Thursday, June 20, 2013

Successes of home education and apathy and/or hostility from the state.

What if you had an education program that produced tremendous academic results at a fraction of the cost of public education.  What should the government do?  Encourage it you would think.  Well, the exact opposite is what happens with home education.
Homeschool students typically score between the 65th and 89th percentile on placement exams. Students at traditional schools average on the 50th percentile. College recruiters are acting on these numbers: Students from “non-traditional education environments” get into college and earn four-year degrees at much higher rates than those from public and private schools.
“Homeschoolers are actively recruited by schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Harvard University, Stanford University, and Duke,” according to the report.
In addition to better results, the report also indicates that homeschool parents get more bang for their buck, dishing out on average between $500 and $600 per year for a student compared to the $10,000 per year average spent on public school students.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the study is what it reveals about the social aspects of homeschooling. Public schools have long wrestled with “achievement gaps” among their students, but those gaps simply don’t exist for the homeschool community. There’s no difference in achievement between sexes, income levels, race, or ethnicity among students educated at home, according to the report. 
Certainly, many, most parents aren't cut out to home educate.  For single parent it's not practical.  Others are so tied to their careers and standard of living, they wouldn't consider it.  And others, by temperament, aren't cut out for it.  But I'm sure many parents could do if they were encouraged to.

But alas, the education powers that be see home education as a threat despite the tremendous, overall results.  That's the education establishment which has a vested interest in the status quo and that status quo is often mediocre at best.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Media bias in favor of gay "marriage"? You bet. Here's some evidence.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that the mainstream media is overwhelmingly in favor of gay "marriage".  Now the Pew Research folks have documented it.
Recent news coverage conveyed a strong bias in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage at a time when the American public was more evenly divided on the issue, a new study from the Pew Research Center revealed.

“Stories with more statements supporting same-sex marriage outweighed those with more statements opposing it by a margin of roughly 5-to-1,” the Pew study said. “… Twitter postings on the subject were nearly evenly split between support and opposition for the measure, aligning much more closely with public opinion than with the news media.”

The Pew study analyzed nearly 500 news stories from March 18 to May 12. Forty-seven percent of news stories during that period supported same-sex marriage, with 9 percent of news coverage opposing same-sex marriage and 44 percent considered neutral.

Conversely, public opinion at that time was “only” 51-42 in support of same-sex marriage. On Twitter that margin was even thinner: 31 percent of tweets supported gay marriage, 28 percent opposed it and 42 percent of tweets were deemed neutral.

“In order for a story to be classified as supporting or opposing same sex marriage, statements expressing that position had to outnumber the opposite view by at least 2-to-1,” the Pew study said. “Stories that did not meet that threshold were defined as neutral or mixed.”

The Huffington Post was perhaps the most biased mainstream written-news outlet: 62 percent of Huffington Post stories supported same-sex marriage, 7 percent opposed it and 31 percent were neutral. Two publications the Pew study singled out for their restraint were USA Today (67 percent neutral) and Wall Street Journal (70 percent neutral).

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments about legalizing same-sex marriage on March 26 and 27. “Those hearings led to a firestorm of coverage. Of all the stories examined in (the Pew) study, 55 percent came during (March 25-29),” reported the study that Paul Hitlin, Amy Mitchell and Mark Jurkowitz co-authored for the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

In related coverage, a Deseret News article from 2011 reported that religion was important to 61 percent of Americans but only 36 percent of journalists.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The big crisis facing America - decline in marriage rates.

While people look at declines in educational performance, rise in crime and poverty rates, high unemployment, and growing welfare roles as critical problems facing America, the one which supercedes all of them is the decline in marriage rates and a rise in cohabitation.

Why is this?  Because marriage and family undergirds all of society.  The way marriage and family goes, is the way society goes.  We won't get a handle on these other problems until we get a handle on the marriage problem.
The marriage rate is at its lowest point in more than a century, and the number of marriages across the USA fell more than 5% during the recession. But a new analysis projects that pent-up demand and the large population of marriage-eligible Millennials, ages 18-34, means more will be headed to the altar over the next two years.

Cultural changes about whether and when to marry, the fact that two-thirds of first marriages are preceded by cohabitation and the recession's financial fallout — including unemployment and underemployment — fueled the wedding decline. Projections from the private company Demographic Intelligence of Charlottesville, Va., says the signs are right for a temporary boost in weddings.

The company projects a 4% increase in the number of weddings since 2009, reaching 2.168 million this year; 2.189 million in 2014. Depending on the economic recovery, the report projects a continuing increase to 2.208 million in 2015.

Although it finds marriage numbers are stagnant or declining among those with a high school education or less, younger Americans, and the less affluent, numbers are rising among women ages 25-34, the college-educated and the affluent, which is where "short-term increases in weddings will be concentrated," says this analysis, released exclusively to USA TODAY. It's based on a variety of measures, including unemployment and consumer confidence, which reflect the relationship between financial security and the transition to marriage.

"Declines in weddings are likely to set in towards the end of the decade, even though the number of young adults is increasing, because of the nation's ongoing retreat from marriage," the report notes.
Cohabitation is also a huge problem.  The number of couples cohabiting has doubled in the last ten years.  Why a problem?  It makes it harder for people to bond with a future partner for life.  And most cohabiting couples don't stay together.  Some say, cohabitation is like "test driving" a prospective partner.  The problem is marriage isn't like buying a car.  People need to commit to one another before having sex.  Why does it work this way?  Simple.  That's the way God designed it to work.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Prominent California evangelical pastor calls Democrat Party to account on life, marriage and contraception.

John MacArtur had strong words for where the Democrat Party is at on issues antithetical to biblical morality. 
Shockingly, the pastor said, the Democratic Party has affirmed everything that God hates and that will bring God's judgment.

In MacArthur's words, open sex with government-provided contraception, murder of babies in wombs, and homosexual marriage were all approved as part of the party's platform in August. Moreover, "God" was originally left out of the platform.

This was the first time ever that a major party endorsed same-sex marriage.

"The Democratic Party has now made the sins of Romans 1 their agenda," he said in his message.

"What God condemns, they affirm. What God punishes, they exalt.

"No wonder they didn't want 'God' in their original platform."

MacArthur went further to suggest that voters affiliated with the Democrat Party "rethink" their party identification.

The influential author stated clearly that he isn't getting political with his sermons. This has to do with Scripture, he said.

"This has nothing to do with politics. This has to do with speaking the Word of God to the culture in which we live," he stated. "Why do we say this? Because this must be recognized for what it is – sin, serious sin, damning sin, destructive sin...

This isn't "hate speech," as some might accuse, he added. It's "love speech," he insisted.

"It's better to warn them than affirm them. You might be the nice guy to affirm them but that's not love speech. That's hate speech."
What's interesting is MacArthur isn't known for being a politically involved pastor.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The impact of gay "marriage" on the institution of marriage.

Here's an interesting piece by Mark Regnerus on the impact of gay "marriage" on the institution of marriage.  Here's his concluding paragraph.
Many libertarians and conservatives, including Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, assert that marriage is a conservative institution—which is true—one that will therefore function as such for those who enter it, whether gay or straight. While certainly the case for some, that claim is an unlikely future for many, not because gay or lesbian couples are liberal but because those in the driver’s seat of the contemporary mating market—men—are permissive. This, I predict, will be same-sex marriage’s signature effect on the institution—the institutionalization of monogamish as an acceptable marital trait. No, gay men can’t cause straight men to cheat. Instead, the legitimacy newly accorded their marital unions spells opportunity for men everywhere to bend the boundaries. Dan Savage will be proud.
Monogamish is not the same thing as monogamy.  We are entering the "Brave New World" of the sexual revolution which began decades ago.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

More ethical rot coming to light.

Here's a sobering post by Gary Bauer on the "Summer of Scandals" we're facing with the Obama Administration.  There's no doubt that there are unsavory individuals who have worked in every presidential administration.  But the apparent breadth and degree of the unethical and unsavory behavior coming out of the Obama Administration is significant.

While it's uncertain what the President and former Secretary of State Clinton knew those working for them did, the buck does stop with the man and/or woman at the top.  If nothing else they set a tone and hire people who have or don't have moral, ethical compasses.
Summer Of Scandals

Each new day seems to bring to light a new scandal. CBS News reported yesterday that a State Department whistleblower has come forward with shocking allegations of drug use, prostitution and even pedophilia among top Obama Administration officials serving our country overseas.

Aurelia Fedenisn was a career agent and investigator at the State Department. She has gone to Congress with allegations of a massive cover-up of illegal behavior inside the State Department during Hillary Clinton's tenure.

According to Fedenisn, a report sent to Congress in March was scrubbed of crucial details, including references to meddling in internal security-related investigations by top political appointees at the State Department.

For example, in 2011 the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, came under investigation by the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service. The charge: "the ambassador routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children."

Gutman, as it turns out, was a major donor to Barack Obama, raising $500,000 for his 2008 campaign and $275,000 for his inauguration. But the agent investigating Gutman was ordered to drop the case by Patrick Kennedy, Undersecretary of State for Management. Kennedy has been criticized for his role in the State Department's response to the Benghazi attacks.

Other allegations include: the "endemic" use of prostitutes by members of Hillary Clinton's security detail, an "underground drug ring" close to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and a State Department official sexually assaulting foreign security guards in Beirut, Lebanon.

The allegations of such conduct are bad enough. But the most damning accusation from Ms. Fedenisn is that several investigations were manipulated or shut down completely by top officials, including Cheryl Mills -- Hillary Clinton's then-chief of staff.

When the inspector general's report was being prepared for Congress in December, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell was reportedly "stunned" by the details. But fearing the potential damage to his department given all the heightened scrutiny at the time over the Benghazi attacks, Boswell ordered the information about the illegal conduct and the manipulated investigations removed.

Boswell's name may sound familiar too. He was one of the Benghazi scapegoats who reportedly "resigned" after the fallout from the attack. In reality, he merely "switched desks" at the State Department.

In response to the news, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, promised a thorough investigation. Rep. Royce added that he was "appalled not only at the reported misconduct itself, but at the reported interference in the investigations of the misconduct."  

Kudos to Ms. Fedenisn for coming forward. We need more dedicated public servants to do the same. Unfortunately, the administration's manipulation of investigations and intimidation of whistleblowers appears to be ongoing. CBS News reported that State Department security officers showed up at Ms. Fedenisn house two hours after CBS "made inquiries to the State Department about these charges."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Superman and Jesus.

In the newest Superman movie there are a lot of parallels between Superman and Jesus.  Here's an interesting list of the parallels between the life of Jesus and Superman.  It's obvious that the original Superman was modeled after Jesus, the god, man person.  
According to director Zack Snyder, this isn’t the first time the above comparison has been made.
‘I think the relationship between Jesus and Superman is not a thing we invented in this film, it is a thing that has been talked about since the creation of Superman,’ he said, speaking to us from Warner Bros studios in LA.

‘And in a weird way, probably was talked about more when Superman was created than it is now. It’s one of those things mythologically you take for granted, a little bit.

‘When you talk about mythology, you want to make a point about the importance of a character, or the relevance of a moment, to be able to draw from peoples’ collective experiences. What is personal to you or to someone who sees a Christ story or someone who doesn’t, it might affect the way they see the movie in a different way, or it may make the events in the film more personal, or make the mythological points of the film more intense.

‘For me personally, I think that the mythological part of the story – and there’s other parallels as well – but if you see this Christ-like story within it, it is really to act as a metaphor to see that Superman is struggling in a way that there might be another layer to it that you can draw from other experiences. But by no means is it for one idea to cancel out the other, or for it to be mutually exclusive to one single idea. I think it’s drawing on all mythology: comic book, religion, ancient, philosophical.’

And according to screenwriter David Goyer, it’s not just Jesus Christ Superman.

‘We didn’t come up with these allusions of Superman being Christ-like, that’s something that’s been embedded in the character from the beginning, he said. ‘But also the legend of Moses, clearly the whole way his parents give him up and send him…’
 This story goes into a bit more detail on the historical basis for Superman, Jesus parallels.

Monday, June 3, 2013

When heresy and apostacy increase in a church body.

Heresy and apostacy are very much evident in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and the recent election of an openly, practicing homosexual man as a bishop in the Los Angeles area.

According to a news report:
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the country's largest Lutheran denomination, now has its first openly gay bishop from Los Angeles, Calif., who has been elected to a six-year term.

The Rev. R. Guy Erwin was elected Friday to a six-year term as bishop of the ELCA's Southwest California Synod at the church's annual assembly in Woodland Hills, Calif, the denomination said in a statement, noting that "Erwin is the ELCA's first synod bishop who is gay and in a partnered relationship."
At some point the ELCA needs to change it's name because it is no longer evangelical or Lutheran.