Forty-five years ago today Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the Moon.  Michael Collins drew the short straw and had to stay in orbit.

Real heroes achieving a milestone in history on par with the discovery of the New World, and one which required less computing power to accomplish than your cell phone.  And America did it.  Wonder if we could do it today

Though doubters persist, Ockham’s Razor teaches us that the simplest explanation is probably the correct one.  Therefore, we did go to the moon (six times).  Think:  it was too big an event with too many people working on it with too much at stake in the Cold War to actually fake it and get away with it with too many people having to keep too many secrets, and it all still holds up to reasonable scientific scrutiny.

However, I must admit that my biggest concern was the grainy film that looks fake.  However, with some quick research it can be easily explained through 1960s tech:

The black and white images of Armstrong and Aldrin bounding around the moon were provided by a single small video camera aboard the lunar module. The camera used a non-standard scan format that commercial television could not broadcast.

NASA used a scan converter to optically and electronically adapt these images to a standard U.S. broadcast TV signal. The tracking stations converted the signals and transmitted them using microwave links, Intelsat communications satellites, and AT&T analog landlines to Mission Control in Houston. By the time the images appeared on international television, they were substantially degraded.

That seems to explain the grainy, degraded look of the initial film.  One of the coolest aspects of the Apollo missions to me has always been Earthrise.  So cool.

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It’s just one of those days.

Israel invades Gaza.  After ten days of on-and-off ceasefires and peace talks, the Israelis decided that a blunt force trauma to the Hamas terrorist infrastructure would be the best move to secure their border.  Can’t blame Israel — they even announced days ago that they were coming in order to limit civilian casualties.

Sharing the headlines this afternoon was a Malaysian airliner which was shot down by who-knows-who over Ukraine killing 298, with at least American.  Was it the Russians? a Ukrainian splinter group?  a terrorist infiltrator? Who knows!  The chaos in Eastern Ukraine has made anything possible.  Tragically, it hasn’t been such a good year for flying Malaysian Air.

And don’t forget the escalating crisis on the US Southern border (though given the latest polls the administration would be happy if we did).  On this issue I think it’s safe to say that what we are experiencing is tantamount to an invasion — another self-inflicted wound to our national security which the administration will be glad to see relegated to the back burner for a few days while the other crises explode.

This one’s not going anywhere though — can’t wait until September when school districts across the country will have to account for thousands of new LEP (Limited English Proficient) students in the Fall, or in January when the Obamacare employer mandate kicks in to the chagrin of native workers who employers may lay them off in light of all the cheap underground laborers they can exploit instead.  Those issues should go over just peachy with the American people.

I’d feel better about things if we had competent people with America’s best interest at heart running things.

UPDATE: It seems like a Russian-backed Ukrainian separatist group is at fault for downing the plane.

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I needed some veg time after finishing up a grad school paper yesterday and found myself going to see a mindless film on a random rainy Tuesday.  Given what’s out right now, I decided to see the 416th (eighth actually) “Planet of the Apes” film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  Here’s the trailer:

Surprisingly, while I was looking for mindlessness, I actually watched an allegory about the motivations for war.  The barometer of film reviews, Rotten Tomatoes, noted that Dawn received a 91% positive review rating!  Even Glenn Beck chimed in on the film, reiterating the allegorical look at why people go to war portrayed through the lens of an Apes movie — they have to try to make this franchise fresh somehow, right?

The trailer kind of gives a lot of the plot away, so I won’t spoil any of the surprises it didn’t mention.  However, issues of power, control, politics, revenge, and “the other” echo throughout the film in a way that tells a story about human nature that younger viewers can easily understand and appreciate.  While there’s an anti-gun message imbedded in the film here and there, it’s not enough to get hung up on.

However, there are a lot of apes in this film.  Unlike the first reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the apes are not just side characters, they dominate large swaths of the film.  If your sci-fi sensibilities are average, I’m not sure how you’ll take to the film.  I thought it was a solid B.  As for the casual lay movie goer, I think you may get something out of it too — 91% positive reviews does say something.

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Happy 238th birthday America!
Hope everyone has a great day celebrating America’s heritage of

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The Supreme Court handed down two big decisions today (5-4, predictably), one striking down parts of the Obamacare contraception mandate, the other allowing certain employees to opt out of union membership.

The Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision notes that since HHS has already carved out some exemptions for religious institutions to be exempt from the contraception mandate, freedom of conscience allows of owners of “closely held” businesses to do the same for some of the contraceptives involved.  Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion for this narrow, but important ruling.

The Harris v. Quinn decision was also defined narrowly:  public sector unions cannot collect dues from home health care workers if those workers do not want to be part of the union, in this case SEIU, a notoriously aggressive union. Pretty straight forward First Amendment case too.

It’s nice to see that at least five of our esteemed oligarchs justices come down supporting the First Amendment from time to time.

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This past Tuesday, Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran defeated insurgent Tea Party-favorite Chris McDaniel in a run-off election by about 6,700 votes.  While McDaniel defeated Cochran in the popular vote after the first primary election, McDaniel failed to get the 50% needed to avoid a run-off.

McDaniel is obviously upset and is threatening legal action, which will only turn more voters away from the general election this Fall.  Part of McDaniel’s frustration is that Mississippi has an open primary system, which means Democrats can potentially vote to determine the Republican nominee.  And show up they didRace-baited in a way usually reserved for Democrats, Cochran supporters intimidated thousands of traditionally Democrat black voters to go to the polls against McDaniel.

Obviously conservatives are upset; others are really upset!  I am not surprised that the Establishment chose power over principle, or that though McDaniel got more GOP votes than Cochran in the initial election (and possibly the second as well), or that the good ol’ boy impulse reigned supreme.  The Establishment sucks.  They don’t get it — their thinking, politicking, and paradigm are old.

Also, listening to talk radio and reading online perspectives, it seems like Mississippi conservative voters may sit out November or write-in McDaniel.  If Cochran loses this Fall and happens to have been the lost 51st GOP vote in the Senate, I stand with those who believe that the Establishment contributed greatly to the loss for caring more about race-baiting Democrat voters to the polls to protect a hidebound lackey than listening to the only energized base the GOP has.

You’d figure that since 2.5 million GOP voters stayed home in 2012, the Establishment would start encouraging the GOP base to engage in the process, rather than depressing it through blatant opposition or courting of Democrats in the primaries to squash grassroots upstarts.  After what the Establishment did in this run-off, I’d have no problem writing-in McDaniel were I a Mississippi voter.  The Establishment would have earned my lack of trust.

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Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers has some insight into why ISIS and al Qaeda have had issues, and note that while the intelligence community was well aware of the growing threat from ISIS, watching them gain power and influence over the past three years, the administration largely ignored the threat.  Here’s a brief clip of Rogers explaining his position:

The situation on the ground in Iraq is intensifying as Ramadan is fast approaching.  ISIS will likely use the month of Ramadan to consolidate their gains and recruit more people to their cause.  ISIS has recently threatened supply routes from Iran into Syria, and since Syria is an Iranian proxy-state the Assad regime may feel pressure to attack ISIS-held areas, drawing Iran deeper into the fight.

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Iraq is descending into chaos as a terrorist militant group called ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Levant) has seized the second largest city in Iraq, Mosul, and have stampeded across Anbar province to within 50 miles of Baghdad.

A number of factors are in play:  the fact that the US never renewed the SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) leaving a vacuum in the Sunni-dominated areas after 2011; the Syrian Civil War allowing unfettered training grounds for these militants; the preexisting sectarian troubles in Iraq between the Sunnis and Shiites, exacerbated by al Maliki’s government; the wild-card Kurdish areas; and Iran’s potential response.

Iraq is 60% Shiite, who mostly live in the South, South-Central areas.  The areas controlled by ISIS were taken with remarkable speed and ferocity, but also with the blessing of local Sunni tribal leaders.  The Iraqi Security forces melted away once the executions and beheadings began.

The Shiites are the most concerned — al Maliki can’t get anyone to fight, but a cleric roused volunteers to help in Baghdad.  Plus, Iran is on the verge of sending in troops to help their historic enemy — they know a Shiite slaughter is assured with an ISIS victory.  No one wants an al Qaeda affiliated group of monsters in charge of a lawless recruiting ground for worldwide jihad in such a tempestuous area of the world.

Obama’s crew seems completely unprepared to react, implying that Iraq has to “solve their problems.”  Ground troops are off the table, but we are mulling air strikes.

By the way, Secretary of State John Kerry is in London reciting poetry during all of this, while the President is playing some golf this weekend in between fundraisers.  They obviously either don’t care or can’t see the gravity of the situation. Can’t wait to see gas prices if an al Qaeda-linked group of monsters are in charge of most of Iraq’s oil.

By the way, the leader of ISIS was in US custody, but was released by the Obama Administration in 2009.  Kind of puts a fresh perspective on the recent Bergdahl exchange.

UPDATETony Blair takes a swipe at our foreign policy, while a video is circulating around of Mitt Romney predicting this mess in 2007 if we ended up leaving Iraq too quickly.

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Last evening a political earthquake took place that everyone is still trying to absorb.  Eric Cantor became the first sitting House Majority Leader to ever lose a primary (at least since the position was created in the 1890s).  That’s big, especially since his opponent was a little known college professor named Dave Brat, who won with 56% of the vote.

Cantor was on the path to perhaps being House Speaker one day, but instead will likely join the K-Street lobbyist crowd this January.  I’m sure he’ll be fine.

However, the Establishment lost one of their top brass and should be concerned.  Cantor’s campaign spent $5 million to Brat’s $200,000.  Cantor’s name ID in his district is near 100%.  As Brat said, “Dollars don’t vote, you do” — a very troubling prospect for the Chamber of Commerce and the GOP Establishment.  If money loses its monopoly on the selection and manipulation of the members of one’s caucus, then the game really has changed.

Yet, one election does not make a game-change, but the message is clear to our ruling class elites — no one is completely safe from the judgment of the people.

It’s very refreshing.

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How in the hell do tens of thousands of unaccompanied children end up swamping the Mexican border, creating an impending humanitarian crisis?

As far as I can tell, there are two reasons:  1) negligent border security efforts and 2) the impression in many Central American countries that an amnesty is coming.

So, the Obama Nation creates a problem, then puts pressure on to create a politically advantageous solution.  Classic social agitation tactic, but people are suffering.

Predictably, the GOP has decided not to attack the Obama Administration’s negligence on this issue, but sit together with them to figure out a way to create a permanent Democrat-voting underclass through some form of amnesty.  That’s OK, because like five of them might be pro-life voters!  Woo hoo–5 out of millions!

The Stupid Party strikes again.  At least the Establishment’s Tea Party foes are keeping the heat on.

Oh, and how many of these folks are not Hispanic?  Romanians?  Very interesting.  How’d they get into Mexico to come here in the first place?  Sounds like there’s some complicity in the murk.

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Just in time to take the V.A. scandal out of the headlines while head-faking the nation so a deal can be reached with the Hamas-led terrorist Palestinian government, President Obama neatly handed over five Taliban members who were resting comfortably at Gitmo for one American POW… without notifying Congress, which is illegal since these guys were at Gitmo.  Heck, even Diane Feinstein has to admit the Obama Administration is acting poorly on this one!

Some are even openly throwing the I-word (impeachment) around over this — especially since it seems like the American POW, Bowe Bergdahl, allegedly voluntarily walked into Taliban custody.  Constitutional expert John Turley even referred to Obama’s executive malfeasance in this way: “Barack Obama is really the president Richard Nixon always wanted to be.”  Turley is even an ideological sympathizer with Obama on most issues!

But, will this amount to anything?

The five Taliban leaders have been released and I’m sure are doing just fine before they rejoin the jihad against America.  If the Obama Nation’s purpose dealt with a V.A. distraction or a pro-Hamas head-fake, it’s worked.  The impeachment talk is hyperbole because, frankly, the GOP have no balls and Obama doesn’t take them seriously anyway.  The left-wing critics will fall into line in time.  It’s a sad state of affairs when we negotiate from a position of weakness with the Taliban and make aid deals with terrorist-sponsors like Hamas without any real consequences on the horizon.

UPDATE:  Apparent the Taliban likes this kind of prisoner exchange!  Duh.

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Six people were killed and thirteen were wounded when 22 year old Elliot Rodger went on his killing spree this weekend.  Rodger left a massive manifesto and many YouTube videos trying to explain his mindset before perpetrating these murders.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims.

Unfortunately, the political class went into their usual frenzy to use this event to further their agendas.

However, Glenn Beck had a unique perspective that is worth sharing because he believes that the focus should not be on what we’re all yelling about, but about what no one else wants to talk about — how do kids go dead inside, and should we be worried about our own kids.

The perp was a kid who got everything he wanted, hit puberty and immersed himself totally in video games, and had to actually work for something (finding a girlfriend and keeping friends), learning he wasn’t good at it.  So his anger builds and builds and builds and he finally snaps, killing people with knives and guns.

Many of those reading this did not have the Internet during their formative years — PacMan and Super Mario Bros were as high-tech as things got.  Today’s young people do not remember a world without a vast instant-access Internet with immersive, realistic programs that could easily envelope  all of your time.  Heck, even “phones” have Internet access!  It’s all around us all the time.  To deny that this could have a serious effect on a developing brain or on developing social skills at a key phase of life is irresponsible.

When crazy people act, it’s hard to understand where they are coming from.  Beck is trying to start a conversation from an angle I haven’t heard much this weekend, but one I believe is very important for us to contemplate as a society.

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Today we honor and remember those who lost their lives in defense of this nation.  We honor the war dead who gave that “last full measure of devotion.” We also honor their families and friends.  In the recent wars America has fought:

Afghanistan:  (2001-Present) to date 2,322 have been killed with 19,964 wounded.

With an all-volunteer military, the bravery and valor of the fallen bring honor to America in these uncertain times.  Please keep them in mind while enjoying the barbeque or the beach today.

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Representative Trey Gowdy will be leading the House Select Committee on Benghazi.  This former prosecutor definitely has theatrical flair, but when coupled with the truth — watch out!  Here’s a taste of what’s coming as he pelts the press with some questions of his own:

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The New Math

by Ryan on May 14, 2014

in Education

This is not absurd.  In fact, it’s quite serious as it is really being taught to our children in schools in 44 states and DC:

I wonder what history will look like when Common Core gets its mitts on that!

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From all of us here at AOR, I want to wish all the moms out there (especially my own!) a Happy Mother’s Day!

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The Southern Poverty Law Center (probably in dire need of attention and funds these days) has labelled those who raise their voices in opposition to the Common Core federal takeover of education standards as promoting “far-right propaganda” associated with “Fox News, the John Birch Society, Tea Part factions, and the Christian Right.”

I’m not shocked that the SPLC would take such a position since they are firmly ensconced within the left-wing progressive universe.  I’m just surprised it took them this long!  Somehow the growing grassroots opposition to Common Core must have struck a chord.

Breitbart posted an article which attempts to explain why opposition to the Common Core is not so extreme.  Here are a few highlights:

  • The completely unaccountable National Governors Association and a progressive education think-tank, Achieve Inc., spearheaded the whole initiative.
  • State boards of education signed on with very little (if any) scrutiny of these unproven standards, nor was public debate encouraged.
  • Business-end implementation has been privately funded by the corporatist Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (we get to pay for the rest moving forward).
  • Thirty-four states have legislation somehow pushing back against these standards.
  • There is no public record as to who selected the people who wrote the standards, some of whom had no relevant experience in education.

What the SPLC and everyone else should be concerned about is how Common Core ended up in 45 states and DC without any significant scrutiny.  I understand the “Race to the Top” money carrot, but implementing such substantial (even radical) changes into our public school systems raises an alarm about how easily our elected officials and their bureaucratic apparatchiks can be bought off at the expense of the kids in our schools.

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America’s most famous intern wrote a piece for Vanity Fair about her salacious relationship with our 42nd President.  The Lewinsky Affair led to the first impeachment of a President since 1868.  Like it or not, it’s part of history.

First of all, she’s 40 now.  Yikes!  She was a 22-year-old White House intern at the time of the affair… nineteen years ago — wow, how time flies!

Next, the Vanity Fair teases didn’t seem too surprising — the Clinton apparatus didn’t pay her to keep silent (I guess), it was a consensual thing (how could it not be — he’s the President, and she’s not Hillary!), etc.  She does admit that her boss took advantage of her and that she read that Hillary blamed herself for Bill’s predatory behavior — poor Hillary might guilt more than a few votes from that revelation.  It’s always drama with that couple.

Finally, I’m always curious about the timing of these kinds of revelations.  The press loved Clinton and the Clintons love stagecraft.  This could just be Vanity Fair  trying to get their readership up or something less innocent.

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And they aren’t too pretty.  Even as officers on the ground and at headquarters knew that the September 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks were perpetrated by a coordinated terrorist effort, the Obama Administration was making up and sticking to the ridiculous story that a video made the attackers do it.

Hours after the attack the spin began and was perpetuated by the administration, including Hillary — something which will haunt her potential 2016 run for President (this exchange is a classic one too which we will see in campaign commercials as we approach 2016).  Perpetuating what they knew to be a lie about the video in front of the families of the fallen as the caskets arrived is just awful.

But what now?  There’s a paper trail proving that the administration lied about Benghazi in the weeks leading up to the 2012 election and that one of the key players in the lie is likely trying to be our next President!  To any real journalist, that is a story worth covering.  But, the MSM won’t report on it.

What about forming a permanent subcommittee to really investigate, find the answers, and move on?  Oh, that’s right, Boehner has no balls — he has clearly handed them to the amnesty lobby. So that’s going nowhere.

What has always frustrated me about the Benghazi story is that it is a real story with a terrorist attack on 9/11, a dead US ambassador, organized cover-ups by an administration looking to avoid embarrassment before an upcoming election, etc., that our media elites a are simply not interested in covering.  It makes me more inclined to write about it and ask more questions.  Hopefully, someone in a position of power will do something about that while it still matters to the players currently (or potentially, in Hillary’s case) involved.

UPDATE:  Looks like Boehner was pressured into growing a pair — he’s calling for a special select committee to investigate!  We may actually be on our way to getting some answers.

UPDATE 2:  Watch this wonderful exchange from Fox News Sunday — trying to defend the administration’s video story looks this bad.

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While there are no spoilers available about the storyline of the upcoming “Star Wars VII” film, JJ Abrams and crew have released a casting list for the film.

While many the new faces are relative unknowns and their parts in the film are still a mystery, a number of oldie-but-goodies will be returning to the cast to reprise their roles (the super Star Wars fans will recognize these names and characters):  Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer, Peter Meyhew, Anthony Daniels, and everyone’s favorite, Kenny Baker!

When plot points become available, I will consciously try to avoid them.  Until then, these kinds of announcements help to stir excitement for the upcoming films.  I’m stoked!

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Today witnessed a historic canonization ceremony in which two former popes, John XXIII (1958-1963) and John Paul II (1978-2005), were canonized as saints with two living popes, Pope Francis and the retired Pope Benedict XVI (2005-2013), on hand.  Here is a clip from the canonization ceremony at the Vatican earlier today:

Pope John XXIII is credited with convening the Second Vatican Council which put forth numerous reforms including my favorite, having the mass said in a church’s local language rather than Latin.  Pope John Paul II is credited with helping to bring an end to European communism while inspiring millions of young people to live their lives through Christ.

I don’t know John XXIII well, but most of my life the Catholic church was dominated by John Paul II.  John Paul II was always strong and stood for Catholic principles.  His role in ending communism in Eastern Europe already puts him in the world history books.  He also led the church while it enduring perhaps one of the most significant crises of the modern Roman Catholic Church, the priest sexual abuse scandals.  Ultimately, he lived as an example of the dignity of life during his very public health deterioration in the waning years of his papacy.

Whether or not enough time had passed to justify a canonization of John Paul is a bit above my pay grade.  I’m just happy that a spiritual model of mine during my childhood has been deemed worthy to be in the pantheon of those in whom Christ dwells in on Earth.

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Happy Easter!

by Ryan on April 20, 2014

in Anything Else,Culture,Religion

From all of us here at AOR, may you and your family have a Happy Easter!

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After the recent Bundy Ranch fiasco finally died down, Nevada Senator Harry Reid jumped into the mix, calling those who descended to the ranch to support Clive Bundy “domestic terrorists.”  While this kind of hyperbole is completely uncalled for (especially for the Senate Majority Leader) and diminishes the meaning of “terrorist,” Reid doubled down on the statement a few days later!

While some are still very upset about the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) lack of a proportionate response to Bundy’s tax issues, others have been having some fun with it — including wearing “Domestic Terrorist” name tags to demonstrate Reid’s ridiculousness!

The crazy thing is, the federal government could have simply put a lien on Bundy’s property in order to get the money it needs rather than seize his property with armed agents and attack dogs.  So why the brazen display of power?

Interestingly, Harry Reid’s son represented a Chinese firm to which the feds were going to hand over this particular grazing land so this Chinese company could build a $5 billion solar plant on the land.  Reid himself pushed the deal through.  After things escalated, the BLM took that information off its website and the shock troops backed off.

Reid’s entry into this by trying to paint the Bundy and his supporters as dangerous suddenly starts to make perfect sense.  Following the money clarifies much about our politics these days.

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While scouring the Internets this morning, I noticed RCP had two contrasting views on Common Core — the national education standards 45 states adopted without looking at them first.

David Brooks takes the Ruling Class apologist’s view, basically that one should just get over it and embrace the change.

Erick Erickson takes the skeptical view, basically that it seeks to benefit the businesses who fund the politicians who promote.

Both agree that some type of minimum national standards make sense in our highly mobile society.  However, Erickson and Brooks disagree on the math standards. Brooks believes that the new math is a “feature, not a bug,” while Erickson puts it this way:

No longer is it correct to add 2 and 2 to get 4.  Now a child must explain why that is so. If a child decides that the answer is 5 instead of 4 but provides a logical reason for the answer, teachers are encouraged to give the child points. …

In second grade, our child has already been exposed to time, money, addition, subtraction, measuring, multiplication, division and fractions and is now headed into math involving parentheses. Before one concept is grasped, new concepts are approached. Common Core seeks to build familiarity before competence.

Parents can’t help kids with math anymore because the new math doesn’t make sense.  However, parents are told that students who get help from their parents perform better, so please by our study guides, etc. so your kid can succeed — something Erickson called “justifications to maintain the madness.”

Hopefully, more and more people, whether they have children or not, will be talking about these changes and put pressure on their local and statewide representatives to alter or abolish Common Core in their states — while it’s great for certain businesses and politicians in the short-term, it’s not good for our kids moving forward.

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Hopefully you’ve been paying attention to events happening in Nevada regarding rancher Clive Bundy’s conflict with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) — it says a lot about what is bubbling beneath the surface in DC and across the nation.

The case is simple: Bundy has to pay grazing fees to the federal government since his cattle grazes on federal lands.  Bundy refused to pay the fees back in 1994 and was taken to court — the fees now total around $1 million.

Now, two decades later, BLM decided to physically enforce its mandate by seizing the cattle.

Here’s a link to the raw footage of what went down.

Here’s the issue:  the regulation is stupid, but it is the law.  Bundy is legally wrong and the feds want their money.  Bundy used this event to draw attention to an overreaching federal government.  His family has owned the land since 1887 and would gladly pay the town or state for use of the land — his problem is with the feds.  The situation has the potential to escalate since the raw footage above has struck a chord with many who think such a government reaction is out of proportion with the crime.

Yesterday, the feds finally blinked and, while vowing not to let this go, have temporarily removed the stormtroopers.  We’ll see if the troops return see once the heat dies down in a few weeks.

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Marvel’s latest comic book adaptation, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, hit theaters this weekend with both a fun and highly political message.  Here’s the trailer:

The reviews are in and Winter Soldier is definitely worth the price of admission.  It’s even received Glenn Beck’s seal of approval (which is very hard to get for a big-budget Hollywood film).  Plus, the film’s own directors admit that the film is an allegory critical of the Obama-era policy of targeted drone strikes and mass surveillance!  I haven’t been to the movies in a while, but the great reviews along with the political intrigue got my butt to the theaters.

The film itself deals with Captain America coping with his new role in the 21st Century.  He’s adapting pretty well, but begins to learn a terrible truth about some members of his agency, SHIELD, and has a moral conflict — he’s supposed to be part of a law enforcement agency tasked with helping the people, but discovers a plot which seeks to permanently curtail our freedoms for the sake of peace and order.  It’s very relevant to today’s headlines, bringing in the “Winter Soldier,” an old Soviet-era assassin with an important secret!

I will say no more — there are elements of the plot to spoil.  This movie is politically relevant, filled with action and adventure (along with the perennially uber-hot Scarlett Johansson).  One leaves the theater thinking.  In fact, I feel this to be the best comic book political satire since The Dark Knight (which I still think is brilliant allegory of the War on Terror).  Unfortunately, in order to understand everything about this film, you kind of have to see the first Captain America, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, and Pulp Fiction (Pulp Fiction? You’ll see — it’s only a two second scene, but it’s hilarious if you catch it).  Overall, I give the movie an A- but those just coming off the street without knowing all the references to those other films, you may give it a high B.

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Occasionally, one needs a dose of clarity to (if nothing else) prepare psychologically for our impending day of reckoning.  I know that sounds apocalyptic, but our government’s spending, general ruling class behavior, the stock market, and other financial institutions are currently not on a sustainable path.  Unfortunately, we don’t know the time or the place or under what conditions the bubble will burst, so as a people we generally remain unfocused, complacent, and not really thinking strategically.

Articulating this quite well was Rush Limbaugh.  Since his show hits tens of millions of people, what he has to say is important.  Here’s his take on the road we are on:

H/T: The Blaze.

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Yesterday, Ivan Lopez opened fire at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, killing three and wounding sixteen before killing himself.  Lopez was being treated for mental illness, perhaps PTSD, before the attack.  The motive behind this shooting is still trying to be understood at this time.

However, nearly five years after the first shooting at Fort Hood, how does a thing like this happen?  You’ll always have “lone wolves” and mentally deranged people who do not exhibit predictable behavior, but why is it that on a military base, no one can carry a gun unless they are an MP (military police)? I figure that the one place in America everyone might agree should NOT be a gun-free zone is a place designed to train people how to kill using guns and other devices!

In Killeen, right outside the base, a civilian can carry, but on the base trained soldiers cannot outside of very specific areas.  This Bush 41-era rule may have enabled a much higher body count.  We don’t know.  Just something to think about.  We’re still in the fact-finding phase at this point.

Nonetheless, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

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As it discovers more about Common Core, Indiana will become the first state that adopted the program to dump it after its initial phases are over.  Some believe that this development could start a snowball effect as more states implement the standards this Fall.  We’ll have to see where all this is going.

Common Core is supported by the usual political establishment types, but opposed by a more diverse political coalition.  Yet, I guarantee that many other states, especially red states and even some purple ones, will reassess use of these standards.  They had better act fast though–the SAT and AP assessments are already changing their formats to cater to their new Common Core masters.

At the grassroots level, more regular people are reacting against these standards, including a dad whose letter about the “new math” went viral recently.  This uprising is sure to gain momentum by the Fall, maybe even impacting a few close Congressional races.

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Vatican chief justice Cardinal Raymond Burke said the following when asked about the Obama Administration in an interview for a Christian magazine:

It is true that the policies of the president of the United States have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization. He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies.

Well, duh!  There’s plenty more too in the link.

It’s heartening to hear people speaking truth to power on religious liberty while standing on principle.  The Supreme Court will be deliberating on the Hobby Lobby case soon where the Obama Administration is clearly attacking religious liberty through certain Obamacare mandates.  Lest we forget the Little Sisters of the Poor?

There are countless examples of how the state under Obama is trying to supplant, attack, intimidate, or ridicule religious institutions to promote its agenda.  So, I’m pleased that someone so high profile in the religious community is speaking out.

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