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Pat Buchanan - Obama trying to hijack the American Revolution

"Second Term Begins With a Sweeping Agenda for Equality," ran the eight-column banner in which The Washington Post captured the essence of Obama's second inaugural. There he declared: "What binds this nation together ... what makes us exceptional — what makes us American — is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago."
Obama then quoted our Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Our "union," Obama went on, was "founded on the principles of liberty and equality."
Nice prose — and transparent nonsense.
How could the American Union have been founded on the principle of equality, when "equality" is not mentioned in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or the Federalist papers? How could equality be a founding principle of a nation, six of whose 13 original states had legalized slavery, and five of whose first seven presidents owned slaves all their lives?
What Obama preached in his inaugural was not historical truth but progressive propaganda, an Orwellian rewrite of American history.
Undeniably, the post-Civil War 13th, 14th and 15th amendments established an equality of constitutional rights. And from the Brown decision of 1954 through the civil rights acts of the 1960s, there was established an equality of civil rights. Black Americans were assured equal access to schools, public accommodations, the voting booth and housing. And Congress and the people overwhelmingly supported those laws.
But if the nation did not establish equality of constitutional rights until the 1860s and equality of civil rights until the 1960s, how can Obama claim that "equality" has been the feature that "makes us American" and "binds this nation together." How can he say that our commitment to equality is what makes us "exceptional" — when every Western country believes in equal rights for all of its citizens, and it was the French Revolution, not ours, that elevated "egalite" to a founding principle.
And when he says equality "is the star that guides us still," exactly what kind of equality is Obama talking about?
Answer: The equality of which Obama speaks is not an equality of rights but an equality of results, an idea that dates not to the Founding Fathers, who would have been appalled by the idea, but to the 1960s.
This equality is not a founding principle of the republic. It is ideological contraband. For such equality can only be achieved at the price of freedom, our true founding principle.
That idea that "all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still," said Obama in his inaugural, "just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall."
Astonishing. The president is here making the brazen claim that the roots of modern feminism and gay rights can be traced straight back to the Founding Fathers and founding principles of our republic. But how? The sanctum sanctorum of modern feminism is Roe v. Wade, the discovery of a constitutional right to an abortion. Yet, for every generation of Americans before 1973, abortion was a heinous crime.
And can anyone seriously argue that a barroom brawl with cops by homosexual patrons of Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in 1969 was but another battle in the long war for liberty begun at Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill? How could that be, when the author of the declaration Obama cites, Thomas Jefferson, believed homosexuality should be treated as rape, and George Washington ordered homosexuals drummed out of his army?
What Obama was attempting at the Capitol, with his repeated lifts from Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, was to portray his own and his party's egalitarianism as a continuation of the great causes that triumphed at Yorktown and Appomattox. He is hijacking the American Revolution, claiming an ancestral lineage for his ideology that is utterly fraudulent and bogus.
Feminism, the gay rights movement and the post-1965 civil rights movement, with their demand for equality not simply of rights but of rewards, cannot be achieved without trampling on the freedoms for which the patriot fathers fought. And they cannot triumph without creating a permanent, mammoth and redistributionist state more powerful, intrusive and dictatorial than anything George III ever dreamed of.
The freedom of all Americans to compete academically, athletically, artistically and economically must inevitably result in an inequality of incomes, wealth and rewards. Why? Because all men and women are by nature and nurture unequal. Some are talented, ambitious, industrious, lucky. And in a free society, such men and women will always reap a disproportionate share of fame and fortune.
The only way to equalize rewards is to take from those who have earned and give to those who have not. And that requires the kind of redistributionst regime the Founding Fathers would have risen up against.
As Obama's America rises, the old republic falls.
(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Michelle Malkin - Obama's war on academic standards

America's downfall doesn't begin with the "low-information voter." It starts with the no-knowledge student.
For decades, collectivist agitators in our schools have chipped away at academic excellence in the name of fairness, diversity and social justice. "Progressive" reformers denounced Western civilization requirements, the Founding Fathers and the Great Books as racist. They attacked traditional grammar classes as irrelevant in modern life. They deemed ability grouping of students (tracking) bad for self-esteem. They replaced time-tested rote techniques and standard algorithms with fuzzy math, inventive spelling and multicultural claptrap.
Under President Obama, these top-down mal-formers — empowered by Washington education bureaucrats and backed by misguided liberal philanthropists led by billionaire Bill Gates — are now presiding over a radical makeover of your children's school curriculum. It's being done in the name of federal "Common Core" standards that do anything but raise achievement standards.
Common Core was enabled by Obama's federal stimulus law and his Department of Education's "Race to the Top" gimmickry. The administration bribed cash-starved states into adopting unseen instructional standards as a condition of winning billions of dollars in grants. Even states that lost their bids for Race to the Top money were required to commit to a dumbed-down and amorphous curricular "alignment."
In practice, Common Core's dubious "college- and career"-ready standards undermine local control of education, usurp state autonomy over curricular materials, and foist untested, mediocre and incoherent pedagogical theories on America's schoolchildren.
Over the next several weeks and months, I'll use this column space to expose who's behind this disastrous scheme in D.C. backrooms. I'll tell you who's fighting it in grassroots tea party and parental revolts across the country from Massachusetts to Indiana, Texas, Georgia and Utah. And most importantly, I'll explain how this unprecedented federal meddling is corrupting our children's classrooms and textbooks.
There's no better illustration of Common Core's duplicitous talk of higher standards than to start with its math "reforms." While Common Core promoters assert their standards are "internationally benchmarked," independent members of the expert panel in charge of validating the standards refute the claim. Panel member Dr. Sandra Stotsky of the University of Arkansas reported, "No material was ever provided to the Validation Committee or to the public on the specific college readiness expectations of other leading nations in mathematics" or other subjects.
In fact, Stanford University professor James Milgram, the only mathematician on the validation panel, concluded that the Common Core math scheme would place American students two years behind their peers in other high-achieving countries.
In protest, Milgram refused to sign off on the standards. He's not alone.
Professor Jonathan Goodman of New York University found that the Common Core math standards imposed "significantly lower expectations with respect to algebra and geometry than the published standards of other countries."
Under Common Core, as the American Principles Project and Pioneer Institute point out, algebra I instruction is pushed to 9th grade, instead of 8th grade, as commonly taught. Division is postponed from 5th to 6th grade. Prime factorization, common denominators, conversions of fractions and decimals, and algebraic manipulation are de-emphasized or eschewed. Traditional Euclidean geometry is replaced with an experimental approach that had not been previously pilot-tested in the U.S.
Ze'ev Wurman, a prominent software architect, electrical engineer and longtime math advisory expert in California and Washington, D.C., points out that Common Core delays proficiency with addition and subtraction until 4th grade and proficiency with basic multiplication until 5th grade, and skimps on logarithms, mathematical induction, parametric equations and trigonometry at the high school level.
I cannot sum up the stakes any more clearly than Wurman did in his critique of this mess and the vested interests behind it:
"I believe the Common Core marks the cessation of educational standards improvement in the United States. No state has any reason left to aspire for first-rate standards, as all states will be judged by the same mediocre national benchmark enforced by the federal government. Moreover, there are organizations that have reasons to work for lower and less-demanding standards, specifically teachers unions and professional teacher organizations. While they may not admit it, they have a vested interest in lowering the accountability bar for their members. ...This will be done in the name of 'critical thinking' and '21st-century' skills, and in faraway Washington, D.C., well beyond the reach of parents and most states and employers."
This is all in keeping with my own experience as a parent of elementary- and middle-school age kids who were exposed to "Everyday Math" nonsense. This and other fads abandon "drill and kill" memorization techniques for fuzzy "critical thinking" methods that put the cart of "why" in front of the horse of "how." In other words: Instead of doing the grunt work of hammering times tables and basic functions into kids' heads first, the faddists have turned to wacky, wordy non-math alternatives to encourage "conceptual" understanding — without any mastery of the fundamentals of math.
Common Core is rotten to the core. The corruption of math education is just the beginning.
(Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin is the daughter of Filipino Immigrants. She was born in Philadelphia, raised in southern New Jersey and now lives with her husband and daughter in Colorado. Her weekly column is carried by more than 100 newspapers.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 21:42

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Froma Harrop - Thoughts on Aaron Swartz

Open-access people, meet the copyright laws.
Much has been written about Aaron Swartz, the computer genius who killed himself after being charged with a variety of cybercrimes. Some ardent friends accuse the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of having cruelly called in the police to deal with him.
By then, MIT had foiled multiple attempts to illegally download academic journals and realized that someone had broken in to a wire closet to achieve the same end. MIT security analysts had also detected activity from China on the netbook being used, making them extra wary.
MIT had no idea who it was at the time — not that this should have made a difference. But some Swartz defenders argue that the tech prodigy rated special treatment.
"When I was at MIT, if someone went to hack the system, say by downloading databases to play with them, (he) might be called a hero, get a degree, and start a computer company. But they called the cops on him. Cops," said an apparently shocked Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive digital library.
The infantilizing culture of academia has led some university wards to expect leniency when they misbehave. In any case, Swartz wasn't playing with databases. He was trying to strip them of their economic value. Also, for the record, he was not an MIT student. He was a 26-year-old with a fellowship at Harvard. And if he had been an undergrad, so what? MIT isn't day care.
Swartz's mission was to "liberate" the databases owned by JSTOR, a nonprofit subscription service selling access to academic journals. Many open-access agitators hold that JSTOR has no right to charge money for its wares, copyright law notwithstanding. Odd that some of his most vocal defenders are book authors dependent on copyright protection for their livelihoods.
Aha, they rationalize, the professors, unlike them, are paid by the universities, so ripping off this material doesn't hurt the creators.
Two problems with that. One is that it's still copyrighted. And by the way, academic journals cost money to produce.
The other problem is that JSTOR does enhance the professors' income in indirect ways. Publishing in peer-reviewed academic journals provides a basis for promotions and funding. Of course, there's nothing stopping the scholars from bypassing the academic journal system and putting their papers online for free. But then they'd be competing for credibility with a zillion blogs and the Drudge Report.
Let me confess that I've shared the frustration of hitting against JSTOR's pay wall when trying to obtain an academic article online. I want it for nothing. Who doesn't? If the cyber-innovators can come up with a new ecosystem for freely disseminating peer-reviewed scholarly articles, thereby bypassing JSTOR — and without stomping on anyone's intellectual property rights — more power to them.
Swartz was clearly engaging in an act of civil disobedience. He tragically lacked the emotional toughness to accept its consequences. Or he assumed that an esteemed member of the Cambridge tech community would float above them.
JSTOR officials were so enraged at the attack that they blocked MIT's access to its database for a few days, while lashing out at MIT, according to news reports. But on learning who it was, JSTOR decided not to pursue the case. As another sop to the free-culture community, it opened some of its archives for free reading.
MIT has maintained more dignity. It expressed sadness for Swartz's death and started an investigation of what happened, but thus far it has not apologized. And should not. The school is full of young geniuses with outsized ideas of their specialness. MIT is doing them a favor by making clear that serious crimes against property could bring in the cops.
(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 January 2013 23:49

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Bob Meade - Where's the donkey stick?

There's an old farmers story about a donkey. It seems that farmer, Ezra, had a donkey that was extremely useful. It plowed the fields. It carried the hay from the pasture to the barn. It pulled the wagon with supplies and even carted the family to Church on Sunday. Other farmers admired how much production Ezra's donkey was able to provide.
One day another farmer, by the name of Elmer, came to see Ezra and offered him a good price for the donkey. Ezra thought for a moment and then accepted the offer. The next morning, Ezra brought the donkey over to Elmer's farm and collected his payment.
The following Sunday, after Church service, Elmer approached Ezra and said that he wanted his money back, the donkey was useless. It wouldn't plow. It wouldn't pull the hay wagon. It wouldn't even pull the cart for the family to go to Church. Ezra agreed to go over to Elmer's to see what he could do.
When Ezra got to Elmer's barn, sure enough the donkey was sitting on its backside, doing nothing. Elmer saw Ezra arrive and headed out to the barn to meet him. As he was coming out, Ezra yelled to Elmer to pick up that 2x4 piece of lumber that was leaning against the fence, and to bring it to him. He did.
As soon as the piece of lumber was handed to him, Ezra hauled off and whacked the donkey right between the eyes. This stunned Elmer and he yelled, "Why'd you do that?"
Ezra looked at him and said, "If you want the donkey to do something, first, you need to get its attention!"
Keep that story in mind for a few minutes.
How often have we heard politicians talk about "Eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse"? Probably too many times to count. And how many times have they told us what waste, fraud and abuse they eliminated? I'll wait while you count to none.
Back in 1977, our government formed the Federal Department of Energy for the express purpose of reducing our dependency on foreign oil. Here we are, 35 years later, with 16,000 employees, an annual budget of over $27 billion, and we haven't reduced our dependency on foreign oil. Where's the donkey stick?
Back in 1979, our government formed the federal Department of Education. Education is not mentioned in the Constitution, it is one of those things that was left to the states. So, here we are 34 years later, spending more per pupil than every country in the world except Switzerland (they spend less than $200 per pupil more). Our results in math, reading, and science are mediocre, our overall graduation rates are in the low 70 percent range (50 percent in most urban areas), and our Federal Budget is over $77 billion a year (does not include state and local spending). Where's the donkey stick?
Today, we are spending over $1.2 trillion more than we take in. We watch as the Legislative Branch attempts to rein in spending and is repeatedly rebuffed by the Executive Branch. Is consideration given to eliminating either or both of the departments mentioned above? No! Where's the donkey stick?
A few weeks ago, we watched as the House of Representatives proposed to increase tax revenues by eliminating loopholes in the tax laws that mainly benefited the wealthy. The proposed changes would have resulted in $800 billion in additional tax revenue, primarily from the wealthy. That plan was rejected by the Executive Branch as they insisted that tax "rates" be raised on the so called rich. The Executive Branch won that battle and instead of tax revenues being increased by $800 billion, they only got increased by about $640 billion. Where's the donkey stick?
This administration routinely states how it plans to achieve some purpose by by-passing the Congress, essentially ignoring the Constitutional process of enacting federal laws. Where's the donkey stick?
This administration announced that it would not enforce a law enacted by Congress and signed into law by a previous (Democrat) president. Where's the donkey stick.
This administration made "recess appointments" when the Congress was in session, in violation of Article 1, Section 5, of the Constitution. (Note: Article III of the Impeachment of President Andrew Johnson was for the same cause.) Where's the donkey stick?
At some point we the people have to determine whether we want to scrap or keep the Constitution, and the operating principles it provides, or if we want to be ruled by edicts issued by the Executive Branch.
Do you want to be the recipient of the donkey stick? Or, do you want to wield it?
(Bob Meade is a resident of Laconia.)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 January 2013 00:53

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2012 Year End Waterfront Sales Report

December was another strong month for waterfront sales on Winnipesaukee with a total of 15 properties changing hands which is the same count as last December. The average sales price of $1.043 million is up considerably from the $675,300 average posted last year bolstered by the fact that five of the 15 sales exceeded the million dollar mark. That's an outstanding December and a great way to finish off the year.
The least expensive sale on the lake was at 482 Rattlesnake Island in Alton where a seasonal, three bedroom, A-frame cottage built in 1975 found a new owner. This cottage needs some upgrading unless the 70's vintage paneling and green carpets are your taste, but I am sure the new owners looked past that and saw value in the 1,724-square-feet of living space, the flat 1-acre lot with 108-ft. of frontage, the sandy beach, and the great views. I bet plans are in the works for a spring makeover. This property was listed in June at $310,000 with a deal struck at $275,000 after being on the market for 121 days. The current tax assessed value for the property is $322,100 which is up slightly from the $311,700 shown last year. See, the buyer is making money already...
The highest sale in December on the lake was also the second highest for the year and is located at 268 Route 109 in Tuftonboro. The property consists of an 1800's vintage post and beam cape located at the entrance to a 40 acre parcel of land. A winding drive leads down to a seasonal cottage at the water's edge. This rustic structure has two bedrooms, a large living room with stone fireplace, and a great screened porch. With 1,450-feet of sandy waterfront, dock, great views, and no development restrictions it wouldn't surprise me to see a few new homes built on the property. Time will tell. This property was listed at $4.3 million and sold for $3.4 million after almost a year on the market. No assessment data was listed in the MLS. This was a great investment for the new owner.
This has been a pretty darn good year for waterfront sales! We finished out the year with a total of 130 sales on Winnipesaukee. That's a 22 percent increase from the 107 sales in 2011! The average sales price bumped back up over the million mark at $1,017,367, up from the $994,688 posted last year. The sales price averaged 89 percent of the list price at the time of the sale. Moultonborough had the most sales with 43 homes changing hands at an average price of $925,779 (that's up from 32 sales last year). Wolfeboro had the highest average sales price at $1.6 million with 13 sales. That's also up from the $1.2 million average for the 14 sales in 2011.
The highest sale of the year honors goes to the property at 440 Edgewater Drive in Gilford on Governor's Island. This magnificent Craftsman-style home has a touch of Adirondack flair with six over one pane windows, custom built-ins, and coffered and wood ceilings. Built in 2007, this fine home has 6,575-square-feet of space, five bedrooms including a main level master suite and two en-suites upstairs, six baths, a country kitchen, private media room, four sided fireplace, library, private office, and two family rooms. There are multiple decks and patios outside from which to enjoy the views. The 1-acre lot has expansive lawns, 188-feet of frontage, a sandy beach, docks, and a jetty. This property was listed at $4.395 million and sold for $3.5 million after 241 days on the market.
There were no waterfront sales on Winnisquam in December, but we did finish the year with 16 transactions at an average price of $502,125 which is not too, too, bad. That total is down from the 23 sales posted last year but equals the 16 sales in 2010 and the average sales price is up from the $480,536 average posted last year. The highest sale on Winnisquam for the year was at 438 Shore Drive in Laconia. It is a custom built, 3,700-square-foot, contemporary style home which was built in 2000 and has four bedrooms, three baths, a custom kitchen, a formal dining room, family room, gas fireplace, cathedral ceilings, hardwood and tile floors, and great westerly sunset views. The home sits on a .66-acre lot with perennial gardens, 150-feet of frontage, and a 40-foot dock. This property was listed at $989,000, reduced to $795,000, and sold for $765,000 after 618 days on the market.
Squam Lake also drew a blank in December but finished off the year at six sales at a whopping average price of $3.151 million! There were five sales in 2010 and seven last year so sales are okay but far off the peak total of 15 in 2005. The high average sales price is due to the mega sale last month at 92 Unsworth Road in Moultonborough which was listed at $9.95 million and sold for $8.7 million. This property consists of a 4,400-square-foot, five bedroom, six bath Adirondack home and guest house built in 2004 which sit on a mere 32.5 acres of privacy, fields, woodlands, and shorefront with Southwesterly exposure. There were no photos shown in the MLS and not much of a description of the property other than the terms "unique, extraordinary, and exquisite" but I think we can all get the picture...
So, 2012 was a great year overall for both sellers and buyers on the area lakes. The sales numbers were up tremendously on Winnipesaukee, the numbers are a little better, and the other area lakes are holding their own. So we're looking forward to a great 2013 on the lakes just because, as the saying goes, "they ain't making anymore waterfront ya know..." and we've got some of the best around!
Please feel free to visit ww.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled as of 1/15/13 using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System. Roy Sanborn is a REALTOR® at Roche Realty Group and can be reached at 603-677-8420

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 January 2013 00:10

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