How teachers’ “attitude restructuring” is hypersexualizing your kids

Note: Thomas R. Hampson, chief investigator, Liberty Center for Child Protection, contributed to this column.

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” – Matthew 10:16

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Ira L. Reiss. Photo courtesy of the Kinsey Institute.

Ira L. Reiss, a sociologist and professor emeritus at Minnesota University, was a charter member of Alfred Kinsey’s Sex Cult. His papers, articles, and audio and video recordings already are housed at the Kinsey Institute, 57 years of his work so far. Reiss, like other Kinsey disciples, advocated the production of pornography and its display for “training” purposes to prepare students entering the new sexuality fields spawned by Kinsey’s supposed revelations on sex. Kinsey gleefully promoted this type of material, which during the late ’60s started to be called Sexuality Attitude Restructuring (later renamed Reassessment), or SAR, sessions.

These training sessions are promoted as sexual desensitization seminars, pornographic extravaganzas of all manner of enthusiastic sexual activities presented to groups of men and women as training to become certified therapists, counselors, educators or researchers. In addition to desensitizing sexologists to the images of heterosexual activities, sado-masochism, group sex, sodomy, the use of sex “toys” and homosexual behavior, the sex leaders also hold small group discussions to explore the participants’ attitudes and biases in order to neutralize any “negative” views.

But the stated purpose of these sessions is not the whole story, or even the real story.

Early on, these sessions were not used to merely desensitize and encourage acceptance of all sex acts but as indoctrination into a “sex positive” mindset. (Such training has been a requirement for certification by the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists, or AASECT, from the beginning.) SAR leaders also often pressured participants into sexual experimentation with each other.

Insiders view of sexual science book coverReiss revealed this in his book, “An Insider’s View of Sexual Science since Kinsey,” recounting his experience at an eight-day SAR session in San Francisco in 1972. At the time, Reiss already was a professor at the University of Minnesota where its medical school was one the first in the country to offer SAR training to medical students. But it was a new, untested program.

The director of U of M’s SAR program had secured a grant from the Playboy Foundation to send 25 couples from the University, all expenses paid, to San Francisco to receive training from the group that had followed on Kinsey’s practices, the National Sex Forum (aka the National Sex and Drug Forum). The purpose was to improve the programming at Minnesota. Reiss and wife were among the volunteers for the Playboy-sponsored training of future national sex educators. Reiss reports:

“The view presented by many of the staff was supportive of people trying out the full variety of sexual acts that exist (S and M, gay, extramarital, group sex, etc.). The supposed purpose was to allow people to break through their old restrictive sexual attitudes. I had no objection to offering such options. However, as they elaborated, it became clear that this support of broad experimentation was more than just permission giving – it was presented as a demand to experiment.”

When Reiss resisted, the SAR leaders ridiculed him, one of them saying, “Are you hostile to group sex or gay sex, and is that why [you are] so cautious about trying something new? Are you biased?”

Reiss did not object to the activity. Rather, he objected to demanding it. It should be promoted, not required, according to Reiss. Such promoting, demanding and encouraging of freewheeling sexual libertinism SAR trainers have been doing for over 40 years now.

While AASECT requires SAR training as an element in their certification standards, the Kinsey Institute is still involved, and Planned Parenthood has joined in. SAR trainings are regularly available now.

Mentally and emotionally corrupted graduates of the SAR training become the “experts” who design sex-ed courses and teach our children. Thus, they have “determined” that the anus is a “genital” as it is described in the currently used sex education program in Hawaii, that orgies are natural entertainment, that sex addiction is a myth, that addiction to pornography is not possible, that it’s normal for children of any age to have sex and that they have the right to choose whatever sexual activity they may think to try with whomever they want, and that sodomy (legalized by the Supreme Court in 2003) is a healthy sexual practice for all sexual orientations.

The whole purpose of these “sex positive” programs is not to liberate adults from their Victorian moral prisons but to indoctrinate children into an unrestrained, sexually available lifestyle. Even if such “programs” are not being taught in all schools yet, this material has been made available on multiple websites and are widely promoted to all, regardless of age. The Kinsey Institute, SIECUS, Planned Parenthood, AASECT and others all provide, or recommend, sites that extoll the virtues of unrestrained sexual experimentation.

Is it any wonder that youthful STDs, pregnancies, abortions and abuse are pandemic?

Which brings us to one of the big lies spread by these organizations: safe/safer sex.

Typical of schools throughout the country, the Minnesota AIDS Project experts (SAR graduates) tell youngsters they can cut and use plastic wrap as a “barrier” when a child has oral/anal contact.

What?

To make matters worse, many of these groups have for years been spreading the false advertising that condoms and dental dams are FDA approved for such bizarre and damaging use. They are not. (See my recent column, “Condoms never FDA-approved for sodomy.”)

Do “condoms” and homemade barriers give the protection Planned Parenthood and other groups claim? Or do these groups promote their use merely as cover for the real purpose – to hypersexualize younger and younger children, groom them and leave them increasingly vulnerable to disease, death and sexual abuse by peers and adults?

Isn’t it time we start holding these groups legally accountable for knowingly spreading their junk science? Let us hear from you if you are among the millions who have been harmed by their “grooming” lies.

Where are all our SCHOOL TEACHERS? — Teacher Bullied By Other Teachers Over Common Core

Has anybody heard any comments from school teachers in regards to Common Core? Has anybody even heard a peep from any teacher – public, private, Catholic or homeschooler? Has the silence that all school teachers strive for in their classrooms actually engulfed them as well?

Back in August – right before the school year was to begin – school teachers from all over the state of Florida were the most vocal – numbers of them coming to me complaining about this “new Common Core thing” and asking me what could I do with my bold activism to “make it go away”. Many of these teachers were up in arms about this unethical set of standards that has taken the nation by storm and some went as far as saying that they were thinking about “boycotting” their respective schools in order to send out a message.

Well, 8 months have gone by; the school year is coming to a close; Common Core is finishing out its Phase III; and it seems like every single one of those very concerned teachers has either “taken the 5th”; has gotten a $50,000.00 raise to keep quiet; or simply just threw in the towel and joined the rest of the herd. Manipulation and deception at its greatest. Teachers are the backbone and foundation of our education system in our country and I personally have the utmost respect for ALL teachers – beginning with my own sister, Ana, who has taught in Miami for over 30 years. A phenomenal teacher. An even better sister…a die-hard Catholic to the bone…my “teacher of the year”.

But, even she appears to have her hands tied, duct tape over her mouth. The “Curse of Common Core” has hit her as well as all of those other teachers who threatened to either boycott their school, raise hell with their school principal, or just quit altogether. Slowly but surely, teachers have been lulled into thinking that this new system is going to save the world and since they do not want to lose their jobs – they just go with the flow and try not to create any waves. It has been a very calculated and stealth attack on our education system, going back to “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top”, and it all seems to be falling right into place.

The Common Core system is what “magically” evolved from those two former programs and has now taken over our beloved schools; teachers have been silenced, and just like this fiasco of Obamacare – which keeps moving the field goal posts every other day to accommodate President Obama in order to make him look good – the Common Core Monopoly Game has its own set of rules & regulations. And, you do not collect $200.00 when you pass Go…In the case of our school teachers, they appear to be spending most of their time in “jail”.

And, as long as the Federal Government has control over our beloved teachers and schools – those field goal posts don’t even need to be put up. No contest. Game over. President Obama, Bill Gates, Planned Parenthood, Agenda 21, the United Nations and every single crooked politician and state leader who has pushed for this “socialist disease” (including our own Jeb Bush) – call the shots, make up their own rules, and manipulate the education system to their personal liking…and our beloved children – the future of our country – are the ones who suffer the most…And, that is why I put my neck on the line every single day of the year.

In order to make a difference in our country, state, community, school system and church, one must put his or her neck on the line and be bold about his or her beliefs. That is one reason why I have personally fought Common Core tooth & nail from the very moment that I heard that the Catholic schools were going to implement “the curse” in their schools. That’s when this Christian on a Mission went to work – and I have not stopped since August 1st – and will not stop until we reverse the curse…at least in our Catholic schools in the state of Florida. That is my bold commitment to my Catholic Faith and what I firmly believe GOD has called me to do. Others around the country have fought it as well and even gone as far as taking it to court.

Susan Kimball testified that she suffered from bullying and intimidation from school administrators and fellow teachers because she opposes Common Core. In her testimony, she actually breaks down emotionally while standing up for her beloved students, as she explains to the panel how Common Core has totally crushed her spirit and has left her almost helpless. It takes guts to do what Mrs. Kimball did and I wonder how many other school teachers across this country have experienced the same thing this courageous and compassionate teacher has had to endure. How many teachers have the intestinal fortitude to stand up for what is right and take the stand for their beloved school children like this terrific teacher did? Where are all of those school teachers who came up to me in August ranting and raving about Common Core and how bad it was? Now is your time to stand up and be “bold” about your faith and your beliefs and try to “reverse the curse” and save this great country that we used to refer to as “Home of the Brave/ Land of the Free”.

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“Bullying” – a term we have heard a million times over the past few years. At the school level, it normally occurs when a bigger kid picks on a smaller kid. Or, when a group of kids gang up one single kid. Or, it can occur via the computer or cell phone, known as “cyber-bullying”, where a kid is threatened via the internet or even text messaging. School administrators have placed a great deal of importance on this topic because it is a very serious one. But, what happens when a “school teacher” is bullied, as in the case of Susan Kimball? And, what happens when it is not a bigger kid or a group of kids picking on her? What happens when it is an unconstitutional & unethical set of education standards we refer to as the “Curse of Common Core” who is bullying this teacher? Who does one go to then?

Going to the Federal Government to get help from this Common Core bullying is like a helpless Jew in a Nazi German camp going to Hitler and asking the Fuhrer for a pillow to sleep on because the floor is too uncomfortable.

Carbon Footprint: Using Unborn Fetuses as “Renewable Energy”

Environmentalists believe that mankind is a scourge, an infestation if you will, upon the earth and must be at the least controlled and at worst eliminated to protect mother earth. Those who are believers in population control embrace the policies of organizations like Planned Parenthood, founded by Margaret Sanger. “The feminist movement, of which Sanger was a major exponent, always identified with eugenics,” wrote Edwin Black.

Edwin Black, author of War Against The Weak, writes, “… Sanger vigorously opposed charitable efforts to uplift the downtrodden and deprived, and argued extensively that it was better that the cold and hungry be left without help, so that the eugenically superior strains could multiply without competition from ‘the unfit.’ She repeatedly referred to the lower classes and the unfit as ‘human waste’ not worthy of assistance, and proudly quoted the extreme eugenic view that  human ‘weeds’ should be ‘exterminated.’ Moreover, for both political and genuine ideological reasons, Sanger associated closely with some of some of America’s most fanatical eugenic racists.” Sanger stated, “My criticism, therefore, is not directed at the ‘failure’ of philanthropy, but rather at its success.” [Emphasis added]

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One of England’s leading hospitals used the remains of 797 unborn babies in its own ‘waste to energy’ incinerator, for a savings of £18.50 per cremation. Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe.

Fast forward to today. Jeff Jacoby in his column How unborn babies become ‘clinical waste’, writes, “JONATHAN SWIFT was being satirical when he penned his “modest proposal” that destitute Irish parents alleviate their financial woes by selling their children as delicacies for rich landowners. He assured his readers that 1-year-olds are delicious, ‘whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled.’ That was satire circa 1729. Imagine what Swift at his most scathing would write today — say, a 21st-century “modest proposal” to use unborn fetuses for renewable energy. But this — from a prominent story last week in The Telegraph, a British newspaper — wasn’t satire:

“The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found. Ten [National Health Service] trusts have admitted burning fetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat. . . . At least 15,500 fetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches’ discovered.”

The Wire’s Phillip Bump writes, “American conservatives are very upset. Breitbart’s new UK outlet picked up the story, with commenters linking the practice to the Nazis, to Hell, to environmentalists, and to Democrats, in some variation of that order. The response was similar on Twitter. (“What’s the carbon footprint of burning dead, aborted infants?”). A columnist at RedState identified as “streiff” did the yeoman’s work of delineating the slippery slope.

This is what happens when a society loses faith. Humans lose their humanity. When that humanity is lost, society feels free to use humans in whatever way it perceives will generate the best Return on Investment. In order to justify abortion, the unborn had to be dehumanized.

“While it always to poke fun at the Brits, this is undoubtedly happening today in the United States,” streiff writes. It is like the film Soylent Green, the writer argues, in which people judged not to be useful to society are turned into food.

Burning fetuses is just the first step on the road to perdition. What’s the carbon footprint for a burned baby? What’s the moral price for burning one?

RELATED STORY: Nancy Pelosi calls pro-lifers ‘dumb’ at Planned Parenthood gala; draws brutal Twitter response

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of TShirtBordello.com.

College Brats and the Professors who Poison Them

Some of America’s most disgraceful people are liberal college professors who use their positions to poison the minds of their young students. Here are some thoughts about that.

Dr. Mary Grabar in her column Minding the Campus: “Slut Walks” to Pass USF Freshman Composition writes, “‘Real learning takes place outside the classroom,’ the late communist history professor Howard Zinn famously said.  Zinn practiced what he preached and led his students at Spelman College and Boston University on marches and protests. The 1960s saw plenty of teach-ins and marches by students and some radical professors.  But even then it would have been hard to imagine how the staple of first-year coursework, Freshman Composition, would be used to turn students into activists, subverting the idea of ‘composition” itself and leaving some students free of any ability to write.'”

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Dr. Grabar warns, “We have radical professors promoting the idea that students’ own language is good enough, that there are no models for them to read and emulate, that they are to be change agents, participating in mob actions and demonstrating their ‘bravery’ for credit.  The end results are sure to be confused, narcissistic, indoctrinated illiterates.”

Florida: 3-Way Sex Cop busted

jim bulcher vice may north port

Mayor Jim Blucher, North Port City Commission Seat # 4

The message of North Port Chief of Police Kevin Vespia states, “Our citizens expect and deserve that their police officers will act with honor and integrity at all times.” Well it seems they are not, not by any stretch of the imagination. The City of North Port, Florida and the North Port Police Department (NPPD) have a major and growing scandal on their collective hands.

WWSB ABC Channel 7 reports, “Since we first reported the ongoing scandal involving sexual assault at a party attended by on- and off-duty North Port police officers, multiple people have come forward with stories about previous wild parties involving members of the department. One of these people is a former law enforcement officer here on the Suncoast, and while he wasn’t at the party the night of the alleged assault, he says he has been to several other similar parties hosted and attended by North Port cops where things got out of hand.”

Bill Warner, a Sarasota private investigator, posted a column on his blog titled “Told You So Sarasota: NPPD Swinger Parties With Drugs Headed Up By 3 Way Sex Cop Melanie Turner.” North Port resident Sherry Smart, after reading Warner’s article, sent an email to the City Commissioners. Smart states, “3 Way Sex Cop…. what a great tag line for North Port. Perhaps we would get more visitors to our ‘esteemed’ city with that for our city motto instead of ‘the city where you can achieve anything’… but then again perhaps those are interchangeable like our police officers at sex parties?”

Smart notes, “The article does not elude [sic] to a ONE time event. Good officers (those who don’t do 3 ways with their peers) would be fearful to expose this behavior. They would be fearful of repercussions from those who do not wish to be exposed… or rather, found out. (Exposure doesn’t seem to bother them). Because we now have an officer who has committed suicide rather than go to court and eventually jail, this leads one to question…. what else was there that he didn’t want to come to light and with this dire action, he thought would die with him? So what’s the percentage of exposure — 10%? with another 90% hidden within the department?”

police chief kevin vespia north port

North Port Chief of Police Kevin Vespia

rhonda difranco vice mayor city of north port

North Port Vice-Mayor Rhonda Y. DiFranco

It has been reported by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that North Port Vice-Mayor Rhonda Y. DiFranco’s female domestic partner is Jennifer S. Cohen. DiFranco, Cohen and former Sarasota City Commissioner Ken Sheilan (who is a homosexual) were the force and faces behind the effort to approve a domestic partner registry in North Port. Vice Mayor DiFranco is the City Commission’s liaison to the North Port Police Department. DiFranco is also a retired Sarasota County Deputy Sheriff.

Smart concludes with, “Houston we have a problem. (Stating the obvious here) So now what are you going to do about it? I do have some thoughts on how to go about routing [sic] out the rotten roots. Am waiting expectantly to hear your thoughts.”

If Smart receives a reply we will post an update to this column. The following questions have been sent to all of the City Commissioners:

1. Who hired Officer Melanie Turner and when?
2. Did the department do a background check on Officer Turner?
3. Did the department know Officer Turner was a lesbian?
4. If so, was this not a red flag to the department?

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Jennifer S. Cohen.

The contact information for the City of North Port Commission is:

Cheryl Cook, Commissioner, Seat # 1, ccook@cityofnorthport.com
Tom Jones, Commissioner, Seat # 2, tjones@cityofnorthport.com
Rhonda Y. DiFranco, Vice-Mayor Seat # 3, rdifranco@cityofnorthport.com
Jim Blucher, Mayor, Seat # 4, jblucher@cityofnorthport.com
Linda Yates, Commissioner, Seat # 5, lyates@cityofnorthport.com

RELATED STORIES:

Debunking 5 Common Arguments for Homosexuality
White Paper: Child Molestation and the Homosexual Movement
North Port moves ahead on domestic partner registry
Florida cops keep spy technology docs secret

ASCETICISM: It’s all about Fasting and Discipline!

Hope all is well on this “25th Day of Lent”, as for those who are “fasting for forty”, have 15 days left. For those of you who are “fasting forever” (until Pentecost Sunday, June 8th) – we’ve got “69” days left. It is a long time to fast but, after reading an email and watching this short video from one of my mentors, the inspirational Father Robert Barron, it gives me that much more motivation and incentive to continue with my “96” day fast.

What can the saints teach us about Lent? Father Robert Barron elaborates on this topic in a powerful two minute video:

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Friends:

That’s NO steak, chicken, ribs, pizza, pasta, pork, fish…no soda, alcohol, chocolates, ice cream or any type of dessert…just bread, water and mixed nuts for almost 100 days. I don’t bring this up to impress you, but to impress upon you that when one puts his mind to doing something (specially when it comes to “spiritual discipline”) – he or she can accomplish anything if one keeps his or her focus on what the Lenten season is all about…fasting, praying and almsgiving…

“Asceticism”:

A lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various worldly pleasures, often with the aim of pursuing spiritual goals. It is all about discipline and focusing on something and someone of higher power. This term is one that we rarely hear and I truly thank Father Barron for bringing it to light. It is a term that needs to be promoted more in the Catholic Church and a lifestyle that needs to be promoted among those who are serious about their Faith, about transformation. The word “disciple” comes from the term discipline. If we want to be true disciples of Christ, we must have true discipline for Him.

In order to become more in tune with our Faith, one needs to put away all the pleasures and distractions that the world bombards us with and when one fasts for 40 days or 96 days, he or she automatically has to set his or her mind for this period of “abstinence”. It puts one’s spiritual life into perspective and every time I personally feel any sense of hunger (which I do pretty much all day), I resort to prayer – an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Glory Be…This basically keeps me in prayer for the entire 96 days and it is a discipline that I humbly honor and take as serious as our relentless fight against abortion.

Please watch and share this video from the “one who brought us the Catholicism series” a couple of years ago. The mere fact that Father Barron focuses on the life of one of my favorite saints – Saint Ignatius of Loyola – the namesake for our beloved Cathedral and my home away from home – gives this entire “Ash Wednesday to Pentecost Sunday Fast” that much more significance. For it was this incredible “Soldier of Christ” who taught me so much about discipline and transformation. His going out to the desert (the caves of Manresa in Catalonia, Spain), in order to seek the true meaning of his life and to see what GOD was calling him to do, is what attracted me to this bold saint in the first place.

And, because of his great love for Jesus and the discipline it took for Saint Ignatius to be transformed into this holy man, he was admired by all those who saw that tremendous conversion, with many following his every step, and thus, the order of the Jesuits was born. Like Jesus who spent “40 days and 40 nights” in the desert, Saint Ignatius became the man that he became because of that “spiritual discipline”, living for good lengths of time in extreme deprivation, relentless fasting and utter simplicity. He felt that that was GOD’S calling and he followed it to the “T”.

Today, the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) flourish in all parts of the world, with even our own beloved Pope Francis, himself, being a devout Jesuit. Be careful what you pray for…Saint Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Saint Ignatius of Loyola by Miguel Cabrera (1695–1768).

Kosher Meals For Inmates Will Cost Florida Taxpayers $14.9 Million A year

Judge Patricia Seitz of the United States District in Miami, FL on December 5, 2013 ordered the Florida Department of Corrections to provide Kosher meals to inmates beginning July 1, 2014. That is unless the Florida Attorney General puts a stop to this raping of Florida taxpayers money.

Cost To The Taxpayers

The estimated additional cost to provide Florida housed convicts with Kosher meals would be approximately $14,952,283 per year.

This $14.9 Million dollar number is based on 6,283 convicts who identify with religious groups that have previously maintained that Kosher diets are necessary.

Seventh Day Adventists = 402 Convicts
Jewish = 2,136 Convicts
Muslim = 3,745 Convicts

Kathleen Fuhrman, Public Health Nutrition Manager for the Department of Corrections estimates the annual cost to provide an inmate Kosher meals would be $2,379 compared to $584 per year for regular meals. According to Judge Seitz’s ruling if this program goes statewide it could result in a cost upwards of $54.1 Million.

Florida’s prison system, the third-largest in the country, is projected to run a $45 million deficit this year alone and yet, in this case, we taxpayers are forced to foot the bill for this unnecessarily expense food accommodation.

Battle_over_religious_food_at_PBC_jail_780620000_20130725182519_320_240The Hypocrisy of Prison Meal Accommodations

The Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) already provides an alternative entree program which includes dairy and eggs but no meat or a vegan program where all animal products are avoided. These alternative entree’s are provided at little or no added expense to the taxpayer.

In and of themselves, these ‘alternative entree’s’ are Kosher, Halal, Seventh Day Adventist, Hindu, and frankly acceptable in practice for any particular religious based special dietary requirements.

The most glaring hypocrisy comes from these inmates who had already violated their deeply held religious beliefs committing crimes that landed them in prison to begin with. Therefore, it is safe to conclude, in most cases, these inmates believed their criminal activity was more important to them than following their faiths religious doctrines.

These inmates, by their own actions, are solely responsible for being wards of the state. The rights to any special diet is a luxury forfeited when they committed their crimes against society.

The FDOC has already gone above and beyond by offering vegan and dairy & egg only alternative entree’s. The FDOC has voluntarily removed all pork products from their menus as an accommodation to Muslim inmates.

Bruce Rich, one of the Plaintiff’s in this Kosher meal suit, stated in court documents that, “his soul would be negatively affected if he ingested anything non-kosher.” Was Mr. Rich’s soul negatively affected when he murdered his parents, Irving and Blanche Rich?

Prosecutors proved Rich killed his parents for their life insurance policy and will, and he tried to make their deaths look like a murder-suicide. Rich, also claimed that because of his parents’ Jewish faith, they could not be subjected to autopsy. Inmate Bruce Rich is no ‘Greener’ he is using Judaism to scam the system and Judge Seitz is his patsy.

Now Bruce Rich is trying to make the case that a Vegan diet is not Kosher because of the way alternative entree’s are prepared. Judge Patricia Seitz is allowing this travesty of religious blackmail to continue. Shame on the Aleph Institute for aiding and abetting this farce that is going to cost Florida taxpayers a minimum of $15 million per year and more likely $54 million by the time this is all over with.

CAIR-FL Says Halal Diets Are Next

In a Fox 35 News story, The Council On American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Director Hassan Shibly says making Halal food available to Muslim convicts will be a priority for his organization in 2014.

This is just another example of CAIR’s Hassan Shibly trying to game the FDOC when the vegan alternative entree fulfills Halal dietary requirements short of an Imam blessing the food. The fact that a federal court has declared CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist funding trial in U.S. history should limit their credibility with the court until their terrorist status is removed by a Federal judge.

First and Eighth Amendment Arguments

A Vegan diet does not hamper a convicts First Amendment right to practice Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Atheism, Paganism, or even Satanism. The argument could be made that forbidding a practitioner of Santeria to ritually slaughter live chickens is a violation of their freedom to practice one’s religion while incarcerated. The Santeria argument is just one example of the slippery slope these special food accommodations creates in a jailhouse institutional environment.

The Eighth Amendment protects a prisoners rights from cruel and unusual punishment. A Vegan or Vegetarian alternative entree is currently offered to inmates incarcerated in the Florida Jail System could in no way be considered cruel and unusual punishment as defined by law.

Conclusion

The Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi should make fighting this case a priority. If Pam Bondi caves into the unreasonable demands of the Kosher Food and Halal interests, then the real trouble begins.

CAIR-FL Director Hasan Shibly has made it very clear, he will make Halal food for convicted felons a priority issue in 2014. In light of the Vegan alternative entree currently available, one could speculate Hasan Shibly’s motivations are political/ religious blackmail of the FDOC rather than a Muslim inmates civil rights.

The big losers are the taxpayers who could be looking at prison food costs rising $50+ Million annually if these religious food requirements are instituted statewide.

It is time for Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Scott to fight these religious shakedown artist convicts and their supporters once and for all. The Florida voters will remember this outcome on election day 2014.

RELATED VIDEO: CAIR Supports Halal, Kosher Meals for Fla. Prison Inmates

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Guitars, Eccentric Billionaires, and Space Travel by Andrew Heaton

Recently astronaut Chris Hadfield became a global music sensation without so much as a nipple slip. He jumped to stardom by a combination of guitar mastery and zero-g singing via a music video he made. In space.

It’s certainly an odd way of carving a niche in the country-music industry. The standard career track is to develop guitar skills and a drinking problem simultaneously, then write songs about both until you wind up in Nashville. Very few astronauts ever wind up with Grammys—Neil Armstrong never even got nominated. Going through rigorous astronaut training in order to be blasted through the stratosphere in a billion-dollar tin can seems like roundabout career planning, but perhaps that’s the standard course for Ontario musicians. I don’t know.

While the spacefaring Canuck might have performed his orbital David Bowie tribute as a hobby and not for personal advancement in entertainment, his achievement nonetheless synthesizes a phenomenon that might define humanity’s future: combining space travel with the entertainment industry. In fact the next big fusion of the two is already under way.

Most of the space program thus far has been funded with tax dollars. American space exploration began when the Eisenhower administration found itself with a surplus of Nazi rocket scientists. After defeating Hitler, the United States and the Soviet Union snatched up every Raketenforscher they could get their hands on, only to realize they had dozens of German guys in lab coats sitting on their hands all day doing nothing. Eisenhower couldn’t stand layabouts, so he dared the co-opted Germans to see if they could launch random, blinking, metal objects—like a refrigerator, or a Winnebago—into space.

Four years later NASA leaped ahead in the space race when President Kennedy suspected that there might be women on the moon. We spent eight years and $25 billion figuring out how to get to the moon and potentially introduce its inhabitants to JFK. By the time we actually landed there, Nixon had become president, so the space program’s main priority shifted to finding novel locations in which to play golf. Then, in the 1980s the Russians ran out of dogs to launch into space, thus formally concluding the Cold War.

Now, in the 21st century, space travel has reached a new and glorious apex: It has been privatized.

You might ask, “What does privatizing space exploration mean to me?” Well, it means that now everyonegets a crack at bagging moon babes. And because eccentric moguls are pairing their insane intergalactic ambitions with the profit motive, we will probably build a moon base before you can say “President Gingrich.”

Elon Musk, the billionaire tech mogul who founded PayPal, intends to retire on Mars. And he means it. Richard Branson of Virgin Records has graduated from building trains to building rocket planes by forming Virgin Galactic. Director James Cameron and Google’s Larry Page are combining forces and investment capital in an asteroid mining company, which will drag asteroids full of platinum and gold back to Earth.

While the startup costs are immense, the profit margin is likewise staggering. There are gold nuggets the size of Houston drifting around the asteroid belt, just waiting to cloak the teeth of Lil Wayne. Enough so that, somewhat ironically, if Cameron and Page pull it off, we could see gold become less valuable than copper within our lifetimes. Rappers would have to resort to other forms of swag, like wearing antique brooches.

An even more fascinating development is Mars One, which seeks to build a permanent settlement on Mars. The brilliance of Mars One is that they are combining the highest of human aspirations (real estate investment) with the lowest of human depravity (reality television). Mars One will acquire part of the funding needed to send four people to Mars in 2022 by offering the film and licensing rights to private investors.

Adam Smith (who did not live on Mars or the moon) stated that government has four functions, the last of which is to fund activities that could not be handled by the private sector, or for which the private sector could not aggregately muster sufficient capital. Space exploration used to fit this bill: In 1957 no single company could have drummed up the necessary funding to launch probes into space. Only a government hell-bent on beating the Russians at everything from chess to rockets could possibly have done so.

Now space exploration has matured and is swiftly becoming the purview of wealthy entertainment moguls. This is the best possible thing that could happen to mankind. Within our lifetimes we will have orbital rocket planes that render flights to Australia brief and palatable. Someday I could send my children to space camp on the moon if I want peace and quiet in my house over the summer.

And all of us, if sufficiently photogenic and entertaining, have a crack at living on Mars. I’m hoping Chris Hadfield will apply, because I think an album about traveling to Mars would be worth purchasing. I would definitely tune in to watch a show featuring him and Megan Fox on a rocket.

ABOUT ANDREW HEATON

Andrew Heaton is a former congressional staffer, now working as a writer and standup comedian in New York City. He is the author of From the Monkey Cage: Fixing Politics With Wit & Cartoons. More of his wit and insight can be found at his website, MightyHeaton.com.

I’ll Fly Away by Sarah Skwire

About two years ago blogger Will Wilkinson confessed that when he runs out to the market to pick up bok choi, he tends to listen to country music in the car. He seems mildly perturbed by his own choice of radio stations, because he considers country music to be, “A bulwark against cultural change, a reminder that ‘what you see is what you get,’ a means of keeping the charge of enchantment in ‘the little things’ that make up the texture of the every day, and a way of literally broadcasting the emotional and cultural centrality of the conventional big-ticket experiences that make a life a life.” Country music, he argues, “is culture war, but it’s more bomb shelter than bomb.”

It turns out that I have been mildly irritated by that blog post for two years. So I thought I’d tell you why I listen to country music in the car, and why I am not perturbed at all by that choice.

The country music that attracts me is the music that contains exactly the same push for cultural change and the same aspirational goals that Wilkinson doesn’t hear in the genre. Explicitly religious country songs often request that the listener give up the desire to “get adjusted to this world” and focus on the moment when “Hallelujah, bye and bye, I’ll fly away” to heaven. The more secular side of country music can take that same call to “plant my feet on higher ground” and turn it into a call to shake the small town dust off your shoes and head for the possibility of the big city. That’s why I listen to it.

I listen because in songs like “Suds in the Bucket” by Sara Evans and “Bye Bye, Baby” by JoDee Messina, romance (either a new one, or a broken one) is a spur for moving on. Evans contrasts the static, “biddies in the beauty shop gossip goin’ non-stop/Sippin’ on pink lemonade” with the young woman who heads out of town with a handsome man and a convertible, leaving “the suds in the bucket/and the clothes hangin’ out on the line” as she heads for a more enticing future. Messina, inspired by a broken heart, simply puts a “lead foot down on my accelerator and the rearview mirror torn off/I ain’t never lookin’ back.” These women don’t seem as afraid to “buck conventional norms” as Wilkinson suggests, or all that committed to the tired Tammy Wynette stereotype of “standing by your man.”

I listen to country music for songs like Toby Keith’s “How Do You Like Me Now” where the former small town loser turned big country star comes back from the big city to get revenge.

When I took off to Tennessee
I heard that you made fun of me
Never imagined I’d make it this far
… How do you like me now,
Now that I’m on my way?
Do you still think I’m crazy
Standin’ here today?

And in the same vein, I listen for Taylor Swift’s song “Mean,” which is unapologetic about its ambitions to get out of town and do better.

Someday I’ll be living in a big ol’ city
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.

The video for the song shows us young people saving for education, working at their passions for music and design, and succeeding. I’ll sing those lyrics, loudly, any time that my kids and I are in the car.

I sing just as loudly for songs like “Big Star” by Kenny Chesney and “Love, Your Baby Girl” by Sugarland, both of which tell the stories of small town musicians making it in the big city. And their success doesn’t come by magic or by good luck. It comes because “if you work hard to get where you are it feels good in the hot spotlight.” The waitress who features in Jason Aldean’s “Wide Open” has less of a meteoric rise, but is still focused on aspiration and change, balanced by the desire to hang on to her core values while she moves forward.

The corner cafe,
She scrapes some quarters off the table,
Says “Thanks yeah now maybe I’ll be able,
To get that black Mercedes,
I’ve been saving for.”
The other girls say,
“You oughta undo a couple buttons,
Start showing off a little something.”
She says, “Naw you go ahead,
Think I’d rather stay poor,
See I’m just making rent.”
She said. “This ain’t where my road ends.”

The people in the stories told by country songs are often—not always—moving, and changing, and working to make their lives better. They are even, in Brad Paisley’s “American Saturday Night,” possessed of an Adam Smith-like understanding of the wonders of international trade that make it possible for them to have:

…Brazilian leather boots on the pedal of her German car
Listen to the Beatles singing back in the USSR
…Canadian bacon on their pizza pie
They’ve got a cooler full of cold Coronas and Amstel light
It’s like were all livin’ in a big ol’ cup
Just fire up the blender, mix it all up

Admittedly, the songs mentioned so far are the kind of bubbly “upbeat and conventional” music that Wilkinson criticizes. They aren’t breaking a whole lot of musical or lyrical new ground. But it’s not particularly fair to country music to pretend that these tropes of aspiration and success, of heading for bright lights and new futures, don’t exist.

And when you go even slightly farther afield in the genre, you find similar tropes expressed in more complicated ways. The assembly line worker in Johnny Cash’s “One Piece at a Time” so desires one of the Cadillacs he builds, but can’t afford to buy, that he steals one, a piece at a time, from the factory. It may be illegal and rebellious (after all, it’s Johnny Cash), but it’s certainly a lot of hard work put into getting something better. And Brandy Clark’s album 12 Stories is filled with narratives of people who longing to get out of their small towns and struggling to find a way to do it. Some of them get high or take pills to dull down their sense of being trapped. Others “pray to Jesus and play the Lotto/Because there ain’t but two ways/We can change tomorrow.”

None of this sounds to me like music written by a culture that fears change. It sounds, instead, like music written by a culture that is dying for it, celebrating when it finds it, and grieving when it cannot.

20121127_sarahskwire (1)ABOUT 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.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Oil and Water: President Obama Meets with Pope Francis

Hope all is well on this very chilly 55 degree Wednesday evening up here in Tallahassee, as 40 of us are participating in the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops “Catholic Days at the Capitol“. Our meetings began at 8:45 this morning with another important one at 1:15 pm this afternoon. And, there is a critical meeting at Governor Rick Scott’s office at 11:00 a.m. today March 27th.

But, another really big meeting is happening March 27th, at the Vatican. The meeting is the first between Pope Frances and President Obama, it is like oil meeting with water? Oxymoron is a word that comes to my mind. This meeting is almost like Al Capone meeting with Herbert Hoover…Bernie Madoff meeting with Mother Teresa…Pete Rose with MLB Commissioner, Bowie Kuhn.

You get the picture. We just pray that Obama gets the “real picture”, the “bigger picture”.

For starters, the pope does not speak English. President Obama does not speak Italian or Latin. No teleprompter. Not much communication between the two? I feel for the interpreter. I feel even more for Obama by the time the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio gets through with him. We pray that the President uses his two big ears.

Where does Lesson I begin? Where does the Holiest of all Catholics in the world begin with the most “Pro-Abortion” President the United States has ever seen in its 238 year history? Where does the 266th pope of the Holy Catholic Church, who has showed the entire world what it means to meet the people in the streets; to humbly work with the poor; and to embrace the entire world by inviting them to the banquet table by way of his “Global Open House” – begin with a former “community organizer” who spends more money on rounds of golf in one year than the pope will spend in his entire papacy?

Where in GOD’s name does Pope Francis begin with Barack Obama? Better question: Where does he end?

As a devout Catholic and as a supporter of Pope Francis, my prayer is that the pope covers four critical topics with President Obama in their first-ever meeting:

1.) Pro-Life vs. Abortion
2.) Same sex Marriage
3.) Obamacare contraception mandate
4.) Religious Freedom

If the pope is successful in planting a few seeds with this progressive President and he is able to convert a portion of Obama’s heart, then we may have a prayer. I pray that President Obama puts his politics aside and comes to the meeting with some type of humility. That he puts his ego away and honors our Holy Father with some type of reverence.

There is a lot at stake here and GOD only knows when these two will ever meet again. Obama met with the former Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus a few years back and their 15 minute meeting ran into 30 minutes but not much was accomplished. This time around, I believe that Pope Francis will have a profound effect on President Obama as I pray that he focuses on the sanctity of life with him and shows him that the Sixth Commandment clearly states “Thou Shalt Not Murder” and the Fourth Commandment, Honor thy Mother and thy Father.

Pope Francis to meet with President Obama on Thursday

U.S. President Barack Obama is set to travel to Vatican City to meet Pope Francis for the first time Thursday, hoping that perhaps some of the pontiff’s seemingly universal popularity will rub off on him before he leaves

The focus of the conversation when President Barack Obama meets Pope Francis on Thursday is expected to be the gap between the rich and the poor. Obama has called income inequality “the defining challenge of our time,” and Pope Francis has made the plight of the poor the centerpiece of his papacy. “One of the things that the Pope has done globally is put the issue of poverty back on the list,” says Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington.

For Obama, whose job-approval rating slipped to a lowly 41% earlier this month, the meeting is a rare chance to share a common platform — both physically and in terms of policy — with a Pontiff who enjoys the popularity of a media superstar. “It would be terrific for any politician on the planet to have his picture taken next to Pope Francis right now,” says Schneck, who served during the last election as national co-chair of Catholics for Obama. “Here in the United States, politicians like Paul Ryan are talking about poverty almost every day, and I think we have to credit the Pope with that.”

In the first year of his papacy, Francis has shifted the Catholic conversation toward Obama’s side of the court, lowering the heat on culture-war battles like gay marriage in favor of an emphasis on the least fortunate. But the two men may find that they also have plenty on which to disagree. The meeting comes two days after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature accomplishment, on grounds that it violated religious freedom by requiring for-profit corporations to provide insurance coverage for contraception. It’s an issue repeatedly stressed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and which Francis is likely to raise.

The visit will be the second Obama has made to the Vatican, and his previous appearance, along with a meeting in January between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterpart Pietro Parolin, offer hints of what the President can expect. In 2009, Obama met with Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. The two talked for a little less than half an hour, nearly double the 15 minutes that had been allotted. In a conversation that seemed to be a search for common ground, the two discussed immigration, the global economic crisis and the peace process in the Middle East. Benedict raised the issue of abortion, and Obama pledged to do everything in his power to reduce their numbers.

Read more.

EDITORS UPDATE: The Heritage Foundation reported:

During a meeting today, Pope Francis talked to President Obama about religious freedom, an issue that has come under heightened scrutiny in recent years as religious business owners have objected to Obamacare’s contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs coverage mandates.

According to the Vatican, Francis and Obama “discussed questions of particular relevance for the Church, such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection, as well as the issue of immigration reform.”

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments from two family-owned businesses objecting to Obamacare coverage mandates on the grounds that such mandates violated their freedom to run their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The Pope and Obama had a “cordial meeting,” per the Vatican statement, and also discussed “their common commitment to the eradication of human trafficking throughout the world.”

Shocker: FBI dumps Southern Poverty Law Center as “hate crime” watchdog partner

This is indeed a shocker, as it goes against the consistent policy line of Obama’s FBI and Justice Department. But it is a most welcome development. The SPLC is one of the Left’s foremost propaganda organs, tarring any group that dissents from its extreme political agenda (such as our American Freedom Defense Initiative, and this website) as a “hate group.” Significantly, although it lists hundreds of groups as “hate groups,” it includes hardly any Islamic jihad groups on this list. And its “hate group” designation against the Family Research Council led one of its followers to storm the FRC offices with a gun, determined to murder the chief of the FRC. This shows that these kinds of charges shouldn’t be thrown around frivolously, as tools to demonize and marginalize those whose politics the SPLC dislikes. But that is exactly what they do. Its hard-Left leanings are well known and well documented. This Weekly Standard article sums up much of what is wrong with the SPLC.

“Shocker: FBI dumps Southern Poverty Law Center as ‘hate crime’ watchdog partner,” by Paul Bedard for the Washington Examiner, March 26:

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has labeled several Washington, D.C.-based family organizations as “hate groups” for favoring traditional marriage, has been dumped as a “resource” on the FBI‘s Hate Crime Web page, a significant rejection of the influential legal group.

The Web page scrubbing, which also included eliminating the Anti-Defamation League, was not announced and came in the last month after 15 family groups pressed Attorney General Eric Holderand FBI Director James Comey to stop endorsing a group — SPLC — that inspired a recent case of domestic terrorism at the Family Research Council.

“We commend the FBI for removing website links to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that not only dispenses erroneous data but has been linked to domestic terrorism in federal court. We hope this means the FBI leadership will avoid any kind of partnership with the SPLC,” Tony Perkins, FRC President, told Secrets.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center’s mission to push anti-Christian propaganda is inconsistent with the mission of both the military and the FBI, which is to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States,” he added.

The FBI had no comment and offered no explanation for its decision to end their website’s relationshipwith the two groups, leaving just four federal links as hate crime “resources.” Neither eliminated group had an immediate comment.

SPLC has been a leading voice against hate crimes, and has singled out evangelical and traditional family groups as advocates of hate against gays. It has even gone after a local official, Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, who also heads a group that promotes traditional, opposite sex marriage.

In August 2012, a Washington area man guided by the SPLC’s “hate map” that cited FRC, entered the group’s headquarters and shot a security guard. The guard survived and the shooter, a volunteer with a gay group, pleaded guilty to domestic terrorism.

In their letter, the 15 conservative groups argued that the FBI website’s inclusion of SPLC as a resource “played a significant part in bringing about an act of domestic terrorism.” It added, “It is completely inappropriate for the Department of Justice to recommend public reliance on the SPLC hate group lists and data. The links to the SPLC as a FBI ‘Resource’ must be taken down immediately, leaving only official, trustworthy sources listed on the agency’s webpage.”

RELATED STORIES:

Russia warned U.S. about Tsarnaev, but spelling error let him escape

“My name is Layla Murad. I left Islam in April 2013.”

Watch as 1000 years of European borders change (time lapse map)

An incredible time lapse look at how drastically European borders have changed over the last 1000 years. Video from the “Centennia Historical Atlas” by Frank E.Reed.

CENTENNIA is a map-based guide to the history of Europe and the Middle East from the beginning of the 11th century to the present. It is a dynamic, animated historical atlas including over 9,000 border changes. The map controls evolve the map forward or backward in time bringing the static map to life. Our maps display every major war and territorial conflict displaying the status of each region at intervals of a tenth of a year. The maps reflect actual “power on the ground” rather than internationally-sanctioned or “recognized” borders.

The Centennia Historical Atlas was required reading for all beginning students at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis for over twelve years. Over 1150 copies have been purchased annually for all prospective naval officers at Annapolis. The software serves as a visual introduction to Western History from a cartographic perspective. Centennia is also licensed by hundreds of secondary schools, colleges, and universities worldwide. Editions of the Centennia Atlas are available in Greek and German, as well as English.

A Faulty Education = A Faulty Foreign Policy

The recent impotence of America’s leaders on the world stage has left many wondering where the strength, power, and resolve that used to characterize our nation’s foreign policy have gone.  Some have located this in the administration’s preoccupation with domestic policy, while others view it as a concerted effort to roll back American influence.  Politics aside, the origin of this inaction may be as easy to locate as your local high school’s world history textbook.

Russia provides the perfect example.  Those who wonder why the administration refuses to recognize Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine for what it is – naked territorial conquest – can find the answer in the history education our country has provided to those who fill the staffs of President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the halls of the State Department.

Verity Educate recently reviewed a world history textbook from a prominent publisher that is currently in use throughout school districts in Florida, with disturbingly misleading information about the history of Russian involvement in Crimea (a small peninsula on the Black Sea that Russia has recently annexed from Ukraine.)  There is a distortion of historical fact and misinformation conveyed in the most basic information American children learn in school, and this explains, in part, why our society and our political leaders fail to understand Russian intentions and the role of the Crimean region today.

The singular focus of this textbook, like many other world history books today, is on European imperialism – the military conquest of global territory by European and other Western nations.  Russian actions in the region are viewed in this light.  This particular textbook describes Russia’s historical intentions toward Crimea and the Black Sea region under the heading, “Europeans Claim Muslim Lands,” with the argument that “European nations expanded their empires by seizing territories from Muslim states.”  Overemphasis on the crimes of imperialism, however, obscures the important strategic concepts that ring true today.

The textbook explains, “Each generation of Russian czars launched a war on the Ottomans to try to gain land of the Black Sea” and that “In 1853, war broke out between the Russians and the Ottomans.”  The Crimean War is then described as a war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire over control of the Black Sea region.  The only attempt the book makes at explaining Russia’s longstanding motivation in seeking to control this territory is the offhanded remark that “the purpose was to give Russia a warm-weather port.”  Two empires fought a war because Russian sailors wanted a comfortable place to relax on shore leave?

This explanation is a paltry attempt to explain a key geostrategic reason for continued Russian expansionism in the southern Slavic regions of Europe.  Russia did not simply desire a “warm-weather port” where sailors could discard their heavy parkas.  Rather, Russia was in desperate need of a warm-water port that would not freeze over in the winter months.  This was critical economically at that that time, primarily to ship grain, and also militarily.  Despite its size, Russia had no other options for a warm-water port.  Moreover, control of Crimea, which Russia acquired in 1783, was not enough, because the Ottoman Empire could easily block Russian ships from leaving the Black Sea through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles.

The textbook glosses over a key Russian national interest – control of a warm-water port on the Black Sea with access to the Mediterranean – that has remained just as important throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.  The textbook fails to teach this vital lesson about history, world strategy, and international relations because it is focused only on teaching that “Europeans Claim Muslim Lands.”

When I taught the history of international relations to college students, I emphasized, repeatedly that Russia has always sought to secure for itself access to a warm-water port.  Iced over ports have always constituted a geographic weakness the country seeks to overcome.  This has always been at the heart of Russia’s southern expansionism on the Black Sea.  I also taught that Great Britain, France, and Sardinia joined the Ottomans in fighting Russia in the 1850s in order to maintain a balance of power and check Russian expansion.  But the fact that the two European countries most guilty of the crime of colonial imperialism fought on the side of a non-Western, non-Christian power contradicts the argument of Western crimes, and so it is omitted from many curricula.

These misunderstandings of history do more then just create confusion about international relations today.  They make it impossible to understand Russia’s strategic motivations.  It is no wonder, then, that American policy makers seem dumbfounded by Russia’s decisive movements into Ukraine.  If they, and, in particular, the staff members advising them, learned history from our textbooks, it should come as no surprise that they have no understanding of what is going on or how to react.

One thing we can be sure of is that Russia suffers from no such confusion.  They, and the students in their schools, understand their own country’s national interests – both historically and today.

RELATED STORY: AP History Changes Lean Toward a Negative American Perspective

EDITORS NOTE: The featured picture titled “Uncertain Future” was taken by Danielteolijr. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Wildlife is Thriving Because of Guns and Hunting

Since the late 1930s, hunters, target shooters and the firearms industry have been the nation’s largest contributors to conservation, paying for programs that benefit America’s wildlife and all who love the outdoors.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Interior just announced that firearms and ammunition manufacturers contributed a record $760.9 million in excise taxes in 2013 through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program.

National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has created the below infographic, “How Wildlife is Thriving Because of Guns and Hunting,” to illustrate how “we as an industry and as sportsmen are the greatest contributors to wildlife conservation in America, providing nearly $9 billion over the past 76 years.”

HowWildlifeisThrivingBecauseofGuns_533323d3aa357_w1500

What Common Core Looks Like In Desperation

It seems that the protests of the American citizen against the so-called Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has become proverbial grains of sand in the works of the mammoth corporate reform machine.

Die-hard supporters of CCSS are becoming desperate, and such is showing in their words and actions.

Consider Jeb Bush’s declaration, “In Asia today, they don’t care about children’s self esteem….”

This hard-nosed attitude is supposed to appeal to the American public and advance CCSS?

Jeb is definitely pushing CCSS whether America likes it or not– but he is becoming sloppy in his rhetoric.

He is not alone in his desperate, Save CCSS efforts.

Founder and director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools Caroline Roemer-Shirley (sister to our state board of education president) wrote this op/ed for the Baton Rouge Advocate on March 24, 2014.

Not surprisingly, she is pro-CCSS.

Notice the authoritarian desperation in her closing statement:

It’s critically important that all of us — parents, educators, community leaders and businessmen — oppose efforts to derail the Common Core State Standards.

Good public education is the key to success for our children and we must help them get there by all means available. A quality education is one of childhood’s most basic civil rights. Our goal must be to get our children into the top tiers nationally. That means pushing aside anything or anyone standing in the way of their success. [Emphasis added.]

Roemer-Shirley equates CCSS with “a quality education.”

The same day at Roemer-Shirley’s op/ed, education historian Diane Ravitch posted a marvelous piece that unequivocally demonstrates CCSS as not even qualifying as standards given its secretive, controlled, stakeholder-absent creation and declared rigidity:

In the United States, the principles of standard-setting have been clearly spelled out by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  …

[CCSS] were written in a manner that violates the nationally and internationally recognized process for writing standards. The process by which they were created was so fundamentally flawed that these “standards” should have no legitimacy.

Setting national academic standards is not something done in stealth by a small group of people, funded by one source, and imposed by the lure of a federal grant in a time of austerity.

There is a recognized protocol for writing standards, and the Common Core standards failed to comply with that protocol. [Emphasis added and some text order reversed.]

Monday, March 24, 2014, also gave us blogger Peter Greene’s fine post on the purpose of CCSS to tag student data down to the very classroom assignment. 

Roemer-Shirley does not care for protocol that honors the democratic process, and she does not care about the invasive, science-fiction nature of CCSS data tagging. Instead, she is willing to “push aside anyone standing in the way of their (let’s be real, folks– she doesn’t mean students’) success.”

Hmm.

The creepy-desperate CCSS push does not stop there. On March 18, 2014, both national union presidents met with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO– one of the two CCSS copyright holders), with in attendance all desiring to save CCSS.

It seems that AFT members can expect their national president to cling to CCSS no matter what her constituency thinks:

Weingarten added that she expects that many of her members would call for outright opposition to the standards during the AFT’s summer convention, even though both the AFT and NEA support the standards and Weingarten said she wouldn’t back away from the common core[Emphasis added.]

If the AFT membership opposes CCSS “outright,” how is it, then, that “AFT supports the standards”?

Does a declared, “official” position outrank the desires of AFT’s own membership?

Apparently so.

NEA (not the membership, mind you) is right there with AFT in its protection of CCSS:

During the same discussion, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel… said the union remained squarely behind the standards themselves….

What is one to do in order to ensure CCSS support? Why, one must promote a positive CCSS message in the media:

… (South Dakota) Education Secretary Melody Schopp expressed concern that enough wasn’t being done to push more positive common-core stories to the public: “The media’s not hearing that.” [Emphasis added.]

All of this “pushing” so-called reform “to the public.”

Genuine standards are not “pushed.” Genuine standards are elicited.

Nevertheless, in our current, for-profit reform era,  it’s all about the spin. No organization knows that better than Stand for Children (SFC). (I debated SFC Louisiana twice on CCSS– see this link and this link.)

The question is, how far will SFC go in its CCSS-desperation spin?

Well beyond the ethical, it seems.

In their efforts to “push” a positive CCSS message, SFC Oklahoma decided “positive” need not necessarily be honest:

Some names on a petition, from a group hoping to keep Common Core, were faked. The group, Stand for Children Oklahoma, presented a petition to legislators in early March with 7,000 signatures, but many people whose names are on the list said they didn’t sign it.

Sherri Crawford is one of those. She’s adamantly against Common Core. …

When asked if she signed it, she responded, “No, absolutely not.”

Sherri found out her name was on the petition after a group of moms, who oppose common core, got a hold of it and started checking the names. They said they found not only several obviously fake names, like Barack Obama, but more than a thousand they have personally verified didn’t sign it. [Emphasis added.]

Yes, my fellow lovers of the democratic process, we have indeed become grains of sand in the greasy wheels of the pro-CCSS engine.

The very idea makes me smile.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Rennett Stowe. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.