Should Islam be Considered a Religion in America?

This is a question being pondered by many in our country today. The subject logically begins with the definition of the word religion. Then, if it should not be called a religion, why and how come into immediate play?
How does one define the word religion? Merriam Webster says this: “: the belief in a god or in a group of gods : an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods.“ That might be a little simplistic for our purposes. That definition allows any group, large or small, to declare that they are following a religion for for any sensical or nonsensical reason. Even the constitution or at least the patriot papers and the founding fathers put limits on religion and its practices. Using religion to justify human sacrifice and you still face the death penalty. Using religion to start riots used to be considered against the law though you have to wonder these days.
Let us then, look at a definition that the founding fathers might have had in mind when they wrote the first amendment granting that “Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, …” (pardon the aside here, but notice that it is very specific in saying that Congress, shall pass no law establishing a religion. Doesn’t say a word about praying at a football game or before a government body conducts business.) That definition might well be considered in today’s world, as well as yesterdays, as one which accepts the precepts of the Judeo-Christian ethic. In other words the respecting of life. Human life most of all. The phrase ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ comes to mind. Though it is not in the Christian or Jewish holy scripture nor any religion’s defining document it is perceived as the fundamental law of ethical life.
Ethical. An interesting word. Also the word ethos fits here. Ethical is defined as ‘involving or expressing moral approval or disapproval conforming to accepted standards of conduct ‘ and ethos as ‘the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution.’ Somehow the philosophy of the so called Islamic faith just doesn’t seem to fit well.
I have trouble believing that they would find a “religion” that allows the killing of a woman for being raped or a person refusing to accept another religion, or made fun of your gods image as acceptable religious behavior.
Most, if not all, religions, with the exception of Islam, believe that life is sacred. Particularly human life. There are religions that take that reverence much further than we Christians do. The Hindus believe that even cows are sacred. The Shintu religion go so far as to actually have marriage ceremonies for rocks. They tie them together with ropes to signify that bond. Many religions ban the eating of meat. The point here is that all religions accept the fact that HUMAN life is sacred. It is not to be taken from anyone lightly. The first problem we face in this discussion therefore is the one of definition in the legal sense. I propose that a valid starting point would be: “Religion shall be defined by the United States of America as that purported religious believe(s) that holds life, particularly Human life, is a sacred thing and will not be taken without due process under American law. No other law of any nation or entity shall be entertained.” That should be easily understood by even those nine unelected people in black robes in D.C.
The next point is the how.
That one is easier said than done. Congress could and, indeed should, pass a law to this effect, but those nine unelected robed figures might strike it down. There is another sure way to do it. You need either congress to call a convention of the states and have 38 of them vote in favor of the amendment OR have 34 of the state legislatures call one with the 38 yea votes following. It then would become the undisputed law of this land. Enough said.
Comments of all kinds welcome and encouraged.

An Objective Look at the Candidates

Fox debate

An Objective Look at the Candidates

If we look at the candidates with some objectivity and from a strictly conservative view point we can eliminate several immediately. Obviously any democrat fails the conservative litmus test so this will be the last mention of any of those. So let’s look at the republican side of the ledger.

To be honest, only two or three of even these deserve serious consideration. There are more than 30 currently declared (including the perennials) and most of them are proven RINO in their politics. Some even mouthing Obama’s talking points on many of the issues. Here is a very truncated list of 13 for you with a short comment for each (I won’t even attempt to cover most of the also ran list):

  1. Jeb Bush, Florida Governor with stated left leaning ideals on Obamacare, immigration and a host of other issues. Will probably pull more democrat voters than republican.

  2. Dr. Ben Carson, No political experience and is constantly making rash statements he has to explain and fails.

  3. Chris Cristie, Tells it like it is and doesn’t care about the fallout. Also doesn’t care about important conservative issues such as gun control and the tenth amendment.

  4. Ted Cruz, Staunch conservative with a broad based grassroots support gaining most of his funding from that source. Not tied to any big money so owes nothing except to his constituents.

  5. Jack Fellure, Has been running for president every four years since 1988. That is the only reason I mention him and this is the last time.

  6. Carly Florina, a well known female candidate in the republican camp. Conservative, but with a background of failure and some other issues, probably will be a no show after the convention.

  7. Lindsey Graham, former Air Force Colonel with the JAG corps has gained a reputation for compromise brokering which sometimes leaves his constituency out of the equation.

  8. Mike Huckabee, Madea lot of enemies during his tenure on Fox news. Conservative Christian viewed by many to be a moderate conservative.

  9. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana Governor and outspoken critic of the federal Government. Good Man, but short on support and experience in government. American Indian if that makes any difference to anyone.

  10. Rand Paul, Libertarian tea party leader with a dwindling vocal following. He has redefined himself politically 3 times attempting to strike the right chord.

  11. Marco Rubio, With his Cuban heritage giving him a broad Latino support and his conservative record a current front runner. Seems to have a lot of big money interests supporting.

  12. Donald Trump, Made waves from his first announcement and has since continued with his controversial rhetoric, but has mentioned only two issues – Illegal Immigration (against) and universal health care (for). That last one may kill his chances.

  13. Scott Walker, Governor and conservative he isa contender, but his stand on religious liberty may be hazardous to his political health. He is the only governor to withstand a recall election and has proven that he is not afraid to take a stand.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s look at some conclusions.

As we can see there are really not all that many CONSERVATIVE candidates. In fact I find only three worth mentioning. They are: Dr, Carson; TedCruz; Bobby Jindal; and Scott Walker. OK I can hear the Paulists out there screaming about my not calling Rand Paul a conservative, After all he is a libertarian! Well, yeah, he does lay claim to that distinction, but he waffles way too much to be considered by conservatives as a viable candidate. Sorry about that.

Since I expect that you are wondering where this is going I will tell you. I made the statement on the West Virginia Conservative Voice that I would not be making any “endorsements” until after the new year and the primaries were over and have been criticized for that. They were right. After the primaries, selecting a candidate would be a moot point. Now is the time others are gathering the information they need to become informed voters for those self same primaries and I may have a different take for them to consider. So here goes.

Dr. Ben Carson is an honest man and a conservative to all appearances, but I also think he just good and and too kind a man to get really down and dirty in the political fighting that he job requires. Of course I may be wrong; however, I am unwilling to take chances with the man we put in the white house. I would really like to see him seasoned before he takes that office. Perhaps a cabinet post. Secretary of HHS? That would give him the training necessary with a strong back up n the form of a seasoned veteran in the white house.

We will come back to Senator Cruz and move on to Bobby Jindal.

Governor Jindal has had some ‘seasoning’ as governor of LA and is a good viable candidate; however I personally believe he would be more valuable as the education Secretary. The good Lord of us all knows we need a knowledgeable person in that seat. He has good experience being both a college grad with a few degrees and a former university system president.  And, yes, I admit to being swayed by his stand against Common Core.

Scott Walker is a true conservative and another viable candidate. Unfortunately his primary base is too small and weak to be of much help in the election when it will be so important. He would be an excellent cabinet member in several spots most notedly, Secretary of Labor.

And finally Senator Ted Cruz comes under scrutiny. Have more or less followed the Senator since before his announcement for the Presidency. On March 23 2015, my ears figuratively perked up. I didn’t think he would be a viable candidate at that time; however, I do follow anyone that announces a run for the presidency. It soon became clear that he was ideally suited for the job he was seeking. His support base is very wide and does not show much in the way of “moneyed interests”, but rather a ground swell of popular support that has garnered him the greater past of $12,000,000.00 in support at roughly $37.00 per donor. His constant and consistent stand on constitutional issues are of particular interest.  I would love to see him select Carly Fiornia as his running mate.  With that behind her to establish her bona fides, she might well make a great successor.

Ted Cruz will have my support and that of the West Virginia Conservative Voice’s co-conspirators. (That means those of us that write for that page, just in case you were wondering.) :)

I will respond to all civil and specific queries.

Respectfully submitted;

Richard Allen

United States Citizen.

Coming Backlash

I believe there is a backlash building, in this country, a double backlash. The LGBT crowd has won the right to marry over the objection of the Christian majority in our nation. The ‘right’ was handed to them by a supreme court (no caps for them today.) that has left behind the constitutional function of that branch of government. The LGBTs are marching, the White House light up with he rainbow pride thingy, and the liberal press are all smiles.

So where are the conservatives in all of this? Fuming. There are a growing number of social media posts by churches, lawyers, politicians on both sides of the aisle, even foreign governments bashing both gays and supremes. Even Senator Cruz, a litigator before the supreme court and former clerk along with Chief Justice Roberts for Chief Justis Renquist, has stated that they violated the constitution with that ruling. I think that the LGBT crowd may have stirred up a hornets nest. I hope so. Most people in this country were tolerant of them. Most took the attitude – If they stay in their bedroom, I’ll stay in mine’. Now they have crossed a very serious line. They have gone against the clear dictates of the Christian Bible and thus gotten, not only the man and woman in the street against them, but most of the churches. It is just possible that they will end up being more of society’s pariahs than ever. I even have the hope that if either Cruz or someone that actually knows and cares about the constitution , is elected the decision will be revisited.

Now let’s look at the supremes. It was the intent of the founding fathers that the Supreme Court be the weakest branch of government. Both Hamilton and Madison were afraid of giving them too much power. According to surviving notes from delegates and the Federalist, the court was to be the final appellate court for civil disputes. Imagine that! (Those old fogies that wrote our constitution proven right again!) They were never intended to decide constitutional issues. The founders knew that that power would let them dictate to the other two branches. That was supposed to be left to the people. There certainly was never, by word or intent, the power to actually change the actual words of what came out of congress to suit their whims! There was even a discussion about having term limits for the supremes, but Madison assured the delegates that the justices wouldn’t live long enough to be a problem. You must remember the that a person over sixty was living on borrowed time back then. That has changed with the improvement in medical care. The youngest is Elena Kagan at a mere 55 years with John Roberts coming next with a gentle 60 years under his belt. The oldest on the bench is Ruth Bader Ginsburg at 82. The average age being 69+ with six of them over the age of 65 and four over 70.

The recent attention these acts of lawlessness have gotten and the response that is growing among the people has sparked some hope in my poor despondent heart. We need to fan the flames of our discontent.

One of the results of that “Week from Hell”, as one talking head put it, is the increased discussion of an amendment to the constitution to limit, in one way or another, the terms of the supremes. Even senators and representative on both the state and federal level are talking their brand of limitation via the Article V route. This is the route I suggest has become mandatory on the people of this country. As senator Cruz has also pointed out, this will have to come from the people via the Article V convention. It will never come from the congress no matter who we put in the white house. If such an amendment is carefully worded we will not only limit the time we have to put up with each, but define what they are actually allowed to do! I hope that their overreach has begun to topple both them and their overweening power.

I for one sincerely hope the ground swell of indignation over the lawlessness of both the administration and SCOTUS continues to build, but we need to keep pushing. The general public has shown an amazing propensity for attention deficit.

The Day They Raped the Blind Lady


Justice is portrayed in stone on the front of the Supreme Court Building in our nation’s capital as a female with a blindfold and a scale in one hand and a sword in the other. The blindfold symbolizes objectivity and stoicism, the scales represent empiricism and enlightenment values, and, the sword appeals to enforcement and restraint. These ideals can be differently represented based on the permutations of tokens that comprise the statue. For example, some have created critiques of U.S. justice by changing the specific token that represents the ideal that corresponds with it, by making a figure of Justitia with her blindfold “slipping” to allow a watchful eye for the other, non-Stoic, means to prudent decision making that might exist in deliberations of jurisprudence.

A few days ago the institution that is supposed to represent these lofty ideals decided to rape all she stands for rather than follow the supreme law of this nation. It began with two of the Justices refusing to recuse themselves as required by law. Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan both made their position on same sex marriage very clear by personally performing these marriages. The law requires that when a judge in a case has formed an opinion or there is reason to believe they have done so prior to the hearing of evidence they must stand aside and allow other judges to decide the case. They did not do so and voted as we knew from their history that they would vote.

Next came the blatant ignoring of the constitution in several areas. Probably the most significant of these would be the 10th amendment which specifically forbids the federal government from doing anything the states can do for themselves. In this case, it is the states via the individual counties and cities in those states, that issue marriage licenses based on the will of the people in those jurisdictions. In some cases this may be the requirement of a blood test while in others it may be the blood relation of the supplicants and in several of these United States the denial may be based on the fact that the petitioners for said license are of the same sex. It is clear that the constitution permits the states these rights.

Their are those who believe with great sincerity that such marriages are contrary to the bible and that alone is sufficient reason for said denial. Yep, they have the right to do that also under the 1rst amendment.

Then there is the case Obamacare. The law as written, states that those states that did not create their own Obamacare plan would not receive any subsidies. This was not a problem for this court. They simple decided that they had legislative powers contrary to Article I section I of the Constitution which states in plain language that the only body that may create laws for this nation is the congress. This made no difference to the Roberts Court. They just rewrote the law.

There are more constitutional issues, but why belabor an obvious point. Might be time to install term limits on all of D.C.!

Some Thoughts on Voter IDs

The discussion voter ID has creased recent weeks with Hillary’s insane for every one registered to vote when they have their 18th birthday. The left has repeated the mantra that voter ID would somehow disenfranchise “millions of blacks and minorities,’ but I haven’t seen an intelligent explanation of how this would happen.

Let’s look at the purpose of requiring voters to prove they exist and are, in fact, citizens. Who would be harmed the most? Obviously it would be non citizens first. Then, of course, the dead couldn’t vote any more, nor voter that goes from polling place to polling place to vote multiple times, nor the person that has moved from one district to another having his/her vote cast for him/her in the district not lived in any more. This happened to me. I supposedly voted in a state I haven’t lived in for years and voted for a politician I was writing and posting articles describing his corruption! Not someone for whom I would likely vote. Oh my! I am actually discriminating against the dead and the illegals! How horrible of me. This would actually disenfranchise millions of voters! All for the good.

Now don’t get me wrong. Voter ID is not a cure all, end all for voter fraud. There is still the problem of those counties in PA and elsewhere that had NO republican voters. And there is the problem of corrupted voting machines. Yeah the list goes on. It would be an excellent first step, don’t you think?

The next step would probably be to set up a nation wide commission to vet each and every voting machine that is used in this country. Expensive? You bet. Time consuming? Sure would be. Necessary? Yep. Unless you can come up with a viable alternative.

Those of you that follow my blog will notice that this is considerably shorter than my previous 1000 word posts. I was reminded that the typical voter has a limited attention span so I am going to try for a much shorter series of posts and see if my following increases.

As usual comments, suggestions and opposing views are welcomed to the point of being encouraged.

Conservative vs Liberal Values

Notice that the title does not refer to ‘Republican vs Democrat’. I find that there are many republicans that fit more into the liberal scheme of government and even some democrats that find comfort in the conservative view on many issues. Then there are the so called ‘moderates’. I find most of those are simply people that don’t know where they stand or are liberal on one issue and conservative on another .
Let us discuss the voter ID an election fraud issue for a moment. That election fraud exists is not up for debate. It is a proven fact and involves both of the two main parties. True, the most egregious cases seem to be on the liberal front porch, For confirmation of that just look at Pa, Mich., CA, FL, etc. in the last election.
How do we correct this situation? It seems tome to be quite simple. First a totally bi-partisan commission that thoroughly tests and vets voting machines. These test would be run immediately prior to any company being allowed to ship their machines to any voting district. This would be done on a a totally random basis with the machines selected for the tests chosen by an independent auditing agency not affiliated with any government agency or political organization. And it would be done an a minimum of 33% of those machines. Second would be Voter ID!
The liberals would have you believe that this would disenfranchise many of the minority and poor. I agree. It would prevent many minority voters that are not citizens from voting. That would be a good thing. The poor? This one I don’t understand. I am among the poorest in this nation. I am a registered voter and help many other people register to vote and obtain official picture IDs. There is no problem there that I can see. It will also prevent the deceased, the ones who have moved out of a particular district from having their votes input by less than scrupulous people and voters that vote more than once for any candidate(s). Obtaining a birth certificate is simply a matter of paying a very small fee to the state of your birth and having one mailed to you. This would also assure us that people running for office are citizens. The constitution grants us the right to vote with only two qualifying factors: You must be of a stated legal age and YOU MUST BE A CITIZEN. Now what is wrong with proving that you fulfil both of those requirements? You are already required to prove that you are of legal age, by the way.
Liberals are espousing the philosophy that the federal government has the right to know everything about you and to regulate your lives down to the smallest detail contrary to our “Supreme Law of the Land” also known as the Constitution of the United States and its amendments. Liberals consider this document as a guideline at best and simply an outdated piece of paper with some fancy words written down for some unknown reason.
Conservatives hold that document as almost sacred and necessary to the ideals and purposes of this nation. The stated purpose of the constitution is stated, in plain language needing no interpretation, in the preamble to that instrument of laws. It states: “We the People  of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
That’s it folks. It basically permits the Federal government to protect us from each other and foreign intervention. Everything else is left to the states and the people. The will to power by those in the federal government was even recognized and a way to provide restraints on those elected and unelected officials of our Government in Article V. Both the government and We The People can amend the constitution whenever the cultural paradigm changes from the time of writing and ratification of the constitution. They recognized that there would be unforeseen cultural changes that might require the constitution to be brought up to date and plug any holes to insure the basic rights are in danger as they are today.
Liberals don’t think that way. Conservatives do.
Liberals believe they have the right and the power to tell you how to run your lives regardless of the actual wording of the constitution. They believe that if they, the politicians, don’t like the way you are running your own business they have the right to step in and mandate how you will run your business. The case in point here is the obvious one of a business refusing service to anyone they so choose. It is their money and their livelihood at stake. If they make bad decisions they will not be in business long. It is called free enterprise and it was the prime mover in making this a once great nation. You have the right to refuse to serve anyone with blond hair, if you are stupid enough to do that. Should a request for service violate your sense of moral or religious or cultural beliefs you have the right to say no. I have the right to shop some place else. Free enterprise.
Liberals don’t think that way. Conservatives do.
Next time I will take on the so called “Fair Tax” bill that is circulating.
Please like and or comment. I have had my say, now it is your turn to become involved and engaged.

Exploring the Opposition to COS

(Convention of States)

There is growing opposition to the Convention of States project all across this land of ours. This project is one which deserves serious consideration as it has the potential to recreate the ‘Land of the Free” that has been eroded so severely in recent years. It is not a change, it is a buttress that plugs some rather large holes the original founders with all their genius simply could not foresee. So why the increasing opposition?

In the state of West Virginia passage of the resolution calling for an Article V convention was all but assured when it just fell apart. Senator Trump the Chair of the Judiciary committee in the senate that was the final step to having it presented to the floor for debate was one of the sponsors of the resolution. Then he suddenly decided to vote against it. Thus it failed in the senate after passing the house with a super majority.

I spoke with Senator Trump this morning on this issue. I identified myself as a blogger and asked the question concerning his reversal on the Article V. He told me that he became concerned with some of the things he had been told by the opponents and wanted further study of the issues involved. He also informed me that the passage of the Balanced Budget Amendment bill was a factor. He Informed me that he has received a large packet of information from Barbara Thomas, the current state director of the project for Convention of States and I sent him some other items. He stated that he was willing to be convinced. He even said that he did have some concerns about the federal overreach and ways to put an end to them. I was left with the definite impression that the issue will be revisited in the next session. I also got the impression that he is a concerned citizen and senator that has an open mind.

I would like to explore some of the reasons legislators have expressed to me in private conversations. As the state director of this organization, it was my job to get to know many of the legislators in our state. I took my volunteer job very seriously and was able to establish some good relationships. One of the concerns was the scope of the proposed convention. Even with the conscientious consideration given to that scope and the limiting of said scope it was felt to be too broad. The “runaway convention” kept showing up despite several factors that belied that possibility. I decided to look deeper. I learned, after the fact, that some legislators feared that amendments might come back to haunt them as state legislators. Term limits for one example.

Then there arose a suspicion that the national organization had a hidden agenda. This also might well be spurious, to be honest. What would any “hidden agenda” have to do with this project? The entire process is controlled by the state legislators. Once the resolution is presented to Congress, the national organization would have no say what-so-ever In the process. However, I had more than one legislator point to the somewhat Orwellian practices of that organization. They knew that the organization had taken over each states facebook pages to the point of refusing the state organization from even posting to that page. There is no law which even hints that private organizations must follow laws expressly intended for government. The 10th amendment. for instance does not and should not apply to private corporations. They must be allowed to operate in their own best interest, one thing the Article V convention seeks to reinforce.

Allow me to elaborate. When I resigned, I informed several legislators of my intention and that it was for reasons of health only. I attempted to keep them informed of our intention for a smooth transfer of that responsibility. Our state organization held conference calls each week to discuss our strategy and in one of those calls we discussed the person that would take the reigns. I personally asked our state Coalitions Director if she wanted the job and she said she didn’t think she would be the best choice and reiterated that during one of those calls for the entire team. One well qualified gentleman volunteered and was accepted by acclimation of the team. I asked him to apply and assumed it was a done deal. Then National stepped in and simply appointed the lady that didn’t want it. They went further and appointed a man that has proven to be extremely ineffective in the past. This man is an avowed republican that is not trusted even by the state party, according to a couple of county chairmen of my acquaintance and this is a non-partisan issue. This man was made the state legislative liaison supplanting the one we had who had become quite effective. He had not officially applied for that position, to my knowledge, any more than the new state director. This was seen as the national organization, that has no knowledge of our state’s body politic, declaring that “Big Brother knows best.” Some legislators felt this was ample reason for not trusting that organization. No, it doesn’t make sense to me, but that was and, perhaps, still is the perception.

Of course we must consider the strictly political opposition. Liberals simply don’t want the interference with their socialist ideals any such Article V convention would present. I must inform you that we had some Democrats support and even co-sponsor the resolution, but I am not sure they fit the mold of the modern day ‘liberal’.

Next is the passage of the resolution for a Balanced Budget Amendment Article V Convention by the legislature. This was a primary source of supporters in both houses which may well cost the COS project supporters in the next legislative session. We are in desperate need of a well thought out, effective educational plan and campaign for our legislators and the people of our state. This is something I have been developing for about a year now and am going to attempt to implement it in the near future with a few savvy acquaintances.

I am a staunch supporter and believer in the the crying need for a significant Article V convention; however, I fear that if there isn’t more recognition of each state’s Body Politic by both the national organization and their respective state organizations it will not happen soon.

Customer Service

Customer Service
Government and Corporate

Today I would like to talk about another facet of the cultural change this country is going through. A little thing called customer service. This was for years the backbone of both the government and the private sector. Gone are the days when elected officials will respond to questions from constituents. Here in WV we have elected legislators refusing to even acknowledge emails and/ or calls from those that elected them. I cite my own case of a man I supported in his election bid, now senator Robert Karnes of WV senate district 11. He has refused to respond to 5 telephone calls and numerous emails all concerning issues before the state legislature. I have been told by others in my district that he has done the same to them on a variety of issues. For Shame, Robert! Please understand the I have received courteous and responsive answers from legislators from other districts so they are not all as uncaring about the people as Senator Karnes.

The federal government is even worse about customer service these days as every politically aware person in the country knows. The IRS refusing to answer their phones??? The outgoing AG stating that his department was the most focused on justice in history? The presumptive Democrat’s nominee for president telling the American people the Government has the responsibility of changing the mores of our country. Christian values are destructive and need to go. Freedoms must be surrendered to her party’s concept of security. …… Excuse the pause. I had to go lose my breakfast.

This however, is only one part of a larger picture. We also have the private sector. The large corporations that have seemingly forgotten that paying close attention to customer needs was the corner stones of building their corporations. Sam Walton was a shining example of this. He built one of the largest fortunes in the world by building a company that was actually concerned about its customers. He used to walk through his stores talking to his customers. Getting their feedback and then acting on the knowledge gained.

I am going to relate a personal story on this subject. I have Sprint as my cellular company. I should say that my son has and I am one of the people included in the plan. You should know that the plan he has costs roughly $9000.00 per year so we are not a small item for them. I purchased the insurance plan to cover my phone should it be lost, stolen or just quit working. Should be no problem, right? Wait for it.

My Windows phone went dead. That is no surprise as Windows phones have to be the worst possible on the market, unfortunately changing to a decent one is VERY costly with Sprint. On with the tale of their so called customer service. I notified them that my phone was totally dead. Would not even turn on. I was without a phone, period. I informed them of my insurance and jumped through their security hoops to get to what I thought was the right person. “No problem”, they said we will send one right out. They took down and confirmed my address three times. Naturally they sent it to the wrong address. They sent it to my son who is a long distance trucker driving with his wife. They won’t even be home until the middle of May! This was February. I placed another call. Understand I was using a friends phone that had limited minutes which I for which I had to pay, The person I was talking to kept me on that phone with inanities until the phone ran out of minutes. He had told me several times that he was sending out the phone and had once again confirmed the correct address several times. I had warned him that I was running out of minutes. The phone went dead. I was disconnected.

I wasn’t worried. He had all of the information and had told me he was sending out the phone. I waited a week. No phone. I called back. There was not even a record of my last call. No action was taken. Long, tedious and very frustrating story made quite a bit shorter, I finally did receive the phone. Over 45 days after my original call! The phone they sent? Obviously a used one. And it DOES NOT WORK! Will not connect to WiFi, Cannot use it for driving directions because it cannot connect to the service. The phone portion is fraught with so many problems it is almost unusable. Conversations are broken even when I show 5 bars. Here we go again.
Customer service by both private industry and the government is at an all time low. The average citizen in this country has only the still quiet voice crying in the wilderness to money hungry politicians and an uncaring group of corporate thieves and corrupt politicians and we just put up with it. Well, most of you do.

I have said it before and I say it again. Those who believe in what this country was founded upon need to Stand Up! Speak up! Show up!

Common Core Realities

Last week this reporter gave you the facts behind the myths of Common Core (CC). If you wish to refresh your memory here is the link: Blog- Fact Vs Myth This week I will endeavor to explore CC a little more intimately.

Be forewarned! This report will have editorial content in addition to factual content!
CC is, among other things a direct insult to the tenth amendment which states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Nothing in the constitution gives the power over our education system to the federal government. Furthermore, the welfare clause of the constitution states, in paraphrase, that if the states can do something the federal government cannot. The states have run their own schools since the inception of the constitution so I guess they can do it.

As part of the Race to the Top program, the U.S. Department of Education awarded a total of $330 million in September 2010 that will strengthen the hold that the federal government and special interests have on K-12 curriculum content, increase the frequency of standardized tests, diminish the importance of traditional classroom tests, and further marginalize the role of parents and teachers. 

There are basically two systems for the implementation of CC at the state level. These are:
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) partially funded by a grant from the Department of Education at $170 million and
SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) for $160 million

CC is a direct insult to conservative tenets and apparently seeks to eliminate all such adherents via subtle indoctrination of our children. There are many examples of this in the proposed tests themselves. But time and space limit my ability to expose them all here. We will examine a couple. The first is rather more blatant than subtle.
Ronald Reagan’s famous words at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, in which he calls for Mikhail Gorbachev to, “come to this gate! … Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” becomes according to the College Board’s new Advanced Placement U.S. history exam, this was really a period of “increased assertiveness and bellicosity” on the part of the U.S. This is a multiple choice question so the ONLY correct answer is this one.

The phrase “… increased assertiveness and bellicosity ..” is so obviously editorial in nature as to verge on the ridiculous. One might be tempted to ask, increased from what or when? From the days of JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis or perhaps the Nixon and Carter years? Probably not. You see Reagan had a reasonable expectation of a reasoned response from Gorbachev due to his diplomatic efforts. He got one. The wall came down. If I may paraphrase the same words in an editorial manner, that time can be viewed as a period of decreased bellicosity and assertiveness.

This is but one example of the left’s intent and attempt to brain wash our children.
There are a ridiculous number of examples of the idiocy of the math used in these tests, but we shall look at one only for reasons already stated.

18 students in a class room are told to count off increasing by a certain number. The last person to count off correctly said 90. What number was used to count off? Simple, right? 90 divided by 18 equals 5 so they were counting by fives. WRONG! The correct answer takes 128 steps and uses a format that most mathematicians can’t understand. If you gave your work in the straight forward 90/18=5 you got it wrong according to CC standards.

WV State Delegate Michael Folk is an airline pilot who has taught math in both high schools and colleges. It is my understanding that he holds a degree in math while his wife teaches science to WV children with a solid background in math. They are dismayed that they are unable to help their children with math homework for the simple reason that these well educated people can’t understand how the problems are to be solved! I have several other examples of this same thing, but again both time and space are prohibitive.

There is one other area that greatly concerns me and it is another of those ‘subtle’ intrusions into the parent-child rights. Many states, including WV have signed up for SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) which is funded by the Federal Department of Education to the tune of $160,000,000. This mandates that the schools will:

  • SBAC will test students using computer adaptive technology that will ask students tailored questions based on their previous answers.
  • SBAC “will continue to use one test at the end of the year for accountability purposes,” but will also create a series of interim tests used to inform students, parents, and teachers about whether students are on track.

That “… ask students tailored questions based on their previous answers.” thing bothers me. First who will devise these new questions? Presumably the Department of Education and their consultants. Consultants being those trade organizations mentioned at the beginning of this piece. So if your child missed that question regarding the bellicosity of the Reagan speech, they are going to receive reinforcement in the understanding of an editorialized question. Hmmmmm. (Time for some editorializing of my own.) Sounds more like indoctrination to me. Yeah, Stupid me. I am against the government indoctrinating my children or any body’s children with either liberal or conservative tenets. That is the responsibility of the parents and only the parents. Contrary to some, the child’s upbringing is the parents responsibility not the government’s.

The second mandate under the “Smarter” consortium is one test at the end of the year with periodic testing to “… inform students, parents and teachers about whether students are on track.” In the former case we already have a very good year end standardized test that has been in use for decades (with periodic updates). This does keep all informed the tack the students are on, so why spend the money to create a new one? The answer is left as an exercise for the reader.

Did you know that six states (Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming) plus American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands participated in neither consortium? It was never a requirement. And what did they give up for this non-participation? Nothing. The money from the government for signing up in one or the other was earmarked exclusively for implementing the tests. Notice that the amount that each state received was never enough to cover all of the costs of implementation. The six states actually saved money by saying no. Funny how that works sometimes.

There will be more on this after a brief hiatus so other issues may be addressed. Let me know if you are finding these comments on Common Core helpful or should I just move on?

Common Sense vs Common Core

Part. 1 Fact vs Myth

When I first envisioned writing this I thought a single condensed blog would do the trick. My researches quickly revealed it would take more. I thought I knew a lot about the subject, but as always, I delved into it to make sure. One reason is that when you follow the media, any media, you can get confused rather easily. One side promotes one thing while the other espouses something else. I hope to clear up some of those misconceptions.
Just what is Common Core? The basis of Common Core is simple. It is a mandate to have the students in public schools take a series of ‘standardized tests’. No Big Deal, right? I mean we all took standardized tests in primary and secondary school. The rub come from the formulation of those tests which requires teachers to to teach some very strange and objectionable things to our children. They must do this if they want the children (and the school) to make a decent showing on the tests. This decent showing criteria is part and parcel of the school funding issue. The worse you you rate on the tests the less you receive in federal funding. That is a simplistic view, but basically accurate. More on this aspect later. First we need to delve into the facts of the Common Core mandates.
Let’s dig into some of the myths and corresponding actualities.
.  Common Core (CC) was a state-led initiative.
This is not at all true. The CC was begun in Washington D.C. with no involvement from the states. The initiating organization was a group of people brought together by Bill gates and his organization according to my research. They did decide that they needed to appear to be a populist movement so they went to the National Governors Association (NGA) (a trade association that doesn’t include all governors) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), another DC-based trade association. Note here that neither of these trade associations had any authority from any state to act in their behalf. Achieve, Inc., a DC-based nonprofit that includes many liberal education reformers was the chief architect.
.  Under Common Core, the states will still control their standards.

Nope. In fact the standards are written so that the states must accept the standards “word for word” . They can not change or delete anything. They do have the ability to add content, but that content will not be covered in the tests.
.  The federal government is not involved in the Common Core scheme.
Do really believe this one? Here are the facts. The U.S. Dept. of Education has poured millions of dollars into cohersive tactics to force the states to adopt the CC and they act as the enforcement agency. They have made it very tricky to ‘opt out’. One of the reasons it is so hard to pass a state law to do so. During the last 10 or so years it has become necessary for states to have federal funding for their schools. Sorry that is just the way it is. I will attempt to write about that another time giving the reasons.

.  The Common Core standards are “internationally benchmarked.
No information was presented to the Validation Committee to show how CC stacked up against standards of other high-achieving countries. In fact, the CC establishment no longer claims that the standards are “internationally benchmarked” – the website now states that they are “informed by” the standards of other countries. There is no definition of “informed by.”
.  Common Core is only a set of standards, not curriculum; states will still control their curriculum.

The whole point of the standardized tests is to drive the curriculum. In order for the students to pass the tests the teachers must teach the subjects in the tests and teach what the tests will cover. The math used in the tests have nothing to do with the way current math is taught and understood by either the common man or the colleges that teach math, much less the sciences that depend upon math. One drafter of the CC math standards stated, CC is designed to prepare students for a nonselective two-year community college, not a four-year university. That is only one example. I don’t have time or space to go into all of them, but stop by your school one day and ask to check out a history text. That all by itself will dismay most. Even the testing consortia being funded by USED admitted in their grant applications that they would use the money to develop curriculum models. There is so much more from English to literature that would put the entire country behind other competing countries.

. We need common standards to be able to compare our students’ performance to that of students in other states.

Pardon my blunt words, but that is just so much BS. We already have that. In the lower grades we have standardized tests, National Assessment of Educational Progress, that are administered and the content is reviewed annually. In High School there is ACT and SAT.
I have a dear friend that is a welder by trade with no college. My friend has a son just entering the grades where CC is used. He told me that upon viewing his son’s home work he was afraid that nothing was being taught in either math or English that would allow his son to even go into the trades where math is a part of the everyday work. Proper English is, of course, helpful when dealing with customers and all sorts of people that he interacts with every day. Even his son’s reading skills are sadly lacking for his age. My friend tells me that his son is being taught to memorize words. No phonetics to aid in both spelling and pronunciation. Just rote memorization.
There is so much more about this subject to cover, but I think a solid grounding in the facts are necessary prior to exploring the full ramifications of this federal governmental intrusion into our way of life.
Stay tuned.