A Tidbit you Might Have Missed Yesterday

In between the HHS story, the SNL 40th anniversary the Beheadings in Libya & the attacks in Copenhagen you might have missed this little tidbit from the times:

The Central Intelligence Agency, working with American troops during the occupation of Iraq, repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups, according to current and former American officials.

Chemical Weapons of mass destruction?  Can’t be we all know that they don’t exist and never did right?

Not long after Operation Avarice had secured its 400th rocket, in 2006, American troops were exposed several times to other chemical weapons. Many of these veterans said that they had not been warned by their units about the risks posed by the chemical weapons and that their medical care and follow-up were substandard, in part because military doctors seemed unaware that chemical munitions remained in Iraq.

In some cases, victims of exposure said, officers forbade them to discuss what had occurred. The Pentagon now says hundreds of other veterans reported on health-screening forms that they believed they too had been exposed during the war.

This can’t be, the media has been telling us for years that Bush lied about all this stuff.

The most interesting piece of news in the story?  This:

Neither the C.I.A. nor the soldiers persuaded the man to reveal his source of supply, the officials said. “They were pushing to see where did it originate from, was there a mother lode?” General Zahner said.

The implications here are nasty.  After all if there is one guy selling Iraqi chemical weapons there have to be a dozen more.  Furthermore as anyone who has seen how gun buyback programs work how likely is it that the least valuable and marketable weapons are the one being sold to the a buyer who will take anything they can get?

Closing thought:   Remember this one:

Meanwhile, the second battle of Fallujah was raging in Anbar province. In the southeastern corner of the city, American forces came across a “house with a chemical lab … substances found are similar to ones (in lesser quantities located a previous chemical lab.” The following day, there’s a call in another part of the city for explosive experts to dispose of a “chemical cache.”

Nearly three years later, American troops were still finding WMD in the region. An armored Buffalo vehicle unearthed a cache of artillery shells “that was covered by sacks and leaves under an Iraqi Community Watch checkpoint. “The 155mm rounds are filled with an unknown liquid, and several of which are leaking a black tar-like substance.” Initial tests were inconclusive. But later, “the rounds tested positive for mustard.”

That from the Wikileaks revelation of 2010.  As I said at the time:

This kind of stuff has been reported and ignored for years, now that it is being reported by the darlings of the left as Wikileaks, I wonder what will be said?

In fact nothing was said. Rick Moran nailed it at the time:

Don’t expect any apologies from the rest of the world or even any acknowledgment that they were wrong. The narrative is set and nothing will change it.

And if you think this NYT piece will change the narrative, you’re smoking something.


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I can’t do better than the Anchoress…

…in terms of the right reaction to the Martyrdom of Egyptian Copts by ISIS:

Let us remember the names of 21 new martyrs; let us speak their names in remembrance.
As they now stand amid the white-robed multitudes, and behold the Throne of the Almighty One, let us speak their names in prayer. As they shimmer within the great cloud of witnesses, let us — in the Communion of Saints — ask their intercession before the Lamb.

Read her whole piece which starts with this from the Book of Revelation:

I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:4

And as you do remember what Christ told his disciples at the last supper

the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.  They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.

John 16:2b-3

The threat of martyrdom has been part of the job description of christianity since its founding.  That’s just the way it is.

Update:  Pope Francis:

“The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a witness that cries out to be heard,” the Pope said.

“It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants,” the Pope continued. “They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ.”


Common Core and PARCC Claim Another Teacher

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Common Core has claimed another casualty, driving yet another fine teacher into a different profession.  Stacie Starr (be careful if you Google that name) is a sixteen year veteran and is an “Intervention Specialist” in Elyria, Ohio.  She deals primarily with special education students but also with any student struggling in a subject.  Starr won the Live With Kelly and Michael Top Teacher Contest for 2014, earning a new scoreboard for her school, an 8-day trip to the Bahamas, and a 2014 Ford Escape for her efforts.  In her profile video for the contest, her love of teaching and her students is evident.

But when Starr accepted her grand prize last week, she announced her intention to leave teaching at the end of this year because of excessive standardized testing related to Common Core:

Starr became dismayed when she reviewed practice tests for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, with her ninth grade students.

“Try them yourself,” Starr said.

The reading portion of the test is a speech by Robert Oppenheimer on atomic bombs. Starr says the difficulty of reading is ranked at the college level.

“I’m a special ed teacher,” Starr said. “A lot of my students read at the fifth grade level. They’re expected to read at the ninth grade level, when it’s clearly college level. I don’t know how they can be expected to pass this.

Part of her concern is that the rules are still changing even as testing is set to begin.  It comes down to what many of us have been saying all along: the standards might be acceptable but the implementation has been a total failure.

Yet with a stellar 16-year career under her belt, Starr said the new testing culture is killing education.

“I can’t do it anymore, not in this ‘drill ‘em and kill ‘em’ atmosphere,” she said. “I don’t think anyone understands that in this environment if your child cannot quickly grasp material, study like a robot and pass all of these tests, they will not survive.”

The standing-room-only audience at the Elyria Public Library’s West River Road North branch was shocked. Starr fought back tears as she explained her life as a teacher.

The tests are developmentally inappropriate for typical students and torture for those with special needs, she said. And, even an individual education plan is not enough to shield students from the rigors of state expectations.

“I have faith in my students, but my students are reading at sometimes a fourth- and fifth-grade reading level,” she said. “Each and every day, I have to look in my students’ eyes and tell them I can’t help them because the state has decided they have to prove what they know.”

Starr isn’t the first teacher to leave the classroom because of Common Core; here are five more and certainly there are more.

In many states parents are opting their kids out of testing but in Louisiana at least, that move comes with punitive damage for the school.  For every child that opts out of testing, the school receives a grade of zero which in turn lowers the school performance score.  This has prompted at least fourteen school districts in our state to request a waiver from the punitive measure.  The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will discuss whether these waivers will be granted or not in March (four members of this panel requested a special meeting to settle this, but the president declined, saying there is “no need.”) The BESE board will take this matter up just one week before PARCC testing begins.

Clearly we are still making up the rules as we go, which is one reason teachers like Stacie Starr are frustrated.  All across the country teachers, parents, and politicians are clamoring for local school boards to regain control of testing.  Everyone recognizes the need for standards and accountability but not at the expense of our children who are increasingly frustrated and demoralized over the Common Core gobbled-gook.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Well Europe? After Copenhagen What’s it gonna be?

The Brutal attack on a free speech event and the follow up attack on a Synagogue is yet another example of the price of the status quo in Europe.

Here in America it pushed the murder of the three muslim students off the map as it’s  kinda hard to push the whole:  Islam under threat motif when free speech events are attacked and Christians are being beheaded en masse on video.

It’s also raising the profile of the Israeli PM just before his trip to the US as he tells Europe’s Jews to come on down:

Extremist Islamic terrorism has struck Europe again… Jews have been murdered again on European soil only because they were Jews,” Netanyahu said in the statement.

The Israeli prime minister said his government was to adopt a $45 million (39.5 million euro) plan “to encourage the absorption of immigrants from France, Belgium and Ukraine”.

“To the Jews of Europe and to the Jews of the world I say that Israel is waiting for you with open arms,” Netanyahu said.

Europe will of course do all it can to prevent this, after all who will Islamists in Europe target if the Jews are all gone?

The increased profile of Netanyahu will likely increase the cost of skipping his speech to congress but the real question is what will Denmark do?  Will they like Sweden pretend they don’t have a problem.  Will they like Germany give lip service to free speech while doing things like this:

Last month, Germany’s biggest carnival procession, in the western city of Cologne, banned a float paying tribute to the slain cartoonists of French magazine Charlie Hebdo due to security fears.

The float design, selected in an online popular vote, featured a man dressed in black with an explosives belt and a drawn gun and a jester shoving a pencil down its barrel.

The carnival committee said that it backed the message of the float defending free speech and freedom of the press.

Europe what’s it gonna be?