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.”
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
“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.
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
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.
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?
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.
“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.”
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.
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.)
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.
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 Dream, is 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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?”
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.
Terrence O. Moore, professor of history at Hillsdale College says that today’s students are not prepared for college:
The students going off to college these days, at least those who come from the public schools, for the most part, cannot have a serious discussion about even one work of literature. Not one. The freshman year of college… is a crash course in learning how to read and write at anything beyond a basic level. Learning, in short, what high school did not teach you but should have taught you. And the new [Common Core] Standards that we’re talking about are not going to help that. In fact, they will make it worse.
Moore, a former Marine with a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh served as the founding principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools for seven years and is the principal advisor to Hillsdale’s Barney Charter School Initiative where he has helped start four classical charter schools and is helping found a dozen others. He recently gave a lecture about the Common Core Standards at Hillsdale’s Allen P. Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies in Washington, D.C. based on his book, The Story-Killers: A Common Sense Case Against the Common Core. Moore says that more important than the recently-invented notion of “college and career readiness” is the question of “what kind of mind, indeed, what kind of soul will you have” after going through the Common Core?
The outlook is grim, according to Moore. “In short, your English classes would have taken you down one of two roads: that of utter boredom caused by all the nonsense you had to suffer, or if you actually took these lessons seriously, down the depressing path of a prematurely jaded, post-modern, anti-heroic view of life.” In the later case, says Moore,“you would have been intellectually and morally debilitated.” And in neither case would you have learned how to be more human.
The Common Core will “take away the great stories of the American people and replace them with the stories that fit the progressive liberal narrative of the world.” Moore calls the architects of the Common core story-killers saying, “they’re deliberately killing the greatest stories of the greatest nation in history.” The great works of literature are being replaced by “informational texts” and recent articles written by journalists. Not only are we losing the great works of literature, but, Moore writes in his book, also “what we might call the Great American Story of people longing to be free and happy under their own self-government.” They will be killed by a “deadly combination of neglect, amputation, misinterpretation, subtle and not-so-subtle criticism, and a further dumbing-down of the nation’s classrooms.”
Moore rejects calls for what the so-called experts refer to as “college and career readiness for a 21st century global economy,” asking where we can find the college presidents who are calling for such an education and which schools have tested these new standards. “The 45 states that have adopted the Common core standards with little — almost no — public discussion bought the farm sight unseen.” He explains that attending college and obtaining a career are byproducts of a good education that should include studying truth, beauty, goodness and the virtues of courage, justice, industriousness and prudence.
“For almost 400 years in this country and almost 2000 in the history of the West, truth and knowledge and beauty and virtue were the aims of education.”
Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
She is an unabashed liberal. In a culture increasingly governed by Marxist Nomenklatura masking itself as “liberal”, conservatives should be bold enough to reclaim that much maligned political descriptor as one of our own. We are, after all, the ideological descendants of classical liberals, making the outspoken once Liberal Democrat, now Libertarian Camille Paglia the perfect match for contemporary politically conservative feminists.
Can’t possibly imagine the lady who, even when she smiles, gives you a look that says, “I know you’re full of s**t,” could possibly fit in the ranks of the right wing? Here are 10 reasons why you need to throw out the stereotypical baby with your lukewarm bathwater thinking and get hot for the fast-talking, heavy thinking, pop culture-loving Camille Paglia.
“The entire elite class now, in finance, in politics and so on, none of them have military service—hardly anyone, there are a few. But there is no prestige attached to it anymore. That is a recipe for disaster,” she says. “These people don’t think in military ways, so there’s this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we’re just nice and benevolent to everyone they’ll be nice too. They literally don’t have any sense of evil or criminality.”
“We need a revalorization of the trades that would allow students to enter [manual trades] without social prejudice (which often emanates from parents eager for the false cachet of an Ivy League sticker on the car). Among my students at art schools, for example, have been virtuoso woodworkers who were already earning income as craft furniture-makers. Artists should learn to see themselves as entrepreneurs.”
“…it is capitalism that ended the stranglehold of the hereditary aristocracies, raised the standard of living for most of the world and enabled the emancipation of women. The routine defamation of capitalism by armchair leftists in academe and the mainstream media has cut young artists and thinkers off from the authentic cultural energies of our time.”
“In my view, comparing the evidence of the 20th century, that socialism in a nation ultimately does lead to economic stagnation and eventually of the creative impulse, in terms of new technology and other things.”
George Will gave a good accounting of many of the objections to the Common Core Standards Initiative in his Washington Post column on Wednesday, pointing out that the standards spring from a top-down, big government approach to education that threatens to live on in perpetuity because the Common Core is tied to generous federal bribes — and threats that the bribes will go away if states don’t fall in line with Common Core.
But ontological and ideological arguments aside, Will does a fine job of explaining the organic rise of opposition to Common Core — an emerging pattern we’ve seen in recent years as the conservative movement has matured and learned to bypass traditional methods of influence. Will gives examples of “three healthy aspects of today’s politics” which, if applied correctly and used consistently, can lead to the defeat of the Common Core standards. Below are three strategies Will says are making a difference:
Spoiler alert for the December and January episodes below!
Many shows on TV offer viewers an escape from reality — shows featuring highbrow families living in ornate castles or series’ where immaculately dressed crime investigators pick their way around gruesome crime scenes in stiletto heels. And there’s always the option to tune in to a scripted “reality” show that bears no resemblance to reality.
NBC’s Parenthood is no such escapist fare. Now in its fifth season, the series tells the story of the Braverman family of Berkeley, California — Zeke and Camille, their four children and assorted grandchildren. The show alternates between funny, quirky, awkward, poignant, and brutally honest. Kristina Braverman’s battle with breast cancer last season was incredibly raw and painful, but laced with enough humor to make it bearable. (Monica Potter, who plays Kristina, was absolutely robbed of a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Series by Jacqueline Bisset.) The show deals sensitively (and at the same time humorously) with a range of life issues common to many families: teenage rebellion, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug abuse, marital strains, childbirth, problems at school, the empty nest. Parenthood does it in a way that makes viewers say, “I could totally see someone in my family doing that.”
Perhaps the most acclaimed story line of the series surrounds Max Braverman and his struggles with Asperger’s syndrome. When the show debuted in 2010, actor Max Burkholder played 8-year-old Max Braverman, who had not yet been diagnosed with Asperger’s. Burkholder has brilliantly “grown up” with his character, who is now a high school student. If you know a family that has been touched with an autism spectrum disorder, you’ll see them in this family, even if the details are not exactly the same — fear, frustration, exhaustion, giftedness, surprises, and social isolation are all common issues for these families.
Jason Katims, the show’s creator, has a son on the autism spectrum, so the scenes reflect the realities of life with a child who sees the world on a completely different plane than the rest of us. Katmis told Mari-Jane Williams at the Washington Post that he wasn’t sure they would be able to do the story line justice. He also had concerns about his son’s privacy, but he said the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Katmis explained that he wanted to convey both the challenges and the triumphs of life with a child like Max:
It’s not only the challenges but also the unexpected beauty of it, and we definitely felt it was important to explore that. It really makes you focus on what’s important. You just want them to have friends and be happy and be in a place where they are seen and heard. That’s what you should want for any kid. As parents you really share the triumphs, even when they’re just small moments, even when they’re things that nobody else would even notice. Those moments, when they happen, of him being successful, or progressing, or showing love, I feel like they are much more cherished moments.
Now, adults are hoping for answers like, ‘I want to be an astronaut or I want to be a neurosurgeon’… Kids, they’re most likely to answer with, ‘pro-skate boarder, surfer, Mindcraft player’…us kids are going to answer what we are stoked on, what we think is cool…that’s typically not what adults want to hear.
…When I grow up, I want to be happy.
Young Logan stands out for several obvious reasons. Not only because of his outstanding performance on stage giving a TEDx Talk, a feat that would make most adults’ stomach turn, and not because he dispels the myth that homeschoolers are social misfits. It’s more than that; Logan cracked open the door and allowed the world to peek into home education at its finest.
Educators and parents, many perhaps for the first time, got a glimpse of what an adolescent boy looks like when he’s thriving in an environment that nurtures and values his unique potential.
The type of schooling that Logan is experiencing is actually second-generation “Delight-Directed” learning.
Gregg Harris introduced this philosophy of education to the homeschooling community in the 1980s, around the time I brought our oldest children home. The Delight-Directed theory rests on the idea that children learn best when academics center on their interests and talents.
The thrust of a child’s education is around real world situations in which they have an interest. In our family that meant my eldest daughter spent the bulk of her junior year in high school shadowing a veterinarian in her clinic, which equipped her to land a job in the Necropsy Lab at the University of Illinois, where she spent the majority of her senior year. For my son, it meant working on home construction sites from the age of 12, which equipped him to launch his own crew and become an employer just barely into his twenties.
Most doors were closed to homeschoolers then, and dial-up Internet was the height of technology. We just scratched the surface of what this young man called, “hack schooling.” In essence it’s really Delight-Directed 3.0.
Today there is a universe of knowledge to draw from, right at their fingertips. Creativity and innovation coupled with the ability to work without a foreman looking over their shoulder, will be the most valuable skill sets to master for this generation. I’ll wager the market will demand it, but few will be able to supply it.
Logan has a great shot at achieving his goal of health, happiness and the career of his choice. Although his message needs to be heard he’s talking to the wrong audience. A government-controlled educational system is incompatible and incapable of producing the kind of education that will put students on the same path. It’s fatally flawed at one critical point: its view of humanity.
Mr. Cuomo also said he wanted to pay top teachers performance bonuses and announced plans for a $2 billion bond referendum in the fall that, if passed by voters, would be used to upgrade public schools and provide them better equipment.
The governor spent a fair bit of time talking about education, as Mr. de Blasio looked on. The mayor has made universal prekindergarten classes a priority, promising to pay for the program with a tax on city residents earning $500,000 or more, an issue he pressed in comments to reporters.
Mr. Cuomo affirmed the state’s commitment to early childhood education, and made a promise to deliver full-day prekindergarten, but he did not say how much it would cost.
After the speech, Mr. de Blasio, who needs legislative approval for his proposed tax increase, praised the governor for presenting what he called “a progressive, proactive agenda for the future of our state,” and called the governor’s goal of expanding prekindergarten statewide “a fantastic statement.”
I mentioned a few weeks ago that de Blasio was excited about a meeting with The Idiot King where the progressive preschool push was talked about a lot.
It really is the linchpin of their ambitious agenda, one that aims to mold voters sympathetic to them before they’re even allowed to vote.
Progressives will trot out study after study to prove to you that your child will never learn to write his name without sticking the pen in his eye if you don’t get him to a preschool STAT. (One wonders how all of the scientists who got us to the moon were able to do so without the benefit of having gone to preschool.) It’s all garbage, of course, but it’s purposeful garbage. The sooner they can get your kids out of your hands and into those of a government employee who will say anything for a pension, the better.
And how do they get them there? Simple: continually make the tax burden on average parents so overwhelming that both have no choice but to work. Daycare too pricey you say? Hey-the governor just said he’s going to pay for preschool.
Sunday, January 12th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
It’s the economy, stupid.
So says Rachel Burger, who believes that the current economy is to blame for the demise of masculinity, not those darned feminists:
The reality is that the economy–that men themselves created–is far more to blame for the sorry state of American men. The Internet Age, along with global trade and the mass outsourcing of low-skill labor has brought forth in the West a people-based and knowledge-based economy which emphasizes social intelligence. Young women are now outpacing men across the board, from education to employment, and men should take a hint. If men want to pursue their roles as providers and achievers, they’re going to have to woman up.
It’s not the girls’ fault. “After all, it was men who invented the Internet, who created and sold mass-produced computers, who shipped jobs overseas and who even fashioned social media.” Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg.
Burger’s is a thinly veiled response to Camille Paglia’s praise of the “modern economy as a male epic” published last month in Time. Unlike Paglia, Burger comes to the table lacking an understanding of the relationship between economy and gender. With a millennial’s narrow perspective on American history, Burger manages great insight into the post-dot-com world of social intelligence-based tech companies while completely skipping over the debacle of NAFTA with the grossly prejudicial term “low-skill labor.”
In that primordial decade known as the ’90s, America’s manual labor industry was eviscerated by the North American Free Trade Agreement. Seventeen years after the agreement was signed, studies showed a loss of 682,900 American jobs, 60% of which were lost in the manufacturing industry. That doesn’t include the jobs that would be necessary without the imports from NAFTA — a whopping 1.47 million. Those jobs, and the financial boost that would’ve come with them, sure would’ve come in handy in 2008 when, as a result of the recession, the U.S. lost 2.6 million jobs. Mexico, the nation that continues to profit from NAFTA, does not defame nor downplay the benefits of so-called “low-skill labor.”
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 - by J. Christian Adams
Today the Drudge Report covers the Justice Department’s racialist attack on school discipline policies. The DOJ policy is based on the idea that school discipline policies are racially discriminatory because black students comprise a greater percentage of students disciplined than their percentage in the general population. Call it exceeding the bad behavior quota.
That this four-year-old federal policy exists wasn’t news. I covered it in my 2011 book Injustice. What is newsworthy is how these radical racialist education policies will outlast the Obama administration, and Republicans are ill-equipped to reverse it even if they win the White House.
The DOJ’s reasoning goes like this: if minorities face school discipline at rates greater than their overall percentage in the population, then the school is engaging in racial discrimination. As Civil Rights chief Tom Perez explained, “Black boys account for 9 percent of the nation’s student population, but comprise 24 percent of students suspended out of school and 30 percent of students expelled.” This preposterous racial bean-counting is an affront to the very concept of individual responsibility.
In January 2011, Perez announced that the DOJ would use a “disparate impact” analysis on school discipline cases to determine whether discipline policies were racially discriminatory. Thus, if blacks were disciplined in higher percentages than their share of the population, the DOJ would bring a lawsuit to stop the discipline policy. The new policy was on display at a DOJ conference on September 27 and 28, 2010, entitled “Civil Rights and School Discipline: Addressing Disparities to Ensure Educational Opportunity.” Attorney General Holder addressed the gathering and sought to “better understand the causes, and most effectively remedy the consequences, of disparities in student discipline.” Perez then complained that minority “students are being handed Draconian punishments for things like school uniform violations, schoolyard fights and subjective violations, such as disrespect and insubordination.”
Some might argue American schools have already allowed far too much disrespect and insubordination among students. That Tom Perez gives quarter for these acts illustrates the cultural demographic he and his fellow Obama political appointees seek to protect—the disrespectful and insubordinate.
Republicans in Congress have shown minimal skill in stopping these radical racialist programs. Instead of defunding the components of the DOJ that perpetrate these lawless policies, they continue to vote for spending resolutions and budgets that fuel them.
And even if the GOP takes control of the Justice Department in 2017, it will take an Attorney General willing to roll up his or her sleeves and clean out the mess inside the Civil Rights Division that is fueling these nutty and lawless policies. Only a few GOP figures understand the scope of the problem and have the courage to correct it. Among them are people like Representatives Louie Gohmert or Trey Gowdy, Senators Jeff Sessions or John Cornyn.
Here are three reasons why even these four would struggle in 2017 to reverse this lawless nuttiness:
Sunday, January 5th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
Here is what I’ve learned from my study of the Intellectual love affair with Marxism, along with one simple solution for winning the war against the Nomenklatura, the intellectual Marxist elite within our government, mass media, and public education systems.
Concurrent to the Russian Revolution, Liberalism in America became Marxism. Based on my research it would appear that the Victorian social justice movement and an increasingly European-influenced intellectual movement, with the help of Soviet spies and American commie traitors, gave birth to the Liberal Marxist hybrid. Its fate as a movement wasn’t sealed until the 60′s, when anti-Stalinist liberals like the Trillings were washed away by the rising tide of Soviet disinformation that conquered liberalism and began framing American culture for the takeover.
Friday, January 3rd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
My colleague Leslie Loftis makes some excellent points in her latest response in our ongoing dialogue about revamping the feminist movement in America. Regarding the Lean In wing of the movement, Leslie is humorously spot on in her comment, “We ape men and then claim that we do it better.” However, I do take some issue with a few of Leslie’s conclusions: ”That’s what reproductive control absolutism is about, negating biology so we can live like men,” and “ there is nothing that we on the Right can do about this culture war bullhorn problem.”
Leslie’s observations are illustrative of the Right’s ability to focus on the battles within the culture war (or, as Whittaker Chambers so aptly referred to them, symptoms of our cultural crisis) while completely losing focus on the war itself. My position is simple: We must focus, loudly, on the war itself and use the battles within to promote the facts bolstering the truth. To illustrate, I’ll begin by addressing Leslie’s comment, “So in Susan’s “brains, not boobs” terms, I submit a more inclusive and realistic, brains and boobs.”
The greatest challenge we face is the fact that American women, by virtue of the “War on Women” battle, believe themselves to be stuck in their gender. They can’t see themselves as anything but an on-screen goddess or, as Leslie pointed out in her original argument, a real-life slave to a corporation, to a marriage, to children, or to all of the above. Which is why I question her use of the fact that Mary Wollstonecraft died in childbirth. In this case I’m not exactly sure how that relates to rebuilding feminism as much as it plays into the left’s ideology of the ills of womanhood. Embrace your endocrinology for all it is worth, but don’t fall into the trap of believing that your body is a prison cell for which death is the only escape.
This is where the Right must acknowledge that the nomenklatura of cultural Marxists have done an amazing job of framing of the body as a human being’s only object of worth. We must also reason that truthfully, when you have no God and reject the concept of a soul and eternal life, you have nothing else to fall back on but the body. This demoralization has led to a variety of ideological misnomers, including the ultimate lie of the War on Women: the framing of the female body as a prison to be manipulated, abused, and ultimately destroyed.
Camille Paglia gave a wide-ranging interview to the Wall Street Journal last week, covering everything from diminished respect for the military to radical feminism as a threat to all of Western civilization. Paglia, a liberal feminist and lesbian who voted for Obama and excels at destroying sacred cows, said that “our culture doesn’t allow women to know how to be womanly” and falsely promises them that they can “have it all.”
Paglia also broached a topic that’s not discussed nearly enough, even in conservative circles. Saying that sex education classes focus too much on mechanics, she said that girls should be taught to consider how vocational decisions they make as teens can impact their futures:
I want every 14-year-old girl . . . to be told: You better start thinking what do you want in life. If you just want a career and no children you don’t have much to worry about. If, however, you are thinking you’d like to have children some day you should start thinking about when do you want to have them. Early or late? To have them early means you are going to make a career sacrifice, but you’re going to have more energy and less risks. Both the pros and the cons should be presented.
In our “have it all” culture, young people — young women in particular — are told to go to college, have a career, and then, perhaps somewhere way off in the future, get married and have kids. But no one really explains to young women about the requisite costs and trade-offs along the way. If a girl thinks she would like to have a family and children some day, it’s essential for her to consider how and when that might happen and whether that goal conflicts with other plans she has for her future. Despite the stereotypes fed to us by Hollywood, for most families, babies do not just pop out into designer 5-bedroom homes with live-in nannies. A 17-year-old girl may not want to think about such mundane things as child care when she is dreaming about a glamorous career as a CSI investigator, but better to consider them at age 17 than to have reality come crashing in later when she has less flexibility to make career-related decisions. Unfortunately, this kind of “family planning” is not only absent from most sex education classes, but it’s also rarely mentioned in career and vocational planning for teens.
On Wednesday I wrote about SB 248, an offensively intrusive bill introduced in the Ohio Senate by Senator Capri Cafaro. The bill, named Teddy’s Law for 14-year-old Teddy Tedesco who was brutally tortured and murdered by his mother’s boyfriend, would require all homeschooling families to submit to background checks and interviews with social workers before being permitted to homeschool or enroll in an online school in the state. Parents and children would be separated for interviews and any finding by a social worker that homeschooling was not “in the best interest of the child” would be grounds for denial of the right to homeschool or enroll in an online school.
In a stunning reversal, Cafaro, the bill’s sponsor, announced on Thursday that she intends to withdraw the bill. Declaring that the bill was never meant to provoke a policy debate on homeschooling, Cafaro said,
After consultation with Teddy’s family, we have collectively decided the best course of action is for me to withdraw SB 248, and instead pursue a more comprehensive approach to address the current challenges in the state’s social service and criminal justice system.
Ohioans for Educational Freedom (OEF), a statewide PAC that supports homeschooling, began telling Ohio homeschoolers and other supporters of freedom in education about the bill at 10:35 p.m. on Monday night. By Thursday afternoon the bill was dead.
The evolution of SB 248 from the time the Ohio education community first learned about it until the moment Cafaro announced she was abandoning it is an excellent example of what the grassroots can accomplish when they speak with one voice and work with laser-like focus on a single issue. Mark Stevenson from OEF reported:
By Tuesday morning, we sent around to all the Facebook home school groups we were in contact with. By Tuesday afternoon, the news had traveled so fast and furious that all the typical e-mail lists were sending out our RED ALERT quicker than we could keep up with.
CHEO [Christian Home Educators of Ohio] put out a thorough Alert of their own and it seemed most of the Ohio home school population became fully aware that this was the biggest encroachment of home schooling rights in Ohio.
By Tuesday afternoon Mike Donnelly from HSLDA [Homeschool Legal Defense Association] put out a statement saying ”This is the biggest over reach I’ve seen in a very long time if ever in the area of imposing regulation on home schoolers.” Later that evening, HSLDA sent out their evening e-mail that announced a headline of ”Worst-Ever Homeschool Law Proposed”. We were receiving intel reports that Cafaro’s office had been overwhelmed and inundated with phone calls all day on Tuesday and it was continuing through Wednesday.
If a bill introduced by four Democrats in the Ohio Senate last week becomes law, it would be the most radical homeschooling law in the country, stripping parents of their constitutionally guaranteed right to direct the education of their children and requiring interrogations by social workers before homeschooling is permitted. Home School Legal Defense Association’s Michael Donnelly said SB 248 is “breathtakingly onerous in its scope” and called it the “worst-ever” homeschool law that has been proposed.
Sponsored by Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard), SB 248 — Teddy’s Law — was proffered in reaction to the very tragic death of Teddy Foltz-Tedesco in January 2013. Teddy and his 10-year-old twin brothers were abused by Zaryl Bush for at least five years while the boys’ mother, Shain Widdersheim, stood by and allowed the torture and beatings to continue. Teddy ultimately died from a severe beating by Bush, who was sentenced to 33 years to life for the murder while the mother received a sentence of 15 years for allowing the abuse.
Widdersheim had withdrawn the boys from school — allegedly teaching them at home — after teachers began to suspect abuse. Relatives and neighbors say they reported the abuse to the children services board (CSB) on repeated occasion but were rebuffed. Widdersheim’s sister was one of them. “We called, multiple times we did,” she said, sobbing. “They wouldn’t do anything. They told us we were lying.”