Saturday, March 28, 2015

Flying eye: Russia deploys new aerial radar A-50U - aircraft airborne early warning and control.

A-50U - aircraft airborne early warning and control.

Can be used to detect and track airborne targets and surface ships, warning command posts kinds of automated control systems of the Armed Forces of the air and surface conditions, used to control aircraft fighter and strike aircraft when they hover on air, land and sea targets, as well as serve as an air command post.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

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Kathryn Porter Common Core Impacts More Than Public Schools (Video)

Catholic School Parents in Diocese of St. Augustine Can Weigh In on Common Core

From Florida Catholics Against the Common Core about the Common Core Task Force formed in the Diocese of St. Augustine.
Bishop Felipe Estévez has tasked a committee to study the Common Core State Standards and develop a position statement for the diocese concerning this issue. The committee would like to hear your comments and your ideas on this topic. You may find the standards at This will be a true listening session and not a discussion or presentation. Due to time constraints and so that everyone has a chance to be heard, comments will be limited to three minutes. You are invited to attend any one of five listening sessions to be held at the following locations:
Monday, March 16 – 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church-Haut Hall, Orange Park
Monday, March 23 – 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Assumption Catholic Church-Kohls Hall, Jacksonville
Monday, April 20 – 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
St. Joseph Catholic Church – upstairs in the Cody Enrichment Center, Jacksonville
Saturday, April 25 – 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
St. Paul Catholic Church-Family Life Center, Jacksonville Beach
Saturday, May 2 – 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.
St. Francis Catholic High School-Media Center
We look forward to hearing from you.

Please promote the listening sessions to your parishioners by including this announcement in your bulletin. For more details, email Deacon David Yazdiya, chair, at

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In LA, Gov Jindal is seeking an injunction to stop Common Core in LA. Obama should not force Common Core on our kids!

Will the Junk Science of the Next Generation Science Standards fix this problem?

From Todd C. Frankel at the Washington Post, via a contributor to Jerry Pournelle’s Chaos Manor.
U.S. millennials post ‘abysmal’ scores in tech skills test
“There was this test. And it was daunting… This exam, given in 23 countries, assessed the thinking abilities and workplace skills of adults. It focused on literacy, math and technological problem-solving. The goal was to figure out how prepared people are to work in a complex, modern society.”
“And U.S. millennials performed horribly.”
How horribly?
Horribly horrible.  But better than Poland. In one category.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) developed the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) as an international survey of 33 countries. It measured key cognitive and workplace skills seen as contributing to individual success and effective participation in modern societies. The first results from the Survey were released on 8th October 2013.

A recent review by ETS that

“Scores for U.S. millennials are below the OECD average across all three skill domains: literacy, numeracy and problem-solving… Across all three scales, the scores for U.S. millennials are disappointing.”

Here’s a summary ranking:

LITERACY –-U.S. millenials ranked 18th, beating out Ireland, the U.K., Spain, and Italy.
MATH –- U.S. millenials ranked dead last in 22nd place.

PS-TRE (problem solving in technology-rich environments) –- U.S. millenials ranked 18th, beating out Poland.

All good, though disturbing, reading. Please share, realizing you may have to read this to our younger citizens and explain the math and diagrams and charts; will probably be the best education many of them have had in a while.

How tough are the PIAAC questions? Try them for yourself.

Literacy No. 1              Literacy No. 2              Literacy No. 3
Math No. 1                          Math No. 2                          Math No. 3                         Math No. 4

Why do I pose the question about NGSS in the headline? I’ll answer that with more questions, such as:

Will teaching Kindergarteners in Life Science that
Us(ing) observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive. [Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include that animals need to take in food but plants do not; (K-LS-1)
make them more employable?  Will teaching high schoolers in Earth System Science that

“the far-reaching impacts human activity is how an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide results in an increase in photosynthetic biomass on land and an increase in ocean acidification, with resulting impacts on sea organism health and marine populations” (HS-ESS3-6)

improve scores and ultimately make them better citizens?


How can we ever reduce the junk science in our lives if junk science education flourishes?

Our nation is still at risk even after the warning in 1983 – “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform.

This education commission under President Reagan exposed the crisis in math and science education programs.  From report co-author (and discover-er of plutonium) Glenn Seaborg ( ):

“Our Nation is at risk… the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and as a people.”

“If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”

Thanks to Jerry Pournelle for making me aware of the quote and always being an inspiration.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Is Common Core Abusive? This Mom Thinks So.

I was the victim of abuse at the hands of my husband. For years he emotionally and verbally abused me. This may sound strange, but I was relieved the first time he beat me. I finally had something to show others. I finally had something that he couldn’t twist and manipulate; something tangible that he could no longer claim was my imagination. When I look at Common Core assignments, I see them as a physical manifestation of the abuse that is occurring, right now, across our country, directed squarely at our children. Allow me to explain.
For a decade I was told by my ‘loved one’ that I was stupid and crazy. I was told that the things that I knew in my heart were right, were really wrong. I was told that the things that I felt in my heart were wrong, were really right. If I said “I have an idea!” I was told, “Don’t think!” If I said “I feel like this is wrong”, I was told, “I make all the decisions, this is MY domain!” If I cried after being yelled at for 4 hours, and asked to be allowed to care for our small children, I was told I was crazy – you see my priorities were backwards; my allegiance should be to my husband first, not our children.
It’s been four years since I left him and to this day I cannot speak or think the words “I have an idea” without hearing him yell back “Don’t think!” You see, experiences build roads in our heads; frequently traveled paths are readily available for our minds to grab onto and go…like a parkway or a freeway. Try as I might, I can’t seem to shake this well-worn path. Now I look to the children that I ‘rescued’ and I look to these new Common Core standards and every bell in my head is ringing. I ignored these bells in the past and I vowed NEVER to ignore them again.
When you introduce mathematical concepts that are developmentally inappropriate, then test that child on these concepts and mark them as having failed, how is that not abusive? You are essentially giving them a task they cannot do and then telling them they are stupid. Now do that over and over and over again. Are these the rigorous results we are looking for? Or is this simply abusive?
Once the child fails the test they were meant to fail, tell them that they have to forgo music, chorus, recess, lunch and so on…so that they may receive additional instruction to ‘help’ them with the math they had trouble with. Now notice that they are fidgeting about and recommend that they get tested for ADD or ADHD…I have heard this scenario an uncountable number of times. Now we are telling the child that there is something wrong with them mentally. We are telling them that they are crazy. The adults who pulled them out of recess to improve upon skills they should not possess at their age are not crazy; it’s the child that has the issue.
These poor children are meant to make sense out of poorly worded instructions and answer questions in an overly convoluted and contrived manner. And then they are told what they did was wrong. Children naturally want to please; they want their parents and teachers to be proud of them. Let me tell you from experience, if your hand gets slapped every time you reach out, guess what you learn to do? You stop. You just stop trying. Do you want your children to turn inward? Do you want them to give up? That’s what they will have to do to protect themselves. They will retreat away from their parents and teachers. They will no longer feel safe to take that next step, to reach out, to venture out, and to grow.
This curriculum will cause our children’s minds, hearts and spirits to atrophy. I know you’ve seen signs of it. We have only just begun down this path; imagine what it will look like in 10 years. It took one final, massive beating for me to leave. By then, my brain had been hard wired to accept bad as good, good as bad and to believe that I was a small minded, crazy woman who didn’t deserve better. What will our children look like in ten years? Will they be thriving, existing or devolving? What are you willing to do to stop it?
Don’t blindly give your allegiance to someone or something just because they tell you it’s the right thing to do. Listen to your heart. Listen to your instincts, they are sound. It’s when we ignore these warnings that we get into trouble. Our children can’t fix this one, we have to. We have to fight for our children. We have to be a chorus of SCREAMING adults. We have to be UNRELENTING until this is reversed; the price is far too high to allow this to continue. Don’t allow our children to be abused.
~~Eshet Chayil
More links on Common Core and child abuse:
  • (includes video by psychologist Megan Koschnik)
Some of the links are from 2013.  The warnings have been sounded for quite some time.  When will they reach a crescendo that will crush Common Core?

If you like your internet, you can keep your internet. Trust Us" - FCC

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

He's a national disgrace.

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Obama will refuse because he tolerates no congressional interference. When he does the senate must subject the agreement to the ratification process because it has the Constitutional duty to do so.

Fear and anger are synergistic emotions. Combined, they can quickly overwhelm a person’s psyche, as President Obama’s is now. He so greatly fears what Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will say to congress tomorrow about his Iranian nuclear weapons deal that he has stopped at nothing to prevent and discredit it.
Obama’s has aimed every political weapon he has at Netanyahu.
His fear and anger are the reasons he sent Jeremy Bird, one of his top political consultants, to Israel to help defeat Netanyahu in the election that will be held two weeks after the speech.
Fear and anger are why he sent National Security Adviser Susan Rice out to say that Netanyahu’s speech is “destructive of the fabric” of America’s relationship with Israel. They are why Secretary of State Kerry said that Netanyahu’s judgment is defective on such matters, giving as proof the fact that the Israeli PM supported the 2003 Iraq invasion. (Kerry was careful to not mention that he voted for the Iraq invasion as a senator and reaffirmed the vote in his 2004 presidential campaign.)
Fear and anger are why Obama has tried to get congressional Democrats to boycott the speech. Some will, but most won’t. And it’s why Obama is sending Vice President Biden out of the country so he can’t attend and preside over the joint session of congress with Speaker Boehner. Obama’s fear is justified by the fact that we know enough, from intentional leaks by his team and other information we can gather easily, to judge that the nuclear weapons deal should never be made. For Netanyahu to deliver his speech directly to the American people, with the blessing of the majorities in congress, will be very damaging to Obama’s plan and, we must hope, be fatal to it.
First and foremost the agreement will not even mention, far less limit, Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program. Less than two weeks ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency – the UN’s usually purblind nuclear watchdog — reported that it was “concerned” that Iran has hidden its development of nuclear warheads capable of being delivered by ICBM.
Second, as we can deduce from the IAEA report and more than thirty years of Iranian conduct, Iran has consistently cheated, lied and deceived the West about its nuclear weapon and ICBM programs. Last week, the National Council of Resistance of Iran – which has previously been the source of much of the reliable intelligence we have on Iran’s nuclear weapons program – issued a report that disproves, redundantly, the ayatollahs’ claim that they are divulging the details of their nuclear programs.
The NCRI revealed the existence of the “Lavizan-3” nuclear site that they say is being used for uranium enrichment and research. The report says that Lavizan-3 is the site of enrichment by highly-advanced new centrifuges.
Iran is an enormous country. According to the CIA World Factbook, it covers some 640,000 square miles, about 95% of the size of Alaska. If Iran won’t disclose all of its nuclear facilities – and it won’t – and even if Obama’s agreement provides for unlimited, no-notice inspections anywhere in the country — a meaningless promise given Iran’s track record – Obama’s deal will give Iran license to produce nuclear weapons under a cloak of secrecy whenever it likes.
Third, the agreement will give Iran relief from international sanctions for ten or fifteen years in exchange for inspection protocols that don’t prevent it from concealing its nuclear weapons development sites. At the end of that period, Iran will be free to produce, deploy – and use – any nuclear weapon it has the technology to produce. It already has the technology and capability of producing nuclear weapons of various sizes and yields. What else will it gain in a decade?
In those ten or fifteen years, Iran – under the Obama/Kerry proposal – will keep most of its nuclear infrastructure and with it the ability to enrich uranium to a fissionable level. Ten or fifteen years is a very long time. How far can it take its ICBM development in that much time?

Only Netanyahu and some of his ministers and speech writers know for sure what he will say, but he’s probably going to say all of that and a lot more.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Obama Job Approval, 45.0 Approve 50.4 Disapprove

Polling Data

RCP Average2/12 - 3/1--45.050.4-5.4
Gallup2/27 - 3/11500 A4748-1
Rasmussen Reports2/27 - 3/11500 LV4949Tie
Reuters/Ipsos2/21 - 2/251599 A3955-16
The Economist/YouGov2/21 - 2/23694 RV4652-6
PPP (D)2/20 - 2/22691 RV4450-6
Pew Research2/18 - 2/221154 RV4452-8
CBS News2/13 - 2/171006 A4446-2
CNN/Opinion Research2/12 - 2/151027 A4751-4

Obama’s claim that Keystone XL oil ‘bypasses the U.S.’ earns Four Pinocchios

I’ve already said I’m happy to look at how we can increase pipeline production for U.S. oil, but Keystone is for Canadian oil to send that down to the Gulf. It bypasses the United States and is estimated to create a little over 250, maybe 300 permanent jobs. We should be focusing more broadly on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers, and that’s something that we very much support.”
– President Obama, interview with WDAY of Fargo, N.D., Feb. 26, 2015

President Obama, seeking to explain his veto of a bill that would have leapfrogged the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline, in an interview with a North Dakota station repeated some false claims that had previously earned him Pinocchios. Yet he managed to make his statement even more misleading than before, suggesting the pipeline would have no benefit for American producers at all.
The Fact Checker obviously takes no position on the pipeline, and has repeatedly skewered both sides for overinflated rhetoric. Yet the president’s latest comments especially stand out. Let’s review the facts again.

The Facts

As we have noted before, when the president says “it bypasses the United States,” he leaves out a very important step. The crude oil would travel to the Gulf Coast, where it would be refined into products such as motor gasoline and diesel fuel (known as a distillate fuel in the trade). Current trends suggest that only about half of that refined product would be exported, and it could easily be lower.

A report released in February by IHS Energy, which consults for energy companies, concluded that “Canadian crude making its way to the USGC [Gulf Coast] will likely be refined there, and most of the refined products are likely to be consumed in the United States.” It added that “for Gulf refineries, heavy bitumen blends from the oil sands are an attractive substitute for declining offshore heavy crude supply from Latin America.” It concluded that 70 percent of the refined product would be consumed in the United States.

Enviromentalists dismiss IHS as a biased source, but the analysis mirrors the conclusions of the State Department’s final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL project. This is what is especially strange about Obama’s remarks, as he appears to be purposely ignoring the findings of the lead Cabinet agency on the issue.
“Comments were received throughout the review process speculating that WCSB heavy crude oil supplies carried on the proposed Project would pass through the United States and be loaded onto vessels for ultimate sale in markets such as Asia,” the State Department said. “As crude of foreign origin, Canadian crude is eligible for crude export license as long as it is not commingled with domestic crude. However, such an option appears unlikely to be economically justified for any significant durable trade given transport costs and market conditions.”
The report added:
“Once WCSB [Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin] crude oil arrives at the Gulf Coast, Gulf Coast refiners have a significant competitive advantage in processing it compared to foreign refiners because the foreign refiners would have to incur additional transportation charges to have the crude oil delivered from the Gulf Coast to their location….Gulf Coast refineries have the potential to absorb volumes of WCSB crude that go well beyond those that would be delivered via the proposed Project. On this basis, the likelihood that WCSB crudes will be exported in volume from the Gulf Coast is considered low.”
Finally, note that Obama said Keystone was just for Canadian oil, and “we should be focusing on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers.” But actually, Keystone would help U.S. oil producers in North Dakota and Montana. TransCanada, the builder of the pipeline, has signed contracts to move 65,000 barrels a day from the Bakken area –and hopes to build that to 100,000. That’s nearly 10 percent of the region’s production.

The Congressional Research Service in 2013 estimated that about 12 percent of the pipeline’s capacity had been set aside for crude from the Bakken region. Of course, delays in the Keystone project have sent oil producers in search of other methods of transport, potentially making this link less relevant, but the president can’t argue the project was not proposed without U.S. producers in mind.

Moreover, as we have noted before, U.S. companies control about 30 percent of the production in Canada’s oil sands region. Thus, contrary to Obama’s suggestion, it is not strictly Canadian.

We have poked fun at TransCanada for suggesting the pipeline would reduce reliance on foreign energy — when in fact Canada is a foreign country — but that does not give Obama license to suggest there is no possible American benefit from the pipeline.
(Incidentally, while the president spoke of 250 to 300 permanent jobs, the State Department report actually says 35. But this is a construction project. How many construction projects result in very many permanent jobs?)

The White House declined to provide an on-the-record defense of the president’s statement. That certainly suggests officials are unwilling to make a public case contradicting the State Department findings.

The Pinocchio Test

When Obama first started making the claim that the crude oil in the Keystone pipeline would bypass the United States, we wavered between Three and Four Pinocchios — and strongly suggested he take the time to review the State Department report.
Clearly, the report remains unread.