At least a dozen states are now delaying or rethinking their implementation of the new Common Core educational standards, as opposition from parents and teachers grows. No wonder: Initially, teachers thought Common Core was just another educational fad destined to soon be replaced by the next new idea. But they've found instead that Common Core is an educational track that parallels the Obamacare: both are designed to “fundamentally transform” America, both were conjured up out of audacious incompetence, both are products of ideological thinking rather than experience and common sense, and both are guaranteed to produce disastrous consequences.
Random thoughts on the passing scene: Many people take pride in defying the conventions of society. Those conventions of society are also known as civilization. Defying them wholesale means going back to barbarism. Barbarians with electronic devices are still barbarians.
After the government shutdown crisis, the one thing that Congressional Democrats and Republicans finally agreed on was to kick the can down the road a few more months, so that we can go through all this again -- and perhaps again after that.
One of the best peace speeches I ever read was one delivered back in the 1930s -- by Adolf Hitler! He knew that peace speeches would keep the Western democracies from matching his military buildup with their own, or attacking him to prevent his buildup from continuing. Peace speeches by Iran today serve the same purpose of buying time -- until they can create a nuclear bomb.
President Obama really has a way with words, such as calling the problems that millions of people have had trying to sign up for ObamaCare "glitches." When the Titanic sank, was that a "glitch"?
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the time-traveling horse and Rush Revere
No, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow didn’t really write the above first two lines.
But Henry Wadsworth Longfellow doubtless would have loved Rush Limbaugh’s idea.
Longfellow was the fabled 19th century American poet who inspired generations of children by telling a famous story from American history in the lyric poem "Paul Revere’s Ride." The poem’s memorable lines — which my fifth grade class in Massachusetts was required to memorize — began:
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere
As with Longfellow’s ability to transform American history into popular rhyme, writing Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims wasn’t just a good idea.
Rick Santorum's grandparents had three photographs hanging on a wall in their home when young Rick was growing up: Jesus, the pope, and John F. Kennedy. Back then, Santorum recalled in an October 2011 speech to College of Saint Mary Magdalen students, "Kennedy was an icon." Later, after reading one of Kennedy's speeches, Santorum "almost threw up."
Kennedy's September 1960 address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association "was the beginning of the secular movement of politicians to separate their faith from the public square," Santorum griped. "He threw faith under the bus."
But had the former presidential hopeful read about what came after Kennedy's infamous speech, he would have acknowledged that there were many who were far more gag-worthy than Kennedy.
Honor and Betrayal: The Untold Story of the Navy SEALs Who Captured the “Butcher of Fallujah” – and the Shameful Ordeal They Later Endured
By Patrick Robinson, with Matthew McCabe and Jonathan Keefe
De Capo Press, 356 pages, $26.99
On Veterans Day in 2010, I published an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about three heroic Navy SEALs who participated in a bold and successful raid to capture a notorious terrorist, and how they were later accused of “abuse” and ultimately acquitted in court martial trials. I was interested in their story as a Navy veteran and as a lawyer who has represented both companies and individuals accused of wrongdoing by our Department of Justice. Moreover, I have a connection to one of the SEALs: I know Jonathan Keefe’s parents, and his uncle Peter Keefe is a close friend; no finer people walk the planet.
Like most residents of New England, I spent Sunday night watching football. However, unlike most residents of New England, most of my attention was not focused on the Patriots and the Broncos. Given how badly the Pats played in the first half, it was probably just as well that I missed that portion of the proceedings, as they were losing 24-0 at the half. (I did finally tune in early in the fourth quarter right before the Pats took the lead before winning 34-31 in OT on a field goal by Steve Gostkowski.)
The NSA’s ability to intercept electronic communications worldwide is actually the hope and ambition of every other comparable service around the globe. America’s enemies (overt and otherwise) are many, so it is only logical that the U.S. government would want to have the ability to know everything it can about the communications of those aligned against them. Unfortunately it is impossible to track the bad guys without invading the privacy of others whose countries are used covertly as sites for various aspects of what is most succinctly referred to as bad guy activity logistics: finance, cover, safe havens and weapon supplies, etc. (This means having access to domestic exchanges, though access does not necessarily, an indeed rarely does, mean monitoring—both in legal and functional terms the distinction is essential.)
It’s a vast job requiring vast resources. Alas, its vastness was never supposed to be public knowledge. One talented but unscrupulous traitor has changed that and given impetus to an explosion of righteous indignation even from the many sister services that had been profiting from shared information.
In one month, Obamacare’s “fumbled” rollout has undone the Democrats’ fiscal fight gains. For the White House, things have been even worse. These sudden reversals of fortune are unlike anything seen arising from US policy in some time, and they may be a long time away, from being reversed.
Polling numbers show the shockingly swift change that has overtaken Washington’s political landscape. Using Rasmussen polling data, and looking at three dates from this fall — October 1, the start of the government shutdown; October 17, the reopening of the federal government; and November 17, a month after the government’s reopening — the picture of rapid reversal appears.
The agreement reached late Saturday night between Iran and the United States — and the rest of the United Nations’ “P5+1” gang — will enhance Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons whenever it decides to do so. It makes war in the Middle East nearly a certainty, rather than protecting us against it.
For Obama — and while he is president, for us — there is no responsibility so great that it cannot be sacrificed to political expediency, no duty so grave that it cannot be ignored.
America has an obligation to itself, and to allies such as Israel, to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear arms. Four American presidents — George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — have recognized this duty by stating firmly an American policy that Iran is not to be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons. The first three of those presidents share the distinction of having done nothing to enforce that policy. The fourth has assured his place in history by surrendering the policy to Iran’s ambitions.
It was named the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and that, right from the start, was, and is, is a double-barreled falsehood. To set the record straight, we can call this worm-infested rose by its proper name — the Patient Be Damned and let Premiums Rip Act.
Since the official roll-out of the new law on Oct. 1, millions of people have lost their existing health care plans — and many or even most of those people are stumbling around in a state of shock, having discovered the sky-high replacement costs on the new insurance exchanges.
The worst is yet to come. As the so-called employer mandates goes into effect in 2014, it will force employers (providing coverage to no fewer than 156 million Americans) to choose between two poisons: They can modify their health care plans to comply with the onerous and often absurd requirements of the law; or they can pay heavy fines for opting out and leaving their employees to find their own way on the insurance exchanges.
Since Oprah Winfrey was in London to promote "The Butler," a movie which depicts its subjects so dishonestly on the subject of race that Michael Reagan — who personally knew the film's key protagonists — called it "The Butler from Another Planet," it's not surprising that she would sputter more falsehoods about "racist" America in an attempt to stay in the public eye.
In an interview with the BBC, the self-made billionaire and long-time Obama supporter said that “disrespect for the office (of the president)…occurs in some cases and maybe even in many cases because he is African American.”
When the Supreme Court is in session, one or two afternoons each week are reserved for closed-door conferences during which the justices discuss petitions for writs of certiorari. These petitions, in ordinary English, are requests by litigants for the Court to review cases that have been inconclusively adjudicated by lower courts. Such requests often involve high profile public controversies, and those scheduled for discussion on Tuesday fit comfortably into that category. Tomorrow, the justices will confer about Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius and Autocam v. Sebelius, all of which challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare’s contraception mandate.
That the justices will discuss these cases does not by any means guarantee that they will agree to hear any of the three. The Court has several options, as Geoffrey Surtees at the American Center for Law and Justice points out:
Here I am in Mr. Tim Kerr’s Advanced World History class at Kent Island High School, visiting with the students. They are juniors and seniors and they look healthy and alert, This school is in Stevensville, Maryland, just over the Bay Bridge of the Chesapeake Bay.
It is a long story how I came to be here. Basically, I met a group of kids from the school at a Taco Bell and was impressed with them and their command of mathematics. So I called the principal, a man whose last name is impossible to spell, but his first name is John and he’s a great guy. John invited me over and so here I am.
I cannot recall ever meeting a sweeter looking, more solid looking, less disturbing looking, calmer looking kids. They looked like Montgomery Blair, 1962. Silver Spring, Maryland. The girls were neatly dressed. The boys were neatly dressed. Everyone looked confident. I was completely surprised at what a spectacle of reasonable charm the kids were.
We just talked about a few statistics like population, GDP, and then they had to go home.
Human Exceptionalism, the belief that humans hold a unique status in the order of creation, has been the cornerstone of Western civilization.
This understanding of human life is attested to in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. And, as some rabbis contend, after it, the rest of scripture is merely dicta.
Science divides being into three categories, mineral, vegetable, and animal. At the top of the list in the last category is man. He is described as a rational animal. This makes humans unique and different from the brutes.
On November 22, 1963, it would seem no one else died that day but President John F. Kennedy—so well-seared into the American collective psyche is that event. Fifty years after the fact, the assassination of our Golden Boy president is so prevalent one would think it happened just 50 days ago. His death—mostly the controversy of it—has inspired decades worth of media on the subject. There is at least one new movie to be released this year, no doubt hoping to join the ranks of films like Oliver Stone’s JFK. More than a handful of books are penned year after year on the charismatic couple, their Camelot-like time in office, and John's controversial death. This year is particularly flooded. One publishing company alone is releasing eight new books on the topic and re-releasing over a dozen more.
Everybody projects their hopes on the future. Do we impose our wishes on the past, too? The man who killed John Kennedy fifty years ago today wasn’t a CIA operative or a John Birch Society member in good standing. He was a Communist who migrated to the Soviet Union, took a Russian wife, and littered the streets of New Orleans with handbills in praise of Fidel Castro. Facts can really mess up a narrative, which is why conspiracy theories were invented.
Rather than accept the reality that a “silly little Communist,” as Jacqueline Kennedy aptly put it, killed the president, great numbers of small people weave elaborate, politically flattering fictions that usually involve dark cabals comprised of caricatures of those they hate most—shadowy intelligence operatives, ribbon-chested devotees of the military-industrial complex, Texas oil millionaires, etc. This is a form of narcissism, in which one’s own devils become the devil figures for larger-than-life leaders.
On Thursday afternoon the Obama Administration made another attempt to persuade the public that the number of people who are losing their health insurance in the individual market really isn’t that bad. Since President Obama has said that such people can keep their insurance for another year, it’s not clear why the administration bothered. The best guess at this point is they are in Throw-As-Much-Propaganda-Out-There-And-See-What-Sticks mode.
Anyway, the Department of Health and Human Services touted a study by the liberal health-care group FamiliesUSA that purported to show that “less than 1 percent of nation’s non-elderly are at risk of losing their current individual market plan and paying more for insurance” on the Obamacare exchanges.
To get that one percent number FamiliesUSA assumed that everyone below 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) is eligible for a subsidy to help purchase insurance on the exchanges. As the study claims:
Yucky Harry comes down from Yucca Mountain and drops the Big One. All while his co-conspirators prepare to sign off on Iran’s nuclear option, both A-tests designed to provide protection from the Affordable Care Act’s accelerating particles of subterfuge, centrifuge, and other forms of deadly political radioactivity. And to add insult to impunity, last week’s EOW laureate, JFK the Second, has repudiated the Monroe Doctrine, and he didn’t even do so in Spanish, adding to conjectures he was really directing his remarks to aficionados of Miss Marilyn Monroe, a legend in her own time and ours, even as we commemorate the death of her old friend from Madison Square Garden birthday bashes, JFK the First.
I must admit I was getting sick of all the Kennedy nostalgia before it even started. Clintons and Obamas huddled around the eternal flame trying to claim the cult of the Kennedys. And then National Review countering this with a cover story before the day even arrived.
Then yesterday it hit me. November 22 would fall on Friday. Friday, November 22nd. Who could forget? I was walking across the campus around noon at the beginning of my senior year when a guy named Roger Pitman shouted to me across the quad. “Did you hear Kennedy’s been shot? It was just on the radio.”
I rushed back to my dorm — a new “social dorm” where girls would be allowed to visit on weekends for the first time — and turned on the radio. Sure enough, the President had been gunned down while riding in an open car in Dallas. They had taken him to the hospital. It didn’t look very hopeful.
Then my roommate came in. He was a very bright, cynical kid from Long Island who had been enlightening me in the ways and means of radical left-wing politics all fall. I hadn’t quite gotten used to him yet.