Love has always been the most important business of life.
--- Anonymous

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What's Happening to American Education?


This is an important, informative video series from American Principles Project and from Concerned Women for America.  It explains in great detail what is happening to American Education.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Jag är guds lilla barn - "I Am A Child of God"

The song, "I Am A Child of God," in Swedish:

Jag är Guds lilla barn,
och han har satt mig här
och givit mig ett jordiskt hem
med far och mor så kär Chorus: 

Led mig, stöd mig, gå bredvid mig
så att jag en dag
återvända kan till Gud när
jag har lytt hans lag.

Jag är Guds lilla barn,
och när jag bor på jord.
Och innan tiden flyr förbi
lär mig förstå hans ord.

Led mig, stöd mig....

Jag är Guds lilla barn.
Välsignelser och ro,
han lovat mig om jag gör rätt
och se'n hos honom bo.

Led mig, stöd mig....

Musik och Roligt För Barn / Music and Fun For Children or Adults Learning Swedish

I haven't written here in many months.  I want to add a few Swedish music sites that the kids and I have been enjoying, in my ongoing quest to make sure we don't forget (or do learn) how to speak Swedish.

This would also be useful for adults trying to learn Swedish.  Music and colorful characters make it fun. Tio Små Indianer - Ten Little Indians Three Billy Goats Gruff Curious George "Nicke Nyfiken" t.v. show Elephant Balancing Song "En Elefant Balanserade"  (Counting Song in Swedish)   Peter Pan in Swedish  (ABC song in Swedish)



Thursday, April 12, 2012


We're doing a staycation for spring break.  Yesterday we played and ate at Ikea (our trip to Sweden fantasy) and today we swam in the naturally warm and wonderful Crater at the Homestead in Midway.  Then we went to Midway's Cheese Factory.  Tomorrow we'll do stuff in Salt Lake.  I like staycations.  I really would rather fly to Europe or Florida, but, budget lacking, this is really fun, too.

Now we are having graham crackers and milk and going to bed early.  LOVE IT.

Common Core Initiative Petition

I signed this petition today.

Evidence and Concerns About Common Core

A rising number of teachers, parents and taxpayers are expressing concerns about Utah’s adoption of the Common Core Initiative (CCI), its accompanying federal standards for states (CCSS) and its federally overseen and controlled testing arm (SBAC). Why?

1. Utah did not seek out CCI; the initiative was presented as an eligibility enhancement by the U.S. Department of Education in its The Race To The Top grant. Joining the SBAC, too, improved eligibility in the grant application. When Utah agreed to join the CCI and SBAC in 2009, the standards had not yet been written.
Utah joined both the CCI and the SBAC to win points toward getting the grant, and although Utah won no money, the extremely expensive and educationally restricting consequences of having agreed to sign up for CCI and SBAC remain.
2. Utah has two new, conflicting sets of educational standards to juggle– the Utah Common Core, to which we currently teach, and the CCSS, to which our tests are being written. Utah is not likely to stick with the Utah Common Core when testing begins based on the federal CCSS in 2014. The appendix to the SBAC states that the tests will be based on the CCSS (federal) standards, and the SBAC project manager, WestEd, has affirmed:
“In order for this [testing] system to have a real impact within a state, the state will need to adopt the Common Core State Standards (i.e., not have two sets of standards.)” -April 2012 statement from WestEd Assessments and Standards Senior Research Associate
3. There is no amendment process for the CCSS (federal standards) and withdrawing from the SBAC requires consortium and federal approval (page 12). If we delay the state will be too financially invested and legally entangled to withdraw.
4. There has been no cost analysis, legal analysis, legislative input or public input regarding CCI/SBAC. Implementation of CCI has already begun in Utah schools; full implementation of the initiative and its tests will be completed in the 2014-2015 school year.
An independent think tank in Massachusetts states that the cost over the first 7 years to states will be 16 billion dollars, or over 200 million per state, on top of regular educational needs. The Congressional Budget Office was not asked to do a cost analysis because asking would have pointed out that this was not a state-led initiative, contrary to the claims of its proponents. States’ commitments to CCI require billions of dollars in implementation and maintenance spending, money that competes with already-stretched educational budgets.
5. Utah leaders have signed Utah on as a governing member of the SBAC. As a governing member we get one vote out of 21 governing states to influence deviations from the original assessment structure and scope, consortium policy, and consortium governance. Utah can be held hostage by other states.
6. The U.S. Department of Education (through the America COMPETES Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the Race to the Top competition) has required the states to develop massive databases about school children.
7. The Common Core initiative represents an overreach of federal power into personal privacy as well as into state educational autonomy. There will be personal student information collected via the centralized testing-data collection, accessible to the Executive Branch. SBAC assessments’ inclusion of psychometric testing for database profiling purposes and is a violation of Utah law per code section 53A-13-302.
8. Both of the CCI’s testing arms (SBAC and PARCC) must coordinate tests and share information “across consortia” as well as giving the U.S. Department of Education phone responses, written status updates and access to information “on an ongoing basis.” Data will be triangulated with control, oversight and centralization by the Executive Branch (U.S. Dept. of Education). “Cooperative Agreement between the U.S. DOE and the SBAC
9. The Department of Education has eviscerated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) by issuing new regulations that allow nonconsensual tracking and sharing of this personal data with other federal agencies, with government agencies in other states, and with private entities.
10. Utah has ceded her voice and educational sovereignty because Utah’s top educational leaders are persuaded that having standards and testing in common with other states matters more than holding onto the state’s right to raise standards sky-high. To Utah education leaders, the right to soar seems a freedom not worth fighting for, and maintaining state educational sovereignty is not a priority.
In an April 2012 statement from the Utah State Office of Education’s legal department: ” The whole point is to get to a place where there is a ‘common core’ – that would mean the same standards for all the states that adopt it. If the states had the freedom to ‘disagree’ and ‘change’ them, I guess they would no longer be ‘common’.”
11. The effort to nationalize and centralize education results in severe loss of state control of education and pushes states into a minimalist, common set of standards. Dr. Sandra Stotsky, an official member of the CCSS Validation Committee, refused to sign off on the adequacy of the standards and testified that “Common Core has yet to provide a solid evidentiary base for its minimalist conceptualization of college readiness–and for equating college readiness with career readiness. Moreover… it had no evidence on both issues.”
12. The Common Core standards are experimental, expensive, controversial, and have not been piloted.
13. Common Core standards are not considered among the best standards in the nation, and there are clearly superior standards. Additionally, the CCI robs states of the sovereign right to raise state standards in the future. There’s no provision for amending the CCSS federal standards, were we to choose to still remain bound by them.
14. The Common Core English standards reduce the study of literature in favor of informational texts designed to train children in a school-to-work agenda. The unsophisticated composition of those selected to write the Common Core Standards and the lack of transparency about the standards-writing process also raises concerns.
15. CCSS states a goal to promote “career and college ready standards,” a euphemism for “school-to-work” programs, diluting individual choice by directing children where to go and what to learn. They make no distinction between 2-year, 4-year or vocational standards.
16. Common Core has not proven to be state-led nor strictly voluntary; the U.S. Department of Education Secretary rages against states who reject the Common Core Initiative.
When South Carolina Governor Haley backed away from the “voluntary” CCSS, she drew a sharp response from Arne Duncan, the federal Secretary of Education. Duncan also publicly insulted all Texas students on television, saying “I feel very badly for Texas school children,” following Texas Governor Perry’s refusal to join the CC initiative. (Yet Texas math standards are higher than Common Core standards.) Messages in public letters from Duncan to Utah leaders conflict with multiple, legally binding documents signed by his team at the U.S. Department of Education.
Utah’s State Superintendent admits that the U.S. Dept. of Education is already putting requirements on the state of Utah associated with the Common Core standards.
17. The Common Core Initiative, far from being state-designed, is the product of the U.S. Department of Education funding and directing special interest groups (NGA, CCSSO, NCEE, Achieve, Inc., WestEd, and others) via federal grants.
18. The Common Core Initiative violates fundamental laws that protect states’ independence. The Federal Government’s creation of national curricular materials, through contractors, and its control and oversight of testing and data collection, and its tests written to federal, nationalized standards, are in violation of three existing laws: NCLB, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the General Education Provisions Act; States have a responsibility to protect the balance of powers granted in the Constitution.
19. Transparency and public debate about Common Core are lacking. Utah educational leaders have a responsibility to encourage public discussion and lively debate about Common Core, because the initiative will impact children, taxpayers and teachers for a long time to come.

A spiral of silence has descended upon Utah educators, many of whom fear losing their jobs if they speak up against Common Core. There is intense pressure to agree with the Common Core Initiative at the State School Board level as well. Applicants for School Board membership must take a survey before a committee selects its pool of potential candidates. The first survey question asks: “Do you support Common Core?”

How could one with a differing view ever be elected?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Common Core is More Than a Little Problematic: A "Dear Neighbors" Letter

Read this.

Dear Utah Neighbors,

As a Utah educator, citizen and believer in the freedoms outlined in the U.S. Constitution, I am writing to ask you to take action in asking our state leaders to study the Common Core Initiative and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium which Utah has joined, and to sever those ties for Utah.

Our governor is right now in the process of considering all aspects of having signed Utah up for these educational initiatives, and as our state school board is almost ready to vote on it, this April, I am urging our Governor, State Superintendent, and the State School Board to vote to get us out. I have studied it. Please do your own study and then take action if you feel to do so.

If you feel that these issues deserve further study and deliberation by all stakeholders before we move forward as a state and as a group of educators, I would ask you to contact our state school board members (contact information is provided below) and ask them to answer the issues below with documented proof --going beyond catch-phrases and rhetoric-- to prove how Common Core and the SBAC tests are good --for kids, for Utah's budget, and for the future of Utah educators' freedom from federal restrictions.

Studying the quality of Utah’s new Common Core standards for English and math is not a meaningful exercise, sadly, because the SBAC's nationalized tests make individual states' standards a moot point.  But studying the federal Common Core standards, which have been adopted by many states, the ACT, the SAT, and which were created at the request of an association of Governors, using federal grant money, by a D.C. group called Achieve, Inc., is actually meaningful, because that's what our kids will be tested on.

 How SBAC will make our own state corestandards irrelevant:

1.  The SBAC appendix states that tests must align with federal standards.  Read it.  It does not say that tests must align withUtah's standards.  That is where Utah educators, politicians and all of us have been confused.

2.  What the implementation of the standards actually might look like in our schools in Utah could be this:  We would teach our own Utah Core Standards, which differ from other states' standards within the SBAC.  Then we take the tests. We soon will understand that we will not have time to teach the 15% we added to our own corestandards and it hampers our students' scores on these commonized tests, so we will then teach without that part that was our own innovation,  adjusting our standards  more and more to make them relevant to"college readiness" as defined by the tests, while they grow less and less aligned with our own sovereign ideas. The SBAC will make Utah's own standards of negligible importance once testing begins in 2014-2015.  But by then, when the state realizes this fact, how much money will have been invested in realigning our old standards withthe new ones?  Will backing out be cost-prohibitive by then?

The USOE is proud to saythat they can change any standard at any time by a majority vote, but what if we don't have the majority vote and what good is that claim when they can'tchange the SBAC tests or the federally acceptable standards by a majority vote?

No cost analysis:  financial quicksand for Utah:

No cost analysis was done before Utah joined the Common Core and signed up for the SBAC tests.  This oversight appears to benot only an educational funding snare, but  an ongoing financial snare for the state.  The only independent think tank who's made anofficial study of costs I've run across --that has not been bought by federal grant money to do the study in the first place--  is the Pioneer Institute.  Their white paper states that over the nextseven years, each SBAC state will spend at least 16 billion just keeping up with SBAC and CC adjustments. Already, withSB97, Utah has appropriated 15 million to take effect July 1st, for the new "uniform online summative test system and online adaptive test system."

Why was no cost analysisdone when we joined CC nor when we joined SBAC? There are two reasons that I can see:

1) Few people do a cost analysis on grant money.  Utah assumed itwould be a financial win.  We never got the money, yet we agreed to be in CC and SBAC to earn points toward our grant application, in the hopes of winning much needed school money.

2) Congress was bypassed.  Normally, legislators would have analyzed any project that required state or federal funding.  Why were no questions raised when theappropriate process was skirted?

What benefit is Common Core to Utah?

 What tangible benefit do we get from being involved with this Common Core initiative? None.  If educators feel that any item on the common standards are great, then Utah can absolutely use it.  It's all inthe public domain.  We don't need to belong to CCI to get our tax money from the federal government.  That would be illegal --a bribe.  As Senator Rubio puts it, " The Executive branch does not possess the authority to force states into compliancewith administration-backed reforms... it violates the constitutional separationof powers." 

And if the computer adaptive testing idea is great, then let's do it, but on different terms andwith a different entity than the federally-tied, Common Core bound, SBAC.

No public discussion of Common Core

Most people don't even know what Common Core is.  Utah signed up without legislative discussion or approval, even though it affects state education and budget in a huge way. There was no public discussion. The State Superintendent of Schools and our Governor signed us up in order to qualify to win points toward winning a federal grant (Race to the Top).  We didn't get the grant, but we're unfortunately still signed up for CC and SBAC. Other states did study it out, and didn't join:  Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Minnesota, etc.

Federal strings overstepstate bounds:

Proof of federal ties?  Glad you asked:

In the agreement document between the SBAC --of which we are part-- and the U.S. Dept. of Ed.,the opening line says:

"In accordance with34 CFR 75.200(b)(4),   [by the way, that fancy number is not a law,but an I.D. to a federal grant which was used to persuade states to join CC and SBAC]   this award is a cooperative agreement because the Secretary of Education (Secretary) has determined that substantial communication, coordination, and involvement between the U.S. Department of Education (Department or ED) and the recipient is necessary to carry out a successful project."

Did you catch that?  "Because the secretary of education has determined…"  Just one person seized authority, violating laws left and right, because he alone "determined it was necessary"  --Arne Duncan alone.

That "substantial communication, coordination, and involvement" attempts to negate federal laws that would otherwise protect Utah from having the SBAC's individualized  student information, collected by the testing process, now available for federal perusal --to name just one possible consequence of such illegal federal involvement.

Another interesting point of federal intrusion is in the "escape clause" of the SBAC, which states that if a member state wishes to withdraw, it must jump through hoop after bureaucratic hoop, the last of which includes --you guessed it-- getting federal approval to withdraw. 

What's Wrong With Nationalized Education?

It's illegal, accordingto the U.S. Constitution.  Yet, some people say that nationalization of curriculum is a good idea because they value equal opportunities for all, more than they value individual freedom for all(to soar or to fail.) In America, we've got constitutional separation of powersto ensure that no one group can take over anything important, such as education.  Nationalized curriculum is a bad idea for Utah because it creates group-think and can dim innovation andindividual value systems, dictate and indoctrinate.  Whatever your point of view on nationalized curriculum, the fact remains that Common Core pushes it, via the common tests.  (To ensure high student performance on standardized tests and for merit pay, teachers must teach the common curriculum that prepares students for the test.)

By involving itself with SBAC, via grants, the Federal Dept. of Education has crossed the line oflegality; they also cross the line by offering NCLB waivers in exchange for states' loyalty to the Common Core Initiative. Read what Senator Marco Rubio of Florida says about NCLB waivers.  Read what Senator Mike Fair of South Carolina and his governor are doing to escape CC and SBAC.  Read why Texas, Virginia, and other states never joined.  They did their homework on this better than Utah did.

Why did we join CC and SBAC?

Utah state signed upbecause the Federal Department of Education wanted us in.  We were cash-strapped and easy to manipulatewith the bait of a large federal grant. The Federal Department of Education incentivized Race To The Top byawarding points in the grant application. Points came from adopting CC.   More points came from joining SBAC.

We didn't win the grant money, but we are stuck with membership in these groups that we didn't even investigate before joining.  And we're still in --unless Governor Herbert, Superintendent Shumway and the Utah State School Board get us out.

What  benefit do we get from membership in Common Core?  Nothing but a huge commitment to march lockstep with the federally popularized standards.  These standards, and any good ideas in them, are all in the public domain, so we can take what we like and leave the rest.

A federal grant was given to the NGA and the CSSSO and the NCEE to develop and implement the CC standards. With money comes obligation. Even though the NGA/CSSSO did technically initiate the Common Core Initiative, the state-led claim  is marketing, not reality. A group in D.C. called Achieve, Inc., did the developing of the original standards, which Utah meshed with. It wasn't a group of Utahns, Nevadans and South Carolinians sitting down with their governors to come up with standards.

Many believe this undertaking is a good thing --based on good faith that those higher up did their research. 

We all want better for our kids, but this undertaking is a costly, burdensome and less-productive wayto do it.  We need to question and figure out a freer, more cost-effective way to raise Utah standards and get great technology-based testing. 

--If we even want that much testing for our kids.

No public discussion of testing young kids

In Finland, where matriculation exams show kids are as well educated as they are in super-smartSingapore and South Korea, there are no tests for young kids.  Finland is not a conservative nation.  But they only test their matriculating young adults.  So why have we all bought into the idea of testing, testing, testing?

There are many teachers beside me who resent the intrusion on teaching time.  Kids don't love it, either.

I'm sure there are arguments for and against testing young kids. My father had me taking the SAT and ACT from 7th grade for practice.  But have these pros and cons been heard?  I haven't heard any discussion at all about it.  Why not?  We seem to just go along with whatever the"professional educators" led by the Arne Duncans have to say.

If you investigate the SBAC's plans for collection of longitudinal data on individual kids, you will see an invasion of personal privacy happening there, too.  They don't just collect information about whether the kids can do math and read. 

But I have said enough for today.

Thank you for studying this matter further and for urging our state school board to do so.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Common Core: The Groupthink Gang

Whoever controls curriculum, controls ideas.  It is no small thing to have Utah enrolled in the Common Core initiative and all its entangling political cooperatives and assessments.

I've started gathering testimonies of those who are against the Common Core Initiative.

Ze’ev Wurman, a former U. S. Department of Education official, said:

“[E]ven the defenders of the national standards do not claim they are at the level
of international high achievers. Currently South Carolina has good standards in
English and mathematics, even as they can be improved. . . . [I]ts new history
standards are the best in the nation, and its science standards are also excellent
and among the top 5 in the nation. South Carolina showed it can improve the
standards on its own if it so wishes and has no need to trade them for mediocre
standards that transfer control out of state to Washington, D.C.”

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform, University of Arkansas, said:

“Common Core’s ‘college readiness’ standards for English language arts and
reading are simply empty skill sets. . . . Common Core’s ELA ‘college readiness’
standards weaken the base of literary and cultural knowledge needed for
authentic college coursework.”

The American Principles Project said:

“The Common Core Standards facilitate the practically unlimited sharing of our
children’s private, personally identifiable data with other government agencies
such as the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, and even with
private entities.”

I watched the leaders of the Common Core Initiative as they gave a seminar to teachers on the following link. I don't even need to make a commentary.  If you watch and listen, you will see what their purpose and aim is: groupthink.  Just like the nightmare regimes you learned about in history class, the groupthink gang is back.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Reasons to Get Out of the Common Core Initiative and SBAC

Here are links to some resources if you are wondering whether Common Core and the SBAC are more complicated than they seem, and about more federal political agendas than the good of the school children.

Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina
Senator Michael Fair of South Carolina
Cato Institute
The Pioneer Institute
The Heritage Foundation
A teacher against the common core:
and, here's more from The American Principles Project :

1.  It's not state-led.
"The fed. gov't did not create Common Core, but neither did the states. The "state-led" claim is marketing, not reality. CC was created under the National Governors Association (a trade group that does not include all governors) and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They contracted with Achieve, Inc., a nonprofit in DC, to write the standards. Achieve worked through the same people that have been pushing a national curriculum. States had little or no input.

Even though the feds didn't create CC, they are incentvizing/coercing states to accept it, and Duncan is in a big panic now that the some states are balking:

2. Whoever is paying for the tests will control the tests

 The primary avenue through which the feds will control this going forward is the assessments, which are still being drafted by SBAC and PARCC. The feds are funding the assessments to the tune of $350 million. Whoever is paying for the tests will control the tests, and even CC proponents admit that what's on the tests will control what's taught in the classroom. (Under CC, a state may add 15% content to any subject area, but that additional content will not be on the tests -- so no teacher will spend much, if any, time on it. And the state may not subtract anything from CC -- it must accept CC word for word.) The result: a national curriculum, whether they call it that or not. The argument that the standards will not affect curriculum is ludicrous -- the whole point of standards is to affect curriculum.

3.  Sounds like GROUPTHINK.  Take a step back and see the bigger picture in what the feds are doing. This plan isn't an education model; it's a workforce model. The progressive dream is to have a national curriculum that trains children to fill specific jobs in the workforce, and to track each student from preschool through career to see how all the gov't programs are working. This plan requires collecting and disseminating reams of data on students, which the feds are orchestrating through Race to the Top, the Stimulus bill, etc. See

It also may explain some of the more troubling aspects of the CC standards, such as the de-emphasis on teaching literature in favor of teaching "informational texts." After all, Bill Gates (whose foundation is paying for much of this) doesn't need entry-level workers who understand Shakespeare -- he needs entry-level workers who can understand computer manuals. Under CC, we'll won't be educating children; we'll be training them to fill jobs at (politically connected) companies. "  - From the American Principles Project.

4.  Teachers haven't been told.  They only hear about the academic questions.  Why?  Ask a teacher or a state office of education official how the standards amendment process works, how a state can get out of its consortium, or why the assessments (SBAC consortium) has exhibit B appendix that describes having to align with federal standards.  They won't know-- guaranteed.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just Say No: Utah Common Core Curriculum

Common Core - a fancy word for "let a huge consortium of states, overseen and directed by the federal government (not state education systems) -- decide what your children will be taught" which is, by the way, unconstitutional, illegal under three federal laws, and leads to nationally-run education at a huge cost, both financially and in terms of freedom.

Why are people falling for it? 

1.  American public education has glaring flaws and needs better standards. (This can be addressed locally more effectively than federally, however.)
2.  Misunderstandings have been spread about what common core really costs, both financially and in terms of freedom and autonomy.

This is a link to "2 Moms Against Core Curriculum" which was a presentation in Utah, last week.    This is a link to one of the 2 Moms' blogs, which explains more of her research and why she is so concerned.

Other resources for clear information:

The Pioneer Institute website
The Hertitage Foundation website
Truth In Education website

Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina
Senator Michael Fair of South Carolina
Cato Institute
The Pioneer Institute
The Heritage Foundation
A teacher against the common core:
and more:

Americans against nationalized education:


Heritage Foundation
“Federal involvement in the Common Core national standards push is not some figment of
the imagination. Billions in federal funding, strings-attached NCLB waivers, and
significant rhetorical support clearly point to a nationalization of the content taught in the
local schools. . . . South Carolina – and states across the country – are right to have pause
about this latest federal overreach. And they shouldn’t be ridiculed by a federal agency
that has already done plenty to centralize education spending and authority.”

Brookings Institute
“The Common Core will have little to no effect on student achievement. The quality or
rigor of state standards has been unrelated to NAEP [National Assessment of Educational
progress] scores. Moreover, most of the variation in NAEP scores lies within states, not
between them. Whatever impact standards alone can have on reducing within-state
differences should have been already felt by the standards that all states have had since

Pioneer Institute
“Implementation of the Common Core Standards is likely to represent substantial
additional expense for most states [estimated at $16 billion nationwide]. . . . [S]tates
should step back and encourage a public discussion of the potential benefits and costs of
implementing the Common Core Standards. Is realigning the local education system
to the Common Core Standards the best investment of scarce educational resources?
What are the other options that should be considered?”

Cato Institute
“In the U.S., advocates of a national curriculum have for years pointed to nations
at the top of TIMSS and PISA rankings and argued that because those countries
have national curriculums, a national curriculum must be good. The argument is
without merit. What the advocates neglect to observe is that countries at the bottom
of the international rankings also have a national curriculum. . . . [T]here is no
meaningful evidence that national standards lead to better outcomes.”

Edwin Meese III, former U. S. Attorney General
“[T]here is no constitutional or statutory basis for national standards, national
assessments, or national curricula. . . . Even if the development of national curriculum
models, frameworks, or guidelines were judged lawful, we do not believe Congress or
the public supports having them developed by a self-selected group behind closed
doors and with no public accountability.”   

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Hunger Games: To view or not to view

Well, when I posted on Facebook that I was horrified about the amount of media gloss that's being slicked over the child-killing-child horror film (opening tomorrow) called "The Hunger Games," I was surprised and saddened at the response.  Most of my friends were going to see the movie.  Some of my friends agreed with me.  And a few of my friends basically told me I would feel differently if I had read the books.

Today I looked at the standards of the church regarding entertainment and the media, at and found this:

"Choose wisely when using media because whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Select only media that uplifts youSatan uses media to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal, humorous, or exciting. He tries to mislead you into thinking that breaking God’s commandments is acceptable and has no negative consequences... Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit." 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Let Me Count the Ways: Why I Won't See The Hunger Games Movie

What I Have Against "The Hunger Games":

1. Don't pretend it's pretty.
Wipe off the shiny love-triangle topping, and all you have is a story of children killing children.

 2. Don't try to hijack my soul:
The author creates a soul-hijacking frame lucky readers get to peer through:  “Now think, readers, about whether you’d dare kill your peers...”

3. Don't call it an age/maturity issue:
The argument about Hunger Games is not really about the age/maturity of the reader/viewer.  This is about exposing anybody to a kill-or-be-killed state of mind.  It is horror, made worse by the fact that it's child-on-child, not soldier-on-soldier --which would be scary enough!

4.  Don't tell me what not to protect my children from:
I take care in determining what enters my own and my children’s minds. That is my job. Just as it is my job to keep their hands from a hot stove, it is my job to keep hands from reaching for media that can burn and scar with gruesome images and disturbing themes. Once those images and themes are in our minds, they’re almost impossible to get out.

5. Don't tell me when and how to immunize myself about the evil of the world:
 I know the flu is out there. But I don't go licking public doorknobs to try to catch every disease.  I don't consider it over-protective to choose not to watch something.  Ideas that we  consume, both good and bad, stick. They shape how we see the world.  Why over-expose ourselves to the message that evil exists, repeatedly and deliberately.  It is in the news and in the scriptures.  Why go searching for an entertaining depiction of grim evil?

I want to raise children who don’t succumb to despair, violence and tragedies and instill in them lots of hope, love, faith and the desire to right wrongs, not stare at them like people stare at car wrecks.

Well, there is a great dialogue going on at about the upcoming movie-- I think it comes out the day after tomorrow-- "The Hunger Games."    That discussion helped me form these thoughts.  The discussion is here:

There is so much good in this world to read and do.  In a lifetime, there won’t be enough time to experience all that’s worthy.

I don’t want to waste my own or my children’s time on something that is just almost worthy of our time, almost decent, almost inspiring, almost educational, almost good.

No way are we going to see this movie. I don’t care how many other people are. We have lots of other things to do.

Sister Beck: Why Blog?

Sister Beck, general president of the Relief Society of the LDS church, says that blogging is meaningful.  She says a great blogger was Abish, in the Book of Mormon, who ran from house to house to help people learn the gospel. Cute comparison. Well, I like this video clip.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Future Is As Bright As Your Faith

I think of this phrase often when I see or hear about tragedies and trials:  "The future is as bright as your faith." President Thomas S. Monson said it in 2009.  (Link to his speech:

In it, he says: "It would be easy to become discouraged and cynical about the future... if we allowed ourselves to dwell only on that which is wrong in the world and in our lives...  [F]ocus instead on our blessings...   Paul declared, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”1
... How might we have joy in our lives, despite all that we may face? ... “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you.”3     The history of the Church in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, is replete with the experiences of those who have struggled and yet who have remained steadfast and of good cheer as they have made the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of their lives. This attitude is what will pull us through whatever comes our way. It will not remove our troubles from us but rather will enable us to face our challenges, to meet them head on, and to emerge victorious."-  President Monson

I'm thinking about this today while one of my closest friends, at age 48, lies in the hospital after a C-section with a struggling preemie that was born yesterday.  I'm scared for both of them.  I'm praying for both of them. But I know that even the most loving and fervent prayers for the most deserving and beautiful people are sometimes met with a "no" by our loving Heavenly Father whose wisdom and love exceeds our own understanding.  Yet I pray, and I hope that they will be okay.  My friend is too weak and depressed to have visitors, she texted me.  So all I can do is pray, and I am.

Another quote is coming to my mind today and yesterday. "If our lives and our faith are centered on Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong."   Link to quote/article:

"President Howard W. Hunter said: “If our lives and our faith are centered on Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong. On the other hand, if our lives are not centered on the Savior and his teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right.”

There is a peace and consolation that only God can give for certain unbearable pains. Sometimes, that peace of God is the only thing that makes sense. We keep the willingness to feel the pain that accompanies love, while keeping our faith so strong that there is a living God who is aware and involved and who will balance the scales and wipe away all our tears in the end.  We will be happy together, in the end, if not right now.   This video that I recommended on my last post is the answer that the suffering or scared believers need. The Savior told his apostles, at the Last Supper before he was to be killed (and later resurrected) that they would have trials but that they should not fear. They should love one another and have peace. Watch it if you are scared or sad. It is a real, quiet source of strength.  It is a reminder that we are in this together, with Jesus leading us, and we will be okay.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Idea for a meaningful Easter

This link to a video is valuable.  

The Last Supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples is depicted slowly, thoughtfully, without rushing. The words of the Savior to His apostles, the peace and courage he gave them, the commandment to love one another-- it is all so beautiful and meaningful.

I think watching this video with my family will make Easter more meaningful this year.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Joseph Smith the Prophet, or, Why the Book of Mormon is tangible evidence of Christ

Is the Book of Mormon true or is it made up?

"No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so." -George Cannon

And once again, I have to share something that was so well said
but not written by me.  Enjoy:
Have you ever heard people say: “Show me some real evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet, then I’ll believe”?

Through the Book of Mormon, God has provided for our day tangible evidence that Jesus is the Christ and that Joseph Smith is His prophet” (President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, November 1988, p. 86).

Here is what it would take to make up the Book of Mormon:
  •  Write the religious, social, and political  history of some ancient people, like the Mongols or people from Greenland
  • Write the book off the top of your  head, using no reference material (no Google in Joseph’s day! And no  library nearby either. 
  • You must have only between 2-3 years of formal schooling (Joseph’s wife said that Joseph couldn’t compose a “well-worded   letter” at the time of the translation of the Book of Mormon, let alone  make up a whole book (Emma Smith (Preston Nibley, The Witnesses of the      Book of Mormon, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1968, p. 28.)
  • You must complete the whole book in 65-75   working days.  Joseph sometimes  would produce 8 pages a day of finished text.  Eight pages!  Anyone who has written anything knows how difficult that would be.  In     comparison, modern translators who are working on translating the Book of Mormon    consider 1 completed page of translation per day to be productive, and      they are working from earlier translations with an entire team of help and  modern technology to assist!
  • Your book must be full of evidence that science  will discover many years after you publish your book that verify your work  is authentic.  A great example of  this in the Book of Mormon was the last art of Hebrew poetry “chiasmus,”  unknown to Joseph Smith and learned America but later re-discovered in the  20th century in the Bible.  And lo and behold, the Book of Mormon is full of chiasmus.  Lucky guess Joseph!  Nothing like a backwoods farm boy who   knows lost Hebrew poetry.  Them type of boys are all over the place.  Read Alma 36 to see a really cool one (compare the main message of verse 1 to verse 30, verse 2 to verses 28-29, verse 3 to verse 27 and so on).
  • You must invent over 280 new names the world  hasn’t heard, many of which properly derive from your ancient people’s  language (a language which you don’t know.  Have fun with that one.)
  • Your book must include the fullness of the  gospel of Jesus Christ, including sermons that are so inspiring that people willingly read them again and again and again. However, your book      must also teach “new” truths unknown to common society that make unknown passages in the Bible clear.
  • Your book must teach more about Jesus Christ than the New Testament does.  The Book of Mormon mentions Jesus on average of every 1.7 verses compared to  2.3 in the New Testament.  Another Testament  of Jesus Christ.  Um, yeah. (See  Susan Easton Black, Finding Christ through the Book of Mormon [1987],  6-18).
  • Your book must be over 500 pages long and 300,000  words
  • Your first draft must stand forever (other than very minor grammatical changes)
  • You must have three honest members of your  community bear testimony to the truthfulness of the book throughout their whole lives, even when you are no longer friends.
  • You must be willing to give your life, and the  life of a family member, for the book you write
  • Last, the Holy Ghost must bear witness to  millions of people the world over that your book is indeed the very word of God.
We have the tangible evidence sitting in front of us. The book is either divine or it is a deception. Those who claim that the Book of Mormon is not true are claiming that the book was made up—fabricated by Joseph Smith, his friends, or someone else and pulled off as one of the great hoaxes of this world.
Note: Some of list is summarized from “Brother Joseph” by Kay Briggs.  Bookcraft, 1994, p. 13-15

 “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.” (George Cannon, as cited by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Safety for the Soul, Ensign November 2009, p. 89).

Thursday, March 08, 2012

102 Reasons Not to Re-Elect Obama

 Last year I posted a list I'd found of 50 reasons not to elect Obama.   See it here:

The list is now:

 102 reasons not to re-elect Obama.

(Note: #53 to #102 come from WallBuilders' Dave Barton at: )
  • # 50:  Shoving Common Core standards, assessments and consortia down educators' and students' throats without bothering to ask Congress --or parents-- about it.
  • #52:  No more NASA. 
  • #52:  Attacking Catholics and Protestants and being disrespectful in treatment of Jews and Israel. Obama says Christians “cling to guns or religion” and have an “antipathy to people who aren't like them.” 1
  • #53.  He appoints pro-abortion judges and supports partial-birth abortions. He does not value the sanctity of life.
  • 54. February 2009 – Obama revokes conscience protection for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs, and fully implements the plan in February 2011. 2
  • 55. April 2009 – When speaking at Georgetown University, Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus' name be covered when he is making his speech. 3
  • 56. May 2009 – Obama declines to host services for the National Prayer Day (a day established by federal law) at the White House. 4
  • 57. April 2009 – In a deliberate act of disrespect, Obama nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican; of course, the pro-life Vatican rejected all three. 5
  • 58. October 19, 2010 – Obama begins deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” when quoting the Declaration of Independence – an omission he has made on seven occasions. 6
  • 59. November 2010 – Obama misquotes the National Motto, saying it is “E pluribus unum” rather than “In God We Trust” as established by federal law. 7
  • 60. January 2011 – After a federal law was passed to transfer a WWI Memorial in the Mojave Desert to private ownership, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the cross in the memorial could continue to stand, but the Obama administration refused to allow the land to be transferred as required by law, and refused to allow the cross to be re-erected as ordered by the Court. 8
  • 61. February 2011 – Although he filled posts in the State Department, for more than two years Obama did not fill the post of religious freedom ambassador, an official that works against religious persecution across the world; he filled it only after heavy pressure from the public and from Congress. 9
  • 62. April 2011 – For the first time in American history, Obama urges passage of a non-discrimination law that does not contain hiring protections for religious groups, forcing religious organizations to hire according to federal mandates without regard to the dictates of their own faith, thus eliminating conscience protection in hiring. 10
  • 63. August 2011 – The Obama administration releases its new health care rules that override religious conscience protections for medical workers in the areas of abortion and contraception. 11
  • 64. November 2011 – Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial. 12
  • 65. November 2011 – Unlike previous presidents, Obama studiously avoids any religious references in his Thanksgiving speech. 13
  • 66. December 2011 – The Obama administration denigrates other countries' religious beliefs as an obstacle to radical homosexual rights. 14
  • 67. January 2012 – The Obama administration argues that the First Amendment provides no protection for churches and synagogues in hiring their pastors and rabbis. 15
  • 68. February 2012 – The Obama administration forgives student loans in exchange for public service, but announces it will no longer forgive student loans if the public service is related to religion. 16

  • 69. June 2011 – The Department of Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burial ceremonies at Houston National Cemetery. 17
  • 70. August 2011 – The Air Force stops teaching the Just War theory to officers in California because the course is taught by chaplains and is based on a philosophy introduced by St. Augustine in the third century AD – a theory long taught by civilized nations across the world (except America). 18
  • 71. September 2011 – Air Force Chief of Staff prohibits commanders from notifying airmen of programs and services available to them from chaplains. 19
  • 72. September 2011 – The Army issues guidelines for Walter Reed Medical Center stipulating that “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials and/or facts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.” 20
  • 73. November 2011 – The Air Force Academy rescinds support for Operation Christmas Child, a program to send holiday gifts to impoverished children across the world, because the program is run by a Christian charity. 21
  • 74. November 2011 – The Air Force Academy pays $80,000 to add a Stonehenge-like worship center for pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans. 22
  • 75. February 2012 – The U. S. Military Academy at West Point disinvites three star Army general and decorated war hero Lieutenant General William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin (retired) from speaking at an event because he is an outspoken Christian. 23
  • 76. February 2012 – The Air Force removes “God” from the patch of Rapid Capabilities Office (the word on the patch was in Latin: Dei). 24
  • 77. February 2012 – The Army orders Catholic chaplains not to read a letter to parishioners that their archbishop asked them to read. 25

  • 78. January 2009 – Obama lifts restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, forcing taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations. 26
  • 79. January 2009 – President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of state asserts that American taxpayers are required to pay for abortions and that limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional. 27
  • 80. March 2009 – The Obama administration shut out pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored health care summit. 28
  • 81. March 2009 – Obama orders taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. 29
  • 82. March 2009 – Obama gave $50 million for the UNFPA, the UN population agency that promotes abortion and works closely with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations. 30
  • 83. May 2009 – The White House budget eliminates all funding for abstinence-only education and replaces it with “comprehensive” sexual education, repeatedly proven to increase teen pregnancies and abortions. 31 He continues the deletion in subsequent budgets. 32
  • 84. May 2009 – Obama officials assemble a terrorism dictionary calling pro-life advocates violent and charging that they use racism in their “criminal” activities. 33
  • 85. July 2009 – The Obama administration illegally extends federal benefits to same-sex partners of Foreign Service and Executive Branch employees, in direction violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 34
  • 86. September 16, 2009 – The Obama administration appoints as EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, who asserts that society should “not tolerate” any “private beliefs,” including religious beliefs, if they may negatively affect homosexual “equality.” 35
  • 87. July 2010 – The Obama administration uses federal funds in violation of federal law to get Kenya to change its constitution to include abortion. 36
  • 88. August 2010 – The Obama administration Cuts funding for 176 abstinence education programs. 37
  • 89. September 2010 – The Obama administration tells researchers to ignore a judge’s decision striking down federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. 38
  • 90. February 2011 – Obama directs the Justice Department to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 39
  • 91. March 2011 – The Obama administration refuses to investigate videos showing Planned Parenthood helping alleged sex traffickers get abortions for victimized underage girls. 40
  • 92. July 2011 – Obama allows homosexuals to serve openly in the military, reversing a policy originally instituted by George Washington in March 1778. 41
  • 93. September 2011 – The Pentagon directs that military chaplains may perform same-sex marriages at military facilities in violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 42
  • 94. October 2011 – The Obama administration eliminates federal grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their extensive programs that aid victims of human trafficking because the Catholic Church is anti-abortion. 43

  • 95. May 2009 – While Obama does not host any National Day of Prayer event at the White House, he does host White House Iftar dinners in honor of Ramadan. 44
  • 96. April 2010 – Christian leader Franklin Graham is disinvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer Event because of complaints from the Muslim community. 45
  • 97. April 2010 – The Obama administration requires rewriting of government documents and a change in administration vocabulary to remove terms that are deemed offensive to Muslims, including jihad, jihadists, terrorists, radical Islamic, etc. 46
  • 98. August 2010 – Obama speaks with great praise of Islam and condescendingly of Christianity. 47
  • 99. August 2010 – Obama went to great lengths to speak out on multiple occasions on behalf of building an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero, while at the same time he was silent about a Christian church being denied permission to rebuild at that location. 48
  • 100.    2010 – While every White House traditionally issues hundreds of official proclamations and statements on numerous occasions, this White House avoids traditional Biblical holidays and events but regularly recognizes major Muslim holidays, as evidenced by its 2010 statements on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha. 49
  • 101.  October 2011 – Obama’s Muslim advisers block Middle Eastern Christians’ access to the White House. 50
  • 102. February 2012 – The Obama administration makes effulgent apologies for Korans being burned by the U. S. military, 51 but when Bibles were burned by the military, numerous reasons were offered why it was the right thing to do. 52

Many of these actions are literally unprecedented – this is the first time they have happened in four centuries of American history. The hostility of President Obama toward Biblical faith and values is without equal from any previous American president.


1. Sarah Pulliam Baily, "Obama: ‘They cling to guns or religion’," Christianity Today, April 13, 2008. (Return)

2. Aliza Marcus, "Obama to Lift ‘Conscience’ Rule for Health Workers," Bloomberg, February 27, 2009; Sarah Pulliam Baily, "Obama Admin. Changes Bush ‘Conscience’ Rule for Health Workers," Christianity Today, February 18, 2011. (Return)

3. Jim Lovino, "Jesus Missing From Obama’s Georgetown Speech," NBC Washington, April 17, 2009. (Return)

4. Johanna Neuman, “Obama end Bush-era National Prayer Day Service at White House," Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2009. (Return)

5. Chris McGreal, “Vatican vetoes Barack Obama’s nominees for U.S. Ambassador,” The Guardian, April 14, 2009. (Return)

6. Meredith Jessup, “Obama Continues to Omit ‘Creator’ From Declaration of Independence,” The Blaze, October 19, 2010. (Return)

7. "Remarks by the President at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia," The White House, November 10, 2010. (Return)

8. LadyImpactOhio, " Feds sued by Veterans to allow stolen Mojave Desert Cross to be rebuilt," Red State, January 14, 2011. (Return)

9. Marrianne Medlin, “Amid criticism, President Obama moves to fill vacant religious ambassador post,” Catholic News Agency, February 9, 2011; Thomas F. Farr, “Undefender of the Faith,” Foreign Policy, April 5, 2012. (Return)

10. Chris Johnson, “ENDA passage effort renewed with Senate introduction,” Washington Blade, April 15, 2011. (Return)

11. Chuck Donovan, “HHS’s New Health Guidelines Trample on Conscience,” Heritage Foundation, August 2, 2011. (Return)

12. Todd Starns, “Obama Administration Opposes FDR Prayer at WWII Memorial,” Fox News, November 4, 2011. (Return)

13. Joel Siegel, “Obama Omits God From Thanksgiving Speech, Riles Critics,” ABC News, November 25, 2011. (Return)

14. Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Remarks in Recognition of International Human Rights Day,” U.S. Department of State, December 6, 2011. (Return)

15. Ted Olson, “Church Wins Firing Case at Supreme Court,” Christianity Today, January 11, 2012. (Return)

16. Audrey Hudson, “Obama administration religious service for student loan forgiveness,” Human Events, February 15, 2012. (Return)

17.Houston Veterans Claim Censorship of Prayers, Including Ban of ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’,” Fox News, June 29, 2011. (Return)

18. Jason Ukman, “Air Force suspends ethics course that used Bible passages that train missle launch officers,” Washington Post, August 2, 2011. (Return)

19. "Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion," Department of the Air Force, September 1, 2011. (Return)

20. "Wounded, Ill, and Injured Partners in Care Guidelines," Department of the Navy (accessed on February 29, 2012). (Return)

21. "Air Force Academy Backs Away from Christmas Charity," Fox News Radio, November 4, 2011. (Return)

22. Jenny Dean, "Air Force Academy adapts to pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans," Los Angeles Times, November 26, 2011. (Return)

23. Ken Blackwell, "Gen. Boykin Blocked At West Point,", February 1, 2012. (Return)

24. Geoff Herbert, " Air Force unit removes 'God' from logo; lawmakers warn of 'dangerous precedent',", February 9, 2012. (Return)

25. Todd Starnes, "Army Silences Catholic Chaplains," Fox News Radio, February 6, 2012. (Return)

26. Jeff Mason and Deborah Charles, "Obama lifts restrictions on abortion funding," Reuters, January 23, 2009. (Return)

27. "Obama pick: Taxpayers must fund abortions," World Net Daily, January 27, 2009. (Return)

28. Steven Ertelt, "Pro-Life Groups Left Off Obama’s Health Care Summit List, Abortion Advocates OK," LifeNews, March 5, 2009. (Return)

29. " Obama Signs Order Lifting Restrictions on Stem Cell Research Funding," Fox News, March 9, 2009. (Return)

30. Steven Ertelt, "President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation," LifeNews, February 11, 2012. (Return)

31. Steven Ertelt, "Barack Obama’s Federal Budget Eliminates Funding for Abstinence-Only Education," LifeNews, May 8, 2009. (Return)

32. Steven Ertelt, "Obama Budget Funds Sex Ed Over Abstinence on 16-1 Margin," LifeNews, February 14, 2011. (Return)

33. Steven Ertelt, "Obama Admin Terrorism Dictionary Calls Pro-Life Advocates Violent, Racist," LifeNews, May 5, 2009. (Return)

34. "Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies," The White House, June 17, 2009. (Return)

35. Matt Cover, "Obama’s EEOC Nominee: Society Should ‘Not Tolerate Private Beliefs’ That ‘Adversely Affect’ Homosexuals,", January 18, 2010. (Return)

36. Tess Civantos, "White House Spent $23M of Taxpayer Money to Back Kenyan Constitution That Legalizes Abortion, GOP Reps Say," Fox News, July 22, 2010. (Return)

37. Steven Ertelt, "Obama, Congress Cut Funding for 176 Abstinence Programs Despite New Study," LifeNews, August 26, 2010. (Return)

38. Steven Ertelt, "President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation," LifeNews, February 11, 2012. (Return)

39. Brian Montopoli, "Obama administration will no longer defend DOMA," CBSNews, February 23, 2011. (Return)

40. Steven Ertelt, "Obama Admin Ignores Planned Parenthood Sex Trafficking Videos," LifeNews, March 2, 2011. (Return)

41. Elisabeth Bumiller, "Obama Ends ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy," New York Times, July 22, 2011. (Return)

42. Luis Martinez, "Will Same Sex Marriages Pose a Dilemma for Military Chaplains?," ABC News, October 12, 2011. (Return)

43. Jerry Markon, "Health, abortion issues split Obama administration and Catholic groups," Washington Post, October 31, 2011. (Return)
44. Alexander Mooney, "President Obama marks Ramadan," CNN, August 1, 2011. (Return)
47. Chuck Norris, "President Obama: Muslim Missionary?,", August 17, 2010.(Return)
48. "Obama Comes Out in Favor of Allowing Mosque Near Ground Zero," Fox News, August 13, 2010; Pamela Geller, "Islamic Supremacism Trumps Christianity at Ground Zero," American Thinker, July 21, 2011. (Return)
49. "WH Fails to Release Easter Proclamation," Fox Nation, April 25, 2011; "President Obama ignores most holy Christian holiday; AFA calls act intentional," American Family Association (accessed on February 29, 2012).(Return)
51. "USA/Afghanistan-Islamophobia: Pentagon official apologizes for Quran burning," International Islamic News Agency (accessed on February 29, 2012). (Return)

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