by Napp Nazworth
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the Obama
administration to respond to a petition by the Home School Legal Defense Association
to hear an appeal in the Romeikes deportation case.
The Obama administration has sought to deport the Romeikes, a German family that
fled from to the United States to protect their right to homeschool. If they had
stayed in Germany, they risked fines or having their children taken from them, as
recently happened with another homeschooling family in Germany.
An appeals court agreed with the administration, which argued that the freedom to
determine the education of one’s children is not a fundamental right. The
administration also agreed with a German court’s argument that banning
homeschooling teaches tolerance of diverse views. HSLDA petitioned the Supreme
Court to review that appeals court decision in Romeike v. Holder.
The fact that the Supreme Court wants the administration to weigh in on the petition
increases the likelihood that it will hear the case, but it is no guarantee.
“We are pleased by the Court’s interest in the issues we have presented in our
petition,” HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris wrote in an email to HSLDA supporters.
“Romeike v. Holder gives the Court an opportunity to address important religious
freedom and human rights issues. We hope that after due consideration of the
government’s brief they will agree to hear our case.”
by Tyler O’Neil
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—At the Coalition of African American Pastors Leadership Conference on Thursday, Senator Rand Paul (R- Ky.) supported Martin Luther King Jr.’s definition of a just law and advocated reform of the prison system, drug laws, and child support.
“An unjust law is a law that is passed by a majority that compels a minority but doesn’t make binding on itself,” Paul declared, reading from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” The Senator argued that being a minority “doesn’t have anything to do with the color of your skin,” and that Evangelical Christians, homeschoolers, and those who believe in traditional marriage or limited constitutional government can face the same discrimination African Americans did and still do.
On racial issues, Paul admitted that America has “come a long way,” but he warned that “it’s also a mistake to think that injustice is not still happening.” He pointed to the war on drugs as an example of present-day discrimination.
“Whites and blacks use drugs at the same proportion, blacks are a much smaller percentage of the population, and yet three-fourths of the prison population is black and Latino,” the Senator argued. Noting that federal grants to police departments are “based on arrest and conviction rate,” he added that the police target those who cannot defend themselves. “Who do you think it’s easier to arrest and convict, a rich person or a poor person?”
Disproportionate targeting of black law-breakers is far from a “one-time injustice,” Paul added. A targeted black offender will likely not just go to jail. Every time he applies for a job afterward, he has to check the box to say he’s a convicted felon. Some will end up owing between $5,000 and $10,000 in child support upon leaving prison, how can they raise that without a good job?
“We as Republicans need to talk about issues of justice,” Senator Paul insisted. He argued that the Republican Party should tackle the issues of drug laws and child support, advocating a fairer system for all Americans.
“We should never be for democracy,” Paul argued, because majorities do not have the right to enforce their will on minorities. “Jim Crow came out of democracy,” he argued, and so did a recent law which allows an American citizen to be indefinitely detained.
“Who gets to decide who’s dangerous and who’s not?” the Senator asked. He mentioned the theoretical case of an Arab American who emails his cousin in Lebanon. If the United States government suspects his cousin is a terrorist, should it be able to detain him? Paul referred to the 100,000 Japanese Americans sent to internment camps during World War II. “We’ve done things wrong when we forget what a just law is,” he said.
Paul’s speech at the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) is far from his first outreach to the black community. In April, he visited Howard University – the first major Republican figure to speak there since General Colin Powell did in 1994. In the Howard address, Paul argued for the repeal of federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws, giving convicted felons the right to vote, and school choice, which he later called “the civil rights issue of our day.”
“NO ONE in this country is crafting a better message of uplift for the African American community than Rand Paul,” tweeted Kevin W. Cosby, senior pastor at St. Stephen Church in Louisville, Ky. “At least he was trying to provide some answers and solutions,” Cosby told local 11News. “He has his finger on the pulse on what I believe are the preeminent issues in the urban community.”
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—As we make advancements in digital technologies, the print media is becoming more and more obsolete. To ensure that students move from print to digital platforms, the Education Secretary Arne Duncan has now called for a complete transition of all schools, from physical textbooks, to digital ones.
“Over the next few years, textbooks should be obsolete,” he said. “The world is changing,” Duncan said. “This has to be where we go as a country,” according to Yahoo news.
But the question is, why the hurry? Why does the government want this move to take place soon, when very few people actually read books or are able to write coherent sentences without using a grammar or spell checker? The answer lies in the ability for people to be easily controlled and tracked through the use of computers.
When I was in college, it was mandatory for every student to sign up for an account at a Web site called “Turnitin”. Turn it in simply means, turn your assignments in to the professor digitally. The Web site then cross-checks the entire assignment with other texts of similar content all over the Web to make sure that students did not plagiarize or extract their content from the Web. However, we were still required to buy physical textbooks even though we had access to the most informational libraries and databases online.
Buying Facebook likes, Youtube views and Twitter followers
This move that is being suggested wants to do away with anything physical that has to be read, so I presume the homework will be turned in digitally too, and people will have to spend more time on their computers. Discussions that were once held in class where students would brainstorm, will now take place over the Web on forums like WebCT or even social networks. This will greatly diminish the average student’s ability to form meaningful social relationships in the real world, due to the time invested in a virtual world, creating virtual friendships.
We already see that occurring now where people and businesses believe that if they are popular in a virtual world, that will translate into success in the real world, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you are a documentary filmmaker and want to get 1 million fake YouTube views, you can simply purchase a package online, to make it seem like your movie or video is popular and get it picked up by a big studio.
What is happening now is that in order for companies to give the impression to both the site visitors and potential advertisers that they are popular, they are buying Facebook likes, YouTube views and Twitter followers, as revealed in this article by the New York Times and this one that says 70% of Lady Gaga’s 29 million followers are fake. Even Web sites with hundreds of comments on topics are mostly buying comments, where people in Bangladesh or India will post tons of comments on a particular subject for a small fee. Web sites also buy fake “shares” to Facebook to give the impression that people are actually passing the story around like Whiskey bottles at a frat-house party.
Seeing is not always believing
If one had a product to sell, or information deemed valuable, why would one want fake comments or fake Twitter followers or Facebook likes? This is not the target audience that will buy the product. It is a lot better to build organic and authentic traffic because those are the loyal visitors that will buy the product or become loyal visitors of a news site. Fake traffic will definitely raise one’s standing on Alexa and even increase the Google page ranking, but ultimately you’ll be stuck with ghost traffic that won’t stick around in the long run. BBC wrote this article about how fake comments are eroding trust on the Web.
Who benefits the most?
Students with the most Facebook friends or likes and Twitter followers, will be viewed by classmates as more worthwhile than others and even potential employers may fall into the trap of mistaking quantity for quality. The government also will benefit from such an arrangement because it will have a captive audience of the students’ databases. In order to get state and federal grants or scholarships, these all-digital databases will eventually be linked to the Department of Education, since they are the ones pushing this transition. It will thus be easier for big brother to monitor students’ activities by data mining these interlinked databases.
Remember, parents are not off the hook in regard to digital technology, because medical records too become digital by 2014, ushering in the RFID chip and biometrics, as demonstrated in this controversial article I wrote here.
Of course two of the other biggest retail beneficiaries of an exclusively digital textbook environment will be Amazon with Kindle, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, since both are at the forefront of such technology, and actually sell textbooks that have already been scanned into these devices.
Yet people wonder why Texas is the leading state in homeschooling.