families the middle finger as a parting shot and said, “F*** all of you!” As a mother, I had a visceral — almost physical — reaction. I almost vomited, thinking about the pain his contemptible words caused the families and how they’ll never be able to scrub them from their minds.
People called talk-radio programs that day to vent their anger. Along with vicious prison-retribution wishes, caller after caller said they would have been arrested had they been in the courtroom. They wouldn’t have stood by while Lane visually and verbally tortured the parents.
WTAM host Bob Frantz said: “I would have been shot dead today. I would have leapt tables to get to that kid.”
Everyone stood by and let it happen.
“Action is for mass salvation. He who sacrifices the mass good for his personal conscience has a peculiar conception of ‘personal salvation’; he doesn’t care enough for people to be ‘corrupted’ for them.” — Saul Alinsky
“The hell with charity. The only thing you’ll get is what you’re strong enough to get.” — Saul Alinsky
Parents rightly admire and appreciate their children’s teachers, but they don’t always understand the radical labor organizations running the plays behind the scenes in negotiations with their local school boards. Unfortunately, beloved teachers sometimes get caught up in the guerrilla tactics championed by Saul Alinsky and other radical community organizers.
Alinsky, considered the founder of the modern community-organizing movement, is in many ways the leader of modern-day teachers’ unions. His 1971 book Rules for Radicals has influenced negotiations between unions and school boards for 40 years, and whether parents realize it or not, their communities have often been at the mercy of his radical organizing methods. Alinsky’s main goal was to strip power from the “haves” and give it to the “have nots” based on his notion of fairness and social justice.
Gaining power is a zero-sum game in Rules for Radicals. Either you have it or you don’t. If you don’t have it all, you must continue to work until you do, using whatever means available to you, while maintaining the illusion of the moral high ground. “You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments,” Alinsky said. More:
It is a world not of angels but of angles, where men speak of moral principles but act on power principles; a world where we are always moral and our enemies always immoral; a world where “reconciliation” means that when one side gets the power and the other side gets reconciled to it, then we have reconciliation.
Until his death in 1972, Alinsky conducted training for NEA UniServ personnel. Ten years later, during a strike in Ravenna, Ohio, that dragged on for five long months (the longest in the state’s history), strike manuals were found titled “Strategy Uniserv Directors” that outlined the Alinsky-style program for negotiations. The same strategies are still in use today.
When the substitute teachers arrived at the Strongsville police station for background checks, striking teachers greeted the “SCABS” with aggressive screaming and taunting. The applicants had to be escorted into the building by police officers.
“Go home, SCAB!”
“Have some integrity!”
“Get an honest job!”
One union member said, “We’re trying to scare them off in hopes that something positive can come out of this.”
Something positive “for the children,” no doubt.
Several white men screamed at a black woman, with one shouting:“Don’t do it, honey; it’s not all about you,” and “Rosa Parks would be ashamed.”
No doubt there is an important history lesson “for the children” in this mob scene.
Strongsville, Ohio, a normally quiet suburb just south of Cleveland, recently became Ground Zero in the public-sector union war. Earlier this month, after months of failed negotiations, teachers voted to strike when the school board submitted their “last best offer” to the Strongsville Education Association (SEA). With the high-stakes Ohio Graduation Test looming the week of March 11th, the 6000-student district hired substitute teachers to fill in during the strike. Not surprisingly, this didn’t go over well with the union teachers, who decided to intimidate and harass anyone who crossed the picket line — “for the children.”
Laura Rowley, a parent with students in the district, described her experience registering to be a substitute teacher:
I can’t put into words how these EDUCATORS behaved in front of the police station. Blocking the entrance, screaming in my face, calling me a b**tch, pounding on the doors of the building, going on and on…every other word was mother f*cker, dumb piece of s**t—I swear I was walking thru [sic] death row. Really it made me sob—I’m embarrassed that these are the people that are teaching my children. We had to have police escorts to leave the building, is this [sic] beyond crazy. Honestly, I am afraid to send my kids to school tomorrow.
She added, “There were subs crying and hyperventilating, thought they were going to call an ambulance.”
One parent who drove by the scene that day told Bob Frantz on WTAM radio, “I heard the most foul language and I thought my car was going to be mobbed.”
Was that really “for the children”?
Planned Parenthood certainly blusters a lot about helping women in need, but the truth is they make an awful lot of money off the grisly business of abortions. Their most recent annual report shows nearly $1 billion in assets and $997 million in revenues distributed to their local affiliates, plus another $177 million in revenues to the national office. By conservative estimates, abortions constitute 37% of Planned Parenthood’s revenues. Fair enough, I suppose, but isn’t it a little disturbing to think they have a business model (and a profit motive) that requires getting women onto the abortion tables with their feet in the stirrups?
With all the vitriol surrounding the abortion debate, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that every day mothers with unplanned pregnancies make life-altering decisions about their unborn babies. While politicians and activists battle over the legislative issues, compassionate counselors at non-profit pregnancy resource centers (and their donors) quietly make a monumental difference in the lives of mothers, fathers, and babies every hour of every day across the United States. They literally save the lives of babies.
It’s no wonder Planned Parenthood warns women to avoid these non-profit pregnancy centers which, let’s be honest, hurt their bottom line.
Here are some things you may not know — 5 Things Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Want You to Know About Pregnancy Resource Centers:
Parenting isn’t easy under any circumstances, and parents seem to be under excessive pressure today to do everything “right.” Books, classes, and websites abound to teach parents how to do what used to be a rather simple proposition. Experts are everywhere; unfortunately, some will undermine your confidence in your ability to parent your own children.
The “Expert Class” has convinced parents that they’re inept and completely incapable of completing the simplest of parenting tasks without consulting them. And it’s not just the credentialed experts. Friends, family members, and people on the street liberally dispense advice and many parents feel so overwhelmed that they lose confidence in their ability to make good decisions for their children, constantly second-guessing themselves. Worse, many parents leave the parenting up to the “experts.”
Dr. Ray Guarendi, clinical psychologist and father of ten, describes the pressures this way:
Few things can ruin the enjoyment of parenthood more surely than a fear of mistakes. Nowadays so many parents live with the daily worry that they will accidentally set in motion some emotional hang-up that will plague their youngster through childhood and maybe into adulthood. One single parent mom told me she was reluctant to discipline her strong willed son because she didn’t want him to grow up with bad feelings towards women.
It’s no surprise that parents are so skittish. They’ve been blamed for everything from Waldo’s bellyache to his dropping out of school. Somehow, some way, the finger gets pointed back at the folks. They must have miscalculated or blundered at some crucial stage along the way. Out of ignorance, inexperience, lack of sophistication or savvy, they’ve done something to create the instability or defect in Sigmund’s mental health.
Let’s begin with a basic premise: They are your children and you know them better and love them more than anyone else on the face of the earth. This doesn’t mean that you’re a perfect parent or that you’ll never make any mistakes, but it means that more than anyone on the earth, you care about the well-being and success of your children and therefore are the best qualified to make decisions on their behalf.
However, in order to be an empowered, confident parent, you must learn to recognize when others, whether they are “experts” or family members, overstep their bounds and when it may be appropriate—and better—to trust your instincts and judgement.
I admit to being fascinated by the Carnival Cruise ship drama (Twitter hashtags—no kidding—#poopboat and #poopship) as we watched the disabled behemoth limp back to Mobile on Thursday with 4000 crew and passengers in a floating soup of raw sewage and onion sandwiches.
As low-information travelers, our family has been on no less than three Carnival cruises, so I know a little about the culture of those ships. It’s an odd mix of senior citizens, families with young children, and the people who purchase the unlimited liquor cards. The seniors play bingo, the children romp around Camp Carnival, and the fun folks with the unlimited liquor cards spend their nights grinding in the disco and their mornings with their heads hanging in the suction-operated toilets. The ship carries a group of people who would never under normal circumstances choose to spend time together crammed onto an opulent miniature city for a week, staged by a crew that works slavishly to serve the needs and the whims of the passengers 24-7.
Suddenly last week, thousands of people who packed their bags for fine dining, magic shows, and romps on the beach found themselves in survival mode. Hollywood couldn’t have written a better reality-show script: grandparents celebrating their 50th anniversary, recent college grads on their honeymoon, a homeschooling family from Waco, football buddies from New Orleans. Who would survive the Sludge Boat?
DRUDGE screamed terrifying headlines about the misery in the Gulf:
FLOATING PETRI DISH LIMPS TO PORT
SLEEPING WITH LIFE VESTS FEARING CAPSIZE
HOARD ON BOARD
PASSENGERS FIGHT OVER FOOD
The stories from the Carnival Triumph early Thursday made it sound like a third world county:
Conditions on board a cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico have deteriorated dramatically, reportedly leaving passengers fighting over food and the vessel caked in urine and raw sewage. Passengers on board the US cruise ship Carnival Triumph, which has been stranded since Sunday after an engine fire, are using mobile phones to convey tales of carpets soaked in urine and passengers sleeping in tents on deck.
Food supplies are said to be running low, with passengers forced to queue for hours for cold onion and cucumber sandwiches, and there are also reports of fights breaking out as groups of “savages” fight over the dwindling supplies.
Speaking to CNN, passenger Ann Barlow said: “It’s disgusting. It’s the worst thing ever”, while her husband Toby told the news channel there is “sewage running down the walls and floors”, with passengers asked to defecate in plastic bags and urinate in showers due to their being only five working toilets between 4,200 people.”
It seemed that every news outlet in the country sent reporters to meet the ill-fated cruise ship in Mobile, no doubt expecting to see horrific scenes of human carnage as medics wheeled feces-caked passengers off the ship. It was clear in the lead-up to the ship’s arrival in Mobile that they fully expected to be greeted by angry, disgruntled passengers looking for lawyers. The media prepared us all day for how bad this would be as they followed the ship into port.
“Hello. This is Bernardine Dohrn. I’m going to read A Declaration of a State of War. This is the first communication from the Weatherman underground. All over the world, people fighting Amerikan imperialism look to Amerika’s youth to use our strategic position behind enemy lines to join forces in the destruction of the empire….Tens of thousands have learned that protest and marches don’t do it. Revolutionary violence is the only way…”
“…We fight in many ways. Dope is one of our weapons. The laws against marijuana mean that millions of us are outlaws long before we actually split. Guns and grass are united in the youth underground. Freaks are revolutionaries and revolutionaries are freaks. If you want to find us, this is where we are. In every tribe, commune, dormitory, farmhouse, barracks and townhouse where kids are making love, smoking dope and loading guns—fugitives from Amerikan justice are free to go…
“…Within the next fourteen days we will attack a symbol or institution of Amerikan injustice. This is the way we celebrate the example of Eldridge Cleaver and H. Rap Brown and all black revolutionaries who first inspired us by their fight behind enemy lines for the liberation of their people.”
“Never again will they fight alone.”
With that announcement, broadcast on radio stations across the country on July 31, 1970, the Weather Underground, which included Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, Mark Rudd, and others, split from Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and declared war on “Amerika.” This group already had a string of bombings, arsons, and other terrorist activities under its belt; two months before the announcement three members of the core group had been killed building a bomb in a Greenwich Village townhouse. An FBI report later stated the group possessed enough explosives to level both sides of the street.
In the two years after the “Declaration of a State of War,” there would be two more high-profile bombings — a New York City police station and the Pentagon.
Manhood is not simply a matter of being male and reaching a certain age. These are acts of nature; manhood is a sustained act of character. It is no easier to become a man than it is to become virtuous. In fact, the two are the same. The root of our old-fashioned word “virtue” is the Latin word virtus, a derivative of vir, or man. To be virtuous is to be “manly.” As Aristotle understood it, virtue is a “golden mean” between the extremes of excess and deficiency. Too often among today’s young males, the extremes seem to predominate. One extreme suffers from an excess of manliness, or from misdirected and unrefined manly energies. The other suffers from a lack of manliness, a total want of manly spirit. Call them barbarians and wimps. So prevalent are these two errant types that the prescription for what ails our young males might be reduced to two simple injunctions: Don’t be a barbarian. Don’t be a wimp. What is left, ceteris paribus, will be a man.
– Terrence O. Moore, Wimps and Barbarians: The Sons of Murphy Brown
As we seem to be rushing headlong into the decision to allow women to serve in combat, a decision with wide-ranging implications, let’s consider a few inconvenient truths.
Men commit violent crimes more than three times as often as women. Ninety-nine percent of rapists are men. Serial killers are almost always men. Mass shooters are almost always men. From early infancy, boys and girls show sex-linked toy preferences.
This is not to suggest that all men are violent psychopaths, but anyone who has ever raised male children knows that they are born with an innate tendency to throw, hit, destroy, and create general mayhem.
When our boys were little we belonged to a playgroup that included girls. Quite honestly, I often found myself shocked at the behavior of my little boys compared to their angelic female playmates. My male tots, who were in no way being raised in a violent home and who watched nothing more violent on TV than Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, had an inborn propensity for violent behavior. If they could lift it they wanted to throw it. If they felt anger their natural reaction was to hit. They saw an open tub of Duplo blocks as an invitation to hoist the tub in the air and scatter the blocks across the room. Usually, their female toddler friends tried to reason with them — babbling incoherently, no doubt scolding them for their barbaric behavior. When that didn’t work, they just stared at them as if they were space aliens (the toddler version of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus).
Psychologist James Dobson wrote about this natural propensity in Bringing up Boys:
[O]ne of the scariest aspects of raising boys is their tendency to risk life and limb for no good reason. It begins very early. If a toddler can climb on it, he will jump off it. He careens out of control toward tables, tubs, pools, steps, trees, and streets. He will eat anything but food and loves to play in the toilet. He makes “guns” out of cucumbers or toothbrushes and likes digging around in drawers, pill bottles, and Mom’s purse. And just hope he doesn’t get his grubby little hands on a tube of lipstick. A boy harasses grumpy dogs and picks up kitties by their ears. His mom has to watch him every minute to keep him from killing himself. He loves to throw rocks, play with fire, and shatter glass. He also gets great pleasure out of irritating his brothers and sisters, his mother, his teachers, and other children. As he gets older, he is drawn to everything dangerous—skateboards, rock climbing, hang gliding, motorcycles, and mountain bikes. At about sixteen, he and his buddies begin driving around town like kamikaze pilots on sake. It’s a wonder any of them survive. Not every boy is like this, of course, but the majority of them are.
Are you excited about the big game on Sunday? Some team is playing some other team in the Super Bowl and once again, my Cleveland Browns won’t be competing in the final contest of the season. And we Browns fans are really, really sorry that the rabid, annoying Steelers fans here in northeast Ohio also suffered the agony of defeat again this year, as “Big Ben” Roethlisberger failed to lead his team to the championship game. Really, we’re sorry.
But no worries. At our house, after choosing a team to root against (using a complicated formula involving Art Modell, the Baltimore Ravens, Bill Belichick, Bernie Kosar and LeBron James), we focus on planning the party.
We don’t get especially fussy about our Super Bowl party; we enjoy a casual time with friends and family. Everyone brings a dish to share and kids are welcomed, as we look forward to the commercials and wonder if the halftime act will remain fully clothed. The hardcore football enthusiasts head down to the man cave to shoot pool and shout at the TV while the more social guests hang out upstairs, occasionally interrupting their conversations to watch the commercials.
The only rule for our Super Bowl party: There must be chili.
If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser for your own Super Bowl party this Sunday, you might want to try my favorite recipe. It’s won a church chili cook-off or two and there’s rarely any left in the 18-quart pot after the party.
I must warn you that this chili packs some serious heat. If you don’t like spicy foods, you’ll want to make some adjustments.
Planned Parenthood recently decided to jettison the “pro-choice” label. “It’s a complicated topic and one in which labels don’t reflect the complexity,” said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards at a press briefing earlier this month. Rather than replacing “pro-choice” with a new and improved slogan, Richards said the organization’s polling indicates a need for a more “nuanced” message rather than definitive labels. Planned Parenthood found that many of those polled rejected both the pro-choice and pro-life labels, saying their views change depending upon the situation, so the group says their new messaging reflects the shift.
In a video released with the announcement, a cartoonish Julia-type character tells us: “Most things in life aren’t simple and that includes abortion. It’s personal. It can be complicated. And for many people, it’s not a black and white issue.” (Technically, for the baby, it is a very black and white issue as far as his survival is concerned.)
After a lengthy lecture about politicians — specifically male politicians — having no business making laws about abortions, we learn that,
The next time you talk about abortion don’t let the labels box you in. Have a different conversation. A conversation that doesn’t divide but is based on mutual respect and empathy.
The video then directs viewers to Planned Parenthood Action, the political arm of Planned Parenthood. At the site we find charts with surveys purporting to demonstrate the no-label narrative and stating that most people believe abortion should be legal. In the tiny print at the bottom you can see that the polling comes from an online survey.
If President Obama’s goal with the inaugural prayers was to marginalize and offend devout, conservative Christians and orthodox Jews, it would be fair to say: mission accomplished.
The choice of Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, departed from historical protocol. She was the first female and first non-clergy member to lead an inaugural prayer. She did so in the wake of Pastor Louie Giglio’s unceremonious removal from the dais after the discovery he had preached a sermon 20 years ago expositing the Bible’s position on homosexuality. While it’s understandable that Evers-Williams would feel the need to temper her prayers, lest the current administration banish her from future public speaking engagements, her words represent a stunning departure from historical inaugural prayers and from anything resembling a Christian, Jewish, or even a generic Judeo-Christian prayer.
Evers-Williams, when asked to describe her religious affiliation by Religion News Service, said,
I have been Baptist, I have been Methodist, I have been Presbyterian. I have attended all of those churches depending on where I have lived in my life.
The answer seems rather dodgy, but nothing out of the ordinary, so when her “prayer” began as something of an announcement, we waited for the “prayer” part to begin:
America, we are here, our nation’s Capitol on this January the 21st 2013, the inauguration of our 45th [editor’s note, should be 44th] president Barack Obama.
And we waited some more…
We come at this time to ask blessings upon our leaders, the president, vice president, members of Congress, all elected and appointed officials of the United States of America. We are here to ask blessings upon our armed forces, blessings upon all who contribute to the essence of the American spirit, the American dream. The opportunity to become whatever our mankind, womankind, allows us to be. This is the promise of America.
Was this a prayer or a speech? If it was a prayer, note that Mrs. Evers-Williams addressed it simply to “America,” imploring “America” to bestow blessings upon our leaders and our country.