Saturday, May 31, 2014

Alabama abortionist jailed 23 weekends since November, subject of 14 court cases, the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives (AWCRA), has been cited for serious health code violations at least seven times between 2001 and 2013.

May 30, 2014 (Operation Rescue) - As a Federal Court hears arguments challenging an Alabama abortion law one abortionist from that state highlights the need for hospital privileges and state oversight.
Abortionist Raymond Lopez, from Huntsville, Alabama, checked in to the Madison County Jail for 23 consecutive weekends between November 2013, and April 2014, serving time on a “domestic relations” case.
In Alabama, “domestic relations” violations can range from non-payment of alimony to violation of a protection order.
Since 1996, Lopez has been the subject of 14 court cases, including two criminal cases filed in 1998 and 2008.
The abortion clinic where Lopez works, the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives (AWCRA), has been cited for serious health code violations at least seven times between 2001 and 2013, with multiple violations for each deficiency report filed.
Most recently, a survey of AWCRA was conducted on January 8-9, 2013, where inspectors found unsanitary conditions, expired drugs, and an uncalibrated ultrasound machine. AWCRA failed to clean medical equipment – including procedure tables – between patients. One abortionist failed to provide women with an opportunity to view an ultrasound of their babies prior to an abortion, as required by law.
Other violations dating back years included:
• Staff giving injections without wearing gloves.
• More expired drugs.
• Failure to properly prepare IV medications in accordance with medical standards. (Multiple occurrences.)
• Improper labeling and storage of pre-drawn drug syringes. (Multiple occurrences.)
• Administration of controlled substances without specific doctor’s orders.
• Failure to implement a required Quality Improvement Program.
• No documentation that three abortionists had the required training and experience to conduct abortions.
• Failure to properly monitor women in recovery.
• Failure to document fetal age or possibility of viability prior to abortions.
• Women calling back with complications (such as heavy bleeding) did not have access to professional staff members.
• Lack of a required infection control committee.
• Missing drugs
• Failure to log complications, such as possible perforations, heavy bleeding, or hospitalizations that resulted from an abortion procedure.
• A botched 28-week abortion — misdiagnosed as 20 weeks — that required emergency hospitalization.
The new Alabama clinic licensing law, H.B. 57, also known as the Women’s Health and Safety Bill, is being challenged by Planned Parenthood Southeast, which operates abortion facilities in Montgomery and Mobile, and Reproductive Health Services in Mobile.
No stranger to controversy, Planned Parenthood Southeast recently closed its Birmingham abortion clinic after one of its abortionists, Yashica Robinson-White, was charged with Medcaid billing fraud and another employee was caught illegally selling drugs in the facility’s parking lot.
The new law requires that abortionists maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of the abortion clinic where they work. The abortion businesses are fighting the law by arguing that abortion facilities are safe, meet high standards, and rarely have abortion complications.
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However, the inspection records from Lopez’ abortion clinic say otherwise. In addition to routine substandard practices, the records indicate that there appears to be a routine failure to log complications and incidents where women require emergency hospitalization.
“One simply cannot take the abortionist’s word for the number of abortion complications at any particular abortion facility since they are notoriously poor at keeping records of such incidents,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.
Surprisingly, Lopez actually is one of the few Alabama abortionists that maintains hospital privileges. His affiliation is with Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville.
However, it is doubtful that the hospital that granted Lopez privileges was even aware of his criminal record, series of incarcerations, or the abysmal safety history of the abortion clinic where he works.
Operation Rescue staff has recently apprised Crestwood Medical Center of Lopez’ record and requested that his privileges be terminated. If Lopez loses his hospital privileges, as he should, this will validate the benefits of the new law.
Certainly hospital privileges have not prevented Lopez from being arrested and jailed on multiple occasions, nor has it kept the abortion clinic where he is employed from committing years of violations of patient care and safety standards.
Thankfully, Lopez’ hospital privileges may not be enough to keep AWCRA open because it cannot meet the facility requirements that are also found in Alabama’s new abortion law. Currently, AWCRA is seeking to relocate to a new building that it hopes will comply with the new safety standards. Disturbingly, one building that is under consideration is located adjacent to a Middle School. Local activists are protesting the move in order to protect young students.
But even a new building will not solve AWCRA’s penchant for shoddy medical practices that have racked up years of health code and patient care violations. It is sure to take those with it.
“The hospital privilege requirement is a very necessary regulation that can weed out abortionists that cannot qualify for hospital privileges or that do not live locally and cannot provide a continuity of care for abortion patients that require emergency hospitalization,” said Newman. “Lopez is a case in point for why abortion clinics require greater oversight and accountability. The hospital privilege requirement simply adds another layer of protection of women from substandard abortion practices which are prevalent in Alabama abortion clinics today.”

Analysis: Life-saving hospital privilege requirements for abortionists sweep through states Oklahoma and Louisiana become the 16th and 17th states to enact rules that mandate hospital privileges and/or hospital transfer agreements for abortionists or abortion facilities.

Hosp-priv 052014-web
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, May 30, 2014 (Operation Rescue) — On Thursday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed pro-life legislation supported by Operation Rescue that will require abortionists to maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of their abortion clinics and will direct the Oklahoma Board of Health to establish emergency safety standards for abortion clinics.
Similar legislation has passed through the Louisiana legislature and currently awaits the expected signature of Governor Bobby Jindal. The legislation is expected to close three out of four abortion clinics in that state.
Oklahoma and Louisiana become the 16th and 17th states to enact rules that mandate hospital privileges and/or hospital transfer agreements for abortionists or abortion clinics.
“Operation Rescue has worked with groups like Americans United for Life and others to get this legislation into the statehouses. With the success of the law in Texas, where at least 17 abortion clinics have already closed, we are seeing the hospital privilege requirement spread like wildfire,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue.
Right now, federal courts in Alabama and Wisconsin are hearing arguments in suits filed by abortion facilities challenging the constitutionality of the laws. These suits are unlikely to prevail since a three-member panel of the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling last year affirming the Constitutionality of the Texas hospital privilege requirements.
In Wisconsin, U.S. District Judge William Conley heard testimony from abortionist Dennis Christensen of Affiliated Medical Services in Milwaukee, who indicated he had received no definitive answer to any of his request for hospital privileges. This “bewildered” Judge Conley, who ordered Christensen to follow up on his requests and “demand better answers.” Judge Conley indicated that he was reluctant to set aside the law and that follow-up might negate the reason for the trial.
Christensen is the same abortionist that once ran the notorious Northern Illinois Women’s Center in Rockford, Illinois, that was closed in January 2012, for serious health violations. Christensen was well known for his anti-Christian bias and would often mock the faith – in extremely vile terms – of Christians who witnessed outside his poorly-maintained Gosnell-like abortion facility.
“Shoddy abortionists like Christensen are the ones that these laws are meant to weed out. No hospital administration in its right mind would extend hospital privileges to this man, who operated what can only be described as a dangerous, filthy chop-shop for years,” Newman said.
In Alabama, abortionists are resorting to the argument that because abortionists have sometimes been the subject of violence in the past, that state’s hospital privilege law should not be implemented.
Earlier this week, Operation Rescue exposed Huntsville abortionist Raymond Lopez’s criminal history, his incarceration for six months of weekend on domestic issues, and his abortion clinic’s dismal history of serious health code violations.
In addition, Operation Rescue worked with CEC for Life and Life Legal Defense Foundation to expose patient injuries and other massive abortion abuses at Birmingham’sNew Women All Women abortion facility, then worked through the Alabama Department of Public Health and the courts to permanently shutter that abortion facility after the groups documented the fact that owner Diane Derzis and her abortionist, Bruce Elliot Norman, were operating illegally.
In Mississippi, Derzis and Norman have challenged hospital privilege requirements that threaten to shut down their Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the last abortion clinic in that state. All of Derzis’ abortionists reside out of state and have been denied privileges due to the extra liabilities that fly-in abortionists pose for hospitals. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is currently considering the case and a decision is expected soon.
Newman helped outline the strategy to use the hospital privilege requirement with local activists in Mississippi. Operation Rescue has also forwarded information about Derzis and Norman’s checkered histories as well as documentation of additional abuses to the authorities in that state.
In Ohio, a law that requires abortionists to maintain hospital transfer agreements has already shuttered six abortion clinics. Martin Haskell’s late-term abortion clinic in Sharonville has been ordered to close by the Ohio Department of Health, but continues to operate while the order is on appeal.
The Attorney General’s office filed an opinion on Wednesday that recommends the closure of Capital Care Network, the last remaining abortion clinic in Toledo. The abortion business tried to claim that hospital privileges held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 50 miles away and across state lines, qualified as “local.” A hearing officer will issue his opinion in June then the ODH Interim Director, Lance Himes will make a final decision on the abortion clinic’s closure sometime later. He is expected to order that clinic closed as well.
The death of Lakisha Wilson at Preterm, a Cleveland abortion clinic that preys on poor urban women of color, has placed its clinic license in jeopardy as well. An Ohio Department of Health investigation into that abortion tragedy is ongoing.
Meanwhile, in Texas, the hospital privilege requirement has closed at least 17 abortion clinics, with additional closures expected once the other provisions of the landmark HB2 law goes into effect later this year. Only six abortion clinics are expected to comply with the law. That means that nearly two dozen abortion facilities were once operating under dangerously substandard conditions prior to the passage of this necessary law.
“Abortion has devalued not only the lives of the pre-born, but also has devalued the lives of women. It is appalling that in this day and age, the abortion cartel expects women just to sit down, shut up, and simply tolerate being treated as second-class citizens in third-world-style abortion mills,” Newman said.
A clinic licensing law that would also require that abortionists maintain local hospital privileges passed in 2011, but has been lying dormant in a Shawnee County court since August 2012. Operation Rescue has initiated a petition to pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback that would ask him to order the State Attorney General’s office to immediately take action to defend the law that would close three out of four abortion clinics in that state. (Sign the Petition to Gov. Brownback)
“The fact that so many abortion clinics are shutting down once they are held accountable to minimum safety standards really emphasizes the shoddy state of the abortion cartel, which for decades was allowed to deteriorate without any accountability whatsoever,” said Newman. “Now that states are finally trying to clean up the mess, the abortion businesses are crying ‘foul.’ They have gotten away with exploiting women and cutting corners on their health for far too long. When abortion clinics close, abortion rates drop and lives of babies and their mothers are saved.”
Reprinted with permission from Operation Rescue.

Common Core Math is Bull Shit! in Fact Commie Core, is Bull Shit

Commie Core

Math in schools is bullshit. 

"Okay kids heres what we're going to do today. Open your books to page 200." 

"But its the first day" 


"We don't know how to do this" 

"We're going to learn" 

"We don't even know what we're looking at this is completely new" 


"Why do we have to learn this? It only has practical application in a few fields of study" 

"Shut up and do your work" 

"Seriously? You're supposed prepare us for life, not jerk us around like fish on a line" 


"For what?" 

"Being disruptive" 

Or alternatively it'd be outside the math class in "study hall" 

"Do your math work" 

"But I don't understand it. You're swamped and won't help me. Your assistant is too busy doing your job 

so Joe and I are both left to our own devices. SO I'm going to do my science homework." 

"But you're failing math" 

"Yeah I'm failing math." 

"... So do your work" 

"And get an F on it because I don't understand it? I've got a better idea, I'll sit here and do my SCIENCE homework, which I will start failing if its not done before 6th period. But since I know I can do it, I'm going to get it done now." 

"No, you're failing math, work on math" 

"You stupid cow. Would you stick a five year old behind the wheel of a semi-truck and say 'Drive'?" 
"Detention and no" 

"Then shut the hell up and let me be you miserable crone" 

And then in with the counselors 

"Your teachers say you aren't absorbing the material" 

"No fucking shit, neither is anyone else dumb ass. You hired retarded people to teach what is probably the most all around difficult class throughout school." 

"But you need math to survive in life" 

"NO FUCKING WAY!! I never would have guessed!" 

"... Sarcasm isn't going to help yo-" 

Shut the fuck up you god damned idiots. I have survived just fine knowing my current level of math. Would I like to be able to do the more advanced stuff and understand it? Yes, I'd love to. But I can't because I don't understand it by myself, and you refuse to teach it. No no no no, stay shut the fuck up. You don't teach math to anyone here. Hell barely anyone here teaches. What you do teach is bullshit. You've got at least two teachers actively recruiting for communist and socialist parties. One of them is a hardcore feminist that makes her male students feel like shit for things they've never even done. And both of them praise people who've gone on mass killing sprees. Your math teachers are fucking terrible. They don't even understand what they're teaching. They're constantly struggling to just keep ahead of us. 
This isn't my fault. I'm making a fucking herculean effort on my part, as are most of my classmates. If you're going to call yourselves teachers I fucking expect to be taught. Not have bullshit rammed down my throat like I'm a fucking goose bound for the slaughter. 

... I have a lot of issues with school. Mostly the math classes. The above is a fairly accurate representation of what I went through.

2+2=What? Parents rail against Common Core math

An Iowa woman jokingly calls it "Satan's handiwork." A California mom says she's broken down in tears. A Pennsylvania parent says it "makes my blood boil."

What could be so horrible? Grade-school math.

As schools around the U.S. implement national Common Core learning standards, parents trying to help their kids with math homework say that adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing has become as complicated as calculus.

They're stumped by unfamiliar terms like "rectangular array" and "area model." They wrestle with division that requires the use of squares, slashes and dots. They rage over impenetrable word problems.

Stacey Jacobson-Francis, 41, of Berkeley, California, said her daughter's homework requires her to know four different ways to add.

"That is way too much to ask of a first grader," she said. "She can't remember them all, and I don't know them all, so we just do the best that we can."

Simple arithmetic isn't so simple anymore, leading to plenty of angst at home. Even celebrities aren't immune: The comedian Louis C.K. took to Twitter recently to vent about his kids' convoluted homework, writing that his daughters went from loving math to crying about it.

Adopted by 44 states, the Common Core is a set of English and math standards that spell out what students should know and when. The standards for elementary math emphasize that kids should not only be able to solve arithmetic problems using the tried-and-true methods their parents learned, but understand how numbers relate to each other.

"Part of what we are trying to teach children is to become problem solvers and thinkers," said Diane Briars, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. "We want students to understand what they're doing, not just get the right answer."

That's a radically different approach than many parents are accustomed to.

Jennie Barnds, 40, of Davenport, Iowa, was puzzled by her fourth-grade daughter's long division homework, a foreign amalgam of boxes, slashes and dots with nary a quotient or dividend in sight.

"If we are sitting there for 20 minutes trying to do a simple problem, how is an 8, 9, 10-year-old supposed to figure it out?" she said. "It's incredibly frustrating for the student and the parent."

Whether Common Core itself is responsible for the homework headaches is a contentious issue.

Some experts say Common Core promotes reform math, a teaching method that gained currency in the 1990s. Derided as "fuzzy" math by critics, reform math says kids should explore and understand concepts like place value before they become fluent in the standard way of doing arithmetic. Critics say it fails to stress basic computational skills, leaving students unprepared for higher math.

Stanford University mathematician James Milgram calls the reform math-inspired standards a "complete mess" — too advanced for younger students, not nearly rigorous enough in the upper grades. And teachers, he contends, are largely ill-prepared to put the standards into practice.

"You are asking teachers to teach something that is incredibly complicated to kids who aren't ready for it," said Milgram, who voted against the standards as part of the committee that reviewed them. "If you don't think craziness will result, then you're being fundamentally naive."

Common Core supporters insist the standards are developmentally appropriate and driven by research.

"For years there has been a raging debate in mathematics education about which is more important, procedural fluency or conceptual understanding. The obvious answer is 'both' and the standards give that answer," said University of Arizona mathematician Bill McCallum, who co-wrote the math standards.

Common Core advocates acknowledge parents are frustrated, but blame the problems on botched implementation, insufficient training or poorly written math programs that predate Common Core.

They say schools also need to communicate better.

"The homework can appear ridiculous when it is taken out of context — that's where the biggest problem lies," said Steve O'Connor, a fifth-grade math teacher in Wells, New York. "Parents don't have the context, nor have they been given the means to see the context."

O'Connor has set up a website in an effort to reduce parents' frustration over homework. Other school districts have held workshops for parents to learn alongside their children.

But many parents say they've been on their own, complaining that districts have foisted new math curricula with little explanation.

In Pennsylvania, which signed on to the national Common Core in 2010 but developed its own version, Allison Lienhard said homework sessions with her 10-year-old have ended in tears.

"She gets frustrated because I can't do it the way they are supposed to do it," Lienhard said. "To me, math is numbers, it's concrete, it's black-and-white. I don't understand why you need to bring this conceptual thing into math — at least not at this age."

Friday, May 30, 2014

Some Thing Smell Petty Bad Here, WTF, Just Happen?, Carney To Step Down As White House Press Secretary

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is stepping down. 
President Obama made the announcement at Friday's daily press briefing. He said he has chosen spokesman Josh Earnest to replace him. 
"Jay has become one of my closest friends, and is a great press secretary," Obama said

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The 6 Lamest Excuses For Failure From The Obama Administration

"I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." -- Wimpy from Popeye
 "I won't pull the football away this time, Charlie Brown!" -- Lucy, Charlie Brown

Those are long running laugh lines in the comics and readers are supposed to roll their eyes as they hear those words. Maybe Americans just aren't as smart as they used to be because the Obama Administration continually offers up excuses that are just as lame while even professional journalists take it seriously. Granted, politicians lying and making excuses is as old as mankind, but Obama's every bit as artless about it as Lucy and Wimpy and yet so many people don't seem to be able to figure it out. Sure, Bill Clinton is a hopeless liar, but at least he is slick about it. Obama's about as artful as Kim Jong-un when it comes to deception, which makes it doubly irritating. Not only is he giving a hopelessly dishonest excuse, but he's insulting your intelligence by expecting you to believe something so stupid at the same time.
1) Obama claims he was completely unaware that was going to fail: Barack Obama's signature issue was the Affordable Care Act. It was the hottest political issue in America. It was constantly in the news. Barack Obama viciously fought off Republican attempts to keep the law from starting up and yet, the website is the biggest disaster since the Titanic. So, how did the Obama Administration explain the disastrous failure of the Obamacare rollout?
 In an exclusive interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked when the President first learned about the considerable issues with the Obamacare website. Sebelius responded that it was in “the first couple of days” after the site went live October 1.
“But not before that?” Gupta followed up.
To which Sebelius replied, “No, sir.”
2) The economy is bad because it got cold during the winter: The economy was bad when Barack Obama took office and it has stayed bad for 5 1/2 years because of his policies. Rather than admit that the stimulus, the bailouts, cash for clunkers, the Affordable Care Act, and the rest of Obama's agenda have been choking the economy, the administration has been reduced to blaming cold weather for its failure.
 The White House announced today that real GDP grew at a meager 0.1% annual rate in the first quarter:
"Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.1 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter of 2014, following the 3.4 percent annual pace in the second half of 2013." Severe winter weather is one reason for the slower growth, the White House says:
"Today's GDP estimate is subject to a number of notable influences, including historically severe winter weather, which temporarily lowered growth in the first quarter."
3) Barack Obama wouldn't wear a flag pin because it is a substitute for patriotism: Like many liberals, Barack Obama doesn't like America very much and overt displays of patriotism repel him. Because Obama was foolish enough to want to tell the world that he wouldn't wear a flag pin, but couldn't admit the truth because it disgusts the average American, the most unpatriotic President in history said this.
 “You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a (flag) pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest…” — Barack Obama
Of course, no one bought that and since then, Obama has gone back to wearing a flag pin.
4) Obama wasn’t responsible for the IRS targeting the Tea Party because he heard about it on the news: Barack Obama apparently knows less about what’s going on in his administration than Colonel Wilhelm Klink knew about what was going on in his prison camp in Hogan’s Heroes. If Barack Obama consistently claims he doesn’t know more about what’s going on in his administration than the general public then he’s a liar, an idiot or both.
 During a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday, President Obama was asked about the IRS scandal. He responded, ”I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this. I think it was on Friday.”
5) Obama blamed ATM machines and airport kiosks for his inability to create jobs: Barack Obama's far left-wing economic policies have created a semi-permanent, Jimmy-Carter-style malaise that appears to be on track to last throughout his entire presidency. Of course, Obama isn't going to admit that his policies are putting millions of Americans out of work; so he blamed ATM machines and other technical advances, as if that hasn't been going on since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.
 “There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.”
6) Obama's excuse for Benghazi is that it happened a long time ago:Our embassy in Libya was woefully under-protected despite the fact that Ambassador Chris Stevens had requested more security on multiple occasions and had been turned down. After Al-Qaeda attacked the embassy, no rescue attempt was made. Afterwards, during a presidential election year when Obama was under pressure to show that Al-Qaeda was behind the attack, members of the administration including the President deliberately misled Americans to make them think that a video was responsible for the attack when they knew from day one that terrorists were responsible. Since then, the Obama Administration has delayed and stonewalled the congressional investigation at every opportunity andits excuse for the scandal is...
 “Dude, this was, like, two years ago.” Thus spake former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor on Thursday after Fox News Channel anchorman Bret Baier asked him whether he had been involved in changing talking points to prepare then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice for Sunday talk shows in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi, Libya, attacks that left four Americans dead.

Lord Obama

If we were living in normal times, the following scandals and failures — without going into foreign policy — would have ruined a presidency to the point of reducing it to Nixon, Bush, or Truman poll ratings.
Think of the following: the Fast and Furious scandal, the VA mess, the tapping of the communications of the Associated Press reporters, the NSA monitoring, Benghazi in all of its manifestations, the serial lies about Obamacare, the failed stimuli, the chronic zero interest/print money policies, the serial high unemployment, the borrowing of $7 trillion to no stimulatory effect, the spiraling national debt, the customary violations of the Hatch Act by Obama cabinet officials, the alter ego/fake identity of EPA head Lisa Jackson, the sudden departure of Hilda Solis after receiving union freebies, the mendacity of Kathleen Sebelius, the strange atmospherics surrounding the Petraeus resignation, the customary presidential neglect of enforcing the laws from immigration statutes to his own health care rules, the presidential divisiveness (“punish our enemies,” “you didn’t build that,” Trayvon as the son that Obama never had, etc.), and on and on.

So why is there not much public reaction or media investigatory outrage?

n one sense there is: an iconic, landmark president was ushered into office with a supermajority in the Senate and a solidly Democratic House, at a time the public felt angry over the Iraq war and the 2008 financial meltdown. Six years later, Obama’s poll ratings bottomed out at about 43%. He lost the House in 2010, and he probably will see the Senate gone in 2014. But that said, amid such failure Obama will never descend to 30% approval ratings, and that again bring to mind the question: why?
Obvious answers:
1) His record support among minorities will not change since 70-90% of various hyphenated groups see the Obama tenure as long-overdue representation of their own interests — economic, ethnic, and symbolic. It does no good to cite rising unemployment rates among African-Americans or a deterioration in household income among Latinos. The point is that Obama feels their pain, even if his policies helped cause it. In this view, expecting blacks, to take one example, to defect from Obama would be as if right-wing rural Texans would have abandoned Bush in 2006, or the Malibu set would have given up on Clinton during Monicagate. In short — unlikely.
2) The media is not just overwhelmingly hard left, but hard left with a chip on its shoulder that its own views are neither accepted by the majority nor usually implemented by government.
All the above scandals and embarrassments would have ruined a Bush, given that such mishaps would have been headlined daily  in the New York Times (e.g., “VA, Benghazi, AP, NSA, IRS overwhelm sinking Bush administration”) orWashington Post (“Bush Cabinet Paralyzed by Scandal”).
For the media, Obama is not Jimmy Carter or even Bill Clinton whom they overwhelmingly supported. He is quite different — the first gold-plated liberal president since FDR, and probably the last for a while, intent on fundamentally transforming the United States, by redistributing income and accumulated wealth, and recalibrating the American profile abroad.
The media believes that both are socially just and long overdue. Why then nitpick a president on details, when his intentions are noble? Extraordinary ends sometimes require tawdry means. Note here: when Obama leaves office, and should he be replaced by a Republican president, then we will see a press playing catch-up, intent on restoring its shattered image by exposing cabinet members who violate the Hatch Act and the insidious revolving door between Wall Street/ banking and White House billets. But for now, the media is invested in seeing Obama as a once-in-a-lifetime emissary of its own politics.
3) The well-off are indifferent to the Obama record, interested only in its symbolic resonance. Doctrinaire liberalism resonates mostly with the very wealthy. We see that by the voting patterns of our bluest counties, or the contributions of the very affluent. In contrast, Republicanism is mostly embedded within the middle class and upper middle class, while liberalism is a coalition of the affluent and the poor.
The result is that the Kerrys, Gores, and Pelosis are dittoed by millions of the affluent in Malibu, Silicon Valley, the Upper West Side, the university towns, Chicago, academia, the arts, highest finance, corporate America, foundations, the media, etc. Their income and accumulated wealth exempt them from worries about economic slowdowns, too much regulation, higher taxes, or the price of gas, electricity, or food. That under Obama gasoline has gone from $1.80 a gallon to $4.10 is as irrelevant as it is relevant that he has so far not built the Keystone Pipeline. That the price of meat has skyrocketed or that power bills are way up means little if global warming is at last addressed by more government.
For the liberal grandee, there is a margin of safety to ensure that the California legislature takes up questions like prohibiting the sale of Confederate insignia or ensuring restrooms for the transgendered or shutting down irrigated acreage to please the delta smelt. In their view, Obama represents their utopian dreams where an anointed technocracy, exempt from the messy ramifications of its own ideology, directs from on high a socially just society — diverse, green, non-judgmental, neutral abroad, tribal at home — in which an equality of result is ensured, albeit with proper exemptions for the better educated and more sophisticated, whose perks are necessary to give them proper downtime for their exhausting work on our behalf.
But one objects that these one-percenters — the Steyer brothers, the Sean Penns, the George Soroses, the Paul Krugmans, the Al Gores, etc. — are very few. Yes, but these few million are enormously influential, given that their money and ideologies are manifested not just in nice homes, vacations, and perks, but in public venues, movies, universities, newspaper editorials, NPR, PBS, the major networks, foundations, PACs, political donations, etc.
I leave you with one final paradox. Is one reason that Obama resonates so well with the very wealthy his assurance to them that the muscular successful classes will not be following them into the elite?
Whom does the liberal elite detest? Not the very poor. Not the middle class. Not the conservative wealthy of like class. Mostly it is the Sarah-Palin-type grasping want-to-be’s (thus the vicious David Letterman jokes or Katie Couric animus or Bill Maher venom).
Those of the entrepreneurial class who own small businesses (‘you didn’t build that’), who send their kids to San Diego State rather than Stanford, who waste their ill-gotten gains on jet skis rather than skis and on Winnebagos rather than mountain climbing equipment, who employ 10 rather than 10,000, and who vacation at Pismo Beach rather than Carmel. The cool of Obama says to the very wealthy, “I’m one of you. See you again next summer on the Vineyard.”
Obama signals to the elite that he too is bothered by those non-arugula-eating greedy losers who are xenophobic and angry that the world left them behind, who are without tastes and culture, who are materialistic to the core, and who are greedy in their emphases on the individual — the tea-baggers, the clingers, the Cliven Bundy Neanderthals, the Palins in their Alaska haunts, and the Duck Dynasty freaks. These are not the sort of successful people that we want to the world to associate with America, not when we have suitably green, suitably diverse zillionaires who know where to eat in Paris.
Finally, Obama has “cool.” Or what his wife calls “swag.” The very wealthy are with him also because he instructs them how to indulge, to ignore the problems of others, to be narcissistic and self-absorbed with a veneer of hipster cool. Golf, shoot hoops, wear shades, hang with Jay-Z and Beyonce, talk about your rap menu on your iPhone, fluctuate your cadences, do you Final Four predictions — all that means you can be cool and very rich and very self-absorbed while fooling hoi polloi and feeling great about your privilege at the same time. If you are a jean- and T-shirt wearing Silicon magnifico, Obama is your guy. The palatial estate, the imported cars, the indulgent hobbies — they are not really one-percenter excesses (try water skiing for that), but the swag that assures others that outsourcing, offshoring, tax-avoiding, lobbying, and insider cronyism are just part of the hip deal.
Before we reach November of 2016, we will see unimaginable things under this administration, but one of them will not be a defection of his constituencies.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Study Finds Poetry Slighted in Common Core English Standards

Significant overall reduction in time spent on classic literary texts will make it difficult to give poetry the prominence it deserves

BOSTON – April is National Poetry Month, but poetry is not well addressed in Common Core’s English language arts standards. It’s unclear whether the genre will survive a Common Core-based English classroom given the dramatic reduction in time spent on literary texts implicitly mandated by these national standards, and the ambivalence, if not hostility, of the standards writers towards literature, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.
In “The Dying of the Light: How Common Core Damages Poetry Instruction,” co-authored by Anthony Esolen, Jamie Highfill, and Sandra Stotsky, Esolen, a poet and professor of literature at Providence College, concludes, “The Common Core proponents do not like poetry.”
Professor Esolen, who between 2002 and 2005 translated the three volumes of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy for the Modern Library, describes why poetry is at the heart of an education that seeks to transform a child into a fully realized human being. Highfill, an award-winning English teacher, then describes the three-part process by which poetry has traditionally been taught in American schools.
The first step is working out the meaning of poems, simultaneously fostering students’ own thinking about meaning. The second is developing poetry-reading skills by helping students analyze literary features like tone, structure, themes, rhythm and rhyme and style. The final step is for students to write about poetry and write their own poems.
“A school’s poetry curriculum is not designed to teach skills that will help students get jobs,” Highfill says. “It is to ‘make minds, not careers.’ When a mind is strengthened, so is the ability to secure employment.”
The report also provides a case study of the texts and themes recommended by a Common Core consultant for a Common Core-based literature unit in the school system she taught in until this past year.
University of Arkansas Professor emerita Sandra Stotsky traces the history of the poetry curriculum in this country’s public schools. She notes the paucity of poetry included in Common Core and the incoherent list of poems in an appendix that gives teachers little guidance about the poems’ relative complexity or quality. “It’s unclear whether the real audience for the appendix is English teachers or the editorial board of The New York Times,” she says.
The shrinking role of poetry in public schools is particularly troubling in Massachusetts, a state whose poets form such a large part of our national literary heritage.
Not only was Massachusetts the home of Emily Dickinson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the Bay State has produced at least five United States Poets Laureate. At least another five Massachusetts poets have won Pulitzer Prizes, and two more have won Nobel Prizes.
In addition to his work on Dante, Professor Esolen is the editor and translator of two other didactic and epic poems for Modern Library: Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things and Tasso’sJerusalem Delivered.
Jamie Highfill was chosen 2011 Middle School English Teacher of the Year by the Arkansas Council of Teachers of English Arts and taught grade 8 English in Fayetteville, Arkansas for 11 years.
From 1991-97, Sandra Stotsky was the editor of Research in the Teaching of English, published by the National Council of Teachers of English. She was also in charge of developing and revising Massachusetts’ 2001 English Language Arts Curriculum Framework.
Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.