Monday, December 31, 2012


I actively avoid retrospectives each year.  That is not going to stop me from writing my own.  As I look back over the last year, it seems we have fallen completely into the land of unintended consequences.  Maybe fallen isn't the proper word.  Maybe we have been manipulated and misled into this land.  Here are the top manipulations of 2012, in no particular order:

1.  Rick Santorum.  Mr. Santorum was a great presidential candidate.  He won or came within a few votes of winning many primaries.  He had little money and less support from the Republican machine.  He ran a race based on real principles, and won his caucuses and primaries the old fashioned way.  He met voters, told them what he believed, and they liked it.

The fact that he was relegated to the half-off-stage-behind-the-curtain-in-the-poorest-light area during every debate, and asked as few questions as possible, demonstrated the collusion between Republican king-makers and media manipulators.  When Romney was pitted against Obama's "It's all about abortion and contraception" democrats, we could see why Santorum had to be silenced.  Rick would win against the abortion machine. But he wasn't given a chance.

2.  Grocery and gas prices.  The phrase sticker-shock didn't really cover it as I watched the cost of basics rise by leaps and bounds last year.  But the real manipulation came when the prices took a steep dip just in time for the election.  Half-way through October, gas prices dropped, milk prices went down, even on the all important chocolate milk, bread, eggs, cheese, everything became less expensive.  And then Obama was re-elected and they rose again.

3.  Employment numbers on 18-20 somethings rose in September for the first time in decades.  Normally the employment numbers for this age group go down in September as the kids go back to college.  Not this year.  It was historic!  It was amazing! And it was just in time for the election!  What a coinkidink!

4.  Benghazi.  Our President could have watched in real time as our CIA safe-house was attacked on 9/11 by organized Libyan Al-Qaeda members with short range missiles they had been given by an arms deal gone bad with Turkey.  Instead Obama went to bed early to be fresh for a campaign stop in Las Vegas.  The current question is if Hillary Clinton is the latest American murdered by this administration's misinformation campaign.    Since Hillary is now out of the hospital, the American public, and our representatives, must have completely moved on from Benghazi to cliff diving.  It is far more important that we know Boehner told off Reid in the most unimaginative way possible. than who answered the please for help from dead Americans, and told them to die quietly.

5.  Obama received more than 100% of the vote in several counties across the country.  That's right, in these heavily populated, urban, diverse, multicultural areas, not one person voted for Mitt Romney.  It was an epic win.  (Of course I'm using 'epic' in the sense of a horrible tragedy that robs a people of it's last vestiges of freedom.)

6.  The HHS mandate.  Some friends of ours are giving up on health insurance for their children.  They can't afford it.  Wasn't Obamacare supposed to fix that?  Apparently not.  It is far more important that Obamacare cover contraception and abortion than provide inexpensive coverage for working families with live children.  After all, the federal and state governments must fund Planned Parenthood, so that Planned Parenthood can turn around and donate those dollars to the candidates who fund them.  The phrase vicious-circle was created to describe Obamacare.

I think I'll stop at six.  It is the number of the anti-Christ.  It seems appropriate.

Update:  After writing this, My sister sent me this.  It seems Mark Mallett and I are thinking the same thing, but he's much better at expressing it than I am.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Check with Chip: KETV Channel 7 Story on Chip's Book

"Check with Chip: KETV Channel 7 Story on Chip's Book: In case you missed it, this aired Christmas Eve. More evidence of why I do radio rather than TV. I need space." -- Chip Maxwell

Here is a candidate we can all get behind!  I've known Chip for years.  Buy his book and help him change our country.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Feeding the Christ Child

Jesus is born. The Lord God of all is small, vulnerable, and needy.  He reaches His small hand to His mother.  Her body responds and she feeds Him.  This new Eve feeds the Savior from her body.  She feeds the very Christ who will offer His Body and Blood as food for the whole world.

For this reason, it is a gift to all mothers to have our bodies react to the hungry cry of  a child.  The fullness we feel in our breasts is our participation in Mary's Eternal Maternity.  We share her desire to feed and comfort the Christ Child.

If you are a woman who is blessed with the gift of breasts that feel the hungry call of a child, even long after your own children are weened, allow that cry to be a full stimulus to pray with your entire being for all of the Holy Innocents.  The gift of motherhood is allowing you to share in the feeding of the Christ Child.

I wish you all Merry and Blessed Christmas.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Over and Under Cliffs

Do we fall off of cliffs by accident?  Do we stand at the precipice and weigh the pros and cons of jumping?  Do we leap with purpose, trusting that God will sustain us as we cross the chasm?

In recent discussions of the 'fiscal cliff', I can't help but think of all of the cliffs we already are falling from as a nation, a church, a world.  A brief  list:

  1. The demise of respect for all life.
  2. The demise of families with a father and mother.
  3. An assumption that fertility is bad.
  4. An assumption that people will be hurt or killed while buying Christmas presents.
  5. An acceptance of  atheists and communists as our primary educators.
  6. A fear of speaking about God.
  7. Debt, personal and national.
  8. A complete lack of decorum in public discourse.
  9. An extension of childhood well beyond any reasonable end to actual human growth and development.
  10. A dependance on government entitlements rather than charitable giving.
If you are reading this, you probably say something like, "I can see those things happening, but I'm fighting it in my own life."  Yeah, me too.  But my point isn't that we aren't trying to deal with these issues, but that we've already fallen off of the cliffs.  If we are alive now and care at all about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we are on our backs, bruised, dizzy, slowly regaining consciousness at the bottom of the cliff.

What about #2, when now 40.8% of all births, according to the CDC, are to unmarried women?  Our government created welfare because they were alarmed back in the day by a spike at 5%.  We are raising a generation who will never be able to understand the phrase shotgun wedding. 

Or think about #6.  We started by taking prayer out of schools, and now we think we are radical if we say Merry Christmas in a store while buying Advent candles.  We put our money down and hear the Walmart employee say happy holidays, and we look them in the eye and say Merry Christmas.  That is so in-your-face!

 Or #10, while 47% of our population receives government assistance.  The charitable deduction (ie: when we are actually allowed to spend money in a way that Obama and  his cohorts can't control) is almost certain to be modified (read abolished) in an attempt to increase tax revenue (take money from your local StVP and give it to a overpaid bureaucrat).A grammar note, sometimes the only way to describe the byzantine plans of our foes is with a run-on sentence.

We fell off the cliff a long time ago.  My question is this:  As we are regaining consciousness after the fall, do we lay here and hope someone will help us, or do we pull ourselves up and try to aid other survivors?  I think we should do the latter.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Regarding LGBTQ Laws for Special Protections

The City of Omaha passed a special city ordinance last March that I can only assume was intended to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination.  What it really does is create an environment in which the faithful may be required by law to not just love and care for the sinner, which we already do, but to stop calling a sin a sin.  Otherwise, we will face fines, and possible jail time.  Below, my Pastor's article from today's bulletin.  He is truly a Courageous Priest!!!  Please join me in praying for him.

Thoughts from Our Pastor
Fr. Damien J. Cook

As you sit down to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with your family or friends, please do not forget to offer grace and to beseech the Lord to protect the very right that allows you to pray legally and publicly in the first place.

Thoughts lead to words. Words lead to actions.  This has been true of the human experience throughout all of our earthly existence.  The founders knew this, and wrote the First Amendment to the Constitution to reflect the importance of being able to think, speak and act freely:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The first part of the First Amendment addresses our freedom to think, to believe freely, and to live in an active faith.  In our country today, our religious freedom is in peril. Rather than legislate away what we think, our elected representatives, Federal, State and Local, are trying to limit the ways in which we can express our thoughts in word and deed.

This is particularly apparent in the passage of the 2012 Omaha City Ordinance extending special “protections” to the GLBTQ community. Rather than protect the rights of all of those who call Omaha home, four members of the city council in conjunction with Mayor Jim Suttle, voted that those who self-identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered, or questioning any of the above, must be able to speak and act on that gender identity without any interference. 

For those in the business community, this means that choices about employees, the work environment, and the customers you serve will be affected. When it really counts, sexual liberty will effectively trump religious liberty with regard to these matters, as those with conscientious or religious objections may be forced to violate their beliefs in order to stay in business. For example, the wedding photographer who refuses to participate in a same-sex ceremony, the daycare provider who wishes not to hire a transgendered employee, the physician who does not wish to facilitate pregnancy for a same-sex couple, or an attorney who does not wish to facilitate adoption by a same-sex couple, may all find themselves to be in violation of the ordinance.

And even those not engaged in business may be affected.  For example, consider recent events concerning locker room access by a transgendered individual, as reported on November 6 by Eric Owens in the Daily Caller: “Citing non-discrim-ination law, officials at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, are standing by their decision to let a 45-year-old (transgendered) student... use the women’s locker room, and walk in front of girls as young as six.” According to the report, the police were called by parents of young children present in the locker room. The parents were told to apologize, and no arrests were made. You see, this transgendered person’s rights trumped the rights of all other persons, even young children. 

These are the actions being protected in Omaha. This is the regrettable policy our city has adopted. 

The First Amendment also gives us all the freedom to speak and write openly about the dangers of sin and the harm it does to all members of the family, the community, and our society. Let us be clear that the Church does not think that any person should be mistreated. Christ calls us to lovingly serve all of His creatures in His name. 

However, this city ordinance, in trying to protect a small group from discrimination, will necessarily infringe on the rights of others. By doing so, it will inhibit our duty as the Church, the Body of Christ, and people of good conscience from being able to speak and act freely in expression of the thoughts and teachings of the Catholic Church, the Fathers of our Faith, and their own consciences. 

We are not calling for persecution or discrimination against persons who do not share our faith or beliefs. We are simply asking that our community standards, as well as our cherished rights to exercise our religious liberty, be considered and protected. 

Legal precedent is being set in courtrooms across the country.  In numerous cases where discrimination has been claimed by members of the GLBTQ community, Catholics and Christians have been penalized for acting on their beliefs in their private businesses (See, for example, information accumulated by the Omaha Liberty Project, available at Please step out and defend religious liberty by signing the petition requesting that this city ordinance be put to a vote of the whole community, rather than the decision of four city council representatives. Community standards should be truly representative of our community.

If You Voted for Obama...

This is your fault.

Everyone is making noise about the demise of the Twinkies, but the impact of this election is going to be greater than anyone who voted for entitlements foresaw.  In the short-term, people will be talking about how awful it is to lose a job during the holidays.  Of course it is horrible any time to lose a job.  Charities will use this as a reason to give more toys and other non-essentials for those in need.

May I suggest we all take the long view, and give essentials like food, money for heating homes, clothing...?  Christmas for many families this year will be about deeper issues than the latest cool gift.  Hopefully, in their suffering, families will refocus on faith.  To non-believers this will seem like slim pickings, but it would be a great gift. 

I know I'm guilty of worrying more about giving a gift that causes nothing more than a few laughs.  This year, the need for greater gifts will be apparent. We may even find ourselves truly grateful for socks while the liberal intelligentsia  continues to look on us with pity.  Truly the ones who should be pitied are those who are so surrounded with stuff that they can't see their emptiness.

It has only been 12 days since the election.  Companies are cutting workers, or workers' hours, because of the cost of Obamacare.  As more people are added to the system, the rest of us will incur the cost.  Those of us incurring the cost will have less to spend.  The loss of consumers will cause more layoffs.  This will be a truly vicious cycle.

Get ready.  It will only get more difficult.  But taking responsibility for your vote would help.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

May I Smack You in the Head?

Dear Catholics,  Medical Professionals, Teachers, and Women who voted for Obama;

I am praying for the salvation of your eternal souls, but...

I'm done trying to be nice to you.  Being nice and reasonable, presenting you with clear information about the dangers of your political views has not worked.   While I'm smiling at you in the grocery store, shaking hands with you before receiving the Eucharist, and cooking for you at any parish get-together, you think that your views are equal to the views of those of us who strive to form our consciences with the guidance of the true Catholic Faith.  Being nice in the face of your advancing evil is wrong.  I will no longer be able to act as though I am not afraid of you and your ideas. 

Your views are not equal to the teachings of the Catholic church.  Your views are poorly formed, dangerous, shallow, and self-serving.  You have religiously promoted the virtues of organic foods, recycling, and population control, while pumping yourselves full of carcinogenic hormones, and complaining about a 10 minute homily on Sundays. 

You have promoted the sexualization of your children through the music, movies, and clothing you purchase for your children. Your boys wear sports uniforms and your girls dress like harlots. My son must now avert his eyes when he sees your daughters at Mass.  Where will he find a virtuous bride ten years from now? 

You have guided your decisions by your maggot-minded consciences, always choosing bread and circuses over the greater good.  You are, in short, hedonistic heretics. 

You have created a crisis, the magnitude of which you still do not understand.  Those of us who wish to practice the true faith will see our beloved Catholic institutions close, or be forced to leave them when we can no longer live our faith. 

Catholic doctors, in the emergency rooms of Catholic Hospitals, will soon be presented with women demanding the 'morning after' pill.  If they refuse to provide it, they will be sued.  The doctor may be forced out, or the hospital may be forced to close. Families will suffer when jobs are lost.  Patients will die without healthcare. That will be your fault.

Catholic teachers in Catholic schools will face a similar problem.  Those of you who teach in public schools may have voted for Obama.  You may also send your children to Catholic schools.  When Catholic schools are closed, because real Catholics refuse to comply with the HHS mandate, your children will be sent to over-crowded public school classrooms.  Teachers will lose their jobs and families will suffer.  That will be your fault.

Women who do not have their heads in the sand are already seeing the results of their bad choices.  They have elected a president who insists that we are nothing more than our 'lady-parts.'  They want birth control more than they want anything else.  Planned Parenthood exists to dole out contraceptives and abortions, not mammograms.  Their demolition services cause breast cancer, so it would be, what? A conflict of interest?  You are legion in your contraceptive numbers, and are polluting our water with your chemical castration.  When you are sterile following the extended use of chemical birth control, and have had your mastectomy because of your breast cancer, it is clear that your 'lady-parts' did depend on the decisions you made.  Sadly, that too is your fault.

I can no longer be nice because you scare me.  In your ignorance, or in your selfishness, I don't know which, you have destroyed much that is dear to me.  I  forgive you.  I pray for you.  But I will not be nice to you.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting Day; An Extended Metaphor

The day started at 3 a.m. when our mutt Daisy was whining at the bedroom door to go out.  She had already pooped in the bedroom, so I picked that up with toilet paper and flushed it away before I could open the bedroom door and let her out.  Our old-lady cocker-spaniel went out with her.  Then I kenneled the dogs and went back to bed.

At 6 the day started in earnest.  Coffee, raisin bran, laundry, shaving my brother, getting my son to finish his Latin homework, and then out the door with my husband to vote.

We stood in line.  A woman who I recognized as someone who has lived in this neighborhood for decades, was told she had to wait to vote because there was a 1 digit typo in her address, a home of many years time.  We voted without incident.

As we walked to our car, we saw a neighbor entering to vote.  She's a public school teacher, a mother of a 4-month-old boy, Catholic, and she told us she was undecided.  Since she's been driving and walking past our yard, growing nothing but Republican yard signs in this drought, I'm certain she's voting for Obama.

At Latin class with my son, the moms were quietly optimistic.  We all had plans for extra rosaries, time in adoration, and watching the news.  We were doing our job.

At the grocery store I ran into an old friend I haven't seen in years.  We immediately started chatting.  We've both become estranged from our classmates over their views on a variety of things religious, political, educational and practical.  I kept stopping to hug her.  I've been thinking about her often lately.   I hope this will be the start of a strengthened friendship.  I will do what I can to make it so.

Once the groceries were put away, I was back in the car to head to our parish.  I admit it was hard to focus during my time in adoration.  I offered the Sorrowful Mysteries for our country.

We have become so comfortable in the U.S. that we expect it to never end.  It is going to end.  It will end no matter who our next president is.  It will end because we have become a decadent, debt-ridden, culture of death. 

The mood is somber in many voting booths.  We have large work ahead.  We can stretch it out to mitigate the pain, but I really hope we don't.  I hope our new leaders, state and federal, will choose bold moves.  We need boldness, brashness, attacking our culture with an energy in direct opposition to the uneasy sloth with which we slid into this pit.

We are going to have to pick up the poop, and flush it, before we can open the door.  We may be able to sleep a little more before we have to face the rest of the day, but we must face the day.  The work must be done.

P.S.  Obama has been re-elected.  Pastors in my city have said they will close schools rather than comply with the HHS mandate.  That is good.  Apparently the threat of real religious persecution wasn't enough.  We will have it in earnest.  May God protect us and preserve us.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Met a Child of Rape

I met a child of rape. I want to talk about him, particularly now as the election looms, and politicians continue to mention the false necessity of abortion being available in cases of rape and incest.  I can affirm that this life was worth saving.

As I write, this man is caring for his birth mother, who is dying of cancer.  He only met her in her hospital room.  He wants to stay with her, to breathe every breath with her.  He wants to know her because he has not known her before.

He searched for her for years.  He gave up in his mid-thirties.  She had changed her name and appeared to be untraceable.  Then a friend asked if she could use Facebook to help.  He had nothing to lose, and perhaps something to gain.

God's plan for him at his birth seemed to be centered around providing  a child to an infertile family.  That's the way we usually think of adoption.  But he's more than that.  He's a childless man, with siblings, nieces and nephews, that he is now meeting.  His quiet demeanor as he was learning to love these blood-strangers left me awestruck.  His gentleness is a God-given foil to his conception.

If his contact with his birth-mother had been hindered for just a little bit longer, it never would have happened.  If he had met her at a different time of her life, the meeting could have been disturbing for him.  She might not have wanted to know him.

It really is true that each life has importance.  Every life bears fruit when we offer ourselves to God.  The pain that began his life is now the salve to a weakening heart.  I can say no better than Pope Benedict XVI:

 "Each of us is the result of a thought of God.  Each of us is loved.  each of us is willed.  Each of us is necessary."

Friday, October 5, 2012

Beware the Sycophants

I was pleased with Romney's performance at the debate this week.  It's nice to see a good man do well.  And yes, for those who have read my rants before, I do believe he is a good man.  I also know he has a better command of the facts than our president.  And Romney can tell reality from fantasy, which our president cannot or will not do. 

Obama has spent most of his life creating his own mythology.  Everything from his family relationships to his foreign policy are based on his colossal narcissism and the sycophants who feed it.  In fact, one-hundred years from now, thanks to Common Core Curriculum, youngsters may not know the story of Narcissus, but will instead use the term Obamaism to describe the same disordered sense of self.  Wait, maybe not.  The sycophantic teachers would never allow that much honesty.

And that's the problem with today's job numbers.  We all saw how bitterly Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Al (Blame-the-Planet) Gore and others cling to the Mythological Obama.  I'm sure there are many shrinks' couches that haven't had this big of a workout since Obama beat Hillary.  But sycophants in government, who contributed to to his campaigns, tell us the jobs picture is improving.  And, by the way, they added more jobs to the numbers for the last few months.  Jobs they overlooked before.  Those jobs now create a positive trend.

Excuse me if I've become too skeptical.  I don't buy it.  Neither should you.

The army of sycophants have so thoroughly buried the truth in the last four years that we may never know just how bad  it has been.  Whether it's foreign policy, healthcare, economics, or talking to Cardinal Dolan, Obama Narcissus Colossus finds truth as often as a blind squirrel finds a nut.  Rather than feel betrayed, these bitter clingers and sycophants will be lashing out in some frightening ways.  For instance, I did a google search to see fact checks of the debate.  I had to go 3 pages in to the search to find a source for the fact check that isn't known to have a liberal bias, from the Huffington Post to Politico.  That is how Romney could still lose.

We need to be careful what we believe in the coming month.  Crazy things will be said and done to prop up Narcissus.  Sycophants are fierce when the object of their idolatry is being attacked.  We ain't seen nothin'  yet.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why Even Liberal Catholic Schools Need to Fight Obama

Perhaps most  parents of school-age children aren't old enough to remember the Weather Underground.  This violent group of domestic terrorists bombed several buildings, killed people, and went away almost free.  Bill Ayers was their leader.  And now he is writing curriculum for elementary schools.  As you read this article, you will notice that even one of the Kennedy clan refuses to recognize Ayers because he praised the murderer of Robert Kennedy.

In an age when it is increasingly difficult to find unbiased news, or anything short of propaganda, Accuracy in Media deserves your support.  Read the article below.  Even home school families will be affected.  Choosing the literature children read shapes their view of the world outside your home.  

These are not the people we want choosing that literature.

Suzanne C. Carl

- Accuracy In Media - -
Terrorist Professor Bill Ayers and Obama’s Federal School Curriculum
Posted By Mary Grabar On September 21, 2012 @ 6:15 am In Special Report | 30 Comments
Three years after the Department of Education announced a contest called Race-to-the-Top for $4.35 billion in stimulus funds, some parents, teachers, governors, and citizen and public policy groups are coming to an awful realization about the likely outcomes:
  • A national curriculum called Common Core
  • Regionalism, or the replacement of local governments by federally appointed bureaucrats
  • A leveling of all schools to one, low national standard, and a redistribution of education funds among school districts
  • An effective federal tracking of all students
  • The loss of the option of avoiding the national curriculum and tests through private school and home school
Working behind the scenes, implementing these policies and writing the standards are associates from President Obama’s community organizing days. In de facto control of the education component is Linda Darling-Hammond, a radical left-wing educator and close colleague of William “Bill” Ayers, the former leader of the communist terrorist Weather Underground who became a professor of education and friend of Obama’s.
When these dangerous initiatives are implemented, there will be no escaping bad schools and a radical curriculum by moving to a good suburb, or by home schooling, or by enrolling your children in private schools.
How was it that 48 governors entered Race-to-the-Top without knowing outcomes?
It was one of the many “crises” exploited by the Obama administration. While the public was focused on a series of radical moves coming in rapid-fire succession, like the health care bill and proposed trials and imprisonment of 9/11 terrorists on domestic soil, governors, worried about keeping school doors open, signed on. Many politicians and pundits praised Obama on this singular issue, repeating the official rhetoric about raising standards.
It stands to reason, though, that education policies would be consistent with Obama’s agenda. After all, one of his most controversial associations, highlighted during the 2008 presidential campaign, was with an education professor, Bill Ayers. As a terrorist, he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, had dedicated their Prairie Fire Manifesto to Sirhan Sirhan, the convicted assassin of Robert F. Kennedy. It was for this reason that Kennedy’s son, Christopher Kennedy, chairman of the University of Illinois board of trustees, voted against bestowing “professor emeritus” status on Ayers after he retired. “I intend to vote against conferring the honorific title of our university whose body of work includes a book dedicated in part to the man who murdered my father, Robert F. Kennedy,” he said.
Back then, the former bomber and co-founder of the communist terrorist Weather Underground organization was Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The two had worked together closely from the year Ayers hosted a political launch party for Obama, in 1995, to 2002. At the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, “the brainchild of Bill Ayers,” they funneled more that $100 million to radical groups like ACORN and Gamaliel, which used the funds to promote radical education.[i] [1] This initiative was also promoted by Arne Duncan [2], now Secretary of Education. Also as board members of the Woods Fund, Ayers and Obama channeled money to ACORN and the Midwest Academy.[ii] [3]
When initial White House visitor logs were released in 2009, the administration quickly dismissed speculations about visits by “William Ayers.” That was a different William Ayers [4] Americans were told. The Obama administration is appealing an August 17 order to release the other visitor logs in response to a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch and others.[iii] [5]
It appears, however, that “the” Obama-friendly Bill Ayers has been visiting Washington, D.C. for education-related matters.
In October 2009, the year before he retired, Ayers had an encounter with the “Backyard Conservative” blogger at Reagan National Airport. At that time, there was speculation about Ayers being the real author of Obama’s autobiography, Dreams from My Father. Ayers teased that he was indeed the real author [6].
Blogger and law professor, Stephen Diamond, noted [7] that no one asked why Ayers would even be in Washington, D.C. It turns out that Ayers was one of three keynote speakers at a conference sponsored by the Renaissance Group, which, according to Diamond [7], was dedicated to problems of poverty, diversity, and multiculturalism—and the inability of white teachers to deal with them. The other two speakers were Secretary of Education Duncan and U.S. Under Secretary of Education, Martha Kanter.
It is not clear what Ayers spoke about at this particular conference. But my analysis of his courses and methods at the University of Illinois determined that his purpose is to radicalize future teachers—and by extension their students—for the purpose of sparking a revolution and overthrowing capitalism.
It is shocking that Obama Education Department officials would appear at a conference that also featured someone like Ayers. On the other hand, their boss, President Obama, worked with Ayers in Chicago, and this kind of collaboration is not entirely surprising. We are left, however, wondering about the precise nature of the role that Ayers is playing in the development of this federal education plan. But his participation in this conference clearly suggests he is playing a role of some kind.
At this three-day conference, Mr. Nevin Brown of Achieve, Inc., made a presentation on the “Common Core State Standards” Initiative. A recipient of the largesse of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Achieve would become a key player in revamping education under Common Core. Hence, Ayers was a major speaker at a conference that was involved in developing a new national curriculum. If Achieve has ever disavowed Ayers or his teaching methods, we could find no evidence of this on the public record.
The notion of a “Common Core” seems to recall E.D. Hirsch’s traditionalist Common Knowledge curriculum, which emphasizes the need for students to understand America’s cultural and national heritage. But Common Core is not that at all. Many have been fooled, and an estimated 80% of the public [8] does not even know about Common Core.
Common Core is part of an effort to implement regionalism, the replacement of local governments by regional boards of federally appointed bureaucrats, who in turn are beholden to international bodies. Regionalism will eliminate the freedom parents now have in choosing neighborhoods with good schools because tax funds will be distributed equally. There will be no escape in home schooling or private schools either, because the curriculum will follow national tests. Students will be tracked through mandatory state records that will then be accessible to Washington bureaucrats. Ultimately, all students will be subject to education mandates implemented by Obama’s radical cronies.


“Race to the Top” required that states commit to yet-to-be-written Common Core standards in math and English/Language Arts (ELA). Today, Common Core has the support of Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and was included in the platform [9] of the Democratic National Convention. It was embraced by former Republican Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, much to the consternation of Tea Party groups, who see this as an unconstitutional federal takeover of education. The Republican Party is divided.
Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins, in their white paper [10] “Controlling Education from the Top: Why Common Core Is Bad for America,” describe the pressure and sleight-of-hand that led governors to sign onto a commitment that was then changed before the ink had fully dried. They reveal that rather than being a state-led reform initiative, as touted, the new standards were written by a few well-connected, but non-qualified, education entrepreneurs. The history goes back decades, but in the most recent phase, the vision for Common Core was set in 2007, by the Washington-based contractor, Achieve, Inc., in a document entitled Benchmarking for Success.
The question is: Why was Bill Ayers keynoting a conference attended by the two highest officials in the Education Department and by Achieve, essentially the project manager of the nationalized education curriculum? It may be years before we know how often Ayers visited the White House, but the Ayers educational brand or philosophy is all over Common Core.
Some states are waking up. Virginia pulled out when Governor Bob McDonnell was elected. Georgia, Indiana, Utah, South Carolina, and others have begun the effort to extricate themselves.
When South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said she would support a state legislative effort to block Common Core, which her predecessor had instituted, Education Secretary Arne Duncan dismissed her concerns [11] about nationally imposed standards as “a conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy.”
But it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to realize that Common Core will ultimately dictate the curriculum. Two consortia of states (SBAC and PARCC)[iv] [12] have been given $360 million in federal funds to create national Common Core-aligned tests and “curriculum models.” Well-connected companies, such as Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the multinational textbook company Pearson, are in competition to design the test. David Coleman, a chief architect of the Common Core standards for English/Language Arts, recently was named President of the College Board [13], which administers tests, including those designed by ETS, like the SAT.
The Education Department on August 12, 2012, announced another competition [14] for $400 million in Race-to-the-Top funds for local districts to “personalize learning, close achievement gaps and take full advantage of 21st century tools.” Such a competition cleverly bypasses recalcitrant states and lures individual districts into the federal web.
The feds’ announcement echoes Common Core’s emphasis on personalized learning and leveling of achievement through technology and collaboration (the “21st century skills”). Common Core emphasizes “in-depth” reading of short passages, rather than long fictional or historical narratives. The Publisher’s Criteria reveal that a focus on short texts will equalize outcomes. Text selection guide B mandates that “all students (including those who are behind) have extensive opportunities to encounter grade-level complex text” through “supplementary opportunities.” The strategy of gathering students into groups to collaborate on short passages ensures that no one advances beyond others.[v] [15]
In the tradition of John Dewey, multiple “perspectives” and “critical thinking” are emphasized over the accumulation of “facts.” Common Core advertises itself as promoting “skills,” rather than content. The skills, though, do not promise to make students more knowledgeable about literature or history, but to make them “critical thinkers” in the tradition of the radical curriculum writers who are selectively critical of the U.S. and the West.

In 2008, attention was focused on Bill Ayers’ past as a terrorist; this, Stephen Diamond maintains, missed the real damage, which was political. Diamond, a social democrat, calls Ayers a “neo-Stalinist,” in line with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, whose country Ayers visited to make speeches about education being the “motor force of revolution.” According to Diamond, Neo-Stalinism is an “authoritarian form of politics which attempts to control and build social institutions to impose state control of the economy, politics and culture on the general population.” Ayers and his allies used the “critical policy area” of education, and through four aims: “local school councils,” small schools, social justice teaching, and payment of reparations through education spending [16].
Local school councils and “small schools” are efforts to escape modern schools that, in Ayers’ estimation, “are all about sorting and punishing, grading and ranking and certifying” and demanding “obedience and conformity.”[vi] [17] Ayers’ numerous, supposedly scholarly, books and articles are filled with such hyperbole that depicts demands of the regular school day, like objective tests and class periods, as evidence of a police state.
Former Senior Policy Advisor to the Department of Education and member of the California Mathematics Framework Committee, Ze’ev Wurman, testified that the Common Core overlooks basic skills, lowers college readiness standards, and offers “verbose and imprecise guidance,”[vii] [18] while dictating that geometry be taught by an experimental method that was tested on Soviet math prodigies in the 1950s—and failed.
In English classes, teachers will reduce the amount of time spent teaching their subject of literature to only 50 percent, and then to 30 percent in high school, a move criticized by education reform professor Sandra Stotsky. Replacing literature will be “informational texts” like  nonfiction books, computer manuals, IRS forms, and original documents, like court decisions and the Declaration of Independence. Documents, like the Declaration, however, are taught in a manner that downplays their significance. Overall, students will be losing a sense of a national and cultural heritage that is acquired through a systematic reading of classical literature and study of history.
Although the official rhetoric promoting these standards is more muted, the approach parallels Bill Ayers’ pedagogy [19]. The replacement of traditional mathematics with “conceptual categories” lends itself to advancing a social justice agenda, as Ayers colleague Eric Gutstein does [20] through his math education classes. The Common Core emphasis on having students simply explore original texts parallels the John Dewey-inspired approach that Ayers favors, of having students “discover” and “construct” knowledge. Not wanting to be beholden to outside, objective measurements of students’ knowledge, such teachers promote other more subjective measures, like displays of “deep” understanding, “higher-order” thinking, and ability to collaborate. By all indications, the testing being developed now will use such criteria.


Stanley Kurtz, in his latest book, Spreading the Wealth, maintains that a nationalized curriculum is part of an effort to replace local governments with regional boards, who would disburse local tax dollars equally among school districts. Once all schools are the same—with the same curriculum and the same funding—people will no longer have the incentive to move to good suburbs. While Obama’s community organizing mentor, Mike Kruglik, implements the regionalism advocated by the Gamaliel Foundation through Building One America, Ayers’ close associate, Linda Darling-Hammond, exercises “de facto control”[viii] [21] through education.
Both Ayers and Darling-Hammond were leaders in the small schools movement. She has published in a collection edited by Ayers. Both have been advocates of ending funding disparities between urban and suburban schools, ending standardized testing, and attacking “white privilege.” She has been a board member of CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning), a group housed at the University of Illinois at Chicago, that provides studies of, and services for, Emotional Intelligence in schools—but really emotional manipulation aimed at making students global citizens [22].
Both also failed to improve schools or test scores. Ayers’ Annenberg Challenge failed miserably. The school created by Darling-Hammond, Stanford New Schools, which targeted low-income Hispanic and black students, had the distinction of making California’s list of the lowest-achieving five percent [22]. Much of the reason may be her “five-dimensional grading rubric” of personal responsibility, social responsibility, communication skills, application of knowledge, and critical and creative thinking. Yet, Darling-Hammond served as education director on Obama’s transition team. In a January 2, 2009, Huffington Post column, Ayers argued for her nomination [23] as Education Secretary. That summer, Darling-Hammond pushed Common Core in the Harvard Educational Review.
Darling-Hammond is in charge of content specifications at the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), which received $176 million of federal Race-to-the-Top money to develop Common Core testing. She appears frequently as a speaker and board member of other affiliated organizations. For example, she sits on the Governing Board of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Inc., recipient of a $500,000 Gates grant “to advocate for high school reform at the federal level in order to educate federal policy members about Common Core standards. . .”
In the August 2009 Harvard Educational Review, Darling-Hammond gave a preview of new standards as she argued for “deep understanding” and advancing beyond “the narrow views of the last eight years” by “developing creativity, critical thinking skills, and the capacity to innovate.” New assessments would use “multiple measures of learning and performance.” These would presumably emulate “high-achieving nations” that emphasize “essay questions and open-ended responses as well as research and scientific investigations, complex real-world problems, and extensive use of technology.”
In an April 28, 2010, Education Week article, “Developing an Internationally Comparable Balanced Assessment System,” Darling-Hammond claimed that the new assessment system is “designed to go beyond recall of facts and show students’ abilities to evaluate evidence, problem solve and understand context.” Bill Ayers, throughout his writings, likens the testing for “facts” to a factory or prison system, and agrees with Darling-Hammond’s emphasis on criteria like “student growth along multiple dimensions.” Such buzzwords thinly disguise an agenda of replacing the objective measurement of knowledge and skills with teachers’ subjective appraisals of students’ attitudes and behavior.
Former testing foes, like Columbia Teachers College professor Lucy Calkins, now advance Common Core standards. Although long an incubator of anti-testing advocates, Columbia has produced the authors of the popular Pathways to the Common Core (2012), one of them Calkins.
Pathways is maddening in its lack of specificity. Repeatedly, the authors inveigh against “skill-and-drill” and favor “deep reading” and “higher-level thinking;” but they fail to say how this will be done or even what it means. They discuss “read[ing] within the four corners of the text” and having readers get “their mental arms around a text,”[ix] [24] but offer no specific, much less tested, strategies for improving reading comprehension. They contradict themselves when they cite studies that show that students who read fiction improve reading levels and then promote nonfiction. When examples of informational texts are given, they are most often from left-leaning publications, often on trivial subjects.
Common Core thus promises to eliminate the idea of a common core of knowledge—through the privileging of leftist “informational texts” and material presented in a scattershot manner. The national and cultural identity that is conveyed through a wide and interconnected exposure to literary works from Mother Goose to Shakespeare will be undermined.
While proponents tout a close, critical reading of short texts, or excerpts, the truth is that the approach lends itself to infinite interpretations wildly off the mark. The approach—where uninformed groups of students speculate about “original documents”—is intended to make them radically skeptical of any historical legacy.
Original documents are presented in such a manner as to actually diminish them. For example, a sample exercise about Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address threw teachers into confusion when they were instructed to refrain from providing background and to read the speech without feeling. In this way, this pivotal document is stripped of its historical significance and eloquence. Nor are the religious references, so important to Lincoln’s speeches, to be mentioned. The strategy puts the Gettysburg Address on the same plane as other “informational texts,” say about frogs or snakes.


Other materials have the same effect.  Stanford University’s “Reading Like a Historian”   Project, promoted in a July 30 Education Week article, offers teachers a ready-made lesson on the Cold War with four documents: excerpts from Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech, the Truman Doctrine Speech, a telegram sent by Soviet Ambassador Nikolai Novikov to the Soviet leadership in 1946, and a modified letter by Henry Wallace, shortly before he was asked to resign by President Truman. The “Guiding Questions” focus on “close reading” and “context.” But with the scant information offered, students will likely see the final question, “Who was primarily responsible for the Cold War, the United States or the Soviet Union?” as one of moral equivalence.
Another lesson on the Cold War is sold by Rutgers professor Marc Aronson, who advertises himself [25] as a “Common Core consultant,” speaker, and author. He calls Common Core “a magnificent opportunity.”[x] [26] His most recent book, Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies, is tailored for English teachers who need to teach “informational texts” to middle and high school students. Aronson makes it easy for them, offering [27] them free teachers guides.
Master of Deceit mocks Hoover’s own bestselling Masters of Deceit that described and warned about communist subversion. Aronson’s book is extremely manipulative and salacious, and engages in wild speculation. While a conservative point of view is thrown in here and there, the points come off as gratuitous and obviously contradictory to the main (correct) message.  Aronson presents FBI Director Hoover as a repressed homosexual, who exploited Americans’ irrational fears about communism. Among the “original documents” that Aronson provides are photographs—of Hoover with his friend Clyde Tolson. He points out, for the benefit of eleven-year-olds, that photos of Tolson reclining on a lawn chair, and fully clothed, “might be seen as lovers’ portraits. . . but we cannot say for sure.”
In fact, we can. As Bernie Reeves, founder of the Raleigh Spy Conference, has noted, the story of Hoover’s alleged homosexuality was contrived by the KGB in the 1960s. He notes [28] evidence that “…the Hoover rumor, fabricated by the KGB, found its way into the lexicon of our culture where it has evolved from vicious disinformation to accepted fact—a veritable success for the KGB and another example of the role of the failure of established media to serve as an honest broker in the affairs of the nation and the world.”
“Hoover provided the security Americans wanted,” writes Aronson. “Our beliefs about what was acceptable—what could be shown in public and what had to be guarded in private—shaped the secrets he could gather.”
Aronson’s parting words to the student are, “I hope Master of Deceit shows that we must always question both the heroes we favor and the enemies we hate. We must remain open-minded, even when the shadow of fear freezes our hearts.” In fact, our fear was real. Hoover led the FBI’s efforts to expose the Communist Party members and fronts that were part of the international communist movement that the editors of the Black Book of Communism had estimated were responsible for about 100 million dead.
Others advertise their services as Common Core speakers and workshop leaders, many through Edutopia, funded by movie producer George Lucas that has been promoting disturbing anti-bullying and emotional intelligence videos and workshops [22].
The publisher of Pathways to the Common Core, Heinemann, also publishes ready-to-go curricular material [29] and offers workshops on Common Core by Calkins and her colleagues.


Publishers are promoting new Core-aligned materials. The American Library Association directs educators to their Booklist, which offers “classics” suggestions [30] from contemporary authors. More typical are categories like [31] “Exploring Diversity.” offers lesson plans and discussion questions, reportedly, to more than a quarter of all U.S. schools. The site also features interviews and blog posts by authors about the research process on favorite topics like the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike.[xi] [32] Publishers Random House, Scholastic, and Holiday House are re-launching their teacher and librarian sites with information about the Core.[xii] [33]
PBS promotes the use [34] of “public media” in the Common Core, thus updating [35] their educational activities.
A July 18 Publishers Weekly article notes that publishers are eagerly putting out Common Core books by adapting adult nonfiction books, like Fast Food Nation, for classroom use in a new title, Chew on This. Indeed, they are following the lead of officials: One of the sample Common Core guides is for teaching The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Lerner Publishing Group is publishing biographies on stars, “such as Justin Bieber,” while carefully adhering to “Core criteria such as reading level, narrative arc, and sentence structure.” Books are sold in clusters, by topic, because “Typically, Core authors want students to think more critically about what they’re reading . . . to compare multiple sources in different formats; and to give more sourced evidence, and less personal opinion in their writing.”
Presumably, preteens would not be writing opinion essays about how “cute” Bieber is, but would rigorously be providing “sourced evidence” in their “deep” analyses.


How is Common Core now being used in classrooms? On March 14, Education Week reported that tenth-graders in a suburb of Des Moines would be reading Nickel and Dimed by far-left activist Barbara Ehrenreich. This book, along with others on “computer geeks, fast food, teenage marketing, chocolate-making, and diamond-mining,” is about the “real-world topics” (like Bieber) promoted by Common Core.
The Pearson Foundation, with a grant from the Gates Foundation, will offer [36] a “coherent and systemic approach to teaching the Common Core State Standards.” Another big, well-connected publisher, Scholastic, is developing “Everyday Literacy,” which according to Education Week, is a “K-6 program that incorporates brochures, catalogs, menus, and other text types.”
New York City’s new “Core-Aligned Task” for eleventh- and twelfth-graders centers on “doing work ‘On Behalf of Others.’” This idea of speaking out on behalf of the oppressed is canonized as “a long and dignified tradition of documentary work” that produces records “meant to raise questions and to function as calls to action.”
Students are asked to “read” a New York Times photo essay and audio clip titled, “Joshua Febres: The Uncertain Gang Member.” This exercise in “literacy” consists of “listen[ing] carefully” and “look[ing] closely at the images that accompany the audio.”
The exercise, “Building reading comprehension,” involves “extracting and analyzing relevant information from [Dorothea Lange’s Depression-era] ‘Migrant Mother’ photos.” The teacher is to:
Place students in pairs or trios. Using all the photographs, have the students spend at least ten minutes looking closely at the sequence of images that led up to the final image, as well as that final image. Ask them to infer what was selected and what was deflected from earlier photos, when making the final photo.
After reading an informational paragraph about James Agee and writing a one-sentence summary of it, students “return to [the] images.” As a class they then read a web page “which describes the complicated history of that image.”
The class next watches a short video about the artist “JR,” who works “on behalf of others,” by doing “massive public art installations all over the world in which he posts photographs of regular people on places such as the walls of buildings, rooftops, and the sides of bridges and trains.”
The essay-writing task is a “micro-report” of 500 words “about an event you witnessed [sic] place or person you know that needs to be brought to light or told about.”
Obviously, with only a “micro-report,” evaluation cannot be based on written “literacy” alone. So the teacher is offered a handy “Speaking and Listening Standards: Observation and Comment Form.” These upper-classmen are judged on “participat[ing] in collaborative discussion” that includes “work[ing] with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and fair decision-making.”


Are these higher standards or dumbing down? Will Common Core produce well-educated Americans or indoctrinated pacifist global citizens?
Huffington Post blogger and “Award-Winning Historian and Inner City Teacher” John Thompson cheers this curriculum [37]. So does PBS, as it promotes its educational materials as Common Core compliant [38], while receiving federal funds and the largesse of Bill Gates.
In her Harvard Educational Review article, “President Obama and Education: The Possibility for Dramatic Improvements in Teaching and Learning,” published in the summer after Bill Ayers had urged her nomination as Secretary of Education, Linda Darling-Hammond waxed on about the Obama administration’s “opportunity to transform our nation’s schools.”  Some may remember Obama’s promise to “fundamentally transform America.” Darling-Hammond noted (or warned), “Barack Obama has outlined a set of ambitious plans to transform American education on a scale not seen since the days of the Great Society.”


McGroarty and Robbins note that the Gates Foundation “has poured tens of millions of dollars into organizations that have an interest, financial or otherwise, in the implementation of Common Core.”[xiii] [39] While the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gives to worthy causes like fighting malaria and HIV infection, the foundation’s 2010 IRS documents [40] reveal funding of other, mostly leftist, causes. Gifts went to the Tides Fund, and Planned Parenthood and other “reproductive health” efforts. In education, Gates has given money to teachers unions, La Raza schools, and a school named after Caesar Chavez.
They have given a lot to school districts. After Bill Gates met with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reporter Jaime Sarrio gushed about Gates’ generosity: a $20 million investment in “game-based learning,” technical support in Georgia’s Race to the Top application, a gift of $500,000 for teachers to meet the standards of Common Core, and $10 million for Atlanta public schools’ “Effective Teacher in Every Classroom” program [41].
Florida schools received a substantial portion of education funding.
In 2010, the Gates Foundation gave millions to a number of developers of “game-based learning” and “digital learning.” Gates is also helping companies that will evaluate teacher effectiveness, like Teachscape. Among Teachscape’s business partners are the testing company ETS and the National Education Association. Teachscape’s founder is on the board of Oracle, a company that advertises itself as teaching “21st century skills.” Oracle donated money to Teachscape. Another business partner of Teachscape, Leaning Forward, will hold a conference in December, sponsored by the Gates Foundation. Presenters will offer their companies’ and their schools’ advice on using technology to implement Common Core. Session topics fall into categories like “Brain-Based Learning” and “Race, Class, Culture, and Learning Differences.”
Gates also gave millions to projects on “data collection” programs that track teacher and student progress.
The Gates Foundation supported efforts to market Common Core through media “education.” The Corporation for Public Broadcasting received half a million dollars to “identify and amplify ‘teacher voice’ to help ensure teachers are in the center of the dialogue on teacher accountability” (nothing for parent or citizen voice, though). NPR received $250,000 “to support coverage of education issues.” The Education Writers Association received $603,900 “to enhance media coverage of high school and post-secondary education by offering seminars and online training for reporters building bridges between mainstream and ethnic community media,”  and $23,634 to “support media coverage of the education components of American Recovery and Reconstruction Act.”
The Gates Foundation provided a $489,453 grant to the George Soros/Obama mouthpiece, the Center for American Progress, “to help communicate the importance of education reforms and support progressive states seeking to implement them.” The same year CAP was also awarded $302,680 to “enhance degree completion for low-income young adults through the publishing of new policy papers, stakeholder engagement and media outreach.” Over $1 million was given to the Editorial Projects in Education, which publishes Education Week, which is supported by other foundations favoring Common Core. Education Week published the Darling-Hammond article promoting new assessments. Stephen Diamond in an October 9, 2008, blog post complained that Education Week was “whitewashing” Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers in the Annenberg Challenge.
Universities across the country received grants to promote Common Core, as did Boards of Regents. Columbia Teachers College, Ayers’ alma mater, and place of employment for Lucy Calkins, was a major beneficiary.
Gates’ efforts are aligned with the federal government’s, of making reparations, as it were, by allocating money to low-income and minority students and making them “college-ready.”  Such allocations are quite frequent in the tax return.
But critics worry that equalization will be achieved by lowering standards. None of the education non-profits funded by Gates are dedicated to raising standards through a rigorous, traditional curriculum, or by promoting Western or American principles. As Heather Crossin and Jane Robbins point out, realistically, the idea of universal college-readiness can be met only by lowering standards. Some Common Core advocates have admitted [42] that this is the case.

[i] Stanley Kurtz, quoted in The Corruption Chronicles: Obama’s Big Secrecy, Big Corruption, and Big Government by Tom Fitton (New York; Simon and Schuster, 2012) page 124.
[ii] Kurtz, Stanley.  Spreading the Wealth: How Obama Is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities.  New York; Sentinel, 2012.  138.
[iii] The Judicial Watch Verdict, August 2012, Volume 18, Issue 8.  10, 12.
[iv] SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium and Partnership for Assessment Readiness of College and Careers
[v] David Coleman and Susan Pimentel, “Revised Publishers’ Criteria for the Common Core Standards.”  Revised 4/12/12.
[vi] Ayers, William.  “A Simple Justice: Thinking about Teaching and Learning, Equity, and the Fight for Small Schools,” in A Simple Justice: The Challenge of Small Schools, Ed. William Ayers, Michael Klonsky, and Gabrielle Lyon.  New York: Teachers College Press, 2000.  1-8.
[vii] Page 25.
[viii] Kurtz.  184.
[ix] Page 39.
[x] Publishers Weekly, July 18, 2012.
[xi] Springen, Karen.  “What Common Core Means for Publishers.”  Publishers Weekly, July 18, 2012.
[xii] Ibid.
[xiii] Page 15.

Article printed from Accuracy In Media:
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[2] promoted by Arne Duncan:
[3] [ii]: #_edn2
[4] William Ayers:
[5] [iii]: #_edn3
[6] he was indeed the real author:
[7] noted:
[8] 80% of the public:
[9] included in the platform:
[10] their white paper:
[11] dismissed her concerns:
[12] [iv]: #_edn4
[13] President of the College Board:
[14] announced another competition:
[15] [v]: #_edn5
[16] through education spending:
[17] [vi]: #_edn6
[18] [vii]: #_edn7
[19] parallels Bill Ayers’ pedagogy:
[20] does:
[21] [viii]: #_edn8
[22] aimed at making students global citizens:
[23] argued for her nomination:
[24] [ix]: #_edn9
[25] advertises himself:
[26] [x]: #_edn10
[27] offering:
[28] He notes:
[29] curricular material:
[30] suggestions:
[31] categories like:
[32] [xi]: #_edn11
[33] [xii]: #_edn12
[34] promotes the use:
[35] updating:
[36] will offer:
[37] cheers this curriculum:
[38] Common Core compliant:
[39] [xiii]: #_edn13
[40] 2010 IRS documents:
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[42] Common Core advocates have admitted:
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saved by A Big Jar of Mustard

We all know the parable about having faith the size of a mustard seed.  A mustard seed is really small.  So small, if you dropped one while cooking,  it might be hard to find it.  This is not a story about small things.  I'm not very good with small things.

I was once told that my problems stem from attacking a difficult situation with a sledge hammer, while others are using stilettos.  And this story is about how a really big, industrial, restaurant-size jar of mustard changed my life, and brought me back to faith and family.  I'm thinking about it today because I ran into the priest who gave me that mustard.  His name is Father Dave Reeson.

In 1986 I was in my second of three years working toward an MFA in Acting at the University of Louisville. In that theater department I was surrounded by people who practiced magic, members of a coven of witches.  I was regularly bothered by spirits appearing around me.  Homosexuals and bisexuals of every stripe were my closest friends.  I still remember Louisville as one of the darkest places on the planet.  My parents were always begging me to quit and come home.  I had a fellowship and a job, and didn't want to leave without my degree.

My brother Tim died on either the last day of November or the 1st of December, 1986.  I think it happened earlier rather than later because I had spent the two days crying for no apparent reason. After receiving the call from my Dad,  I called some of my colleagues to have them spread the word that I would be gone for a while.  They came over, Marian carrying an unopened bottle of 12 year old Pinch.  They helped me take care of the logistics of packing and travel.  And Marian gave me A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to read on the plane.  I did read it.  I don't remember it.

Safely at home, I was curiously out of sync with the rest of my family.  I wanted to turn everything into a joke.  I rode the edge of hysterical laughter to tears.  I was sitting on the couch in the family room next to my Grandma when Father Dave Reeson came in.  He had been helping my parents with funeral arrangements in  the dining room.  He asked if there was anything he could do for any of us.

You might not be familiar with the custom of bringing food to the family of the deceased.  It is a Nebraska thing.  We had been receiving and storing chicken tetrazzini and sliced hams most of the morning.  So when Fr. Dave asked his question, only one thing came to mind.  "Well Father, we've got an awful lot of ham.  We could really use some mustard."  Everyone tried to laugh.  Or maybe they just looked shocked.  I don't really know.

Fr. Dave came back a few hours later with the jar of mustard.  One Gallon.

I mention this today because I happened to run into Fr. Dave Reeson at a funeral my son was serving at our parish.  I had to re-introduce myself, but he is still in touch with much of my family.  I told him I wanted to thank him for the mustard.  He didn't remember and I burst into tears as I told the story.  I probably seemed like a raving lunatic talking about 26 year old mustard.

But that mustard  was an act of kindness, with humor, and faith that started me on my way back home to the church.

I know Jesus says we only need a mustard seed.  But I needed the whole gallon.  Thanks Fr. Dave.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Writing on Hands

By now most of us will have noticed this silly trend of writing on hands for Obama.  More personal than a bumper sticker, more temporary than a tattoo, writing on hands is a strange practice.  When do people write on their hands?  I have a few examples from my own experience.

I used to write appointments and assignments on my hands or arms when I was in high school and college.  I was a theater major, so I was expected to be eccentric.  Sometimes I wrote the lyrics of a favorite song on my jeans.  I was young and trying to be on the weird side of hip.  When I belatedly became an adult, such writing stopped.

My husband is a field tech for a local internet provider.  He writes on the palm of his hands occasionally.  For him it is an expedient way to recall a phone number or address when he is in a rush.  It happens only on stressful days, a few times a year.  Notice he writes on his palms, because he doesn't want to show it to the world.

I remember people writing on various body parts in order to cheat on tests.  The really committed cheats in all girl schools wrote on their thighs, because no teacher would ever ask a girl to lift her skirt in class.

So this is what this trend of writing on hands for Obama means to me:  By writing on your hands you have revealed your desire to seem weirdly hip, forgetful, stressed, and a lying cheat.

That is also an accurate assessment of Obama's statements on the Middle East, our economy, and his supporters during the last week.  Amazing how it all comes together.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What We Can Learn from the Middle Ages

I don't really know enough about the Crusades to make a correlation between today's politics and the last time the West was at war with Islamic countries.  But I do love Medieval literature, and particularly the plays from Quem Queritas through Everyman.  It was a time when Catholic themes were expected in drama.  More time should be spent sharing these tales and plays with young students.

I love the pictures I see in my mind as I read.  Sir Gawain rides forth to face what he believes is certain death at the hands of the Green Knight.  On his shield is a Pentacle to represent the Five Wounds of Christ, the Five jJoys of Mary, and the Five Decades of the rosary.  On the inside of his shield is a painting of the Blessed Virgin holding the Child  Jesus.  He travels alone, beginning after Mass on All Saints Day, and ending at a strange castle after praying for a place to hear Mass on Christmas Eve.  This is a warrior of incredible virtue.  He is a model for us in this wild age.

I love the Castle of Perseverance.  From his birth, Man is lured by the temptations of the World.  He is distracted by Flesh, and responds to Lechery.  The Devil shows Man his best offers, and Man is drawn to Covetousness.  In the end, Man struggles free with the help of God and resides in Perseverance until he departs from this life.

I even enjoy the very obscure plays of Hrosvitha.  She was an Icelandic nun who rewrote the plays of Plautus to entertain the sisters in the convent.  She clearly enjoyed a good laugh.

At a time in which our Catholic faith is rocked by schism and heresy akin to the Protestant Reformation, and we are at war with Islam as we were during the Crusades, I recommend taking time to look back at the literature of the Middle Ages.  Perhaps we will hear the angels telling us not to look for Jesus in the tomb, as they do in Quem Queritas.  Or maybe we will, like Everyman, find we are carrying Good Deeds with us to our final judgement.  Hopefully our Good Deeds will be more robust than the character in Everyman.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fantasy versus Ideology

Rhetorical criticism is an inherent part of punditry.  Because rhetoric is the use of symbols to influence thought and action, analyzing the rhetoric of political candidates helps us to make informed  choices between candidates.  Recently, respected members of the conservative right have described President Obama and other prominent Democrats as ideological, and call for Republicans to respond with ideology.  I believe this is a mistake of apples-and-oranges in comparing the two rhetorical purposes.  This is not an election about ideology.  This is an election about fantasy versus ideology.

When fantasy rhetoric is used, people in a particular group use communication to create reality.  Once the fantasy is shared, meanings that used to be understood by individuals converge and alter to create a shared reality.  The creation of a shared reality requires the use of both fact-based and fiction based media.  Fantasy rhetoric depends on stereotypes and stock scenarios that can be repeated, allowing new members to put new experiences into familiar forms.  In this way the fantasy vision unifies experiences, creating a master analogy that applies to all situations.  When the master analogy is shared, the experiences of individuals that would be exceptions to the analogy are perceived by the group as rare or personal.  This creates a large number of people who will see their experiences as unique and uncommon, while still believing and acting on the fantasy.

Here's an example:
  • Women should not be punished with a baby.
  • Children do not bring joy to a home, but interfere with a woman's ability to advance in her career and drain family funds, creating poverty.
  • News reports of children abused or abandoned by single parents increase.  MTV presents the sad world of teen moms as a reality show. 
  • The stock scenario of the single parent is retold with abusive partners, the need for government assistance, and the inability to juggle work and child care.
  • Since the life of a child born into this situation is so hard on both the child and the parent, abortion is the humane choice.
  • The master analogy becomes that poverty is the same as death.
  • A particular young woman who had a child as a teen, and later graduated from college, and married for life, will assume that her situation is unique.  No other young woman has the family support or the intelligence to be able to do the same thing. 
Let's compare this rhetorical fantasy with the ideological rhetoric of the conservatives.  Like fantasy, ideology strives to present a cohesive world view.  Ideology starts with a principle, and ends with how that principle manifests in lived experiences.  Ideology does not depend on fiction, but rather depends on a combination of faith and fact.  Ideology sees failures to reach desired outcomes as the result of abandoning the principle.  When faced with many failures, the ideologue returns to re-educate with the principle.  The principle is never abandoned.

Here's an example:

  • All people have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Life is the formost right, because with out it, no subsequent right is possible.
  • This right to life is a gift to all human beings through God and nature.  
  • When faced with an unplanned pregnancy, the ideologue of faith will believe that God has a reason for this new life having been created at this time.  The ideologue of nature will understand that the choice to create the life has already been made at the time of conception.  The life exists and it has value.  In order for the new life to receive liberty and pursue happiness, the life must be preserved and protected.
  • Failure to live  violates the original principle, negating all other rights.
  • When many people violate the principle of life, the conservative ideologue returns to nature and God to re-educate the populace.
  • There are no exceptions to the principle of a God-and-nature-given right to life.
When conservatives try to apply ideas to fantasies, we frequently run into brick walls.  The stereotypes and stock scenarios of the liberal fantasy have become deeply intrenched in our culture.  We might be seeing a final backlash from the media.  I find it humorous that professed liberal pundits are calling Debbie Wasserman Schultz out about false statements on the 'war on women' fantasy, and our President on his use of entertainment media rather than the White House reporters.  These reporters are abandoning the fantasy.

Ideologues are wise to remind us of our rights and our fundamental principles.  It is time for our country to wake up from this fantasy nightmare.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Charity versus Entitlements

When I first became acquainted with Tea Party ideas, it seemed obvious to me that what we were arguing about was taxes versus charitable giving.  I now believe this is the most fundamental choice we have before us.  Do we want a government, even of representatives with which we agree, to decide who is worthy of charity and who is not?  Do I want to have, say 10% of all of my dollars spent at Target, go to the charities their CEO chooses, or do I want to give 10% of my money to my parish where I personally know the people making the decisions?

We have become a country where fewer people make bigger decisions with our money everyday.  Our Omaha Pubic School's Board decided that it would be a great idea to do away with the grading system.  They call it outcomes based, but that just means no child will receive fewer than 50% on any assignment provided a DNA test proves that the drool on he test belongs to him.  

The US Department of Education has a projected budget of $69.1 BILLION for 2013.  If each school child age 0 to 17, and his or her family were to share equally in that money, each child would have $910 and change.  Add to that money spent by sate and local governments, and by parents who pay taxes, but use private schools or home-school, and spend their own money to do it.  Does education spending seem like a scam to anyone else?  And I'm not even talking about the indoctrination that passes for education.  I'm just talking dollars and bodies.

What about welfare?  What about the difference between food stamps and food banks?  When Jesus told us to 'Render unto Caesar...'  I don't think he was talking about Obama, and Planned Parenthood, and the Department of Education, and Food Stamps, and Welfare... 

So I'm asking everyone to look at how much you pay in taxes, and how much you can offset by giving to charities you trust.  Give more to those you trust to make good decisions, and less to government.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

His Lips are Moving.

It's an old lawyer joke;  How do you tell when a lawyer is lying?  His lips are moving.  In this post I'm not speaking of lawyers in general, but our president specifically. 

I've lost track of the number of lies Obama has told.  He lied about the economy.  He lied about jobs created.  He lied about the effectiveness of stimulus plans.  He lied about being at a soccer game for one of his girls, and nobody ever found out where he really was.  He lied about writing his own autobiographies.  He lied about the credentials of his top advisers.  He lied about his political opponents.  He lied and lied and lied some more.

And then when Obama wasn't lying he would obfuscate. He changes stories to suit his self-aggrandizing purposes more frequently than he lies.  He was a law professor?  No, he was, like me, a lowly adjunct.  He never introduced legislation or made statements about anything of consequence, if it didn't involve killing the unborn, before he became a candidate for president.

Obama has shown himself to be viciously opposed to anything that could be recognized as a traditional America.  He speaks about hating the rich, but then spends significant time with them.  He is king-like in his use of a velvet rope to separate himself from those who shake his hand at official functions.  His family travels the globe while exhorting the rest of us to tighten our belts. 

So a handful of people are still doggedly trying to vet Obama. These dedicated souls dig into obscure birth records in Hawaii, Kenya, London...  They search the country for anyone who remembers him at Oxidental or Columbia.  They stay hot on the trail of Connecticut social security numbers.  They try to penetrate the Illinois Bar Association to find out why Barrack and Michelle have been disbarred. 

All of this is done by hardworking warriors for truth, who are generally not paid for their work.

And for all of their work, their reward is ridicule.

I don't know if Obama is eligible for the presidency or not.  But I should know.  You should know.  His lies and obfuscations have proven him to be not just not credible, but untrustworthy. 

Could we please take these questions seriously?  It may be the best, most effective means of undoing the damage he has done to our country.