Schlafly's legacy marches on against latest push for ERA
By Rebecca Hagelin -- Sunday, January 13, 2019
Radical activists are attempting to raise the rotting corpse of the so-called Equal Rights Amendment, but thanks to the late, great Phyllis Schlafly, intelligent women are ready to drive a stake into the heart of the beast.
The ERA was never about gaining equality under the law for women. When it was debated and exposed from 1972 to 1982, Americans learned that the title was fraudulent, designed to cause people to nod in agreement at the mere sound of those beautiful words without ever bothering to ponder the amendment itself.
But Schlafly did bother to look behind the platitudes and then dared to take on the establishment and share the dangerous truth that the amendment was actually designed to create social chaos and give a power-hungry Congress near absolute control over every aspect of our lives.
Schlafly’s courageous efforts to protect American culture and time-honored truths inspired an army of women to rise up and fight the liars and their lies. When the ERA failed to be ratified by 38 states by the congressionally established deadline, Schlafly and her new organization, Eagle Forum, threw a huge banquet to celebrate its demise. I remember it well because I was fortunate enough to be there.
The image shows a father praying over his newborn son in a Brazilian hospital nursery. Taken moments after the newborn’s birth, the photo was captured by Jana Brasil Photography, and countless people have been touched by the candid, prayerful moment. A series of photos, including the one of prayer, originally was posted on Instagram by the father in the photo, Victor Calmon.
The 33-year-old first-time father took to social media to share a few words about his family, writing: “That moment when it hits you like a ton of bricks and your hands are shaking because you suddenly discover your purpose and the reason you’re in this world. To God I say, ‘Thank you,’ to my wife I say, ‘I love you,’ and to my son I say, ‘Welcome!’”
Calmon’s photo has been shared thousands of times on social media since his son Ivan’s birth in July 2018. In an interview with Brazilian magazine Crescer, Calmon commented on the spontaneous moment when he decided to pray:
“I saw myself at the center of a complicated situation, you know, and everything was new to me, and incredible fear came over me. Now, I wouldn’t be worrying just about me anymore; I had this new life to take care of. So I got over my embarrassment and just knelt down and talked to God. I asked him to help me mature, to become a better man, a good father, a good husband, and to increase my desire to grow and work, so that my child might not lack anything.”
In a time when the meaning of masculinity and fatherhood are being questioned, photos like Calmon’s are a humbling reminder that parenthood is a beautiful, necessary part of life. This photo not only captures a special moment between father and son, but reminds us that life is something to be treasured.
This Fordham professor has no tolerance for ‘throwaway culture’ and is trying to do something about it.
Charles Camosy is an associate professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University. A board member of Democrats for Life, he is author of the upcoming book Resisting Throwaway Culture. He’s a Catholic who won’t let the Democrats go down without a fight, and you can often find him trying to build bridges and find common cause between liberals and conservatives on saving human life and building a culture of life. He’s also an adoptive father. We talk about some of these issues as we approach the March for Life this week and the anniversary of that grave Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, 46 years ago.
Kathryn Jean Lopez: Why did you bother to write an op-ed about abortion and life issues in the New York Times last week?
Charles Camosy: Well, to be honest, I was disgusted by the recent fetal-personhood series published by the Times editorial board. It not only lacked viewpoint diversity and used offensive language to describe the prenatal child, it cynically used outlier cases to give the impression that one of the goals of pro-lifers is to jail women. Despite the fact that every pro-life organization has repeatedly and publicly said they do not want this.
To their credit, when I wrote to the op-ed folks at the Times and challenged them on the lack of viewpoint diversity in the series, they gave me the chance to respond. I decided to highlight the offensive and disingenuous use of using certain kinds of language — phrases like “clusters of cells” — to refer to prenatal children. This is the classic methodology of what Pope Francis calls “throwaway culture.” Vulnerable populations that are most inconvenient for those who have power are often branded with certain words or phrases that “thingify” them so they can be more easily used and/or discarded as mere objects or trash.
Liberty Counsel is partnering with the National Pro-Life Center to hold a “Remembering the Unborn Memorial” on Tuesday, January 22, in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Three thousand flowers will be placed on the sidewalk in front of the Court at 12 p.m. to represent the American babies that are killed every day by abortion.
January 22 is designated as the National Sanctity of Human Life Day and marks the 46th year since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, along with its companion case Doe v. Bolton, the infamous abortion opinions that opened the doors to killing pre-born babies for any reason and at any stage of development. Since that tragic day in 1973, approximately 60 million innocent children have been brutally killed by abortion.
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation designating January 22 as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. Part of the proclamation states: “I call upon the citizens of this blessed land to gather on that day in homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life.”
The public is invited to participate in the “Remembering the Unborn Memorial” by sponsoring a flower as well as helping to place them in front of the Supreme Court.
Only 7 percent of millennials support Democratic Party’s position on abortion
Ninety-three percent of millennial-aged Americans do not subscribe to the official Democratic Party platform on abortion, according to a newly released survey by a pro-life student group.
The poll, released Monday by Students for Life of America's Institute for Pro-Life Advancement, found that only 7 percent of millennials surveyed supported taxpayer funding of abortions and abortion without any legal restrictions. This contrasts with the stated position of the Democratic Party on the issue of abortion.
According to the 2016 Democratic Party platform, “every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured.”
“We believe that reproductive health is core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health and wellbeing. We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people,” says the platform.
In addition, 70 percent of surveyed millennials supported limits on abortion, with 42 percent opposing abortion “broadly” while 28 percent supported specific policies like parental notification, limiting abortion later in pregnancy, and halting government funding of abortion.
Other findings included 41 percent of millennials supporting the overturning of Roe v. Wade and equal numbers identifying as “pro-life” and “pro-choice” (39 percent).
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, argued that the survey showed that “labels like pro-life, pro-choice, access, health, or women’s rights often camouflage the true realities of the policies that today crisscross the country.”
“Especially as we talk with Millennials, who are often outside the political structure of Washington, D.C., the anti-abortion movement must be clear on what we are advancing and its impact on mothers, the preborn and taxpayers,” said Hawkins.
Blackburn targets abortion providers in her first Senate bill
As her first introduction of U.S. Senate legislation, Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn announced on Thursday evening a bill aimed at stripping all federal funding from organizations that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood.
The newly-installed senator's proposal for the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act would take away funding from providers under Title X of the Public Health Service Act.
"Tennesseans and the American people do not want their tax dollars funding abortions," reads a statement from Blackburn. "They have made this position clear time and again. Hardworking taxpayers do not want to subsidize the business of abortion providers and entities such as Planned Parenthood."
NFL Player Ben Watson: “Abortion Will Not End Until Men Stand Up” for Women and Children
Human Coalition has launched two resources aimed at equipping men for their role in ending abortion.
Abortion: The Ultimate Exploitation of Women, by Human Coalition President Brian E. Fisher, examines men’s role in subjugating women with abortion, challenging men to engage in the pro-life cause. Alongside the book, Human Coalition created an online resource center: AbortionExploitsWomen.com. The resources will equip men to fight for life in a sex-obsessed culture which has accepted abortion as “a women’s issue.”
Benjamin Watson, Super Bowl champion and author, said: “It is past time for men to be the leaders, caretakers and protectors they were created to be. As with many other social injustices, abortion will not end until men stand up for both the lives of the innocent and the mothers in crisis. While it has been attractively packaged by some, abortion is the most egregious social injustice of our time. This book, as well as the work of Human Coalition, has and will continue to play a vital role in encouraging men to understand, confront, and embrace their responsibility in righting this wrong during what has proved to be a very unpopular time to do so. We cannot remain silent.”
Post-abortive men, too, are beginning to take up the rallying cry. Human Coalition’s Jeff Bradford experienced a deeply wounding abortion loss that he says could have been avoided if there had been a voice advocating life in his circumstances. Bradford shared: “My daughter, who would now be 25 years old, would be alive today if someone had stood in the gap for us. This is why education, communication and resources to equip men to stand up for our sons and daughters are so vital. I believe God is calling men to be men and help lead the way to ending the greatest holocaust of our day.”
6,000 unite at Chicago March for Life, dwarfing pro-abortion counter-protest
After a dinner Saturday evening featuring remarks by March for Life Chicago president Dawn Fitzpatrick, national March for Life Education and Defense Fund president Jeanne Mancini and West Coast Walk for Life coordinator Eva Muntean on Sunday saw approximately 6,000 pro-lifers march the Chicago Loop starting and eventually returning to Federal Plaza, WGN 9 reported.
“We mark with deep sadness the great tragedy of the legalization of abortion in the United States along with the devastating social, moral, and legal consequences that have followed,” the March’s website says of its purpose. “Our vision is that, marching together in hope, we call upon religious, civic, and community leaders to renew every effort to build a nation that affirms the authentic dignity of women and men, the gift of children, and a culture dedicated to protecting life at every stage of development in law and love.”
Mancini and Radiance Foundation president Ryan Bomberger served as the event’s keynote speakers, and marchers heard remarks from Archbishop of Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod president Dr. Matthew Harrison, Chicago Bears co-owner Pat McCaskey, Reps. Darin LaHood and Dan Lipinski, and more. Sunday also saw a youth rally with music and multiple Masses for life.
Photos of the turnout show packed streets with enthusiastic men and women of all ages bundled up and bearing signs proclaiming “right to be born,” “abortion takes a human life,” “a person’s a person no matter how small,” and more.
Pro-Life Vice President Mike Pence to Address 37th Annual March for Life Rose Dinner
Vice President Mike Pence is a longtime pro-life advocate and signed legislation while he was Indiana governor to save babies from abortions.
Today, March for Life announced that Vice President Pence will address its 37th annual Rose Dinner happening on January 18th, 2019.
“It is a great honor to have Vice President Pence speak at this year’s Rose Dinner,” said Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life.
She told LifeNews, “The Vice President made history in 2017 when he addressed the March for Life just one week after the inauguration, and we are delighted to have him return to speak in a more intimate setting. Throughout his extensive career, Vice President Pence has remained exemplary in his commitment to protecting the sanctity of unborn life and it is our utmost privilege to have a pro-life champion of his stature address this year’s Rose Dinner.”
Pence will be joined by keynote speaker Dr. Kathi Aultman, former abortionist and fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in addressing the 37th annual Rose Dinner.
Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter has praised Pence, saying he “is devoted to protecting the unborn and their mothers” and that his pro-life views are “more than a talking point.”
Pence has put his pro-life position into action time and time again. Indiana is a better state for the unborn and their mothers because of the Governor’s pro-life leadership.
“Even before becoming the state’s top executive, Gov. Pence demonstrated his willingness to fight for the protection of life in a meaningful way. In Congress, Pence led the effort to defund the nation’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood,” Fichter added.
In 2017, Pence addressed the March for Life, making him the first vice president ever to address the pro-life event in person.
“Let me be clear: People who know me well know I’m pro-life, and I don’t apologize for it,” he’s said previously. “I want to live to see the day that we put the sanctity of life back at the center of American law, and we send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history, where it belongs.”
During his time as governor, Pence signed legislation to bring dignity to the unborn and their mothers. Among the pro-life measures signed by Gov. Pence:
Prohibit children from being targeted for abortion on the sole basis of their sex, race, national origin or a potential disability
Provide final dignified disposition of aborted babies so that they aren’t treated as medical waste or used for experiments
Establish health and safety standards are chemical abortion facilities
Provide $1,000 adoption credit for parents
Increase penalties for failure to properly report abortions
Promote umbilical cord donation, an ethical alternative to embryonic stem cell research
Require that abortion doctors document their admitting privileges with the State Department of Health
Increase awareness of positive support for parents of Down syndrome children
Provide information on perinatal hospice to parents who receive an adverse prenatal diagnosis
Increase informed consent measures for women seeking abortions, including full color photos of fetal development printed in informed consent information
Protect consumers from being forced to pay for private insurance plans that include unrestricted abortion coverage
Youngest black legislator in US is pro-life and pro-God
WEST VIRGINIA, January 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Among the new lawmakers beginning their political careers this month is Caleb Hanna, who is making history as the nation’s youngest black legislator, as well as a young man who says faith and the right to life are central to his worldview.
While still an 18-year-old high school senior, Hanna launched a bid for the Republican nomination to represent West Virginia’s 44th district in the House of Delegates, declaring himself “proudly a Christian conservative.” He defeated Elijah Karnes in the GOP primary with 72.9 percent of the vote, and went on to oust incumbent Democrat Del. Dana Lynch with 60.3 percent of the vote.
“I support the WV Pro-Life movement” and “will be a passionate, effective, and conservative fighter for limited government, economic growth, and the Constitution,” he promised in his introductory statement. On his campaign website, he also identifies as an opponent of Common Core.
In a profile by the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Hanna explains that he was first inspired to consider a political career as a third-grader watching another charismatic and relatively youthful black man, Barack Obama, rise to the presidency. “I thought, ‘I can do that,’” he recalls, but notes he was also influenced by the impact of Obama’s policies on his own family. “My dad got laid off in the mines.”
Another major influence is his faith; Hanna is a member of Little Laurel Baptist Church and was active in Richwood High School’s Christian group YoungLife.
“God, guns, and babies, that pretty much sums up my political philosophy,” he says. Hanna added that the national Democrat Party is incompatible with his values on the right to life and other issues.
West Virginia pro-lifers won another significant victory last November when voters approved a ballot initiative clarifying that the state Constitution contains no “right” to abortion.
Another challenge facing Hanna will be to balance public service with higher education. Hanna is pursuing an economics degree from West Virginia State University, and hopes to go on to law school from there. He told the Gazette-Mailhe’s currently working with his university adviser to arrange his classes around legislative sessions.
Latest Climate Report Feeds into Alarmist Fearmongering
Dec 3rd, 2018 | Nicolas Loris
The latest National Climate Assessment, released just last week, aims to plant yet another seed of climate catastrophism into the mind of the public. Predictably, its worst-case scenarios got huge play in the media. After all, disaster sells.
But the doomsday scenarios that animated talking heads throughout the weekend aren’t just highly unlikely; they’re close to impossible. For example, the report speculated that climate “inaction” could result in as much as a 10 percent drop in U.S. gross domestic product by 2100. Admittedly, a lot can happen in 82 years. But a 10 percent drop in GDP is more than twice the loss suffered during the Great Recession.
How could things get so bad? Well, put garbage in, and you’ll get garbage out. The study, funded in part by climate warrior Tom Steyer, calculates these costs by assuming that the world will be 15 degrees Fahrenheit warmer by 2100. That mind-boggling assumption is even higher than the worst-case scenario predicted by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In other words, it is completely unrealistic.
Other scary projections in the National Climate Assessment rely on a theoretical climate trajectory known as Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (RCP 8.5) — one of four trajectories that climatologists use to estimate the effects of different greenhouse-gas concentrations.
To put it plainly, RCP 8.5 assumes a combination of extreme factors — all bad — that are not likely to all coincide. It assumes “the fastest population growth (a doubling of Earth’s population to 12 billion), the lowest rate of technology development, slow GDP growth, a massive increase in world poverty, plus high energy use and emissions.”
This extraordinary scenario assumes a massive increase in coal consumption — completely ignoring the dramatic increase in natural-gas production from the shale revolution. It also ignores technological innovations that continue to occur in nuclear and renewable technologies.
When taking a more realistic view of the future of conventional fuel use and increased greenhouse-gas emissions, the doomsday scenarios vanish. Climatologist Judith Curry recently wrote, “Many ‘catastrophic’ impacts of climate change don’t really kick at the lower CO2 concentrations, and RCP 8.5 then becomes useful as a ‘scare’ tactic.”
But last year’s National Climate Assessment on extreme weather tells a different story. As University of Colorado Boulder professor Roger Pielke Jr. pointed out in a Twitter thread in August 2017, there were no increases in drought, no increases in frequency or magnitude of floods, no trends in frequency or intensity of hurricanes, and “low confidence for a detectable human climate change contribution in the Western United States based on existing studies.”
It’s hard to imagine all of that could be flipped on its head in a matter of a year.
The reality, however, is that all of the currently favored proposals for combatting climate change carry significant costs and (here’s the even more important part) would do nothing to mitigate warming, even if there were a looming catastrophe like the National Climate Assessment imagines.
These policies would simply divert resources away from more valuable use, such as investing in more robust infrastructure to protect against natural disasters or investing in new technologies that make Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 even more of an afterthought than it already should be.
The climate crisis industry incessantly claims that fossil fuel emissions are causing unprecedented temperature, climate and weather changes that pose existential threats to human civilization and our planet. The only solution, Climate Crisis, Inc. insists, is to eliminate the oil, coal and natural gas that provide 80% of the energy that makes US and global economies, health and living standards possible.
Failing that, CCI demands steadily increasing taxes on carbon-based fuels and carbon dioxide emissions.
However, as France’s Yellow Vest protests and the latest climate confab in Poland demonstrated, the world is not prepared to go down that dark path. Countries worldwide are expanding their reliable fossil fuel use, and families do not want to reduce their living standards or their aspirations for better lives.
Moreover, climate computer model forecasts are completely out of touch with real-world observations. There is no evidence to support claims that the slight temperature, climate and weather changes we’ve experienced are dangerous, unprecedented or caused by humans, instead of by the powerful solar, oceanic and other natural forces that have driven similar or far more serious changes throughout history.
More importantly, the CCI “solutions” would cause unprecedented disruption of modern industrialized societies; permanent poverty and disease in poor countries; and serious ecological damage worldwide.
Nothing that is required to harness breezes and sunshine to power civilization is clean, green, renewable, climate-friendly or sustainable. Tens of billions of tons of rock would have to be removed, to extract billions of tons of ores, to create millions of tons of metals, concrete and other materials, to manufacture millions of wind turbines and solar panels, and install them on millions of acres of wildlife habitats – to generate expensive, intermittent energy that would be grossly insufficient for humanity’s needs. Every step in this process requires fossil fuels – and some of the mining involves child labor.
How do CCI alarmists respond to these points? They don’t. They refuse to engage in or even permit civil discussion. They rant that anyone “who denies climate change science” is on the fossil fuel industry payroll, thus has a blatant conflict of interest and no credibility, and therefore should be ignored.
“Rebuttals” to my recent “We are still IN” article cited Greenpeace and DeSmogBlog as their “reliable sources” and claimed: I’m “associated with” several “right-wing think tanks that are skeptical of man-made climate change.” One of them “received $582,000 from ExxonMobil” over a 14-year period, another got “$5,716,325 from Koch foundations” over 18 years, and the Koch Brothers gave “at least $100,343,292 to 84 groups denying climate change science” in 20 years, my detractors claimed.
Here’s What We Know About The Group Behind Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal
A recent profile identified several progressive institutions funding the Sunrise Movement, a nascent environmentalist organization that is quickly wielding influence in Washington, D.C.
Founded in April 2017, the Sunrise Movement is a newcomer among the many green organizations that have already been established for generations. However, the youth-led climate group quickly garnered national attention and high-dollar donations from across the country. Between its 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) entities, the group was able to raise just shy of $1 million during 2018 — and members intend to raise $2.5 million in 2019.
Despite growing attention from the media, it’s been difficult to pinpoint exactly who is funding the Sunrise Movement. The group is not legally required to disclose its donors. However, a recent report from Inside Philanthropy, an outlet focused on philanthropic groups and their big donors, shed some light.
The Rockefeller Fund, the Wallace Global Fund and the Winslow Foundation are core funders of Sunrise Movement. The three groups have continued to finance a large portion of Sunrise’s operations, with institutional funders making up 55 percent of the group’s 2018 budget. Thirty-five percent of its budget came from individual donors, and the rest came from non-profit partners.
Sunrise’s core funders have a long history of bankrolling left-wing activities.
The Global Wallace Fund has given nearly $7 million to population control groups since the 1990s. The Rockefeller Family Fund has led a war against ExxonMobil, acknowledging it has colluded with Democratic attorneys general and funded negative media coverage against the oil company, The Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported.
“What’s been nice about [the past month] is that our impact is incredibly clear and everybody is seeing it, because of the way we’ve been able to put truly ambitious and truly equitable climate action on the map in a way that nobody expected,” William Lawrence, co-founder and development director for Sunrise, stated. “That’s opened some doors that might have been closed before, because people are seeing the value of movement building.”
The group enjoyed a surge in donations after the protest.
At least some of the salaries for Sunrise Movement staffers, according to Inside Philanthropies, are not based on conventional compensation agreements, but on what members claim they need to support themselves.
Climate change: Meet the Florida congresswoman leading the House charge
WASHINGTON – The warnings about climate change are dire: bigger floods, larger fires, larger storms.
Most experts agree there's little to prevent these catastrophes without swift action on climate change.
Enter Rep. Kathy Castor, the Florida Democrat that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has chosen to chair the new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
A Capitol Hill veteran and clean energy champion with a background as an environmental lawyer, the Tampa Democrat plans to shine a light on the very climate issues many Democratic candidates ran on in November to win back the House.
Over the next 15 months, the panel will make policy recommendations, push for legislation and cast a spotlight on the growing dangers of man-made global warming that's spelled out in a chilling a federal report released in November.
"We are in a race against time," Castor, 52, told USA TODAY recently.
The committee already faces obstacles:
• Republicans, who have consistently downplayed the effects of climate change, say the panel is unfairly partisan (nine Democrats vs. six Republicans).
• Progressives, who support a comprehensive approach known as the Green New Deal, worry the committee won't be aggressive enough.
The panel will only be able to do so much.
It won’t have the power to subpoena documents or depose witnesses. It ultimately will have to rely on standing committees to adopt its recommendations. And any ambitious measures are unlikely to win passage in the Republican-held Senate or be signed by President Donald Trump who has dismissed global warming as a "hoax" and made environmental deregulation a cornerstone of his economic agenda.
Castor spoke with USA TODAY about the charge of her committee and the challenges it faces:
Q: Much of the information on climate change is out there. So what do you hope to accomplish with this new committee?
Castor: We're going to press for dramatic carbon pollution reduction. We want to win the clean energy future to defend the American way of life and avoid catastrophic and costly weather events that have dire impacts.
Q: What are some of the issues you want to pursue and how will you work with the standing congressional committee to achieve them?
Castor:Right off the bat, we will tackle fuel economy standards, make sure the Commerce Committee and the (Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) are focused on that. The Financial Services Committee has to do a flood insurance reform bill. We will be involved in that as well.
Q: You mentioned flood insurance. Representing a coastal district, you know what flooding and storms can do. Should we rebuild along the shore?
Castor: We shouldn't be insuring at taxpayer expense homes and businesses that have been destroyed repeatedly on the shore.Folks know full well that they're in hurricane's path or flood's path and they do that on their own. I'm concerned the (flood) maps are not up-to-date, that states and local communities are not acting fast enough to adopt policies to revise maps.
Q: Is there a concern you may getting in the way of standing committees who are already charged with environmental protection and climate change issues?
Castor: No, we're going to be complimentary. This is a collaborative effort. It's just being elevated because the threat to our way of life is at stake. It's all hands on deck.
Q: What's your response to Republicans who say the panel will be stacked with Democrats and have too much latitude to go after issues beyond its scope?
Castor: Look, we've had so much delay and Republicans have had their heads in the sand here in the Congress. I've just been through a time in the minority on (the) Energy and Commerce (Committee) where they refused to have even one hearing on the climate or hear any legislation dealing with the escalating cost of climate of extreme weather events. And I do see our jurisdiction as being very broad. We're talking about the planet.
Q: How will the committee go about highlighting the consequences of climate change?
Castor: We intend to tell the stories of communities that are taking action despite the inaction from the Congress and the Trump administration. There are some conservative, rural areas that are going renewable and reducing carbon pollution and we're going to shine a light on their good work. And for bad actors that know better, we intend to make sure they're famous as well.
Q: Even if the House passes ambitious measures, their chance of becoming law is slim given the positions of the president and the Senate. So why try?
Castor: We don't have time to wait. Whatever we can press to accomplish as soon as possible, we will do that.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might want to confiscate someone’s selfie stick.
CNN’s Jim Acosta was mocked across social media on Thursday for posting a video that was meant to downplay President Trump's claims of a border crisis -- but ended up supporting his argument that border barriers improve security.
“Here are some of the steel slats that the president’s been talking about,” Acosta said while reporting from the southern border. “But as we’re walking along here, we’re not seeing any kind of imminent danger.”
The CNN reporter added, “There are no migrants trying to rush toward this fence.”
Acosta then declared there was “no sign of the national emergency that the president has been talking about” and it was “tranquil” near him. He captioned the video, “I found some steel slats down on the border. But I don’t see anything resembling a national emergency situation.. at least not in the McAllen TX area of the border where Trump will be today.”
Early Thursday evening, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders retweeted Acosta’s tweet with a proud clapback: “When I went with President @realDonaldTrump to the border today I never imagined @Acosta would be there doing our job for us and so clearly explaining why WALLS WORK. Thanks Jim!”
CNN’s chief White House correspondent – who seemingly uploaded the video from a local Burger King – is in Texas awaiting Trump’s border visit. While Acosta often clashes with the president and his aides, pundits suggested he did the president a favor this time.
Media watchdogs were quick to point out that the CNN reporter’s video helps prove Trump’s point that a wall or barrier along the Southern border could help prevent illegal border crossings.
“Jim Acosta just posted one of the biggest self owns ever,” social media strategist Caleb Hull responded. ‘He's walking along the border where there's a wall in place talking about how there's nothing that ‘resembles a national emergency situation’ and ‘there's no migrants trying to rush.’ That's because there's a wall, Jim.”
Others swiping at Acosta included one of his former CNN colleagues Peter Hamby
Acosta – who has emerged as a household name for grandstanding when Trump and members of his administration are made available to the press – has been praised by liberal comedians such as Jimmy Kimmel and even appeared in the most recent season of the Netflix political drama “House of Cards.”
Last year, Acosta was briefly banned from the White House after he engaged in a contentious back-and-forth with Trump during a Nov. 7 press conference. During the now-infamous moment, Acosta refused to pass the microphone to a female White House aide.
Acosta’s press pass was restored on Nov. 19 after CNN argued that keeping him out of the White House violated the network and Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights.
Emotional Learning Will Be the Downfall of Society
Critics of the public school system, myself included, often disparage government schools for failing to teach kids. Yes, it’s alarming U.S. students continue to lag academically behind their international peers (only about one-third of high school graduates are prepared for college), and it’s pathetic most students test very poorly in geography, civics, reading, and math. As bad as it is that schools aren’t teaching our kids important areas of learning, it’s what they are teaching that should really frighten us.
Increasingly, more schools are adopting an aggressively progressive curriculum. In Minnesota, “School leaders adopted the ‘All for All’ strategic plan—a sweeping initiative that reordered the district’s mission from academic excellence for all students to ‘racial equity,’”TheWeekly Standard reported in February. Children in kindergarten are expected to become “racially conscious” and examine their “white privilege.” And leftists’ radical agenda is taking hold in a less blatant but no less toxic way in the rise of social and emotional learning (SEL), which presents just as much danger to parents, kids, and the education system as Common Core.
SEL is “a coordinating framework for how educators, families, and communities partner to promote students’ social, emotional, and academic learning,” the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) states on its website. CASEL is one of the masterminds behind the SEL movement. “A growing number of schools and districts” are “imbedding” SEL into “English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and general teaching approaches,” CASEL reports.
The way children “feel” about their skin color is likely a product of SEL making its way into Minnesota schools’ social studies curricula. But how do emotions come into play in a straight-forward subject such as math? For me, I suppose I could talk about how just thinking about math makes me sad, because I’m terrible at it and it’s difficult, but how is such a thing profitable, let alone appropriate, in the public school setting?
Tennessee to become national pioneer in creating social and emotional standards
As the Tennessee Department of Education prepares to roll out new academic standards in math, English, social studies and science, it’s turning attention to creating the state’s first-ever set of standards in a completely new arena — social and emotional learning.
Tennessee will spend the next year on the task as one of eight states chosen to draft new standards focused on students’ emotional well-being and mental health in grades K-12.
That means setting benchmarks for what students should know or be able to do in each grade when it comes to skills such as decision-making, self-awareness, social awareness, self-control, and establishing and maintaining healthy relationships.
The idea is that setting grade-appropriate standards for social and emotional learning can help teachers help their students thrive both in and out of the classroom.
“These are the type of skills important for students to possess to be ready for college or career,” said Pat Conner, the department’s director of safe and supportive schools.
The standards will be developed in collaboration with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, also known as CASEL, which announced this week that Tennessee will join the initiative along with California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Washington. The national organization previously has partnered with urban districts including Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools but is branching out into state policy to spread strategies around social and emotional learning.
Tennessee’s new standards will be drafted beginning Sept. 1 by a team that includes researchers, parents and educators. The final product will be reviewed next July by the State Board of Education.
“(The standards) will establish social and emotional learning as a priority in education,” said Conner, who has worked with at-risk youth in Tennessee for 30 years.
Strategies to bolster social and emotional skills include class meetings, breathing exercises, individual check-ins and safe spaces where students can go to calm down without feeling like they’re being punished.
“When a child goes off in class and a teacher understands what’s going on in that student’s life, she can help them manage that,” Conner said, adding that good teachers have been doing these things all along.
The initiative is the latest in the State Department’s efforts to support children beyond academics. In 2010, Tennessee was one of 11 states to win a grant for safe and supportive schools, and became the only state to develop a survey to evaluate “conditions for learning” in its schools including safety, supportive discipline practices and teacher-student relationships. Last year, the state released a toolkit for teachers seeking ways to incorporate social and emotional learning in their classrooms.
This year, the state also is rolling out a voluntary Response to Instruction and Intervention for Behavior framework that aims to quickly identify students’ behavioral problems so they can be matched with the proper supports.
Is This the Beginning of the End for Public Schools?
Have public schools run their course? Just asking that question will irritate a lot of people, Christians included. But I think we have to ask the question, given an announcement last week by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce relative to what it wants from public education. Those who don’t ask and answer the question may not like what becomes of their children as adults.
Last week the headline to a front-page story in The Tennessean said the Nashville Chamber of Commerce “wants to focus on social emotional learning.” Of course, the Haslam administration has been dabbling in developing content for social emotional learning for the last few years in-between toothless barks from some legislators.
But what is it? Here’s how The Tennessean described it and the Nashville Chamber’s push for it:
Framed by the question of what students need to be successful in the classroom, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce in its annual education report card is throwing its collective influence behind a growing push for schools to provide students with social emotional learning.
SEL, as it is known, is a method to teach students the skills to regulate emotions and to provide them with positive relationships and goals. It takes a less punitive route toward student interactions and reinforces positive behavior.
‘SEL’ When I Was in Public School
When I was at Missionary Ridge Elementary School in the 1960s in the conservative and heavily churched community of Chattanooga, we had a form of SEL. With respect to the boys, at least, it was the school principal, Mr. Cassidy Bailey, gently but firmly and repeatedly poking his finger into the misbehaving boy’s chest while saying, “We don’t do that at Missionary Ridge.”
But at that time in that community and in that particular school, students were being taught a set of shared values at home by mostly intact families and the public school reflected those values.
This Judeo-Christian hegemony between homes, the community, and the operation of Chattanooga’s public schools into the 1960s made it possible for Mr. Bailey to correct and admonish us without much conflict, though I’m sure some chafed. But they didn’t file lawsuits and demand that the majority cater to them.
But there is no prevailing hegemony today, let alone a Judeo-Christian one, and, in any event, that’s not what we’re now talking about with SEL. When I was at Missionary Ridge, values were perhaps caught, but they weren’t formally taught, at least not by the school itself, and that’s what we’re talking about now.
For example, with SEL, what understanding of the human person and human emotions, their nature and cause, will undergird the instruction? Are human emotions determined by stimuli outside of us or only influenced by them? To what in us does stimuli appeal that either determines or influences our responses? Is “better” behavior a product of controlling external stimuli, or is there something in us that really needs to be addressed that different stimuli will eventually provoke anyway?
And what behavior is better? What view or understanding of right and wrong behavior will be used to evaluate the actor and the response of the actor? These are ethical questions, and we need to know on what underlying basis these ethical determinations will be made.
For example, is it wrong for one student to tell a fellow student that marriage is between a man and a woman when asked or when the subject arises? It wouldn’t have been at Missionary Ridge. Today, it would probably be wrong in the eyes of many public-school administrators, though perhaps not wrong in the eyes of that student’s parents.
But what if a fellow student whose father is married to another man hears the comment and tells the principal he or she feels bullied and threatened by it? Does the school punish the commenting student because the school judges that student’s comment to be morally wrong? Does the school affirm the student’s comment as morally correct but punish the student anyway because it is morally incorrect to make any statement that a fellow student thinks is hurtful or offensive? Or does the school tell the offended student that, whether the comment was morally correct or incorrect, he or she should learn not to be so sensitive to words?
Ethical neutrality is impossible.
Is Government Indoctrination Okay With You?
The point, as I’ve made in the past, is that education necessarily teaches ethical values, even as Mr. Bailey did when he used his finger and said, “We don’t do that at Missionary Ridge.” And he would have been teaching a value had he ignored a student’s complaint about a fellow student or told him or her to “get over it.”
Moreover, behind these ethical values is a worldview, a way of looking at the world by which certain beliefs and actions are considered ethically right or wrong. Even to deny that education teaches ethical values comes from a worldview.
So we need to face the fact that in an increasingly pluralistic society, civil government’s public schools are going to teach our children a particular set of values and a particular worldview. They can’t teach students all the sets of worldviews and associated values and teach that they are equally valid. Not if they are going to “teach students the skills to regulate emotions . . . and reinforc[e] positive behavior.”
And with compulsory attendance laws, this really boils down to a matter of compulsory indoctrination by civil government if the parent can’t afford a private alternative.
Do we really want parents to be forced into a position in which they feel they have no option but to have their child taught a worldview and set of ethical values with which they disagree? And what person who loves and cares about the parents of the child next door wants that for those parents?
I don’t, but what about you? If you care, then the coming push for SEL means that you, too, need to start asking if public schools have run their course.
Framed by the question of what students need to be successful in the classroom, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce in its annual education report card is throwing its collective influence behind a growing push for schools to provide students with social emotional learning.
SEL, as it is known, is a method to teach students the skills to regulate emotions and to provide them with positive relationships and goals. It takes a less punitive route toward student interactions and reinforces positive behavior.
"We need to emotionally help kids become responsible adults," said Dane Danielson, co-chair of the 2018 Chamber Report Card committee and Gould Turner Group education director. "We heard this from a principal, 'We teach students to learn math, you can teach a child to learn English, but if a child misbehaves, we punish them.'"
“Our ability to accelerate achievement in the future is dependent on meeting the social and emotional learning needs of our students,” Joseph said. “We expect it, and the students deserve it.”
Urban League of Middle Tennessee President and CEO Clifton Harris, who also served as co-chair of the chamber's effort, said the goal of this year's report card was to put students first. It requires a community effort, Harris said.
"They also require vitally important training, support, and resources, financial and otherwise," Harris said.
One of the top recommendations includes pushing the school board to adopt a policy that ends out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for students pre-k through 4th grade. It is a policy recommendation that is being championed by NOAH.
The chamber's recommendation would also further the district's work under PASSAGE, which stands for Positive and Safe Schools Advancing Greater Equity. It is a district and community initiative developed in 2014 to address school discipline issues.
PASSAGE focuses on racial disparity in punishment and works to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline — a well-documented national trend where children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
Last year, 100 percent of elementary school students expelled and two-thirds of those arrested while in school last year were black males, according to numbers compiled by the Davidson Country Juvenile Court.
Closing in on almost 30 years, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce releases a yearly report card focused on Nashville schools and how they can improve. This year, the report card lists five recommendations.
The recommendations are selected by a committee of area business leaders, who also compile commendations and concerns about the school district's work.
The recommendations this year focus on ways to promote social emotional learning within the district, Harris said, but also seek to build support among teachers and the community. The recommendations are:
The Nashville public schools board should enact, except in the worst cases, a policy that ends out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, or arrests in pre-k through 4th grade.
The district should create a program that identifies and develops principal mentors that can help emphasize and help establish a less punitive school culture, as well as foster community resources to enhance SEL efforts and academic achievement.
The district should require every school to identify one peer-elected teacher to lead SEL efforts. The teacher would support and train other teachers, as well as provide teacher feedback and communicate directly with administrators.
The district, along with community partners, should conduct a needs assessment of the district's four clusters of schools that align resources for students and families.
The Mayor’s Office should create a team of school district, Metro government, and business and nonprofit representatives to consider the impact of the city’s growth on the city's youngest Nashvillians. The committee would specifically focus on gentrification, displacement and how services to address the issues serve families with children.
Positive marks for Nashville public schools
The district was commended for its pioneering efforts in SEL work. The district has been recognized as a national leader for its work in several schools.
The chamber highlighted Nashville public schools' willingness to partner with outside community groups to better schools.
The committee also recognized the district's initiatives to pay for advanced academics tests such as Advanced Placement and industry certifications.
The chamber group also commended the district for the creation of a scorecard that is more transparent and accessible in how it tracks district and school performance.
And Nashville public schools leadership was praised for using tests that benchmark student learning against the rest of the nation.
Tennessee's change in leadership will pull it further to the right | Opinion
Tennessee’s political leadership is in the final stages of reshaping through the largest shakeup in modern history. While still Republican, the state’s new leaders are considerably more conservative than previous iterations.
Gov.-elect Bill Lee, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn and state House Speaker-elect Glen Casada, all from Williamson County, could take the state into mostly uncharted territory. Meanwhile, the State Senate may find itself in the potentially uncomfortable role of moderator.
Supported by conservative groups and President Trump, while privately repudiated by many within more moderate circles, Blackburn stunned politicos with her double-digit defeat of former Democrat Gov. Phil Bredesen, who was relying on moderate Republicans and independents to carry him to Washington.
Most believed the race would be within a few points, but Blackburn received a conservative mandate from Tennessee voters.
Blackburn poised to become a leader
Not only is Blackburn the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee, she's also the most conservative statewide office holder the state has elected in modern times.
Furthermore, with Sen. Lamar Alexander’s announcement that he’ll retire at the end of his term, Blackburn will become the senior senator from Tennessee.
This means she’ll set the tone on the federal level, regardless of who emerges as the victor in the 2020 Republican Primary.
Lee, an outsider with tact and grace, may lean on Senate
Lee’s administration will be interesting to watch.
He was elected in a stunning victory as a conservative outsider and businessman in the image of President Trump, but with more tact and grace.
On all accounts, Lee doesn’t just talk the talk, he also walks it.
Lee is expected by many to appease conservatives to a large degree but may find it difficult to allow some of the more controversial policies to become law once finally tested by media and liberal opposition.
In these instances, he may end up leaning heavily on the Senate to provide cover.