By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I read with interest the post by Baldilocks about the kids in the United Kingdom who can’t tell time.  It seems difficult to believe, doesn’t it?  But, it’s true and it’s true here in America too.  I teach in an American high school and I have kids who can’t tell time on a regular clock and who can’t read cursive.

That’s not to say it’s true with all kids, but there is a large majority of them that this is the case.

Leaning toward academics, I also have students who have never read a book voluntarily.  Let that sink in. I encounter on a daily basis any number of kids who have never voluntarily picked up a book and read it.  On any subject.

Even worse? Under the Common Core curriculum that is not likely to change.  Our ELA supervisor has told us “we will probably never return to teaching or reading entire novels in English.”

I’ve been reading Kelly Gallagher’s Readicide (2009) and at every page I’m both sickened but also seeing exactly what he is saying in practice every single day.

Administrators and supervisors will say that we aren’t “teaching the test” and that if we follow the Common Core curriculum faithfully that it won’t be necessary to teach the test, but look at what we give kids to read: chunks of text.  Pages of articles culled from Common Lit or from news sources.  Non-fiction articles.  These are followed by endless graphic organizers, analysis, sticky notes, highlighting in multiple colors, and mind-numbing multiple choice questions.

Unless kids read on their own, they aren’t reading for fun anymore.

In our eleventh-grade syllabus, they read only a few chapters of The Great Gatsby, not the entire novel.  This is true across the board for novels in high school.

To me, this is criminal.

Gallagher’s thesis is that kids will never become life-long readers under this practice and he builds his case with research and data throughout his book.  Consider also that the group this most affects are those kids in poverty who start out their educational experience through American public schools in “word poverty” because there are very few, if any, books in the home and they have not been read to often enough to build a large vocabulary.  They start out at a disadvantage which we make worse by eliminating pleasure reading in class.

I went to a literacy convention one year and met a lady who said that each year at Halloween, instead of giving out candy, she gives out books.  What a cool thing to do!  She said that at first the kids were surprised and a little irritated but once she looked out her window and saw a little girl reach into her bag to see what it was, and then she sat on the curb and started paging through the book.

What a wonderful gift it is to give a child the gift of reading!

As an educator, that’s what I strive to do, despite the constraints of Common Core.  There’s a large part of me that rebels at being part of the problem.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.  Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.

Dear Democrats and Media Members who attended the #2018 White House Correspondents Dinner.

After viewing Michelle Wolf’s complete routine at the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner I have a request to make of you.

Please include comedian Michelle Wolf in any and all official events held by media, the Democrat party and any Democrat candidates running for office from now until at least election day 2018 or if possible election day 2020.

Thank you.

Peter DaTechGuy Ingemi
Have Fedora Will Travel.

I’ve mentioned in the past my daughter’s obsession with Hamilton, the musical. We were in the car this afternoon listening to “One Last Time,” in which George Washington tells Alexander Hamilton that he is stepping down as president after two terms and asks Hamilton to help him compose his Farewell Address (which was actually published in the newspaper), I commented to my daughter that this was one of the greatest decisions ever made by a politician in our country’s history.

Until FDR, all other presidents had followed Washington’s precedent and chose not to run again after two terms. Following FDR, the 22nd amendment formalized this tradition, forcing a two-term limit on the presidency. Just think of what this arrangement, started by Washington, has saved our country.

There is no doubt, given the size of Barack Obama’s ego, that he would have run for a third term and, given the media bias – which was even worse in his favor, if you recall, than for Hillary – there is little doubt that he would have won. Which means that we would still be looking at a potential nuclear strike from North Korea, anemic economic growth, high unemployment and the continued corruption of the FBI and intelligence services that have only come to light since President Trump was elected. Thank you, General Washington!

The other key lyric in the song is when Washington says “I want to warn against partisan fighting.” It’s a pity that our politicians didn’t heed that warning. Imagine what President Trump could accomplish if he didn’t have to spend so much time and effort defending himself against made-up charges and fighting against for-no-other-reason-than-they-hate-the-fact-that-they-lost obstruction by the Democrats.

Don’t forget to hit DaTipJar!

Sun-Times headquarters

By John Ruberry

A week ago the Chicago Sun-Times began a high-profile begging campaign with a white splash–a blank sheet of paper–as its front page to draw attention to an op-ed, “Imagine Chicago without the Sun-Times: An urgent appeal.”

Or, the editorial could be titled, give us money or the Sun-Times will shut down.

“Until now, we’ve offered our online content for free. But we can no longer afford to operate our business this way,” the Sun-Times said in that plea. “Imagine our city without our headlines,” it continues. “Without our journalists to tell your side of the story.”

Your side?

My side?

Since then I’ve noticed three follow-ups, including two columns–my guess is they were ordered by Sun-Times brass to write them–by Richard Roeper and Neil Steinberg. This morning on Fox Chicago’s Flannery Fired Up, the Sun-Times’ managing editor, Chris Fusco, along with James Warren, who held the same job at the competing Chicago Tribune, pleaded the case for online Sun-Times subscriptions, which the host, Mike Flannery, endorsed as he told the pair that he had just signed up.

Warren said of the current owners of the newspaper, “They’re severely undercapitalized.”

Who owns the Chicago Sun-Times? A consortium of left-leaning investors, including a former Chicago alderman and failed Democratic candidate for governor, along with the Chicago Federation of Labor, which is an umbrella group of local unions. The CFL’s executive board is heavy with public-sector union bosses.

Chicago is one of the few cities left that has two mass-market daily newspapers. Television struck the first blow against big-city newspapers decades ago; the internet, which newspapers embraced twenty years ago when most of them put their content online for free–naively hoping that ad revenue would pay the bills–provided the second blow.

Houston, we have a problem. The city that seems poised to surpass Chicago in population, became a one mass-market newspaper town in 1995 when the Houston Post folded.

Or does Houston really have a problem?

Wikpedia lists nearly two-dozen Houston area newspapers, to be fair, none of them I’ve heard of until today. Sure, some of them are online-only publications. But is a book a book if it only appears on Kindle?

I believe so.

Of course there are scores of blogs based in Houston, perhaps many more, similar to the one you are reading now, as well as my own Chicago-area blog, Marathon Pundit–both of which represent my side. Perhaps yours too. The media elites love to dismiss blogs and news sites such as the Daily Caller, the Washington Examiner, or Breitbart as fake news, but of course the big shots never get things wrong.

Oh, the Chicago area boasts a dozen daily newspapers.

Let’s take a closer look at the Sun-Times’ side.

Richard Roeper was suspended then demoted by the Sun-Times after he was exposed for buying 25,000 Twitter followers.

Neil Steinberg, who blocked me on Twitter shortly after Election Day two years ago because I objected to a whacked-out anti-Donald Trump column spewed by him, is in my opinion the most execrable columnist in America. He should, as the late great Sun-Times-based Ann Landers would regularly advise, “seek counseling.”

The Holocaust was in part a failure of imagination. Jews just couldn’t imagine it. Which has to trouble anyone insisting it can’t happen now. Because that’s exactly what they thought then.

If you can’t see how this could turn really bad, really quick, let me ask you this: When Donald Trump fails to provide the boon he promised, when his protectionist trade policies crater the economy, who is he going to blame? Himself? Donald Trump does not blame himself.

Who will he blame? When he’s in Pennsylvania, talking to coal miners whose industry he did not revive; when he’s in Youngstown talking to factory workers whose jobs never returned, who will he blame? Who?

You know the answer.

Since November, 2016 the Trump economy has boomed, his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, both Orthodox Jews, have enjoyed enormous power, some say too much, in the White House. And Trump will move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, to the delight of many Jewish-Americans and of course, the Israeli government.

There is no Trump pogrom.

Steinberg later wrote a penitent book about the experience, but in 2005 he was arrested and jailed for a night after hitting his wife while he was drunk. He initially tried to use a public defender as his lawyer. Steinberg was being paid by the Sun-Times, right? At the time Steinberg was a member of the Sun-Times editorial board.

Not my side

Let’s take a look at the Sun-Times’ other regular opinion columnists. Mark Brown, Lynn Sweet, and Mary Mitchell are also leftists. The paper does re-print an occasional S.E. Cupp, piece, but this co-called conservative is a #NeverTrump Republican.

I didn’t forget about the Chicago Federation of Labor. As Illinois continues to plummet into the financial abyss, many members of the unions that comprise the CFL are doing well because they are or will be receiving generous but unaffordable taxpayer-funded pensions. While a couple of Republican governors share blame in the debacle, Michael Madigan, the man a former Sun-Times reporter, Dave McKinney, says is “the man behind the fiscal fiasco in Illinois,” deserves most of the dishonor. Illinois’ “House speaker-for-life” and “state Democratic Party chairman-for-life” has raked in a lot of CFL cash over the years, as has his daughter, the lame duck state attorney general, Lisa Madigan, as this Illinois Policy Institute graphic explains.

Definitely not my side.

Mike Madigan is the problem in Illinois, but don’t expect the Sun-Times to call for his ouster.

As Illinois and Chicago continues to lose population because of tax increases to attempt to pay for the local edition of what I called in this space The Great American Pension Swindle, this people-drain becomes the Sun-Times’ problem too. Fewer people living here means fewer readers and subscribers. If you live in Omaha, what does the Sun-Times offer you? Chicago’s best days are in the past and I expect that Chicago won’t remain a two mass-market-newspaper town for long. The Sun-Times is battling history with fewer troops in its camp.

Blogger at Chicago’s Trump Tower

But there will be other voices that will persevere.

Including mine.

And no, I won’t become a monthly subscriber to the Sun-Times.

Now, if the Sun-Times wants to add opinions like mine, then perhaps I’ll reconsider.

John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Illinoisan, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

I talked to the ownership and the coach of the new East Coast Football League (ECFL) team the Mass Phoenix in Leominster on Friday where their team will play their home games

If like me you aren’t interested in the NFL Draft but have an interest in actual football this might be to your taste. I guarantee you that they will not only be more entertaining that the comic at the White House correspondents dinner but you will be able to take your kids to see them without fear.

Don’t ask me, Bill. These are your people.

by baldilocks

Shakespeare wept

And in other news regarding the downfall of the UK

Schools are removing analogue clocks from examination halls because teenagers are unable to tell the time, a head teachers’ union has said.

Teachers are now installing digital devices after pupils sitting their GCSE and A-level exams complained that they were struggling to read the correct time on an analogue clock.

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said youngsters have become accustomed to using digital devices.

“They are used to seeing a digital representation of time on their phone, on their computer. Nearly everything they’ve got is digital so youngsters are just exposed to time being given digitally everywhere.”

Mr Trobe, a former headmaster, said that teachers want their students to feel as relaxed as possible during exams. Having a traditional clock in the room could be a cause of unnecessary stress, he added.

He said that schools are trying to make everything as “as easy and straightforward as possible” for pupils during their exams.

“You don’t want them to put their hand up to ask how much time is left,” he said.

“Schools will inevitably be doing their best to make young children feel as relaxed as the can be. There is actually a big advantage in using digital clocks in exam rooms because it is much less easy to mistake a time on a digital clock when you are working against time.”

Emphasis mine.

Additionally, British schoolchildren are having trouble holding writing implements, aka pens and pencils – a result of over dependence on iPads and whatnot.

In fairness, I can bet that many Americans younger than 40 are also unable to read a face clock. Both here and in the UK, there’s a singular reason for this: the previous generation of parents failed to teach this formerly mundane skill.

One envisions a dismal future headline if digital toilet paper is in the invention hopper.

Besides, the murder of Alfie Evans at hands of the UK government has already indicated what time it is. But it’s certain that many can’t determine that either, which is just how that government wants it.

Hunters like their prey to be relaxed. And the US is far from immune from this sport.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar for his new not-GoDaddy host!

Or hit Juliette’s!

I’ve managed to buy and sell a few homes due to constant military moves. While plenty of people will try to talk metrics on homes, whether it’s price per square foot or something like that, the reality of whether it was “worth it” is whether you made more money selling the home than what is cost you. Oddly enough, how much a home is worth is actually pretty simple: it’s worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. If someone offers to buy your house for $250,000, and has the money to do it, it doesn’t matter whether the house is actually WORTH that much. To that person, it’s worth $250K.

In Britain, we’re asking the same question now about human life: how much is Alfie Evans life worth? It’s becoming less about cost (although I’m sure that’s an issue) and much more about power. On one hand, to Alfie’s parents, his life is worth every possible shot that human medicine can offer. No matter how distant a shot, it’s worth the chance that he will improve and give them more time on earth. Continue reading “But what is it worth to you?”

Hayden: [stopping his horse and drawing a pistol] Good night Mr. Breen
John Breen: You mean I can go?
Hayden: Anytime
John Breen: [looking at the armed men around behind him] What makes you think I will?
Hayden: Because that way you’ve got a chance, a small one, but a chance
John Breen: [griping reigns of his horse] Well never let it be said I didn’t take it

The Fighting Kentuckian 1949

On May 10 1941 Rudolf Hess flew solo to England to propose peace between England and the Third Reich. It had been a plan he had been working on since Sept of 1940, running short of fuel he had to bail out and was captured the next day making the case for peace between the British Empire and the Third Reich.

From Sept 1940 to May 1941 England had been standing alone against the Undefeated Reich, Italy and Japan, their army and not recovered from the loss of their equipment at Dunkirk. The Battle of the Atlantic against the U-Boat fleet was still very much in doubt and the prospect for help was not good. The non-aggression pact between Russia and Germany was still in force and the American public was not inclined to enter another war in Europe and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which would change their minds was still seven months away.

It’s a good thing for the world that Britain in 1941 was not run by the folks at Alder Ray Hospital in charge of Alfie Evans, the people at the NHS, the Judges in charge of his appeal, or the British Government of today that let it happen. For those folks and those on social media who have steadfastly defended them, the idea of costly fighting on with the odds against them would have had no appeal when you had a no cost alternative that guaranteed their existing empire.

Much easier to keep what they had and give up the freedom of France, Holland, Belgium, Poland, Norway and Poland. then take the long shot risks for the sake of their freedom.

The world is very lucky that the half American Winston Churchill was in charge at the time and was able to lead and inspire his people to fight on.

Alas for Alfie Evans that Churchillian “never say die” attitude while expressed by thousands of Americans online and in person was not present in the British Government in general or in the NHS in particular. A single hour of Winston and Alfie Evans would have been in Italy weeks ago given food and water with a chance, however small, for survival.

How incredible is it that the we have the spectacle of a German Doctor saying that this decision would be unthinkable in modern day Germany

A leading German pediatrician is saying that the way the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is dealing with disabled toddler Alfie Evans and his parents would never happen in his country given its history with the Nazi regime.

“We have learned in Germany because of our history, that there are things that you do not do with severely disabled patients,” Professor Nikolaus Haas, head of the Child Cardiology and Pediatric Intensive Medicine Unit at Munich University Hospital, told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper in an April 26 article.

“Our ethical understanding in Germany is different, I mean – thank God. The [hospital’s] logic that it is better for the child to die than that someone else looks at it, and even to sue [for that] in court, this is an unimaginable behavior for me,” he said.

Alas this is not unimaginable this is reality. Alfie Evans is dead, a bit shy of his 2nd birthday and the risk to the NHS and it’s defenders posed by his continued survival has died with him, ironically the same week that the newest son of British Royalty was named.

I regret to say Alfie Evans is not the first British Child to die this way and it’s unlikely he will be the last British child dead after his parents pleas for the chance to save are denied by the British NHS and courts.

I can’t imagine The Few who risked all against enormous odds to save Britain nor their leader who made the fight rather than giving up would have approved. would

Sharpe: What’ve you got there Harper?
Harper: Just a wee wild bird.
Sharpe: Won’t it fly away?
Harper: No. It trusts me.
Sharpe: But you’re gonna put it in a cage.
Harper: It knows it’ll get a few crumbs in a cage.
Sharpe: I thought wild things like their freedom.
Harper: Freedom to starve is no freedom.

Sharpe’s Rifle 1993

If you are shopping for food you can’t help but notice labels toting that various foods are produced without genetic modifications or hormones. Selling to people the idea that GMO foods are either dangerous or worse than regular food has made a good living for people and our friends on the left have been quick to embrace it, even to the point of trying to keep such food out of countries that are with hungry and or poor populations.

So why are so many places in the developing world duking it out over the health and ecological repercussions of GMOs? Third-world countries are stepping up and saying no to Frankenfood, and biotech giants like Monsanto have started paying very close attention to nations like Kenya, Bolivia and Thailand, all of which have legislated tighter controls on the production, import and labeling of genetically engineered food.

No matter how small their collective GDPs may be, it’s clear that the stakes in these countries are high. They understand what larger, more powerful nations refuse to accept: Genetically engineered food production creates a tenuous dependency on the multinationals that own the seeds of that production. These often poor and powerless countries would rather risk the short-term loss of foreign investment than irrevocable loss of food sovereignty and biodiversity in their homelands.

It’s a topic that reminds me of the Alfie Evans case in that they argue it’s better for Alfie to starve than to give him even the slightest chance of life, but that’s not what prompted this post.

No what prompted this post was this story at Robert Stacy McCain’s site about a lesbian married to a a transgender woman who are trying to have a baby the old fashioned way. ”

Not long after we met, Lara, who transitioned at the wise old age of 30, told me that with each year she takes estrogen injections, her fertility declines. Like many trans people, Lara wasn’t interested in having children when she transitioned. We got together in May 2015; last fall, she told me it was, essentially, now or never, as she wanted her transition to continue moving forward. By then, the thought of not being able to have my own biological child could make me tear up in front of my happily childless friends, who encouraged me to try if it was something I really wanted.

Since Ms. Spataro’s “wife” has a Penis one might think this would not be a problem but the first step in having a child is being fertile and that involved an important change. (emphasis mine)

It is no surprise that Ms. Spataro’s attempts to become pregnant — “trying to have a baby the old-fashioned way” — are “complicated.” To begin with, both she and her, uh, partner had to stop taking synthetic hormones. Yes, in case you didn’t realize it, birth-control pills are synthetic hormones which prevent pregnancy by obstructing a woman’s normal hormone production. It is a well-known scientific fact that hormones influence mood and behavior, and it is therefore perhaps no coincidence that Queer Feminism flourishes among a generation of young women raised on “safe sex” ideology, many of whom began taking contraceptive pills as teenagers.

This raises several questions, the first being of course why a lesbian would need to regularly take birth control pills, Stacy McCain asks a more significant one

What are the possible long-term consequences of deliberately causing an abnormal hormone-induced state of sterility in adolescent girls and young women?

That’s a pretty good question but I have one better:

How many young liberal women who would never dream of eating meats or grains with either synthetic hormones or containing GMO’s or meat have been taking synthetic hormones daily without a 2nd thought or even a first?

I think that’s an excellent question and serious question that I think young women should be asked of them.

If you want to have more fun with said question ask it of women or better yet a transgender at a protest against GMO’s why synthetic hormones or GMO to produce food to feed people who are hungry in the 3rd world are an abomination to be abandoned while the synthetic hormones used by 1st world people to prevent pregnancy or suppress one’s biological sex are sacrosanct?

In the past, robots were huge and robust gadgets which executed duties outlined for them. They came with bright colors to caution workers of their imminent danger. They were encircled with protectors and a fence for security reasons. Setting them up was an arduous task and one needed to have excellent programming skills to set them up.

Today, technology has evolved and this has seen the emergence of collaborative robots which are light, compact, and adept.

 What Are Collaborative Robots

A collaborative robot is a machine that is specially designed to interact directly with humans in a collaborative environment. There are various terms individuals need to understand when it comes to these gadgets as illustrated below.

Cobot. This is the short form of collaborative robot

Collaborative operation/Human Robot Interaction. This is the condition by which humans and a function designed robot works directly within a designated environment

Collaborative environment/workspace. This is a protected area where humans and the robot execute duties together amid an automatic operation.

IAD (Intelligent Assist Device). This is a non independent smart lift assist gadget

What Are the Collaborative Features For Robots?

Modern day robots come with four collaborative features which are;

Hand Guiding

This collaborative operation involves teaching through demonstration. For example, it comes in handy when one needs to teach trails for pick and place operations instantly. While hand guiding relies largely on industrial robots, it comes with an extra gadget that senses the worker’s effort as applied on the robot. More characteristics of hand guiding robots are;

  • Uses path teaching and demonstration
  • Requires an end of arm gadget in order to sense applied forces
  • Uses normal industrial robots
  • Makes specific robot collaborative modes

Safety rated monitored stop

This collaborative characteristic is executed when the robot is working independently. However, a human may need to penetrate its work environment occasionally. For instance, if a particular operation must be executed on a part while it is within the robot’s space. In this case, the robot does most of the work while the worker carries out subordinate operations on the part.

This means that the worker is able to execute his task on the part within the robot’s space. When a person enters a proposed safety area, the robot seizes operations altogether despite the fact that it is still on. These robots work efficiently when humans work away from them with limited close interactions. This reduces the amount of time it stops due to human interruption. More characteristics are;

  • Requires safety gadgets that sense human closeness
  • Utilizes common industrial robots
  • Stops when the safety area is invaded
  • Utilized for inadequate cooperative procedures

Speed And Separation Monitoring

Here, the robot’s workspace is controlled by a vision or laser system that trails the worker’s position. The robot then operates within the functions of the predetermined safety area. For instance, if the worker is within a specific safety zone, the robot works slowly and continues to slow down further as he approaches. It eventually stops when they get too close. More features are;

  • It requires a vision system in order to sense the nearness of the human
  • It uses common industrial robots
  • It is utilized for operations that need frequent human presence

Power and Force Limiting

This is one of the most human friendly robots because it allows human robot interaction in the absence of extra safety gadgets. It is capable of sensing unusual forces along its path. It is specially programmed to stop every time it reads a force overload. Additionally, it is designed to use up forces in the event of impact within a wider surface. This explains why robots are rounded and have no defined motors. Third parties for human robot collaboration industrial safety accredit many of these robots. Its features are;

  • It is not a common industrial robot
  • It does not need extra safety gadgets. However, it will need to undergo a risk assessment
  • It comes with force limited characteristics
  • It is designed to collaborate with the worker directly


Force limited robots are easy to integrate with and program. They do not need to be fenced and one does not have to change their production line. This is because they are specially designed to collaborate with humans. They come with the hand guiding feature which cuts down the programming time.

Collaborative Robots

In the past, robots were huge and robust gadgets which executed duties outlined for them. They came with bright colors to caution workers of their imminent danger. They were encircled with protectors and a fence for security reasons. Setting them up was an arduous task and one needed to have excellent programming skills to set them up.

Today, technology has evolved and this has seen the emergence of collaborative robots which are light, compact, and adept.