» Paula Bolyard

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Paula Bolyard

Paula is an associate editor at PJ Media. She is co-author of the eBook, 'Homeschooling: Fighting for my Children's Future' and she also writes for Ohio Conservative Review,. Married to Gary for 26 years, she is the mother of two grown sons and lives in northeast Ohio, where she dabbles in politics as a member of the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee. She describes herself as a Christian first, conservative second, and Republican third.
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Am I the Only One Who Thinks Smacking Your Kid Upside the Head Is Bad Parenting?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
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In a video that went viral this week, we saw Baltimore mom Toya Graham smacking her 16-year-old son upside the head when she caught him participating in the mayhem and rioting. She’s been almost universally hailed as a paragon of great parenting — even Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts praised Graham, saying: “I wish I had more parents who took charge of their kids tonight. Take control of your kids.” There’s a Twitter hashtag calling her #MomOfTheYear.

In the video we see the single mother of six grabbing her teenage son by the neck and smacking him several times in the head. He escapes her grasp momentarily, but she comes right back at him, collars him again and hits him. He shakes her loose and tries to walk away, but Toya follows him, screaming, “Get the f*** over here! Did you hear what I said?”

Folks, this is not #MomOfTheYear material.

I’m a huge fan of disciplining your kids — and even an advocate of spanking younger children if it’s not done in anger. In fact, the Bible teaches that if you don’t discipline your kids, you don’t really love them. The biblical concept of the word involves teaching and instruction, and while it certainly can involve punishment or chastisement, it should always be expressed in a calm, loving manner. One of the goals of discipline is to model for the child — or young adult — how to appropriately express feelings like anger, disappointment, or frustration. Screaming and wildly flailing your hands at your child’s head accomplishes none of these goals. Rather than teaching self-control and discipline, it teaches reactionary and impulsive behavior which will not serve children well later in life.

Don’t get me wrong. Children need discipline — and my children will attest to the fact that we were no slackers in this area. And they’ll also tell you that there were times that we failed miserably. I’m ashamed to say that there were times I totally lost it and looked way too much like Baltimore Mom. Good gravy, I’m thankful there were no cameras on me at the time! I’m ashamed of those moments and I’d be horrified if someone called me “Mom of the Year” for the times I lost my cool. Those were my worst parenting moments, the times I failed my kids and had to apologize to them and ask their forgiveness — certainly not anything I’m proud of.

When children are consistently disciplined in a compassionate, controlled manner and given consistent boundaries and appropriate consequences, those qualities spill over into their lives and as adults, they’ll find they’ve been given the tools to be self-disciplined, self-controlled, and compassionate to their own children and others around them. Moreover, they’ll get a glimpse of  God’s compassion for us:

My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5-11)

I realize that families are under siege in cities like Baltimore and there are few things harder than being a single mother raising a teenage boy in the inner city. Good parenting doesn’t come naturally and parents who didn’t have good role models growing up have few tools at their disposal. I suspect Toya Graham is doing the best she can in a really tough situation and she was probably terrified to see her son out in the street, knowing all too well what might happen to him. Her reaction is perfectly understandable. I’m not passing judgment on her — I haven’t walked in her shoes and I don’t know anything about her life save for a minute-long YouTube video. I’m just saying we shouldn’t be celebrating a parent losing her cool with her kid and the incident most certainly shouldn’t be propped up as the model of great parenting.

More from Michael Walsh:

Smacking Your Kids Around in Public Does Not Make You a Hero


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Turns Out You Can Survive On a Diet of Girl Scout Cookies and Cheese Puffs

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Colorado Daily Life

From the Associated Press:

Two sisters from Oklahoma and Nebraska said Saturday that they survived in a remote part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on love for their family, melted snow and the little food they had in their snow-crippled SUV.

A day after being spotted by a police helicopter in Luce County, Leslie Roy, 52, and Lee Marie Wright, 56, offered thanks to their rescuers and others involved in the nearly two-week search after they disappeared earlier this month…

…State police Detective Sgt. Jeff Marker told The Associated Press that Roy and Wright wore layers of clothing to stay warm, melted snow to drink and ate Girl Scout cookies and a bag of cheese puffs.

And the important part, “The sisters were examined Friday at an area hospital and released.”

Since they’re in season now, this might be a good time to add some Girl Scout cookies to your bug-out bag. After all, we now practically have scientific proof that they’re a bonafide ‘survival food.’ Throw in a few cheese puffs while you’re at it, just in case.

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Should Unibras Be Banned at NBA Games?

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard


Here’s something all Americans — regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, or political orientation —  should be able to agree on. This must not be allowed to become a trend at NBA games!

This guy was spotted at the New Orleans Pelicans-Golden State Warriors game Thursday night in all his glory in a sea full of red Pelicans t-shirts that were handed out to fans at the gate.

The ‘unibra’ (as it’s being called) is a nod to Pelicans player Anthony Davis, who trademarked phrases tied to his ‘famous’ unibrow when he was drafted in 2012.

If the NBA can ban smoking and guns in their venues, surely they can – they must — ban this public display of painted chest hair, right? For the children!


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An Arizona Family Was Shocked to Find This Note Stuffed in Their Mailbox

Saturday, April 18th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard



(HT: reddit)

The pint-sized subject of this note is clearly headed for a life of crime. The neighbor charged that the small child was:

  • Running free in his backyard
  • Laughing
  • Giggling
  • Carrying on without end

My advice to this neighbor: Get out and get some fresh air — maybe even engage in a little “carrying on” yourself. I bet your dogs will thank you for it!

How would you respond to the busybody neighbor?

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The Common Core Resistance Now Has a Song!

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

A bunch of moms in a garage band in Massachusetts have recorded a new version of the Beatles song “Revolution” to give voice to their opposition to Common Core. Dressed in jeans, anti-Common Core t-shirts, and tri-cornered hats, The Revolution Band sings that “politicians fear no retribution” and that “control and money’s is what it’s about.” They belt out, “Well, we have to tell the Feds, it’s not alright…” The third verse gets to the heart of the problem:

You’d have to change the Constitution
Well you know, you just spit on it instead
Teachers have no say in education
Well you know, schools should be state led

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher used to say, ”First, you win the argument, then you win the vote.”

These moms — and hundreds of thousands of others across the nation — are winning the argument that we need local control of education instead of the top-down, federally influenced behemoth that Common Core has become. They are making this argument in their local communities, in their state capitols, and in every nook and cranny of the internet. And their arguments are translating into votes and political influence — nearly every potential Republican presidential candidate has come out against Common Core (Governors Kasich and Bush being the stubborn holdouts).

Well done, ladies (and you too, drummer dad!). This is how you effectively “do” resistance in 2015.

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You’re Definitely Going to Want to See These Adorable New Baby Gorillas from the Bronx Zoo

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Two baby gorillas made their first public appearance at the Bronx Zoo on Wednesday and they are unbelievably adorable. The furry infants, whose gender is yet to be determined, were born 48 hours apart in January and were introduced to the zoo’s Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit this week.

The Bronx Zoo is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society and participates in a captive breeding program to preserve the genetic diversity of the critically endangered mammals. The zoo’s exhibit features the largest captive group on the continent and includes Ernie, the group’s 31-year-old alpha male, and more than 20 females, which mimics the typical living conditions in the wild.

Ernie is the father of both of the new babies, who were born to different mothers – Layla and Kumi, both 16 years old. Layla and Kumi will carry their babies everywhere until they’re around four months old (which is why the zoo doesn’t yet know their genders) and they will continue to nurse them until they are around 4 years- old.



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This 5th Grade Singapore Math Problem Has Some Experts Stumped. Can You Solve It?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard



This problem from the Singapore Math series was posted on Facebook by Singapore TV personality Kenneth Kong. He wrote, “This question causes a debate with my wife …. and its a P5 question.” The Singapore Math curriculum is used by the country of Singapore with enormous success (their students are usually ranked at or near the top in international rankings). P5 is roughly the equivalent of 5th grade math in the U.S., but this question is actually from the recent Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad, which is given to the top 40% of students in the country.

So, are you smarter than a 5th grade Singapore Math Olympiad student? (You can find the answer here.)

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How Is This Not Kidnapping? ‘Free-Range Children’ Picked Up by Cops Again

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
Photo Credit:  Scott Davidson -  Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Scott Davidson – Wikimedia Commons

From WNEW in Washington:

The Montgomery County parents who let their children walk around their Silver Spring neighborhood alone are being investigated again after authorities found the two kids at a park on Sunday.

Police say officers responded to a call to check on children without an adult at a Silver Spring park Sunday afternoon and took the children to Child Protective Services.

Meanwhile, the children’s mother, Danielle Meitiv, says they began searching for her 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, who were expected home at 6 p.m. She says they didn’t learn where the children were until 8 p.m.

The children were eventually returned to their parents, but not until 10:30 p.m. that night. Their mother wrote this on her Facebook page:

The police coerced our children into the back of a patrol car, telling them they would drive them home. They kept the kids trapped there for three hours, without notifying us, before dropping them at the Crisis Center, and holding them there without dinner for another two and a half hours. We finally got home at 11pm and the kids slept in our room because we were all exhausted and terrified.

Despite the fact that violent crime — including crime against children — has been declining for decades, hysterical, sensationalized media coverage in the 24-hour news cycle makes it seem like every community is a crime-infested ghetto with hundreds of predators roaming the streets looking for unsupervised children to rape, kidnap, and murder. Parents who reject the false “danger everywhere!” narrative and allow their children to walk down the street or play in the park without a parent hovering nearby are judged as neglectful. What used to be considered normal parenting — letting kids play outside without supervision — is now cause for removal of children from the home.

Here’s the problem: Parents like the Meitivs, who reject helicopter parenting and allow their children a little more freedom, are taking a different kind of risk. While statistically their children are going to return home from the park unmolested by murderers and rapists, nothing can protect them from the busybodies who call the police to report an unaccompanied child and the resulting interactions with police and county social workers who are going to be looking for reasons to teach these parents a lesson about their “free-range” parenting style.

When we were homeschooling, we were advised to never let the “authorities” into our home without a warrant. If the police or social workers ever showed up at our door (say as the result of a bogus complaint from a busybody neighbor) we should allow them to have a glimpse of the kids so they could see that they were alive and not in any obvious distress, but unless the authorities had a warrant, they should not be permitted to come into our home and should never, ever be allowed to talk to our children. While it may sound a little extreme and possibly paranoid, the advice came at a time when homeschooling was still viewed as a fringe movement and parents were being dragged into court on truancy charges — or worse — because they chose to remove their children from public school. Part of the advice was to always be polite and never confrontational. We were warned that county social workers had a great deal of power and could destroy a family that didn’t cooperate with their edicts. “You don’t want to go there,” we were told.

The thought that social workers can pluck a child out of his home for not attending government schools or that police can grab a child off the street for the crime of playing in a park without a parent is truly astounding — and terrifying. Once a child falls down that rabbit hole of the child welfare system, his life will never be the same. It could be days, weeks — even months — before he returns home and in the meantime, he will be subjected to terrifying interviews, rides in police cars, and being moved around from place to place while the authorities investigate every nook and cranny of his parents’ lives to determine whether they’re more qualified to raise their own child than the state.

Parents need to think long and hard before they challenge government authority with their children. You may be able to hire a good lawyer and prevail in the end — and you may be absolutely, completely morally right in your parental decisions — but at what cost? It’s a backwards system where the “authorities” have all the power at the front end. The children are held as little hostages until the parents agree to attend state-approved parenting classes or they promise to be helicopter parents who never again let their little darlings out of their sight.

It’s an ingenious way to keep you in line, isn’t it?

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This Baby Looked in the Mirror and Discovered Something Fascinating About His Face

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

j1ojdOo - Imgur



Now … head to the nearest mirror and see if you can crack yourself up with your own eyebrows! It might be a welcome respite from all the negativity in the world today.

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When These Guys Refused to Color Easter Eggs with Their Mom, She Had a Big Surprise for Them

Monday, April 6th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

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An Ohio mom, whose college-aged sons and their friends refused to participate in the family’s annual Easter egg coloring festivities, decided to decorate the eggs without the guys — and to send a message in the process. Instead of traditional eggs, the clever mom wrote the names of the guys on the eggs and then added girlie messages like:

  • “I love OPI nail polish”
  • “I dot my i’s with hearts”
  • “I love shoes” and
  • “Let’s bedazzle our shirts”

Not exactly Pinterest-worthy, but I know a lot of moms who will want to tuck this idea away for next Easter. Brilliant.

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Persecution Is Coming to the American Church

Sunday, April 5th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

We’ve witnessed a dramatic shift in the culture in just the last 10 years in the United States. There’s hardly a moral tenet of Western civilization that has been left unscathed by the Progressive warriors who seek to blur the lines between Right and Wrong. Someone can now stand in the town square and proclaim that 2+2 = 5  and no one will look askance at him because truth is said to be fluid and evolving. Who is to say his equation is wrong?

We’ve seen an emerging — and virulent —  strain of intolerance and bigotry in recent years directed at Christians who hold to the traditional, orthodox teachings of the faith, and there’s more bubbling up from beneath the surface of our once predominantly Christian nation. The mayhem we witnessed in Indiana after they tried to pass a religious freedom law is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come.

Unless God intervenes, persecution is coming to those who refuse to bow the knee to the new religions of tolerance and erotic liberty. By persecution I don’t mean that we’ll see Christians beheaded or ISIS-style or crucifixions of Christians in the United States. But I do believe that Christians will be marginalized in society — they’ll be fired from their jobs, lose their businesses, and we’ll see efforts to enforce a Great American Christian Silencing.  We may see the government seeking to muzzle (or even shutter) Christian schools and even churches as the message of the gospel becomes anathema to the prevailing culture.

How will the Christian church — with its moral absolutes and 2000-year old traditions —  fit into this new moral paradigm and how should it respond?

It’s time for us to consider how the American church will respond to the new — and very foreign — cultural norms that have been foisted upon us.

The Apostle Peter, writing to the exiled church in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), has some prescient advice for the modern church and he gives us a template for how Christians are to live in the midst of a pagan culture that is diametrically opposed to their faith: be sober-minded, be holy, and be watchful.

In his first letter to the church (read the whole thing here) Peter encourages Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor (which was then firmly under Roman control) to endure suffering and persecution by devoting themselves to God and following the example of Christ.

Peter warns them to prepare their minds for action and to be sober-minded. The King James Version translates that passage, “gird up the loins of your mind,” which connotes a war of ideas for which the believer must be mentally prepared. This is more than a feel-good religion or a gospel of prosperity. Peter makes it clear that clear-headedness and right thinking — based on biblical truth —  are essential during an age when evil prevails. Like the Christians living in Asia-Minor in the first century, American Christians in the 21st century will need to be serious and intellectually equipped for the present battles.

But intellect and a sound mind are not sufficient. Peter goes on to say:

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

He’s speaking to a church here that is likely made up mostly of former pagans, so their “former ignorance” refers to the prevailing practices of the Greco-Roman culture, which embraced dehumanizing injustices against women, children, the sick and frail as well as tolerating a wide variety of sexual perversions including pederasty, open prostitution, and erotic art and literature.

Peter tells the church to be holy, setting themselves apart from the culture in which they live by imitating their heavenly Father and reflecting the character of God in their lives. How to do that? Peter ticks off a list of some of the hallmarks of holy living in the next several verses:

  1. Obedience to the truth
  2. A sincere brotherly love from a pure heart
  3. Putting away malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander
  4. Longing for pure spiritual milk (God’s word)
  5. Abstaining from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul
  6. Keeping your conduct among the Gentiles honorable so they may see your good deeds and glorify God
  7. Honoring everyone
  8. Loving the brotherhood
  9. Fearing God
  10. Honoring the emperor

The church will only withstand the coming persecution if it is holy and obedient to the word of God and if God’s people set themselves apart from the world by their behavior and their love for one another and for their neighbors.

Peter tells the Christians to be “zealous for what is good” even if it means they must suffer for righteousness’ sake:

Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

He contrasts the standards for Christian living with the way the Gentiles (unbelievers) live, “in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.” Peter says unbelievers are surprised,

when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Nevertheless, he warns the church to be watchful because “your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Christians are to be firm in their faith and resist evil, “knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” Indeed, our resolve is fortified as we see almost daily reports of our brothers and sisters in Christ suffering physical persecution and death because they refuse to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ.

Surely the American church can endure unkind words and bullying — even a job loss or jail time — as we see Christians on the other side of the world enduring so much more.

Peter ends the book by encouraging the believers. “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” Our time on earth is a blink of an eye compared to eternity. We can endure trials and persecution — and the Great American Christian Silencing — if we set our eyes above and stay watchful, keeping our minds clear and striving to imitate Christ in our lives.

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Oh Dear! Notice Anything Funny About This Collection of Presidential Hopeful Ties?

Friday, April 3rd, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

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An online retailer Bows-N-Ties.com is planning to create a collection of ties in honor of the 2016 presidential race. According to the company’s president and founder, Hendrik Pohl, they’re taking a poll and the Top 5 most popular ties will go into production. Voting ends April 30th. Currently Christie, Clinton, and Paul are in the lead.

There’s only one problem…

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Genius! You Can Now Order Toilet Paper Directly From Your Toilet, Thanks to Amazon

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

With the Amazon Dash button, reordering your favorite consumable products has never been easier. Simply attach the new adhesive button to a handy location in your kitchen, laundry room — or bathroom — and press the button when you’re running low on a product. Voilà! Your order is placed instantaneously. No more emergency trips to the store when you’re running low on laundry detergent or toilet paper.

Amazon says the Dash Buttons are currently only available to Prime members who receive an invitation by email. They currently have 225 products listed as available for use with a Dash Button, including toilet paper, baby food, paper towels, diapers, and macaroni and cheese.

It’s entirely possible that in just a few short years you’ll be sitting on the toilet, realize you’re running low on toilet paper, and with the press of a button you can have a fresh case delivered to your front porch via drone in a matter of hours. How great is America?

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Today’s 10 Best Online April Fools’ Jokes

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

April Fools’ jokes have gone high tech and websites have upped their game this year, going to great lengths to create fake but realistic-looking ads and stories that cause customers to do double-takes. Here are some of the best on the internet today:

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1. Google Actual Cloud Platform

“Literally a cloud. Introducing Google Actual Cloud Platform, the world’s first public cloud running on servers in the troposphere.”


2. Dog on a Stick Selfie Stick from Petco

Now your dog can have a selfie stick, just like President Obama’s!

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3. Think Geek’s Do It YourSelfie 360° Selfie Rig

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4. Birchbox Mail-Order Beard Box

“Life’s far too short to spend months growing a beard. This kit features everything you need to debut a robust facial mane, all in mere moments.”

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5. Uber Lions in D.C.

“Today, we’re partnering with Nat Geo Wild, the network from National Geographic, to bring you the wildest campaign yet—UberLIONS—on-demand lion cubs! That’s right, with just a tap of a button you could be petting and playing with a real live lion cub. Enter the code LIONCUBSDC today and request LIONS between 9am – 12pm for your chance to snuggle with lion cubs!”

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6. MS-DOS for Mobile

And it really works!

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7. Samsung Smartknife with Smartphone Capabilities

“Galaxy BLADE edge features a set of sensors and algorithms that analyze your grip, dexterity and strength, setting the weight in optimal proportion to create the perfect rhythm and inertia.”

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8. The Reddit Button of Doom

Reddit has been swarming with people speculating about the mystery button today. Should you press it or not press it? Will the world end or the nukes be launched if reddit users stop pushing the button? The world waits for answers.



9. CERN Researchers Confirm Existence of The Force

“Though four fundamental forces  – the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force and gravity – have been well documented and confirmed in experiments over the years, CERN announced today the first unequivocal evidence for the Force. ”

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10. Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko to Settle Differences with a Single Combat Match

“Vladimir Putin has until the end of today to consider a one-off proposal from Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s embattled president, which could end the fighting in the Donbas and set a template for conflict-resolution elsewhere.”

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Actually, No, Governors & Classroom Teachers Did NOT Write the Common Core Standards

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Ohio Governor John Kasich appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace in January and made a claim about the origins of the Common Core State Standards. “These were governors who helped create Common Core,” insisted Kasich, who is pondering a presidential run. “That up-close involvement means they know Common Core wasn’t Obama-driven.” He went on to say that the standards were “written” by state education superintendents and local principals, a claim he has made repeatedly as he has stubbornly defended the standards in the face of growing public resistance. For emphasis, he added that the standards were “created by local school boards.”

Try to imagine for a moment the hilarity that would ensue during a giant conclave of governors (from both parties), state school superintendents, local principals, and local school boards tasked with writing national education standards.

But that’s not all.

The Common Core State Standards website claims that the National Governors Association was involved in writing the standards, as was the Council of Chief State School Officers, teachers, parents, school administrators, standards experts from across the country and the alphabet soup of education special interest groups — the National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) along with “other organizations.”

If that sounds like way too many cooks in the kitchen, you’re right. A group that large with a myriad of diverse and competing interests could not possibly be expected to sit down in a room together (if a large enough room could be found) and agree upon a list of all the things every student in the nation should know before they graduate from high school. Sure, those special interest groups could give input and make suggestions, but when it came time to sit down and actually write the standards, that responsibility fell to a pair of workgroups and a handful of individuals who received their marching orders from three groups: the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and Achieve, Inc.

It started with the Memorandum of Agreement (MOAs) that 46 states signed in 2009 when they agreed to take Race to the Top funding in exchange for implementing the not-yet-written Common Core standards. The “owners” of the copyrighted Common Core States Standards (CCSS) are named in the title of the MOA: The Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices Common Core Standards Memorandum of Agreement. 

Neither group has any authority to make decisions that are legally binding on the states; nevertheless the states agreed when they signed the MOAs that the writing of standards could be assigned to a pair of “work groups” — one for the math standards and one for English Language Arts. 

It’s important to note a few things about the NGA. Though governors do vote to express some measure of solidarity with shared priorities during the group’s two annual meetings, details about how the governors vote (or whether individual governors even show up to vote) are not released to the public, despite the fact that the group is heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Five Republican governors — from Florida, Maine, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Texas — have publicly withdrawn their membership from the group in recent years, saying membership in the group was a waste of time and taxpayer money. So when Common Core supporters try to say that the effort to create the standards was “led by the nation’s governors” and they cite the NGA’s involvement as proof, it must be understood that the NGA’s support is not necessarily representative of the nation’s governors and it certainly does not represent the will of state legislatures, which did not have a say in signing the MOAs.

Achieve, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to promoting higher educational standards, joined with the NGA and the CCSSO in 2009 to begin working on the CCSS standards, but again, the actual work of writing them fell to the two work groups. (A year later, Achieve, Inc. signed on as a “Project Management Partner” for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers [PARCC] tests.)

Mercedes Schneider described the 24 individuals who participated in the work groups (all of whom had to sign confidentiality agreements about what went on at the meetings). She said that instead of teachers with classroom experience, the groups were stacked with individuals with “ACT” and “College Board” credentials.

In the math work group:

In sum, only 3 of the 15 individuals on the 2009 CCSS math work group held positions as classroom teachers of mathematics … Only one CCSS math work group member was not affiliated with an education company or nonprofit.

And in the English Language Arts work group:
In sum, 5 of the 15 individuals on the CCSS ELA work group have classroom experience teaching English. None was a classroom teacher in 2009. None taught elementary grades, special education, or ESL, and none hold certifications in these areas. Five of the 15 CCSS ELA work group members also served on the CCSS math work group. Two are from Achieve; two, from ACT, and one, from College Board.

Within the work groups there were a handful of lead writers who did the bulk of the work: David Coleman (who is now president of the College Board, which administers the SAT) and Susan Pimentel in English, and Jason Zimba, Phil Daro, and William McCallum in math.

There were also two feedback groups, which, like the work groups, were stacked heavily with professors and included only one math teacher. These groups were tasked with providing research and advice to the writers. Finally, there was a validation committee which was supposed to sign off on the standards after ensuring they were “research and evidence-based.” Five of the 29 members of the validation committee refused to sign off on the CCSS, though the final report failed to mention that fact.

Last week Kasich defended the statements he has made about the the genesis of the Common Core standards, telling reporters at Nashua Community College, “I said, ‘If I don’t know what I’m talking about, please correct me,’ and I was met with profound silence.” He said that concerns about the standards are a “runaway internet campaign.” If Kasich were so inclined, he could, with just a few simple Google maneuvers, discover plenty of evidence (on that internet he so quickly dismissed) that would “correct” his mistaken statements about who wrote the standards, including these articles from Neal McCluskey at U.S. News and World Report and Joy Pullman at The Federalist, education activist Diane Ravitch, and Steve Byas at The New American.

Today, I add my voice to those telling Kasich he’s dead wrong about who wrote the Common Core State Standards. While he’s correct to say that President Obama didn’t write them, neither did Kasich. Nor did his predecessor, Democrat Ted Strickland, or any other governor. And the claim that the standards were written by teachers only rings true if by “teachers” you mean experts in testing and assessment.

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Now They’re Opening an Abortion ‘Spa’ in D.C.

Monday, March 30th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Now you can combine your abortion with your next spa treatment.

From the Washington Post:

With its natural wood floors and plush upholstery, Carafem aims to feel more like a spa than a medical clinic. But the slick ads set to go up in Metro stations across the Washington region leave nothing to doubt: “Abortion. Yeah, we do that.”

The clinic, opening this week in tony Friendship Heights, specializes in the abortion pill and will be unique for its advertising. Its unabashed approach also reflects a new push to destigmatize the nation’s most controversial medical procedure by talking about it openly and unapologetically.

The people who run the abortuaries are losing the debate about the humanity of unborn children, thanks in part to 3D ultrasound, so now, they’re retooling their approach.

They don’t say if you’ll be able to get a facial and a pedi while you’re killing your unborn child, or whether the spa-like atmosphere will ease your conscience about the decision to end a human life, but no doubt they’re going to try. Playing soothing music in the background and setting up shop in a toney neighborhood isn’t going to change the reality of what’s actually happening there —  forcibly separating a human child from her mother’s womb.

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[WATCH] This Astonishing Ultrasound Video Proves That Unborn Babies Just Want to Have Fun

Saturday, March 28th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Researchers say that babies as young as one or two days old have a definite sense of rhythm and they can detect changes in a musical beat, even when they’re sleeping.

But Baby Cardinal, an obvious overachiever at only 14-weeks gestation, was caught on ultrasound clapping along to music in his mother’s womb!

His mother, Jen Cardinal, wrote in a note accompanying the amazing video she posted on YouTube, “At our 14 week ultrasound our baby was clapping, so I sang a song with our doctor as my husband filmed.”

In the ultrasound video you can clearly see the tiny baby clapping his (or her?) hands together as his parents sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands.”

Amazing that he’s able to do this just 3 1/2 months after he was conceived!

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Mike Rowe Singing the National Anthem in a Baseball Uniform Will Blow Your Mind

Friday, March 27th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
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Who knew? The popular star of the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs (and the tireless promoter of all-things-that-are-good-about-America) is also an opera singer!

According to his Wikipedia biography,

Rowe sang professionally with the Baltimore Opera. He says about this job, “I joined the opera to get my union card and meet girls. I was a saloon singer, so I went down to the Baltimore Opera and learned an aria and auditioned. I figured I’d do one show and quit. But the girls were everywhere and the truth is, the music was really decent.”

How can you not love a man who works hard, gets dirty, and knows what an aria is? Here he is “performing” the aria he sang for his Baltimore Opera audition (in Italian!) on CNN last fall. Is there anything Mike Rowe can’t do?

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Is This Billboard Sexist or Good-Natured Fun?

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard


A group of students from Siena College protested in front of a billboard in Newtonville, New York, saying the sign is sexist and promotes gender stereotypes.

The advertisement on the billboard, from Teakwood Builders, Inc., features a luxury kitchen with the text, “Your wife wants me.”

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Siena student Delaney Rivers said in an e-mail to News10.com:

[The billboard] implies that men are the primary financial supporters of women and that women are materialistic and portrayed as having no other value outside of the kitchen. This is especially egregious towards students at our institution as many of us are working towards financial independence in hopes to have successful careers and equality in our relationships.

The feminist protesters held up signs with slogans like, “I can buy my own kitchen,” “Women left the kitchen decades ago,” and “Men can make their own sandwiches.”

Jim Sasco, president of Teakwood Builders, issued a response to the protesters:

Thank you for the message regarding the report on our billboard in Newtonville. A vast majority of Teakwood’s clients are women. Frequently they are the decision makers about major expenditures. This billboard – and the entire “Your wife wants me” campaign is good-natured, tongue in cheek fun meant to appeal to women who have a sense of humor, a sense of history and healthy self-esteem.

We applaud the students involved in the protest for their excitement about their cause.
And we thank them for drawing attention to the gorgeous Teakwood kitchen on the billboard.

I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but I’m guessing that there is some correlation between those three things — a sense of humor, a sense of history, and a healthy self-esteem. The strongest women I know — those with the highest self-esteem — generally also have a well-developed sense of humor.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere for the “concern trolling” crowd.

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If You’re Really Serious About Getting Rid of Common Core, Here’s What It’s Going to Cost You

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

During a speech in New Hampshire last week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz said that education is too important “to be governed by unelected bureaucrats in Washington.” He said that education should be at the state level, or even better, at the local level, where parents could have direct input into the curriculum and what’s being taught in the classrooms. He went on to explain:

If you don’t like what’s being taught to your kids you can go down to the local principal, the local superintendent, the local school board, and you can make your views known. If they don’t listen to you, you can say, ‘You know what? I’m going to run for school board.’ You can have a direct impact. On the other hand, if education decisions are decided by some bureaucrat in the bowels of the Department of Education, he or she doesn’t care what you or I think. It needs to be close to the people because it’s too important, and education should reflect the values of each community at the local level.

Is there any parent who would disagree with that? Unless you’re a hardcore ideologue with an unwavering faith in the benevolence and competence of the federal government, you must believe that local elected officials are going to be more responsive to the needs of families and more accountable to the community than the unelected central planners working in a massive ’70s-era concrete building in Washington.

So why don’t parents and local school boards just tell the feds to take a hike on Common Core? After all, the 10th Amendment guarantees that the federal government possesses only those powers delegated to it by the states  – or the people. It should be as simple as state or local governments exerting their constitutional authority and in turn, local governments doing likewise.

The problem, of course, is the money that the federal government uses to subjugate the states and suppress meaningful local control. Unfortunately, in most states, federal dollars account for 7-8% of education budgets. In essence, it’s a huge money-laundering operation, in which taxpayers send money to the federal government, a whole bunch of it is wasted in the massive federal bureaucracy, and then the feds send what’s left of it back to the states — but only after attaching plenty of strings and issuing volumes of federal regulations.

Lawmakers in Washington talk a lot about “fixing” No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which is arguably one of the most intrusive federal overreaches in our nation’s history, but you rarely hear anyone talking about eliminating the federal role in education altogether. Ted Cruz did say in New Hampshire that he thinks the Department of Education should be abolished completely, but most of the Republican establishment, including Rep. John Boehner, who co-authored NCLB, isn’t particularly troubled by continued federal involvement in education.

So, do states and local school boards have any recourse while they wait — maybe indefinitely — for the federal government to get out of the education business?


What if they refused the federal money?

Realistically, no state is going to voluntarily turn off the pipeline of education dollars currently flowing from the federal government. But what about local school districts?

No Child Left Behind, Common Core, and most of the other burdensome regulations owe their existence to the fact that compliance with them are conditions of receiving federal funding. If you refuse the funding, you remove the conditions.

What would it cost a local district to refuse federal funding?

The funding varies by state and by individual district, but as an example, my school district in Wayne County, Ohio, receives 7.41% of its funding from the federal government, or $676.25 per student. The state averages are 8.28% and $980.45, respectively. My district has around 1450 students, so refusing federal funding would cost the district around $980,000. I realize that I’m oversimplifying. The federal dollars provide funding for things like services for children with disabilities and the school lunch program, among other things, but I’m just looking at raw dollar without assessing how those dollars are used here.

Would it be “fair” for taxpayers to continue to send money to the federal government for education while receiving nothing in return? The reality is that taxes were never meant to be a dollar-for-dollar return on your investment. We all pay for government services we don’t use. We fund bridges we’ll never drive over and firetrucks that will never come to our homes. Those of us who homeschool pay for schools in our community that our children will never attend.

If you feel like your local schools are getting their money’s worth out of the 7% they’re receiving from the federal government and you think the federal mandates are a small price to pay for that funding, then by all means, encourage your local schools to continue to pay.

But when the price of freedom — of meaningful local control — is less than $1000 per student, it’s certainly worth asking whether the Trojan horse of government money is worth the enormous loss of local autonomy that rolls in with that money every year.


Image illustration via shutterstock / 

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You’ll Be Shocked to See What They Are Paying Babysitters These Days

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

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According to the Care.com 2015 Babysitter Survey, the national average babysitter rate is $13.44 per hour, up 28% from the 2009 rate of $10.50. This is significantly higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and higher than the nation-leading $9.50 per hour that the District of Columbia mandates.

Care.com, which bills itself as the “world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care,” surveyed 1000 of their members and combined that with their own internal data to determine the going rate, which varied from a high of $16.55 in San Francisco, to a low of $11.31 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Katie Bugbee, senior managing editor and global parenting expert at Care.com, said, “It’s a babysitter’s market where sitters can not only determine their hourly rate, but they can also expect an annual raise and even a tip.”

Apparently, it wasn’t a babysitter’s market when I used to charge $1.00 per hour (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth). In addition to babysitting, I always tidied up the house and washed any dishes that were left in the sink. The only hope for making more than ten bucks for an evening’s work was if the dad who drove me home opened his wallet and realized that he didn’t have anything smaller than a ten-dollar bill.

Two questions for our readers today:

1) How much do you pay your babysitters?

2) How much did you charge when you were a babysitter?

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Who Needs Michelle Obama’s Healthy Diet? 104-Year-Old Woman Drinks 3 Dr. Peppers a Day

Friday, March 20th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

A woman in Fort Worth, Texas, is celebrating her 104th birthday and she proudly told reporters this week that despite her doctors’ admonitions, she has been drinking three Dr. Pepper sodas a day for 30 years.

“People try to give me a coffee for breakfast,” Elizabeth Sullivan said, “but I’d rather have a Dr. Pepper.”

“I started drinking about 40 years ago — three a day — and every doctor that sees me says ‘It’ll kill you’ but they die and I don’t, so there must be a mistake somewhere.”

Elizabeth is living proof that the doctors — and the food police in the White House — don’t always know best. Many people manage to live long and productive lives even when they don’t subsist on a diet of twigs and acorns.

“I’m feeling good! I’m glad I’m still here and I’m glad I’m not in a rest home,” Sullivan told reporters. “I’m glad I can read books and watch TV and have people come by to say hello.”

I raise my can of Dr. Pepper to you tonight, Mrs. Sullivan! Wishing you a Happy Birthday and many blessings in the coming year!

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Study: Hunting Increases Levels of Love Hormones in Men

Thursday, March 19th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

From the Daily Mail:

Whether it be in the boardroom or on the hunting ground, male competition can cause a sudden spike in testosterone levels.

Now a new study has found a link between testosterone and the caring side of men when they return home from the ‘hunt’.

The study revealed that the higher a man’s testosterone has risen during the day, the more the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin he tends to produce on his arrival home.

The researchers also found that the increase in oxytocin was greater for those men who were absent longer

The study was based on Tsimane people, who are an indigenous population of forager-farmers and hunters who live in the lowlands of Bolivia’s Amazon basin.

Researchers tracked the Tsimane people, an indigenous population of foragers and farmers in the lowlands of Bolivia’s Amazon basin, and found that male testosterone levels spiked during a day of hunting. Men who had large testosterone spikes during the day experienced corresponding increases in oxytocin, a hormone thought to promote intimacy and romantic feelings in relationships and to increase empathy and trust. Scientists also think the hormone is an important factor in monogamous pair bonding.

For decades, feminists (and their self-loathing male accomplices) have been trying to browbeat men into acting more like women under the premise — false as it turns out — that emasculated men would be better partners and we could finally achieve societal Utopia (or something). Men have been told that if they could only free themselves from the wicked effects of testosterone, all would be well in the world (and the women would finally stop being mad at them all the time).

As it turns out, the science wasn’t settled on this and it looks like we’ve been going about it all wrong. It seems that pistols — not Pinterest —  are the path to a happy relationship.

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You Do Know That American Apparel Hopes Their Racy Ads Will Get Banned, Right?

Thursday, March 19th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard


From the UK Daily Mail:

Bosses at trendy clothing firm American Apparel have been rapped for a ‘too sexy’ advert showing a female model wearing a ‘thong bodysuit’.

The firm, which has more than 270 stores across the world, regularly has its raunchy ads banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

In 2012 the firm had a string of ads banned in four different rulings after using photos of women exposing their breasts, showing off their bare bums and posing with their legs spread in its ad campaigns.

At American Apparel, banned ads (and the free publicity that follows) is baked into the company’s marketing plan.

Ryan Holiday, former director of marketing for American Apparel, explained the strategy in his book, Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator:

When I design online ads for American Apparel, I almost always look for an angle that will provoke. Outrage, self-righteousness, and titillation all work equally well … If I could generate a reaction, I could propel the ad from being something I had to pay for people to see (by buying ad inventory) to something people would gladly post on the front page of their highly trafficked websites.

Holiday goes on to explain that he would invest a small amount of money to run a racy ad on a low-traffic blog, knowing that it would be picked up by other blogs and, eventually, the mainstream media. “The publicity from the spectacle generated tens of thousands of dollars in sales, and that was my intention all along,” writes Holiday, adding that he had “substantial data” to back up his claim that the controversy led to an increase in sales of whatever the ad was hawking.

You’ll notice that I didn’t provide a picture of the ad, or even a link to it because I am not willing to give American Apparel free advertising. Here’s a suggestion: when you see an outraged article about the banned ad in your Facebook feed or on your favorite website, vow not to share it if the article includes the racy picture of the adolescent-looking model in the thong. Let’s stop allowing ourselves to be manipulated and stop rewarding them with free advertising.

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