Intelligent people can make solid arguments either for or against the Common Core curriculum. Unfortunately, that’s not much of what’s happening across America. Most of the debate about the Common Core is based on hearsay and vague feelings of fear about what They want to do to education, whoever They are.
Typical is William Hamilton of Grand County, Colorado, who complains of “a curriculum called Common Core which, if adopted, would govern K-12 public education”. If adopted? Adopted by who? No one is considering passing national legislation in Congress imposing the Common Core as a national curriculum. The only bill in Congress that has anything to say about the Common Core is S. 73, which seeks to block implementation of the Common Core curriculum, not to support it.
State governments remain free to adopt the Common Core, or to go with an alternative, or to do defer to local governments to make decisions for themselves. The Common Core curriculum does nothing to create a centralized national body with the power to “govern K-12 public education”. Curricula do guide education. That’s what they’re written for.
Parent activist Penny Hodges insists that the Common Core curriculum is pulling America’s students “behind”, which is why she supports using the Common Core only as a supplement to unspecified “traditional methods”. She writes, “I believe parents are starting to vote for the legislators that are against the common core standards. It is pulling our children behind and if we want to compete in a global level we need to advance our children with smaller class sizes teach traditional math then once they have mastered the traditional way of thinking introduce the common core way to show children different ways of processing answers.”
Republican rants against the Common Core tend to take on the tone of opposition to “standardized testing” and “computers”, as if the best way to educate children is to give them non-standardized tests and to deprive them of all new technology. These are the same people who fear immunization and suspect that FEMA is running concentration camps across America.
The most consistent theme of the 2016 Republican presidential nomination contest is that Jeb Bush can’t win because he supports the Common Core. No one really knows if that’s true, of course. We can observe, however, that the Republicans are having debates about the Common Core in their own particular way, without letting facts drive the conversation.
It’s true that the number of Republican voters who hate the Common Core is huge. However, there is much smaller number of Republicans who actually know what the Common Core is.
If you spend enough time in alternative medicine forums, you’ll hear a claim like the one William made here today:
“There are cures for Cancer out there but big PHARMA is
spending billions to prove that there isnt….because
the cures there is no big bucks in natural cures.
It all comes down to MONEY…MONEY….MONEY.”
Is this true?
In a word, no. It turns out that there’s loads of money in “natural cures.” In 2007, the alternative medicine industry in the United States sold a whopping $34 Billion worth of alternative medicine products every year — an amount equal to a third of the total amount Americans spend each year on mainstream prescription drugs. That’s an immense market.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Government spent $389 million on research to evaluate “alternative” and “complementary” medicine claims last year. That’s an immense investment in science, science which has shown these “alternative” cures just don’t work.
Think about what the United States could do with the $34 billion a year it spends on useless “alternative” medicine. The cost of a year of public university education, including room, board, and tuition, is $14,300. Instead of spending money on “alternative” cures that don’t work, Americans could pay all the costs of a public university education for 2,377,622 students. That alternative wouldn’t be useless hype. That alternative would really make change for the better.
Americans Elect was a venture funded by wealthy political insiders to try to siphon earnest political activists away from other causes in order to support the politicians who favor the destruction of Social Security. The group, led by a Board of Directors consisting of Peter Ackerman,
Dennis Blair, Stephen W. Bosworth, Kahlil Byrd, Eliot R. Cutler, Irvine O. Hockaday Jr., Joshua S. Levine, and Christine Todd Whitman, promised America’s first online primary for presidential election ever – and failed to deliver.
So, what is Americans Elect doing now? Nothing, other than haunting the Internet, still promising that first online primary, and still promising to be back in 2013.
Will they be back? Not as Americans Elect, but Kahlil Byrd is working on a new project called Forward Progress in Politics, which so far does nothing but enigmatically refer to an “impact investment advisory”, and say that “In political reform what you can’t measure doesn’t count”.
Silly Mr. Byrd. He should know, from his years of manipulating money to influence politics from behind the scenes, that in politics, what you can’t measure counts for practically everything these days.
Joshua S. Levine is now working for an online insurance agency.
Irvine Hockaday recently arranged through the Ford Motor Company to have a stretch of state highway named after him.
Christine Todd Whitman is now the head of the Whitman Strategy Group, a not-very-successful lobbying firm. She also worked to try to get Republican Rob Astorino elected as Governor of New York in 2014, not very successfully.
Dennis Blair is now raking in the cash working for a firm called SDB Advisors, which promises its clients that it can provide “unique access with political, business, and financial leaders”. The firm also works to get cushy jobs in the private sector for high-level government officials. Is that what Blair calls political reform these days?
Peter Ackerman is working for the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Is that what Americans Elect referred to when it talked about the “radical center”?
Fox News takes to Twitter again in an attempt to show popular support:
Only 113 for a nationwide network? Ouch. You’d think Fox News would have learned its lesson from its recent #OverIt2014 disaster. Asking its followers to describe all the conservative and Christian-oriented reasons they were glad to see 2014 bite the dust, Fox News saw the hashtag quickly overrun by critics of conservatism, Christian theocracy, and Fox News.
In an overproduced, overcontrolled media world, I love the way that Twitter refuses to be used as a corporate tool.
Over the next 22 months, there are going to be a lot of corporations and wealthy families spending a lot of money to convince you that you need to be afraid. They’ll tell you that you need to be afraid of Muslims and Mexicans, of Ebola and of health care, of science and of clean energy, of working Americans asking for a fair day’s work. They’ll tell you that you should be afraid of people getting married, and of uppity protesters, and of public schools.
Is that how you want to live? Do you really want to live with that much fear in your life?
I don’t think it’s fair for me to try to tell anyone that there’s only one possible route of progress for the USA. I can’t honestly preach that any one political party will be the ticket to a better future, or that any single candidate must be elected to save our country.
What I can say is that any political candidate who promotes conservative principles will strengthen the trend of the shrinking of America’s vision. What I can do is to encourage all Americans, as we move toward the presidential primary season, to look frankly at all presidential candidates from all political parties, and compare them to the expansive, optimistic vision of a truly liberal mindset.
Whichever vehicle you favor, whether it’s the Democratic Party, the Green Party, or a vigorous independent candidacy, Vote Liberal in 2016.
Here at Irregular Times, we’re assembling a database to closely following the actions of the members of the new 114th Congress; look for it to come out early next week. As we’ve been working on the database, one name has been noticeably missing from all roll call votes in Congress so far this year: that of Rep. John Carter, Republican of Texas. He’s gone missing from all votes and even from his swearing-in ceremony, making Texas’ 31st House district officially unrepresented in Washington, DC until he gets himself into town.
A spokesman for John Carter explains that the unrepresenting representative is “under the weather” — a euphemism for a malaise of health that we certainly hope Rep. Carter recovers from soon. Poor health conditions should never be wished on anyone — or anywhere. While John Carter has been “under the weather,” the district he represents has been under the weather as well. The following is a current drought map of Texas, with House District 31 highlighted in green:
As you can see, the entirety of Texas House District 31 is suffering some degree of drought. The drought suffered by John Carter’s district is at the eastern edge of a regional drought extending throughout the southwest, all the way to the California coast:
This extensive drought has been empirically tied to global warming. As John Carter experiences his own health challenges, the environmental health of his own district has been under attack, but although John Carter is staying home from Congress to tend to his personal health, he is doing nothing to tend to his district’s environmental health. Actually, Rep. Carter is doing worse than nothing; he is an active global warming denier. Rep. Carter posted the following thoughts to his official congressional web page last year:
“We may or may not even be in a warming cycle. Even if we are, scientific evidence does not conclude that activity by man plays any significant role.
The reason for the lies is because the goal of these people is not to protect the environment, it is to implement a socialistic one-world government that has dictatorial control over every human activity, led by tyrannical liberal elites.
Global warming is simply a chicken-little scheme to use mass media and government propaganda to convince the world that destruction of individual liberties and national sovereignty is necessary to save mankind, and that the unwashed masses would destroy themselves without the enlightened global dictatorship of these frauds.
We do face a global threat. But it is not global warming, it is global tyranny from this crowd of liars – the Warmers.”
John Carter’s claim that “we may not even be in a warming cycle” are demonstrably false: the last 12 months of global temperature data measured by NASA’s Goddard Institute (December 2013 to November 2014) place them as the second-warmest 12-month period on record since in the last 134 years. John Carter is a holdout against observable reality.
Rep. Carter is doing everything he can to look after his personal health, but he prevaricates and presents outright falsehood rather than protect the health of his own district. That’s sick.
I’ve learned this morning about a new British passion. Well, actually, it’s an old passion, but it’s newly reborn. I’m talking about the scythe.
The scythe is an ancient tool with a curved wooden handle and a long metal blade. Before gasoline-powered lawn mowers, the scythe was the tool people used to cut grass.
It’s said that scything is a pleasant, meditative activity. It gives better exercise than a lawn mower, and doesn’t require the purchase of gas or create any air pollution. It’s a relatively quiet activity as well, except perhaps for some grunting. Scything is also supposed to encourage the growth of wildflowers better than lawn mowers do.
If you want to see the ecological impact of scything firsthand, you can rent a shepherd’s cottage on the border of England and Wales. Scything classes are also available, and further guidance is available from the Scything Association.
These resources are all British, however. Could scything ever become popular in the United States?
Botan Anderson of One Scythe Revolution travels the American midwest spreading enthusiasm for scything. Scytheworks is located in British Columbia, but travels down to the state of Washington for scything events there. Larry Cooper teaches scything and produces scythes in North Carolina.
I’d like to tell you about the new legislation that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday, but the House clerk and printing office are a bit behind in their duties of sharing congressional legislation with the public in a timely manner. The information simply isn’t available yet, so I’ll have to share a bit of news about a piece of legislation introduced two days ago.
Michelle Lujan Grisham introduced H. Res. 18 in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, January 7. The legislation would have established that day, January 7, 2015, as National Be Active At Work Day. The idea of the bill had been discussed before, but Grisham’s office hadn’t gotten around to the final preparations for its introduction before Wednesday.
The House of Representatives didn’t pass the resolution, however. The bill didn’t even get considered in committee.
There is no word yet about whether Representative Grisham will introduce legislation formally establishing January 7 as Do As We Say Not As We Do Day.
I wrote this morning about the slate of off-balance candidates who have declared presidential candidacies for 2016 with the Green Party. The Green Party is looking solid in comparison to the Revolutionary Party, however.
The Revolutionary Party has been formed by Princess Khadijah M. Jacob-Fambro, who stands on street corners accusing others of being undercover police officers trying to capture her on video. The Princess has declared a campaign committee, which is something, but the name of the committee communicates something of the seriousness of her ambition. The committee is titled: From One Alien To Another – “Lil Wayne” Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. “President Carter” Will You Marry Me? I Am God!!! President Princess Khadijah M. Jacob-Fambro.
Mike Huckabee, you say you want God in government. Here’s your chance to vote for her.
Memo to the Green Party, such as it is: Please, can someone over there step forward as a serious presidential candidate soon? Here’s who we’ve got as Green Party presidential candidates so far:
There’s Midge Potts, a die-hard 9/11 Truther who believes that no plane hit the Pentagon on September 11, 2011.
It is in some places said that Charles Brannan, an 82 year-old man who has supported Charlie Sheen for President, is planning on campaigning for President as a Green Party candidate in 2016. Brannan believes he has been called by the Holy Spirit to begin a rebellion against the government of the United States, “a rising up (a massive protest such as the world has never seen) to force this country back to it founding roots with God at the center of this country. There is no other way to save this nation.” In fact, Brannan ended his candidacy last year, and has since predicted that there will be no 2016 presidential election because Barack Obama will impose martial law.
This leaves us with Robert Milnes. Milnes promotes the idea of an alliance between the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, which at first sounds interesting. Then, one reads why Milnes wants this alliance to take place: To protect himself from Jews. “Now upon looking back on this, the fucking bastards Zionists had time and wherewithal to carry out a heinous covert operation. Their target, ME, ME you fucking bastards, not some old ladies attacking from the shadows. I’m here, at The PLAS Place you pussy shit bastards,” he writes. “The Nazis should be allowed to caucus with the libertarians. At least on an experimental basis. Much as the commies should be allowed to caucus with the Greens. We need all the allies we can muster. All bring something to the table. All have their baggage. The Nazis bring awareness of the common enemy-The Zog, to the table.”
Does anybody else want to represent the Green Party? Anybody at all?
Today, President Barack Obama will propose that the federal government pay tuition for students at America’s community colleges.
Republican politicians will howl in protest, saying that we can’t possibly afford such extravagance.
In response, we need to make a simple comparison: How big is the annual cost of community college attendance in comparison to the annual amount paid by the government in corporate welfare?
The chart below shows the difference. The total annual amount that community college students currently pay for tuition is $16.7 billion. The total annual amount that the federal government pays to just the top 100 recipients of corporate welfare is about $98 billion.
Even if the number of community college students doubled in response to government payment of tuition, the federal government would save $64.6 billion dollars every year if it took corporations off the dole and paid the way for workers seeking to increase their skills through community college instead.
In the end, corporate America would probably reap profits from the change in spending as well. After all, a more educated workforce is a more productive workforce.