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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cromnibus Update by James Simpson


I am pleased to post the below article by a guest writer James Simpson. James writes for American Thinker, Breitbart, and writes regularly as the DC Independent Examiner. Please follow him on Twitter @jamesmsimpson and Facebook

CROMNUBUS UPDATE
By James Simpson

The votes are in and the massive spending bill known as "CROmnibus" has passed the House of Representatives. The Senate has been given two days to consider. Cannot imagine a successful GOP challenge there so it will become law of the land. Democrats call this massive bill one of the best deals they've gotten with the GOP in decades. Congressman James Moran (D-VA) said:
In 20 years with appropriations bills, I haven’t seen a better compromise in terms of Democratic priorities. Implementing the affordable care act, there’s a lot more money for child development…We got virtually everything Democrats tried to get.
This was a massive, premeditated betrayal of the American people and the Leadership's own party. Before the vote on Cromnibus, there was a vote on a procedural rule whether or not to allow the bill to be considered at all. A vote against the rule would have killed the bill. One congressman claimed leadership lied to him, telling him that Cromnibus was dead and if he voted for the rule it would be to clear the way for a vote on a simple short term continuing resolution funding government until the GOP took charge. So he voted for the rule. It won 214 to 212. CROmnibus then went on to pass with significant support from Democrats and way too many Republicans.
Finally, GOP leadership chose the December 11 expiration date for a continuing resolution passed in September to temporarily fund government. They did this knowing full well that if the GOP won the Senate in November, it would offer Democrats one last chance to pass something in the lame duck session. Speaker Boehner, McConnell and other GOP leaders deliberately disenfranchised their fellow Republicans.
Original article posted at American Thinker:
Flush from an unprecedented nationwide GOP victory in this November’s elections, House and Senate GOP leadership determined that their essential first course of action should be to snatch defeat from its jaws. They have brought forth a spending bill for 2015 that gives President Obama almost everything he wants, while disenfranchising the very voters who delivered the GOP victory.
The $1.014 trillion Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, (HR 83), has been dubbed “CROmnibus” as it is a combined continuing resolution (CR)[1] and Omnibus spending bill. It will provide full funding for 11 of the 12 annual appropriations bills to the end of FY 2015 (September 30th), and a short term continuing resolution to February 27 for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Speaker Boehner has said he would ensure members a minimum of 72 hours to read legislation. Instead, following former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s innovative “pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it” policy, there will only be a tiny window of no more than 52 hours to read, analyze and vote on a trillion dollar spending bill that is 1,603 pages long. For reference, the Bible (NKJV) is only 1,200 pages. In 2010, incoming Speaker Boehner sang a different tune, “I do not believe that having 2,000-page bills on the House floor serves anyone’s best interests, not the House, not for the members and certainly not for the American people,” he said. But he also said he was going to cut spending…
Well, since this monstrosity went public at around 8:30 Tuesday night, countless eyes have been poring over its provisions to make sure we don’t have to pass it to find out what’s in it. Following are some of the worst:
1. Explanatory Statement
Right from the start, the very first provision indicates this is a new animal:
Sec. 4 Explanatory Statement (P 4.) "The explanatory statement regarding this Act, printed in the House of Representatives section of the Congressional Record on or about December 11, 2014 by the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations of the House, shall have the same effect with respect to the allocation of funds and implementation of divisions A through K of this Act as if it were a joint explanatory statement of a committee of conference."
What it says in plain English is that the appropriations committee chairman could have authority to write in changes to any of the appropriations bills after the bill is passed. Usually this is done by a conference committee before the vote and indicates how and where they would like to see monies spent. This provision could allow the chairman to sneak in something or make other changes after the vote!
2. Executive Amnesty Is Fully Funded
The bill withholds funding for 451 separate activities, but none for executive amnesty. It provides at least $2.5 billion to handle this year’s influx of approximately 252,600 illegals. Most of the programs existed beforehand, but the legislation makes clear that increases have been provided to cover the additional costs:
Health and Human Services: $948 million for HHS’s Unaccompanied Alien Children program, $80 million more than fiscal year 2014, specifically to accommodate the “more than 57,000 children” apprehended in 2014. According to the Democrats, “It will also support legal services for children as they seek safety in the United States from extreme violence and abuse in their home countries.” This mantra is part of the Democrats’ effort to reclassify illegal aliens as “refugees,” a classification they clearly do not warrant. See p. 34 of Democrat bill summary.
Social Security: The following convoluted language actually gives illegals greater access to Social Security. By limiting denials to individuals whose actions have “formed the basis for a conviction…” implicitly everyone else is eligible, including those 4.5 million amnestied illegals. Virtually no one will be denied:
None of the funds appropriated in this Act shall be expended or obligated by the Commissioner of Social Security, for purposes of administering Social Security benefit payments under title II of the Social Security Act, to process any claim for credit for a quarter of coverage based on work performed under a social security account number that is not the claimant’s number and the performance of such work under such number has formed the basis for a conviction of the claimant of a violation of section 208(a)(6) or (7) of the Social Security Act." (PP. 958-959).
Department of Education: “$14 million for grants to all State educational agencies within States with at least one county where 50 or more unaccompanied children have been released to sponsors since January 1, 2014…” (P. 910) Furthermore, local agencies will be given subgrants for “supplemental academic and non-academic services and supports to immigrant children and youth.”
Department of State: $932 million. Includes a provision to assist Central American countries in improving their border security. (PP. 1303 – 1306). No funds appear to be allocated specifically to this activity but the Democrat’s bill summary identifies $260 millionto respond to a surge of unaccompanied children from Central America coming to the U.S. The funds will be used to implement a prevention and response strategy focused on border security and the reintegration of migrants, as well as the causes of the migration, including programs to improve education and employment, support families, counter gangs, coyotes and drug cartels and professionalize police forces.” See p. 53.
Note that the above does not refer to U.S. border security but that of Central American countries – an absurd gesture. The three Northern Triangle states of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador facilitated this year’s migration. Their borders are much tighter than ours. If they wanted to shut them down, they could. Flush $260 million.
Providing a short-term CR for DHS was supposed to make it appear that the GOP was going to challenge Obama’s illegal executive amnesty next year, because DHS agencies are to process new applicants under the executive order. But there is no language in the DHS CR defunding amnesty. Bill writers claimed they could not insert defund language into the DHS CR because affected programs are self-funded with user fees. Yet the bill had language restricting other user-fee based programs in other agencies. And if they couldn’t defund it now, how could they next year when the CR expires?
Between now and February 27, Obama’s executive action is fully funded, and the CR expires after the program kicks in. Meanwhile, DHS is rushing to hire new personnel to process the illegals expected to apply for the amnesty. There were so many lies and deceptions in this exercise it was almost impossible to keep up.
The GOP House leadership wants amnesty. Rep. Pete Sessions has said publicly that Republicans did not intend to repatriate the illegals who overwhelmed the border in 2014. Regarding any immigration “reform”, Sessions emphasized that the plan, “even in our wildest dream, would not be to remove any person that might be here, unless they were dangerous to this country and had committed a crime.” They structured the CROmnibus specifically to give Obama what he wants, allowing him to take the heat for it while they pretend to oppose it. Their real goal is to pass comprehensive immigration “reform” in 2015 that will look much like George W. Bush’s failed effort in 2007.
Daily Caller’s Neil Munro quoted a GOP Hill aide: “GOP leaders want to block and complicate the anti-amnesty fight because the GOP might win the fight against Obama… That victory would derail their plans for an GOP-designed amnesty in 2015, and complicate their efforts to keep immigration out of the 2016 election...”
The Leadership’s amnesty goals defy all logic. Those illegals brought with them a dictionary of new diseases, including most likely, the Enterovirus outbreak responsible for at least 8 deaths and numerous cases of serious paralysis. Illegals commit heinous crimes in disproportionate numbers. A major reason the GOP swept elections nationwide is that most Americans – including democrats and Hispanic Americans – do not like Obama’s open borders policies and want illegals sent home, not to remain here stealing jobs and overburdening our welfare system – already stressed to the max. Poll after poll indicates this.
On Wednesday, an amendment was proposed that would block funding for Obama’s executive amnesty. One of the amendment’s co-sponsors was Dave Brat, the Virginia legislator who threw Eric Cantor out of office. The amendment probably won’t get a fair hearing but good on him for trying.
3. Full Funding for Obamacare
Clever language says “no new funding” for Obamacare. But Obamacare was fully funded in the CR passed in September to keep the government open until December 11, including the contentious abortion funding and other issues. Now funding will be provided for the full fiscal year. This means no Obamacare repeal this year, and as it gradually sinks its tentacles into our Nation’s heart, it will be increasingly difficult to rip out. If a Republican becomes president in 2016, by then it will be so entrenched they won’t dare risk political capital to remove it. Difficult to believe, but the GOP Leadership appears to want Obamacare almost as much as the Democrats.
4. Millions More Muslim Refugees from Terrorist Countries
Syrian Refugees $3.06 billion has been provided, $1.01 billion above the President’s request for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons. (P. 52 Democrat summary). Recall that in September Simon Henshaw, deputy assistant secretary of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, announced: “Next year, you will see thousands [of Syrians] entering the US. We are committed to a large program on a par with other large [refugee resettlement] programs in the past… Our commitment is to do thousands a year over many years,” he said. There are over 1 million Syrian refugees in Turkey who have fled Syria’s civil war. “Our resettlement program from Turkey is one of our largest in the world, and it will continue to grow,” he added. Refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran will also benefit. So if you like Dearbornistan, prepare for many more towns like it.
5. Aid to Syrian Rebels
Half a Billion to Nice Terrorists “$500,000,000 … to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, sustainment and stipends, to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups or individuals for the following purposes: defending the Syrian people from attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and securing territory controlled by the Syrian opposition; protecting the United States, its friends and allies, and the Syrian people from the threats posed by terrorists in Syria; and promoting the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria.”. Weren’t our friends in Libya “appropriately vetted” too? The bill denies use of these funds for “procurement or transfer of man portable air defense systems.” But how does DoD plan to enforce that? (PP 426-427).
6. A Bunch More Objectionable Provisions
  • EPA gets to keep on imposing “greenhouse gas” regulations that are strangling coal, while provisions reining in EPA were stripped from the bill.
  • Provisions supporting gun rights were removed.
  • $5.4 billion for Ebola efforts in Africa – more than provided to fight ISIS.
  • The bill contains phony budget gimmicks, but still violates spending caps
  • Too many others to list
Club for Growth is urging all members of Congress to vote "NO” on the Cromnibus (HR 83), as is Heritage Action for America, the political action arm of the Heritage Foundation. Conservatives may have an unlikely ally in Senator Elizabeth Warren. Warren has become the Democrat’s latest lunatic folk hero following the ignoble flameout of Wendy “Abortion Barbie” Davis. Warren has called on Democrats to deny support until one objectionable provision regarding the Dodd-Frank law is removed. The Teamsters have weighed in as well, asking members not to support Cromnibus because of changes to multi-employer pension legislation. Both sides may be willing to consider a short term 90 day CR should the CROmnibus fail to pass, but the White House understandably prefers the monster.
This bill sets horrible precedents; most importantly it blatantly dismisses overwhelming popular opposition to both executive amnesty and Obamacare. The GOP majority was elected to take action, and not the action preferred by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Obama and the Democrats, but that demanded by taxpaying voters. If allowed to stand, these two policies will rip our country apart and ensure that the GOP majority, as usual, is very short-lived.


[1] A continuing resolution simply funds the government at current levels for a certain specified period without making any programmatic changes.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Real Hope and Change in Maryland


Living in Maryland is like living in the third world.  It is one party rule, and that party, the Democratic Party, is pretty much unchecked.  We have had two republican governors in our state’s history.  Spiro Agnew (around the time of Nixon) and Bob Ehrlich who was only elected for one term.  That’s it.

Governor Martin O’Malley has been in office for two terms.  Our lucky country will probably get to know him, as it is reported he will make a run for the White House.  (My apologies in advance:) Maryland is a prime example of the democrat policies run am-mock.

So what has happened in 8 years?  They have taxed literally everything except for the air we breathe.  Most people in Maryland think if they could figure out a way to tax the air, they would.  They have raised 40 consecutive taxes on everything from gas to rain. (See the complete list of tax and fee increases here: http://m.washingtonexaminer.com/gov.-martin-omalley-rings-up-9.5-billion-in-new-taxes/article/2531665 ) Yes, they really taxed the rain.)  They were one of the first states to implement Obamacare.  They did such a poor job of creating the health exchange website that they lost $288 million in taxpayer money, and had to scrap the entire thing.  Currently the OIG is looking into the fiasco for fraud and abuse. See the details here:  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-oig-maryland-20140309-story.html#page=1  (The democrat who was running for governor, Brown, was in charge of this mess.)

What is the net result?  More people and more businesses have left the state in droves.  We are losing 13,000 families a year to other states.  We have also lost a large amount of Fortune 500 companies.  One of the largest employers, McCormick, is actively looking to leave the state as well.

 Larry Hogan, a republican businessman was one of the surprise wins in Tuesday’s election beating out Brown for governor.  This race flew under the radar as Brown was the assumed winner. This was a shocker to most of the pundits as democrats outnumber republicans in this state 2:1.  It just goes to show that even in a deep blue state like Maryland, people have their breaking point.

I truly wish governor elect Hogan best wishes as he takes the top spot in Annapolis.  I hope he can bring some sanity, business and residents back to our state.  I would also like to thank Chris Christie who campaigned tirelessly for Hogan.  His efforts made all the difference in such a tight race. 

 I hope this election is the start of finally having a two party system in Maryland.  The democrats were able to pass such horrible tax policies because they have gone unchecked.  It is never a good idea to elect every official with the same mindset and thinking. Our political system is set up to encourage the exchange of ideas.  I am hoping this encourages Marylanders to continue to elect a diverse group of representatives; not just diverse in gender or ethnicity, but also diverse in their beliefs.  GO HOGAN

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sweet Truth


I have always been pretty health conscious and have been pretty careful about my diet.  I gave up gluten over 2 years ago, I don’t eat fast food/junk food, and I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.  Not bad for an everyday American.  My mother wanted to lose a little weight.  As many of you know, it is hard to be motivated to stick to a diet, so I decided to do it with her to keep her on track. 

I am the one who researched which diet plan we should start.  I have friends who have had success with everything from low carb to liquid diets, but none seemed  to last long term.  So, I turned to my health-guru friend with the long term perfect body for help.  She suggested the “Whole30” diet….no gimmicks, no food to “buy”, just clean eating for 30 days.  I have to say, when I saw the “don’t eat list,” I almost thought about having her sanity checked. No gluten, no corn, no rice, no beans, no peanuts, no dairy (NO DAIRY???? Black  coffee?????ugggg!!!!) No sugar, no sugar substitute.  Basically, I could eat protein, veggies, eggs, nuts and fruit. Ok, I thought, a 30 day detox off of sugar, I can do it…game on.

First of all, I was shocked at how many products have added sugar. Bacon, smoked salmon, pasta sauce, almond butter…sugar was hiding everywhere!  Before this diet, I was drinking cappuccino like an addict, and adding sugar to it.  How much sugar was I actually eating? The answer is….more than I ever suspected.

Over the summer a documentary was released called “Fed Up.”  It’s sort of like “Black Fish” for food and the food industry.  As a conservative, I do believe Americans have the right to make choices, but this got me to question everything.  How can Americans make choices about food when they aren’t getting all of the facts.  Americans have gotten misinformation about how sugar processes into fat when consumed.   Americans have been lied to.  As the movie points out, they have been told that 160 calories of Coke is the same as 160 calories of almonds.  We now know this isn’t true, the body processes the almonds completely differently from the soda. The soda spikes your insulin levels at such a high rate that the response from the body is to turn it into fat.  The movie talks about this, and the “Whole30” book talks about this too.

Not only have Americans not gotten the real story on sugar, the food industry has contributed to the confusion by promoting items loaded with sugar as “healthy.” Americans are reading ads on the front of packages, thinking they are buying healthy food for their family and they are doing the opposite.  As the movie points out, if there are a bunch of ingredients on the package that you don’t understand, you probably shouldn’t be eating them.

I don’t think that the government should impose limits on soda, or make people count their French fries, but I do think that companies should be forced to come clean with the public, just like big tobacco was forced to do.  Worst than tobacco which was sold to adults, the food industry directly targets kids, and are partnering with our schools. The numbers are staggering.  In the 80’s “Fed Up” points out that there were no kids with type 2 diabetes, today there are over 57,000 kids diagnosed.  This is a public health crisis, and our kids are counting on us getting full disclosure on our food.

I finish my “Whole30” in 2 days and I have to say, I feel great.  I have definitely lost weight, but more than that, I feel fantastic.  I have learned that I can drink my coffee black and enjoy it, eat salad without cheese, and guacamole can make great salad dressing. I really encourage all of you to watch the documentary “Fed Up” and even to read the book the “Whole30.”  If nothing else, your eyes will be opened to what the food industry is hiding….loads of sugar.

 

Link to the Fed Up trailer and info: http://fedupmovie.com/#/page/home

 

Link to Whole30: http://whole30.com/

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ray Rice: The War On Women And Equality Intersect


The Ray Rice scandal has been all over the news.  Living in the state of Maryland, you can imagine this has been a hot topic of conversation.  This is truly Ravens Nation.  Last night the Ravens played their arch rivals, the Pittsburg Steelers.  I am happy to report that they won. 

What was more shocking than how well they played in spite of the dark cloud hanging over the team, was the number of 27/Ray Rice jerseys in the stands.  Even more shocking, as CNN noted this morning, was how many of these Ray Rice jerseys were worn by women!  Where is the outrage? Where are the protest signs?  For heaven’s sake, where are the vagina costumes?

These women aren’t alone. Many liberal women are sighting Whoppi Goldberg’s comments about Jay Z and Solange when she was quoted as saying, “If you hit a man, don’t be surprised if he hits back.” Goldberg goes on to remind women that chivalry may not “still be in place.”  See her comments here: http://www.theroot.com/blogs/the_grapevine/2014/07/whoopi_goldberg_defends_stephen_a_smith_if_you_hit_a_man_don_t_be_surprised.html

I know Goldberg doesn’t speak for all liberals.  And, to be fair, many women’s groups have come out against Rice.  However, Goldberg is not the only person to voice these sentiments.  The fact that so many women wore jerseys in support of Rice last night makes my point - she isn’t alone. 

The left has pushed The War on Women, and idea of the “rape culture” because it is working politically. At the same time, they also believe in equality and not judging anyone.  Looking at the Rice case, it appears in their eyes, you truly can’t be judged for anything. This is where the disconnect lies. With Rice, it’s one or the other.  You either have a War on Women, or you have true equality, a punch for a punch.  They can’t reconcile both positions. (Never mind that he knocked out his then fiancée, rendering her unconscious...a pesky detail.)

Once again, the conservatives have a unique opportunity, if they can seize the moment.  Conservatives pride themselves on having a foundation of guiding principles and convictions.  They can use this strength against this weakness in the liberal platform.  This may be their best opportunity to show the War on Women is just a political strategy.  When push comes to literal shove, their War on Women doesn’t empower, or protect women at all.  In fact, it can be argued, only having a strong platform based on the constitution, laws, respect, and general morality will protect women in the end.  The liberals are at the intersection of the War on Women and equality and have no idea where to go.  This is a prime opportunity for conservatives to change the discussion, change the direction, and change the narrative with women.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Beyond Ferguson



When I was in high school, one of my best friends was African American.  One night while sleeping over at her house in the basement, some friends came knocking on the basement door. (Note to parents: don’t let your kids sleep in the basement…they sneak out.) Being stupid teenagers, we of course went with these friends on a joy ride to the nearest 7-11, and were promptly stopped by the police after driving away from the store.  I was the only white person in the car.  They were all terrified.  Interestingly, I wasn’t. We did nothing wrong.  We only bought soda.  (Last I checked consuming too much sugar, and drinking caffeine late at night didn’t warrant being stopped by the police.) We were all college bound, prep school kids, I felt confident that once this was explained to the officer, everything would be fine.  They disagreed.


I volunteered to talk to the policeman who explained that there was a reported stolen car. The suspects were black teenagers and our car matched the description of the vehicle.  I told him where we went to school (which was a prestigious school in the area) and that we only bought soda.  He ran our plate, and let us go. 

Later in life I worked in corporate America with an African American guy whose father was a vice president at Ford Motors.  One night we all went out on the town, and he drove us around in his tricked out Ford Taurus.  Since his dad was a VP,  I thought it was funny that he had a Taurus, until he explained why.  He used to have a Lincoln, but he would get pulled over so often being a young, black male.  Driving a Lincoln wasn’t worth the hassle. He was pulled over constantly.  This guy was brilliant, came from an amazing family, was affluent, and changed his car so he wouldn’t be stopped.  I couldn’t imagine living like that. None of my white friends lived like that.

Watching the events unfolding in Ferguson I have felt very conflicted.  On the one hand I feel this officer has been judged before he has even been tried.  This is completely un-American and goes against everything we stand for as a nation.  How this officer can get a fair trial with the governor already condemning him is beyond me.  This is what they do in the third world.  The facts are not even in, and the Attorney General is flying in to meet with the family. It is still possible that this officer could be the victim.  We won’t know until the investigation is complete.   Every American deserves a fair trial. Michael Brown deserves a full, complete investigation and so does the officer.

On the other hand, I feel the pent up frustration of the African American community.  I have had few glimpses of life from the other side.  I didn’t like the experience.  As a conservative, I support, applaud, and understand their desire to protect their freedoms granted under the constitution. This is something that conservatives also value and should offer to lend their support.  This may even be an opportunity for conservatives to stand with and support the black community. 

I think the black community is missing a prime opportunity to deliver a bigger message to people who need to hear it.  The message they have been sending is wrapped up in the case of Michael Brown before the facts are in. The message being delivered is “no justice, no peace.” I think many who need to hear the other side are watching the riots, the looting, the rush to condemn the officer, and they are tuning out.  What if the officer is found to be innocent? Where does the conversation go then?

 I would argue that the riots are happening due to pent up anger that was there before Brown was shot.  The anger was there from being stopped for driving while black, for having different rules based on color, for feeling pre-judged by law enforcement, stop and frisk, and frequent  5th amendment violations by police, among other things.  It would serve the black community well to re focus the discussion on these issues instead of the outcome of one particular case.  This may allow a dialog that could create positive change.

The Brown case will go one of two ways.  The evidence may show that an innocent, unarmed man, with his hands in the air, was murdered in cold blood.  Or, it will show that the officer was being attacked, feared for his life, and shot Brown as a result.  Either outcome won’t change the obvious rage over unfair treatment by law enforcement within the black community.  Hopefully this case will morph the focus from the Brown case to a dialog of how we can protect the constitutional rights of all Americans. The bottom line is that all men, who are created equally, should be treated that way in their communities.

 

 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Israel: Freedom and Order

Even though I am religiously Catholic, I have followed the teachings of  Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.  He is a religious leader, philosopher, and professor. He also served as Chief Rabbi of England from 1991 through 2013.  He has lectured at universities around the globe, has met with the Catholic bishops as well as the Pope. He is one of the most thought provoking teachers of our time. 


This week he wrote an article regarding the conflict in Israel.  I hope you take the time to read it.  His article is one of the most eloquent pieces written on the topic.  Rabbi Sacks puts the Israeli conflict, and the need for the very existence of Israel into religious context.  He writes,  "What the Torah tells us early on is how humanity failed. They did so in two ways,  They created freedom without order.  Or they created order without freedom.  That is still the human tragedy."  He goes on to say that Israel answers the biblical need in the world for "freedom without anarchy, order without tyranny."


If you only read one article on this conflict, I suggest you read this one.  Here is the link:


http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/creating-freedom-without-anarchy-order-without-tyranny/


You can follow Rabbi Sacks on Twitter at @rabbisacks  You can also find many of Rabbi Sack's lectures on YouTube.  Nothing like being able to attend a lecture given at Cambridge from your living room.


My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Israel.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Limiting Abortion With Science


The Republican Party is gearing up for the mid terms and part of that is figuring out how to position social issues.  Abortion has been a hot topic for democrats and frankly they out marketed republicans in the last cycle complete with their “War on Women” hashtag.

In the past republicans have run into the corner of the boxing ring to avoid the topic of abortion.  It’s a hot button issue and one which many women voters support the other side.  In the past, the argument against those who are pro-life has been to ridicule them for their religious beliefs, and then to declassify the baby into a “clump of cells.”

The republicans are finally using their “lady smarts,” (a Michelle Malkin phrase) and are planning on beating the democrats at their own game.  They realize they can’t win the abortion debate by making a religious case, they need to win by using science. 

The New York Times just ran an article discussing the republican plan.  See the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/25/us/politics/republicans-abortion-midterm-elections.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSumSmallMediaHigh&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0  These republican women are 100% correct.  Most women, when polled, are completely against abortion in later months.  They need to market accordingly.

What has changed?  Why aren’t many women buying the “clump of cells” argument anymore?  Simply, it’s the utilization of ultrasounds, specifically 3D ultrasounds, as well as the advances for babies born prematurely.

Time Magazine ran an article on June 2, 2014 about the advances science has made for the care of premature babies. See the article here: http://time.com/108708/the-cutting-edge-medicine-saving-preemies/

What is amazing is that babies we never thought could survive are able to do so.  According to the article, in 1960 the survival rate for a 3.3lb baby was 28%, in 2010 it was 78%.  Things have drastically changed since Roe V Wade. Some other interesting stats from the article regarding premies: At 22 weeks survival is 5%, at 23 weeks survival is 26%, at 24 weeks survival is 56%, and at 25 weeks survival is 76%.  The New York Times published abortion restrictions by state: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/06/18/us/politics/abortion-restrictions.html?_r=0    9 states have no restriction on gestational age, 26 states restrict abortion at 24-26 weeks, 8 states restrict abortion at 22 weeks. What this means is that 43 of 50 states allow abortion on babies that have a high probability of surviving outside of the womb. The only difference between the premie babies in the article and the ones which are aborted, are that the mothers wanted them. This is something most pro-choice women can’t even justify.  There is no doubt when looking at these statistics, they are killing viable babies.

Although I disagree with the democrats on mostly everything, I do think they have republicans beat on marketing.  It’s about time that we take a page out of their book and use their tactics against them.  One thing they do successfully is chip away at a little at a time until they eventually get everything they want.  We won’t have the opportunity to make changes in abortion policy without winning the mid-terms.  We need to focus where we can win, and here we can win using science.

 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Third World Kids At Home

Last week a video of an African American woman went viral as she vented to news cameras about all of the money being used for the immigrant children who are flooding our border.  She rightly complained that her kids are in dire need for these resources, and they get nothing.  She thought the funds should be used to help our kids here at home.  This video was picked up by many conservatives , and she became the voice for the everyday American who is wondering why we are spending money we don’t have, on people who aren’t even here legally.  You can see her video here:  http://toprightnews.com/?p=4374

The chief argument I hear from liberals is “it’s about the children.”  They argue that these children are “refugees,” fleeing untenable situations.  Mind you, these children are primarily fleeing Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, none of these counties has been declared a war zone.  They argue that anyone opposed to letting in these children is “unchristian” and “heartless, “and dare I say “un-American.”

This made me ask the question: how bad is it really in their countries? Is it really worst than Detroit?  I really started wondering if the violence in El Salvador was as bad as it is in West Baltimore, home of the infamous show The Wire.

The first article I came upon makes the counterpoint to my argument.  They smartly compare crime in these countries to Chicago, since 80 people were shot there over the July 4th weekend.  One good thing about living near a city with high crime, we know how to look at crime stats. Chicago has a lot of people so the murder rate is actually way less than other cities if you look at it on a per capita basis. The only good thing about the article, is it gave the murder stats for Honduras (90 murders for 100,000 people), El Salvador (41 murders for 100,000 people), and Guatemala (40 murders for 100,000 people.) Here is their article: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118645/honduras-murder-rate-reason-enough-give-child-migrants-asylum

True, Honduras has a high murder rate, but sadly, it’s pretty close to Flint, Michigan which tops the charts with 62 murders for every 100,000 people!  (These are all 2012 figures) The murder rate in Flint is certainly higher than El Salvador and Guatemala! Detroit comes in close at 55 murders for every 100,000 people. New Orleans ranks high at 53 murders for every 100,000 people.  Baltimore is up there as well at 35 murders for every 100,000 people. See all crime stats here: http://www.freep.com/article/20130917/NEWS03/130917024/?appSession=718112900729997&RecordID=&PageID=2&PrevPageID=1&cpipage=9&CPISortType=&CPIorderBy=

If Obama is making the argument that these children are suffering from living in countries riddled with crime, I think the data supports that kids living in New Orleans, Detroit, Flint, and Baltimore, are living in more dire conditions than the kids in Guatemala and El Salvador.  In fact, the kids living in these US cities would have less crime moving to those countries!  Frankly, we should be ashamed that children here in the US are living in 3rd world, violent conditions.  By helping these immigrant kids, Washington is side stepping our own kids, living in their own war zone, to help kids who have entered illegally.

The lady in the video was 100% correct.  You need to clean your own house before you clean someone else’s.  We don’t have the money to help all of the children flooding our border, but if we are going to spend it anyway, we should spend it in cities like Detroit.  Whether or not we want to face it, we have our own 3rd world kids here at home.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Winning Elections At The Border

It is no secret that under President Obama this country has been polarized.  This makes it challenging during the election cycle as both parties struggle to both rally their base to go to the polls in large numbers, while simultaneously appealing to the ever important “independent voter.”  In this cycle, where there are few in the middle, accomplishing both of these tasks seems quite daunting.  However, it is imperative that the GOP get conservatives to the polls while getting those in the middle to vote for their candidates.

As a recovering democrat, I am surprised by the lack of marketing savvy by the GOP.  One thing you have to praise the democrats for is their ability to create clear marketing messages that stick. I do think the GOP has an uphill battle in that it is way more difficult to explain quantitative easing and inflationary monetary policy  in a catchy “war on women” style slogan.  But, if the GOP wants to win elections they are going to have to adopt Obama’s “laser like focus” (that was a joke just in case you are new to this blog), and utilize effective and simple messaging that appeals to a broad group of people.

The GOP has a huge opportunity that I hope they do not squander, and that is the issue of the tens of  thousands of illegal immigrants that have surged across our border recently.  I was listening to Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) take listener questions on CSPAN not long ago.  (For those who don’t know, when folks call into CSPAN they call on a phone line affiliated with their party, so you know their political affiliation up front.) Democratic caller after democratic caller was livid about all of the children coming across our border.  These democrats want help for the poor and downtrodden, and even they know deep down there is only so much money to go around.  One African American democrat complained that the unemployment rate was high enough for the black community and these illegal immigrants were going to exacerbate the issue.  Jeffies’ response was shocking.  He actually argued that the influx of illegal immigrants would actually help with unemployment.  No one calling in bought what he is selling.   In this space, the democrats have no spin, and no slogan, and frankly, they own this problem.

The GOP must use this opportunity to win the election cycle.  The democrats will want to talk about any other topic to keep them off message.  The border is something all Americans are angry about.  Regular democrats are upset because all of the programs they want to fund will not be funded.  Obama has just requested $2 billion dollars to throw at the most recent result of our unsecured border.   None of the money will even address the border, just the children who are already here.  The more money Obama seeks for illegal immigrants, the clearer it is that the programs many democrats seek to fund will lose dollars.  They also recognize that unskilled workers will be competing with these illegals for jobs.  Republicans have always wanted a sealed border and it’s something the base will support.

The GOP has been falsely represented by the democrats as the party of the wealthy.  They could easily change this if the republicans play these political cards correctly.  The message must include how the democrats have allowed this unprecedented influx of people, and how it will further hurt jobs and resources for all Americans who for once need to be given priority. This election won’t be won on responding to issues like equal pay, the war on women or paying “fair share,” it will be won at the border.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Making Men the Weaker Sex


I was humbled and amazed by the huge response to my article last week “Feminism and the New Rape Culture,” where I gave the conservative spin on feminism.  I was shocked specifically by the number of men that responded via Twitter to say that the article struck a chord.  Apparently, as a woman, I said what they could not.  Yes, if you haven’t noticed, these feminists are brutal.

What do feminists think about men?  The conclusion I reached after I perused their blogs and hashtags, is not much.  The best is how they continually have to explain that they “are NOT man haters.” That should tell you something. I guess it wouldn’t be so disturbing if I thought this sentiment was from a small faction on the left.  Unfortunately, I am seeing posts from regular stay at home moms about the “rape culture.” I fear this thinking is seeping into middle America.

All of this puts men in an awkward predicament.  They are completely unable to defend themselves in this situation.  What many men find frustrating in the debate, is that there is no debate. Any man that comments on “women’s issues” is quickly put in his place.  This is one topic for which men have no right to an opinion or a voice.

Despite what the feminists think, men need a seat at the debate table.  These cultural shifts are impacting them more than many realize. As women are on the winning end of these changes, men are ultimately losing.  I had several guys send me the recent statistics on boys today.  They are so bad, I sought to verify them.  According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, as reported by PBS:

“Boys are 30% more likely than girls to flunk out of school.

56% of bachelor’s degrees and 55% of graduate degrees are earned by women.

Boys make up 2/3 of students in special ed, and are 5 times more likely to be classified as hyperactive.”

It seems as society has focused more on advancing women, we have been ignoring our sons.  One book that addresses this phenomenon is “Manning Up, How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys” by Kay Hymowitz.  You can read an interview with her discussing her book here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2011/03/03/rise-of-women-turned-men-into-boys-manning-up-kay-hymowitz/  It has given me a lot to think about as I look at my own children. For example, if I am participating in “take your daughter to work day,” could it ultimately have a larger impact on my son?  What is the message he takes from staying behind?

Men are on the receiving end of what women have complained about for decades. I am glad that I don’t face the same challenges of my grandmother’s generation, but I don’t believe that for women to succeed, men have to fail.  A woman’s strength is not dependant on a man’s weakness.  We can celebrate our differences, instead of creating a “gender neutral” society.  We need strong men in the world, whether feminists want to recognize that or not. It is through their strength that we may ultimately find ours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Feminism and the New Rape Culture


I am a recovering feminist.  I grew up in a household that bought everything the democratic party was selling, and part of the sales pitch was feminism.  If you look up “feminism” in the dictionary it sounds like something that everyone would and should embrace.  Word web defines it as “a doctrine that advocates equal rights for women.” Why would anyone be against that?  When I went to college and started my career, it was with the full expectation that I would have the same opportunities as a man.  Indeed, my life has worked out that way.

My early career was not without its challenges.  I worked in male dominated businesses.  I personally experienced inappropriate comments, uncomfortable situations, and full on sexual harassment in the workplace.  I became stronger, and succeeded in spite of it.

So why am I telling you all of this? Because I want you to know I get it, I have lived it, and I am here to tell you the liberals have feminism all wrong these days. It has started with women throwing themselves up as the sexual football, pulling it away like Lucy in the Charlie Brown comic strip, which has resulted in the #YesAllWomen hashtag.

As Time Magazine reported, before Rodger Elliot went on a shooting rampage in Santa Barbara, he put out a YouTube video where he ranted about how women ignored him, and ultimately he would get his revenge. http://time.com/114043/yesallwomen-hashtag-santa-barbara-shooting/  As a response to his rant, women took to the internet to unload about how they are constantly victimized by men, using the #YesAllWomen hashtag.  This went viral and caused another discussion within liberal circles of “the rape culture.”

The end of my feminist rope came when I finally stumbled upon this article entitled “A Gentleman’s Guide To Rape Culture.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zaron-burnett/guide-to-rape-culture_b_5440553.html  The article starts like this: “If you are a man, you are a part of the rape culture…You’re not a rapist, necessarily,  But you do perpetuate the attitudes and behaviors commonly referred to as rape culture.”  He goes on to write that women basically are in constant fear of being attacked, or raped by men.  Men should go above and beyond to make women feel safe and secure so that they know you are not a rapist. Even better, he curses through the whole article, dropping a few “f” bombs.  Hey, isn’t the “f” bomb PART of the rape culture? I’m so confused!

I find all of this so ironic. Isn’t feminism supposed to be about the empowerment of women? Is the left truly saying that the only way women can feel safe is for men to make them feel that way? You know they would never suggest taking a self defense class or worst yet knowing how to use, and/or carry a weapon.

The other part that struck me was the lack of personal responsibility among women. Tweet after tweet on the hashtag discussed how women were being violated after they had put themselves in precarious situations. No one deserves to be raped, but certainly some situations can increase the likelihood. I guess it’s hard for me to reconcile #YesAllWomen and the spring break party culture for example. 

It's easier to be treated like a lady if you act like one.  When women have respect for themselves, and act like ladies, I think they have firmer ground to stand on.  I am living proof that wearing a conservative suit won't protect you from sexual harassment.  However, women need to face the fact that we contribute to the problem when we send mixed signals.  We haven't come THAT far.  If you dress and act like a porn star, you will probably be treated like one.  (That's why our parents always said "if it looks like a duck...") When women blur the line of what is acceptable, they shouldn’t be upset when men don’t know they’ve crossed it.
My real wish is for the conservatives to take over the feminist movement.  This may be the perfect time to do it.  Conservatives hold the message for real female empowerment, whether that comes through self protection, self advancement, or self awareness.  The conservative message for women doesn't rely on men to make our world safer, or rely on government to negotiate our salaries as is the case with Equal Pay.  We make our own world safer, make our own opportunities, and succeed in spite of adversity.  Conservative "feminists" don't create blurred lines, we create finish lines. We need to own the race we are winning.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Are Kids Tuning Out By Plugging In


I have two children and live in a state that has embraced the common core full force.  The complaint many have had about the common core is that there is no experience using this curriculum.  They were even writing some of the lesson plans as they were teaching them this year.  They have no idea what the long term impact these changes could have on their students. 

One of the biggest changes I see in the name of “advancement” is getting rid of handwriting, and the addition of technology. Specifically, they are no longer teaching children to write in script, and they are embracing technology via iPads and computers.  I guess the rational is that if students are primarily typing, and no longer writing, note taking will be obsolete, and so will their need to know script. 

My local school has adopted both of these ideas.  They only teach children to print, script is no longer taught in the school.  They are also implementing a pilot program in the elementary school to give the children each a tablet-like device in kindergarten through 5th grade to “facilitate learning.”  I have been skeptical of both cutting handwriting, and giving small kids tablets, it has just been a “gut instinct.”  My concern was validated when I read two recent articles about both.

I was surprised to read the recent article in the New Yorker titled “The Case For Banning Laptops In The Classroom.” http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2014/06/the-case-for-banning-laptops-in-the-classroom.html which discusses information retention by students who take notes on computers.  Ironically, at Dartmouth, the computer science professor was the first one to ban lap tops in his class.  Students were just too distracted. The temptation was too great for many students to surf the net during class. But what about the kids who aren’t surfing the web, and are actually just taking notes? Studies show that students who take handwritten notes have better recall of a lecture than those taking notes on a computer.

Personally, I am a note taker.  I remember things better when I write them down by hand.  I actually have to write a note, as typing the same note does not allow me to retain the information as well.  Why are the studies showing that others have the same experience?  What is it about handwriting?  Is there a connection made between our hand and brain? Dyslexic kids are often taught to tap out words on their arm to imprint the spelling. What are our kids losing if they are no longer writing by hand?

The New York Times recently published a great article entitled “What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades.” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/03/science/whats-lost-as-handwriting-fades.html?_r=0 which debunks the notion of the common core, that learning handwriting is no longer necessary.  According to the article, new data is showing evidence that there is a connection between handwriting and educational development. They link handwriting to the generation of ideas and information retention.

The biggest frustration I have is that the direction the government is taking to educate our children is the wrong one.  Numerous studies are showing that plugging children into technology, and pulling back from handwriting is actually detrimental to their retention of information, and their critical thinking development.  Even liberal publications that have traditionally supported the common core curriculum, such as The New York Times and The New Yorker, are recognizing the flaws in moving in this direction.  If the school systems don’t make changes now, and abandon their plans for technology implementation, it seems instead of plugging into learning, kids will just be tuning out.

 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oh, The Places Graduation Speakers Will Go


It’s graduation season, and time again for memorable and not so memorable speeches to take place at our fine universities throughout the country.  I was driving along, listening to CSPAN when they announced they were going to play Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech to the graduating class of NYU. 

If I told tell you that upon first hearing that Yellen would be speaking , that I didn’t let out a little groan, and think about changing the channel, I would be lying.  (Full disclosure, my groan was rather loud.) But, I do regularly listen to points of view that I can not stand, which frankly fuels my writing.  I gave it a go.

Yellen surprised me as she gave the graduates “tools for intellectual growth.’  One of the tools she mentioned was “listening to others.” She said, “These days technology allows us access to a great breadth of perspectives, but it also allows us to limit what voices we hear to the narrow range we find most agreeable.  Listening to others, especially those whom we disagree, tests our own ideas and beliefs.  It forces us to recognize, with humility, that we don’t have a monopoly on the truth.”

Yellen went on in her speech to discuss challenges at the fed, giving students advice to never give up. When The New York Times heard the same speech, the headline they took was “Yellen Tells N.Y.U Graduates To Expect Failure and Learn From It.”  Not surprisingly, the Times glossed over the best point of her speech.


Imagine my surprise, right after the speech from Ms. Yellen, when I heard Bloomberg’s speech to the Harvard graduates.  This time the newspapers had no choice but to address the message of balance.  Bloomberg blasted universities like Harvard, who should be the pinnacle of open debate.   He pointed out how skewed the faculty and staff are, 96% of them donated to Obama’s campaign.    He went on to say that “Today, on many college campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas, even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species.” 

I encourage you to watch Bloomberg’s speech in its entirety, you can do so here: http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2014/05/30/transcript-and-video-of-michael-bloombergs-speech-at-2014-harvard-commencement/
As many of you know, I have strong opinions about the direction this country should take, but I do follow the advice of Yellen and Bloomberg and stay open to the other side of the debate.  I agree strongly with Yellen (this may be the only point on which we actually agree) that listening to those with whom we disagree tests the validity of our convictions.  It is by reading the New York Times and listening to MSNBC on a regular basis that I actually become a better conservative and a better writer.  Hopefully these recent graduates, and those running our universities will take to heart the words of Yellen and Bloomberg.  This country is counting on it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Italy Puts The "I" in "PIGS"

If you are struggling to boost your GDP in a failing economy, when all else fails, pad the numbers! Evidently, Italy isn't the first country to use "creative accounting" when the GDP number is less than stellar. Sadly, it looks like the United States was the first to add random items to the balance sheet to make them add up to a better total.


According to Slate, back in April of last year, the United States decided to add "intangibles" to the GDP number which increased our economic output by 3% overnight.
 http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2013/04/nipa_revisions_bea_will_treat_intangibles_as_capital_goods_and_boost_gdp.html
They added items such as books and movies to the GDP number. The only issue being that they had to estimate the value of these entities. Ca-Ching! I wonder if I need to apply for a loan, if I can add future raises, or future potential income to my salary too? I love this kind of math!


So what about Italy?  I agree with the article below from Zero Hedge.  Italy certainly takes the cake for style, by adding productivity from illegal entities.  I wonder if the USA will follow suit. Hey, at least prostitution, gambling, and now marijuana are legal in some parts of the country.  Desperate times call for desperate measures. Besides, its easier to cook the books than to actually grow an economy these days. Ciao!



http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-22/cocaine-sales-to-boost-italian-gdp-in-boon-for-budget.html

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Devil Goes To Harvard



Making headlines this week was Harvard University. As reported by the Boston Globe, they sanctioned a university club to hold a "black mass, all shrouded in the cloak of "education, and cultural understanding." A black mass is a satanic ritual which directly mocks the Catholic mass. Yes, evil is so cunning, even our educational elite could be actually convinced to worship the devil. (Boston Globe article link: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/05/12/cardinal-sean-malley-expresses-disappointment-harvard-decision-allow-black-mass-campus/tUjYx2817C65LAHousRIeP/story.html


In ironies of ironies, the president of Harvard University is named Faust, Drew Faust. (For those who don't know, Faust is the central character in a German story and opera. He is a scholar who sells his soul to the devil, really, I'm not making this up.). Faust, true to his name, was initially defending the decision to go forward with the black mass. In the article, Faust was quoted as saying, "vigorous and open discussion and debate are essential to the pursuit of knowledge, and we must uphold these values even in the face of controversy." My, he speaks with a forked tongue.

This black mass was to be staged on campus by the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club, which according to the Globe, "has continually urged critics to widen their understanding of satanic worship." Maybe while we weren't paying attention, the devil went to rehab?

The central questions one would ask is "how do you get a prestigious university to not only allow this to take place, but to sanction it as well?" The answer is so common, it is pathetic that Harvard fell for it. Evil never comes out and tells you they are evil, they always mask themselves in something good. (remember the bible verse "woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness. - Isaiah 5:20) I think the 2014 NBC remake of "Rosemary's Baby" should be required viewing for all of Harvard University. The Harvard folks need to ask themselves, how does evil mask itself in good? They say things like "this performance is a part of a larger effort to explore religious facets that continue to influence contemporary culture." or "many satanists are animal rights activists vegetarians, and artists with a strong sense of community." Actually, that explains A LOT! (Maybe my previous article regarding the animal rights activists attacking the horse and carriages in NYC should have taken a different direction.)

The positive part of this story is what caught Harvard off guard, the groundswell and outcry from students, alumni, and the general public. There was a petition that amassed 60,000 signatures against the black mass. Harvard had to retreat and pull the plug. It makes for a happy ending, seeing good triumph over evil in the truest sense. The Harvard Extension Club, with no place to go, asked the Middle East Club to utilize their space, they wisely turned it down. They settled for a Chinese restaurant and were reportedly seen just drinking beer.

I never was one to fear "the devil" or even think about the concept, even though I am a pretty regular church goer. Frankly, talk of the devil tends to bring me back to the days of the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live. In this modern era it seems almost passé to some degree. I am starting to question my own beliefs after this incident. It seems clear the devil is making a comeback, and he's not just going big...he's going to Harvard.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bring Back Our Journalists


Last Sunday May 4th I read the op-ed article in the New York Times called “Bring Back Our Girls” which was about the kidnapping of the Nigerian teenagers.  The article stated that the girls were taken in the beginning of April. (They were taken on April 14th in fact.) This story wasn’t a hard news story, it wasn’t on the front page at all.  It was buried deep  in the “Sunday Review” section, the opinion section, back on page 11.   These girls have been gone for almost a month, and this small article is the first I have heard of their disappearance. Read the story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/opinion/sunday/kristof-bring-back-our-girls.html?_r=0


All I could think after reading the article is “why hasn’t this been reported by anyone?” And, “why is this the first time I am hearing about this?” CNN has become a laughing stock of the cable news networks  as they have run 24/7 coverage of the missing Malaysian plane.  Even President Obama took a swipe at them at the Annual White House Correspondents dinner as he joked that he had to go to Malaysia to get CNN to even cover him and that they were still looking for their table.  (Note to CNN: we get it, the plane is still missing, no one knows where it is, move on until you actually have breaking news.) This made me question why.  Was it because more people were missing on the plane? Actually, there were 276 teenage girls taken by the militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria, there were 239 people aboard the missing Malaysian plane. Did they just need to fill air time, and this was the easiest way to do it?  Is it because they have reduced their number of reporters so much that they didn’t even know about these missing girls?

The small opinion piece in the New York Times didn’t go unnoticed amazingly. The small article started a groundswell on social media starting the hashtag of #BringBackOurGirls. It is because of the influence of social media that this story is finally getting the attention it deserves. It is no wonder that Pew Research recently reported that about 50% of Americans are getting news from social media. http://www.journalism.org/2014/03/26/8-key-takeaways-about-social-media-and-news/  I would argue that groups are going to social media to try to get their stories out because they can not do so via traditional channels.  I personally have been seeing Twitter feed for weeks regarding the uprising going on currently in Venezuela.  They have been protesting in the streets for weeks, people have been killed and jailed. I finally read a news report about it 6 weeks later.

The truth is, the ratings for cable news channels are going down, for some channels more than others.  Pew Research recently completed their “State of the Media” report for 2014 where they reported that the big three cable news stations are all losing viewers.  http://www.journalism.org/2014/03/26/state-of-the-news-media-2014-key-indicators-in-media-and-news/  The big three CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC lost 11% of their viewership combined in 2013.  The biggest decliner was MSNBC which lost 24%, followed by CNN at 13%, and lastly FOX at 6%. Fox however had more viewers total than CNN and MSNBC combined.

When I started this blog, I spent a lot of time worrying about the layout, the pictures, the colors….all of which you may have noticed or not.  A friend said to me that none of that matters in the end, that it was the content that will drive readership.  Truly, I know he is right.  What applies to me also applies to the major news networks.  When they stop running the same stories 24/7, report all of the news, do solid, unbiased investigative reporting, and bring stories that move people to care, people will tune in instead of tuning out.  They have more than a job, they have a responsibility to shed light on the stories of our world.  If the news networks want to bring back their ratings, they first have to bring back our journalists.