New Advice: Trust but Verify

“Just the facts, ma’am,” are one the most popular words ever spoken in the 1950 through the early 70’s TV crime drama known as, “Dragnet.” The show was created and produced by Jack Webb, who starred as stoic Sergeant Joe Friday.

Over the years, “Just the facts,” has been parodied and used in various forms of entertainment and through this the words have somehow lost their meaning. Dictionary.com defines fact as: something that actually exists; reality; truth.

Most of us rely of facts throughout our day, expecting them in news articles we read, or news stories we see or hear. We also have the same expectation when it comes to what our school aged children are being taught.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and parents, grandparents and guardians and such must ever be on guard about what is being shoveled into the noggins of our little children. Then when something incorrect is discovered – it MUST be brought to the attention of others and not jus’ the authorities.

Finally, pictures are truly worth a thousand words – if not more…

2nd-amendment

That was discovered in a Texas high school text book last year and has since been corrected. More recently an observant Illinois father found this in his seventh grade son’s workbook:

2nd-amendment-assignment

How the Second amendment of the U.S. Constitution actually reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Remember, you can trust, but must also verify. A source of information might be considered reliable, but you should perform additional research to verify that such information is correct.

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Biden Calls for Gay Rights Bill

Vice-President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to pass a measure to outlaw workplace discrimination against gays, saying it’s outrageous that the country is even debating the subject. He said it was time for Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA.

Speaking to supporters of the gay advocacy group Human Rights Campaign in Los Angeles, Biden said it’s “close to barbaric” that in some states, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, employees are fired.

Unfortunately, Biden is half a century too late with his call.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Furthermore the Equal Pay Act of 1963 protects both men and women who do substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination.

Under these laws discrimination also includes harassment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, genetic information, or age, retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices. The law even goes as far as banning employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities, or based on myths or assumptions about an individual’s genetic information.

The fifty year old law also forbids denying employment opportunities to anyone because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability. Title VII also covers sexual harassment like direct requests for sexual favors to conditions that create a hostile work environment for persons of either gender, including same-sex harassment and pregnancy-based discrimination that covers pregnancy, childbirth, and other related medical conditions.

Laws we have — more we don’t need.

So, Mr. Vice-President Biden, please stop wasting the U.S.’s time and start working on something important like eliminating government-approved NSA spying on its citizens, the IRS’s targeting of groups, both political and religious and finally, what really happened to cause four good men to lose their lives in Benghazi.

The Queen Christina

It was October 21, 1907 that the Queen Christina, enveloped in a thick fog, struck the rocks on Point St. George reef near Crescent City, California. The vessel set sail on the 19th, bound for Portland, Oregon, with a load of wheat.

Her crew made it safely to shore. However, the Queen Christina refused to sink immediately.

Instead she withstood massive battering’s from storm after storm, before finally splitting mid bow and sinking in January 1909. At the time she ran aground, she was considered one of the largest freighters on the Pacific coast.

The Nevada Actor with Three Names

brad dexter

A question that comes up regularly in film trivia quizzes is to name The Magnificent Seven. It’s easy to start with: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson and Robert Vaughn.

Harder still is naming number six, Horst Buchholz. But what about number seven, the man who portrayed Harry Luck?

“Actor Brad Dexter, who rode with Yul Brynner as one of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ and became pal to Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra, has died at the age of 85,” reads an Associated Press story dated Dec. 13th, 2002. “Born Boris Milanovich in Goldfield, Nev. Dexter made guest appearances on the 1950s TV shows ‘Zane Gray Theater,’ ‘Death Valley Days’ and ‘Wagon Train.’ ”

Dexter died in relative obscurity, and nearly every website lists his given name as Boris Milanovich. Furthermore most Nevadans don’t know he is a native Nevada son.

The actor, who adopted the stage name Brad Dexter at the suggestion of director John Huston, was actually born Boris Michel Soso April 9th, 1917, in Goldfield. He moved to Los Angeles in 1920 with his family according to the U.S. Census.

Soso was the Belmont High School president of his 1935 graduating class. After high school, he enlisted in the military and then later when he appeared in Moss Hart’s “Winged Victory” in 1943, he was known as Barry Mitchell.

Following other roles, including the film “Heldorado” (1946) with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, he got his big break when Huston cast him in “The Asphalt Jungle” (1950) with Monroe. The year 1952, found Dexter, Jane Russell and Vincent Price at the Las Vegas gala première of the Howard Hughes film, “The Las Vegas Story.”

A year later, Dexter married popular singer Peggy Lee. However, the couple divorced after 10 months.

Dexter then co-starred in “The Magnificent Seven” with Yule Brynner (1960).  He played gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel in “The George Raft Story” (1961), and then teamed up with Brynner again in “Taras Bulba” (1962).

In 1965, Sinatra and Dexter co-starred in “None But the Brave” and “Von Ryan’s Express.” The two parted company during Dexter’s debut as a movie producer in London with “The Naked Runner” (1967).

Dexter’s career continued into the 1970s, having produced “Little Fauss and Big Halsy” (1970) starring Robert Redford, “Lady Sings the Blues” (1972) starring Diana Ross and  Warren Beatty’s “Shampoo” (1975) and “The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover” (1977). His last screen role was in “Secret Ingredient” (1990), ending a career spanning some 50 years and 40 movies.

No Funeral for Fred Phelps

phelps cartoon

An article saying the “Westboro Asks Public Not to Picket Phelps Funeral” is just satire published by the Daily Current website. Unfortunately many people believe this is true and the piece has gone viral over the Internet.

In the end, there isn’t going to be a funeral for Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps, the church confirms.  The church heavily picketed U.S. soldiers who died and other events.

Even if there were to be a funeral, picketing or protest the service would be a mistake. It would instead be the best time to practice what Jesus Christ says in Luke 6:13 (NIV): “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”

Picketing a funeral is neither kind, nor Christ-like. And as we all know — two wrongs don’t make a right.

Common Core: An Assault on States’ Rights.

It states in the 10th Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) is a set of national K-12 educational standards. Proponents of Common Core want you believe it’s led by the states, but it isn’t.

In 2008, Common Core Initiative was developed by the National Governor’s Association (NGA), headed at the time by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO.)  They worked with Achieve, Inc. to develop the standards.

The three organizations, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, outlined their vision of education in a report called ‘Benchmarking for Success.’ These benchmarks include a collective influence to make sure textbooks, digital media, curricula, and assessments align with international standards, and that states revise policies for recruiting, preparing, developing and supporting teachers and school leaders.

Immediately after the publication of ‘Benchmarking for Success,’ the NGA and CCSSO began an initiative, the CCSSI to develop academic standards that claimed to be: Common — the standards would be the same across all states and in all grades; Core — they would address core academic subjects only (math and ELA); State — the standards would be state developed and implemented; Standards — the Initiative would address standards only, not nationalized curricula or a national test.

Through 2008 and into 2009 the standards had not yet been completely drafted. However, the proponents of the Common Core Initiative were determined to get the states locked into the standards as quickly as possible.

In February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Federal Stimulus act) provided an earmark of $4.35 billion to the states to get them to commit. A month after the Stimulus bill was passed, the Department of Education announced the Race to the Top — a competition of the states to qualify for the money.

It was conducted in two phases:

Phase 1 was rolled out on November 1, 2009. Applying states were required to show their commitment to Common Core.

This meant the states had to commit to implementing the standards to be considered for the grant.

This was expected without ever seeing a draft of what the standards were. This phase had a due date of January 19, 2010.

Forty states plus Washington, D.C. adopted Common Core in Phase I.

In March 2010, two months after states were required to show their commitment to Common Core to be eligible for Race to the Top funding, the NGA and CCSSO released a draft of the Common Core Standards. Also in March, the Department of Education announced the winners of Phase I grants – Delaware and Tennessee.

In April, 2010 Phase II of the Race to the Top grant was rolled out. This phase required applicant states to show proof of steps they had taken to follow requirements.

This phase had a deadline of June 1, 2010. On June 2, 2010, a day after the deadline for Phase II, the NGA released the final draft of the K-12 Common Core Standards.

States were then given an extension of the deadline until August 2, 2010, to amend their submissions to show evidence they had adopted the standards. By Phase II, forty-seven states (including Washington, D.C.) had adopted Common Core.

The winners of Phase II funding were announced August 24, 2010: D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island.

If a state applied for funding under the Race to the Top grant program, they were committing to Common Core Standards whether they were awarded funds or not. Due to the time constraints of the initial phase (which required the commitment to Common Core) the states were signed on to the standards either through their Departments of Education or their governor; meaning they were not voted on by state legislatures.

The Race to the Top funds includes funding for collection of ‘longitudinal data.’ This  includes giving your child an identifier, following their school enrollment history, income, number of people in a household, birth dates, death dates, age, sex, race, sexual preference, occupation, religious and political beliefs.

Finally, through the January 2012 expansion of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) data collected can be shared with more organizations than previously allowed, including the Internal Revenue Service. Also under this act, disclosures of personal and student identifying information, including IDs and e-mail addresses can be passed along.

In short, education is not a power delegated to the federal government. It is a power of the states and of the people.

Level II Look-a-like Firearm

finger gun

Let me off the STUPID train, please!

A 10-year-old Columbus, Ohio, student received a three-day suspension because he used a ‘Level II Look-a-like Firearm’ to pretend to shoot another student.  In school-yard-speak, a ‘Level II Look-a-like Firearm’ is a forefinger and thumb held in such a way as to resemble a gun.

It’s called a ‘Level II Look-a-like Firearm’ because school and law enforcement authorities know adults are laughing at their stupidity. Plus it looks more serious in the child’s record than ‘finger gun.’

Fifth grader Nathan Entingh’s “violent” act of pointing his ‘Level II Look-a-like Firearm’ at the head of a fellow student violated Devonshire Alternative Elementary School’s zero-tolerance gun policy. And the “victim” didn’t even see the mock execution, which was instead spotted by a teacher.

Fortunately, the teacher stopped the incident before any of the students suffered a make-believe injury.