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Strong Religious Beliefs Can Shape How Women View Homeschooling

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Marcia Clemmitt, a social policy researcher and former high school teacher, recently published an extensive report on homeschooling at CQ Researcher. In “Homeschooling: Do Parents Give Their Children a Good Education?“ Clemmitt discusses the research of Jennifer Lois, a sociology professor at the University of Western Washington, in Bellingham, and author of the 2012 book Home Is Where the School Is, who described some of the differences between those who homeschool for religious reasons and those who do it for more “pragmatic” reasons, such as safety or educational benefits.

Jennifer Lois said that although homeschooling parents generally acknowledge that “there’s potential for a lot of conflict and emotional button-pushing” between home-schooling parents and their children, she notes that “conservative Christian and other home-schooling mothers generally describe such problems quite differently.”

Lois said that “non-evangelical” mothers are more likely to remark that “we’re not meant to be together all the time; we’re not well matched for that.” In her study of homeschoolers, Lois discovered that these mothers were more likely to spend only a few years homeschooling their children and they were also more likely to complain about the children’s fathers not contributing enough to the homeschooling effort.

Clemmitt explained that women who homeschool for religious reasons are more likely to stick it out for the long haul. “By contrast, most evangelical Christian women whom Lois studied made very long-term home-schooling commitments, often lasting from preschool through high school,” Clemmitt said.

Women who view homeschooling as an integral part of their faith also view the inevitable family conflicts differently than their non-religious counterparts. “Evangelical mothers tended to describe conflicts less as problems and more as opportunities ‘to figure out ways to make their relationships with their children grow,”’ Lois says. Evangelical moms viewed the conflicts as opportunities for relationship building.

No word on how the dads view these issues (at least not in this study).

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Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge, Part 1: The Mask of Marxism

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Editor’s Note: See the introduction to this series here: Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge: Starting Down the Yellow Brick Road…

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“Seen through the perspective of history, Marxism was actually such a raw, ill-defined and malleable philosophy that one could make of it whatever one wished.”

- Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa

For Lenin, Marxism was a tool to enact his own version of the Russian autocracy his Communist Party claimed to destroy. Lenin exercised his autocratic power in much the same way as the Czars: through his own secret police, the Cheka. “Lenin’s new political police was the fastest expanding Soviet organization after the Revolution: it had started out with only 23 men, but within a couple of years it had numbered over 200,000 employees.”

Stalin, who had grown up under the watchful eye of the Czar’s secret police, was so acculturated to the concept that he embraced it with full fervor, crafting Lenin’s brigade into the GPU, a secret police force answerable only to Stalin himself. The GPU deported Trotsky. Re-christened the OGPU, it weeded out Lenin’s Bolshevik party. Then, re-named the NKVD, the secret police force liquidated the Red Army and Supreme Military Council. 3 name changes and 7 million lives later, the NKVD (later to be re-named ”KGB”) secured a firm stranglehold on Soviet Russia. Yet Stalin, adored by his people, remained above the fray, the “Little Father” to his people, thanks to the disinformation campaign mounted and executed by the intelligence wing of the NKVD.

The malleability of Marxism explains why, despite mounds of physical evidence, Marxist ideology is still ardently defended by those who claim to be Marxists, but who haven’t had the “privilege” of living under Marxist rule. An architectural plan can look great on paper to an unskilled eye. The most ardent voices who speak out against Marxist regimes are the ones who’ve had the unfortunate experience of living under them. They’re the skilled eyes who can easily tell that the blueprints will generate a crumbling structure.

If acculturation is the key to an individual’s interpretation of Marx, it is easy to understand why Marxism is so popular among the young upper-classes who have never struggled, nor suffered economically. It’s easy to be a Marxist when you’ve got the latest smartphone and can Tweet out your wants, needs, and location of the nearest FedEx where you can pick them up. It becomes harder to defend the philosophy when you’re living under the autocratic ruler who you empowered, whose government and economy have rendered technology unaffordable and/or unaccessible, and who has stripped your town of its grain and redistributed it to more productive, and therefore more worthy, citizens.

So, what of this side of the globe where Marxism walked down the yellow brick road of liberalism? How have intellectual Wizards manipulated Marxism to acculturate the American mind leftward? Stay tuned for the next seed of knowledge from Pacepa.

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Do Homeschoolers ‘Rob’ Public Schools of Tax Dollars?

Monday, April 14th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Marcia Clemmitt recently published an extensive report on homeschooling at CQ Researcher. In “Homeschooling: Do Parents Give Their Children a Good Education?,” Clemmitt, a “social policy researcher” and former high school teacher attempts to explain the economic impact of homeschooling in the United States:

Since public schools are allotted government dollars based on the number of pupils they enroll, districts where home schooling’s growth is greatest inevitably lose cash. Arizona’s Maricopa County school district, for example, had lost $34 million by the year 2000 because 7,526 students were being home-schooled.

While I do not doubt for a minute the propensity of government schools to “lose cash,” homeschooling is not to blame.

A report from The Heritage Foundation in 2009 found that just the opposite is true — homeschooling eases the burden on local public schools, saving them billions:

An additional benefit of homeschooling comes in the form of savings to taxpayers and school systems. Analysts have estimated that homeschooled students save American taxpayers and public schools between $4.4 billion and $9.9 billion annually. Other estimates are as high as $16 billion.

The argument that homeschoolers deprive public schools of tax money is based on the premise that each child represents a sum of money to which the school has an inherent right. When parents choose to educate their children outside the public school system, opponents of homeschooling say, those students are “robbing” districts of money to which they are entitled by virtue of the fact that the child happens to live in their district.

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7 Bad Reasons to Send Your Teens to Public Schools

Saturday, April 12th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in July of 2013 as “7 Objections to Homeschooling Teens“ It is being reprinted as part of a weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Visit tomorrow for the conclusion of the series. 

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In a recent article at Cafe Mom, Ericka Souter listed 7 reasons she could never homeschool her teen. They are all fairly common concerns that most parents wrestle with as they decide whether to continue homeschooling through the middle school and high school years and I’d like to address them:

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1. I could probably get him through algebra and geometry, but we’d both need a tutor when it came to calculus. Sure, I took it in high school but it was in one ear and out the other as soon as the final was finished.

One thing that homeschoolers discover early on is that they learn along with their children. Most parents realize fairly quickly that there were gaps in their own education and they remedy the situation by plunging right into the learning process with their kids. With math, for example, parents not only review what they already know, but they fill in gaps as they work through the curriculum, progressively adding to their own skills as they teach their children. Many homeschooling books are designed to walk parents through every step of teaching various subjects, some even including video lectures.

If parents are uncomfortable teaching higher-level classes such as calculus and physics, they have a wealth of resources at their disposal. Some parents enroll their children in online classes for subjects they find challenging, while others, like our family, join co-ops in which parents pool their skills and teach classes to small groups of homeschoolers. In our co-op, a homeschooling mom who is a physician taught biology and a dad who is a mechanical engineer taught physics. We used a video-assisted program for pre-calculus, and my older son took discrete math at a local university during his senior year of high school. The array of options is almost dizzying.

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How Can Parents Fight Back Against Federal Bleacher Bullies?

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Rhonda Robinson wrote earlier this week about the school district in suburban Detroit that dismantled the bleachers from the boys’ varsity baseball field so they would be in compliance with Title IX regulations after a complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR had determined that the boys had better facilities, including better bleachers that had been paid for by parents on the team’s booster club. Rhonda wrote:

In an attempt to make everything fair and equal all it could do is bring everything down to the lowest level–in this case quite literally. The men and women that worked to rise above their circumstances, by building something better, were punished. Their work is completely destroyed. The moral of the story for the everyone-goes-home-with-a-trophy generation: When you expect the government to make everything fair then everyone becomes equally impoverished.

You have to actually read the OCR’s onsite inspection report to fully grasp the enormity of the federal reach into our local public schools and the extent to which their attempts to make everything equal have devolved into a mess that would be hilarious were it not so serious. Woe to the unfortunate school district that receives a visit from these federal genitalia counters with their clipboards and unhealthy interest in urinals and shower curtains. With respect to the availability and quality of the locker rooms, the genital counters who visited the Plymouth-Canton schools wrote:

All School athletes are permitted to use the locker rooms at the School, although some athletes prefer to change elsewhere. The school has varsity locker rooms for both the boys and the girls. The locker rooms are of nearly identical square footage and layout. The boys’ locker room has 236 lockers while the girls’ locker room has 218 lockers. The additional lockers in the boys’ locker room are larger lockers used for football equipment. Each of the locker rooms has eight showers of regular size, and one accessible shower; the only difference noted between the two shower facilities is that the girls’ locker room showers have curtains. The boys’ locker room has two toilet stalls, two urinals, and eight sinks. The girls’ locker room has four stalls and eight sinks. Both locker rooms have a whiteboard in the offices for coaches to use.

Oddly enough, the genitalia counters didn’t seem to have a problem with the disparate toilet facilities, which inadvertently gives us a glimpse into the insanity of these laws. Boys and girls are not the same.  Girls cannot (in the absence of advanced gymnastic skills or large quantities of liquor) use urinals (trust me, I know this … I have a cousin who tried it once). The girls’ swimming facility used by the Plymouth-Canton schools has eight wall-mounted hair dryers — presumably because they recognize that women have different grooming needs than men (the guys are stuck with a few hand dryers, surely violating the rights of those with long tresses). And not to be all sexist or anything, but girls (especially those of the high school variety) need want mirrors. It’s written in the female genetic code that there can never be enough mirrors when a gaggle of girls is present and performing grooming activities. No amount of genital counting and forced gender equality can alter these biological —  and cultural — differences between the sexes.

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Is Your Child a Stealth Dyslexic?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Do you have a highly intelligent child who struggles with writing and spelling? A child who, despite good scores on standardized tests, is performing below his “potential”?  If so, you may be the parent of a “stealth dyslexic.” According to learning experts, dyslexia manifests itself in a variety of ways beyond the most common form where individuals reverse letters and have difficulty learning to read. Indeed, stealth dyslexics often learn to read quite easily because of their outstanding memories and ability to compensate for their deficits.  But because of this, their learning disability is often not detected until later in life.

According to school psychologist Jim Forgan,  ”These highly intelligent or gifted children compensate for their dyslexia because they learn to rely upon their outstanding memory, keen intuition, and general smarts to work around their reading weaknesses.” Stealth dyslexia often goes undetected until the child is in third grade or older. “Your child may have stealth dyslexia if they are very smart and can read but don’t enjoy reading and rarely read for pleasure. Many of these children don’t read for pleasure because it’s laborious and mentally exhausting,” says Forgan.

Teachers often think that these obviously smart kids are lazy, inattentive or “not applying themselves” because they have precocious verbal skills and many, in fact, have high verbal IQs. According to the Davidson Institute, there is often a huge gap between the child’s verbal skills and the ability to read and write, especially as the student progresses to more difficult assignments in the middle school years. The Davidson Institute says that children with stealth dyslexia tend to exhibit some of the following characteristics:

1. Difficulties with word processing and written output.

2. Reading skills that appear to fall within the normal or even superior range for children their age, at least on silent reading comprehension.

3. Difficulty remembering how to form individual letters (resulting in oddly formed letters, reversals, inversions, and irregular spacing.

4. Difficulty remembering the sequence of letters or even sounds in a word.

5. Difficulties with sensory-motor dyspraxia, or motor coordination problems resulting in handwriting problems.

6. An enormous gap between oral and written expression.

7. Spelling errors in children’s written output that are far out of character with their general language, working memory, or attention skills.

8. Persistent difficulties with word-for-word reading skills, resulting in subtle word substitutions or word skips; which can result in significant functional problems, especially on tests.  This occurs despite the appearance of age-appropriate reading comprehension on classroom assignments or standardized tests.

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Conservative is the New Liberal

Monday, April 7th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Michelle Goldberg over at the Nation published an excellent article on the #CancelColbert controversy arising out of what she has dubbed the “New Political Correctness”:

It’s increasingly clear that we are entering a new era of political correctness. Recently, we’ve seen the calls to #CancelColbert because of something outrageous said by Stephen Colbert’s blowhard alter ego, who has been saying outrageous things regularly for nine years. Then there’s the sudden demand for “trigger warnings” on college syllabi, meant to protect students from encountering ideas or images that may traumatize them; an Oberlin faculty document even suggests jettisoning “triggering material when it does not contribute directly to the course learning goals.” At Wellesley, students have petitioned to have an outdoor statue of a lifelike sleepwalking man removed because it was causing them “undue stress.” As I wrote in The Nation, there’s pressure in some circles not to use the word “vagina” in connection with reproductive rights, lest it offend trans people.

Radicals thrive on crisis. The crises they are generating are evidence of how truly free we are as a nation. Panicking over statuary is as #FirstWorldProblem as you can get. Yet we should not be fooled: The chaos of radicals always has a serious motive.

Nor is this just happening here. In England’s left-wing New Statesman, Sarah Ditum wrote of the spread of no-platforming—essentially stopping people whose ideas are deemed offensive from speaking publicly. She cites the shouting down of an opponent of the BDS movement at Galway University and the threats and intimidation leveled at the radical feminist Julie Bindel, who has said cruel things about trans people. “No platform now uses the pretext of opposing hate speech to justify outrageously dehumanising language, and sets up an ideal of ‘safe spaces’ within which certain individuals can be harassed,” wrote Ditum. “A tool that was once intended to protect democracy from undemocratic movements has become a weapon used by the undemocratic against democracy.”

Whether it is in a public forum or a private business (as with last week’s case of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich) “no-platforming” is the desired outcome of the radical-induced chaos. Whether it is used against the presumed liberal (feminism) or conservative (anti-BDS) cause, the outcome is the same: a clampdown on free speech and individual expression, marketed as kind-hearted, feel-good social legislation. Orwell would not be surprised.

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Glenn Beck, The Church & the Real Secret to Disney’s Success

Monday, March 24th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Last week, alternative media mogul Glenn Beck announced that he was going to focus on “taking back” American culture through the power of nostalgia:

In the future, Glenn Beck’s focus is going to be more on influencing culture and less on politics and news. After all, news is only “what the culture allows,” he said in a recent interview with National Review’s Eliana Johnson.

…“Beck is nostalgic for an America of decades past, and his cultural projects will aim to resurrect and revive it,” Johnson writes. “It’s an America where duty trumped desire and Americans were bound together by a sort of civic religion created by that sense of duty. ‘I want to impact the culture in the way that people see good again,’ [Glenn] says.”

Beck’s goal is admirable, to a fault. The period he seeks to resurrect was one in which concepts like “good” and “duty” were defined by a Biblical religion, not a civic one. Any history student will tell you that Marx had his own take on the American Revolution; you can show someone Frank Capra movies until you’re blue in the face and they’re still going to see Mr. Smith as the ultimate community organizer if that’s their moral outlook.

As Amy Kenyon notes, there are pitfalls to what passes for nostalgia these days:

…the historical meanings and usages associated with nostalgia were finally mangled beyond recognition until its chief purpose became the performance of sentimentalism, the parceling out of discount memory via television, advertising, heritage theme parks, and souvenir markets, all aspects of what we might call the “nostalgia industry.” As such, nostalgia became kitsch, trivial and reactionary: hardly the stuff of a meaningful engagement with the past or the workings of memory.

Simply put: Glenn Beck needs to do more than embrace the facade of America, circa 1940. Beck needs to dig deeper, to America’s Biblical heritage, to understand what re-taking the culture truly means.

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The Resurgence of God in Academia

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

Vince Vitale, a philosopher and professor at Oxford University makes the surprising and bold claim in a new video that God is alive and well at the highest levels of academia.

Vitale excoriates the so-called “new atheists” who are “not engaged in current philosophical scholarship,” attributing their brand of atheism to the “old scholarship” at the academic level. Vitale said, “More recently, in the last fifty years or so, what we’ve had is a remarkable resurgence of professional philosophers who have thought long and hard about the evidence and have come to the conclusion that God exists. God is not dead. He is very much alive.”

He cites Quentin Smith, a contemporary philosopher who has published twelve books and over a hundred articles. Smith, an atheist, discussed in a paper in Philo in 2000 an assertion by non-theist philosopher Richard Gale:

If each naturalist who does not specialize in the philosophy of religion (i.e., over ninety-nine percent of naturalists) were locked in a room with theists who do specialize in the philosophy of religion, and if the ensuing debates were refereed by a naturalist who had a specialization in the philosophy of religion, the naturalist referee could at most hope the outcome would be that “no definite conclusion can be drawn regarding the rationality of faith…”

Quentin Smith goes even further than Gale, saying that the non-theists would lose: “I expect the most probable outcome is that the naturalist, wanting to be a fair and objective referee, would have to conclude that the theists definitely had the upper hand in every single argument or debate.”

In the paper Smith goes on the blast his fellow atheist philosophers for losing so much ground to the theists:

This philosophical failure (ignoring theism and thereby allowing themselves to become unjustified naturalists) has led to a cultural failure since theists, witnessing this failure, have increasingly become motivated to assume or argue for supernaturalism in their academic work, to an extent that academia has now lost its mainstream secularization.

Smith concludes that, “God is not “dead” in academia; he returned to life in the late 1960s and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments.”

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Fear and Loathing in White Guy-ville

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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City folk have always looked on their country neighbors with superstition. According to John Podhoretz at the Weekly Standard, this suspicion has carried a clearly political bent since the days of W. His evidence: Scary white dudes, like Walter White (Breaking Bad) and Bill Henrickson (Big Love) from middle America invading your TVs.

“In Difficult Men, Brett Martin’s book about the remarkable writer-producers who brought television to new cultural heights, Martin notes that there was something explicitly political at work in the early days of what he calls television’s “Third Golden Age.” Americans “on the losing side” of the 2000 election, Martin writes, “were left groping to come to terms with the Beast lurking in their own body politic.” As it happened, “that side happened to track very closely with the viewerships of networks like AMC, FX, and HBO: coastal, liberal, educated, ‘blue state.’ And what the Third Golden Age brought them was a humanized red state. .  .  . This was the ascendant Right being presented to the disempowered Left—as if to reassure it that those in charge were still recognizably human.”

…It’s the depiction of the worlds in which they live that is so striking, even more so in the series that have come along since the body politic’s shift to the left, beginning in 2006. The canvas on which these characters are brought to three-dimensional life isn’t a “humanized red state” at all, but rather the red state of liberal horror fantasy.”

Podhoretz concludes: “Still, rich Hollywood folk making mincemeat out of poor rural folk is another element of the ongoing American culture war that should not go unremarked.”

Fair enough, although any critical studies grad could tell you that whitey from the sticks, especially them man-folks, have been derided for a long time among the educated liberal elites who fill television’s coveted writers’ rooms. Educated liberal elites, mind you, who are primarily white dudes.

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Bill Gates Thinks ‘Pro-Capitalistic, Market-Driven People’ Should Embrace Common Core

Monday, March 17th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

On Thursday AEI’s Philanthropic Freedom Project hosted Bill Gates for a conversation with AEI President Arthur Brooks focusing on the role of philanthropy in addressing poverty. During the Q & A time Michael McShane, research fellow in education policy studies at AEI, asked Gates about the controversial Common Core standards. Gates, whose foundation has donated $150 million to facilitate the promotion and implementation of Common Core — including $1 million to AEI — ran through the usual list of talking points given by proponents of the new standards, which have been adopted by 46 states.

Gates thinks that, given the prospects for driving innovation, “pro-capitalistic, market-driven people” should embrace Common Core.

“If they have two [sets of standards] they’re comparing they oughta probably pick something in common because to some degree this is an area where, if you do have commonality, it’s like an electric plug,” Gates said. “You get more free market competition. Scale is good for free market competition. Individual state regulatory capture is not good for competition.”

Economies of scale refers to reductions in a producer’s unit costs as scale of output is increased. For a variety of reasons, it’s cheaper per unit to make a million electric plugs than it is to make one hundred — raw materials can be purchased in bulk for a lower price,  a larger company can afford sophisticated automation equipment, etc.  Gates thinks that this economic theory can be applied to the education of children. While it’s true that curriculum, tests, and even standards can be reproduced on a mass scale for a lower price than can the same items produced on a lower scale, the same cannot be said about the minds of children.

Human beings are not electric plugs. Schools are not molding soulless plastic objects, they are touching hearts and minds. Though Gates brushes off criticism of the standards by saying they’re merely a “written explanation of what kids should achieve at various milestones in their educational career,” the evidence shows that, whatever their original intentions, the standards have evolved into something that is not rigorous (by traditional American standards) and worse, will lead to continued cultural and moral degradation in our schools. Terrence O. Moore, professor of history at Hillsdale College has said that the new standards, as they are currently being implemented in schools across the country, will destroy minds and souls and lead students down “a depressing path of a prematurely jaded, post-modern, anti-heroic view of life.”

Plenty of industries can benefit from the economy of scale and even from shared services across states, but the idea of mass-producing education across the diverse landscape of the United States will ultimately lead to a Henry Ford-style education for all: You can have any kind of education you want as long as it’s of the approved, federal-centric, progressive variety.

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the Irish Way: Get Drunk!

Monday, March 17th, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

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Saint Patrick’s Day is an outrageous celebration of my Irish heritage. On that day adult Americans of all ethnic backgrounds feel free to wear green derby hats and shamrock necklaces, pack into bars and pubs to drink green beer and, if they’re really serious about celebrating the Irish way, end the day by vomiting and passing out in the gutter.

I’m offended by this, and it has to stop! Okay, just kidding. I don’t care a bit. The Irish are a fully integrated ethnic minority in America and St. Patrick’s Day is proof. You know your heritage is not an issue when you can poke fun at yourself.

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I don’t know how to make the Martin Luther King holiday as genuinely warm, funny, and celebratory as St. Patrick’s Day, but I’d like to try. Just last month a school system had to apologize for serving a lunch of fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon on Martin Luther King Day. How sad that the African-American holiday commemorating such a great man is about grievances and not praise. Why shouldn’t we all celebrate Martin Luther King day with soul food, vibrant African designs and colors in our decorations and celebrations, and a sense of fun and gratitude?

I fear that instead of moving towards celebrating Martin Luther King Day as a positive affirmation of African-American heritage, we’re moving in the other direction. Columbus Day has come under such attack that this brave Italian hero and explorer is accused of genocide and celebrations in his honor are protested. The very word “Christmas” has been banned in some schools. How long before someone wants to ban St. Patrick’s Day?

May this never happen. Long may the green beer flow in the pubs of America on St. Patrick’s Day. May the green derby hats continue to be perched on the heads of all, may the Leprechaun decorations continue to be ridiculous and offensive, and may you always feel free to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

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images courtesy Shutterstock: Patryk Kosmider

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Our Bodies, Our Only Sense of Self

Thursday, March 13th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The MSM’s latest fetish, college girls-turned-porn stars for tuition money, smacks of the rotten legacy of second-wave feminism’s “our bodies, our selves” mantra. Take the story of Belle Knox, a Duke University fresh-girl forced to do porn for the tuition money. While her sleaze-bag of an agent attempts to milk her 15 minutes with stories of a poor girl turned out by multimillionaire parents (a story she later changed when chatting with Piers Morgan), Belle Knox views herself as anything but a victim.

The 18-year-old appeared on front pages across the globe and sat down with Piers Morgan for a CNN interview using only her stage name and claiming that she was not ashamed of what she was doing and, in fact, felt ‘empowered’ by her career.

I’m not being exploited. I love what I’m doing and I’m safe,’ insists the women’s studies major.

Women’s studies major. Good thing she’s in porn, considering her future career choices at this point don’t rise far above McDonald’s worker (and we all know how poorly they’re paid). Seriously, though, paying for your women’s studies degree by doing porn? Has anyone stopped being sucked in by the rich-girl lifestyle to consider that glaring irony? Or the fact that her women’s studies major has justified her career choice?

She told her student newspaper in an interview last week: ‘My entire life, I have, along with millions of other girls, been told that sex is a degrading and shameful act. When I was five-years-old and beginning to discover the wonders of my body, my mother, completely horrified, told me that if I masturbated, my vagina would fall off.

‘The most striking view I was indoctrinated with was that sex is something women “have,” but that they shouldn’t “give it away” too soon -– as though there’s only so much sex in any one woman, and sex is something she does for a man that necessarily requires losing something of herself, and so she should be really careful who she “gives” it to.’

The vapid meanderings of Belle Knox illustrate the very scary impact of the second-wave feminist notion that our bodies really are our selves. Beyond our physicality, we have nothing left, no brain, no feeling, to “lose” or invest in a sexual encounter.

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Obama, Disinformation Czar: In Amerika, We Have No Enemies

Saturday, March 8th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Good and evil do exist, just not in the realm of political conversation — in America, that is.

Thursday, Crimean parliament member Refat Chubarov posted his outrage over the vote of 78 out of 100 of his fellow parliamentarians to secede from Ukraine and reunify with Russia. Even the failures of Google Translate can’t bungle the shocking truth out of his statement:

Those of my colleagues – Deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of the ARC who voted just crazy!
clear that they do the will of others …
Mind left them!

Only an expert intelligence agent, like Vladimir Putin, could have staged such a successful political takeover. First, he sends in armed, masked gunmen, then follows them with Russian troops who supposedly arrive to save the day. As a result, “Crimean lawmakers unseated the provincial government Feb. 28 under the eye of armed Russian soldiers and appointed pro-Russian politician Sergei Aksyonov, whose party got four percent of the vote at the last election in 2010, prime minister.”

True to his KGB roots, Putin’s disinformation campaign is well underfoot on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to Kremlin-backed Russian news media. Too bad for the dictator, not all of his subjects are loyal. In a bold move that took the Internet by storm, Russia Today news anchor Liz Wahl submitted her resignation from the state-controlled news show live on air, stating: ”I am proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth and that is why after this newscast I’m resigning.”

The best the American president can do, however, is paint a picture of moral equivalency while calling on the UN to mediate Putin’s illegal land grab. In a statement that included an acknowledgement of Russia retaining its “basing rights in Crimea,” President Obama placed the new Ukranian government on the same level as Putin’s Russia, urging, “Let international monitors into all of Ukraine, including Crimea, to ensure the rights of all Ukrainians are being respected, including ethnic Russians.”

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German Homeschooling Family Can Stay in U.S.

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Yesterday the prospects looked grim for the Romeikes, the German homeschooling family who had fled Germany’s oppressive education laws that would have forced the the children to attend government-approved schools in violation of the family’s Christian beliefs. The family risked losing custody of their children and even jail time in their home country if they refused to cooperate with German education mandates. The family sought asylum in the United States, hoping to educate their children in peace without government persecution. The Romeikes, their lawyers, and their supporters were disappointed yesterday when the Supreme Court declined to review their case. Michael Farris, a member of the family’s legal team, shared on Facebook:

This is extremely disappointing. We have some possibilities in Congress, but there are no guarantees. Although this is the end of the normal legal battles, we are not giving up. If 12 million people can live here illegally, then surely there is a way to find a place for this one family.

But this afternoon, we have a surprise announcement from Farris:

BREAKING NEWS!!! The Romeikes can stay!!!

Today, a Supervisor with the Department of Homeland Security called a member of our legal team to inform us that the Romeike family has been granted “indefinite deferred status”. This means that the Romeikes can stay in the United States permanently (unless they are convicted of a crime, etc.).

This is an incredible victory that can only be credited to our Almighty God.
We also want to thank those of who spoke up on this issue–including that long ago White House petition. We believe that the public outcry made this possible while God delivered the victory.

This is an amazing turnaround in 24 hours. Praise the Lord.

Proverbs 21: 1 “The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord, He guides it wherever He pleases.”

The United States Supreme Court decided last month to consider whether to hear Romeike v. Holder after the family’s legal team filed an appeal in October. It first came up for consideration in November, but was delayed when the Court ordered U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to respond in writing to the family’s petition.

A day after the Supreme Court declined to review the case, someone in the incomprehensible American chain of command decided that the Romeikes will not be deported. For now.

We join Farris and the Romeikes in celebrating this great news!

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Common Core: As Untested as the U.S. Speed Skating Suits

Monday, February 24th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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In the wake of disappointing results from the U.S. speed skating team at the Sochi Olympics — no U.S. skater finished higher than 7th place —  skaters, coaches and experts associated with the sport are looking for answers. Some quickly rushed to blame the untested, high-tech suits, designed specifically for the team by Under Armour. The Washington Post reported:

Had the Americans trained hard enough? Had they overlooked something the medal-gorging Dutch had figured out? And what about the Mach 39, devised in collaboration with aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, no less? What had happened to the propulsive blast it promised to deliver?

Reporters wanted to know. And some U.S. speedskaters started having doubts.

Delivered by Under Armour to the team on Jan. 1, as contracted, the Mach 39 had never been worn in competition before the Sochi Games. So how could the U.S. skaters know for sure that the air vents down the spine translated to speed? Where was the experiential proof that the relocated zippers and high-tech fibers helped their performance more than hurt it?

“The reasoning behind that was we wanted to keep the suit a secret in case other people found out about it, and they had enough time to switch their technology,” explained U.S. speedskater Brian Hansen, 23, of Evanston, Ill., asked why the athletes hadn’t competed in the suit before Sochi, given prototypes to train in instead.

The team hastily voted to switch back to the Under Armour suits they had worn in the World Cup races, with no better results. Sensing a potential rift with a major sponsor and a lot of money at stake, the U.S. skaters quickly began to shift the focus away from the suits and the U.S. Olympic Committee jumped to extend its contract with Under Armour through the 2022 Games.

Now that all the Olympic excitement is winding down, it’s worth thinking about the extent to which our children, under the new Common Core Standards, have become lab rats in an experiment much bigger than the one the U.S. speed skating team participated in during the Sochi Olympics.

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Common Core Pornography

Friday, February 21st, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

Common Core is a federal takeover of the public education system, where a single set of learning standards is intended to replace each state’s curriculum. The standards were designed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Forty-five states have adopted the standards.

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There are many problems with Common Core. Here’s one: Common Core reading materials are designed to “groom” young people and leave them vulnerable to molestation and sexual abuse.

“Grooming” is the process by which a predator desensitizes a young person to sexual contact. A predator who is in a position of authority, such as a coach, teacher or counselor, uses his position to befriend a child and eventually to abuse that child. One of the steps in grooming is to expose the young person to graphic sexual material such as pornographic photos, stories, and movies. When the child is used to the idea that “everyone does” these sexual acts, the predator has his victim prepared and ready for molestation.

The Common Core reading materials are filled with graphic pornography cloaked as literature. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, is what your teen will be forced to read if your school accepts Common Core. The story includes descriptions of child rape, incest, and molestation. The pedophile in the novel is portrayed with sympathy and Morrison reportedly wrote the story so the reader becomes a “co-conspirator” with the predator.

The book Monster by Walter Dean Myers includes a description of a homosexual gang rape and the use of a butt plug. In New York, a Common Core education portal encourages teens to visit a pornographic sex survey site where they are asked if they want to participate in a threesome or a gang-bang, among other acts.

The novel Black Swan Green features a 13-year-old boy who graphically describes his father’s genitals and then a sex act. Dreaming in Cuban contains teen sadomasochism. In Kansas, a father discovered a Common Core poster in his daughter’s class titled “How Do People Express Their Sexual Feelings?” with items such as “anal sex,” “masturbation,” and “grinding” as examples. Our young people are being deliberately exposed to graphic sexual material in schools that accept Common Core.

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FCC Monitors Your News, Komrade

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
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Image from the agitprop stock at the brilliant People’s Cube.

On Thursday, Glenn Beck declared:

“Ask yourself the question: Why isn’t anyone talking about this? This is one of the most disturbing stories I have ever heard in my entire broadcast career,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “The FCC has now decided that they need to monitor the newsrooms. They need to figure out how story selection works in the newsroom.”

The renegade broadcaster’s vitriol comes in response to a Fox News story (covered by PJ Tatler’s Bryan Preston) on the Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs (CIN) proposed by the FCC last May that was supposed to commence this week in Columbia, South Carolina:

 The FCC explained that it wanted information from television and radio broadcasters “to ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content production quality, and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percent of news dedicated to each of the eight CIN’s and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”

The FCC has identified eight CINs, or key topics that the government believes should be covered.

According to the actual FCC report, the eight CINs are:

1. emergencies and risks, both immediate and long term;
2. health and welfare, including specifically local health information as well as group
specific health information where it exists;
3. education, including the quality of local schools and choices available to parents;
4. transportation, including available alternatives, costs, and schedules;
5. economic opportunities, including job information, job training, and small business
assistance;
6. the environment, including air and water quality and access to recreation;
7. civic information, including the availability of civic institutions and opportunities to
associate with others;
8. political information, including information about candidates at all relevant levels of local governance, and about relevant public policy initiatives affecting communities and neighborhoods.

It is a story so bizarrely ridden with bureaucratic newspeak that it reads like a spoof from the pages of The People’s Cube. If only we were so lucky.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who first raised awareness of the CINs in the Wall Street Journal, warned:

The FCC says the study is merely an objective fact-finding mission. The results will inform a report that the FCC must submit to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communications industry.

This claim is peculiar. How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry? And why does the CIN study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?

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Student Survival Tactic: Think Big

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Most folks first became aware of Dr. Benjamin Carson when he dared to speak out against Obamacare in front of the architect himself at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013. I had the privilege of meeting Ben Carson about 20 years earlier when my mother handed me his book Think Big. At the time, I was an above-average student who struggled in the public school environment. Despite being intellectually acceptable (but economically unqualified) for entrance into a prestigious private school, my own public institution refused to allow me to skip a grade because they felt I’d suffer socially.

As if being the #1 nerd in the room qualified me to be crowned Prom Queen.

An outcast, I’d spend most of my time feigning illness or sick with stress, looking for a reason – any reason – to get out of going to school. I knew my mother was right; I couldn’t run away forever. But, I didn’t have a reason to care enough to face my battles. What I needed then is what so many young people need now: A perspective greater than their own. They need to learn how to Think Big.

And so my mother encouraged me to encounter the story of Ben Carson, a young African American boy from the projects who rose out of the ghetto mindset by seeking a perspective greater than his own:

“I am convinced that knowledge is power – to overcome the past, to change our own situations, to fight new obstacles, to make better decisions.”

Carson’s illiterate mother required her 2 sons to turn into her 2 book reports a week. This practice turned Carson into a habitual reader, classical music listener, and Jeopardy! aficionado. His love of learning and imaginative fascination with science developed into the desire to become a neurosurgeon:

First, we cannot overload the human brain. This divinely created brain has fourteen billion cells. If used to the maximum, this human computer inside our heads could contain all the knowledge of humanity from the beginning of the world to the present and still have room left over. Second, not only can we not overload our brain – we also know that our brain retains everything. I often use saying that “The brain acquires everything that we encounter.”

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How Will Spanking Bill That Allows Bruising Restore Parental Rights?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 - by Rhonda Robinson

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From the AP via Yahoo: 

A Kansas lawmaker is proposing a bill that would allow teachers, caregivers and parents to spank children hard enough to leave marks.

Current Kansas law allows spanking that doesn’t leave marks. State Rep. Gail Finney, a Democrat from Wichita, says she wants to allow up to 10 strikes of the hand and that could leave redness and bruising. The bill also would allow parents to give permission to others to spank their children.

It would continue to ban hitting a child with fists, in the head or body, or with a belt or switch.

Finney says she wants to restore parental rights and improve discipline.

Under the guise of “restoring parental rights and improving discipline,” this bill neutralizes parents’ authority and their ability to protect their children from harm.

To say that it is permissible for teachers and babysitters to strike a child with up to 10 blows opens the door to child abuse.

Parents don’t need permission from the state to discipline their own children– and parents need to stop asking for it. The state has cast a shadow of fear of prosecution over parents. In doing so, it has created a generation that feels powerless to control their children–so many of them abdicated their responsibility. Giving teachers and babysitters the right to leave whelps and bruises won’t fix that.

If the state really wants to restore parental rights and improve discipline in schools, it needs to get out of the way. Stop viewing children as if they were a national resource to be regulated and cultivated. Give parents the respect and support they deserve.

Discipline is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. A course of discipline that’s needed to keep one child alive can destroy another. Parenting is a skill, one that is learned through trial and error and can only be tempered by sacrificial and unconditional love.

Here is a recent Facebook post from a mother,

He’s not even 2 yet and he’s so hard to keep up with! I’ve never had to take naps until now! In ONE week, he had a cold, then an ear infection, flushed my bra down the toilet, swallowed 2 marbles, set my stove on fire, (long story), choked on a sucker (which was the hardest and scariest moment. Never had my [paramedic] husband say LET’S GO TO THE ER NOW! That was scary. We ended up not going-he was fine, thanks to his daddy! Then tonight he stuffed 3 popcorn seeds up his nose. I’m sooooo tired, need prayers for strength…Thank you for understanding why I haven’t done much to the house.

You can’t legislate parenting any more than you can pass a law that will create good kids.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock,  Sofi photo

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8 Reasons Homeschooling Is Superior to Public Education

Saturday, February 15th, 2014 - by Megan Fox

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in October of 2012. It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months…

This cartoon was drawn by a 16-year-old homeschooler.

The title of this article is polarizing and I expect to get in trouble for writing it. As a homeschooling parent, I’m not supposed to think homeschooling superior to institutionalized education. I’m supposed to take the stance that all choices are equal in the effort not to offend anyone who prefers public schooling. It’s a hot topic in the mommy circles and one that most homeschooling moms want to avoid. We all encounter the same comments and exclamations like, “How do you do it? When are you going to put them in real school? You must be crazy! How long do you plan to do this?” My personal favorite: “I could never do that!” This article is a response to all the times I’ve wanted to answer truthfully but held my tongue in order to preserve peace.

Disclaimer: Let it be understood that I believe in the freedom of every individual to choose how to raise their own children how they see fit. This does not prevent me from having an opinion as to the nature of public school and what state-run education inflicts on American children. This is based on personal experience and years of study and research. Further, many of you will argue that none of the examples in this article have ever happened to your child in your school. My answer is, not yet. I warn you, if you are a public schooling advocate and you continue to read this article you may become unhappy with your current choices and find yourself at a homeschooling conference and facing disapproval from your social circle. Read at your own risk.

8. Social Programming for Dummies.

Most people worry that homeschoolers aren’t properly “socialized,” whatever that means. As if uncivilized children should socialize each other (bad idea). Anyone who has read Lord of the Flies knows how that ends. And if the teachers are supposed to do the socializing, why can’t parents? Every homeschooling family I know (and that’s quite a few) has as many, if not more, extracurricular activities for their kids as everyone else. There are 4-H, Girl/Boy Scouts, Jiu Jitsu (that’s us), music lessons, art lessons, metal working, speech and debate, sports and more.

But the most important difference in home-school socialization is that the social values taught come from the parents instead of the state. During our lessons we learn about reading, writing, math, science, history, Bible, Christian character, and art. We spend absolutely zero time on fictional, apocalyptic “global warming.” We don’t preach at them about marriage “equality” or teach them how to put condoms on bananas. We do, however, teach them the nutritional value of bananas and how to be a good steward of the earth by composting the banana peel after we eat it. The state’s values have no effect on our children. When we teach history, we teach them the values of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. We do not blather on endlessly about the supposed heroics of mass murderers like Che Guevara. Because of this difference, homeschooling parents produce inherently American children.

A person isn’t American simply because he was born here and exists here, but rather because he has internalized and embraced American values. Home-teachers have the freedom to teach the real history of America that includes the Bible and its influence in American government and in the lives of our Founders. Without this knowledge (whitewashed from public curriculum), a child will learn a false history of his country and never truly understand the concept of rights that come from the Creator and not men. This one idea is so important, so vital, yet it is left out of context. As a result, these children grow up to attend colleges where “speech codes” punish free-thinkers and no one thinks it’s odd, not to mention illegal.

Publicly educated kids grow up too susceptible to the idea that “hate speech” should actually be silenced instead of balanced with more speech. They sit at the feet of the progeny of Marxist professors who fill their heads with ideas as old as civilization, ideas of madness and tyranny disguised as “fairness” and “equality.” This kind of education does not create Americans. Our children are being robbed of their rightful inheritance. Gone is academic excellence and here to stay is social programming.

My home is a happy vacation from such wrong-headed and stupid ideas. (And my children’s teacher wouldn’t be caught dead on strike in a Che shirt.)

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What Is Open Kindergarten?

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 - by Inge Kummant

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Too bad the Obama/Cuomo/de Blasio universal preschool proposals won’t actually do anything to help children and families.  Let’s hope these political boondoggles fall through. Instead, if Americans really do want more preschool, we could take a page from the Scandinavian playbook.

Open kindergarten, common in Finland and other Scandinavian countries, is for the birth-through-age-five crowd and their parents. The program is low-cost, local, flexible, and does appear to help prepare kids for school.

Last fall I visited the Bluebird House in Rauma, Finland, the site of a popular open kindergarten started 28 years ago. It is one of two sponsored by the municipality. The Lutheran church also has open kindergartens, and many families attend both the municipal and church programs.

The Bluebird House is an old wooden house surrounded by a large fenced garden, which is used as a playground. Inside, the living room is just large enough for circle time, and later crafts and playtime, for twenty small children and their parents.  The parents provide snacks which they prepare in the kitchen, and which are eaten around a large table in the dining room.  There is also an office, bathrooms, and cloakroom.

The program is similar to the library story times common in the U.S., but longer, lasting all morning or all afternoon.  There is such demand for open kindergarten that families are limited to one session per week.  They may choose from sessions offering different age groupings–some are just for infants, some just for the older groups, while others are open to all children from birth through age five.  The parents pay a small fee, about $100 per semester.

The Bluebird House is staffed by two trained kindergarten teachers and two aides, who make sure that all of the parents and children are given individual attention each session. The teachers explained that they informally serve as resources for parents with questions about parenting or child development. They are able to connect parents to other resources in Rauma, if needed.

The teachers model positive ways of interacting with children, help to transmit Finnish culture through the stories, songs, games, and crafts that they offer, and generally create a setting that highlights the joys of parenting and gives parents a break from the burdens. Families also connect with each other here, and many form lasting friendships.

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Can Lower Tax Rates Really Create More Government Revenue?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

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‘Sugaring’: The Sad Way Some Students Use Sex to Escape Debt at My Alma Mater

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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This is Week 4, day 1 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com

1. From the publication where a decade ago I wrote op/ed columns and movie reviews as an undergrad: Ball State students get close for cash

Ellis has had a few online conversations, but he has not gone on any dates because he said there are not a lot of Sugar Daddies looking for gay Sugar Babies.

“Being gay in the sugaring world is not a common thing because it’s usually girls who are in their 20s who find older men who just want to spoil them,” Ellis said.

Both students use SeekingArrangement.com, a website used to connect potential Sugar Babies to benefactors offering monthly lifestyle budgets ranging from less than $1,000 to more than $10,000.

The website recently released a press release announcing the top 20 fastest growing Sugar Baby schools: Indiana University is No. 18, Ball State at No. 58 and Purdue University at No. 66.

Seeking Arrangement targets college students looking to earn money to ease student debt. According to a press release, college students make up 42 percent of the website’s Sugar Baby membership.

“A lot of these college students don’t have jobs and they’re fighting to pay student loans with increases in the cost of education,” said Leroy Velasquez, public relations manager for the website. “And rather than graduate with a financial burden on their back before they even get a job, they could just date a Sugar Daddy on Seeking Arrangement and graduate debt free.”

One woman chooses to become a prostitute in order to support a drug addiction. That’s understandable and tragic. My favorite movie, Requiem for a Dreamis a heartbreaking story. A woman is so desperate for her fix that she abandons the man she loves and degrades herself.

But so you can avoid having to pay student loans back for a few years? You let some guy you’re not attracted to pay you to have a fake relationship with him and then rent your body to him?

It just breaks my heart that some women place so low a value on themselves.

2. Via Conservative Videos and hat tip to SLM Goldberg: Kirsten Powers: Being A Democrat ‘Was My Religion’ Before Christian Conversion

3. Victor Davis Hanson here at PJM: Eating Our Young

Major props to Ed Driscoll for this awesome graphic illustrating the lead story of the week:

The baby-boomer/me generation demands what its “greatest generation” parents got — or, in fact, far more, given its increased rates of longevity. The solution of more taxes and less benefits will fall on young people and the unborn, apparently on the premise that those under 18 do not vote, and those between 18 and 30 either vote less frequently than their grandparents or less knowledgeably about their own self-interest.

The Social Security pyramidal scheme is merely the tip of the ephebiphobic iceberg. Currently student indebtedness exceeds $1 trillion. Many of these loans begin compounding before graduation and are pegged at interest rates far higher than parental mortgages. The cause of this tuition bubble is also not controversial. The prices colleges charge for annual tuition, room and board have for over two decades far exceeded the annual rate of inflation.

There were four causes of such price gouging of students. None of them had anything to do with offering better education for a more competitive price for job-hungry graduates.

 4. Jared Sichel at The Jewish Journal: Holocaust in North Korea

At the museum, Shin sought the horrific images from 1945 of thousands of decomposing bodies from a liberated Nazi concentration camp being dug up by a bulldozer.

The horror of that image, which he had viewed for the first time in South Korea, convinced him that he must do what he can to raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners languishing today in North Korea’s four concentration camps. Shin has become, despite his desire to remain private, a public face for what is a growing movement to shed light on North Korea’s totalitarian government and its unrelenting political imprisonment of its countrymen.

The international media coverage of North Korea tends to focus on anything but the country’s humanitarian crisis. We hear about the country’s nuclear program or the budding friendship between former American basketball star Dennis Rodman and North Korea’s 31-year-old dictator Kim Jong-un, or the latter’s recent execution of his uncle, Jang Sung-taek, formerly Kim’s No. 2 man.

But Shin is a living testament to the fact that attention must be paid to what is happening to a completely hidden population: Nearly seven decades after the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet forces on Jan. 27, 1945, North Korea’s concentration camps have now existed more than 12 times longer than the Nazi camps and twice as long as the Soviet gulag.

…..

As lunch wound down, Shin’s translator said that they had to leave soon for another interview. So I asked him if we could discuss a light topic — God.

Shin responded that although he isn’t entirely convinced of God’s existence, he does believe he received help from above. “I believe that there was a higher being, a higher power involved with my life, for me to be where I am right now,” he said.

Like all of North Korea, Camp 14 was devoid of any religion, of anything that could challenge the Kim family’s throne.

Today, Shin attends an Evangelical church in Seoul whenever he can, and, in fact, finds solace in Moses and the story of the Exodus — a self-doubting leader who helped an enslaved people escape a tyrant.

“When I look at North Korea now,” Shin said, “It reminds me of ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs.”

Read the whole thing. Jared is an extraordinary writer with a lot of talent. I look forward to seeing what he continues to do.

5. Jeremy Boreing at Truth Revolt: Gay Marriage at the Grammys: All Art is Propaganda

On the surface, it’s easy to criticize Sunday night’s Grammy Awards telecast for sliding from a celebration of music into a celebration of gay marriage with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s live performance of  “Same Love,” featuring Mary Lambert, Madonna, Queen Latifa and 33 couples – gay and straight – tying the knot.

There’s no question that the sanctimonious display, complete with gospel choir, stained-glass cathedral motif and pseudo-religious rhymes was intended to propagandize Americans into further support for gay marriage by giving the appearance of universal acceptance among the glitterati while marginalizing opposition from religious conservatives by reducing their motives to “fear” and “playing God.” “Right wing conservatives think it’s a decision,” the lyric intones. The fact that the socialist mayor of New York’s former lesbian wife agrees with that assessment is of no more concern to the songwriter than the fact that the current Democratic president – and indeed all of the Democratic presidents who went before him – all saw marriage as a male/female issue until right about election time last year.

Still, to turn one’s nose up at the Grammys for letting a show meant to honor art turn into a propaganda-fest is to misrepresent art itself. The simple fact is that all art is propaganda.  From the first man scrawling on the first cave wall to da Vinci to the Beatles, the purpose of the artist is always to communicate a unique perspective in the hopes of moving the audience.  In fact, for most of human history (and perhaps even still…) art has been less a business and more a patronage system where the wealthy would literally pay for art that promoted their vision of the world, not the artists. It’s hard to say what Michelangelo’s personal beliefs on scripture were, but his employer’s motive of inspiring awe in the face of the divine lives on in the Sistine Chapel and the Accademia to this day. As capitalism has imprinted itself on art, the values of the artist themselves have taken a more dominant role.

The idea of neutral art is as misguided as the idea of objective journalism – it has never existed in all of human history, and it shouldn’t.

Read the whole thing. Spot on. Jeremy is someone else I should make a point to keep an eye on. This is a great piece the way he puts the Grammys in a bigger discussion about the nature of art.

6. Michael Ledeen here at PJM: Hey Stupid! It’s Not About Nukes, It’s About Life and Death

There are none so blind as those who will not see, and hardly anyone wants to see Iran for what it is:  an evil regime bound and determined to dominate and destroy us, our friends and our allies.  The evidence is luminously clear, but most all of our attention has focused, as usual, on the nuclear issue.  Did the Iranians promise to stop enriching uranium or “dismantle” some of the components of their nuclear program?  How many Western sanctions are being eased or lifted in exchange? And on and on…

We don’t know the answers to these questions, as the text of the agreement is secret.  However, we do know that the Iranians now have six months — the sort of deadline that often slides — to reach a “final” agreement with the 5 + 1 countries.

We can expect the Iranians to prolong and exploit this period to their advantage and our peril.  They’ve already begun. The Iranian regime is expanding its regional and global power, killing its domestic enemies, and subverting and intimidating Middle Eastern nations that are reluctant to bend to its will.  These matters require serious Western attention, but they aren’t getting much.  For us, it’s all about nukes and sanctions.

7. Ed Driscoll here at PJM: The Evil of Banality

Allan Bloom, call your office — New York intellectual life really had become an enclave of the Weimar Republic by the early 1960s; as Bloom wrote in 1986’s The Closing of the American Mind, “The self-understanding of hippies, yippies, yuppies, panthers, prelates and presidents has unconsciously been formed by German thought of a half-century earlier; Herbert Marcuse’s accent has been turned into a Middle Western twang; the echt Deutsch label has been replaced by a Made in America label; and the new American life-style has become a Disneyland version of the Weimar Republic for the whole family.”

8. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: Hillary Wants to Get Benghazi Out of the Way

Just for the sake of history, let’s recall that Clinton could have prevented the attack but failed to do so. Her State Department turned down repeated requests for enhancing security at the U.S. facility in Benghazi. After the attack, she blamed it on a YouTube video and promised one of the parents of the victims that the U.S. government would go after and get the man who made that video. Clinton made good on that threat. The perpetrators who actually carried out the attack, however, remain at large and the Obama government has shown no interest in capturing them.

9. Glenn Reynolds at USA TodayHow Americans can kill Obamacare, legalize pot: Column

Far fewer than half the number needed by March 31 have signed up. And, as it turns out, most of the people signing up for Obamacare aren’t the uninsured for whom it was supposedly enacted, but people who were previously insured (many of whom lost their previous insurancebecause of Obamacare’s new requirements). “At most,” writes Bloomberg‘s Megan McArdle, “they’ve signed up 15% of the uninsured that they were expecting to enroll. … Where are the uninsured? Did hardly any of them want coverage beginning Jan. 1?” It looks that way.

In fact, there seem to be more uninsured than there were before Obama took office, leaving Jonah Goldberg to ask, “So what was the point of Obamacare again?”

10. Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler: Could Obamacare Become a Generational Problem for Democrats?

There are a couple of major flaws leading to fewer millennials than needed signing up. One, it’s cheaper just to pay the fine for violating the individual mandate than to buy insurance that most young people don’t need. Young single men don’t need to buy pregnancy and mammography coverage, but Obamacare mandates it, making policies more expensive. Additionally, Obamacare allows younger people to stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26. That slices off the 18-26 part of the 18-34 demo that needs to sign up in greater numbers.

Reading of the Day, from Ann Coulter’s Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obamapage 94:

BAD IDEAS MEAN MORE MURDER. (Or: Why I am not a #Democrat or #progressive anymore.) excerpt from page 94 of #AnnCoulter book Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the 70s to #obama

PJ Media Story Round Up

Lead PJM Stories

Time for South Carolina Chief Justice Jean Toal to Retire

State of the Union Guests Range from Obama’s DREAMers to Benghazi Dad

Is the Prosecution of Dinesh D’Souza Politically Motivated?

What Do the Oscar Nominations Tell Us?

PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page

Robert Spencer: The Hypocrisy of the Huffington Post’s Praise of Muhammad

Chris Queen: Are Obama’s Economic Policy Failures Part of a Strategy?

P. David Hornik: The Ten Worst U.S. Purveyors of Antisemitism, #3: Thomas Friedman

 

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Feminism: A Rich White Girl’s Game

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The High Heel Cliche

VIDEO: What is the Least Free Place in America?

The 10 Things They Don’t Tell You About Post-Partum Recovery

6 Sunrises to Start the Last Week of January

How to Track Your Workmonster

The Hypocrisy of the Huffington Post’s Praise of Muhammad

The Religion of Beatlemania Still Going Strong

The Ten Worst U.S. Purveyors of Antisemitism, #3: Thomas Friedman

You’re Not As Happy As You Think You Are

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New at PJ Tatler

From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston

Idaho Firm that Beat EPA in Court Now Targeted by the Army Corps of Engineers?

VIDEO: Obama’s Nominee to be Ambassador to China Admits that He Is No Expert on China

Karzai Blames US for Recent Terror Attacks in Afghanistan

A ‘Pattern of Abuse’ — PJ’s J. Christian Adams on Fox’s The Kelly File

You Won’t Believe the Reasons that This Colorado Man Continues to Buy Marijuana Illegally

Hillary Clinton, Superhero, Icon and Example to All Women Everywhere, Hasn’t Driven a Car in Nearly 20 Years?

Sen. Ted Cruz: Obama Should Apologize to the Five Million Americans Who’ve Lost Their Healthcare Because of Obamacare

Smith & Wesson Says No to Microstamping, Pulls Out of California

Google Buys DeepMind, Aquiring More Potential to Be Evil

In Case You Were Wondering, Yes, the Republicans are Dumb Enough to Wreck Their 2014 Advantage

After Scott Walker’s Reforms, Government Union Having Trouble Skimming Tax Dollars to Help Democrats

19 Senate Democrats Join Fight to Force Hobby Lobby to Pay for Abortifacient Drugs

From PJM’s Washington D.C. Editor Bridget Johnson

Pick the Official GOP SOTU Response, the Official Tea Party One, the Unofficial Tea Party One

Rubio Holds POTUS-Style Meetings with Heads of State on Weeklong Asia Trip

Schumer Bill Would Offer Tracking Devices to Caregivers of Those with Autism

AR-15s Become the Campaign Accessory of 2014

Washington Learned About Potential Suicide Bombers on the Loose from Media Reports

Senate Dems Filing Brief at Supreme Court Against Hobby Lobby’s Position

From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists

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From PJM’s Colordado Editor, Vodkapundit Stephen Green,

Why China Builds Carriers

As Seen on Twitter

Hickenlooper Lies

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

News You Can Use

NSA Has an App for That

Did We Just Become a Third World Country?

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day [PM Edition]

Required Reading

The Fastest Hunk of Junk in the Indian Subcontinent

An Open Letter

Hello Iran, Goodbye Syria

A ‘Do-Nothing Congress’? That’s a Compliment!

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From PJM’s San Jose Editor, Ed Driscoll

Pete Seeger’s Totalitarian Trifecta

What Could Go Wrong?

Abuse Their Illusions

Obama: Promises Made, Promises Kept

25 Years After the Fact, MSM Finally Condemns Al Gore’s Kristallnacht NY Times Op-Ed

Almond Killjoy

Republicans Ate Their Wheaties This Morning

Today it's time to break free. #sunrise in #socal

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image courtesy shutterstock / Viktor1

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