The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

Stop Teaching the “I Have a Dream Speech.” Historical Amnesia- Volume Three


*The stories the media never tell

*The villains we need

Most Americans are familiar with the “I Have a Dream Speech” made my Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 during a march on Washington. It was, and still is, inspirational.

But what most Americans are unaware of is that this speech was essentially given seven years earlier by an honorary member of the NAACP- Vice President Richard Nixon.

On October 18 1956 VP Nixon spoke at the Alfred E. Smith Foundation Dinner. Here is an excerpt from the speech;

“Most of us will live to see the day when American boys and girls shall sit, side by side, at any school – public or private – with no regard paid to the color of their skin.”

And more?

“Race and religious hatred strike at the roots of that remarkable unity that is the achievement of our nation. For the survival…

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A Presidential Medal of Freedom for President Nixon- now more than ever.

I have no problem with President Obama awarding the Medal of Freedom to his Vice President but awarding one to President Nixon would be more valuable to history and justice. Former Senator Robert Dole once said, ” I believe the second half of the 20th century will be known as the age of Nixon.”  This makes sense if one looks at the record.

President Nixon (and Vice President Nixon for that matter) implemented generational change that has rarely been seen before or since.

I can think of scores of reasons that the award should be made but when looking at the totality of the record and continuing influence- it must be made.

Massive Local Testing in Palm Beach County Suffocates Instruction

The fairly new leadership in Palm Beach County appears to believe in two main things:

  1. Put students in front of computer screens for mind-numbing (and expensive) practice and 2. Test students until the cows come home.

The slogan for the school district should be, “Weigh the student but don’t feed them much.”

I wanted to find out how many local tests students were forced to take. These are tests that are not  mandated by anyone but local authority. These are standardized tests and not teacher  made assessments that are built to fit actual instruction.

So how many tests were secondary students forced to take from the first day of school through today? I gathered information from 5 schools and 10 students. The results are stunning.

The average secondary student was forced to sit for 38 different tests from the middle of August through today.  38.

Is this malpractice? Yes. Does anyone appear to care? No.  Mounds of useless data are keeping a lot of people employed and students perpetually numb.

When Russians Interfered in Our Election… 1968

This is a very brief introduction to a story that will be expanded upon later.

In 1968, The Soviet Union was out to make sure Hubert Humphrey was elected president. They feared the anti-communist, Richard Nixon. One reason for this Red Panic was the Vietnam War. They feared (as it turned out with good reason) a tougher deal for North Vietnam under Nixon than Humphrey.

Soviet interference consisted of at least two main fronts:

A. The Soviet Government offered financial help to the Humphrey campaign

B. The Soviet Government was trying to goad President Johnson into making a quick peace deal before he left office. They correctly predicted that they would not have an easy time if Nixon won. Luckily- President Thieu of South Vietnam never considered being on the menu- part of any deal.

Latest Nixon Book- nothing new, but a disservice to history

John Farrell – a journalist not historian as the NY Times claims- is publishing a book about Richard Nixon. There is nothing new- except more innuendo and biased interpretation. Here are a few points to consider. He appears to be using notes from John Haldeman for much of his polemic. These are NOTES- not policy. This incorrect use of documents is a common error writers make. One example of how the author misuses documents would be using notes where Haldeman mentions a supposed comment to retreat on Civil Rights if elected. Richard Nixon did more for Civil Rights than any President since Lincoln. Using notes to draw conclusions is not always proper since they are not always a reflection of what actually happened.   I base the following on the NY Times OPED from Mr. Farrell.

  1. Farrell takes a big leap from some notes by Haldeman and couples that with known information. The so-called ‘Chennault” affair is complex.
  2. President Thieu came out against any so-called “peace plan” as soon as he heard about the possibility. He would wait for the next administration. There was no serious plan or possibility of one. He was not stupid and knew he was about to be sold out by LBJ. Conrad Black got this right in his book.
  3. The author is pushing a dangerous myth. Remember- If only JFK had lived there would have been no Vietnam escalation? An equally dangerous myth is that LBJ would have ended the war. He left President Nixon 550k troops in Viet Nam in January of 1969.
  4. The author says he found other “gems.” See the snark and bias here? He notes some comment about the need to wiretap opponents. This is what everyone did- right or wrong.
  5. The author claims LBJ knew of interference by Nixon but did not disclose it for “other reasons.” What he failed to say was that the “other reasons” were illegal wiretaps and illegal use of the FBI by LBJ. This omission shows the author is not serious.
  6. At worst, President-Elect Nixon simply encouraged President Thieu to stand strong in his decision. It turns out to have been sound advice. As VP Humphrey and Chief Negotiator Winston Lord both pointed out- the deal we finally got in 1972 was one impossible to get in 1968.
  7. What concerns me the most about this book is the use of the notes by Haldeman to make wild accusations and spurious connections.  Anything to take away the deserved credit from President Nixon for finally ending that war – sells – and feeds into a narrative the court historians and media have pushed for years.
  8. The notes the author uses are not new and I am yet to find anything new. I read them over a year ago.

What appears to be true is that Russia was working hard to influence the election by getting Humphrey elected. 

Reading the notes that Mr. Farrell highlighted gives us no new insight. Historian Luke Nichter agreed on a Facebook posting. 

Nixon’s Bold Trip — Christmastime 1956


On the 53rd anniversary of the famous “first flight” by the Wright brothers, Vice President Richard Nixon was presenting awards at the Washington D.C Aero Club’s Wright Memorial Dinner. The Vice President spoke of a trip he would be taking just a few hours later as an example of the “peaceful use of airpower.” The trip was a daring mission that would take Mr. Nixon right to the border of a country recently crushed under a Communist crackdown. His goal was to study the Hungarian refugee crisis. The result would be a week that changed the world.

On December 18th 1956 VP Nixon boarded the Columbine II and headed to Austria. A few days earlier Nixon was warned against going to the Hungarian border in Austria since Soviet troops had been spotted following refugees across the border. It was not safe.

President Eisenhower used Richard Nixon more and more effectively than any Vice President before or since. Writing in the Chicago Tribune on December 19th 1956- Walter Trohan noted that Nixon had become the “personal ambassador and personal troubleshooter” for President Eisenhower.

The US had taken in some Hungarian refugees but congressional limits were stifling. Nixon said that we needed an overhaul of the immigration system. Eisenhower was determined not to intervene militarily. Nixon brought insulin and financial aid for the refugees while the Soviets brought them starvation and death.

Nixon arrived in Austria on December 19th noting that the United States was going to take over 20,000 refugees and hopefully more. Austria was under heavy strain as they accepted massive numbers of people fleeing death.

The Vice President met scores of officials and ordinary people. He even played “Jingle Bells” on the piano at a Christmas play presented by refugees.

Near the end of his journey — and against previous advice — Nixon asked to go to the border and see the refugee crossings.  Nixon arrived in Andau on the freezing morning of December 21st.  This town was a few miles from the Hungarian border and a main refugee crossing location.

Sitting in a hay truck along with Bill Rogers and one secret service agent, Richard Nixon was pulled by a farm tractor to the border. The secret trip was slow and the air was frigid.

Nixon arrived at the famous Eisner Canal and “Freedom Bridge” in time to see refugees making a most dangerous escape. Nixon was back home a few days later- arriving in Washington on Christmas Eve. Nixon addressed the nation by radio the next day as part of a fundraiser for Hungarians.

Austrian Chancellor Julius Raab said that Vice President Nixon was “one of the finest men I have evet met in my entire career.” Once home, Nixon continued to be Eisenhower’s tip of the spear on this issue. He went to New York and met with former President Herbert Hoover about the crisis. He then went to a refugee camp in New Jersey. Operation “Safe Haven” was a success.

The Vice President met with congressional leaders with the message that our entire immigration system was inadequate during the harsh realities of the Cold War. Democrats in congress continued to block immigration reform but the Eisenhower administration was still able to save thousands of Hungarians.

A year later Richard Nixon remarked that what happened in Hungary would eventually help end the Communist empire. He was correct.

In 1971 an émigré from Hungary named Ferenc Daday memorialized Nixon’s bold move in a massive painting called “Nixon at Andau.”  It is a reminder of America at its best. It is a painting of American spirit, love and leadership.

When Richard Nixon visited Hungary in 1963 he was surrounded by people who remembered his mission almost a decade earlier. One young girl rushed up to the former Vice President and asked, “Are you Mr. Eisenhower’s Nixon?”  Nixon got flowers from some of the citizens in Budapest and remarked that he felt they were not given to him as an individual but to the country he represented. It was as if Nixon was back near the border on that Cold War morning in December of 1956.

In the next year, Eisenhower would use his personal ambassador and troubleshooter to help get the first Civil Rights bill since Reconstruction passed despite massive opposition from Lyndon Johnson. Nixon made a bold ruling from as President of the Senate to save the bill. But that is another story, another mission.

What happened at Christmastime 1956 was the start of the end of the Soviet empire. Everything that happened later was made possible because of this oft-forgotten mission. We saw humanitarian America at her best. We saw an America using its bully pulpit and not bombs to make change. We need men like Nixon and Eisenhower now more than ever.

Before Nixon changed the world by going to China, he changed the world by going to Austria. We should thank him for his tireless efforts.

Remember when VP Nixon helped end the steel strike? Neither does history.

In 1959 and 1960 Vice President Richard Nixon played a key role in ending a major steel strike. President Eisenhower used his vice president more (effectively) than any president before or since. This is just one example. This is lost to history. Nixon was one of the most successful presidents ever and the most powerful/successful vice president in history.

Below are two excerpts from the Chicago Tribune- January 5th, 1960. Enjoy reading some real history!




Thanksgiving 1973

Thanksgiving 1973 was the first Thanksgiving in twelve years that saw the nation NOT at war in Vietnam. Our troops were home and our prisoners of war were home. What an incredible moment in history. At Thanksgiving time in 1968- President Johnson had over 500,000 troops in Vietnam.

Thank you President Nixon.

Remember when…

Remember when the Nixon Administration sent a national health insurance bill to the congress? No? Neither do the media or most in academia. It was killed by that great liberal defender of the poor, Ted Kennedy.

Less Teaching and More Testing in Palm Beach Under Avossa

Since Robert Avossa took over in Palm Beach and neutered the School Board, testing has gone up and teachers have less teaching time. Avossa does not appear to be concerned. When told that PLC meetings were pulling teachers out of the classroom to discuss data- Avossa quipped that it only amounted to a few minutes a week and was not a big deal.

This comment shows how out of touch the superintendent is when it comes to teaching. He appears to be unaware of how important it is to be in class as much as possible. When test results comeback- teachers have THEIR names attached to the results- not the name AVOSSA.

Also this year- Avossa bamboozled the Board into agreeing to increase testing more by giving the PSAT test to 9th graders. Students now sit for this test in 8th, 9th, 10th and then take the SAT during the school day in 11th grade.

This test shuts down high schools for about five hours and ties up staff. And here is a shocker. The day the PSAT was given- it was a makeup day for graduation testing. Students LOST a chance to take a graduation test because resources went to testing HALF of each school. This is stunning malpractice by the Board.

The PSAT and SAT were never designed to be FORCED on students during the school day. ESOL students and exchange students who speak little to no English were also forced to test.

Students who spent 7-8 hours taking the FSA graduation test in October- will be forced to take a diagnostic test that takes two hours- in January- if they did not pass.

Nobody cares. This is nuts.


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