Books are Enough

The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

Robert Avossa: Palm Beach Superintendent- all mustard and no hotdog

Robert Avossa puts out slick videos but there is a darker and more dangerous side that is hurting students, teachers and education in general.  The Palm Beach Post recently discovered that the number of employees making $140,000 or more has gone way up under Avossa’s reign. Avossa claims these people are needed to help kids and improve outcomes.

This is bullshot.

There is nobody in the district outside of the classroom that does a darn bit of good in improving outcomes. This arrogant chirping by Avossa shows how out of touch this Jeb Bush disciple is. Of course the feckless Board allows this. They did award him with an unethical and obscene $350,000 a year contract flush with extra benefits.

Intimidation and dishonesty are two words often associated with Avossa.

He…

  1. directs his staff to interrogate students, staff and the public before they speak at public meetings.
  2. refuses to tell principals to stop requiring PLC meetings which the Union says are illegal.
  3. recently told teachers not to complain about hurricane makeup days since they got paid for the days off. I should note the makeup days were already teacher duty days so they are not extra days for them.
  4. repeatedly lied to staff and the public about not taking away winter vacation time for makeup days.
  5. ignored the established makeup days on the approved calendar.
  6. refuses to tell principals to stop requiring students to do 50-60 local diagnostic tests each year.
  7. redirects money in school budgets to force students to take the PSAT in grades 8,9,10 and then the SAT in grade 11.
  8. rolled out a flawed SIS system without testing it ahead of time.
  9. Awarded a new contract for copy machines that tracks usage by individual staff members and also tracks how much they are spending to copy things.

I could go on but the point is made. A feckless Board combined with feckless Super is a dangerous combination.

“Hope not ever to see Heaven. I have come to lead you to the other shore; into eternal darkness; into fire and into ice.”  – Dante

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Florida Testing: High Stakes Obsession

The Florida Department of Education(sic) has proposed allowing students to use PSAT scores as a substitute for the FSA Reading Test graduation requirement. Here is some background. As of now, students can use the SAT or ACT as substitutes for the FSA Reading Test. They can also use the PERT test as a substitute for the Algebra I graduation testing requirement.

Suddenly there is panic in Tallahassee. Jeb Bush Pam Stewart want to change things again.

Stewart and her cabal claim the PERT is not rigorous enough.  They also want to raise the score required to substitute the SAT for graduation.

They do this every few years. Graduation is a moving target in Florida public schools – and that’s they way the cabal likes it.

Florida wants to make another test – high stakes. They want to turn another test that was never designed to be used for high stakes graduation requirements – into an essential part of the Florida testing regimen.

Here are some effects of turning the SAT, PERT, ACT and now PSAT into high stakes tests:

  1. More time testing, as schools require these tests during the school day. The SAT and PSAT basically take an entire day of instruction away.
  2. Less time learning- unless you count learning how to bubble in all of that personal information on the PSAT and SAT.
  3. More money diverted to pay for these tests. Palm Beach County- for example- spends over ONE MILLION dollars a year on the SAT and SAT prep alone.
  4. Attendance issues. On the days the SAT and PSAT are given- many students (not tested) stay home.
  5. Double testing issues. The PSAT test usually falls in the FSA retake testing window. Last year- many schools did not have enough free staff to offer both tests so students lost a chance to take the FSA.

It is malpractice to use tests for purposes they were never designed for. Can the results ever be valid? And what about the random cut scores assigned? This is education policy by whimsy.

Governor Rick Scott is probably running for the Senate so he will not make his base mad. He needs the Jeb Bush sycophants. He needs those who make a living by scapegoating public schools for the ills of society. And he needs those who manipulate and bastardize data to cook up the concoction needed to push an agenda that uses meaningless testing as a hammer.

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day 1974

In an address carried live on national radio – President Nixon spoke to the nation from South Florida.  The president often spoke of our military as the greatest peace force in the world. The words that still ring most sacred to me from the address are, “…we can all be thankful that for the first time in 12 years, there are no Americans fighting anywhere in the world.”

We honor our men and women at sunrise and sunset. We honor them for eternity. 

More Watergate Malpractice

Despite the fact that we know a lot more now than ever about Watergate, the court historians and media elite continue to be handmaidens of deceit, disinformation and dishonor.

Despite information that the Woodward-Bernstein narrative fed to the public for decades is just not true, feted tales and legends are repeated as fact.

Today we focus on the hyperbolic reactions in the press to the situation with President Trump. My main purpose here is to defend history and the honor of President Nixon and not the current President.

Legal analyst Jeff Toobin was breathless today when he angrily barked out the words, “Obstruction of Justice!” He was referring to President Trump but then said that is what Watergate was about! A President trying to get the FBI to stop an investigation was happening again!

Well. That is not quite accurate. That “smoking gun” tape you heard about turns out to be quite harmless. Nobody recognized it at the time – including the fairly incompetent lawyers helping President Nixon.

To be fair to the lawyers we now know the Watergate Prosecutors and Judge were colluding through ex-parte meetings, hiding exculpatory evidence and much more. Many in Congress were involved in this collusion too. This even includes an unethical and probably illegal (think conspiracy) quid pro quo between Congress and the AG, Mr. Richardson.

The fix was in and the deck was stacked.

But I digress.

President Nixon did not ask the FBI to back off its investigation. Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman presented a plan to do so but Nixon never did it.  And what were they talking about on the tape? Lawyer Geoff Shepard thinks it was to protect a big Democratic donor -that’s it.

The CIA said they would have asked the FBI to move their investigation away from certain areas IF they got a direct order from the President. It never happened. If the request was for national security reasons then it would be appropriate in most cases. But President Nixon never made the request.

I suggest the book, “The Real Watergate Scandal” by Geoff Shepard.

Just think about the new narrative when various networks wheel out  John Dean, Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward in their oxygen tanks of insulated fantasy. They will prattle on with tales of old.  But who will have the honesty to finally call out this  calumnious claque and correct history?

Someone must…

Saturday Night Massacre or Presidential Leadership?

With all the talk of the “Saturday Night Massacre” due to President Trump’s recent firing of FBI Director Jim Comey, a new round of the slander, libel and smear show against President Nixon is being regurgitated by many in media. The same old myths that miseducated a nation about President Nixon are being spewed by those blinded with hate.

President Nixon made some mistakes during the Watergate crisis, but firing the AG Elliot Richardson (and then the next in line) followed by the dismissal of  Special Prosecutor (and Kennedy family friend) Archibald Cox was not one of them.

Richardson lied to the President about firing Cox over his abuse of power. Richardson – a member of the executive branch – cut an illegal deal with the legislative branch to only fire Cox for certain reasons. Members of Congress obstructed justice and engaged in a conspiracy against the President.

Cox was using his office to go way beyond the scope of the investigation – even harassing Nixon’s friends. We now know the Cox team was having illegal ex-parte meetings with Judge Sirica. False information was being fed to Congress as well. Again, we have obstruction of justice and a conspiracy against the President.

Finally – the political and national security aspect loomed large. Nixon had just saved Israel in the Yom Kippur War and the Russians were threatening more aggression in the Middle East.  Nixon could not show weakness while world  peace was at stake and have people defy him at home. This weakness would embolden the Russians to act again.

Senior Advisor Pat Buchanan was in the Oval Office with President Nixon at the time and predicted articles of impeachment would be started the following Monday – and they were.

But come what may. President Nixon did what he had to do. Do not listen to the fables that have been passed down for decades. They are simply more slanders.

Many people owe President Nixon – and history – an apology.

 

 

 

Ending the Nixon Slander Machine

Journalist and Nixon biographer Evan Thomas recently made two extraordinary remarks. First he said that the press WAS out to get Nixon. Second, he said the Woodward-Bernstein narrative we have been fed for over 40 years about President Nixon is “simply not true.”

Sadly, the demonization of Richard Nixon has become a cottage industry with the media and academia willing handmaidens of fractured history, myths and outright lies. We do generational damage each time we aid in perpetuating frauds, slanders and libels against the 37th President.

The tide is slowly turning but it will take a long time to wash the shore clean of detritus.

Along with Evan Thomas – others have taken on the gauntlet of lies to give us the real record of Richard Nixon that we, our children and history deserve.  Below are a few highlights:

A. Historian Conrad Black has taken every opportunity to chip away at the mountain of mendacity spewed forth by the likes of Woodward and Bernstein.

B. Historian Irwin Gellman has done Pulitzer Prize type work in using primary sources and dismantling long-held myths that are perpetuated by historians, journalists and academia. Nixon’s Civil Rights record as VP and POTUS is second to none.

C. Lawyer Geoff Shepard has combed through the files of Watergate prosecutors and court records to show the injustices done. Some of these files were illegally taken away by prosecutors. The collusion and illegal acts perpetrated by lawyers, judges and special prosecutors is stunning.

D. Historian Dean Kotlowski has correctly shifted emphasis to the great Civil Rights achievements of President Nixon.

I know the progress will be slow but we must do this for the sake of history.

 

 

 

On the 44th Anniversary of VV Day

January 27th 1973 was VV day. Victory in Vietnam Day. After 12 long years the US military role in the war was over. In 1969 Richard Nixon inherited over 550,000 troops in Vietnam. By the start of 1973 they were all home or on the way home – as were our prisoners of war.

This – like many things President Nixon did – was generational change. The draft was over and the class of ’73 would be the first in decades not to be subject to conscription.

Whenever confronted with old slanders and libels against President Nixon on Vietnam we must never forget to thank President Nixon and confront the prattling popinjays who seek to torment this man (even in death) with false narratives pushed by academia and media. They need a villain.

Pat Buchanan once reminded us of what Nick Carraway said to Gatsby: “They were a rotten crowd, you’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”

Mr. Nixon – you’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.

Peace is at Hand- January 23, 1973

As he entered office in 1969, Richard Nixon began to slowly end the Vietnam War. He inherited over 550,000 troops in Vietnam. The slow withdrawal of troops began almost immediately as the policy of Vietnamization took hold.

Nixon had three choices in Vietnam:

A. Double down and put another 500,000 troops in Vietnam. This – of course – would not be tolerated by the nation. Cities were on fire and over 16,000 troops were killed in 1968 during the last year of the Johnson Presidency.

B. Cut and run right away. This would put our POWS at risk and give nations pause to ever trust us again. Throwing President Thieu to the VC and Russians was not an option.

C. Vietnamization. A slow withdrawal of US troops while training the SVA to defend themselves.

The President opted for C.

Knowing there would be protests and violence at home over his decision, Nixon called on a “silent majority” to support his policy and they gave him  a 49 state landslide reelection win in 1972- still the biggest win in GOP history.

Five days before being sworn in for a second term, Nixon ordered a halt to all offensive actions against North Vietnam. On January 23rd – just three days after being sworn in- President Nixon went on national TV to announce a peace deal was at hand and was about to be signed. The deal was signed on the 27th.

Every regional capital  was in the hands of the SVA. It was not a loss for the US or SVA despite what the court historians might say.

We all know that V-E Day refers to Victory in Europe Day at the end of World War Two and V-J Day refers to Victory over Japan Day. In January of 1973- many White House staff members proclaimed V-V Day for Victory in Vietnam Day.

After twelve years our men and women were coming home.

After President Nixon left office the NVA broke the peace deal and attacked the South. Our feckless congress refused to help and the South fell to the communists. Congress refused to keep our promise to help President Thieu defend himself with military supplies.

Dominoes in the region fell while millions were murdered by the communists. When asked what he would have done if this happened under his watch- President Nixon remarked that he would have bombed the hell out of the North- risking impeachment due to congressional restrictions on the use of air power.

On the 44th anniversary of this event I say thank you President Nixon. I thank all those who came home and those who did not.

Our brave troops won the war and congress lost the peace.

 

 

 

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

Books are Enough

*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.

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