• Tag Archives Bias
  • Saving Nineteen Minutes, Part 2 ~ (Updated)

    Actually, there are no updates to the Nineteen Minutes debacle. As far as I know, the school in question is still run by the same far Leftists. The board members refused to allow parents to be warned that their kids might be reading a book containing potentially harmful information about getting an abortion or stealing drugs from parents medicine cabinets by keeping the book without any age restrictions.

    Many forms of entertainment are unsuitable for kids until they reach the age of 16-17 or so, and movies, video games and other items do contain such information. I don’t know why books in a public school are any different, but it seems they are. At least one of the board members who voted to allow this book, which contains info on looking up old wives tales for ways to perform do it yourself abortions (including knitting needles) was reelected, and I saw him sitting in a pew at my parish recently. So nothing’s changed. The board still contains at least one Catholic hypocrite. Good for him. He has power on earth over the little people. He should enjoy it while it lasts.

    My real reason for this update: this particular post has become infected by spammers. I get tired of deleting comments from people trying to sell me stuff ranging from porn to flowers to SEO services, so I’m re-blogging part 2 of the Nineteen Minutes fiasco. Also, it happened a year ago. So, it could technically be considered an anniversary post. The original post follows.

    Part two in this series of posts regarding my friends’ attempts to be involved in the education of their children will focus on Common Core. Please read Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part One) if you missed it. For folks who aren’t familiar with Common Core, please click here. However, most Americans from both sides of the political spectrum have at least heard of Common Core, and many are concerned about its effects on their kids.

    My friend Angie, who was recently branded a Nazi by her neighbors, first heard about Common Core in the spring of 2013, and spent a good part of the summer doing research. Many other people in Pennsylvania were concerned when facts about Common Core came to light. People all over the State were holding informational meetings. This led to a presentation by Dr. Peg Luksic, an expert on Common Core, in our area of Chester County Pennsylvania.

    Before I go on, I must say up front that the newspapers in our area seem to be slanted in the same way the book Nineteen Minutes is slanted. Nineteen Minutes subtly degrades Americans with traditional values, and promotes people and ideas favorable to Liberal Democrats. It’s plain to be seen throughout the book. Our area newspapers do the same thing. For example, please click here to read an article on the Common Core presentation (before the presentation occurred).  This article accuses concerned Americans of lying and hysteria. Click here to read the same reporter’s take on the meeting itself. Note the derogatory and insulting remarks about Dr. Luksic, and the general tone of the article. Then read the comments from concerned parents who attended the meeting.

    To access the actual presentation (which I attended), please click here. The reporter above portrayed this presentation in a negative, derogatory way, the opposite of what actually happened. I was sitting a few rows ahead of this reporter, and I couldn’t help noticing that he seemed to have an attitude while Dr. Luksic was speaking. I linked to these articles to show that some media and others do not respect people who disagree with them, nor do the area newspapers report in an unbiased and fair manner.

    Back to my friend. In the fall of 2013, she was made aware of a book in her child’s sixth grade classroom, “Crosswalk Coach for the Common Core State Standards.” Following are marketing highlights.

    Aligned to the Common Core State Standards to allow for maximum flexibility in addressing areas of need!

    • Organized in the familiar Coach format, with a focused lesson on each and every skill
    • Coached Examples strengthen comprehension
    • Reading passages reflect the rigor of the Common Core State Standards
    • “Mechanics Toolbox” highlights grammar, punctuation, and more
    • Practice questions on critical content
    • Assessments track student progress for skill-by-skill benchmarking
    • glossary reinforces key vocabulary
    • Expanded, enhanced Teacher’s Guide with an explanation of key process skills, an instructional overview, mini-lessons, and reproducibles

    Common Core advocates insist that schools do not “teach to the test” but I beg to differ. Taking tests is a big business these days. Please click here to read a letter from a fourteen year old Pennsylvania girl, describing the harrowing Keystone Exam for Algebra I. This girl’s experience is a common one. In the letter she states that her teachers spent time preparing and drilling students to help them pass the exam. This is problematic. Spending valuable class time drilling kids so they might have a shot at passing an exam which made an A student feel like she was stupid doesn’t seem to be the best way to educate kids, yet this is commonplace.

    The only reason Angie even knew her child was learning from the Common Core Crosswalk book was because he told her. Her sixth grader was aware of his parents’ concern about Common Core, and mentioned that he was using a Common Core book in class. Angie wanted to see the book, and was granted permission by the KMS principal to borrow a copy. I saw the book. There were several questionable lessons. One lesson had to do with Climate change, and insinuated that human beings, with their energy usage, might be helping to destroy the earth. There was a questionable lesson on the Constitution as well.

    This led to my friend’s request that the school consider finding a different learning resource. She presented her concerns to the Kennett School Board in December of 2013. She even went so far as to have an expert on history and the U.S. Constitution speak to the board about faulty history and questionable content.

    However, the local newspapers portrayed the meeting differently. Before continuing, please click here for reporter Candice Monhollan’s write up.

    Okay. The description likening an elderly person’s face to a paper bag is crass, rude and unfeeling, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the Crosswalk book. Angie went to the trouble of finding someone to speak about this book’s misleading  information on the United States Constitution, but Ms. Monhollan chose to gloss over this in her article, and instead, focused on the paper bag lesson, again seeming to subtly pooh pooh the real issues. This is a pattern with reporters in our local papers.

    Before I go on, I want to link to my dear friend’s defense of herself after the Nineteen Minutes debacle where she was humiliated for voicing her concern for kids. Please click here. Please click here for a letter in Angie’s defense which states that the Kennett School District routinely repels parental input. The following mentions the Crosswalk book’s misleading “lesson” on the Constitution.

    In conclusion, I must reflect on my experience with the school system over the last year or two.  Although school officials and faculty are more than willing to listen to input from parents or concerned citizens, there is little or no willingness to make any changes.  I’ve experienced faculty who accept and are willing to teach without objection from a World History textbook that is blatantly biased pro-Islam / anti-Christian and pro-socialism/anti-capitalism.  I’ve observed the refusal to remove, or even correct, an elementary level reading comprehension book that misstates the purpose of the US Constitution andeven gets the steps wrong on how it is to be amended.  Now I’ve seen an aggressive attack on a concerned parent and staunch support to keep wide open access to a book some or many might consider vulgar.  These experiences have moved me to be a strong supporter of alternative education, such as parochial schools and home schooling.  I find it sad that this is the case and I fear that our public education system will continue its downward spiral as long as such attitudes prevail.

    Apparently the Kennett School District didn’t appreciate materials being questioned by parents, even if the materials were shown to have faulty information, so they decided to hold a meeting to soothe fears about Common Core and put “rumors” to rest. Please click here for a synopsis of Kennett’s position on Common Core. I attended this meeting. Only pro-Common Core teachers and administrators spoke. After the meeting, I stood quietly as concerned parents, teachers and others who’d traveled from other parts of PA  in support of Kennett residents who weren’t on board with Common Core tried to question some Common Core supporters. None of the questions were answered. I kept my mouth shut while these PA residents were spoken to as if they were unruly children for daring to voice a different opinion. We left feeling that no one would listen to concerns, and that some in the Kennett School District and larger community would actively work against us.

    As you can see from what happened a year later, we were right. Many people have likened the way Leftists treat people who disagree with them to Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. After the events of the past few years, I tend to agree. Rule 12 is especially applicable in our area.

    RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

    Branding concerned citizens as Nazis sort of fits rule 12, IMHO. Keep in mind that at least two School Board members are fellow parishioners at the church Angie attends. These parishioners voted to keep Nineteen Minutes (a book which promotes abortion against Church teaching) accessible for kids as young as thirteen.

    My next post will detail the lead up to the actual “book banning” fiasco, but I will end with the following tweets between myself and Candice Monhollan after the Nineteen Minutes “Nazi Germany” comparison. Please click here and here. I admit I was upset. I had a right to be upset. Ms. Monhollan stated that Kennett didn’t disclose the fact that a “ban” wasn’t asked for, and then suggested that I ask the board why. Um-hello? She’s the reporter. I told her to follow up, but as far as I know, she hasn’t done so.

    Note Ms. Monhollan’s attempt to turn this around on me. She stated that I “attacked” her. Well isn’t that a shame…

    You may also be interested in: 

    Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part One)

    Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part Three)


  • Reflections On SOTU

    I refused to watch the State of the Union address last night. It would have been bad for my health. Just reading the tweets of friends who watched made my stomach churn, so it’s better that I watched something else. I enjoyed the movie Saturday Night Fever, a long time favorite. Tony’s dance alone is a great scene.

    Today I learned that the State Of The Union address was full of distortions, falsehoods and ideological jamming. Following are a few examples.

    • Rebekah Erler was presented by the White House as a random American who contacted the President about her economic situation. She sat next to the First Lady. According to Obama, Ms. Erler’s economic situation has changed for the better because of his policies. Unfortunately, none of the above are true. Ms. Erler is actually a former Democratic campaign operative, not an average American.
    • President Obama took credit for the current lower gas prices. In fact the opposite is true. The lower prices at the pump are a direct result of drilling and fracking by the private sector. Since Obama has made no secret of the fact that he dislikes drilling and fracking, along with the coal industry, I can only assume he was attempting to scam Americans in last night’s speech.
    • President Obama stated that Climate change is the biggest threat facing America at this time. Maybe in his mind. However, his opinion does not reflect the reality of greater threats.
    • Yemen is currently being overrun by Islamic rebels. The American embassy in Yemen may have to be evacuated. The following is from CNN. This seems like a pretty big threat. I don’t know if the President mentioned it in his speech last night or not, but it’s at least as big a threat as Climate change. Maybe even bigger:

    Power vacuum could benefit terrorist group AQAP

    The global stakes are high. Yemen is home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, the terror network linked to such attacks as the recent slaughter at French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. AQAP also tried to blow up a plane landing in Detroit in 2009.

    The battle against AQAP has helped make Yemen’s government a U.S. ally in the fight against al Qaeda. A power vacuum often benefits terrorist groups.

    The Yemeni government has been grappling with pressure not only from the Sunni Muslim AQAP but also from Houthi militants, Shiite Muslims who have long felt marginalized in the majority Sunni country.

    For the above reasons and others, watching the speech would have been a waste of time. My family and many others are experiencing the exact opposite of what was portrayed in last night’s speech. We pay higher taxes and we pay more for food and other necessities. Our healthcare situation is iffy. Despite the promises of the President, uttered nonstop before Obamacare was shoved down our throats, his healthcare takeover came between me and my doctor recently, when coverage for a drug I’ve been taking for years was restricted. Attempts were made to ration this drug in my case, and my physician had to waste valuable time getting a pre-certification for me.

    People will say: “That’s not Obama’s fault. Your insurance company did it.” No. Obama did it. All insurance companies must follow the rules in his healthcare law. Perhaps the company is trying to save money by rationing my meds. Maybe they thought I was an easy mark. It doesn’t really matter why this particular incident happened, because the root cause is Obamacare. I’m sure many other Americans are dealing with worse.

    Socialized medicine sucks. Most people understand that, which is why we fought so hard against Obamacare to begin with. From what I’ve read about last night’s speech, more crap is coming.


  • No One Can Drive You Crazy, Unless You Give Them The Keys

    I read a quote this evening: “No one can drive you crazy, unless you give them the keys.” Okay. Fair enough. We can’t change the behavior of others, we can only change the way we react to it. This is the way I’m choosing to live my life from now on.

    That’s why I didn’t mention Trig Palin and his dog to my mother. As many people are aware, Sarah Palin’s son Trig was photographed while standing on his dog.

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    Because of media programming, many Americans hate Palin and her family. Some of the people who hate this family probably have no idea why they hate her. They’re simply following the herd. What began seven years ago has become a hard habit to break. Since Americans have been conditioned to believe Palin and other Conservatives do not merit the same respect or compassion as those of other ideologies, the hate is permitted to flourish. I’ve come to the conclusion that it will probably stick around for awhile, so with the exception of retweeting the most insane hatred in order to expose it, I give up. Palin has become the punching bag for any Democrat with a cell phone who happens to be having a bad day. Since the rules of “leave children out of it” do not apply to traditional Americans, Christians, and Conservatives, Palin’s children are also targeted on a regular basis. Since the hate began seven years ago and hasn’t lessened in intensity, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s okay in the eyes of many Americans. Here is an example of the latest in Palin hate.

     

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    You may be wondering what this has to do with my mother. My mother and father lost a little girl in 1970. The little girl was my sister, Lori Ann. She was three years old when she died. She had Down Syndrome, like Trig Palin. When Sarah Palin came onto the political scene in 2008, our family was thrilled. My parents admired Sarah for obvious reasons. Then the hate began, including hate for Trig. Of course it hurt our family; I’d be lying if I said it didn’t, but everyone has their crosses. Maybe this is ours. I’m not writing this post to garner sympathy. I’ve already come to terms with this unfortunate situation.

    Still, I didn’t mention the latest hate-fest to my mother. It’s January, a bad month for her. My father passed away in January of 2012, and the Holidays are hard for us. I was hoping mom missed the Trig comments. Unfortunately, she didn’t. She mentioned it on the phone this morning. That’s why I’m blogging about it. It bothered me all day, and this is what I chose to write about. I included the screenshots of hate-tweets on the off chance that some random person reading this might find empathy for Trig and his family. They are human beings, the same as the rest of us, even though the media dehumanizes them.

    It’s a shame, but many Americans have bought into this premise, the same way they’ve bought into the premise that a human child in a womb is only a clump of cells. Despite advances in science and technology, such as ultrasounds which plainly show the children, some Americans insist they are not children, and have no right to their own lives. This is an unfortunate fact.

    I’ve been part of the respect life group in my parish church for five years. In those five years, we have made little to no headway in bringing awareness to the plight of the unborn. In fact, certain parishioners seem to be clutching pro-abortion ideology in a death grip, up to and including promoting it in schools.

    Perhaps we made mistakes in our approach. The four of us organized trips to the annual March for Life, tried a pro life movie night, handed out pro life prayer cards, and sat at a table at the church bazaar and tried to interest parishioners in learning about unborn children. We raffled off handmade baby quilts, blankets and sweaters, and held a “baby shower” every spring. The baby items were then donated to a crisis pregnancy center. Somehow, though, we find that we have the support of less than half the parish. Maybe even less than a quarter. Again, perhaps it was our approach. Maybe we tried too hard. Maybe we didn’t understand that people didn’t want prayer cards containing prayers for the unborn. Perhaps we came across as being pushy. Our reasoning was that we were doing our work in a Catholic Church, the rules of which are that abortion is not allowed, so we figured most people would be on board. Why go to a Church when you disagree with a non-negotiable in the Catechism? It was sort of common sense for us to believe that Catholics would see the truth with all the technological advances of the past ten years, but science and technology seem to have overtaken our church and left it in the dust of 1973. Our group seems to have made enemies, not friends, and we’ve even been actively shunned and snubbed at times. So be it. Again, I’m not asking for sympathy. I’m certainly not a victim here.

    However, after five years, I admit I’ve burned out. Since I’ve decided to live my life differently, I’m cutting my losses. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, so as of this week, I’m quitting the respect life ministry. I know we have done some good for actual babies and expectant moms, but I cannot bang my head against a brick wall in my own parish any longer. Perhaps the group will keep going in some capacity, but I won’t be participating in anything but prayer.

    The same people who trashed Trig Palin this week over a dog are probably the ones who wanted his mom to abort him. Many people said such things before Trig was born. Seven years hasn’t made much difference. There’s no reasoning with such people. Pro abortion ideology brings out the ugly in people. Perhaps they themselves are suffering and don’t know what they’re doing when they treat a child such as Trig the way they do. I can’t wonder why anymore. I’m making a decision to just pray.

    My mother feels some pain inside, every time Trig or his mom are disparaged. I do, too. So do numerous other families with special needs children. But whatever–we’re strong. We’ll handle it. We really have no other choice, do we?

     

     


  • Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part Three)

    Part three (and the last in this series since I’m thoroughly sick of thinking about Nineteen Minutes and its underhanded, nasty advocates) will detail the lead up to the Kennett Consolidated School District’s November 10, 2014 board meeting, the meeting itself, and the aftermath of the meeting.

    For backstory please read Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part One) and Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part Two) if you missed them.

    Though I will be linking to other editorials and possibly other news articles in this post, I will be primarily referring to this Daily Local News story. I will try to make this post as brief as possible while ensuring that all pertinent information is recorded, since the newspapers do not bother to tell both sides.

    I’ll begin with this passage from the above news story from the perspective of the KCSD.

    The book, published in 2007, can be found in the library of Kennett High School and became the hot topic of the school board meeting Nov. 10 after a parent, Angela John, requested the book be removed.

    “The parent felt the book content was not suitable for high school students,” Superintendent Barry Tomasetti said during the meeting.

    He went on to say the district followed Policy 109 and tried to resolve the issue informally, but the parent was not satisfied and completed a Request for Reconsideration of Resource Material Review Committee.

    From there, the committee reviewed the book and its merits and voted unanimously that the book remain in the library.

    The parent made a final appeal to the board and the matter was brought up at the Nov. 10 meeting.

    Policy 109, mentioned above, can be found here. The pertinent information in policy 109 regarding Nineteen Minutes or any other contested resource says:

    Procedure For Reviewing Challenged Material

    The procedure for review of resource material may be a two-phase process that can be initiated by the parent/guardian of a District student or a District employee. When a concern regarding library resource material is received, the principal will inform those staff members using the material, the Superintendent, and the librarians. Prior to any meetings, the complainant shall be given a copy of this Policy. Challenged resource material will remain in use during the review process.

    Phase I is an informational meeting involving a discussion with all people involved. The information meeting is for the purpose of explaining Board procedures about selecting and using educational resources, not a time for school personnel to make sudden, un-reviewed, and undocumented decisions about the continued use of resources. For example, there may be a temptation for a principal or a teacher to listen to the objections of a parent/guardian and agree with him/her and remove the resource on the spot rather than face the review procedure.

    Sometimes becoming aware of the need for a variety of resources to meet the needs of a diverse student population causes complainants to reconsider their actions and withdraw their complaints. A decision not to file a formal complaint frequently occurs after the explanation of procedures used to select the resource or the reasons that a resource is being used in the District are explained.

    If the complaint is not satisfied at this time, the Request for Reconsideration of Resource Material form will be offered for completion. If completed, the principal will forward the form to the chairperson of the Resource Material Review Committee.

    Phase II is a formal process involving a large number of staff members. The results of all activities will be communicated to the complainant(s). This phase begins only after Phase I has been completed.

    The Resource Material Review Committee is appointed by the Superintendent or designee after soliciting volunteers. Members should have knowledge of children and young adult literature and be familiar with the District and the community. Members must become thoroughly familiar with the resource material selection Policy and develop a knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding intellectual freedom and censorship.

    The committee will be chaired by the Assistant Superintendent and will include one (1) elementary and one (1) secondary principal, one (1) elementary and one (1) secondary media specialist, and a teacher from each organizational level. This committee may be expanded to include instructional staff members who will act in an advisory capacity when material under review is related to their specific curriculum areas. These advisors will not be voting members of the committee.

    In order for the committee members to fulfill their obligation of becoming knowledgeable in this area, the District shall provide workshops, material, conferences, research data, and other sources of information. Prior to a meeting to consider a request to re-evaluate resource material, committee members will familiarize themselves with the material in question.

    The following are the steps to be used to review resource material:

    Step 1 – When a principal has completed Phase I and receives a Request for Reconsideration of Resource Material form, s/he should send the form to the chairperson of the Resource Material Review Committee with a copy to the Superintendent.

    Pol. 105.2

    Step 2 – Upon receipt of the request form, the chairperson shall do the following:

    1. Request librarians and/or other staff members to secure copies of the questionedmaterial for the use of the committee.
    2. Request librarians and/or other staff members to obtain reviews and other evaluations of the material.
    3. Distribute information including copies of the material, the reviews and evaluations of the material, and the complainant’s completed form to the members of the committee.
    4. Establish a time and place for a committee meeting to be held within ninety (90) days of receipt of the information to be considered.
    5. Allow an adequate opportunity for discussion of all information pertinent to the complaint.
    6. If appropriate, arrange for expert testimony.

    After the committee has discussed the relative merits of the material and other information pertinent to the complaint, the chairperson shall conduct a written and signed vote of the committee members to determine the majority opinion. The chairperson will vote only if the vote ends in a tie. The chairperson will forward the results of the meeting to the Superintendent on the Report of the Resource Material Review Committee form with copies sent to all committee members.

    A vote of the committee shall be to recommend one (1) of the following courses of action regarding the status of the material:

    1. The material will remain in the library collection (no change).
    2. The material will be circulated only to students above the designated grade level agreed to by the committee. The staff will ensure that such material is not borrowed nor required for the fulfillment of class assignments by students who are below this level without written permission of a parent/guardian.
    3. The material will be removed from the collection.
    4. Alternative material will be offered at the request of the parent/guardian as outlined in Board Policy. Material will be retained in the collection.

    The Resource Material Review Committee will review the material in an objective manner. The best interests of the students, school, and curriculum shall be given utmost consideration. The decision of the committee shall be by majority vote; minority opinions will be attached and forwarded with the decision.

    Upon receipt of the recommendation, the Superintendent will communicate the decision to the complainant.

    If after a meeting with the Superintendent the person remains dissatisfied, final appeal may be made to the Board through the Superintendent. The Board, or a committee of the Board, shall schedule a hearing within thirty (30) days after the request has been made.

     

     

    The KCSD (as stated in the Daily Local News article) would have people believe that one lone woman had an issue with the book Nineteen Minutes. This is false. Anyone who chooses to do a bit of investigating can find stories from  other schools all over America where parents took issue with this book. However, I must state here, for the record, that Angela John, my friend, was NOT the only person in the Kennett School District concerned about this book.

    Please glance at the last paragraph of policy 109, above. You’ll see that if there is still dissatisfaction, a “hearing” will be scheduled. While my friends were trying, for months, to deal with this school and school board, we got together for coffee to discuss progress. At one of our get-togethers, Angie showed me the notice from the Superintendent stating that she could bring her concerns to the table at a hearing. The letter stated that only Angie could be present at this hearing (though she could, if she wished to, bring her husband along). Hello?

    Does this school realize how heavy handed they sound? The taxpayers, including Angie, pay their salaries, yet they must request “hearings” on important matters concerning their own children.

    That brings me to another point. After the November 10th debacle, several local papers posted links on their Facebook Pages. Angie stayed away from newspapers, since she was devastated by what happened, but I read every article and every editorial. The comments by people who may or may not know Angie were nasty and quite ignorant, but there was one in particular that stood out. On the Kennett Paper’s Facebook page, a woman commented: “The person who complained doesn’t have a child in the High School.” Excuse me?

    Number 1) Any taxpayer has a say, as long as their kids are in the district.

    2) This woman is a parishioner at the same church Angie attends. (I’m also a parishioner at this church, but I’ve never met this woman). This person and Angie are acquainted. She could have followed the advice of Christ, and asked Angie in person about her concerns instead of showing up in public and joining a group accusing a neighbor of “banning” books.

    3) There were other parents who DO have kids in the High School who were concerned about Nineteen Minutes. I know this for a fact. The night of the hearing, another friend, one who has two kids attending Kennett High School went to the hearing. When we read the letter KCSD had sent to Angie we laughed a little. Though it sounded very intimidating, we couldn’t imagine that it would come to the point of actually throwing another concerned parent and taxpayer out of the “hearing.” But that’s exactly what happened. No one else could present their concerns about Nineteen Minutes at the hearing.

    In addition to the graphic portrayal of teen sex between Josie and her boyfriend Matt, digs at traditional Americans and religion, and normalization of abortion in general, here’s something else.  Many parents might take issue with ninth and tenth graders being exposed to the following in school. In this excerpt from page 323 of Nineteen Minutes, Josie, the teen who survived the school shooting and Matt’s girlfriend, believes she is pregnant. After contemplating asking her estranged father for money for an abortion, Josie decides to google some old wives tales, just in case.

    There was something about going to a doctor, or a clinic, or even to a parent, that she couldn’t quite swallow. It seemed so…deliberate…..

    Some she already knew: the old wives’ tales about sticking a knitting needle up inside her, or drinking laxatives or castor oil. Some she’d never imagined: douching with potassium, swallowing ginger root, eating unripe pineapple. And then there were the herbs: oil infusions of calamus, mugwort, sage,and wintergreen; cocktails made out of black cohosh and pennyroyal…..

    Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the dried herb per cup of water, 3-4 times a day. Don’t confuse tansy with tansy ragwort, which has been fatal to cows that have eaten it growing nearby.

    Really? Is a book containing such a passage really worth all of this? If kids want the damn book they can buy it at Barnes and Noble or borrow it from the public library. Or their parents can give it to them if they’re so hell bent on having their kids read it. Why is it necessary for this book to be paid for by taxpayers and read in class? Why is it necessary for every kid in the school to have this trash pushed on them? Apparently the Kennett librarian is infatuated with this book. She said in a meeting that she goes into classrooms and reads passages aloud to students. (One can only hope that the above passage isn’t one of her favorites).

    Okay. Back to the lead up to the November 10th School Board meeting. At the hearing, what Angie mistakenly thought was a compromise was reached. Angie left the hearing with the understanding that Nineteen Minutes would remain in Kennett High School. The other attendees of this hearing agreed that the final vote would be on the following: Kennett High School could either place the book Nineteen Minutes in the guidance counselor’s office so younger students who might not have a good support system at home could be cautioned about what they might read, or the book could be kept without restriction. In no way does KEEPING a book in the guidance counselor’s office constitute a “ban.” So…how did the word “ban” come into play? Nobody knows, but here is a timeline of events leading up to the actual meeting.

    After the hearing which other concerned parents were not permitted to attend, rumors began circulating that “some woman” was trying to ban books. The rumor was heard at the Bayard Taylor Library in Kennett Square. The rumor was also being spread in one of the New Garden polling places on election day, November 4th. People coming into the polling place to vote were told that someone was trying to “ban” books at Kennett High School. All of this talk of “banning” did the trick.

    On the evening of November 10th, my friend Angie went to the school board meeting alone. She had asked me to go with her, and I said no. I had no idea what was going to happen and neither did she. I’m pretty sure Angie’s husband did end up joining her at the meeting before it ended, but I wish I had gone. She could have used a friend.

    The room where the school board met that night was filled with adults and students wearing “We Read Banned Books” buttons. There was quite a large group. Angie told me she was sitting quietly and wondering what the hell was going on, since the vote was to decide whether the book should be kept under age restrictions. A group of about 5-6 kids sat nearby, along with a few parents. Angie decided to ask them why they were at the meeting. Following is the paraphrased conversation:

    Angie: Why are you all here?

    Students: Our teachers asked us to come, because some lady is trying to ban books in our library.

    Angie: Oh no…that’s not what’s going on. I’m the person who’s concerned about the book, but I didn’t ask for it to be banned. I’m just concerned about kids. Some kids may be too young to read what’s in the book, so we should make sure they can be talked to by someone like the counselor.”

    Students: What? You’re the lady?

    Angie: Yes. It’s me, but I don’t want to ban books.

    Students: We didn’t know. We were told by our teachers to come tonight to support the school because someone wanted to ban books. We didn’t know.

    Angie related that the parents accompanying this group sat staring straight ahead. They heard every word she said, but they didn’t say a word to her. The group of students, however, thanked Angie.

    Back to the meeting. In the Daily Local News article above, there is not one word about the book being moved. The word “ban” was used throughout. “Moved” or “kept under age appropriate restriction” was not mentioned. In my previous post I linked to tweets between myself and Candice Monhollan, the reporter who covered the story. She tweeted to me that the school did NOT disclose the fact that the request was that this book be placed under age restriction. I don’t understand why, but for some reason this was left out. People can draw their own conclusions as to why.

    People were wearing buttons. Students spoke about free speech. Teachers spoke out in defense of Nineteen Minutes, and said “banning” books was against freedom of speech, etc. That wasn’t the worst thing, though. The worst thing was the fact that the school board played right along with these uninformed people. This meeting was mob-like. (One news article described the crowd as “civil.” Yeah, sure). The board whipped things up a bit more before they went on to other business. Following is a quote from board member Rudy Alphonso:

    “I think about the principles that our Founding Fathers laid ground for us (and) all the battles and all the people that have died over our 200-plus years to keep these fundamental freedoms in place and to allow us to have the choice whether or not we want to read something or not read something,” he said in his statement. “Banning this book, to me, would almost be like turning my back on all those hundreds of thousands of American veterans, men and women, who have died to allow us to keep those freedoms and not to have censorship. I see this attempt to ban this book as if we live in Nazi Germany. This is the United States of America. The Statue of Liberty rings for everyone.”

    This man and the other board members must have known that the book wasn’t leaving the school, yet he mentioned Nazi Germany. How unbelievably pathetic. Two other members of the school board are fellow parishioners. They also knew a ban was not requested, yet they allowed students and parents to think this was the case. I don’t know these people personally, though I do attend the same church. I must admit that I’m glad I don’t know them, and I hope I never meet them. I don’t think we worship the same God. The lone school board member who voted to place the book in the guidance office was also dissed and misrepresented by the newspapers, of course.

    In addition to my tweets to Ms. Monhollan, I ventured a couple of comments on the Facebook post from the Daily Local News, linked to the story above. I wanted to embed the post here, but I can’t find it on the DL Facebook wall at this time. I don’t know why, but it seems to be gone. If anyone reading this comes across it, let me know. Anyway, in my comment I mentioned the fact that a “ban” wasn’t what was asked for. People came back at me stating that restricting is similar to banning, or some such nonsense. One commenter stated that the Kennett Librarian was probably following recommendations from other schools and libraries and or librarians. That may well be true. For instance, look at the following article from the School Library Journal, “The world’s largest reviewer of books, multimedia and technology for children and teens.”

    This is a review of Lena Dunham’sNot That Kind Of Girl,” reviewed by the SLJ, who also put out a list of  “Best Adult Books For Teens of 2014.” Some of you may be familiar with Dunham and her memoirs. If not you can do more googling. But please understand that the School Library Journal recommends Dunham’s book for teens. If the Kennett Librarian follows such publications, perhaps Dunham’s book is sitting on the shelf. Who knows?

    Again, please read the comments following the Daily Local News article. Following are additional news articles for your perusal from The Unionville Times (Banned Books Button pictured), and The Times of Chester County. Actually this is the same article. It appeared in two different publications.

    Here’s an editorial stating that “Censorship died an ugly, messy death in Kennett Monday night. Let us hope this topic never comes up again.” Here’s a particularly snarky and ignorant post by someone named Tilda Talley-ho. Miss Talley-ho brings up Holocaust deniers. How very kind and tolerant. I could go on, but people with open minds probably get the drift.

    Here’s a word of warning. Take it or leave it as you see fit. The people behind this debacle misrepresented a good person. They probably forgot about it the next day, but it will always be with the person who was maligned. If you’re wearing blinders there’s not much anyone can say, and I doubt anyone who is wearing blinders would read this post anyway. But if you’re paying attention, take note. Some people just “don’t want to get involved.” Okay. That’s all well and good. Just remember what happens to people who continually walk right down the middle of the road. People or animals or whatever. Anything that insists on mincing down the middle of the road is going to get knocked aside sooner or later. Not standing up when good people are trashed enables the bad guys to get away with it. Someday it may be you or your family or friends who are savaged.

    It took me a month to get through Nineteen Minutes. That’s one month of reading time I will never get back. Still, I felt I had to read the damn thing, since my friend was branded a Nazi over it. I was chatting online with a young friend about this situation. (This man recently married, and the Nineteen Minutes debacle I described made him consider homeschooling any future children). My friend told me we should donate Kama Sutra to the High School Library. I told him I didn’t know what Kama Sutra was. (That’s true. I didn’t know what it was until that day). He lol’d and said he thought everyone had heard about it. I hadn’t, but for all I know it could be in some school library somewhere. I wouldn’t make a bet. As of this time, I am putting this damned book, its advocates and the rest of this behind me. I grew up within ten miles of Kennett Square, but things have changed since I was a kid. Apparently I don’t belong in this area. It’s not a very friendly place to live at this time.

    Kennett High School does hold some sentimental value for me, since my parents met there. They both graduated from Kennett. However, I’m very thankful that my children are grown and have moved away. Not very far away, but far enough that their kids will never be subjected to a school district populated with people who do what the people running that school district did to a decent, concerned parent. For that I am truly thankful.

    Update– I spoke to my friend Angie, who wanted to say a few additional words about this situation.

     

    My only concern was the safety and well being of the children of Kennett Consolidated School District.  I was disappointed to witness the vote on November 10th. The school board and the adults who spoke at the meeting acting in a non-serious manner.  They joked about having the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in the library as well. The entire board were laughing except for the one serious, upright board member, Doug Sterling. Mr. Stirling was the only person who showed strength and intelligence by voting to have the book moved.

    I didn’t think the situation was funny. As someone who worked with inner city children in my capacity as a social worker, I was quite saddened by the  board’s lack of care and concern for the children of KCSD. I felt pity for the other adults as well. The teachers, parents and other administrators are either ignorant, or afraid to publicly acknowledge (for whatever reason) that there are some things in print that are not age appropriate. They refused to stand up and protect the kids, who may run the risk of either being harmed or harming others because of the information in Nineteen Minutes. The book detailed dangerous actions that the characters take out of desperation. How can one not see that this book needs to only be available  with adult care and guidance? Any other decision is irresponsible, and does not place the children’s well being front and center. Very sad.

     

    Her words make complete sense. However, the people running the KCSD got their way. I hope they’re happy.

     


  • We Are Never Alone

    Due to the ignorance and hurtful actions of some people, many of us may feel alone at times. We’re not. God is always there.

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    Pictured above is a mosaic image of Christ, on the ceiling of  the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington DC, (known as America’s Catholic Church). I was able to see the shrine in all its magnificence several times, and I feel blessed to have received the Eucharist there.  Though the shrine is filled with beauty, including endless smaller shrines, chapels, statues and mosaics, this large image of Christ is my favorite.He doesn’t look like the gentle lamb here, does he? Here He looks fierce, and ready to come to the aid of His followers.

    Unfortunately, the past few weeks have been a struggle for my friends and myself, due to the unkind actions and slanderous words of some of the people in our community, (and yes, even some fellow parishioners). Today I went to Mass feeling alone. It was difficult to listen to the prayers of general intercession, asking civic leaders to perform their duties fairly, when some of people who hold those positions leave the pews on Sunday and turn around and backstab their neighbors unfairly on Monday. It’s a bit of a drag to enter a church when you know some of the people sitting in it probably wish you would just go away.

    But, God wants my friends and me, and not everyone agrees with the bullies. I discovered this for myself after Mass this morning, when I spoke to a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. She gave me encouragement. God and His followers love their neighbors every day of the week, not only while sitting in the church on Sunday.  This knowledge is comforting.

    I’ll write more on the debacle that prompted this post in the coming weeks.


  • Schadenfreude – (Or, What comes around goes around)

    I don’t often indulge in schadenfreude, but when I do, I enjoy it. I mean I really enjoy it. I laugh and laugh.

    Back in 2008, when John McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate, I was thrilled. I identify strongly with Palin for many reasons, one of which is her love and compassion for children with disabilities like Down Syndrome. The abuse the Palin family has endured from the “tolerant” crowd began immediately after the announcement of her candidacy, and continues to this day. However, that is not the subject of this post.

    As many people know, Sarah Palin went by the nickname “Barracuda” back in the day. Being a Classic Rock addict, as soon as I heard about the nickname I connected it to the band Heart, founded by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. Barracuda is one of Heart’s greatest hits.

    Palin, Conservative Governor of Alaska, married mom, mother of an unborn child with Down Syndrome, and former high school basketball star who went by the nickname Barracuda, had somehow appeared where the tolerant crowd believed she didn’t belong. To them, she was an upstart who needed to be put in her place. That’s when the slurs began. It’s six years later and they haven’t stopped, but again, that’s not my point.

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    As soon as I heard the music, I knew it wouldn’t end well. The McCain/Palin campaign had committed an unpardonable offense. They had played “Barracuda” at the Republican National Convention without permission. Oh, the horror! The Republicans played a rock and roll song by the name of Barracuda at their convention. The Wilson sisters were horrified of course, and were forced to take drastic action. They, like so many others before them, demanded that the Republicans (oh, the horror!) cease and desist from using their song, pronto. The Republicans did. Life, as they say, went on.

    But… there’s a little thing called Karma. Karma is no respecter of persons, even Liberal persons. In fact, Karma can be a real b***h. What goes around does indeed come around, and this time it’s a Democrat being asked to cease and desist. Michelle Nunn, the Democratic Senate candidate from Georgia, was in the news recently when she refused to disclose whether or not she had voted for President Obama. Apparently, admitting to voting for Obama would be a minus for many Democrats, since the President continues to insist that his policies are on the ballot, even if he is not. After spending some time hemming and hawing, Nunn finally admitted that she did, in fact, vote for Obama. It only took a week or so.

    That brings me to the point of this post. Not only did Nunn try to distance herself from Obama (the guy so many Liberal Rock Stars seem to worship), she has repeatedly linked herself to former Republican President George Herbert Walker Bush, who has asked her to cease and desist. George H.W. Bush has been forced to ask a Democratic Senate candidate to stop using his name in campaign ads. It seems he doesn’t want to be connected to her.

    Oh, the irony! After all, George H.W. Bush is a respected former President of the United States, not a Liberal Rock star. Imagine Nunn’s embarrassment at the request to stop using her connection to President Bush in her campaign.

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    The schadenfreude is too good not to savor. It has taken me over. It cannot and will not be stopped until the next Democrat outrage occurs.

    I have one more thing to say. Because he made me laugh today, I consider President Bush a Magic Man. Michelle Nunn, the Wilson sisters and other assorted Palin haters can put that in their collective pipe and smoke it.

     

     


  • Repackaged, But Still A Hard Sell

    Many people–including at least one writer at the New York Times, agree–CBS’s new drama, Madam Secretary, may be based, at least in part, on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    Hillary Clinton Awarded The 2013 Lantos Human Rights Prize

    I haven’t tuned in as of this writing, though I probably will, if only to see for myself what this show is all about. I hope it doesn’t turn out to be an attempt to sell Clinton as our next Commander In Chief. The possibility of Mrs. Clinton becoming the next leader of the free world is the mother of all nightmares.

    Fair minded and well informed Americans are well aware of the attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, on September  11, 2012, and the subsequent cover-up. Click here for information on an in depth interview with men on the ground during the attack. The interview was conducted by Bret Baier, chief political anchor at FNC and host of Special Report, the number one news program on cable.

    Unless you’re a twenty-first century equivalent of Rip Van Winkle, you’ve seen Clinton’s now infamous  “What Difference Does It Make?”  statement.

    The facts speak for themselves. If CBS tries to whitewash Hillary Clinton’s record, with the memory of four dead Americans still fresh in the minds of an informed public, they’ll be making a colossal mistake.

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    Thinking Americans won’t be fooled by a flimsy attempt to rewrite history.


  • Hollywood Movie Stars and Fox News (Or Why Some People Insist on Alienating Half Of Their Audience)

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    It’s a conundrum. It’s a round robin. It’s a huge, bling-covered snowball, rolling down a glitzy mountain, heading toward a mud-hole. To those of us with eyes to see, it exposes a shallow world view, self-importance, bias, ugliness, and most of all, stupidity, but the people who do it seem to think it makes them look good. They don’t understand that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder; they haven’t learned that lesson. They don’t understand that the world has changed, and that ordinary people are sometimes fighting for their lives, due to the fundamental transformation of their country and the world. This transformation was wrought by the very ideology espoused by these bling covered dirt wallowers. They seem completely unaware of what’s happening around them, however, and insist on shouting their foolish opinions to the rooftops. It happens over and over and over again. It results in lost ticket sales, lost fans, and low numbers at the box office, but those who do it cannot seem to stop.

    There seems to be no answer as to why. Maybe, for a short time, they experience a feel good rush–similar to what a crack addict might possibly feel after a fix–as they degrade the folks who support their industry. That may be the answer, since nothing else makes sense. What industry continually mocks and disparages over half of the people upon whom they depend for their success? Hollywood, of course.

    The latest example is Viggo Mortenson, who told the Huffington Post that: “Fox News is appallingly shallow and manipulative.”  He must be watching a different network than the one I depend upon for factual reporting. Here are a few examples of reports on Obamacare from Fox. “California Cancer Patient is Losing Health Insurance” , featured on “The Kelly File” , one of the most informative news shows on the air for folks like me–those who want real news. Obamacare affects ordinary people.

    Fox does in depth reporting on facts, despite the foolish blindness of their detractors. Stories such as the following are important to ordinary Americans:   “Republican lawmakers say the “bombshell” findings by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) show the Obama administration misled the American public when it insisted abortions would not be paid for by federal funds under the health care law.” , and this: Obamacare exchanges limit access to top hospitals, medical centers” .

    The Obamacare debacle is one of the most important stories of Obama’s presidency, yet Fox News seems to be the only major network reporting stories about its affect on ordinary American citizens. It’s hurting many people. In addition to Obamacare, we ordinary taxpayers worry about Obama’s Foreign policy decisions, his use of the IRS to attack groups who don’t fall in line  with his ideology, and the many cover-ups associated with top administration officials.

    These issues are important to us. Americans are being forced to deal with higher prices from everything from healthcare to milk. We may have to choose between a movie ticket and milk. No offense Mr. Mortenson, but…you’re not that good. You’re no Clint Eastwood. You’re no Jon Voight. You’re No Robert DuVall. We don’t need you.

    Imagine Aragorn, (Mortenson’s character in “The Lord Of The Rings), being on the side of the Orcs. That’s what reading such commentary from Mortenson is like for me, personally. It’s getting old. I won’t support his new movie. I won’t support any actor who disparages my family or myself.

    Here’s a scene from Mortenson’s first movie, (Witness, 1985). Witness is a terrific movie, shot in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, an hour away from my home. Mortenson should remember where he got his start. Perhaps he should watch this film. His attitude seems to be similar to that of the Danny Glover character, or even those who attacked the Amish, not understanding, or even caring about their beliefs.

    Mortenson, like so many other celebrities, seems to be blind. If his upcoming film does poorly at the box office, he may or may not figure out why. If he’s smart, he’ll try to get inside the heads of real Americans. Otherwise, this line from The Lord Of The Rings might well become his reality with regard to his stardom, rather than fantasy…  “I can avoid being seen if I wish. But to disappear entirely, that is a rare gift.”

    Hollywood actors and actresses depend on We The People for their success. They’d do better if they remembered that fact.