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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
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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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CNN Reporter Blames the Jews for Charlie Hebdo Massacre

Thursday, January 8th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Hasbara

There’s a reason many Israeli satellite providers don’t waste their money on CNN. The infamously anti-Semitic cable news channel’s reporter Jim Clancy blamed Wednesday’s terrorist attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on — who else — the Jews.

To be completely accurate, he dubbed the radical Islamist “pro-Muhammed” mentality that led to the terror attacks “Hasbara.” Hasbara is the term used to describe pro-Israel international PR. What does hasbara have to do with fostering or endorsing radical Islamist terrorism? Nothing. Unless, of course, you’re taken to task for your inaccuracies by a Jew. Then, suddenly, your gross inaccuracies along with all the world’s problems are because of the Jews.

Kessler proceeds to present Clancy with facts (something CNN reporters avoid at all costs), and the most Clancy can generate in terms of a response is:

Yeah, that didn’t happen, because there’s something else CNN reporters lack: journalistic integrity. There’s another Jewish word for that, Jim. It’s called “schmuck.”

Hat tip: Mediaite

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Senators Want to Chop Student Aid Form from 108 Questions to Two

Thursday, January 8th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill to reduce the current 108 questions on the form for federal student aid to just two.

Those would be: What is your family size? What was your household income two years ago?

The “Student Aid Short Form” would be a postcard and would let high school students know in their junior year via a reference table how much college aid they’ll receive.

The sponsors are Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Angus King (I-Maine).

“Simplifying the overly complicated federal aid application and giving students and parents the opportunity to receive aid information easier and earlier will be an important tool in helping them choose a postsecondary institution that is right for them,” said Isakson. “Additionally, by protecting students from over-borrowing and helping them to better understand their repayment options, students will be better equipped to responsibly repay their loans.”

The bill would also consolidate current student loan programs and restore year-round Pell grant availability.

Sponsors say it would discourage overborrowing by tailoring the amount available to how much you’re in school that semester. A part-time student, for example, would be able to take out a part-time loan only.

Repayment plans would also be streamlined. Students would either get a 10-year repayment plan or an income-based repayment plan.

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Gay Mafia Takes Out Hit on TLC’s My Husband’s Not Gay

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Cinemablend reports on the backlash over TLC’s My Husband’s Not Gay, a special focusing on Mormon men, both married and single, “who are attracted to men but who cultivate relationships with women”:

Over at Change.org, former Christian Josh Sanders wrote about his experiences as a gay man whose church convinced him to undergo reparative therapy so that he would no longer be gay. His petition calls for TLC to “stop spreading such dangerous misinformation” by canceling My Husband’s Not Gay.

GLAAD also backs up the petition, and the organization’s President and CEO made a statement this morning calling My Husband’s Not Gay “downright irresponsible”. Here’s the whole statement:

“This show is downright irresponsible. No one can change who they love, and, more importantly, no one should have to. By investing in this dangerous programming, TLC is putting countless young LGBT people in harm’s way.”

The Cinemablend article expresses the bias made common by activist groups like GLAAD in their own explanation of the show’s premise:

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Italian Experiment Disproves Feminist Myth About Men

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Apparently boys aren’t born to hit girls.

In a social experiment exploring violence against women, young boys in Italy were asked to slap a girl. …Italian media company fanpage.it created the video to show how both violence and pacifism can be taught at an early age.

The boys are introduced to Martina, who has a giggly love-struck effect on all the young admirers. When asked to caress her, the boys do not hesitate to stroke her cheek in a gesture of intimacy. When asked to make a funny face at her, they do so.

However, when the boys are asked to slap Martina, they all look surprised and confused. Obviously torn between wanting to obey, and their own moral objections, all of the boys eventually shake their heads at the unseen camera crew, refusing to comply.

When asked why they wouldn’t slap her, all of the boys responded that they did not want to hurt her, or that they did not believe in violence, and all agreed that they should never hit girls.

“Why? ‘Cause I’m a man!” replied one of the boys.

According to the website Feminist.com, “…men have been taught to relate to the world in terms of dominance and control, and they have been taught that violence is an acceptable method of maintaining control, resolving conflicts, and expressing anger.”

This little experiment just blew that theory out of the water.

Citing the catcalling, along with “the rape, the murder, the beatings” the Guardian declared 2014 as the “year of feminist insurrection against male violence.” But if male violence is socially, not genetically forged, what exactly is feminism’s War On Men doing to combat the creation of a gender of outsiders conditionally harassed into violent behavior?

Cathy Young writes in Time:

The other side of sexism must be recognized. Former Jezebel editor Lindy West has argued that such “men’s rights” problems as unequal treatment of fathers in family courts or bias against male domestic violence victims are rooted in patriarchy and that feminism is already addressing them. Unfortunately, facts say otherwise. On these and other issues, feminist activists and commentators have tended to side with womenoppose measures to help men, and promote women-as-victims, men-as-bad-guys narratives. Such double standards need to be confronted.

After a year of campus rape myths dispelled, feminists would do well to rethink their strategy when it comes to stereotyping men. They can start by learning a lesson from a group of rather intelligent and extremely cute little boys.

More :

You Can Now Shop the Web for a Feminist Boyfriend!

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You Can Now Shop the Web for a Feminist Boyfriend!

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Wondering how to find the perfect feminist boyfriend? Lisa Bonos has written you a handy guide over at the Washington Post. It includes misinterpreted statistics:

A true male feminist is supportive of, interested in and enthusiastic about his partner’s career. He might not expect to earn more than his partner or think that his career trumps hers; a feminist couple might relocate for the woman’s career. Things are moving in this direction: A 2014 study by the moving company Mayflower found that 72 percent of millennials would move for a female spouse’s job, compared with 59 percent of baby boomers.

Follow the links and read the stats to find the real truth of the move scenario, that men often pick jobs that require geographic moves for growth, while women often pick jobs that allow for greater flexibility. And while 72% of millennials might be willing to move for a female spouse’s job, it’s often because, for millennials at least, women are the primary bread-earners in the family, a generational first.

Then the article explains that the passion and impulsive romance that generally keep relationships alive are not feminist:

“If you’re a woman who wants a man to grab you and kiss you because that’s what sweeps you off your feet, realistically, a feminist man is not going to do that,” says Rita Goodroe, a 38-year-old life coach in Northern Virginia who works mostly with singles. “He’s going to ask for permission.”

Which is why most feminists date via the Internet (Bonos references flirting hookup site Tinder) so they can pre-screen potential candidates for the perfect ideological match. Because, God forbid you might get to know someone and develop feelings for them. Where’s the STEM in that?

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Should Kids Still Have to Say Thank You?

Monday, January 5th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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UK Guardian writer Peter Ormerod

tells NPR’s Arun Rath that he’s not at all against gratitude. His argument has more to do with the spirit of the thing. “It’s really because gratitude is so important to me. I don’t, however, think that forcing children to write what’s often quite formulaic letters — I don’t think that’s necessarily the best way of helping children develop gratitude.”

Instead, he thinks the emphasis should be on getting kids to feel and experience gratitude, rather than just make a show of it. And once they feel it, he says, they can express it in fun or creative ways, “ways that feel much less like a chore.” That could involve drawing pictures, taking photos or baking. Ormerod says he’s even written songs for people.

Ormerod tags thank you letter-writting as an “anachronism” and an “exercise in lying” designed to “maintain respectability” among parents because no one wants to have a child who is an “ingrate.” So, would you dear parents of America choose to let your child feel gratitude by baking cookies or Instagramming their gift? In this social media age, where we share photographs of our meals and ruminations on our work lives, would expressing thanks through a written message add much needed veracity to an otherwise seemingly meaningless milieu? Would a handwritten note express deeper, longer lasting emotion than a public message? Or is it better to follow Ormerod’s advice and simply have the kid do nothing at all?

If “nothing at all” is the answer, take a look at the statistics. Not saying “thank you” in a written note may cost you big time down the line. According to a recent survey conducted by the Royal Mail:

New research by Royal Mail has revealed the true cost of not saying thank you for Christmas presents. Of those people expecting thank you letters, over half (52 per cent) say they would reduce the cost of their gift by up to £10 next year if they did not receive a thank you letter.

A further 10 per cent said they would cut their budget from £25 to £21 if they were not thanked properly in writing.

The survey also found that 20 per cent would be so offended that they would not bother buying their loved one a gift again.

Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of those surveyed said it was important for children to say thanks via a note, while over half of adults (53 per cent) think thank you letters are important too.

Note that for all of his heavy-handed philosophizing about parenting, Ormerod is childless and bases his theory in having to arduously write out thank you notes as a child. If you’re looking to exemplify “petulant” to your child, have them read his screed. They’ll thank you, if not now then definitely later.

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Are We Being Acculturated to Worship Sex?

Friday, January 2nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Over at Salon, the apparent temple of all things sex-worship, Tracy Clark-Flory chronicles “The Year In Sex Writing,” explaining in part:

I read about sex, constantly. At least five days a week, I do a Google News search for “sex.” It’s one of the first things I do each morning. …As I look back at the year in sex writing, these are the pieces that stand out, the pieces that most validated that daily sex-news slog. (I’m excluding myself and Salon in general from the list, because to do otherwise would be lame, wouldn’t it?)

Some of the less graphic stories highlighted include:

“The Japanese Firm Selling Videogames to Women, Using Sex” by Daniel Feit

Synopsis: A journalist reports on a Tokyo gaming convention, where women line up for the chance to interact with actors modeled after characters in hugely popular dating simulators.
Choice quote: “‘We’re basically hitting on them, without being too forward,’ said Kyle Card, an actor and model who lives in Tokyo. ‘A lot of the reactions are hands over the face, unable to speak, laughing to themselves. Lots of silence.’”

“For Women In Porn, The Personal Is Political And Profitable” by Susannah Breslin
Synopsis: A look at how women are faring in the new porn industry landscape.
Choice quote: ”‘Women control the industry,’ she opines. ‘They just don’t realize the power they have.’”

A growing number of pop culture outlets possess an evangelistic zeal for the act of sex. Whether it is through ever-more visible bodies on network television or full-fledged sexually oriented nudity on premium cable, shows like Californication and Masters of Sex now compete with basic cable’s Sex Sent Me to the E.R., Strange Sex and Let’s Talk About Sex. Sex was so prevalent this year that Slate declared 2014 to be a “banner year for sex on television.”

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How Long Before Obama Appoints ISIS Czar?

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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In a painfully intellectual breakdown of the American struggle to comprehend ISIS, the New York Times discusses the educational endeavors undertaken by Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East, to “defang” the Islamic State:

Trying to decipher this complex enemy — a hybrid terrorist organization and a conventional army — is such a conundrum that General Nagata assembled an unofficial brain trust outside the traditional realms of expertise within the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence agencies, in search of fresh ideas and inspiration. Business professors, for example, are examining the Islamic State’s marketing and branding strategies.

That’s right, your tax dollars are paying for professors to develop even more politically correct terminology and intellectual strategy to dodge the dangers of radical Islamic militants in favor of convincing themselves and the American public that said religiously-motivated lunatics couldn’t actually be as powerful as they appear to be.

General Nagata’s frustration is shared by other American officials. Even as President Obama and his top civilian and military aides express growing confidence that Iraqi troops backed by allied airstrikes have blunted the Islamic State’s momentum on the ground in Iraq and undermined its base of support in Syria, other officials acknowledge they have barely made a dent in the larger, longer-term campaign to kill the ideology that animates the terrorist movement.

And when the President is losing on the ground, the President turns to think tanks to fix the problem. Stay tuned for the nomination of Obama’s “ISIS Czar” to lord over the

…disagreements among the experts over whether ISIS’ main objective is ideological or territorial — General Nagata encourages competing views, urging the group to have “one hell of a debate” over his questions.

But the panel raised doubts whether ISIS “has the bureaucratic sophistication necessary to govern.”

Apparently the panel of experts is unaware of a little militant group-turned-governing body known as Hamas.

“When I watch Americans use words like cowardly, barbaric, murder, outrageous, shocking, etc., to describe a violent extremist organization’s actions, we are playing right into the enemy’s hands,” General Nagata added. “They want us to become emotional. They revel in being called murderers when the words are coming from an apostate.”

The funny thing is, academic papers and speeches don’t motivate public opinion or soldiers the way the plain, simple truth does. But as long as Nagata is determined to avoid the truth of radical Islam’s dual ideological and territorial goals that are, indeed, barbaric, murderous and outrageous, ISIS and their radical Islamic terror allies will continue to gain ground in this global battle. Our bureaucratic waste is the Obama Administration’s tacit declaration that time is on radical Islam’s side.

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The Case Against Buying New

Monday, December 29th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Michael Walsh linked to an excellent article on the inability of many millennials to fix the simplest of household devices. Walsh was joined by many of my Boomer/Gen-X friends in his comment that it’s usually cheaper to throw out and buy new, but speaking as one of those Gen-X/millennial crossovers, going shopping isn’t always the cheapest thing to do. Especially when you’re caught up in a lousy economy.

Here’s where I praise my incredibly handy husband who grew up learning fractions via wrench set before he ever encountered them in school. When he lost his job shortly after the recession hit, we newlyweds risked becoming a statistic, joining the millions of college graduates like us who were out of work at a time when no jobs could be found. Thankfully, along with raising us with a fabulously humble work ethic, our parents also trained us to make the most out of nothing. My husband saved us thousands of dollars by repairing cars, plumbing, even our household heater himself when times were lean.

Fixing things doesn’t always mean owning crap, either. How did my husband manage to drive a Mercedes in college? He found a wreck in a salvage yard and spent one summer fixing it up with his dad after work. That car lasted him over 10 years and remained a great investment because he took the time to learn how to maintain and repair it when necessary.

His Mr. Fix-It habit is far from over now that he’s back in the work force. Do you know how much it costs the average young homeowner to re-do a bathroom in their first fixer-upper? Enough to make them not bother, or mortgage more for a home that’s already been upgraded. Every project we’ve done in our home we’ve done ourselves with little to no outside help. Yes, it takes longer. Yes, it’s hard work. But when you’re young and newly married in a depression marketed as a recession, knowing how to be handy around the house is a lifesaver for your budget and your marriage.

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Brangelina Praises Their 8 Year Old Girl’s Decision to Be a Boy

Friday, December 26th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

According to Refinery 29, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s oldest biological child, Shiloh, has decided to identify as a male at the tender age of 8. The painfully politically correct story attempts to paint a picture of the child, who now refers to herself as “John” although born a girl, as gender-confused at an early age:

Jolie told Vanity Fair in a 2010 interview that John has been exploring their identity since the age of three. ”She wants to be a boy,” Jolie said. “So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys’ everything. She thinks she’s one of the brothers.”

Here’s the actual quote in context:

“She wants to be a boy. So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys’ everything. She thinks she’s one of the brothers. Shiloh, we feel, has Montenegro style. She dresses like a little dude. It’s how people dress there. She likes tracksuits, she likes [regular] suits. Shiloh’s hysterically funny, one of the goofiest, most playful people you’ll ever meet. Goofy and verbal, the early signs of a performer. I used to get dressed up in costumes and jump around,” the actress explains.

Stylists at the time balked at Jolie’s attempt to coin the term “Montenegro style” stating, “she was trying to say something intellectual or funny, and it just sounded dumb.” Probably about as dumb as the Advocate grasping at straws via the stale tale of Shiloh Pitt, who apparently has been dressed in boyswear and given boyishly short haircuts by her parents since she was a toddler. Four years later, why wouldn’t an 8-year-old girl think she ought to be called “John”? If anything she’s aiming for a more defined gender identity than her parents have yet to give her, either through her name, her hair, or her clothing, let alone the gender-neutral pronouns being used to identify her in the media. As the Advocate explains:

Editor’s note: This article uses “they” as a gender-neutral, singular pronoun in an effort to respect the young Jolie-Pitt’s gender identity, whatever that may end up being. 

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Republican Warning Confirmed: De Blasio Taking New York Back to 1970

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Apparently smear ads during campaigns can sometimes tell the truth. Compare Republican Joe Lhota’s ad from the 2013 New York City mayoral campaign to the big, fat Drudge header captured below. The article linked reads in part:

New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday that tensions in the city are echoing those in the 1970s — a fear he expressed only days prior to the ambush killings of two police officers.

“Who would’ve ever thought déjà vu all over again, that we would be back where we were 40-some-odd years ago,” Bratton said in an interview on NBC’s “Today.”

Actually, Joe Lhota thought as much. Too bad New Yorkers didn’t listen.

When asked whether he had seen such tensions or divide before, Bratton replied, “1970, when I first came into policing — my first 10 years were around this type of tension.”

…Lawmakers and police unions have accused New York Mayor Bill de Blasio of inciting anti-police rhetoric — or at least failing to do enough to cool tensions. Over the weekend, a video circulated online showing police officers turning their backs to the mayor as he entered the hospital where the two slain officers were taken.

“There’s blood on many hands tonight. Those that incited violence on the streets under the guise of protest that tried to tear down what NYPD officers did every day. We tried to warn it must not go on, it cannot be tolerated,” Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said Saturday in a statement. “That blood on the hands starts at City Hall in the office of the mayor.”

On “Today,” Bratton acknowledged the internal rift between City Hall and the police.

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One HBO Star Dares to Criticize Feminism

Monday, December 22nd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Not every HBO woman is one of Lena Dunham’s girls. Seventeen-year-old Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams made a brilliant observation about contemporary feminism in a recent interview:

We talk about actor Emma Watson’s recent UN speech, in which she talked about her reasons for becoming a feminist, and the need for men to be onside; Williams says she is impatient with this kind of “first-world feminism”. “A lot of what Emma Watson spoke about, I just think, ‘that doesn’t bother me’. I know things aren’t perfect for women in the UK and in America, but there are women in the rest of the world who have it far worse.”

That infuriated Salon‘s Jenny Kutner:

Self-identified feminist or not, Williams appears to have fallen into a trap of, well, totally taking for granted the gains western feminism has made. The assertion that the inequalities that persist in the UK and United States “don’t bother her” is a milder version of women against feminism rejecting the progress wrought by the women’s movement only as they bask in it.

Kutner then lists a series of first-world feminist issues that Williams and feminists everywhere are obviously required to care about: “pay inequality” (myth), “restricted reproductive healthcare access” (myth), “rape culture” (BIG myth, BIG – like Rolling Stone big) and “institutional sexism” (that creates a hostile environment for men as much, if not moreso, than women). She then  uses her own big, white, first-world feminist journo privilege to paint Williams’s honest observation about the inequalities within the women’s movement as an example of that ugly buzzword “privilege”:

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Son of Slain NYPD Officer Speaks Out

Monday, December 22nd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The Daily Mail reports:

It was a somber addendum to an earlier December post in which he honored his dad’s 40th birthday.

‘Happy birthday to the best dad in the world, you are always there for me even when it’s almost impossible,’ he wrote December 9. ‘We have so many good times it’s not even funny, I love you so much.’

There isn’t a single social media user who shouldn’t be ashamed of the hashtag “Black Lives Matter” right now. And “NYPD Lives Matter” isn’t enough of a response. “Lives Matter” is the plain, simple and much needed truth. As the eloquence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. illustrates, cop killing has nothing to do with civil rights:

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

The New York Yankees have already stepped up to the bat, offering to pay college tuition for Jaden and his older brother. As for the rest of us, we owe it to Jaden to confront and eliminate ghetto culture so he and the rest of his generation can grow up as victors, not victims in the minds of the mainstream media and race-baiters who seek to divide and conquer our culture for their own nefarious purposes.

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What the Stats Really Say About Racially Motivated Cop Killings

Friday, December 19th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Larry Elder at Real Clear Politics breathes essential statistical insight into the ongoing fight over whether or not white cops have a predilection for shooting black men:

In 2012, according to the CDC, 140 blacks were killed by police. That same year 386 whites were killed by police. Over the 13-year period from 1999 to 2011, the CDC reports that 2,151 whites were killed by cops — and 1,130 blacks were killed by cops.

Police shootings, nationwide, are down dramatically from what they were 20 or 30 years ago. The CDC reported that in 1968, shootings by law enforcement — called “legal intervention” by the CDC — was the cause of death for 8.6 out of every million blacks. For whites the rate was was .9 deaths per million.

By 2011, law enforcement shootings caused 2.74 deaths for every million blacks, and 1.28 deaths for every million whites. While the death-by-cop rate for whites has held pretty steady over these last 45 years, hovering just above or below the one-in-a-million level, the rate for blacks has fallen. In 1981, black deaths by cop stood at four in a million, but since 2000 has remained just above or below two in a million.

So what’s driving this notion that there is now an “epidemic” of white cops shooting blacks when in the last several decades the numbers of blacks killed by cops are down nearly 75 percent?

As Elder points out, there was no mention of race or racial motivation in the cases of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, or Michael Brown. When questioned about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman verdict, “several jurors later said that during jury deliberations ‘race never came up.’” Elder asserts

This white-cop-out-to-get-black-civilian narrative advances the interest of many. The media loves what Tom Wolfe called the “Great White Defendant” — a bad white guy everybody can agree to dislike. For the Democrats, it furthers their assertion that race remains a major problem in America, that Republicans/tea partiers/black conservatives are out to get them, and you must vote for us. For “activists” like the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and local wannabes, it gives them continued relevance.

In reality, the facts provide a startling lack of evidence in support of the theory of racial motivation. At the same time, they do provide solid evidence that both the media and so-called community activists like the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson need to promulgate the myth of ghetto culture in order to maintain power over an audience and presumed authority over an entire segment of the American population.

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It’s Called Obama Privilege

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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In an interview with People magazine, Michelle Obama gets serious about “the impact of stereotypes” in the “wake” of the Brown and Garner incidents:

“Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs,” Mrs. Obama said in the Dec. 10 interview appearing in the new issue of PEOPLE. 

“I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn’t see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn’t anything new.” 

Word to the wise: The next time someone asks you to help them with an item on a shelf, they’re obviously racist. Michelle probably wanted to reply, “Can’t you see I’m the first lady?!” but instead checked her privilege. I’m sure she rewarded herself for that at Bergdorf’s later.

The president also chimed in:

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Oberlin College Prof Won’t Delay Exams for Students ‘Traumatized’ by Brown And Garner Stories

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Sanity in the strangest of places:

Last week, [Robby Soave] wrote [at Reason's "Hit & Run" blog] about how “students are so coddled by the feelings-protection regime at university campuses that they now believe disheartening national news developments—such as the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases—entitle them to final exam extensions.”

Columbia Law School delayed final exams for students who felt unable to take them in the wake these developments. Students at Harvard and Georgetown began demanding their universities follow suit.

One might think that Oberlin College, known for it’s ultra-crunchy reputation, would be all about this. At least one professor at Oberlin, however, is having none of it…

What follows is absolutely epic.

Here is the Facebook exchange between a student (who is, sadly, a product of the self esteem and participation era) speaking out for minority groups to which she doesn’t belong and the professor’s response. (click to enlarge):

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Look for this guy to be out of a job within the year. Dissent from the progressive orthodoxy is not tolerated.

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What’s Moving Millennials Into the Pro-Life Camp?

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Millennials areincreasingly more pro-life and supportive of restrictions on abortion” than their Boomer and Gen-X parents. 

Blame science.

“There’s a window into the womb with ultrasound. Just having the look into the womb you can see, even in the first trimester, the early development of the child — you can see the humanity of the child,” Rose said. “Now that we have that imagery and it’s more prevalent, people are having that personal encounter with the child, so it’s easier to recognize their human rights.”

…”Years ago, it was the case that advocates for abortion would talk about the ‘thing’ growing in a woman’s womb as a lifeless blob of tissue,” Monahan explained. “And I think our advances in sonography and ultrasounds, and even our understanding of fetal development has dispelled those myths.”

She continued: “We know that, from the moment of conception, a baby has all of its DNA that it needs for the rest of its life. It has everything inherent that it will need for later on. Really, the only difference [between the preborn and adults] is in size and development.”

When most millennials were in the womb, ultrasound technology was still relatively new to pregnancy. Mothers of Gen-X/millennial crossovers most likely only had an ultrasound if there were suspected complications with the pregnancy. Today, however, those crossovers and their fellow millennials will have an ultrasound as early as 8 weeks to confirm pregnancy, including fetal heartbeat. One-dimensional sonograms will continue throughout the pregnancy. Parents will also have the option to have a 3-D or 4-D ultrasound done so that they may see their smiling baby in the womb.

Abortion is at an all-time low in the United States. And while abortion advocates are quick to note that the majority of women who are required to view sonograms before their abortions will choose to proceed with the abortion, the reality is that the majority of abortions in America are being performed before an 8 week ultrasound can be done. The women who abort after the ultrasound are in the minority that is growing smaller by the year.

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Christmas Tradition Warms Children to Big Brother-Style Government

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Think the Elf on the Shelf is a cute little holiday tradition to keep your young one on their toes? Think again.

Laura Pinto, a digital technology professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology recently published a paper concluding that Santa’s little spy  “sets up children for dangerous, uncritical acceptance of power structures.”

When children enter the play world of The Elf on the Shelf, they accept a series of practices and rules associated with the larger story. This, of course, is not unique to The Elf on the Shelf. Many children’s games, including board games and video games, require children to participate while following a prescribed set of rules. The difference, however, is that in other games, the child role-plays a character, or the child imagines herself within a play-world of the game, but the role play does not enter the child’s real world as part of the game. As well, in most games, the time of play is delineated (while the game goes on), and the play to which the rules apply typically does not overlap with the child’s real world.

“You’re teaching (kids) a bigger lesson, which is that it’s OK for other people to spy on you and you’re not entitled to privacy,” she tells the Toronto Star.

She calls the elf “an external form of non-familial surveillance,” and says it’s potentially conditioning children to accept the state acting that way, too.

“If you grow up thinking it’s cool for the elves to watch me and report back to Santa, well, then it’s cool for the NSA to watch me and report back to the government,” according to Pinto.

According to the report, some parent bloggers agree with Pinto’s conclusions. However, others think she’s gone overboard with a fun holiday tradition. Pinto also fails to criticize the Elf’s Jewish counterpart “Mensch on a Bench” for exhibiting the same surveillance state tendencies since the Mensch spends his nights watching the menorah, not the kiddies.

Is this another case of academia gone too far, or is there something to this notion of Big Brother Elf?

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