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Testimony Concludes In Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Trial

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

On Tuesday, testimony concluded in the trial of 20 educators in the Atlanta Public School system who are accused of cheating on standardized tests. The defense called its final witness, and the Judge Jerry Baxter gave instructions to the jury and attorneys. Closing arguments will begin on March 16 after a longer-than-usual recess.

Prosecutors also say the teachers on trial prompted students as they struggled to answer test questions. Administrators for the district and at several schools allegedly threatened teachers if their students were failing and punished anyone who reported cheating.

Former Atlanta schools Superintendent Beverly Hall is also charged with racketeering, but she did not go on trial because she is being treated for Stage IV breast cancer. She will be tried once she is healthy enough.

If the jury finds the defendants guilty of racketeering, they could be sentenced to 20 years in prison. The defendants also face lesser charges that could bring prison sentences.

None of the 12 defendants testified, and eight of them called no witnesses.

In total, four defense attorneys called 31 witnesses in the past two weeks. In contrast, the prosecution called 133 witnesses, two in rebuttal.

The mood in the courtroom was jovial and giddy, as prosecutors posed for photos and Baxter dropped his usual hard-edged persona and addressed the courtroom in a more folksy manner.

“Y’all are fantastic,” Baxter told the jurors who first came to the Fulton County Courthouse for the trial more than six months ago. “I have never seen anything like this. The most striking thing is your diligence. We’re not over yet. The ultimate decisions will be in your lap and that’s coming soon.

“I want you to try to get back to what you were doing. Relax. You need to get in shape mentally and physically. Work out. Do the Rocky thing,” Baxter said.

[...]

Once the jury had left on Tuesday, Baxter, who has been testy throughout the trial, apologized to attorneys for his “gruff” behavior.

“If I have made anybody mad, I’m sorry. Sincerely,” Baxter said. “It’s been a long, long journey.

“I’m not perfect. Right, Evelyn?” he said to the court reporter.

“Right,” she answered.

“I have the highest respect for all of you. You battled for your clients and you’ve been professional,” Baxter said. “This trial turned out to be a lot better than I thought it might be. I had visions of nightmares. They have not come true. … I tried to give everybody a fair trial and I hope I have.”

Closing arguments will put the finishing touches on a truly bizarre trial, with accusations of teachers insulting and even threatening students and holding parties where they would change the answers on standardized tests. The trial took on the air of a soap opera many times, so we’ll see if the conclusion of the trial will bring the same kind of excitement.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Matthew Benoit

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IMF Chair’s ‘Conspiracy Against Women Working’ as Effective as Obama’s Generic ‘Extremism’

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Lip Service

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde followed Obama’s trendsetting “War on Muslims” narrative, thus failing the cause of women’s equality across the globe. The Feminist Fail started out on the right track:

Nations should remove laws that prevent women from working in order to increase the female labour supply and boost their economies, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has said.

“In too many countries, too many legal restrictions conspire against women to be economically active,” Lagarde wrote in a blog. “In a world in search of growth, women will help find it, if they face a level playing field instead of an insidious conspiracy.”

What exactly is this “insidious conspiracy” Lagarde is referring to? Don’t worry, she hasn’t taken the Patty Arquette pill, although she’s definitely drinking the Obama Kool Aid, because it’s all downhill from here:

But the IMF has to tread a careful line on this issue to avoid explicitly critiquing the laws in its 188 member countries, including states like Mali and Yemen, which have been among the worst performers on indices of gender equality.

Mali and Yemen, both Muslim-dominated states. Mali’s logo, “one people, one goal, one faith” is a contradiction in terms, at least when it comes to fostering economic growth, which is the only topic up for discussion on Lagarde’s watch:

The IMF has sought to couch its arguments in economic terms, saying in a previous study that having as many women in the labor force as men could boost economic growth by 5% in the United States, 9% in Japan and 34% in Egypt.

Note the radical climb in potential economic growth when the stats begin speaking to Muslim nations? Oops. Guess Lagarde’s staffers didn’t get the “War on Muslims” memo until after they prepared their findings, to which they quickly tacked on the following caveat:

“In recommending equal opportunities …this study does not intend to render a judgment of countries’ broadly accepted cultural and religious norms.”

Classy. Let’s talk about an obvious problem without directly drawing attention to it, since the problem is defended by radicalized terrorists. Is that called the White Elephant defense strategy?

 

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Over 50% of Jewish College Students Encounter Anti-Semitism on Campus

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The JTA reports:

More than half of current American Jewish college students have personally witnessed or experienced an anti-Semitic incident, according to a new study.

Some 54 percent of Jewish college students participating in the survey  released Monday by the Louis D. Brandeis Center and Trinity College said they had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism within the past academic year. The survey was taken in the spring of 2014, prior to the outbreak of hostilities last summer in Gaza.

The online survey of 1,157 students, conducted by Trinity College Professor Barry Kosmin and Associate Professor Ariela Keysar, found that percentages of students reporting encounters with anti-Semitism were relatively consistent across gender, religious outlook, and geographical region.

Students who affiliate with the Conservative and Reform movements were more likely to report such experiences than Orthodox students, with 69 percent of Conservative students, 62 percent of Reform students and 52 percent of Orthodox students responding that they had reported anti-Semitic encounters. Those who said they were always open about their Jewishness on campus were roughly as likely to have encountered anti-Semitism as those who said they were never open about their Jewishness, at 58 percent and 59 percent respectively.

According to the report, those taking the survey defined the term “anti-Semitic incident”. The organization Jew Hatred on Campus, a new organization established by the David Horowitz Freedom Center,

…compiled a list of the 10 U.S. campuses having the worst anti-Semitic activity in 2014.  Universities included in the top 10 played host to numerous incidents of anti-Jewish acts, such as Israeli Apartheid Week (a week-long event that demonizes the Jewish state); interrupting university activities by staging mock “checkpoints” on campus; campus speakers that call for the destruction of the Jewish state; and verbal or physical harassment and violence against Jewish and pro-Israel students.  These anti-Semitic incidents occur on university property, often with the support of university funds, despite the fact that such behavior is explicitly forbidden under campus codes of conduct.

From my own personal experience I’d add to the list a set of individual encounters with various students who questioned me as to why “there are so many of you in the media” and demanded my opinions about the”injustice” of the non-massacre at Jenin. In the case of these encounters, each oddly enough motivated by foreign students from Middle Eastern Muslim nations, the interrogators waited until we were alone with no witnesses before launching the “conversations”.

Perhaps it’s time campus Jewish groups start offering Krav Maga classes.

 

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Ted Cruz Has Some Advice for Parents Who Want to Stop Common Core

Monday, February 23rd, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
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During an interview with the Shark Tank, Senator Ted Cruz told Nicole Sanders that he is “passionately opposed to Common Core” and he had some advice for parents who want to stop it.

“The only way we’re going to stop Common Core — the only way we’re going to change the direction of this country — is for the grassroots to rise up,” the potential GOP presidential candidate said.

Cruz said that education decisions should be made at the state or local level “where we as parents have direct control over the standards, over the mores, over the curriculum that’s being taught to our kids.” He said the standards are being used by the federal government as a “mechanism” to force a uniform curriculum and to “put federal bureaucrats in charge of what is taught to our kids.”

The Texas senator advised parents not to look to Washington for the solution. He said the biggest divide we have in this country is not between Republicans and Democrats, but between career politicians — in both parties — and the American people.

“Part of why Common Core has gotten so much momentum is a whole bunch of Republicans joined with a whole bunch of Democrats agreeing that the federal government should stick its nose in the middle of education,” Cruz said. “The only way to change that is a grassroots movement that’s sweeping the country.”

Cruz compared the current situation in the United States to the country during the Carter administration — economic misery, stagnation, malaise, a disastrous foreign policy — and recalled that during the Reagan Revolution in the 1980s “the expansion of federal power was turned around.”

“But it came from the grassroots,” Cruz said. “The only way to stop Common Core is for the grassroots all across this country to rise up and say, ‘Enough is enough. We’re going to hold elected officials accountable.’”

“If you want to make sure our children’s education stays at the local level with parents having control and not sucked into Washington by unelected bureaucrats corrupting our curriculum, then rise up, speak out, organize, come together and hold elected officials accountable. Republicans and Democrats.”

He said talk is cheap and warned parents not to accept “soothing sounding words” from politicians who tell them what they want to hear.

“We need to hold everyone accountable,” Cruz said, “and that’s something only the grassroots can do.”

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The Idiocy of ‘Leaning In’ and Thinking You’ll Win Because You’re a Woman

Friday, February 20th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Laugh as the New Yorker attempts to trumpet the struggles of professional women through the story of an academic who grounded her negotiating skills in Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In:

This spring, an aspiring professor—W, as she’s chosen to call herself in a blog post about the experience—attempted to negotiate her tenure-track job offer with the Nazareth College philosophy department. She wanted a slightly higher salary than the starting offer, paid maternity leave for one semester, a pre-tenure sabbatical, a cap on the number of new classes that she would teach each semester, and a deferred starting date. “I know that some of these might be easier to grant than others,” she acknowledged in her e-mail. “Let me know what you think.”

Nazareth didn’t hesitate to do just that: W wrote that the college promptly let her know that she was no longer welcome. “The institution has decided to withdraw its offer of employment to you,” the terse reply concluded. “We wish you the best in finding a suitable position.”

What a dope.

Head over to Nazareth College’s website and you’ll learn rather quickly via their faculty manual that most of the items she attempted to “negotiate” are already set in stone, most likely via union negotiation and past practice. Regarding her “paid maternity leave” request, Nazareth’s policy is generous to say the least. Fully paid disability period, ability to apply paid time off towards FMLA, and the ability to request up to 2 semesters of leave without pay, “but with paid employee basic health insurance and major medical insurance only to which the faculty member would otherwise be entitled”. That’s one heck of a good faith investment put forth on behalf of the college for new parents (moms and dads) to stay at home for up to a year.

As far as a “pre-tenure sabbatical” goes, this woman apparently hasn’t worked a day in academia in her life. She’s applying for a tenure-track position. Time worked is what allows you to accrue tenure. A sabbatical doesn’t count towards time worked, so essentially she just asked them to delay her own job advancement so she could have paid time off to wander the libraries of the world. Combine that with the class cap request and ask how either measure, both of which illustrate a total lack of work ethic, would possibly work to her advantage?

Higher salary within reason? Sure. Lean in all you want. Deferred start date? Depends on the circumstances. But before you decide to negotiate a first job based on the musings of a high-level executive, try reading about the job for which you’re actually negotiating. Or, just whine to the world that your demands were rejected because you’re a woman. That’s much more empowering.

 

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Majority of Israelis Believe American Government Interfering in Israeli Elections

Sunday, February 15th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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IMRA picked up on a report for the Israeli daily Maariv based on an Internet poll of 589 respondents including Israeli Arabs) conducted on February 11:

Is Netanyahu justified in wanting to present his position on the Iranian
nukes before the American Congress?
Yes 56% No 36% Don’t know 8%

Is the American Government interfering in the Israeli elections?
Yes 61% No 31% Don’t know 8%

What should Netanyahu do in the wake of criticism regarding his planned
address to Congress?
41% Go and speak regardless
17% Go but speak at AIPAC
36% Don’t go at all
06% Don’t know

According to the Jerusalem Post, the poll had a margin of error of 4.5%.

The interference on the part of the American government, specifically the Obama administration, appears to be nothing less than a part of Obama’s well-orchestrated “Bulworth Plan” to “be more honest” in his second term, as Seth Mandel at Commentary writes:

So what does it mean for Obama to be “authentic?” Here’s CNN:

In addition to revealing his actual position in favor of legal same-sex marriages, and working on immigration reform and to combat climate change, the president singled out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Axelrod wrote. Specifically, he wanted to be tougher on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Just to put this in perspective, Obama had been working to collapse Netanyahu’s government almost immediately. What Obama was saying was that trying to collapse the duly elected Israeli government was his way of pulling punches, of not being tough enough on Netanyahu. It’s easy to see why Obama thought this might make some of his advisors nervous.

Mandel is right that Obama’s strategy is “morally bankrupt and ill advised,” although I wonder why he’d think Obama was out to gain the trust of an already doubtful Israeli electorate. Based on Obama’s “War on Muslims” platform, gaining the support of the Israeli population is furthest from the American president’s mind. Obama’s real end-game is simple: Destroy whatever is left of the Israeli-American political alliance by fostering as much distrust as possible among the Israeli and American electorates towards one another and their respective governments.

Don’t let the Messiah motif mask the reality that Obama is only the figurehead of a very large, very powerful snake that seeks to crush more than any one human being, no matter how powerful, could possibly control or destroy on their own.

Also read: In ‘Bipartisan’ Move, J Street Unites with Republicans Who Bash Israel

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In ‘Bipartisan’ Move, J Street Unites with Republicans Who Bash Israel

Sunday, February 15th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

J Street, a progressive organization that encodes itself as “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans,” has just released the slate for their 5th annual conference to be held in March. The list contains the usual suspects with one attempt at a surprise addition in the form of former Republican Secretary of State James Baker.

Pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon gives a concise summation of exactly why this union is anything but a bipartisan move:

…according to the Jerusalem Post’s Lahav Harkov, James Baker is the keynote speaker.

Baker is of course infamous for reportedly saying in private conversation, while George HW Bush’s secretary of state, “F**k the Jews, they didn’t vote for us anyway.”

But his antipathy towards Israel is well documented. He wanted the US to punish Israel for destroying Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor. He hated Netanyahu as early as 1990, barring him from entering the State Department’s building. And last but not least, he co-wrote the Iraq Study Group’s 2006 paper that recommended (among other things) that the US tilt its foreign policy away from Israel and towards Syria and Iran, advice that President Obama seems to have taken to heart.

So who says that J-Street isn’t bipartisan? It loves anti-Israel, antisemitic Republicans too!

Who’s next on the J Street line up, Pat Buchanan?

Note to parents of public school children: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, is also listed as a featured speaker. Perhaps she’ll enlighten the audience as to how the J Street platform ties into Common Core.

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Scott Walker Takes On Another Ripe Target: Academe

Friday, February 13th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Serious, this guy is more fun than a barrel of monkeys, as The American Interest reports:

Scott Walker, one of the Republicans considering to run for president in 2016, earned his bona-fides earlier in his career by taking on public sector unions. Now he has embarked on another high-profile fight with a state-funded constituency: university professors. The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Walker, a Republican, has proposed a two-year tuition freeze and a $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System’s budget—about a 13% drop next year from current funding levels. Under the plan, Mr. Walker would shift control of the university system from the state to a new independent authority. He has also said that he thinks faculty needs to work harder.

 We have warned for some time that the modern American university system is more vulnerable than many professors like to think, and that the way public universities organize themselves is going to come under much tougher scrutiny in the coming years.

Gee, that’s too damn bad. Of course the Democrats will howl, but hey — elections have consequences!

There is still a lot of respect in the country for the hard sciences and the people who teach them, but with the partial exception of economists and business school professors, much of the public has been losing its veneration for social science professors and humanities professors for some time.

A major restructuring of the university system is likely to come, with the weak spot being the publicly funded university system. Politics will have something to do with it; studies show that university faculty are one of the most Democratic groups in the country. With a large majority of states now under GOP control both in the legislatures and the governors’ mansions, it’s going to be hard for tenured faculty and high level administrators to get a sympathetic hearing for their pleas.

 

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Gasps of Disbelief as ‘Live with Kelly and Michael’ Top Teacher Winner Resigns Over Common Core Testing

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
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Stacie Starr, a veteran Elyria, Ohio, teacher who was chosen as the winner of  the “Live with Kelly and Michael” 2014 Top Teacher Search, announced her retirement on Monday, citing the increasing pressures on students and teachers under the mandated Common Core standards.

The Chronicle-Telegram reported:

Gasps of disbelief followed the announcement made during an education forum aimed at unraveling for parents the intricacies of the standardized testing system. Starr was at the podium, delivering a talk on how special education students are suffering under the new system based on Common Core standards and more rigorous assessments. She said as a veteran intervention specialist at Elyria High School, she could no longer watch silently from within the confines of a structured school day.

Instead, she is leaving education in the traditional sense.

“I am going to teach in a different way,” she proclaimed.

Starr wants to start an after-school mentoring program for at-risk students in hopes of saving them from the school-to-prison pipeline.

Starr spoke to a standing-room-only audience at the local public library and fought back tears as she announced her retirement at the end of the current school year. “I can’t do it anymore, not in this ‘drill ‘em and kill ‘em’ atmosphere,” she said. “I don’t think anyone understands that in this environment if your child cannot quickly grasp material, study like a robot and pass all of these tests, they will not survive.”

“I have faith in my students, but my students are reading at sometimes a fourth- and fifth-grade reading level,” said Starr, who teaches 9th grade students. “Each and every day, I have to look in my students’ eyes and tell them I can’t help them because the state has decided they have to prove what they know.”

She said it’s hard for teachers because “the rules keep changing.”

Another teacher at the meeting said he understands her decision. “I’m like you. I feel like I have to get out,” said Jackie Conrad, a third grade teacher.

Matt Jablonski, another veteran teacher from Elyria High School, said that he has been teaching since before No Child Left Behind became law.

“We will give the last [Ohio Graduation Test] this year. I don’t know if I’m going to cry when we do, because what we are moving to is unbelievable,” he said.

Last week Dawn Neely, another veteran teacher in the Elyria district, implored the school board to take control of the “testing culture” in their local schools.

“I don’t know what to do. I am morally against what we are doing, and I think history will judge us for what we do to fight for our kids,” she told the Elyria school board. “Look through the test books and you tell me if you think they are developmentally appropriate. No one is advocating for our district, and I am asking my district to be honest with the parents about what we are doing to students.”

Board president Kathryn Karpus responded to Neely’s speech by saying the district’s hands are tied. They are bound by Ohio laws that mandate the testing.

“All we can do is speak for students in numbers and hope Columbus listens and acts,” Karpus said.

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VIDEO: Obama Dubs Paris Jewish Supermarket Attack ‘Random Shooting’

Monday, February 9th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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It was a typical rambling Barry interview until 1:45 when he declared,

It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.

We’re in a War on Muslims, folks, and Offensive General Obama has no trouble causing much offense when it comes to the Jews. While American Jewish leaders scramble to speak out against Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress, General Barry is warning his soldiers not to “bow” to Jewish donors. He’s also paying lip service to America and Israel’s historic relationship while making it very clear that he and Netanyahu disagree on Iran. Then there’s that pesky “anybody but Bibi” V15 campaign kerfuffle that’s appearing more and more like an undercover op by the day.

But this isn’t just about the Jews. When he’s not picking on Christians for their near-thousand year-old response to the war crimes of the radical Islamic world, General Obama is meeting with his War on Muslims coalition, including representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood. The General is right when he states this isn’t a Republican/Likud versus Democrat/Labor thing. This is obviously a reality versus War on Muslims thing, and the General is doing everything he can to make sure the world knows he has 2 years left to use both Jews and Christians on the front lines of his own personal Operation Human Shield, better known as “Bunches of Random Acts of Violence.”

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Canadian State Broadcaster Disappointed By ‘Distressingly Low’ Campus Rape Numbers

Monday, February 9th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle

fondo abstracto de tecnologia 3d.Lenguaje binario

Canadian liberals have always been jealous of their American comrades for getting all the “cool” history, like the civil rights movement and Watergate.

But at least those two things really happened (if not always quite the way they’ve been reported).

In a new low, left-wing Canucks are now whining that our campus rape stats aren’t as high as America’s (aren’t, actually.)

Sex assault reporting on Canadian campuses worryingly low, say experts

Has the CBC hired that disgraced Rolling Stone rape beat reporter or something?

Ha! Show’s what you know. At a cost to taxpayers of over $1 billion a year, the CBC is perfectly capable of screwing up their own narrative all by themselves, thanks.

As they permit one of the libeled universities in this “study” to point out:

The CBC has chosen to ignore the flaws inherent in its research in an effort to present comparative data with no relevance to many of the universities in its survey sample. Presenting comparative data on a per 10,000 student basis has no relevance for a university campus with only 3,500 full time students unless it is a deliberate effort by reporters to sensationalize an otherwise extraordinarily important and complex issue.

Even commie pinko Ryerson “University,” which has never seen a “progressive” fad it didn’t like, suddenly doesn’t believe in a “campus rape epidemic” anymore. At least, not at their campus!

At Ryerson University, which is situated in downtown Toronto, 57 assaults were reported to the university between 2009 and 2013. In 2013, Ryerson had a full-time student population of almost 24,000.

“Regarding the data, unfortunately, there is little consistency in how Canadian post-secondary institutions collect and report sexual assault data,” the university told CBC News in a statement. “[At Ryerson] we also collect data that includes non-community members reporting incidents that have happened within our precinct, which extends over a large area of downtown Toronto.”

A likely story, Ry-High. What were you wearing?

Now hurry up and get yourselves raped, young ladies.

Don’t let math be the only thing hard around here!

We need to get those stats up, stat!

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Lies and Redemption Fuel a Grammys Bent on Sex

Monday, February 9th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Oh for the days when music was about music. Perhaps that hasn’t truly existed since the pioneers strummed banjos on their front porches, but hey we can dream. Anything is better than the farce dished out at this year’s Grammy Awards by the likes of sinner-turned-saints Katy Perry and Queen Bey and the Grand Poobah of Liars Barack Obama. Kanye was still Kanye, terrorizing the stage with his unwanted opinions, but at least he’s being true to his Messiah complex. The rest of them cracked open the Eau de Hypocrisie in their SWAG bags way too early.

On the Sunday night preceding the release of Fifty Shades of Grey in movie theaters nation-wide, the music industry famous for turning women into greased-up, slimmed-down sex objects suddenly decided it gave a damn about sexual assault. Not because they really do, but because sexual assault sells. Just ask Lena Dunham and that chick who lugs a mattress around Columbia U. Autism replaced AIDS and now that we’ve decided vaccines aren’t an assault on our children we’ve turned our collective head and trumped up statistics towards sexual assault.

Big Brother Barry broke into the awards show to lacquer us with the false 1 in 5 narrative before commanding us to hashtag our support for the White House’s campaign against sexual assault on campus. Cue “domestic violence activist” testimony neatly leading into a performance of “By the Grace of God” by Katy Perry sans beach-ball bikini and shark dancers.  Beyonce, far from the wet, lap-dancing prostitute of last year, appeared in angelic white garb to sing “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” for the show’s holiest of finales. Pop-meets-penance, it was a spectacle worthy of a holy institution. The only thing missing was Steve Martin in his sparkling jacket promising to heal us all, at least the straight men, of their demon sexuality.

Prior to this tent revival escapade, Madonna touched on the music industry’s pagan affair with lusty sexuality in her trademark style. Clad as a matador, men dressed as faceless bulls with Satanic horns danced around her while she declared her ability to rise up (via harness, apparently) and “live for love” despite being “knocked down” by previous lovers. Lyrically she hasn’t generated anything unique since the ’80s and the techno-pop beat was more worthy of Cher or Kylie Minogue than Madonna at her most innovative. But her visual style paid homage to the reality of a Hollywood soaked in bizarre, painful sex and enjoying it thoroughly.

Were honest statistics and less theatrics used in addressing the real issue of sexual violence, the Grammys would have seemed more authentic and less like damage control following Rolling Stone‘s massive faux pas when it came to reporting on the campus rape epidemic that isn’t. When Perry and Bey quit getting naked on their knees, call me. Until then, regardless of how many layers of white they wear they’re just dancing in the shadow of Madonna, the music industry’s reigning pagan priestess.

Also read: 

1%ers: Take a Look at the $25,000 Swag Bag at the Grammy Awards

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VIDEO: Obama Exports ‘Hope & Change’ Loop to Israel via V15

Thursday, February 5th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Want to see Obama’s 2008 campaign in a nutshell? Check out the young political activists recruited by the V-2015 campaign to elect “anyone but Netanyahu.” If you thought the “anyone but” goal was vague, try listening to their platform. Count how many times “hope and change” is repeated and remind yourselves that this is what got an American president elected — twice.

Dear God, let Israelis be smarter than us. With the polls neck-in-neck between Bibi’s Likud and the Livni/Labor “Zionist Camp” mashup, it’s questionable exactly how much impact the V15 campaign stands to have on the Israeli electorate. Likud came out swinging at V15, accusing the group of backing the Labor Zionist Camp. The accusation was later apologized for by Bibi’s lawyer, but that doesn’t leave lawmakers on this side of the ocean are without due cause to question Obama about V15′s involvement in the Israeli elections. Haaretz reports, “Two Republican lawmakers asked the Obama administration to explain OneVoice’s involvement in the election, given that it has received State Department funding.”

Anyone wishing to understand the Zionist Camp would be remiss to ignore Liel Leibovitz’s excellent analysis over at Tablet magazine:

Why, then, go to all this trouble to reclaim the ancient ideology? Why not just run, as generations of Labor leaders have in the past, as purveyors of new hopes rather than old ideas? In part, it’s because doing so would require Labor to state just how it distinguishes itself from Likud when it comes to safeguarding Israel’s security, a question that, in light of the Palestinian reluctance to engage in good-faith negotiations, is growing more and more difficult to answer. Livni herself was Prime Minister Netanyahu’s chief peace negotiator and was in agreement with the government’s policies on everything from the John Kerry peace initiative to last summer’s war in Gaza. She and her new partners in Labor can hardly claim to have an agenda that provides new answers to the tough questions of war and peace Israelis face each day. Instead of looking to the future, then, Labor is gazing longingly at the past.

That doesn’t sound like very much “hope n’change” to me.

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‘Unsatisfactory’ Public School Teacher? Tough!

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

In New York City, of course, where it’s well-nigh impossible to fire one of these people:

Six strikes and she’s not out. The city Department of Education has failed to fire a teacher rated “unsatisfactory” for six consecutive years. Ann Legra, 44, a first-grade teacher at PS 173 in Washington Heights, racked up “six years of failing her students,” the city ­argued in a 16-day termination hearing.

Hearing officer Eugene Ginsberg upheld charges of Legra’s “inability to supervise students,” excessive lateness and absence and poor lesson planning in the 2012-2013 school year. But Ginsberg dismissed evidence that Legra was a lousy instructor, saying she didn’t get enough coaching. He imposed only a 45-day suspension without pay. Legra keeps her $84,500-a-year salary, but is now assigned to a pool of 1,400 teachers who serve as substitutes.

In case you’re wondering:

“Students up out of their seats, at least one was running, another was demonstrating karate moves on the closet door and the majority of the students were not involved in anything instructional — an issue that has repeatedly plagued your tenure as a classroom teacher,” he wrote at the time.

Three of her 6-year-olds were injured in a classroom melee that day, he added. Amid the “mayhem,” Goodman wrote, Legra was “buried in a corner at a computer table” where she could not monitor all the kids.

Legra said she was “re-sharpening pencils” that were too sharp — to prevent accidents. She claimed the students were “walking around the room working on word activities.” Over the school year, Legra was absent 27 times and late 37 times. Legra said she suffers asthma and had to go to court for a custody fight with her ex.

Then there’s this kicker:

Legal [sic -- I think the Post means Legra] has since filed a federal lawsuit against the DOE, charging discrimination based on her race, gender, national origin and medical disability.

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Feminist Mother Questions, Praises Her Ability to Indoctrinate ‘Princess’ Daughter

Monday, February 2nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Over at the New York Times, gender feminist Sally Kohn chronicles her recent experience taking her five-year-old, princess-obsessed daughter to Disney World for her birthday. To read her account of the event, you’d presume the mother would’ve rather experienced a root canal without anesthesia than be forced to spend quality time celebrating her daughter’s birth. Every choice her five year old made, from wearing dresses to having her hair done at the Bippity-Boppity Boutique, drew nothing more than a cringe from her self-described “tomboy” mother, who whined and moaned through the article, oddly enough, like someone her daughter’s age:

I don’t know how it is that in the modern era, I still can’t get decent reception on my cellphone but somehow traditional gender norms are silently communicated and crystal clear. My partner and I certainly didn’t teach our daughter to like pink and ruffles and such. And I can’t fathom some genetic or biological nodule that predisposes my girl to like dolls while little boys like trucks. Baloney. But somehow, even in the midst of our hyper-liberal and hyper-diverse neighborhood with girls and boys of all kinds on display every day, it happened. Did I do something wrong? Is feminism mysteriously skipping a generation? Meanwhile, I have to bribe her to wear jeans.

People say it’s a phase and not to resist it or else Willa will just dig in longer.

If you’re looking for the loving, supportive parenting and expressions of affirmation and joy a mother would normally take in a child, you’ll need to scroll down to the end of the article to find the reason for the praise:

“But you’ll have to wait awhile to marry your prince,” one Fairy Godmother says to Willa.

“No,” Willa replies. “I don’t have to marry a prince if I don’t want to. I could marry another princess. Or I don’t even have to get married.”

The Fairy Godmothers-in-Training are momentarily speechless. And then, one by one, they start to applaud. One even pumps her fist in the air. Feminism didn’t skip my daughter, it was just hiding underneath all that pink and glitter.

Glad to know Komrade Mommy eventually did reward her good little Fem-bot. Even if it did mean stealing her tiara out from underneath her, the self-aggrandizing theft was done in the spirit of wanting “to be just like” her well-trained daughter. God help little Willa if she ever dares to make a decision of her own. That’s clearly not in Mommy’s gender feminism handbook.

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Obama Calls On Harvard Alma Mater to ‘Spread Around’ $1.5 Billion in 2014 Donations It Received

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 - by Scott Ott

Harvard University, best known for its former, albeit laconic *, Law Review president, has now distinguished itself in another way. Last year, Harvard received gifts in excess of $1.5 billion — that’s Billion, as in “you didn’t Build that.”

The president undoubtedly Tweeted Harvard’s Dean of Donations this week to remind him that “at a certain point you’ve made enough money,” and that, while he doesn’t want to punish Harvard’s success, “when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.”

Obama probably urged his Crimson comrades to consider the egalitarian generosity of Charles and David Koch, who recently contributed $25 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to help needy students at historically-black schools. President Obama almost certainly encouraged his alma mater to emulate this field-leveling behavior, even if doing so might cause a backlash from AFSCME, the union of government employees, which cut ties with the UNCF in protest over the Koch donation.

With only 106 historically-black colleges and universities, many of them struggling financially, Harvard could simply divide up that $1.5 billion in equal shares of $14 million (with Harvard also receiving its fair share.) What could be a more equitable way of addressing such savage income inequality?

It was, after all, a $37.5 billion record year for giving to America’s 4,800 colleges and universities, but $6.75 billion of that went to just 10 schools. In other words, the top two-tenths of one percent got 18 percent of the money.

Young Barack Obama posing by Harvard signYou may ask why Barack Obama, of all of the Harvard grads, should be the one to alert the guardians of this Ivy League bastion to their opportunity to address historical inequality?

As a millionaire, living in a palace, with servants meeting his every need, security watching his every step, becking and calling limousines and luxury aircraft, vacationing in posh resorts, and golfing his days away — Barack Obama clearly has the prestige, and the leisure time, to petition the captains of Cambridge, Mass., to redress this lingering injustice.

However, you may contend, the donors to Harvard did not intend their wealth to be spread around so liberally. 

Yes, but what is Harvard, if not an educational institution? Should that education stop after a few years of undergraduate work, a master’s or a doctorate? No, I say, let the learning continue for a lifetime, as Harvard teaches its wealthy capitalist alumni the vanity of greed and the surpassing value of selfless giving.

May Obama’s elite friends in academia experience the full blessing of his legacy of leveling.

 

* Though once a man of few words, Obama has since been super-cured of his erstwhile laconicism.

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WATCH LIVE: 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Currently being broadcast live from Poland.

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Anti-Israel Demonstrators Protest NYC Council’s Auschwitz Commemoration

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The New York Daily News reported on a disturbing pro-Palestinian demonstration that took place in a City Council meeting last week. Just as the council was about to conclude a vote on a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, 

Pro-Palestinian activists disrupted a City Council meeting Thursday to protest Council members’ planned trip to Israel next month.

Protesters in the balcony of the Council chamber unfurled a Palestinian flag and began yelling “Palestinian lives matter,” “Don’t support genocide,” and “Melissa, you’re a hypocrite,” a slam on Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will lead the Israel delegation.

…A few dozen protesters were booted from the chamber, with some physically removed, and were ordered off the City Hall property all together.

Council members were appalled at the timing and actions of the pro-Palestinian group. Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito denounced their actions while Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) declared,

“What you saw here today was naked, blind anti-Semitism,” he thundered.

“That’s what you saw, and that’s what you watched, and that’s what you witnessed – people who were upset for one reason. Do you want to know why they’re upset, do you want to know why they’re angry, do you want to know why they unfurled that flag today? Because Hitler did not finish the job. He only wiped out half of my family.”

The real shocker? The demonstration was led, in part, by Pam Sporn of Jewish Voices for Peace. Sporn, a known BDS activist, continually broadcasts her Jewish identity to defend anti-Israel demonstrations around New York City. Sporn declared that the Council’s upcoming trip was designed to “legitimize the discriminatory practices of Israel.” Her’s were statements screamed out specifically during the recognition of the real genocide committed by “discriminatory” Nazis. The timing couldn’t have sent a clearer, more anti-Semitic message. How will Sporn’s Jewish identity dig her out of this one?

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Obama’s Iran Negotiations

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Hat tip: Grabien

So much for Barry’s quip about winning elections. John Boehner finally grew a pair and outwitted the Smug-in-Chief this Wednesday by inviting the White House’s greatest enemy to address Congress. No, not Iranian President Ahmadinejad, but the enemy both he and Obama share: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

After a State of the Union that paid poorly-timed lip service to terrorism the speaker of the House took matters into Republican hands and made a big show of it. Like, Ed Sullivan big. Too big, in fact, for Barry and his cohorts according to the Israeli left-wing paper Ha’aretz:

“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.

Officials in Washington said that the “chickensh*t” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

It’s the kind of delicious scandal you’d only expect from Downton’s Julian Fellowes. (There’s not enough sex in it for Shonda Rhimes, or is there?) After issuing a warning to his own fellow Democrats not to “bow” to (Jewish) donors, Obama supposedly calls Netanyahu and warns him to “tone down his pro-sanctions rhetoric.” His administration avoids Paris, deciding instead to throw an anti-terrorism conference that will talk about everything but radical Islamic terror, because that’s all been staged to create a “War on Muslims” of which Barry “Cairo” Obama wants no part. Then, the glorious king and savior of HopenChange descends on the Capitol to pay lip-service to the terror that has no name and makes sure to slap anti-Semitism in the face, noting:

“It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims, the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace.”

At least he waited until the Jewish victims of the radical Islamic terror attack on a kosher supermarket were buried before lumping the hatred that murdered them in with Muslim stereotypes. If George W. Bush’s term was known for the War on Terror, dear God, let Barry’s term be known as the one that created, advocated, and fought on defense for the “War on Muslims.”

Oddly enough, as the general of the battle, Obama’s doing a darn good job of defending those radical Islamists he claims to despise, the Iranian regime in particular to the tune of 11.9 billion of your tax dollars. He’s doing an even better job of alienating his troops on the front line and their leader, Bibi. How does one say “forked tongue” in Arabic, or better yet, Persian? I know how Boehner and the Republicans in Congress say it: With the best invitation America’s ever issued to a foreign leader. And about damned time.

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You Won’t Believe What This NYC Teacher Told a Group of Senators About Common Core Testing

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

On Wednesday Jia Lee, a teacher at The Earth School in New York City, testified at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee about reforming the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Lee, a fifth grade special education teacher, told the committee, chaired by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), that over 50% of the parents at The Earth School refused to allow their children to take the Common Core aligned English/Language Arts and Math tests and said her school was not alone.

“Last year,” Lee told the senators,  ”I decided that I am obligated and accountable to my students and families, and that is why, as a conscientious objector, I will not administer tests that reduce my students to a single metric and will continue to take this position until the role of standardized assessments are put in their proper place.”

“We just celebrated the life of Martin Luther King Jr.” Lee continued.  ”In his Letter From a Birmingham Jail, King affirms that ‘one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.’ He quotes St. Augustine who said ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’ So long as education policy continues to be shaped by the interests of corporate profiteering and not the interests of our public school children, we will resist these unjust testing laws.”

She said that parents who complain about high-stakes testing have been accused of “coddling.” She challenged that assumption, saying that the focus on testing has taken time and resources away from the arts, social studies, and physical education.

Instead of focusing on testing, Lee said, classrooms should emphasize “the importance of fostering learning environments that value a culture of trust, diversity, and teacher autonomy.”

Lee joins other teachers in New York City who object to “market-based education reform” and are refusing to administer high stakes tests as an “act of conscience.” There is also a growing opt-out movement throughout the country that encourages parents to refuse to allow their children to take Common Core and other high stakes tests. Parents and teachers object to the testing for a wide variety of reasons. Nearly everyone thinks too much classroom time is devoted to testing and test preparation. And while parents are concerned about data collection related to the tests and the testing anxiety their children experience, teachers often object to having the tests tied to their performance evaluations as well as the corporate influence in test development and in the adoption of the Common Core standards.

You can read Lee’s written testimony here.

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This Short Speech from Lamar Alexander Will Show You How Broken Washington Really Is

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) gave the opening remarks during today’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee meeting, calling for bipartisan reform of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Alexander said that reform of NCLB, which was signed into law by President Bush in 2002, “is more than seven years overdue.”

“We’ve been working on it for more than 6 years,” Alexander said. “When we started, former Rep. George Miller [an original sponsor of NCLB] said, ‘Pass a lean bill to fix No Child Left Behind,’ and we identified a small number of problems.” Since then, Alexander said, “We’ve had 24 hearings, and in each of the last two Congresses we’ve reported bills out of committee.”

Six years! Congress has been unable — in six years — to reform a bad law that took a mere 350 days (or if you prefer, 8400 hours) to pass. No Child Left Behind was initially proposed by President George W. Bush on January 23, 2001, and coauthored by Representatives John Boehner (R-OH), George Miller (D-CA), and Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Judd Gregg (R-NH). The House passed the bill on May 23, 2001, and by June 14, 2001, it had won Senate approval. President Bush signed it into law on January 8, 2002.

Thirteen years later, Congress is still trying to repair the damage from the law that amounted to the largest federal intrusion into state education decisions in U.S. history. The problem is that lawmakers are trying to “fix” something that shouldn’t exist in the first place.

Alexander said in his opening remarks, “I understand that there can be short-term gains from Washington’s orders– but my experience is that long-term success can’t come that way. In fact, today Washington’s involvement, in effect mandating Common Core and teacher evaluation, is creating a backlash, making it harder for states to set higher standards and evaluate teaching.”

True enough, but Sen. Alexander’s proposed solutions will do little more than tinker around the edges of the massive federal law. The options he is proposing will either “give flexibility to the states to decide what to do on testing” or “maintain current law testing requirements.” Both options would continue to require annual reporting of student achievement to the federal government, continuing the carrot and stick approach to the federal government’s education funding scheme for the states.

Perhaps in another six years someone will suggest returning public education completely to its proper place — back to state and local control.

But perhaps that is wishful thinking, seeing how broken (and tone deaf) Washington is and how incapable and unwilling our lawmakers are of repealing an overbearing federal law once it becomes embedded in the government behemoth.

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Colleges Struggle to Define Rape-ish

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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A college graduate going by the nom de plume of “Hot Piece” penned a story of a bad sexual encounter for her website Total Sorority Move. The Chronicle of Higher Education picked up on the story for its report on the changing nature of what constitutes rape on college campuses.

Hot Piece detailed a sexual encounter with a male student she referred to as a “friend” who she’d been “flirting with all” throughout college. Alcohol happened. Lots of it, apparently, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since Hot Piece “…spent her undergraduate years drinking $4 double LITs on a patio and drunk texting away potential suitors.” One thing led to another and talking about sex led to …sex:

Maybe I didn’t want to feel like I’d led him on. Maybe I didn’t want to disappoint him. Maybe I just didn’t want to deal with the “let’s do it, but no, we shouldn’t” verbal tug-of-war that so often happens before sleeping with someone. It was easier to just do it. Besides, we were already in bed, and this is what people in bed do. I felt an obligation, a duty to go through with it. I felt guilty for not wanting to. I wasn’t a virgin. I’d done this before. It shouldn’t have been a big deal–it’s just sex–so I didn’t want to make it one.

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Would Voters Let School Children Suffer Without Heat?

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

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Should school districts be able to raise taxes without voter approval to provide for critical maintenance needs? Legislators in Minnesota from both sides of the aisle think so. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

A longstanding school funding law allows 25 Minnesota school districts to raise residents’ property taxes for maintenance funds without direct voter approval. The rest of the districts… don’t have that luxury. That’s led to a big gap in funding among districts for things like carpet replacement, security upgrades and heating and cooling modernization.

State Sen. Kevin Dahle [a Democrat] wants to change that arrangement, extending the taxation power to districts statewide. He and other bill proponents call it a matter of fairness. Most of the 25 districts on the list are in the [Twin Cities] metro area…

The disparity can lead some schools stuck with poor facilities that can distract students, proponents say, and siphon funding away from things like teachers and textbooks.

“It’s not fair. A building ages the same across the state,” said state Sen. Karin Housley, a Republican who represents Forest Lake and co-authored the Dahle bill.

The bill from Dahle, a Northfield Democrat, would require Minnesota to chip in funding for districts with lower property tax bases to help equalize their take. A state facilities working group estimated last year that requirement would cost Minnesota about $300 million in its first three years.

That’s too much state spending for Rep. Steve Drazkowski, a Republican from Mazeppa. The chairman of the House Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division said lawmakers shouldn’t take taxation decisions out of voters’ hands.

Dahle and others say voters would still have a say because they elect school board members. Drazkowski dismissed that. He suggested another way to make things fair: stripping the 25 districts of the ability to tax without a ballot question.

Drazkowski has it right. If fairness is the goal, then restore the right of voters to determine whether their taxes will be raised. Don’t strip that right from everyone statewide.

As proves typical whenever government officials seek more of our money to spend, they paint an image of freezing children distracted from learning. We’re meant to perceive a dichotomy between fixing such problems (by raising taxes) and neglecting them (by not).

In this case, the bill’s sponsors imply an even starker dichotomy. The issue isn’t raising taxes so much as who gets to decide whether they are raised. What proponents of this bill are really implying is that voters won’t raise their own taxes to address critical maintenance issues, that voters will let their own children freeze.

There are two appropriate responses to that. First, if we suspend our disbelief long enough to imagine such a thing would ever happen, so what? If voters don’t want to raise their own taxes, they’ll live with the consequences. That’s their prerogative.

Of course, the notion that voters would let their kids freeze before raising revenue proves dubious on its face. In truth, voters may simply demand prioritization of some needs above others.

That’s what school districts want to avoid. So we get pitched the specter of money diverted from “teachers and textbooks,” as if that’s the only place it could come from.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here.)

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Famous Rabbi Who Marched with MLK ‘Left Out’ of Selma

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was a pioneer who stood alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the march on Selma and the fight for civil rights in America. And viewers of the film Selma will never know that fact, because director Ava DuVernay elected to eliminate Heschel from the film.

In an op-ed for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Heschel’s daughter Susannah writes:

The 50th anniversary of the 1965 march at Selma is being commemorated this year with the release of the film “Selma.” Regrettably, the film represents the march as many see it today, only as an act of political protest.

But for my father Abraham Joshua Heschel and for many participants, the march was both an act of political protest and a profoundly religious moment: an extraordinary gathering of nuns, priests, rabbis, black and white, a range of political views, from all over the United States.

…My father felt that the prophetic tradition of Judaism had come alive at Selma. He said that King told him it was the greatest day in his life, and my father said that he was reminded at Selma of walking with Hasidic rebbes in Europe. Such was the spiritual atmosphere of the day.

…What a pity that my father’s presence is not included in “Selma.” More than a historical error, the film erases one of the central accomplishments of the civil rights movement, its inclusiveness, and one of King’s great joys: his close friendship with my father. The photograph reminds us that religious coalitions can transcend and overcome political conflicts, and it also reminds us that our Jewish prophetic tradition came alive in the civil rights movement. Judaism seemed to be at the very heart of being American.

In an interview with the Algemeiner, Heschel commented further:

“I felt sad and I had moments when I felt angry,” she said of the omission, describing it as “tragic.” …“This filmmaker seems to want to try and change the narrative,” she told The Algemeiner. “It is about black people trying to do it themselves.”

“I understand this as a Jew, because that is what Zionism is about, but I know that we were helped by others, and the Civil Rights Movement was about coalition, it was about Christians and Jews coming together, marching together, and feeling at that moment in Selma that something profoundly religious and moral was taking place.”

According to the Algemeiner, “The film’s producer, Ava DuVernay, defended her inaccurate portrayals in an interview on PBS, saying: ‘This is art; this is a movie; this is a film. I’m not a historian. I’m not a documentarian.’”

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Black Activists Make Solidarity Trip from Ferguson to Palestine

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Counter Current News reports:

Recently, a number of representatives from the Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter and various Ferguson anti-police brutality protesters made history through a solidarity trip to Palestine. The purpose of last week’s trip was to connect with activists living under Israeli occupation. The 10-day trip to the occupied Palestinian Territories, specifically in the West Bank, was organized to show a link between oppression emanating from the Israeli State as well as that which victims of police brutality are experiencing in America.

The trip was organized by the legal and policy director of the Dream Defenders, Ahmad Abuznaid, Florida attorney and Palestinian native.

Ebony adds:

Over the past week, the delegation has met with refugees, Afro-Palestinians, a family that was kicked out of their house by settlers in East Jerusalem, and organizations representing Palestinian political prisoners, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). …[tour member] Carruthers recalled their delegation crossing paths with a tour group led by Israeli authorities. “They were clearly receiving a completely different story about the occupation. It’s deeper than just spreading lies, the false narrative is violent.”

Tour participants did not bother noting that a politically motivated trip covering only Palestinian territories obviously carries the implication of a “false narrative.” They did, however, identify with the Palestinians, commenting that blacks are “displaced refugees” in the United States. This trip followed a visit to Ferguson paid by a Palestinian delegation this past November who sought to forge relationships with black activist groups.

Financial backing for Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter, and a cohort of sister organizations has all been directly traced to George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, which reportedly spent $5.4 million last year funding the Ferguson protest movement. 

The plethora of organizations involved not only shared Mr. Soros‘ funding, but they also fed off each other, using content and buzzwords developed by one organization on another’s website, referencing each other’s news columns and by creating a social media echo chamber of Facebook “likes” and Twitter hashtags that dominated the mainstream media and personal online newsfeeds.

At least 8 out of the 14 trip participants were members of organizations funded by Soros.

Support for these radical groups goes deeper into D.C. than Soros’s pockets. In 2012, Breitbart reported that Eric Holder’s

Department of Justice was facilitating the agenda of a group [the Dream Defenders] that appears to have been led by an employee of the law firm representing the Martin family, a stunning amount of bias for the federal goverment to show in a local crime case.

Most recently, Eric Holder joined President Obama and Vice President Biden in meeting with representatives of the Dream Defenders and other race-based organizations to sooth tensions in the wake of Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson’s non-indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown. Phillip Agnew, co-founder of Dream Defenders, attended both this meeting and the subsequent trip to the Palestinian territories.

With a White House bent on depicting radical Islamic terrorist acts as a “War on Muslims” and a president encouraging his fellow Democrats not to “bow” to pressure from pro-Israel donors, one can only wonder where such high level political support for groups such as the Dream Defenders will lead.

 

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Fight Against Teachers’ Union Goes Bipartisan

Thursday, January 15th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson
bad teacher

Teacher tenure means never having to say you’re sorry.

In a struggle which proves emblematic of similar fights in states across the nation, Minnesota Republicans have long sought an end to teacher tenure. Currently, seniority trumps performance, qualification, and merit whenever layoffs occur. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Eliminating so-called last-in, first-out protections has been… opposed by many [Democrats], who count the teachers’ union Education Minnesota among its staunchest allies and who say there is value in keeping experienced teachers in the system.

But dissension has developed in the ranks. One prominent Democrat state senator has broken with her party to author a bill that would remove seniority protection.

Sen. Terri Bonoff said Thursday that “It is my belief that really in every profession merit ought to be what gets someone hired, promoted or kept. I believe especially in a profession where our teachers play such an important role in shaping the lives of our young people that we want to make sure the very best teachers are in every classroom.”

Predictably, the Education Minnesota teachers’ union criticized the move, calling for more spending as an alternative.

“Constantly improving the quality of teaching… is a goal Education Minnesota shares with many lawmakers and parents, but this relentless focus on layoffs won’t help any teacher get better,” Denish Specht, president of the union, said in a statement.

Specht said that lawmakers instead should designate more money – beyond the $75 million the state already has committed – to fully fund the evaluation process.

It’s an odd claim, the notion that removing seniority protection won’t help teachers get better. Perhaps Specht could demonstrate how protecting teachers from objective evaluation once they reach a certain level of seniority makes them better.

Common sense tells us that vulnerability to competition incentivizes any worker toward greater performance. It’s nice to find at least one Democrat who agrees.

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Duke Backs Down on Muslim Prayer Call

Thursday, January 15th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Fox News reports:

Duke University has abandoned its plan to transform the bell tower on the Methodist school’s neo-gothic cathedral into a minaret where the Muslim call to prayer was to be publicly broadcast.

“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”

…“Members of the Muslim community will now gather on the quadrangle outside the Chapel, a site of frequent interfaith programs and activities,” Schoenfeld said.

The university did not say whether the Muslim call to prayer would be “moderately amplified” at the new location.

The credit reportedly goes to Franklin Graham, who called for donors to pull their funding from the historically Methodist university if the Muslim call to prayer was broadcast from the Chapel bell tower.

Christian and Jewish groups hold respective services in private settings on campus. While Duke is one of the few universities to have a full-time Muslim cleric and dedicated Center for Muslim Life on campus, the location is apparently not considered an adequate space for prayer. Without a legitimate reason given, the Muslim students at Duke remain steadfast in their campaign to make Muslim prayer a public event on the Duke campus.

 

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College Decides Vagina Monologues ‘Not Feminist Enough’

Thursday, January 15th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Campus Reform reports:

Mount Holyoke College, an all-women’s college in Massachusetts, is retiring its annual production of the Vagina Monologues this year because the play is not inclusive of transgender students.

…In a school-wide email from the Theatre Board, a representative from the group, Erin Murphy, explained the problems with the play and the reasoning behind its discontinuation.

“At its core, the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman…Gender is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions, and many of us who have participated in the show have grown increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive,” the email, obtained by Campus Reform, said.

This is what happens when your politics demand the separation of sex from gender. As the admissions page on Mount Holyoke’s website explains:

…concepts of what it means to be a woman are not static. Traditional binaries around who counts as a man or woman are being challenged by those whose gender identity does not conform to their biology. Those bringing forth these challenges recognize that such categorization is not independent of political and social ideologies.

Mount Holyoke re-defined “what it means to be a woman” last year when it decided to begin accepting transgendered students.

The annual production of the play is part of a country-wide tradition to perform Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues on Valentine’s Day to raise awareness about gender-based violence and usually coincides with the V-Day campaign. The proceeds are donated to sexual assault prevention organizations or women’s rights organizations.

Apparently victims of domestic abuse aren’t going to be getting any cash from Mount Holyoke. Unless, of course, they can provide credentials detailing their womanhood. And what, exactly, might those credentials be? You’ll have to call the admissions office to find out. Or, just watch the video (shown above) the college had to produce and release in order to explain exactly what they mean when they say “women’s college.”

 

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Duke University Chapel to Broadcast Muslim Call to Prayer

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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HuffPo reports:

The chant, known as “adhan,” will resound from the Duke Chapel bell tower every Friday beginning Jan. 16, echoed by members of the Muslim Students Association, the university announced via Duke Today. The chant will sound for three minutes at a “moderately amplified” level to announce the Jummah prayer service, held Friday afternoons in the chapel basement.

The Adhan will be sung in Arabic, then followed by an English translation, according to a Facebook event announcing the call.

“This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life, told Duke Today. “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation.”

The announcement comes one day after the White House clarified that their anti-terror summit would not cover acts of radical Islamic terror, having determined that those acts are only part of a greater War on Muslims.

The chapel that will broadcast the Islamic call to prayer also hosts events for Christian and Catholic groups on campus. Duke’s Muslim students pray at the chapel despite having their own Muslim Life at Duke center on campus. Jewish students, who comprise more than ten percent of the undergraduate and graduate student populations, hold events at the privately funded Freeman Center for Jewish Life located on campus.

For the private university’s 700+ Muslims, the decision is being praised as a sign of their acceptance into the Duke community.

Roughly 6,500 undergraduates and 8,300 graduate and professional students are enrolled in the prestigious private university that maintains “a historic affiliation with the Methodist Church.” The Methodist Church has publicly supported divestment, pulling pension investments from companies tied to Israel as a method to pressure Israel to cease settlement expansion.

In 2004, Duke University granted $50,000 in funding to the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM) to demonstrate on campus. The conference was so volatile that Commentary magazine announced in 2005 “The Intifada Comes to Duke.” Motivated by the PSM, award-winning student journalist Philip Kurian published an anti-Semitic op-ed in the student newspaper titled “The Jews.” Loaded with conspiracy theories, Kurian argued against what he termed Jewish “privilege,” writing,

What’s worst is that the ‘Holocaust Industry’ uses its influence to stifle, not enhance, the Israeli-Palestinian debate, simultaneously belittling the real struggles for socioeconomic and political equality faced, most notably, by black Americans.

Richard Brodhead, whose decision it was to fund the PSM on campus, is the current president of the University.

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Marco Rubio: ‘Very Concerned’ Feds Could Use Common Core to Impose Restrictions on Schools

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Shannon Bream, filling in for Megyn Kelly on The Kelly File, asked Florida Senator Marco Rubio about his views on the Common Core standards on Tuesday.

Rubio said he supports curriculum reform. “I think we need to have the best curriculum possible. He added that his state passed standards and improved curriculum when he was speaker of the Florida House.

“My concern — not just with Common Core, it’s in general — is that we all of a sudden create some sort of standard that the federal government uses as a requirement to impose on the states,” Rubio said.

Rubio said that it’s one thing for the federal government to incentivize states and another thing to say “if you don’t do things a certain way we’re going to penalize you by cutting funding.”

“And while that’s not what they’re doing today, that’s where the federal government always winds up,” Rubio said. “So I’m very concerned, as many Americans are, that something like Common Core could be used by the federal Department of Education to one day impose restrictions on schools when in fact, education is primarily, at the K-12 level, a state and local responsibility.”

Rubio is absolutely correct that more control over education is “where the federal government always winds up.” But it’s not just the penalties we need to worry about. The incentives have the same coercive effect because their whole purpose is to direct and control the behavior of those they reward.

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Israeli Embassy Puts Mona Lisa in Hijab, Warns: Paris, We Told You So

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The Israeli Embassy in Ireland published a far more provocative piece of art than did Charlie Hebdo this week. Far too angry to even broach forgiveness, the JPost reports that the Embassy

…posted a photograph on its Twitter account on Wednesday featuring Mona Lisa decked out in Islamic garb while holding what appears to be a rocket.

The post seems to be a common sentiment among Israelis who are angry over what they perceive as the international community’s inability to empathize with its precarious security situation.

Sensitive to criticism over its response to Hamas rocket fire, Israel has often sought to conflate its struggle against Palestinian terrorism with the jihadist violence that reared its ugly head in France last week, claiming the lives of 20 people.

The artwork was released amid news that French President Hollande did not want Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend Sunday’s unity march in Paris. Hollande felt the Israeli prime minister’s presence would “…divert attention from the theme of national unity the million-person event was intended to symbolize,” according to Israeli media reports.

…The French official who conveyed Hollande’s wish to Jerusalem said that Netanyahu’s presence and that of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, would “cause difficulties.” The French believed that Netanyahu’s presence among the foreign notables leading the march would inevitably introduce dissonant echoes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Jewish-Muslim relations that would jar the somber atmosphere.”

As France works to distance itself and its Jews politically from Israel, the Obama administration is hard at work crafting acts of radical Islamic terror into a War on Muslims. The White House refuses to employ France’s term “war against radical Islam,” instead choosing to refer “…to terrorists as ‘violent extremists who have sought to incite a religious war against Islam.’” The Orwellian doublespeak does not bode well for Jews abroad or in America. Despite the fact that anti-Semitism motivated many of the non-Muslim related terror attacks that will be discussed in February’s “summit on violent extremism,” Obama’s ultimate goal regarding radical Islamic terror is and always will be to defend Muslims. Even if it is at the risk of the Jewish population.

Perhaps the Israeli Embassy in Ireland is correct in saying that “Israel is the last frontier of the free world.” And perhaps that is the real reason their artwork is so disturbing.

 

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‘Magical Jews’ Responsible for Paris Terror Attacks

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

I love a good Jewish conspiracy. I’ve even been known to dabble in creating a few myself. If you’ve heard that the “We’ve Taken Over the World” after-party will be hosted by the Free Masons and we (the Jews) have already signed up to bring the cake, that’s one of mine. The one about the “magical Jews” behind last week’s Paris attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket Hyper Cacher being “a hybrid race of shape-shifters” who “know how to get everywhere” because “they are master manipulators” belongs to the Muslims in the “Park Slope” of Paris ghettos.

That’s right. In case you weren’t already aware, Jews are X-Men in disguise, Clark Kent-ish disguises, because somehow despite their shape-shifty ways they manage to look just like average human beings. This conspiracy theory is the kind best attributed to immigrant populations that embrace the hatred and radicalization common among the ignorant, willfully unemployed and unassimilated of western civilization. We, the assimilated, acculturated, intellectualized of the bunch like Jose Diaz-Balart have educated ourselves into romanticizing such situations with wacky theories of our own, like:

You can be surrounded by a very comfortable-looking situation but feel despair because you feel that you are so isolated within a society that has nice restaurants but ignores you and ignores your dreams and aspirations.

But how quickly Diaz-Balart and his intellectual compatriots forget that Western Europe, too, was a cultural victim of conspiracy theory-level ignorance, not that long ago. Dreams and aspirations grounded in that anti-Semitic ignorance led to world wars and the murders of millions of Jews. So, should we really be encouraging France to feed into the “dreams and aspirations” of today’s madmen?

Apparently Dana Kennedy thinks so. Or, at least, she’s resigned to it. After detailing the conspiracy theories in her article for The Daily Beast, she back-tracked on Telemundo when Diaz-Balart whipped out the “not all Muslims are like this” clause, turning an important piece on the roots of radical Islamic anti-Semitism into a tepid commentary on Paris housing projects.

Want the real scoop? Read the story. You know, before those shape-shifty Jews sneak on the Internet and remove it.

 

 

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Muslim Saves 15 Jewish Lives in Kosher Supermarket Terrorist Attack

Sunday, January 11th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Lassana Bathily, a Muslim immigrant from Mali in West Africa, obviously has no problem with Jews. As an employee of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris, he not only worked for Jews on a daily basis, he also took the opportunity to save 15 Jewish lives when the store was attacked by radical Islamists this past Friday.

The Jewish Press reports:

Lassana Bathily, a Muslim employee at the HyperChacher supermarket in Paris, saved the lives of 15 Jewish shoppers, when he hid them in the supermarket’s basement freezer after the terrorist, Amedy Coulibaly, entered the store and opened fire.

Bathily also had the presence of mind to also turn the freezer off.

BuzzFeed carried a translation of the French television news interview with Bathily:

“When they ran down, I opened the door [to the freezer],” he told France’s BFMTV.

He quickly shut off the freezer and switched off its light. As he closed the door to shelter the customers inside, he told them, “Stay calm here. I’m going out.”

Eventually police raided the market, killing Coulibaly. As the hostages were freed from the freezer, they had a few words of thanks for Bathily. “They congratulated me,” he told BFMTV.

Describing the 24-year-old man as “shy,” the UK Daily Mail explains, “Using a goods lift he escaped and was able to give the police valuable information about what was happening inside and where the hostages were hiding.” Those huddled in the freezer were able to use cell phones to contact relatives and make them aware of the situation and that they were safe.

Multiculturalists may attempt to use Bathily as an example against stereotyping Muslims and avoiding the identification of radical Islamic terrorism. However, the exact opposite is the case. Bathily is yet another example of why saying “Je Suis” is the ultimate statement after a tumultuous week of terror in France. Whether we are Charlie Hebdo or Juif, the reality is that our existence as a free people who  believe in the Divine, inalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of justice” alone is enough to offend radical Islamic terrorists.

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Liberal Schools MSNBC News Host on Radical Islamism

Sunday, January 11th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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When Melissa Harris-Perry’s producers invited J.J. Goldberg on to speak about the Jewish community in France, they were probably expecting  textbook politically correct responses from the editor at large of America’s largest left-wing Jewish newspaper, the ForwardWhich is why it’s so funny to watch Harris-Perry attempt not to balk at Goldberg’s frank candor on the radical Islamist roots of anti-Semitism in France. “The anti-Semitism problem in France is not primarily a problem of anti-Semitism from French Muslims,” she rushes to clarify at 2:32. “There is a problem of anti-Semitism there, but it is not primarily a problem of Muslim versus Jewish populations there, but rather a question of  – sort of — French citizens in the broadest sense.”

“Um, I don’t think so,” Goldberg begins before detailing in brief France’s dance with anti-Semitism over the past century, noting that the incidents happening now are “happening from the Muslim community.” He then rattles off a series of French leaders who are Jewish and have established bonds with the Israeli Jewish community. “The integration of Jews into France and the acceptance of Jews in France is very, very thorough,” he explains. He ends his segment by noting that 70% of Jews in France today have come from Sephardic countries of origin where they have experienced “tension with their Arab neighbors”.

Harris-Perry attempts to interrupt his scholarly explanation twice before giving in and going to the commercial break.

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‘Free for Everybody Who Is Willing to Work for It.’

Friday, January 9th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

President Obama invites Americans to join him in some classic Orwellian doublethink as he asks them to accept two contradictory policy proposals that are supposed to coexist: students can have two “free” years of college if they “work” for it. Here’s how the president (sounding like a used car salesman) explained it from Air Force One on Friday:

Put simply, what I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it. That’s right, free for everybody that’s willing to work for it. It’s something that we can accomplish and it’s something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anybody in the world.

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Here’s the fine print of what they actually intend, via the L.A. Times:

Obama’s proposal would make two years of community college “as free as high school for responsible students,” Munoz told reporters, saving a full-time community college student an average of $3,800 in tuition per year. Obama also plans to propose a new fund to pay for high-quality technical training programs.

The program would cover half-time and full-time students who maintain a 2.5 grade point average — about a C-plus — and who “make steady progress toward completing a program,” the White House said.

In other words, these students won’t have to “work” for their education in the way that Americans have traditionally worked their way through college — by waiting tables or laboring at a summer landscaping job in order to scrape together tuition money. By “work,” the president means the students will merely need to maintain minimum academic standards. No lousy fast food job required.

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