Celebrating Labor Day

Labor Day is celebrated in the United States on the first Monday in September and is a celebration of the American labor movement, paying tribute to the achievements and contributions of American workers. The celebration originated during one of American labor’s most dismal chapters when workers were paid very little for many hours of work, and many dealt with harsh and unsafe working conditions. Peter McGuire, a New York City carpenter, is credited with coming up with the idea for Labor Day after he worked many long hours under poor conditions.  McGuire organized 100,000 workers to march through the streets to demand a better work environment. After spending many years fighting for workers’ rights, McGuire had the idea for a special holiday for workers.  The first Labor Day parade was held on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, with more than 10,000 workers participating.  In 1884, the celebration was moved to the first Monday in September with Congress making Labor Day a national holiday in 1894. There is some controversy that it was possibly another McGuire…Matthew Maguire…who may be the man behind Labor Day. According to the New Jersey Historical Society, after President Grover Cleveland signed into law the creation of a national Labor Day, The Paterson (N.J.) Morning Call published an opinion piece entitled, “Honor to Whom Honor is Due,” which stated that “the souvenir pen should go to Alderman Matthew Maguire of this city, who is the undisputed author of Labor Day as a holiday.”  This editorial also referred to Maguire as the “Father of the Labor Day holiday.” All these years later, and regardless of whether the credit goes to McGuire or Maguire, there are still parades…and many Americans enjoy a long weekend with picnics, travel, rest and relaxation–All in tribute to the workers who have helped make America great.

A Bigger Problem than Ferguson

The international spotlight has recently been shining on Ferguson, Mo., after an 18-year-old black man was fatally shot by a white police officer. There was massive national and international media coverage, much of it engendered by the tantalizing thought that here was a clear-cut case of racism leading to police brutality and indicative of the evil inherent in American society. Violent demonstrations and riots ensued, with massive property damage and many outside agitators descending on the town, supposedly to guarantee justice as defined by mob mentality. Perhaps it would be useful to examine the tragedy with the facts on the table rather than through the lenses of hypersensitized emotions stimulated by those attempting to exploit the situation. Michael Brown was 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds. He had marijuana in his system and was purportedly involved in a strong-arm robbery prior to the shooting. He and a companion were walking in the middle of the street and obstructing traffic and therefore were admonished by a police officer to move to the sidewalk. Brown, who may have been pharmacologically impaired, became belligerent, and the ensuing struggle produced facial trauma and an orbital fracture of the police officer’s face. The officer, who may have been dazed by a blow to the cranium severe enough to produce a fracture, attempted to apprehend the assailant, and shots were fired, six of which struck the suspect, resulting in a fatality. Regardless of one’s position on the political spectrum, we can all agree that this was a horrible tragedy and needless discarding of a precious life. How could this have been avoided? Two obvious answers: The officer could have ignored his duty and backed off when it became apparent that his instructions would not be followed, thereby avoiding a confrontation, or Brown could have complied with the officer’s instructions, according to his civic duties. If police officers generally adopted the first solution, chaos would reign supreme in all of our streets. If the populace generally adopted the second solution, there would be even fewer incidents of police violence. Last year, 100 black males were killed by police in the United States. In the same year, 5,000 blacks were killed by other blacks, the vast majority being males. Could it be that we are erroneously being manipulated into making this incident a racial issue, when, in fact, it is a component of a much larger social issue? Why are there so many young black men in the streets of America with defiant attitudes that frequently lead to incarceration or death? Could it be that a large number of them grow up without a father figure to teach them how to relate to authority and the meaning of personal responsibility? This is not to say that mothers cannot convey these important social lessons, as mine did. But in too many cases, these young unwed mothers have never themselves been exposed to personal responsibility and self-esteem, and the vicious cycle continues. As a society, we must concentrate on ways to break this tragic cycle that has produced a higher poverty rate in black communities across America with the increasing frustrations that underscore potentially explosive, tinderbox situations, as we have seen in Ferguson. Once we get the most powerful economic engine the world has ever seen back on track with sensible economic policies, we should devote some of the tax revenues generated to child-care facilities that would allow many of those unwed mothers to get their General Education Development or higher degree and become self-supporting. There are also a number of programs across the nation that offer free classes that teach social and job skills, which would give many of the young men some different options. We must concentrate on these kinds of programs because we cannot afford to lose large segments of our society to despair and underachievement in an increasingly competitive world. We have a social crisis brewing if we continue down the path we are on now, but we have the power to change our downward course with true compassion that allows people to rise and escape dependency. Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University and author of the new book “One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future” (Sentinel). To find out more about Ben Carson and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 THE WASHINGTON TIMES DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

An Alphabetical Prayer for a New School Year

Ability- for students to use their God given abilities Bullying- to have no bullying. Courage for teachers and students to stand for the truth of God’s word. Dormitory life to be honoring to God Effort on the part of the students and teacher the whole year. First year milestones- Kindergarten, college freshmen etc. God to be first in the student’s lives Homework Improved learning throughout the year Jesus to be/stay the focus of teachers/students lives Knowledge to be gained and retained Learning to be fun Models- teachers who are Godly role models No violence on any campus anywhere Oppression from the enemy of souls to be restrained Parents to be supportive and yet assertive if a school is teaching things not in line with the Bible Quiet time for devotions and family time at the end of the day. Retention of materiel at and beyond test time Safety for all teachers, students and staff Teachers to be in agreement with parents and one another and work as a team Understanding the concepts that are being taught Valued-that all individuals would know their value as a creation in the image of God. Wisdom to be gained and knowledge applied correctly X Youth that are educated today to become honorable and God honoring leaders of tomorrow. Zeal- that students and teachers will have zeal toward teaching/ learning at the end of the year as well as the beginning. Kim Hubbard Article Source: https://www.faithwriters.com-CHRISTIAN WRITERS

Many Different People

August 20 marked one year since Michelle Bannar lost the love of her life. “He was many different people to me,” Michelle said about her late husband, U.S. Army Master Sgt. George Bannar. “Not only the love of my life, but my best friend, adviser, teacher and hero.” For 365 days, Michelle has been reading journals that her husband kept during his fifth and final deployment to Afghanistan. “It was incredible to read his journals … and to feel the strength that he had and the ability to drive forward 100 percent,” the fallen soldier’s wife said. After meeting in North Carolina in 2002, Master Sgt. Bannar and his future wife quickly became the closest of friends. They started dating about five years later. “In an interview one time, (a journalist) asked me to sum up George in one word,” Michelle told me. “And I thought, how the heck could I do that?” “Positive,” “upbeat,” “easygoing,” “confident but not arrogant,” “brilliant” and “goofy” are just a few of the words Michelle used during our phone conversation to affectionately describe George. “He’s such a unique, rare bird,” Michelle said with a chuckle. Before the couple got married on the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, George had already served in Afghanistan four times. The Green Beret’s favorite assignment, however, was as an instructor in Yuma, Arizona, where the couple lived until 2012. “He had the time of his life,” Michelle said. “Jumping with students — teaching and developing them to save their own lives while falling out of an airplane — it was something he truly had a passion for.” George then learned he would be returning to Afghanistan for a fifth time, where he’d lead a Special Forces team on a series of important missions. “It was hard for him to come back, take over another team, and start over again,” the Green Beret’s wife said. “Of course, he never complained.” In June 2013, George was allowed to leave the battlefield to help care for his ailing mother in Orange County, Virginia, where he grew up. “She ended up passing away just the day after George returned to Afghanistan,” Michelle said. Upon returning, George insisted on putting the well-being of his combat team ahead of his own grief. “I can’t imagine what he did, being such an effective leader and guiding his team the way he did … wholeheartedly while at the same time trying to set aside the emotions and the hurt of loss,” Michelle said. During long, late-night phone conversations after he returned to war, George and Michelle talked about life at home instead of the daily struggles of war. “He was so humble, didn’t brag at all, and was somebody that really had that balance of work-life living,” Michelle explained. “Work was left at the door, and we weren’t going to bring it into our world.” Michelle will never forget the tragic moment that the war in Afghanistan entered her home. “That day … it makes me nauseous to think about,” she said. “It was hard for me to answer the door.” Michelle subsequently learned that her 37-year-old husband, who was fearlessly leading a foot patrol, was killed in action on Aug. 20, 2013, in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province. “George was at the very front of his team and unfortunately, a sniper on the hillside, some terrible man — I don’t even call him a man — happened to get that one shot that killed George,” the Gold Star wife said. As Michelle, 42, starts a painful second year without Master Sgt. George Bannar, it’s the kindness of strangers — a compassionate grocery store clerk and a stranger who wrote her a moving letter were two examples she cited — that keeps her going. “It’s made every difference in the world,” Michelle said. “I wouldn’t know where I’d be now if it wasn’t for those sending love, strength, and kindness.” Many different people have lost loved ones during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and every day, I am amazed by people like Michelle Bannar, who use their loss as a springboard to help others. “I’m driven to continuously support and do everything I can for those who are deployed and also here at home sacrificing,” she said. (Pictured) U.S. Army Master Sgt. George Bannar, 37, was killed in action on Aug. 20, 2013. The decorated Green Beret was serving his fifth combat deployment to Afghanistan at the time of his death. Photo courtesy of Michelle Bannar. Tom Sileo is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of “BROTHERS FOREVER: The Enduring Bond Between a Marine and a Navy SEAL that Transcended Their Ultimate Sacrifice.” Written with Col. Tom Manion (Ret.) and published by Da Capo Press, “BROTHERS FOREVER” will be released in spring 2014. To find out more about Tom Sileo or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

The Rushmore Report: Be Cool, Stay in School

Zig Ziglar - The Rushmore Report

As a freshman in high school, Jason Summey had a dream of every one of his fellow students graduating with him, without a single dropout, so he launched his “Be Cool — Stay In School” program. He’s written a book by that title that gives over a hundred reasons why kids should finish school. Members of his Dropout Patrol are committed to helping their fellow students stay in school. He has gained support from teachers, upperclassmen and local business people.

Jason was motivated because Erwin High School had one of the highest dropout rates in the state of North Carolina. The first year, only one freshman dropped out, and just a handful since. With results like that, other kids and schools around the country are starting similar programs. This is tremendously exciting because now the parents, teachers, students and the local business people are all involved in solving a major problem. Lack of education handicaps a young person in a demanding, fast-changing, technological society.

Jason has appeared on Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power” and has endorsements and recognition from the political and business communities and many of the local and some national TV programs. His peers around the country are writing and asking questions and saying thank you. (For further information write “Be Cool — Stay In School,” P. O. Box 16648, Asheville, N.C. 28816.)

It’s exciting to see the good kids getting the recognition they deserve. Today fast-food restaurants, automobile dealerships, grocery stores, styling salons, etc. are giving members of the Dropout Patrol discounts, recognition and encouragement when they trade with them. Yes, Jason Summey has something to smile about. His activities are helping countless numbers of young people to also have something to smile about — for the rest of their lives.

To find out more about Zig Ziglar and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. Subscribe to Zig Ziglar’s free email newsletter through info@zigziglar.com.


The Rushmore Report: I Love You But…

Julie ArduiniThe screen door cracks with a bang, a reminder the spring needs replacing. Past the door I hear dogs barking and the unmistakable sound of a diesel engine. A crowd of kids look in unison, recognizing the one sure sign summer is over: the school bus is a block away.

Danny rolls the black wheeled backpack laced with orange flames back and forth against the uneven sidewalk. I tap my foot as I impatiently wait for the bus to stop for my son. It’s shallow, it’s probably unthinkable in Danny’s eyes, but I have a desperate agenda. I’m going to follow that bus.

Before you look down on me as an overprotective mom, you have to know Danny is special. Not special like the pint sized celebrity wannabes and their moms on Dr. Phil last week, but special like he’s been through a lot. He was a sick baby, apparently too sick for his dad to stick around because he left before Danny turned one. I got the medical bills and the joy of telling Danny all seven times in his nine years we were moving.

Although few see it now, Danny’s sickness eight years ago physically took a toll. He wears a hearing aid in his left ear and receives speech therapy. The therapist came up with the idea that perhaps this is the year I let him ride the school bus. Danny was all for it. Me? I’d rather sing karaoke at the Grand Ole’ Opry.

The bus garage explained when I called a few times last week that there were six stops after ours. I dart towards the garage as soon as I see Danny sit down in the back seat. I rev the engine on my 1997 van and peel out the driveway.

My heart lurches at the thought of what possible sins Danny might have before him on the big yellow transport. In my day it was cigarettes, a nasty translation of the birds and the bees, and poker. My research shows Danny is in for a world of strawberry quick; street drug version, cell phone porn, and high stakes poker. I weave in and out of traffic praying I can get close enough to see Danny and his activities. Beads of sweat dance down my forehead. I can’t bear the thought of anything happening to my little guy.

Nuts! I don’t need a bread truck pulling in front of me. I need to see that bus. I pray the bread truck finds a bakery quickly so I can continue with my project. I can’t believe my pastor’s wife had the gall to call my plan an obsession. I do not obsess, I merely plan to degrees most moms don’t have the love to try. No one could possibly understand. Danny is all I have. God has a great plan for his life. My job is to make sure nothing gets in the way.

Yes! The bread truck is gone. I’m three cars back and I can just about see…he’s let’s see, leaning in awfully close to the person across from him. Are they exchanging something? What are they doing? Why do I hear a siren? What’s that red flash? Am I getting pulled over? No way, I can’t!

I roll down the window and shoot out in rapid fashion how I just have to follow that bus. The officer grins as he looks to the bus. I spot Danny’s horrified face. He realizes what I can’t, that is, until the officer gives me a crisp new ticket. I completely ignored a stop sign in my effort to spy on my child.

The bus moves on as the officer pulls away, mumbling something about me being obsessed. I decide I drove this far, I might as well watch Danny walk in the school. In two minutes I pull up and witness Danny bound down the steps. He turns to me, shaking his head in disgust. He says something, but I can’t quite decipher. I love your butt? No, he would never say that. I love you but yes, that’s it. He’s still speaking. No sir he did not just say that. I put the car in drive and leave, his words play in my mind all the way home

‘I love you, but get a grip mom.’

Julie Arduini, The Surrendered Scribe, is devoted to writing for Christ in ways that encourage and inspire. A graduate of the Christian Writer’s Guild, her writing resume is on her blog’s sidebar. Happily married to Tom, they have two children.

Article Source: https://www.faithwriters.com-CHRISTIAN WRITERS

The Rushmore Report: Sights and Sounds

Tomb of The Unknown Soldier - The Rushmore Report

Three years ago, 31 U.S. troops were killed when a military helicopter was shot down in eastern Afghanistan.

The dead included U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Army soldiers and a military working dog. Seven Afghans were also killed in the Aug. 6, 2011, attack.

Three days after the worst mass casualty event for American troops during the ongoing war, I was part of a USO contingent sent to Dover, Delaware, to assist families of the fallen. I have not written about the specifics of that day, as the families requested privacy while the caskets of their loved ones were returned to American soil. Their request is one that I will continue to honor.

No matter how many years go by, the sights and sounds of Aug. 9, 2011, will remain vivid, painful and fresh. I would guess that everyone, from the president on down, will always remember the dignified transfer ceremonies that unfolded inside that hangar.

I can’t imagine what the last three years have been like for the grieving wives, fiancees, girlfriends, parents, grandparents and children I saw at Dover Air Force Base. The only thing I know for sure is that their courage, along with the bravery of their fallen loved ones, has helped define the enormous sacrifices made by our nation’s military community since Sept. 11, 2001.

When I think of the determination I saw on so many faces at Dover, which was sweltering with anguish and pride on a hot summer day, I also remember the ceremony’s palpable sense of unity. Despite the presence of politicians, there were no Democrats or Republicans inside that hangar. In the truest sense, we were all Americans.

I completely understand and respect why — in the aftermath of losing their loved ones — the families asked Dover Air Force Base to close the dignified transfers to journalists and spectators. At the same time, I wish everyone could have seen the ceremony up close, because it defined what it means to be an American.

Our nation has an opportunity to reunite around its true heroes, who come from every background and political stripe. By following the examples of the brave men and women returning from war, along with their families and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, the rest of the population can share in the title that the one percent to serve in uniform have already earned: “The New Greatest Generation.”

I cannot tell you how many times a wounded warrior has told me that he or she would make the same decision to serve all over again. Countless grieving spouses and parents have echoed the same sentiment while reflecting on the loss of their loved ones. Regardless of the war or the politics surrounding it, these extraordinary Americans believe that service must always come before self.

I am not always successful in trying to espouse the ideals of our nation’s heroes and their families in my own life. Not even close. If all of us made that effort, however, there is little doubt that more harmony would follow.

One of my most vivid memories from Aug. 9, 2011, involves a mother and child. I think about them often, and three years later, continue to pray that they are comforted by memories of the hero they lost.

The sights and sounds I remember from Dover are nowhere near as harrowing as the experiences of the courageous men and women who shoulder the burdens of our nation’s global campaign against terrorism. But no matter where I go or what I do, the memories will always be there.

The post-9/11 struggle continues. One day before the third anniversary of the deadliest single incident for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, an American general was killed — with several more service members injured — in a despicable attack that is currently under investigation. The general was the highest-ranking U.S. military officer killed in action since the Vietnam War.

While our hearts break for the loved ones of the dead and wounded, our resolve to support this nation’s defenders should be stronger than ever. To each member of the military community: Thank you for your sacrifices.

Tom Sileo is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of “BROTHERS FOREVER: The Enduring Bond Between a Marine and a Navy SEAL that Transcended Their Ultimate Sacrifice.” Written with Col. Tom Manion (Ret.) and published by Da Capo Press, “BROTHERS FOREVER” will be released in spring 2014. To find out more about Tom Sileo or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website atwww.creators.com.


The Rushmore Report: Kids Talk About God – What Part of Creation Reminds You of God?


“My favorite thing that God created is blueberries. God is good for making them,” says Olivia, 6.

I’ve never linked blueberries with the goodness of God, but why not? If you had mentioned blueberry pie a la mode, somehow the link would be clearer.

“I think God created flowers so they could freshen the world with their beautiful smell,” says Natalie, 8. “And they look very pretty in the sunlight.”

We need lots of beautiful sights and smells in our lives. God knows that. Flowers are like miniature, smiling explosions of God’s grace. We really should stop to smell the flowers and enjoy the loveliness of God’s creation.

“God created sunsets because he has a taste for beauty,” says Marci, 11.

“One of my favorite things God made is an elephant. They remind me of God’s strength,” says Allen, 9.

I’ll never forget that helpless feeling of being surrounded by wild African elephants, who probed us with their trunks as we sat still in an open jeep.

In contrast to the brute strength of the elephant, the gentleness of the dove most reminds Devon, 9, of God. “Noah sent a dove out to get help, and when it came back, God dried up the land.”

Noah actually sent the dove out three times. After the third trip, the dove didn’t return because the floodwaters had receded.

When John baptized Jesus, he saw the Spirit descending upon Jesus from heaven like a dove (Matthew 3:16). In the Genesis creation account, the Scripture describes a dark world without form and void. Following this grim description, the Scripture reads, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2b). The word “hovering” can also be translated as “brooding,” as in a bird brooding over its eggs in a nest.

If it weren’t for the Spirit of God coming into the world, as symbolized by a dove, the world would know only darkness. In the first creation, God’s command of “Let there be light” came forth after the Spirit brooded over the dark waters. In the second creation, the Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove at his baptism. As the head of a new creation, Jesus came to earth as the “light of the world” (John 8:12).

Hannah, 11, beautifully ties together the two creations when she says, “God created the first rainbow as a promise to Noah and his family. He promised never to flood the entire earth at one time.

“A rainbow reminds me of God because of God’s promise that if we believe in Jesus Christ and accept him as our savior, we will go to heaven when we die. I’m glad God promised not ever to flood the earth, but I’m even more happy that I’ll go to heaven when I die.”

Hannah’s testimony is the tale of two floods and two promises. The first is the flood of God’s judgment upon the earth for the wickedness of its inhabitants.

The second is the flood of judgment upon his son for the sins of all people. Just as those in the ark escaped the first flood, so those believers in Christ will escape the second flood of eternal judgment.

Think about this: Jesus Christ wants to be your rainbow.

Memorize this truth: “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (Galatians 3:22).

Ask this question: Is the Lord Jesus your promise of escape from judgment?

Listen to a talking book, download the “Kids Color Me Bible” for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and travel around the world by viewing the “Mission Explorers Streaming Video” at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted. To find out more about Carey Kinsolving and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.



The Rushmore Report: Common Core’s Growing Unpopularity

Phyllis Schlafly - The Rushmore Report

The highly acclaimed school standards called Common Core are becoming so unpopular that they may soon be politically untouchable. The critics are piling on from Glenn Beck to the Wall Street Journal, with senior academics and activist parents in-between.

The latest is a detailed criticism of the mathematics standards by a prize-winning math professor at the University of California at Berkeley, Marina Ratner. It is refreshing that her criticisms are very specific and include examples of assignments that parents can see are ridiculous.

Professor Ratner became alerted to the stupidity of Common Core by looking at the homework assigned to her grandson in 6th grade Berkeley middle school. Fractions are taught by having the kids draw pictures of everything, such as 6 divided by 8, and 4 divided by 2/7, and also by creating fictional stories for such things as 2/3 divided by 3/4. A student who gives the correct answer right away and doesn’t draw a picture or make up a story loses points.

Ms. Ratner concluded that Common Core is making simple math concepts “artificially intricate and complex with the pretense of being deeper, while the actual content taught was primitive.” The bottom line is that Common Core is inferior to the current good California standards, and the $15.8 billion spent nationally to develop and adopt Common Core was a gigantic waste.

College ready? That’s another deceit. Math experts are saying that Common Core standards are not preparing students for colleges to which most parents aspire to send their children.

The Common Core History Standards have just become available. Real scholars say they are a “stealthy” plan to teach kids a leftwing curriculum.

Scholar Stanley Kurtz says that the new plan for teaching American History is spelled out in the SAT college entrance and Advanced Placement exams. They pitch out “traditional emphasis on America’s founders and the principles of constitutional government” in favor of a leftist “emphasis on race, gender, class, ethnicity.”

According to Kurtz, “James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and the other founders are largely left out of the new test unless they are “presented as examples of conflict and identity by class, gender, race, ethnicity, etc.” The text of the new AP U.S. History exam has been closely guarded, revealed only to a few certified AP U.S. History teachers who are sworn to secrecy.

Parents who are attentive to their children’s studies and homework have been up in arms against Common Core for many months. Now Common Core has become such a big issue that it’s beginning to bring the politicians into line with what the public is demanding.

Indiana was the first state to show the political power of the anti-Common Core movement. The activist moms defeated a superintendent of education and several legislators on this issue.

Oklahoma made the biggest splash when the state legislature voted to repeal the state’s earlier endorsement of Common Core. The governor signed the repeal, but the unelected state board of education impudently filed suit to nullify the repeal, and then the Oklahoma state Supreme Court wisely upheld the elected legislature’s repeal.

South Carolina’s governor signed a bill repealing that state’s commitment to Common Core. North Carolina’s governor signed a more modest bill authorizing the state school board to tweak the standards.

The state of Texas, under Gov. Rick Perry, was smart enough to be one of the five states that never signed on to Common Core in the first place. But now the pressure is on to force Texas to use the new AP U.S. history exam anyway, and Texans claim that is illegal under state law.

Louisiana was one of the original 45 states that endorsed Common Core before the standards were even written. But one day Gov. Bobby Jindal actually read his son’s Common Core math homework, was shocked, and then issued an executive order to block its implementation in Louisiana.

Two more governors have just seen the light and turned against Common Core. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced that he wants the state legislature to repeal the standards when it reconvenes in January, and Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah ordered his attorney general to conduct a review of the controversial standards.

Hoping to line up the support of teachers, the Gates Foundation education chief is now urging states to wait two years before using Common Core tests to make decisions about teacher performance.

Like many do-gooders, Bill Gates is obsessed with the problem of inequality. However, Common Core’s way of trying to overcome inequality is by dumbing down all U.S. students and pretending, like the Lake Wobegon kids, that all children are above average.

Reacting to the growing opposition to Common Core, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the biggest money bag for Common Core, is now urging states to have a two-year moratorium on all states and school districts about to make any high-stakes decisions based on tests aligned to the new standards.

Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, conservative political analyst and author of 20 books. She is the co-author, with George Neumayr, of the New York Times Best-Seller titled “No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.” She can be contacted by e-mail at phyllis@eagleforum.org. To find out more about Phyllis Schlafly and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Website at www.creators.com.


The Rushmore Report: Cultivating a Curious Mind

Ben Carson - The Rushmore Report

I recently returned home after two weeks of engagements in New Zealand and Australia focusing on empowerment through reading. The Kiwis and Aussies are not very different from Americans, even though they inhabit the opposite side of the globe.

I was struck by the way many people perceived the political atmosphere in the United States. Although the well-educated individuals who have access to all of the American cable channels tend to be well informed on the issues, most people had only heard that America has finally repaired its broken medical system with the advent of Obamacare and now everyone, including the indigent, has excellent health care. They were under the impression that most Americans are very happy with Obamacare and with their wonderful president, who had ushered in a great new day in America with his brilliance in many areas.

Many people were shocked when I relayed the facts about the deleterious effects of Obamacare on employment, skyrocketing insurance premiums and the displacement of health care providers. Furthermore, they had little knowledge about Benghazi, the Internal Revenue Service scandal, the Veterans Affairs debacle or the depth of our financial woes. In other words, they were just like a multitude of Americans who pay little attention to their news sources and are not curious enough to seek multiple sources and arm themselves with enough historical knowledge to be able to decipher truth from fiction.

Fortunately, I found that most of the people Down Under are not nearly as dogmatic in their beliefs as Americans have become. Our people on either side of the political spectrum tend to be more close-minded, partaking only of news sources that align with their ideological beliefs and in many cases engaging in the demonization of other information sources. This, of course, leads to intolerance and ignorance, which are associated with a whole cadre of societal problems. Frequently, that narrow-mindedness is encouraged by hyper-partisan individuals who actually call out news outlets such as the Fox News Channel for ridicule.

Such people might do well to ask themselves what would become of our country if people only heard what the government wanted them to hear. If they could be honest with themselves, I think they would have to admit that they would be uncomfortable in that setting. The mainstream media could provide a great service to the American people, as well as people around the world, by embracing their duty to be objective investigators and reporters of the news. I realize the likelihood of that occurring is small, but hope springs eternal.

I was delighted with the enthusiasm for reading Down Under, and with the understanding that virtually any young person, regardless of their economic background, can empower himself with the knowledge that comes from reading. This acquisition of knowledge is the antidote to the herd mentality induced by an agenda-driven media.

Reading was emphasized so strongly among the early settlers of America that anyone who finished the second or third grade was completely literate, as is borne out in the beautiful prose that characterized the writing style and letters of the Western frontiers of America in the early 19th century. Many Southern aristocrats also exhibited impressive writing skills and understanding of the English language.

Interestingly, the same highly educated rulers forbade under enormous penalty the teaching of slaves to read. They fully understood how empowering education and knowledge are. It is likely that Frederick Douglass fled the plantation to escape the wrath of his master, who was displeased that his slave was learning to read. Slaves were supposed to be obedient and grateful for the magnanimous protection and provisions afforded them by their “wonderful” masters.

Today many people in America slavishly devote themselves to a political party without engaging in critical analysis of whether the philosophies of that party are really in sync with their true values and with the betterment of their position in society. If decades of such devotion leads to more broken families, more out-of-wedlock births, more involvement with the criminal justice system, more poverty and more dependency on government, maybe it is time to ask whether such devotion is warranted.

I was honored to be able to encourage many of the disadvantaged young people of Australia and New Zealand to take control of their own destinies through education and reading. I was thrilled by the trip sponsors’ generous financial contributions to the Carson Scholars Fund, enabling us to reach more American students and emphasize the acquisition of knowledge and the development of humanitarian qualities.

I am convinced that the dream of our Founding Fathers of a free nation filled with knowledgeable and caring people who trust in God and accept personal responsibility is still possible. Each of us has a role to play in the realization of that dream. A big part of that role is self-education. We need to read all kinds of books and articles and experience a variety of electronic media. We should not engage in self-censorship, which creates a proclivity for indoctrination. I am convinced that a well-informed American populace will not be manipulated into relinquishing a beautiful American dream for all.

Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University and author of the new book “One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future” (Sentinel). To find out more about Ben Carson and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.