By A.P. Dillon

On February 8th, downtown will host to the annual HK on J march (Historic Thousands on Jones Street). The NC NAACP holds it every year. This year they are calling it a “people’s assembly“, which reminds me of Occupy in a few ways. In fact, the two are similar in behavior if  you check out the 2010 video promo featuring Ben Jealous. Kind of ‘mic-checky’.   That was the year Barber inserted himself into the Wake county busing issue, naturally calling it racist and getting arrested.

This year, HK on J been turned into a Moral Monday event calling it the Moral March on Raleigh. Every Leftist group from A-Z in the state of North Carolina turns out for it. It’s led by Revered William Barber, NC’s version of Al Sharpton, minus the ‘resist we much’ stuff. The same Reverend of whom I have written about here before and who recently said this about the only black republican in the Senate:

“A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy,” Barber said, as reported by South Carolina’s The State. “[T]he extreme right wing down here [in South Carolina] finds a black guy to be senator and claims he’s the first black senator since Reconstruction and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and articulates the agenda of the tea party.” – Hot Air

Niger Innis and Col. Allen West had something to say about this disparaging of Tim Scott. I was glad to see the push back, it happens so rarely in North Carolina – the only one in recent memory to call Barber and the NC NAACP out on their racism were Rep. LaRoque and Rep. Speciale. Maybe it’s that in North Carolina, we’re just too used to hearing this type of hyperbole fly out of Barber’s mouth to react anymore. That’s probably the reality of it and that’s pretty sad.

Doubling and Tripling Down On Hate

The NAACP doubled down on Barber’s statement about Scott, saying Scott as a conservative can’t even pay homage to Martin Luther King. Barber has continued on his racism and tripled down saying this of the Tea Party:

“They frantically seek out people of color to become mouthpieces for their particular agenda,” the Rev. William Barber said on a conference call. – Washington Post

The Washington Post dedicated a whole three sentences to this latest remark. I imagine had it been a Republican or Tea Party member, a tome would have been produced. Ventriloquist dummies, mouthpieces — dehumanizing these people in an effort to marginalize them is the opposite of moral. Just like this dehumanizing is part of the culture at MSNBC, it’s also the culture of Reverend Barber and the modern NAACP.

Barber hasn’t just singled out black conservatives, he’s also gone after religious beliefs. At the same speech where he went after Tim Scott, Barber also took pot shots at religious leaders and followers and in essence pushing social justice as the only real faith:

But it was what Barber said about pastors on the religious right that was largely overlooked. Barber said “[i]ssues such as voting, healthcare, environment and education ‘are moral issues, faith issues.’” And he also added, “Any profession of faith that doesn’t promote justice and standing against wrong is a form of heresy… Pastors who obsess about topics like prayer, homosexuality and abortion while neglecting justice, poverty, fair play and equality issues ‘are just running their mouths.’” [3] – Civitas Institute

Read the whole thing. Related: Barber Attacks Religious Right — But Who Is Really ‘Just Running Their Mouths’? – Civitas Institute

By the way, this isn’t the first time he’s gone after the Evangelicals. Flashback to 2012, even the usually Left of center News and Observer had to point this out:

Barber shifted his fire to conservative Evangelicals, particularly African American ones. He all but called them Uncle Tom’s. He also accused conservative Evangelicals who don’t advocate for a social justice gospel of being “heretical.”

If you think that’s bad, read the whole thing, Rev. William Barber gives ‘State of Civil Rights in North Carolina’ address | Under The Dome

As I’ve written before and should be totally clear by now, Barber’s rhetoric is neither moral or caring of his fellow-man. His full intent to get political opponents to shut up. That’s the whole point of every word that comes out of his mouth from the shaming tactics to the threats of escalating to possible violence. Don’t forget this is the same man who said, “We’re not gonna just shoot one bullet, we’re gonna shoot ‘em all.” (video)

If you thought that was bad, he also falsely compares the current legislators in the North Carolina General Assembly to George Wallace. I had to laugh at the historical ignorance on display. Wallace was a racist Democrat intent on imposing, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.

It’s not about Morals, it’s about Politics, Power and Money.

Moral Monday isn’t about morality. It’s about crippling, eviscerating, pressuring and slamming. It’s the organized Left, a new incarnation of Occupy if you want — with a preachers collar. Barber doesn’t even hide the true intent in their own announcement of the event:

This year’s annual people’s assembly will be held in the wake of a powerful push back to the immoral and unconstitutional policies supported and passed by Governor Pat McCrory, Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate Leader Phil Berger, Budget Director Art Pope and other extremists in the NC General Assembly during the 2013 Session.

It’s not about morality. Never was. It’s about politics, power and money.

 

 

A.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon’s writing, in addition to Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent 7, can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.

****************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Thursday and DaTipJar is at $96 of our $345 goal  under 30%

If we can find 10 tip jar hitters to kick in $25 today that goal will be made.

Can we do it?  That’s up to you, and I ask you to be one of them by hitting DaTipJar below

Only 55 3/4 more subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis.  (one extra one will pay for our newest writer author Tim Imholt
)



Winter is pounding the USA, it’s Summer in South America, and the currencies favor the dollar, so the WaPo says “Now is when you should take that trip to Argentina“.

The WaPo article features a chart comparing the decline of the currencies of seven emerging-market countries in the period from May 2013 to January 2014.

The currencies shown in the chart above from The Economist all have their own problems, but Argentina is a special case. The Argentine peso has declined in value steadily since May, and at an accelerating rate during the winter months. Following last week’s sell-off, the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner took some extraordinary steps to protect the value of the currency, which has held steady for several days now. The government persuaded major manufacturers in several sectors to agree not to raise prices. At the same time, in an acknowledgment of the seriousness of the problem, authorities made it somewhat easier to trade pesos for dollars through official channels, rather than on the black market. Economists are doubtful that these measures will have any lasting effect, however, they don’t address the causes of the inflation. These include the Kirchner government’s policies of largesse and the country’s need for foreign currency to spend on imported energy.

Chile’s currency, also listed in the chart, is down 15%; Brazil’s down 17%. Additionally, the Colombian peso is at its lowest level since 2007.

So is now the time to travel to Argentina, Brazil, Chile or Colombia?

Yes, it is, with two provisos: 1. Don’t get in debt, and 2. Do heed those State Department travel warnings.

I touched on the State Department travel advice on Colombia in a prior post. The information on Brazil, Chile and Argentina is also very clear, and the countries welcome millions of tourists every year.

When I was in Argentina, I was with a group who included where at least one person who was fluent in Spanish (or Portuguese, if in Brazil), we called ahead for taxis before heading out – particularly at night (so you can get there and back safely), and always asked at our hotel before heading out to a “non-touristy” place. Don’t expect the locals to be fluent in English,

Make sure to stay way from trouble spots and demonstrations.

If you’ll be traveling later this year, avoid Brazil during the World Cup, unless you are a rabid soccer fan and willing to pay premium prices for every thing.

The currency exchange rates are favorable, the weather’s warm, and the food’s good. Bon voyage!

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on Latin America and American politics at Fausta’s Blog. She won’t be traveling just now since she doesn’t want to get into debt to pay for the trip.

**********************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Wednesday and DaTipJar is mired at $32 of our $345 goal less than 10%

Like a political campaign this site needs true believers to keep things going. The question becomes do we have 13 True Believers who can kick in $25 today to get us to a full paycheck to pay the mortgage and full coffers to cover our Magnificent Seven.

That’s up to you, and I ask you to be one of them by hitting DaTipJar below

Only 55 3/4 more subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis. If you think blogs like this willing to highlight the double standard of the Democrats & media online & on radio are worth it, please consider subscribing and suggesting a friend do so as well.



Last week was made more exciting by another grenade lobbed in Da Mommy Wars:  I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry.  For some righteous indignation as a response, click here.  For mockery, click here.  The article itself was so over the top it fairly screamed click-bait.

The author has already written a follow-up post, “In Defense of Trolling.”  In it, she explains that trolling is good because Socrates, Jesus, and Martin Luther did it.   And that trolling “combines the act of having an unpopular opinion with the skill of incentivizing people to engage with it.”  It encourages dialogue.

Encouragement of advertising revenue through increased page views is surely an incidental by-product.  It’s all about the dialogue.

We are living in an unserious culture.

Really, I don’t much mind the fact that some people say ridiculous and/or inflammatory things in order to get attention and/or make a living.  The problem is, this appears to be a perfect example of the kind of young adult our progressive education system actually creates.

I am almost done reading The Story-Killers:  A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core.  Common Core itself may not have been stamped on her books at school, but nevermind.  Common Core doesn’t invent bad teaching; it just standardizes it.

Things were bad enough in aught-diggity-six, when I was in school. If you are older but not yet old, you might remember the drill:  teachers made students read excerpts of various literature, often aloud, in turns.  Sure, most people droned on terribly.  Sure, we had to find the plot and the climax and the foreshadowing and the, oh, I don’t know, characterization and main idea, or some such.

Sure, there was the instruction to compare the story to modern life or whatever.  It always seemed contrived and just lame.  There was always one question in every exercise that was so stupid it made me angry to even have to read it, let alone answer it.

Things are worse now.

Terrence O. Moore analyzed a Common Core-aligned, high school literature textbook.  It has seventeen pages devoted to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and not a single bit of the actual novel is included in those seventeen pages.

They do get to read, and possibly act out, a Saturday Night Live parody of Frankenstein.  And they get to complete a brainstorming activity about modern urban myths.  Does that count as literary analysis?  I’ll let Mr. Moore explain, as he does a better job than I can:

“My wife, the former English teacher who recognizes pretense when she sees it, took one look at these pages and put it very simply:  ‘They (the editors) are requiring students to have opinions on something they know nothing about.’  Who needs to read and learn from Frankenstein, or any other book for that matter, when a person can just spout off in pseudo-intellectual jargon–and never be called to account because no one else has read the book?  The production of such opinions in uninformed young people leads to hubris and intellectual dishonesty.”  The Story-Killers, page 177 (bolding mine).

I’m all about intellectual honesty.  I haven’t read much of anything about Socrates.  But I’m pretty sure the use of his work to rationalize provocation for provocation’s sake is pseudo-intellectual jargon.  And when someone is not a young wife and mother herself, she might be rather uninformed in her opinion about it.

Hubris?  That seems to be a defining quality.  How about intellectual dishonesty?  Take this passage for example:

“Having an opinion doesn’t mean you think it is right or that you are smarter than other people, it is a vehicle towards truth that only works when you engage with others.”

Um.  How honest is it, really, to claim that you are engaging with people when you “looked down” on them in the very title of that supposed engagement?  Or dialogue.  Or whatever.

Welcome to the culmination of progressive education, folks.  You’ve just met one of its products.

**********************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Monday and this week’s paycheck sits at $12.

This doesn’t bode well for my plans to add more writers in the long term but in the short term it certainly doesn’t do any good for paying the mortgage.

13 tip jar hits as $25 will change all that, care to be one of them?

If so then Hit DaTipJar below.

Only 55 3/4 more subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis. If you think blogs like this willing to highlight the double standard of the Democrats & media online & on radio are worth it, please consider subscribing and suggesting a friend do so as well.

Beanie : $2.00USD – weeklyCap : $10.00USD – monthlyHat : $20.00USD – monthlyFedora : $25.00USD – monthlyGrand Fedora : $100.00USD – monthly

By John Ruberry

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and besides the game, another story is the plethora of Super Bowl commercials.

Yes, kickoff is hours from now, and the advertisement I’m excoriating will air on only on Fox 32 Chicago, but I’m confident that by 9pm Central Time, Mini Abe’s Spontaneous Somewhat Super Premiere, produced by the tourism office of the Illinois Department of Commerce, will be the worst commercial I’ll see.

It ends with Mini Abe, a plastic version of Illinois icon Abraham Lincoln, getting crushed by a football.

Taxpayers shelled out $127,500 for this ad.

Look out below:

What the heck was that?

Well, I’ll try to explain.

Today’s ad is a reworking of Mini Abe’s Spontaneous Fall. It was creepy then and it is creepy now.

illinois route 66
Where is Abe?

And it’s an ineffective messenger for Illinois tourism sites–the only locations I could identify in the commercial were the Willis (Sears) Tower, Pontiac and Route 66, the Chicagoland Speedway, and (I think) the Mississippi River.

But if I wanted to ride on a Zip Line with Mini Abe, where in Illinois would I do that? Mini Abe doesn’t say.

Things are not well in the Land of Lincoln.

Illinois taxpayers are burdened by $7 billion in unpaid bills and over $100 billion in pension debt. I wonder if Fox 32 demanded that $127,500 up front?

And to those people who’ll say, ‘well, the commercial only costs a bit more than $100,000,’ I offer this retort, a paraphrase of a famous comment possibly made by Everett Dirksen, Illinois’ greatest senator:

A hundred thousand dollars here, and a hundred thousand dollars there, and pretty soon we’re talking real money.

Besides corruption, Illinois government is good at only one other thing–wasting money.

As for Lincoln, first he gets shot, now he has to suffer from this Super Bowl indignity.

Update DTG:  Stacy McCain links.  I find myself wondering how connected this ad agency is.  FYI if you are a social conservative find out how to solve the AIDS crisis in a few easy steps and discover why the Dana Loesch & the Woody Allen Story are the same story.

*********************************************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s a brand new week and month. The days of wine and roses and having the mortgage paid a full week before it’s due is over.

Instead we are once again starting a new short month and unfortunately while it has 2-3 less days than any other the Mortgage bill is the same as any other.

So once again we have a $345 weekly goal to secure the cost of the mortgage and the payday for DaMagnificent Seven.

That means I need 17 of you to kick in $20 this week to get our monthly goals started on the right track.

Be part of another year of success, Hit DaTipJar below.

Only 55 3/4 more subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis. If you think blogs like this willing to highlight the double standard of the Democrats & media online & on radio are worth it, please consider subscribing and suggesting a friend do so as well.



By Steve Eggleston

Tomorrow, the 48th edition of the most-watched television event in America takes place from New York East Rutheford, New Jersey. Earlier in the week, Pete took a look at the waste of money that is spent on the ads aired during the game.

Meanwhile, the Fox affiliate in Detroit did a compelling story on the lengths the mayor of the city that actually is hosting the game went in an attempt to get tickets to the game. It isn’t suprising that the NFL itself overlooked the city actually hosting its biggest game.

It has been a while since I did prognostications on the NFL, but it is time to focus on the game itself.

The big story is the top-rated offense in points, yards per game, and passing yards per game, the Denver Broncos, going up against the top-rated defense in points, yards per game, and passing yards per game, the Seattle Seahawks. It really will be the case of the irresistable force meeting the immovable object – the Broncos just don’t make mistakes in the passing game, while the Seahawks not only forced the most interceptions in the regular season, they gave up the fewest big plays through the air.

The Broncos have a servicable run game, but the Seahawks have a stout run defense to go along with the league-best pass defense. Likewise, while the Seahawks lean heavily on running back Marshawn Lynch, the Broncos have a run defense every bit as stingy as the Seahawks.

The difference will be the Seahawks’ underutilized passing game against an average Broncos’ pass defense. Russell Wilson had the 7th-best quarterback rating among those with at least 300 attempts even though the Seahawks had the second-fewest pass attempts at 420.

The weather shouldn’t be too much of a factor. The latest forecast is for temperatures in the 40s and winds under 10 mph throughout the game, and a slight chance of rain throughout the day.

When all is said and done, the Seahawks will win 27-24.

By A.P. Dillon

Over the weekend, there was another round of Hilary Rosening. By that I mean the disparaging of stay at home moms. This war on women by other women started with Rosen, was picked up by Michelle Goldberg and then again by Elizabeth Wurtzel. The latest to pick up the mantle is a woman named Amy Glass.

This Amy Glass person wrote an article titled, I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry. I’m not linking to it.  She doesn’t deserve more than the one click she got out of me already.

You’re probably saying that couldn’t really be the title. No, really. That was the title. You didn’t even have to read it to know what this childless, Ivory tower, I’m-your-better-so- listen-to-me type was going to say.

Here’s the Cliff Notes version of what she thinks about stay at home moms (SAHMS):

  • SAHMS are average and “do nothing”.
  • It’s hiding from the fact SAHMS have “no real accomplishments”.
  • SAHMS are “conditioned” to think what they do is important when in fact, according to Glass, it’s stupid.
  • It’s not a real job. Doctors and engineers are real jobs.

Let me respond to these four points  in kind with the level of sophistication that Ms. Glass displayed: No.

Longer: The level of self-importance and lack of self-awareness in this woman’s article is staggering.  Glass sit there and plays Jenga with the roles of society, ripping out the one that brings the rest of the pieces toppling down.

On Motherhood

As someone who worked before she stayed home, let me enlighten Ms. Glass.  I’m possibly her worst nightmare since I am college educated and worked in the corporate world for over a decade before having a child. In fact, I have two now. Ya know what? I LOVE STAYING HOME WITH MY KIDS. *gasp* It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. You’re a fool.

It should be noted that I still recognize to this day that there are women who chose to work outside the home instead of being stay at home – that’s fine and that is their choice. By the same token, some of them have to work outside the home, some don’t. Either way, it’s their choice. I made a choice too and that was to raise my children. Contrary to Ms. Glass’ point of view: Women do have choices.  These choices shouldn’t be disparaged, but should be celebrated. Perhaps it’s that very fact we have choices that ticks her off so bad — we’re not choosing as she has.

I thought a bit like Ms. Glass before having kids. In fact, I thought that I would return to work even while I was pregnant with my first son.  I had a career, was important and people counted on me. Although I might have had the same ideas about ambition, I would never have made such a sweeping set of insults against women the world over who have stayed home and raised their children. Yes, they are insults, Ms. Glass. Ridiculous ones at that.

Anyway, the moment I held him… all bets were off.

No meeting I could go to, no client, no presentation, no job was nearly in the same realm as the responsibility and importance of the little bundle in my arms. I would be willing to bet that even moms working outside the home still consider being a mom as their biggest and most important role.  I won’t go into the long list of things I do as a SAHM, but anyone who has done it even for a short time knows SAHMS wear more hats than we can count.  SAHM or working mom — it’s not just a job, it’s also role. Just like father, brother, sister, aunt and so on. Moms are a part of the fabric that makes up society – the very one YOU live in. Sorry Ms. Glass, but you’ve read Feminine Mystique one too many times. 

Quick Sidenote: Fathers matter too, but this piece is about the moms.

 

You Had Mother

What Ms. Glass brushes off is that Motherhood is the cornerstone of human existence. It’s the propagation of the species and the shaping of those who will make up our society.  The doctors and engineers? They had mothers. The person who created the computer that she hammered out her self-loathing screed on? They had a mother. Stay at home mom or working mom – they had one. Even Ms. Glass had one. Imagine that.

Jacques Barzun’s  prologue in From Dawn of Decadence sums up the problem with Ms. Glass and her thinking:

“All that is meant by Decadence is “falling off”. It implies in those who live in such a time no loss of energy or talent or moral sense. On the contrary, it is a very active time, full of deep concerns, but peculiarly restless, for it sees no clear lines of advance. The loss it faces is that of Possibility. The forms of art as life seem exhausted, the stages of development have run through.”

 

When people take for granted the pursuits that make their existence possible and then take it one further by denigrating such people, a society has become decadent. Ms. Glass is the epitome of decadent.  I reject Ms. Glass’ moral condemnation of motherhood as she clearly seems to ignore where her own culture and society come from.

I’m raising my children and doing it by staying home with them. Suck a lemon, Ms. Glass. I reject your shallow, improvident and myopic opinion of me and women like me – both past, future and present. In closing:

  • Providing a stable, loving environment with a parent present for children to grow and learn in is not stupid, it’s imperative.
  • Raising decent human beings that will participate and further our society and species is definitely an accomplishment.
  • I’m not conditioned by society to stay at home and raise my children. If I’m conditioned, it is by the decision to have them in the first place. Unconditional love is a helluva drug.
  • It is a real job. In fact it is THE real job.

Ms. Glass will never “get” any of this. My children will and they’ll pass it on.

 

Related readingCharles C. Cooke takes Ms. Glass to task handily, as does Matt Walsh on the same topic.

 

A.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon’s writing can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.

In last night’s State of the Union speech, President Obama mentioned Iran ten times, Hezbollah once, but not a word on Latin America and how it plays in Iran’s plans.

The President may not have read, for instance, the 2011 report from the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence describing Hezbollah’s growing terrorist network in the Western Hemisphere.

Or he may not have heard of the deepening ties between socialist Latin American regimes (what Lachlan Markay calls The Correa-Khamenei Axis), which continues Hugo Chavez’s aid to Iran in evading sanctions.

President Obama may not have heard of the war of all the people,

the ideological and political war against the United States, capitalism, and the widely accepted tenets of modernity

which was spearheaded by Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. Not that alliances between Latin American communists and Middle Eastern terrorists are new; in 1966, forty-eight years ago, the Tricontinental Conference in Cuba brought together Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat.

But Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela aren’t the only countries currently involved with Iran,

Iran continues its activities in our hemisphere, working ever more closely with Uruguay and Bolivia and continuing its operational activities with Venezuela. According to the Uruguayan foreign minister, his country holds “identical view on international affairs” with Tehran.

Argentina announced almost exactly a year ago a joint truth commission with Iran that would investigate the 1994 car bomb attack at AMIA, a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 and injured 300. The 1994 AMIA bombing is the second-largest Islamist terrorist attack in our hemisphere, and was masterminded by Mohsen Rabbani, who presently is actively recruiting converts in Latin America, and Ahmad Vahidi, now Iran’s Defense Minister – hardly a group leading to any truth on the attck.

Having read last night’s nothingburger SOTU, then, I, too ask, Does anybody really know what time it is?

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on Latin American and American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Linda Szugyi

I’m three chapters into Terrence O. Moore’s new book, The Story-Killers:  A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core, and all I can say is amen.

Thanks to the military lifestyle, our family experienced a Church of England primary school, two Catholic private schools, and a public virtual school in just five short years.  These experiences were pre-Common Core, but one of the major problems we encountered was the same:  high-sounding standards, written in elaborate academia-speak, which in reality translated into Older Son being hopelessly bored half the time, and desperately overwhelmed the other half.

What do I mean by hopeless boredom?  Older Son was an early reader, but that didn’t matter in Britain’s version of kindergarten, which is called reception.  He was still required to “read” the non-verbal books, at the same speed as the rest of the class.

That’s right.  I said non-verbal.  The first several readers had no actual words in them.  The teacher explained to me that, while she noticed he was already reading fluently, these books were an important tool for teaching him to look at the pictures for clues as to what the text (when eventually provided) was saying.

Things came to a stressful climax in Older Son’s third grade year, also known as the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.  I knew it was going to be bad the minute I opened the teacher’s “welcome letter.”  The words “welcome letter” require quotation marks because three pages of single-spaced brick-wall paragraphs are frankly not that welcoming.

There were so many instructions, it was hard for me (an adult! with a degree!) to follow.  The supply list was so bizarrely detailed, I didn’t even know what some of the items were.  Also, she used too many exclamation points.

I knew we were not going to get along.

That’s a story for another post, but yes.  We didn’t get along.  She liked to use the word “rubric,” and in our first parent-teacher meeting I asked, “What is a rubric?”  She explained it as the system used for grading assignments, which really annoyed me because if it’s the grading system then why don’t you just use the word grading?

Well.  The thing is.

Thanks to The Story-Killers, I have figured out that it is not as simple as a new word coming into vogue because it makes the education establishment sound more expert.

The “rubric” isn’t a grading system.  It’s not a matter of “you get x amount of answers wrong, you get x grade.”

It’s a set of standards.

What?  You don’t know the difference?

Grades demonstrate what you have and haven’t learned.  For example, if I couldn’t write an essay without comma splices, my 10th grade English teacher would give me the grade of F.

Grades have meaning.  Standards, on the other hand, are meaningless:

“The so-called standards that states adopt, however, consist in a vague set of ‘learning objectives’ that are either general skills or amorphous concepts surrounding an academic subject.” Story-Killers, page 65.

General skills are the things that your child would learn anyway, by virtue of the fact that he is living breathing human.  Like learning that the pictures in a book give clues as to what the book is saying.  Amorphous concepts are the purely meaningless part.  Like Common Core Standard RL-2.9:

“By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories and poetry, in the grades 2-3 complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.”

Sound good?  Or at least, does it sound expert?  Let Mr. Moore put it in plain English for you:

“Students in second grade should read and understand more difficult books at the end of the year than at the beginning.  They may need help, though.”  Story-Killers, page 68.

Now, here comes the part where Common Core experiences are going to be even worse than what we have already seen.  Mr. Moore visited classrooms and found that in the Common Core world, everything will be governed by the standards.  They are posted on the classroom wall.  Teachers are forming the habit of making every lesson explicitly tied to at least one standard.  This is the “alignment” part of the Common Core creature:

“It is not a stretch to say that the schools are now operating under a cult of standards.  Everything must be connected to a standard.  Nothing can be done that is not a standard.  Very few people see the utter poverty of the standards, so the language of the standards binds all.  Teachers must write mind-numbing lesson plans in which everything they mean to teach or assign is cross-referenced to a standard. . . . Of course, much of this ‘lesson-planning’ becomes a cut-and-paste operation, just as the Common Core Standards themselves have the feel of that wonderful function of Microsoft Office.”  Story-Killers, page 78.

The proponents of Common Core, such as New York Education Commissioner John King, try to sell it as “a path to precise reading, writing and thinking skills.”  At the same time, they remind us that it isn’t a curriculum.  It’s just a standard.

How, exactly, can a standard measure a child’s reading, writing, and thinking, without stating what specific knowledge and skills (i.e., curriculum) are necessary?

Critics like me are put on the defensive, because “how can you be against raising academic standards?’  When “standards” are meaningless vagaries that allow political indoctrination under the guise of “critical thinking,” you better believe that I am against them.

By John Ruberry

“I’m not mad, I’m proud of you. You took your first pinch like a man and you learned two great things in your life. Look at me, never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.” Jimmy Conway to Henry Hill in GoodFellas.

Two weeks ago in this space I wrote about Rare Good News on Illinois Corruption. Former Chicago alderman Ambrosio Medrano received a 10 1/2 year sentence for participating in a kickback scheme. The day after that post, Medrano was sentenced to an additional 2 1/2 years for his role in a Los Angeles bribery scam, which brings his total to an unlucky 13 years in, as Elwood Blues called it in The Blues Brothers, “the joint.”

In the 1990s, Medrano served  2 1/2 years for accepting bribes

But the “rare good news” may not be as wonderful as it sounds.

31st Street Skyline
Dark clouds over Chicago

In his Chicago Sun-Times blog, Dan Mihalopoulos explained that Medrano, could have a received a lighter prison term if he agreed to be an informant. The crooked pol is 60–such a deal should have appealed to him. But Medrano is from Illinois–and from Chicago, where the political term ‘clout’ comes from.

“I couldn’t live with myself,” he told the Sun-Times in an exclusive interview when discussing assisting the feds. “Some people call it cooperating. Some people call it being a rat.”

Medrano refused to cooperate with federal authorities after he was caught the first time. All of this means Medrano is immoral instead of amoral. His has morals, only they are corroded.

“Look at me, never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.”

And the decent people of Illinois–we do have some here–have a lot of work to do.

Medrano’s latest convictions involve public health care networks. Does anyone believe that the crooked suppliers were the low-bidders for these contracts?

Corruption is expensive.

By Steve Egglestion

Earlier this week, CNSNews reported a record 20% of all American households, were part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the average month during fiscal year 2013, which ran from October 2012 through September 2013. The author, Ali Meyer, did a good job of explaining the unprecedented growth of Food Stamp Nation, but he made a couple of less-than-optimal mathematical shortcuts. First, he included those in Guam and the Virgin Islands who receive food stamps. In 2013, that was 27,054 households in the average month, knocking down the domestic total in the average month to 23,025,334. Second, while the number of households on food stamps was an average during the fiscal year, he used the estimated number of households in September rather than the average number of households during the year.

Making those corrections does not materially alter the point. In FY2013, the record 23,025,334 American households on food stamps during the average month represented a record 20.1% of the average monthly 114,606,583 households. That was an increase of 720,455 households from FY2012, when 19.6% of all households were on food stamps.

The good news, if there is some to be found, is that is the second-lowest rate of increase over the last decade. Of course, the Democrats don’t see that as good news; they insist on continuing unfettered growth in the use of food stamps in the completely wrong-headed belief that the success of a welfare program is measured by how many more people it enslaves.

The bad news is that represents a 124.3% increase in the number of households and a 109.5% increase in the percentage of households on food stamps since FY2004. It also represents a 51.3% increase in the number of households and a 48.05% increase in the percentage of households on food stamps since FY2009, during which the Great Recession supposedly ended.

On the individual side, a record 47,636,084 Americans were on food stamps during the average month of FY2013, or a record 15.1% of all Americans. The historical news is similar – it represents an increase of 1,027,012 from FY2012, when 14.9% were on food stamps, a 100.0% increase in number and 85.4% increase in percentage of the population from FY2004, and a 42.2% increase in number and 38.2% increase in percentage of population from FY2009. As was the case in the household increase, the yearly increase in individuals receiving food stamps was the second-lowest in the past decade.

Consequently, the amount of money spent on the food stamp program during FY2013, $79,641,880,000, is also a record. Actually, it is a double record, as, even adjusted for inflation, no other year saw more spent on food stamps.

Looking at the other food-assistance programs run by the US Department of Agriculture, there is some good news and some bad news. The good news, from a conservative point of view, is a couple of the other food-assistance programs shrank in scope this past fiscal year. The Women, Infants, and Children program shrank by 239,245 Americans to 8,451,524 Americans (not counting those in territories), which is also a drop of 445,526 from FY2009. The school lunch program shrank by 1,033,833 American children to 30,225,234, which is also a drop of 679,115 from FY2009.

The bad news is, like food stamps, the school breakfast, summer food, and child and adult care food programs all hit record high average monthly participation numbers in FY2013. The school breakfast program increased by 289,007 Americans to 13,006,229, the summer food program increased by 73,006 Americans to 2,386,256, and the child and adult care food program increased by 77,202 Americans to 3,596,153.