U.S. doesn’t object, so Iran gets a seat on U.N. women’s rights body

Here is why this is so evil and absurd, from the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center:

The real issue is that hijab—or proper Islamic dress—is still compulsory for women in Iran’s streets and public places and failure to cover accordingly can result in imprisonment or a hefty fine.

The real issue is that in today’s Iran divorce is a husband’s unilateral right but if a woman seeks to divorce her husband she must prove he has either abandoned her or is mentally ill, abusive, or a drug addict.

The real issue is that the Islamic Republic’s child custody laws favour the father, inheritance and ownership laws overwhelmingly favor men over women heirs, and since 1979 women have been barred from being judges.

The real issue is that a husband is allowed to kill his wife and her lover if he catches them in the heat of passion, whereas no such exemption from a murder charge exists for a wife should she catch her husband in a similarly compromised position.

The real issue is that convictions and punishments for sex crimes such as adultery are applied disproportionately to women in Iran’s criminal courts.

The real issue is that despite the propensity of Iran’s courts to hold women accountable for sex crimes and other moral offenses, when it comes to the evidence that will be used against them to secure such convictions, the testimony of a woman is worth half of that of a man’s.

That list one is strictly Qur’anic: “And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses – so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her.” (2:282) The rest is based on Sharia principles as well.

“U.S. Doesn’t Object, So Iran Gets a Seat on U.N. Women’s Rights Body,” by Patrick Goodenough, CNS News, April 24, 2014 (thanks to Twostellas):

(CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration on Wednesday criticized Iran’s election to the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) – but neither the U.S. nor any other delegation objected when given the opportunity to do so, thus allowing Iran to get the seat “by acclamation.”

Iran will now serve on the CSW, a body dealing with gender equality and the advancement of women, for another four-year term, having already been a member since 2011.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power took to Twitter to express her views: “Yet again Iran unopposed & was ‘elected’ to Commission on Status of Women. Given record on women’s & human rights, this is an outrage.”

But Richard Grenell, who served as spokesman for four U.S. ambassadors to the U.N. during the George W. Bush administration and is a close observer of the world body, was unimpressed with her reaction.

“Ambassador Power can tweet her outrage after the fact all she wants,” he said. “She should have been in the room for the vote and demanded a secret ballot rather than allow an automatic acclamation by her silence.”

CSW members are elected by the 54-member U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

There were 11 vacancies to fill on the CSW, and each of the five regional groups put forward “closed slates” – the same number of candidates as there were vacancies available for that group.

Even so, had just one ECOSOC member objected to Iran’s candidacy, a secret ballot vote would then have been called. And had Iran not received the required minimum 28 votes, that would have allowed another member state from Iran’s regional group, Asia, to step in as an alternative.

Yet neither the U.S. nor any other member of ECOSOC objected. Other democracies on the council include 13 European nations, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and India.

A webcast of the ECOSOC session shows just how the process unfolded.

First, the meeting secretary read out the names of the 11 countries put forward by their respective regional groups for the 11 available seats – Iran, Mongolia (Asia); Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Malawi (Africa); Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina (Eastern Europe); Colombia (Latin America and Caribbean); and Belgium, Liechtenstein and Spain (Western European and others).

Then ECOSOC’s president, Oh Joon of South Korea, said, “Since the number of candidates from all regional groups is equal to the number of vacancies, may I take it that the council wishes to elect the proposed candidates by acclamation?”

He looked around, then hearing no protestations, continued, “I hear no objection. It is so decided.”

The entire process took 103 seconds.

A few minutes after the CSW vote, a similar exercise saw ECOSOC hand Iran a seat on a body that oversees accreditation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This enables Iran to attend and express their views at meetings of various U.N. bodies, including the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva.

Again, no ECOSOC member raised objection to any of the 19 countries nominated for the 19 vacancies, and again the chair used identical language to declare the outcome:

“Since the number of candidates from all regional groups is equal to the number of vacancies, may I take it that the council wishes to elect the proposed candidates by acclamation? I hear no objection. It is so decided.”…

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Bad Behavior Bonuses

Imagine you have a job and the company you work for provides you a credit card for your company travel needs, gives you a generous salary with yearly increases plus bonuses and provides you with what most would consider a generous benefits package.

All you have to do is come in, do your job and abide by the rules.

Instead, you decide to misuse the credit card, take drugs, make violent threats and claim fraudulent unemployment benefits. If lucky, you might be afforded a trip to a professional counselor and put on a performance improvement plan. But, most likely you would be sacked – fired – sent out the door.

That’s how it is in the private sector. Not so in our federal government – the same government that spends your hard earned tax dollars.

In fact, just this week the IRS Inspector General announced that more than $2.8 billion in bonuses was paid to IRS employees with disciplinary problems. Included in that $2.8 billion was $1 million paid to IRS employees who owe back taxes!

Repeat – the IRS paid $1 million of your blood, sweat and tears to IRS employees who skipped out on paying their fair share!

It gets better. At the IRS, you can misuse your travel card, take drugs, make violent threats, claim fraudulent unemployment benefits and fail to pay your federal taxes, and still get a bonus and additional paid time off.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that the IRS awarded approximately “11,000 hours of paid time off to nearly 1,200 IRS employees with tax issues or official-conduct violations.” They added, “one employee who was suspended for 10 days in September 2011 received a $1,300 performance award in August 2012, the report said.”

You know ladies and gentleman this truly goes beyond egregious. It is the thumbing of the middle finger to those who toil every day to pay for their outrageous behavior. And every member of Congress who doesn’t immediately stand for the elimination of the IRS and the income tax tacitly gives their approval of this insult on the American taxpayer.

And, standing up on the floor of the House and Senate and boasting that, “I have drafted legislation that will prohibit this kind of behavior” is in a word, a cop-out. The people, especially FairTax® supporters, see through this kind of bravado.

There is only one way to solve this continuing problem. It is the enactment of HR 25/ S 122, the FairTax® Act – the only legislation before Congress that defunds and disbands the IRS in its entirety. The flat tax won’t, a VAT won’t and the much-acclaimed “tax reform” plan heralded by the Ways and Means Chairman won’t either.

Only the FairTax eliminates the IRS.  So, when someone tells you, “I am for the elimination of the IRS and the income tax – with a post card tax return” – give them the facts.

And when your elected representative gives you a canned ham response about how outraged they are about what is happening at the IRS and then proceeds to submit new legislation – remind them about the FairTax and move on. Why?

Very simply, this November you will have an opportunity to express your voice in a very meaningful way with those who support the FairTax. And I promise you, millions of people who go to work every day – who abide by the rules, do their job and pay their taxes – will thank you.

Florida Public Service Commission to the Disabled – Get a Lawyer and Sue Us!

As reported here earlier, the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) has rejected all arguments of health, safety and privacy in our protest of the Florida Power & Light (FP&L) smart meter and FP&Ls Non-Standard Meter extortion fees. The FPSC has determined that they will only allow costs issues to go forward into the hearings set for September. In our Petition for Reconsideration, we requested that they at least consider medical exemptions to be heard as a term and condition of the tariff.

Specifically we wrote:

Petitioners also believe the Commission overlooked the evidence provided through public comments received in this case, as well as some of the Martin Petitioners claims, which cite doctors advice to avoid RF radiation. The Petitioners believe adequate evidence exists in this case, which was overlooked by the Commission, to require a determination as to whether medical exemptions due to existing medical conditions or medical implants, should be required. Considering special provisions for medical reasons is not outside the scope of this proceeding. The Petitioners note that such considerations have been addressed in the past with matters such as collection tariffs where customers utilizing certain medical equipment are afforded special provisions.

In addition Petitioners ask the Commission to reconsider the American With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) dispute raised, which was not addressed. By the nature of utilizing a postpone list FP&L effectually granted an accommodation to those requesting the meter not be installed or be removed under the ADA laws. By the Commission approving this tariff which requires a penalty charge for refusal of the smart meter, without any consideration for medical exemptions, the approved tariff violates the ADA rights of the disabled to that accommodation, without charge and without retaliation or coercion.

Yesterday, the Florida Public Service Commission Staff submitted their recommendation to the Commission on the Petition’s for Reconsideration.  Regarding those disabled or with notes from doctors to avoid wireless and RF radiation they state:

With regard to ADA compliance terms and conditions, customers of FPL who believe that the terms and conditions of the NSMR tariff violate their ADA rights are able to sue in federal district court for both exemption from the tariff and recovery of any monetary damages incurred as a result of the violations of the ADA. Neither the Commission nor any other state agency is the proper forum for the relief that the Protestors appear to be seeking.

It is simply amazing that the staff of the Public Service Commission would write this stuff. Many FP&L customers are legally disabled with multiple conditions and have doctor’s notes stating to avoid wireless and they tell them to go sue! Problem is – when you are disabled, you are usually poor. They know this. Perhaps there is an attorney out there with some compassion that would be willing to take this on.

Notice they avoid the doctors note and medical exemption argument altogether. That is how they operate. They ignore things that they don’t have an answer for.

The Commission rules on this issue on May 9th in their Agenda Conference. If you have some compassion for others, tell them what you think. Do you agree? Can the Commission have authority to mandate a product and then not allow a medical exemption for those whose doctors tell them to avoid that product? You can voice your opinion with the Commission at  http://www.floridapsc.com/consumers/complaints/index2.aspx.

Happily Never After by Sarrah Skwire

Francis Spufford. Red Plenty. Graywolf Press, 2012. 448 pages.

This column was originally part of a paper presented at the recent APEE meeting in Las Vegas.

Francis Spufford’s Red Plenty has been ably reviewed in these pages before. But it’s a book I can’t stop talking about and recommending. And when I do recommend Red Plenty to others, I’m never quite sure what to call it.

The back of the book describes it as “history . . . fiction . . . as different from what you were expecting as a glass of Soviet champagne.” The author, though, wants us to think of it as a fairy tale.

Best to call this a fairy-tale then—though it really happened, or something like it. It is storybook Russia, not real Russia; a place never quite in perfect overlap with the daylight country of the same name. It is as near to it as a wish is to reality, and as far away, too.

It occurred to me that by writing not a review of the book, but a bit of literary analysis that attends closely to Spufford’s insistence that Red Plenty is a fairy tale, I might be able to share some of the power of the book, as well as show off some of Spufford’s careful crafting of his narrative. Calling Red Plenty a fairy tale is not a way of dismissing its importance. It is a way of heightening it. And throughout the text, Spufford uses the presence and absence of fairy tales as a way of conveying the emotional and cultural toll of the Soviet dream.

Spufford has a few reasons, I suspect, for wanting readers to think of Red Plenty as a fairy tale. As he notes in his acknowledgements, “I wrote this book without being able to speak or read Russian. I have therefore been able to draw on only a fraction of the available material, and readers should be aware that what they find here reflects the limited universe of sources that happen to have been translated into English; often, translated into English during the Cold War, as part of the West’s anxious guesswork about Soviet developments.”

Soviet economic data are notoriously inaccurate, and I expect that another layer of fallibility is added when those data are translated by a nervous Cold War America. So, calling Red Plenty a fairy tale allows Spufford to explore his subject while remaining aware—and signaling to his readers—that he doesn’t have the language skills one would expect for a full academic treatment, and that the data and sources upon which he is relying are a little more like “data” and “sources.”

But throughout Spufford’s work, fairy tales appear as more than a mitigating explanation for the book’s creative amalgam of fact and fiction. Spufford’s introduction explains why they are such a preoccupation:

Tales supplied what the real country lacked, when villagers were telling them . . . the stories dreamed away reality’s defects. They made promises good enough to last for one evening of firelight; promises which the teller and the hearers knew could only be delivered in some Russian otherwhere.

And so when Spufford describes one Krushchev’s speeches, we are instantly alert to the language of fantasy and the promises of a real-life end of the scarcity.

“In our day,” Nikita Khrushchev told a crowd in the Lenin Stadium . . . “The dreams mankind cherished for ages, dreams expressed in fairytales which seemed sheer fantasy, are being translated into reality by man’s own hands.” . . . Humanity’s ancient condition of scarcity was going to end, imminently.

The Soviet fantasy is the fairy tale fantasy: the end of scarcity. And with the end of scarcity comes the end of the human need to imagine and tell stories about the end of scarcity. When the fairy tale is real, we don’t need the story anymore.

This is when Spufford’s use of fairy tales becomes most intriguing. Again and again, Spufford shows us characters looking for a fairy tale parallel in their lives, or trying to tell a story and failing. The promises of the State have replaced the fantasies of the fairy tales, and stories are dying.

Some comrades seemed to think that fine words and fine ideas were all the world would ever require, that pure enthusiasm would carry humanity forward to happiness; well excuse me, comrades, but aren’t we supposed to be materialists? Aren’t we supposed to be the ones who get along without fairy tales? . . . [People need] more money to spend, or else more of a world in which money was no longer necessary to ration out all the good things, because there were so many good things, all gushing out of the whatchamacallit, the thing like a cone spilling over with fruit. The horn of plenty.

The rapid transformation from stark realism to dreams of State-sponsored plenty to the inability to even remember the name of the magical item one wants to mock seems to me to be a perfect capsulization of the Soviet economic way of thinking. That failure of memory at the end of the passage tells us that as the State fantasy is offered, story is shoved out of the way. We see this failure again when Spufford takes us to the kind of small village gathering where folk and fairy tales would have ordinarily formed a large part of the evening’s entertainment.

“Go on, Grandad, give us a story,” someone said. “How’s your memory tonight? Got a whole one in there?”

“Well, I’ll try,” said the old man doubtfully. “In the thrice-ninth kingdom of the thrice-tenth land, there lives a poor man who had, uh, a miraculous horse. No, he bought the miraculous horse, he bought it with . . . Or was it a miraculous wife he had? Dammit, I used know all of ‘em. No, it’s gone.”

Even the epigraph to the final section of Spufford’s book—taken from the concluding lines of a Russian fairy tale—is an interrupted tale about an interrupted adventure. “The laborer awoke and saw that the princess, the flying carpet, and the magic tablecloth were gone. Only his walking boots remained.” The magical folk imagination has been almost entirely consumed by the dreams of the great Soviet state.

But the great plans fail, and the fairy tale of the Soviet state doesn’t have a happy ending. As this realization begins to dawn on the characters in Red Plenty, we see them return to more fully fleshed stories and to a better understanding of how they function. When the writer Sasha Galich—one of the first to realize the distances between the promises of the State and the lives of the citizens—comes to see his way through the fog of the propaganda he helps to create, he rediscovers the truth of fairy tales at the same moment he uncovers the lies of the State.

Drip by drip, these last years, he had understood more of what had been happening in his own time, just around the corner, just behind the scenes, just out of his sight, as if he had been a child in a fairy-tale wood who sees only green leaves and songbirds ahead, because all the monsters are standing behind him. Quiet conversations with a returned choreographer who’d survived his ten-year stretch on dancer’s strength. Confidences from . . . a secret policeman, blurred by the bottle . . . about the famous year of 1937 when the van loads came in so fast for the bullet that the drain in the floor of the basement corridor sometimes blocked, and some poor sod had to fish in it, and pull out mush and bone chips and hanks of human hair. . . . [Emphasis added.]

When reality starts to look like this, the need for fantasy comes rushing back.

It seems to me, then, particularly important that one of the last exchanges in Spufford’s book is between a young boy and his mother as they discuss a book that he is reading. The year is 1968, which means the boy will be in the prime of his adult life when the Berlin Wall comes down and the Soviet Union dissolves. He is, in other words, the future. He is, in other words, us. And he says to his mother:

I’m just getting to the end of this science-fiction book, and they’re at a kind of place that gives wishes, like a genie, only it’s alien technology, and it’s very dangerous? And there’s a silly man and a tough man, and the silly man rushes forward and he makes this kind of enormous wish for everybody in the whole world to be happy, but the alien thing squishes him instead. And I was wondering, if it’s supposed to be a kind of a—kind of a . . . sideways picture. You know. Of here.

20121127_sarahskwireABOUT SARAH SKWIRE

Sarah Skwire is a fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc. She is a poet and author of the writing textbook Writing with a Thesis.

Ouch! Washington Post Calls Keystone XL Delays, “Embarrassing”

The Washington Post editorial board excoriated the Obama administration for holding up the Keystone XL pipeline [emphasis mine]:

If foot-dragging were a competitive sport, President Obama and his administration would be world champions for their performance in delaying the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Last Friday afternoon, the time when officials make announcements they hope no one will notice, the State Department declared that it is putting off a decision on Keystone XL indefinitely — or at least, it seems, well past November’s midterm elections. This time, the excuse is litigation in Nebraska over the proposed route, because that might lead to a change in the project that various federal agencies will want to consider. The State Department might even decide to substantially restart the environmental review process. This is yet another laughable reason to delay a project that the federal government has been scrutinizing for more than five years.

As for the pipeline’s routing, planners and regulators have already considered all sorts of options through Nebraska, and they already shifted the route once. Neither route posed environmental concerns of a sort that would justify concluding that Keystone XL is outside the national interest. It is bizarre to imagine that a new route from an even more careful process in Nebraska would significantly increase environmental concerns.

The administration’s latest decision is not responsible; it is embarrassing. The United States continues to insult its Canadian allies by holding up what should have been a routine permitting decision amid a funhouse-mirror environmental debate that got way out of hand. The president should end this national psychodrama now, bow to reason, approve the pipeline and go do something more productive for the climate.

That will leave a mark.

Along with that scathing editorial, the American Petroleum Institute released a poll of registered voters that shows 70% support building the Keystone XL pipeline. Here are some other findings:

  • 78% agree that the pipeline would improve America’s energy security by helping to create jobs.
  • 78% believe that the pipeline is in America’s national interest because it would increase North American oil supplies.
  • 67% say that if the United States has to import oil, they would like to see more of it come from Canada rather than other foreign countries.
  • 68% say they’re more likely to support a candidate who supports the pipeline.

UPDATE: This political cartoon illustrates how these delays have become a farce.

sbr042314dAPR20140423074514

[via memeorandum]

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

EDITORS NOTE: The features photo of sections of pipe for the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline in Oklahoma in 2013 was taken by photographer Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.

Updated Status of the Climate Change Fraud

McCarthy testifies before a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on her nomination to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

Gina McCarthy, EPA

Happy Earth Day! Heck, Happy Earth Week!! Gina McCarthy, Chief Protector of the Environmental Protection Agency, is engaged in a week of traveling the USA – five cities in all – “to ask Americans to act on climate change through simple actions to reduce carbon pollution in their daily lives.” In case you were planning to fly to five cities to celebrate Earth Week, don’t. Take Gina’s advice – not her example. Incidentally, Gina flies home to Boston most weekends to be with her family.

Earth Week is wonderful because it makes so many people happy. The Greenies and Alarmists are happy because they get to do something to save the planet. We skeptics are happy because we get to watch the ridiculous, hypocritical, foolish things they do that they think will save the planet. This week their obvious hypocrisy and stupidity illustrate the weakening of their Climate Change fraud.

To start things off,  President Obama, late on Friday afternoon, decided to delay yet again a decision on the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline, until after the November midterm elections. Tom Steyer, the billionaire hedge fund manager, who has pledged $100 million to support Democrat politicians who oppose KXL, was jubilant. Warren Buffet, an Obama supporter, whose BNSF railroad carries oil from Alberta to the Gulf, was pleased. Mr. Steyer has also pledged additional millions for the Obama Presidential Library. Nothing could better illuminate the venality of the Obama administration and the Democrat Party.

Working men and women, however, hoping for the 40,000 jobs the pipeline would create, were not as pleased. “This is once again politics at its worst,” said Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.“In another gutless move, the administration is delaying a finding on whether the pipeline is in the national interest based on months-old litigation in Nebraska regarding a state level challenge to a state process — and which has nothing to with the national interest.”

I’m sorry for the members of O’Sullivan’s union – which twice endorsed Obama for president, claiming he would “work to create jobs.” Pretty obvious who Obama works for, and that the “climate change” fraud is a weapon against the American middle class – whose median wealth is now second to the Canadian middle class. That’s why the latest Gallup poll shows increasing skepticism and decreasing belief. Since 2001, the number of the deeply skeptical has doubled; the number of “concerned believers” (Gallup’s term) has remained the same; the “mixed middle” group has lost about 10% – all of whom have joined us, the skeptics. None have joined Gore, Obama, the IPCC, and the other alarmists. There’s a reason for that.

gallup

Remember the TV Showtime documentary, Years of Living Dangerously, airing on Sunday evenings? I wrote about the first episode a week ago, pointing out that drought in West Texas is not convincing proof of “climate change.” The second episode aired this week; it failed to make the top 100 cable shows, and was beaten in its time-slot by a rerun of the animated cartoon, Bob’s Burgers. Yikes! Showtime spent $20 million on this turkey, directed by James Cameron. The emotional appeal doesn’t seem to be working.

subsidiesFinancially, you’ll be happy to know our Federal Government is spending less of your tax dollars on subsidies for wind power farms. The bird lovers among us will be pleased that fewer raptors and song birds are being sliced and diced. From Investors’ Business Daily:

The federal government has spent some $100 billion in taxpayer subsidies on green energy since 2006. Now we are seeing the flimsy and declining returns on that investment.

The wind industry saw its growth tumble by 92% last year, according to a new report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), and that’s off of a very low base to begin with.

Big Wind blames the decline in output on uncertainty over the future of a federal wind industry tax credit — an absurdly generous subsidy of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour produced.

This handout is what keeps those giant turbines twirling. These subsidies have been thrown at the renewable energy industry for more than a decade and always with the promise by AWEA that profitability is right around the corner. Sure it is.

The reality is that the wind industry is to energy production what Amtrak is to intercity transportation — a perpetual tax-dollar burning machine.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily

yalenewsFrom its dreadful effects on the working middle class to the subsidies it steals from our pockets, the “climate change” fraud has been a disaster. But perhaps its greatest failure has been its absurd catechizing in the halls of higher education, among those with the most advanced educations. For example, from The Yale News, dated 21 April:

Parts of ancient Antarctica were as warm as today’s California coast, and polar regions of the southern Pacific Ocean registered 21st-century Florida heat, according to scientists using a new way to measure past temperatures.

Led by scientists at Yale, the study focused on Antarctica during the Eocene epoch, 40-50 million years ago, a period with high concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and consequently a greenhouse climate.

Merciful Heavens! 50 million years ago, Antarctica, like India and Australia, was an island continent in the South Atlantic, 2000 miles from the South Pole. Northern hemisphere continents were also dispersed away from the North Pole. Ocean currents flowed freely across the poles; major mountain ranges had not arisen. For these and other reasons, world climate was much warmer and more equable. Apparently there are senior editors at the Yale News who are unaware of continental drift, the foundation of modern geology. Faculty adviser? Let’s hope not.  The effect of the climate change fraud has been to dumb down science education, even at the highest levels. Unquestioning acceptance of authority is deadly to science.

We should be grateful for blessings – even small blessings. Vladimir Putin is helping convince even the most fervent believers in “climate change” that there are worse things. Michael Fallon says yesterday was the kickoff in development of shale gas in the UK. Who’s Michael Fallon? He’s the UK Minister for Energy and Climate Change!  Even politicians can sometimes see the light – if the threat to reelection is strong enough.

Common Core: The Bullying of Parents and Public School Children

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth,” said Vladimir Lenin who led the revolution that imposed Communism on Russia.

When he wrote, Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler said “whoever has the youth has the future.” In his vision for the Nazi Party, education would be the key that ensured that he had ‘the youth’ of Germany fully indoctrinated.

All dictators and authoritarian regimes know that what is taught in their schools offers the greatest opportunity to maintain control over their societies.

That is what has been occurring since the introduction of the Common Core standards that the Obama regime has imposed on our national education system and the good news is that protests against it from concerned parents and others are beginning to increase and gain momentum.

Teachers will tell you that “one size fits all” does not apply in the classroom and never has. Children learn at a different pace with some doing so rapidly while others need extra help and attention. Learning that is entirely dependent on ceaseless testing puts stress on every child and that is the most common complaint about Common Core.

Education in America has been in decline since the 1960s when the teachers unions gained control over the process, putting themselves between the local boards of education and parents. Would it surprise anyone to learn that the Department of Education was established by President Jimmy Carter who signed it into law in 1979? It began operation on May 4, 1980. You will find no reference, no mention of education in the U.S. Constitution and it should not be a function of the federal government.

In a recent commentary by Joy Pullmann in The Daily Caller, she said, “The latest scheme is the field testing of Common Core assessments. This spring more than four million kids will be required to spend hours on tests that have little connection to what they learned in class this year and will provide their teachers and schools no information about what the kids know.”

“Parents who object to this scheme,” said Pullman, “face bullying and harassment from public officials. From New York to Denver to California, some schools are responding by forcing kids who opt out to sit at their desks and do nothing during the several-hour tests. Normal people call that a ‘time out’ and it is a punishment.”

Wyoming has become the first State to block a new set of national science standards that address climate change. In Michigan last year a group of protesters stopped the State from adopting the science standards.

Here are some excerpts of what the science standards teach as “The Essential Principles of Climate Science.”

  • “The impacts of climate change may affect the security of nations. Reduced availability of water, food, and land can lead to competition and conflict among humans, potentially resulting in large groups of climate refugees.”
  • “Humans may be able to mitigate climate change or lessens its severity by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations through processes that move carbon out of the atmosphere or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
  • “The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources.”

From “A Framework for K-12 Science Education” children are to be taught that “If Earth’s global mean temperature continues to rise, the lives of humans and other organisms will be affected in many different ways.” Only the Earth’s mean temperature is not rising! The planet is in a natural cooling cycle that is now seventeen years old, meaning that none of the students in today’s schools have ever experienced a single day of “global warming.”

By the end of grade 8, the Framework teaches that “Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of many other species.” This, too, is untrue. The U.S. Endangered Species Act, despite listing thousands of species, has not officially “saved” more than a handful at best and this assertion is questionable.

By the end of grade 12, students are expected to believe that “Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.” While it is true that there has been an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide this is a good thing because it is an essential factor in the increase of all vegetation that includes food crops and healthier forests. Moreover, this increase does not play any role in the Earth’s climate.

The central theme of these “science standards” is to teach that we should be reducing our use of fossil fuels, the primary energy sources our nation and the world requires. What these standards do in reality is repeat and reinforce federal government laws and regulations to justify its CO2 emissions regulations based on the current method of computing the Social Cost of Carbon, but these “costs” are pure fiction.

None of the computer models that have predicted global warming over the past four decades have been accurate. None are capable of representing the state of the Earth’s vastly complex climate.

The sooner Common Core is removed from the nation’s education system, the better.

Editor’s Note: To learn more or follow the debate on Common Core, visit The Heartland Institute’s “Education Weekly” newsletter that provides data via Common Core Watch.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED STORY: Common Core’s Validation: A Weak Foundation for a Crooked House

Egyptian doctor: Cause of Palestinian suffering is HAMAS, not Israel

Dr. Tawfik Hamid is an Egyptian doctor and in addition has a Master’s degree in cognitive psychology. Dr. Tawfik as a youth was a radical Muslim and joined a terrorist organization Aislmsti – Al Jamaa Al Islamiya, along with Dr. Ayman Al Zhavari, who later became bin Laden’s deputy and currently is the head of Al Qaeda. Twenty-five years ago we met Dr. Tawfik Hamid that Islam today’s combative, sowing destruction and terrorism and so has reformed radical Islam and the scripture of Islam.

Dr Hamid is currently active in promoting peace and human rights, advocating for peace with Israel and argues that the suffering of the Palestinians is caused by leadership that is militant and fanatic, and who wants to exterminate the Jews and uses the suffering Palestinians to further their political and religious dogmatism.  He says cynical manipulation that makes the Palestinian leadership suffering of her people, not only it is immoral, it is against the Palestinians. those who need to change, are the Palestinians and Israel. everyone to take An example of President Sadat, says Dr. Hamid. The solution is in the hands of the Palestinians and not Israel’s hands. And while this situation does not change for the Palestinians, the suffering of the Palestinians will not come to an end. 

[youtube]http://youtu.be/b0m3RghOcFo[/youtube]

 

RELATED STORY: Hamas TV celebrates jihad murder of Israelis: “Our harvest is your heads”

Original in Hebrew:

קוגניטיבית. בצעירותו היה מוסלמי רדיקלי והצטרף לארגון טרור איסלמסטי – אל ג’מעה אל איסלאמיה, יחד עם ד”ר אימן אל זהאוורי, מי שלימים הפך להיות לסגנו של בן לאדן וכיום עומד בראש ארגון אל קעידה. לפני -נה הכיר ד”ר תאופיק חמיד בכך שהאסלאם של היום לוחמני, זורע חורבן וטרור ולכן יש לערוך רפורמות קיצוניות באסלאם ובכתבי הקודש של האסלאם. כיום הוא פעיל למען שלום וזכויות אדם, מטיף לשלום עם ישראל וטוען כי סבלם של הפלסטינים נגרם בשל הנהגה לוחמנית וקנאית הרוצה להכחיד את היהודים ומשתמשת בסבל הפלסטינים לצרכים פוליטיים ודתיים-דוגמתיים. לדבריו, הניצול הציני שעושה ההנהגה הפלסטינית בסבל בני עמה, לא רק שהוא איננו מוסרי, הוא פועל לרעת הפלסטינים. מי שצריך להשתנות, הם הפלסטינים ולא ישראל. על כולם לקחת דוגמה מהנשיא סאדאת, אומר ד”ר חמיד. הפתרון מצוי בידיים של הפלסטינים ולא בידיה של ישראל. וכל עוד לא ישתנה המצב אצל הפלסטינים, סבלם של הפלסטינים לא יגיע לקיצו.
תרגום בעברית.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Soman. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Vladimir Putin Caesar and Our Great Geo-political Turning Point

We are witnessing, I believe, a turning point in geopolitical history, one future historians may analyze as we have the Roman Empire’s fall. Vladimir Putin is making a move — and it’s not just against Ukraine. It may not be just a move against Eastern Europe. It’s not even, perhaps, just a move against US world dominance.

There was a time when the USSR was the “evil empire, a godless Golgotha. But that was then. Now, in 2013-14, Putin has seen fit to say, in his December State of the Nation speech, “Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. …Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.”

This roughly coincided with Russia’s enactment of laws prohibiting homosexual propaganda and was a salvo against both the West’s Great Sexual Heresy and what enables it: moral relativism.

In another shot at relativism, Putin averred, “Society is now required…to accept without question the equality of good and evil, strange as it seems, concepts that are opposite in meaning.”

The Russian president then took aim at multiculturalism: “Today, many nations are revising their moral values and ethical norms, eroding ethnic traditions and differences between peoples and cultures.”

And now we’re seeing the release of Russian Culture War 2.0. In a document called “Foundations of the State Cultural Policy,” the Kremlin is doubling down and writes, “Russia must be viewed as a unique and original civilization that cannot be reduced to ‘East’ or ‘West.’ …A concise way of formulating this stand would be, ‘Russia is not Europe.’” The document goes on to state that Russia rejects “such principles as multiculturalism and tolerance” and “projects imposing alien values on society.”

No, this is not your grandfather’s Russia.

But it very well may be your great-grandfather’s.

There are a few different things, I suspect, going on here. The 20 years after the Cold War’s end had been a period of relative co-operation between Russia and the West, but you can’t define yourself by going along (to get along) with the world’s cultural hegemon; you can’t be band leader by playing second fiddle. So Putin is defining his nation as the un-morally-wild West. In addition, he knows that to rally a people behind you, you need a boogeyman, your Eurasia, the “Nappy” (Napoleon) who will “get you,” British children, if you’re not good.

Yet it isn’t just that Putin is restarting the Cold War. Nor is he just an old-line KGB Bolshevik, as some stuck in commentary amber have suggested. He’s smart enough to realize that Marxism is, as the kids today would say, just so “played.”

He more likely wants to be the next czar.

What’s my theory? Try this on for size: It isn’t just that Putin wants to restore lost Russian glory.

He sees a chance to be a historic figure.

Note here that you don’t have to be good to be historic; Roman statesman Cicero called Julius Caesar an “ambitious villain,” but Caesar’s name is far better known than Cicero’s. And let’s consider what might be Putin’s calculation: the West has long been the world’s cultural trend-setter, spreading an increasingly un-Christian creed to all corners of the Earth. Of course, not everyone is on board. The Islamic abode wants nothing to do with it, but it’s Muslim; sub-Saharan Africa is largely opposed, but it lacks clout. As for South America, in addition to lacking clout it’s confused; and while China is gaining power, it’s largely pagan and non-committal on the culture war.

Enter the second Vladimir the Great.

Putin doesn’t just see a chance to define himself — and to unite the Russian people behind him — via opposition to the West, as his Marxist comrades once did.

He sees a chance to do it as today’s Charlemagne.

There’s an unsatisfied market for Christendom’s standard bearer, and Putin perceives an opportunity to exploit it. China won’t do it, Africa can’t, South America wouldn’t and couldn’t. But just as the original Vladimir the Great Christianized the Kievan Rus’, just as Charlemagne forged and helped Christianize modern Europe, Putin has a chance to lift the cross — and himself — high.

And the West is a gift that keeps on giving insofar as this goes. Our cultural Marxists are on the march, smell blood and will not stop. They will continue spending us into insolvency, perverting us into prone position, relativizing us into risibility and “immigrationizing” us into irrelevance. Even now, not satisfied with placing another great nail in marriage’s coffin, our militant secularists are making moves to legitimize pedophilia and bestiality. It’s onward Luciferian soldiers.

And for Putin, it’s onward Christian soldier. As our degradation advances, Russia’s star can rise commensurately. Putin knows the West is in decline. He sees the demographic trends, that the US is transforming into a Third World/Hispanic nation and Western Europe into a Third World/Muslim continent. He knows that if there is another superpower in the near future, it will be Russia or China. And he knows what card he has to play to win this game.

Of course, while we could argue about whether the Christian-soldier solution is tactic and strategy or just tactic, it is so obviously prudent that it’s inconceivable Putin wouldn’t have pursued it. Just consider the benefits, starting with justification of Russian expansionism. If you’re a typical Russian, might not the idea that “the West is decadent, debauched, exhausted and effete” justify, in your mind, a Russian manifest destiny? Might it not be natural and wholly in accordance with man’s nature to believe that your moral superiority gives you the right to dominate? Note that this is the theory that helped justify the colonial powers’ imperialism: they were bringing civilization to a world of darkness. And it’s what we do to this day, applying secular values as standard. How often have we heard intervention in the Islamic “stan” du jour justified by pointing out that its rulers oppress women and are intolerant? The judgments are different, but the desire to claim the moral high ground is the same.

Then consider foreign relations. The USSR used to jockey for world influence with us; whereas before they had to market Marxism, however, now they can peddle purity. Standing against decadent Western secular-imperialism can win Russia many friends in Africa and even the Middle East, and most of the Far East will go with the dominant power.

Lastly, even if Putin is a functional atheist — even if his road to Heaven is paved with bad intentions — he surely knows that if Russia wants to prosper, Western secular/hedonist isms must be rejected. And why wouldn’t he know? As Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov and others have explained, it was his erstwhile Marxist buddies who encouraged those movements in the West for the purposes of undermining our civilization.

But we’re doing a very good job of undermining it ourselves, and Putin is more concerned with building his own. Pat Buchanan recently wrote about this and pointed out that Putin may very well view his realm as “The Third Rome:”

The first Rome was the Holy City and seat of Christianity that fell to Odoacer and his barbarians in 476 A.D. The second Rome was Constantinople, Byzantium, (today’s Istanbul), which fell to the Turks in 1453. The successor city to Byzantium, the Third Rome, the last Rome to the old believers, was — Moscow.

Putin is entering a claim that Moscow is the Godly City of today and command post of the counter-reformation against the new paganism.

…Putin is saying the new ideological struggle is between a debauched West led by the United States and a traditionalist world Russia would be proud to lead.

Note here that the term “czar” is derived from the Latin word Caesar. And while Putin may be just as satisfied to be Julius or Augustus as Constantine, I’m quite sure that Marxism is no longer his bag. That would be playing second fiddle again — and the last thing the Russians want to be is like us.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

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Florida Teacher’s letter on the State of Education

We received this letter from a Lake County School District teacher. It is published verbatim, the name of the teacher has been withheld for their safety:

It was nice talking to you this morning.  I wish we had more time to discuss the problems with education, there are so many.

Our country has been losing ground to other nations for some time now.  Teachers are teaching to a state standardized test and we will continue to lose ground until the government gets back to basics and lets the teachers just teach (but that will never happen).

I promised you a list of things that teachers are being told to do and here it is.  I reached out to other teachers and they were very helpful, although they are unlike me and are fearful of speaking out.

After coming out of retirement I was told by my school administration that our county does not use LFS (Learning Focus Strategies) any longer.  However in a teacher initiation training I was told by county personnel that we are still using LFS.  Bad communication is running rampant throughout our education system.

But I regress, sorry.  The list:

  1. We are told to put a Lesson Essential Question (LEQ) on the board.  We have to teach for 10 – 15 minutes and then stop.  We are to tell our students to talk to their partners about what they learned.  We are to refer to the LEQ when doing this.  We repeat this all class period.
  2. We are told to give the students one hands on project a week, no verbal projects.  It is impossible to give them a lesson, directions for a lab and then the lab once a week.
  3. We are told to time our students when they are sharing what they have learned.  They are only allowed to talk about the lesson for no more than 2 minutes.
  4. We are supposed to talk to our students like they are little children, which to me is talking  down to them.

This is just a short list of things.

The standards we have are, to say the least, ridiculous.  They are repetitive, difficult to understand and impossible to teach in one year for any one subject.  For middle school science we have comprehensive science 1, 2 and 3.  Three are 63 standards for CS 1 which is 6th grade.  There are 63 standards for CS 2, 7th grade and 61 standards for CS 3, 8th grade.

Teachers are being encouraged to give nothing less than a 50% on a paper even if the student just puts nothing but their name on it, I refuse to do this.

I love teaching and my students have been very successful on the tests and in life.  I am a cynic when it comes to the government changing education for the better, it will never happen.  There is too much money at stake.

I have taught and currently teach at low income schools, graded F or D by the state.  We do not get any extra money from the state, all the extra money goes to the better schools.

I hope this information helps.  If you need any more information or have any questions please feel free to contact me.  You can use my name on anything you send out if you want.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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Why is Obama decimating the military while arming federal agencies?

The rate at which this administration is arming federal agencies is quite alarming. Case in point–the recent standoff against Cliven Bundy in Nevada. In recent years, armed federal government agents have stormed against citizens in Ruby Ridge, Miami (the Elian Gonzalez case), and Waco, Texas (the Branch Davidians). Each of these assaults occurred under a Democrat presidential administration. Enabled by lies and deceit, could it be that liberal progressive socialism only works by fear, intimidation, and coercion? Or is Obama more afraid of the American people than our enemies abroad?

I find it humorous that liberal progressives accuse their opponents of being fascists, but the liberals are actually the most intolerant and oppressive when it comes to free speech, expression, and petition of redress of grievances by the American citizenry.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) now have armed agents. The Department of Justice is heavily partisan — and that assertion has nothing to do with racism. I support our law enforcement agencies having the proper resources and equipment to fulfill their mission of keeping us safe from criminals and enemies who have penetrated our sovereign borders. However, we do not need to become a “police state” where our government agencies start to resemble special operation strike troops of the U.S. mlitary.

During the 2008 campaign, I recall then-Senator Obama stating, “We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” Just like the fundamental transformation of America, what exactly did this mean? And just as amazingly, behind the young inexperienced junior Senator, you can see American military veterans applauding.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Tt2yGzHfy7s[/youtube]

So, as we decimate our military, cut retiree and veteran benefits, and cut benefits to our military families, we are arming federal agencies. Why?

I don’t know about you, but I ain’t about to be a sheep heading to the slaughter.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.

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RELATED VIDEO: Bleeding The Military by Bill Finley:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/jEXb54PuC0I[/youtube]

Only 35% of Americans now think U.S. is winning the War on Terror

This is the lowest level in three years of likely U.S. voters who think we’re winning the “War on Terror,” but I am astonished that it is that high. After all, the “War on Terror” has been declared over at least three times (in 2012 and twice in 2009), so the Rasmussen Reports survey is rather like asking people if they think the U.S. is winning World War II. Also, since the Obama Administration has now “switched sides” in this erstwhile war and is now arming al Qaeda, what exactly constitutes “winning”? Would that be al Qaeda victories and advances, or advances of the cause of freedom? Would a victory in the “War on Terror” be the imposition of Sharia, or its rejection? If only the Great Leader in Washington would explain!

“War on Terror Update,” Rasmussen Reports, April 22 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):

Belief that America is winning the War on Terror and is safer than before the 9/11 terrorist attacks have fallen to their lowest levels in three years.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 35% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror. But that’s down from 39% in January and is the most pessimistic assessment since April 2011.  Fifty percent (50%) felt America and its allies were winning a year ago.

Twenty-seven percent (27%) say the terrorists are winning the War on Terror, down from a recent high of 30% in January. Just as many (28%) say neither side is winning. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 17-18, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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Why was Ann Coulter banned from CPAC?

Hey Conservatives…we have a problem. How does the most popular speaker at the annual, preeminent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) get banned from formally speaking at the 2014 event?

Well, in this short video, we will set the context and Ann Coulter will explain exactly how SHE was banned from this year’s CPAC event, an event by-the-way, that is sponsored by the prestigious American Conservative Union (ACU). As you will see, there is a nefarious individual behind the ACU/CPAC activities and The United West (TUW) will present evidence over a multi-part investigative Micro-Series, exposing conservative icon, Grover Norquist, as an ideological “Enemy-of-the-State.”

[youtube]http://youtu.be/nDA3LQBB6XY[/youtube]

 

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FBI Video: Game of Pawns
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EDITORS NOTE: This video is part of TUW’s Micro-Series entitled: “Bad Guys, Government Lies, Muslim Spies” carried exclusively on this e-Magazine. The featured photo is courtesy of  Gage Skidmore. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Florida’s School Board Treachery! Part 2

Many have sent letters to Governor Scott, the legislature and the members of the State Board of Education and they were all very good letters. I had so many of you send me what you had written before sending them out and I am honored for your trust.

Florida is in a serious and precarious position having the additional burden of all of those mentioned above plus Jen Bush and the rest of the crony club to deal with. We, true Florida are angry and frustrated because we have listened and learned and we know their concern is not for our children but for their coffers. Money, Power and Control!

Having written about the Chairman of the School Board first I thought I would jump to the end to introduce the new members of the State School Board since they are both so interesting.

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey

Let me introduce you to Rebecca Fishman Lipsey!

In her biography she states she is a life-long educator at the age of 32. Let’s take a look at how she got to that experience.

She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Psychology in 2004; attended Bank Street College of Education 2004-06 for her Masters and during the same period was teaching for Teach For America (TFA) in the NYC schools. Two years of actual teaching and then in 2006, she became a Program Director for TFA, but she is a life-ling educator!

If you have never heard of Bank Street College of Education it is probably because you are a strong Christian Conservative. Bank Street is not, to say the least, anything but Progressive.

Bank Street College of Education was founded by Lucy Sprague Mitchell as the Bureau of Educational Experiments (BEE). They were deeply involved in the creation of the “Head Start” program along with the National Education Association which created the Educational Policies Commission (EPC). Bank Street in their teaching and beliefs stated they were influenced by revolutionary educator John Dewey and other humanists concluding they were building a new kind of educational system which is essential to building a better, more rational, humane world.

John Dewey! Governor Rick Scott, who recommended Rebecca Fishman Lipsey to sit on the Florida State School Board?

The Bureau of Education Experiments (BEE) also founded by Mitchell and her husband, stating their purpose was to “combine expanding psychological awareness with democratic conceptions of education. With a staff of researchers and teachers, the Bureau set out to study children – to find out what kind of environment is best suited to their learning and growth, to create that environment, and to train adults to maintain it”. CHANGE AGENTS!

A CHANGE AGENT you say! What is that? A change agent is identified as someone, usually a teacher who is trained to “identify the resisters in your community” (those parents/taxpayers who resist all the value destroying programs being implemented from the likes of people like Jeb Bush, Achieve, CCSSO and NGA,   National Diffusion Network, and the U.S. Dept. of Education to name a few).

This idea of Change Agents came from Havelock’s work and his 1970 book “Innovations in Education – A Change Agent’s Guide”. He was a federally-funded Marxist who chaired the classics departments at both Harvard and Yale teacher training program of which the U.S. Dept. of Education was promoting, funding and distributing WORLDWIDE in the 80’s.

And, of UTMOST importance, the Guidance Counselor’s journal stated in a special issue it published in May 1977on “death education” that all these programs which had “education” hanging off the end of them: “sex, drugs, alcohol, death, bullying”, etc. were designed to do the opposite of what they told the parents and taxpayers they were designed to do. They were designed TO CHANGE THE CHILDREN’S VALUES FROM ABSOLUTES TO NO ABSOLUTES! (NO RIGHT, NO WRONG)

Scott, in case as a non-educator you are unaware, JOHN DEWEY was a professed MARXIST. His colleague’s would state, “Deweyism is the genuine fulfillment of Marxism”!

According to the Teach for America web site you would think they are the only ones concentrating on the low-income and poverty ridden students. The truth is this has been going on for years and they continue to use those students for experiments in education and then when it fails, blames those same students for them being given trash to learn by.

Currently the TFA website states Florida has their teachers not only in Miami-Dade but Jacksonville (KIPP). Watch those test scores go down! What does TFA look for in “teacher” quality? Well, according to their web site page it says nothing about having been educated to be an educator. By attending their five-week (that’s a #5) summer training program these young college graduates are “ready, set, go”! Compensation isn’t bad either!

Check back to Part 1 on some of the KIPP teachers who are NOT certified.

Of note here is Ms. Lipsey has been working for TFA as a Program Director in Miami-Dade and this was one of the things the Miami-Dade Superintendent requested on the Race To The Top grant – money to fund an “additional” 350 TFA teachers.

Andy Tuck the second newbie on the FL SBOE –

tuck

Richard Andrew Tuck

His name is Richard Andrew Tuck and he is from Sebring – a citrus grower and state school board Chair Chartrand stated upon his appointment, “It’s only appropriate that on the Florida Board of Education we have a citrus grower”! Really? Is that to mean along with his push for the Common Core Standards he maybe also believes in the school-to-work agenda to put the kids in the fields?

Tuck is listed on state records to be the owner and manager of Tuck Groves, Natural AG Solutions LLC and Southeast AG Management LLC.

Never having heard of him before I went to several friends in Highlands County where Tuck is from to ask their thought! Not good! Progressive, Common Core is a done deal – accept it. He was responsible for bringing the Internal Baccalaureate program to Highlands which in case you do not know is a Progressive United Nations/UNESCO curriculum that is also proprietary and no one in the FL DOE oversees anything about it.

Tuck served as a member of the Florida School Boards Association from 2012 to 2013 and was also on the Highlands County School Board for 5 years along with serving at one time as the counties Chairman of the Republican Party. His bio is not much different than Chartrand’s – a lot of words and organizations.

I was told he is Congressman Rooney’s fund raiser and he also held a fund raiser for Gov. Scott. In 2012, Scott appointed Tuck to the State Transportation Committee (I see nothing that gives him a background in this area either).

Now comes the interesting part – he also serves on the Central Florida Regional Planning Council which I think is what got him the appointment to the Florida Department of Management Services Task Force which was formed after the legislature made changes to Chapter 2013-223 Laws of Florida (HB 85) which gives FREE REIGN to any and all PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP dealings in this state. No more bidding process to name one.

At least in part the Florida State Board of Education smells to high heaven and the parents/taxpayers of Florida can expect no help from them in regard to the CCS as was witnessed by their unprofessional behavior by some of the board members and the Commissioner of Education at last week’s meeting.

Governor Scott liked this bill and I will address that at another time. Part 3 to come.

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Florida’s School Board Treachery! Part 1

It is becoming increasingly clear that the only preservation for the children of Florida and their futures is to change how things are done in Florida. We must return the position of Commissioner of Education to an elected position; change the positions on the State School Board to an elected position or both.

The cronyism in Tallahassee has reached the highest levels it has ever been. The ethics bill last year was a smoke screen to fool us as an effort on their part to be good boys and girls. However the legislation passed in no way touched the real problems in that city and our government.

Appointing people to positions that hold the power such as the Commissioner and State School Board leaves parents out of the equation in regard to education and makes them answerable to whom?  Each other and a governor who has in recent months shown us he cares less about listening to parents concerns in regard to their children’s education and it is more important to him to have dinner with Jeb Bush.

Our past 2 governors,  Bush and Crist along with Rick Scott since the changes in the Florida Constitution in 2003 have given us 5 Commissioners of Education who are currently sitting on Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education; John L. Winn, Eric J. Smith, Gerard Robinson, Tony Bennett and now Pam Stewart. Has Jeb Bush been Florida’s perpetual governor?

Given the timing of the change to the Constitution (2003), the following commissioners (John Winn & Eric Smith) were given a seat on Jeb Bush’s foundation which of course is what Bush did after leaving the governor’s office – form his foundation. Do you see a little long range plan laid out here?

All of these people support the trash education of the Common Core Standards and the taxation without representation of the Charter/Choice/Voucher scheme along with the unelected school boards of the Charter schools removing the parental input into the equation. They don’t want you to know about the failures of the charter schools – much larger by percentage than traditional public schools.

The focus here is to make the Charter School Management (CSM) companies rich and the heck with what our kids learn! CSM’s fill coffers!

I want to give you the background on those dictating the futures of our children. You got a good look into the disrespect and arrogance of the SBOE Chairman this past Tuesday. We saw the board members talking to each other, messing with their iPads or phones, conversing with the administrative assistant through the whole time while over 95 taxpayers explained their point of views in regard to Common Core and education in general.

They didn’t even have the decency to have a conversation amongst themselves in regard to any of the issues brought up by the speakers before taking their vote. The 2 new board members (and there is history there also) spoke basically in favor of the vote that was about to take place with Tuck (new kid on the block) even stating we have to move into the 21st Century.

Florida State School Board:

gary chartrand

Gary Chartrand

Gary Chartrand came to the board in 2011 and of course is now serving as its chairman. His business background is pretty impressive as being one of those individuals who sits on every board you can think of. It is always supposed to make your resume look better. Other than the KIPP Charter school thing I can’t find any reason for Scott to appoint him to the board.

Know that no matter how impressive Chartrand’s bio is, it is what it doesn’t say that is important. He has absolutely no background in education except for being involved in bringing Kipp Charter schools and Teach for America (TFA) teachers to Jacksonville. He is a lot like Al Gore – “he knows not of what he speaks”. And his actions are getting rather loud.

Not a classroom, not a school office, not even a school janitor – he has no qualifications to sit on the Florida State Board of Education.  It is a little bit like asking a Construction Engineer to teach a Home Economy class (do they still have those?). Or maybe a professional chef to build a bridge!

Under Chartrand’ s direction the board’s 3 decisions in regard to a choice for the states “Unelected” Commissioner of Education have been less than stellar and it would lead those who follow these things to ask who was really behind these choices. Remembering our last five (5) including our present commissioner are also “reformer’s – (formerly chief’s for change) on Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education.  Maybe they just wanted to make sure they had someone who would tow the line.

The main problem here is these choices rather than being individuals interested in actually improving our children’s education, the choice of commissioners were those whose main goal was to privatize our education instead. (Charter Schools)

Chartrand has been applauded for the KIPP Charter schools in Jacksonville – but of course he has given his allegiance to Charter schools. The state’s agenda is charter schools; however his results shown here so far are not any better than his performance as the SSBOE chairman. Chartrand, who helped raise $9 million to bring a KIPP elementary school to Jacksonville, also donated $1 million toward the network’s elementary school in the same city.

KIPP Impact Middle School is of course planted in a “low-income” area which to this writer gives them an out excuse for failure which is where a good amount of charter schools put themselves, low-income areas. 98% of the students are minority and 89% are Title I students both of which bring in extra funds for the school. Started in 2010, their first year grade was an F with less than 30% achieving the FCAT of 25% or less in reading and for math 67% reached the level of 25% or less. Not good.

When Commissioner Robinson made his famous trip to Jacksonville to look into the implementation of another KIPP school (I wonder what his interest was?), he was asked by a reported if he was going to take into consideration the existing Kipp school had received and F, he responded, “we don’t use that as the criteria for allowing new schools to open”.

Wow! Given the Florida State School Board allows D and F Charter schools (of which there are many more than traditional public schools) stay open for far longer than they should, one does have to ask “What are they doing”?

The mission statement for KIPP Jacksonville Schools is to prepare our students with the academic and character skills necessary to succeed in high school, college and the competitive world beyond.  Not at this rate!

Something else I discovered while doing this posting. KIPP and Charter Schools USA send their teachers to what is called the Clarion Council For Educational Greatness in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Though not clear, it looks like it is owned by Charter Schools USA and when you go to the web site and try to see what the training is – you have to have a “Clarion Training” password. Secrets, always secrets.

KIPP’s Accountability report for the 2010-2011 school years – AFRICAN-AMERICAN, ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED KIPP IMPACT MIDDLE SCHOOL has not met federal adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind because it needs improvement in one or more areas.  Because this is a Title I school, your student may be eligible for school choice options under No Child Left Behind.

Charter schools are School Choice so where do these students go if the school were to remain a failure. In fairness I admit they garnered a C the following year after the change to the grading process – no figures for the 2012-2013 year. But then the full accountability figures have not been posted on the Florida DOE web site since 2011. HUM!

More on Kipp Jacksonville Schools according to the 2012-13 FL Charter School Accountability Report:

Kipp Imagine:  4 of the 8 teachers are Teach For America teachers; 6 of the 8 teachers are not certified but are being paid at the same rate as the certified with benefits; average salary with benefits $48,125; 86.66% rated NOT Highly Qualified; 82.35% Teaching out of their field; in the hole financially at the end of the year $14, 000+ and have a large note due to KIPP,Inc.

Kipp Voice:  8 of the 12 teachers Are Teach For America teachers; only 1 is NOT certified; 100% of the teachers are teaching out of their field; their salaries are equivalent to those of Imagine.

Both schools are NOT certified and rent their building from McDuff Qalicb, Inc. of Jax and they are in a relationship with Kipp, Inc. but how is not clear. Both schools hold board meetings once a quarter and at one of the recent meetings Gary Chartrand asked Ashley Ferguson who is listed as the principal of both schools about her views on the Common Core vs. Florida State standards. There was general discussion about this.  She is also a TFA girl!

It’s too bad that Chartrand couldn’t find it in his heart to leave his ego at the door of the board room but then we tin-hatter’s all know that most of the people we are dealing with today have enormous ego’s.

Part 2:  Andy Tuck and Rebecca Fishman Lipsey – the new kids

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