Friday, January 27, 2012

Hillsdale College - Imprimis Issue - Do We Need the Department of Education?

January 2012 Charles Murray American Enterprise Institute Do We Need the Department of Education? Charles Murray is the W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He received his B.A. in history at Harvard University and his Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has written for numerous newspapers and journals, including the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, and National Review. His books include Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980, What It Means to Be a Libertarian, and Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality. His new book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, will be published at the end of January. The following is adapted from a speech delivered in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 28, 2011, at a conference on “Markets, Government, and the Common Good,” sponsored by Hillsdale College’s Center for the Study of Monetary Systems and Free Enterprise. THE CASE FOR the Department of Education could rest on one or more of three legs: its constitutional appropriateness, the existence of serious problems in education that could be solved only at the federal level, and/or its track record since it came into being. Let us consider these in order. (1) Is the Department of Education constitutional? At the time the Constitution was written, education was not even considered a function of local government, let alone the federal government. But the shakiness of the Department of Education’s constitutionality goes beyond that. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution enumerates the things over which Congress has the power to legislate. Not only does the list not include education, there is no plausible rationale for squeezing education in under the commerce clause. I’m sure the Supreme Court found a rationale, but it cannot have been plausible. On a more philosophical level, the framers of America’s limited government had a broad allegiance to what Catholics call the principle of subsidiarity. In the secular world, the principle of subsidiarity means that local government should do only those things that individuals cannot do for themselves, state government should do only those things that local governments cannot do, and the federal government should do only those things that the individual states cannot do. Education is something that individuals acting alone and cooperatively can do, let alone something local or state governments can do. I should be explicit about my own animus in this regard. I don’t think the Department of Education is constitutionally legitimate, let alone appropriate. I would favor abolishing it even if, on a pragmatic level, it had improved American education. But I am in a small minority on that point, so let’s move on to the pragmatic questions. (2) Are there serious problems in education that can be solved only at the federal level? The first major federal spending on education was triggered by the launch of the first space satellite, Sputnik, in the fall of 1957, which created a perception that the United States had fallen behind the Soviet Union in science and technology. The legislation was specifically designed to encourage more students to go into math and science, and its motivation is indicated by its title: The National Defense Education Act of 1958. But what really ensnared the federal government in education in the 1960s had its origins elsewhere—in civil rights. The Supreme Court declared segregation of the schools unconstitutional in 1954, but—notwithstanding a few highly publicized episodes such as the integration of Central High School in Little Rock and James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi—the pace of change in the next decade was glacial. Was it necessary for the federal government to act? There is a strong argument for “yes,” especially in the case of K-12 education. Southern resistance to desegregation proved to be both stubborn and effective in the years following Brown v. Board of Education. Segregation of the schools had been declared unconstitutional, and constitutional rights were being violated on a massive scale. But the question at hand is whether we need a Department of Education now, and we have seen a typical evolution of policy. What could have been justified as a one-time, forceful effort to end violations of constitutional rights, lasting until the constitutional wrongs had been righted, was transmuted into a permanent government establishment. Subsequently, this establishment became more and more deeply involved in American education for purposes that have nothing to do with constitutional rights, but instead with a broader goal of improving education. The reason this came about is also intimately related to the civil rights movement. Over the same years that school segregation became a national issue, the disparities between black and white educational attainment and test scores came to public attention. When the push for President Johnson’s Great Society programs began in the mid-1960s, it was inevitable that the federal government would attempt to reduce black-white disparities, and it did so in 1965 with the passage of two landmark bills—the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act. The Department of Education didn’t come into being until 1980, but large-scale involvement of the federal government in education dates from 1965. (3) So what is the federal government’s track record in education? The most obvious way to look at the track record is the long-term trend data of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Consider, for instance, the results for the math test for students in fourth, eighth and twelfth grades from 1978 through 2004. The good news is that the scores for fourth graders showed significant improvement in both reading and math—although those gains diminished slightly as the children got older. The bad news is that the baseline year of 1978 represents the nadir of the test score decline from the mid-1960s through the 1970s. Probably we are today about where we were in math achievement in the 1960s. For reading, the story is even bleaker. The small gains among fourth graders diminish by eighth grade and vanish by the twelfth grade. And once again, the baseline tests in the 1970s represent a nadir. From 1942 through the 1990s, the state of Iowa administered a consistent and comprehensive test to all of its public school students in grade school, middle school, and high school—making it, to my knowledge, the only state in the union to have good longitudinal data that go back that far. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills offers not a sample, but an entire state population of students. What can we learn from a single state? Not much, if we are mainly interested in the education of minorities—Iowa from 1942 through 1970 was 97 percent white, and even in the 2010 census was 91 percent white. But, paradoxically, that racial homogeneity is also an advantage, because it sidesteps all the complications associated with changing ethnic populations. Since retention through high school has changed greatly over the last 70 years, I will consider here only the data for ninth graders. What the data show is that when the federal government decided to get involved on a large scale in K-12 education in 1965, Iowa’s education had been improving substantially since the first test was administered in 1942. There is reason to think that the same thing had been happening throughout the country. As I documented in my book, Real Education, collateral data from other sources are not as detailed, nor do they go back to the 1940s, but they tell a consistent story. American education had been improving since World War II. Then, when the federal government began to get involved, it got worse. I will not try to make the case that federal involvement caused the downturn. The effort that went into programs associated with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 in the early years was not enough to have changed American education, and the more likely causes for the downturn are the spirit of the 1960s—do your own thing—and the rise of progressive education to dominance over American public education. But this much can certainly be said: The overall data on the performance of American K-12 students give no reason to think that federal involvement, which took the form of the Department of Education after 1979, has been an engine of improvement. What about the education of the disadvantaged, especially minorities? After all, this was arguably the main reason that the federal government began to get involved in education—to reduce the achievement gap separating poor children and rich children, and especially the gap separating poor black children and the rest of the country. The most famous part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was Title I, initially authorizing more than a billion dollars annually (equivalent to more than $7 billion today) to upgrade the schools attended by children from low-income families. The program has continued to grow ever since, disposing of about $19 billion in 2010 (No Child Left Behind has also been part of Title I). Supporters of Title I confidently expected to see progress, and so formal evaluation of Title I was built into the legislation from the beginning. Over the years, the evaluations became progressively more ambitious and more methodologically sophisticated. But while the evaluations have improved, the story they tell has not changed. Despite being conducted by people who wished the program well, no evaluation of Title I from the 1970s onward has found credible evidence of a significant positive impact on student achievement. If one steps back from the formal evaluations and looks at the NAEP test score gap between high-poverty schools (the ones that qualify for Title I support) and low-poverty schools, the implications are worse. A study by the Department of Education published in 2001 revealed that the gap grew rather than diminished from 1986—the earliest year such comparisons have been made—through 1999. That brings us to No Child Left Behind. Have you noticed that no one talks about No Child Left Behind any more? The explanation is that its one-time advocates are no longer willing to defend it. The nearly-flat NAEP trendlines since 2002 make that much-ballyhooed legislative mandate—a mandate to bring all children to proficiency in math and reading by 2014—too embarrassing to mention. In summary: the long, intrusive, expensive role of the federal government in K-12 education does not have any credible evidence for a positive effect on American education. * * * I have chosen to focus on K-12 because everyone agrees that K-12 education leaves much to be desired in this country and that it is reasonable to hold the government’s feet to the fire when there is no evidence that K-12 education has improved. When we turn to post-secondary education, there is much less agreement on first principles. The bachelor of arts degree as it has evolved over the last half-century has become the work of the devil. It is now a substantively meaningless piece of paper—genuinely meaningless, if you don’t know where the degree was obtained and what courses were taken. It is expensive, too, as documented by the College Board: Public four-year colleges average about $7,000 per year in tuition, not including transportation, housing, and food. Tuition at the average private four-year college is more than $27,000 per year. And yet the B.A. has become the minimum requirement for getting a job interview for millions of jobs, a cost-free way for employers to screen for a certain amount of IQ and perseverance. Employers seldom even bother to check grades or courses, being able to tell enough about a graduate just by knowing the institution that he or she got into as an 18-year-old. So what happens when a paper credential is essential for securing a job interview, but that credential can be obtained by taking the easiest courses and doing the minimum amount of work? The result is hundreds of thousands of college students who go to college not to get an education, but to get a piece of paper. When the dean of one East Coast college is asked how many students are in his institution, he likes to answer, “Oh, maybe six or seven.” The situation at his college is not unusual. The degradation of American college education is not a matter of a few parents horrified at stories of silly courses, trivial study requirements, and campus binge drinking. It has been documented in detail, affects a large proportion of the students in colleges, and is a disgrace. The Department of Education, with decades of student loans and scholarships for university education, has not just been complicit in this evolution of the B.A. It has been its enabler. The size of these programs is immense. In 2010, the federal government issued new loans totaling $125 billion. It handed out more than eight million Pell Grants totaling more than $32 billion dollars. Absent this level of intervention, the last three decades would have seen a much healthier evolution of post-secondary education that focused on concrete job credentials and courses of studies not constricted by the traditional model of the four-year residential college. The absence of this artificial subsidy would also have let market forces hold down costs. Defenders of the Department of Education can unquestionably make the case that its policies have increased the number of people going to four-year residential colleges. But I view that as part of the Department of Education’s indictment, not its defense. * * * What other case might be made for federal involvement in education? Its contributions to good educational practice? Think of the good things that have happened to education in the last 30 years—the growth of homeschooling and the invention and spread of charter schools. The Department of Education had nothing to do with either development. Both happened because of the initiatives taken by parents who were disgusted with standard public education and took matters into their own hands. To watch the process by which charter schools are created, against the resistance of school boards and administrators, is to watch the best of American traditions in operation. Government has had nothing to do with it, except as a drag on what citizens are trying to do for their children. Think of the best books on educational practice, such as Howard Gardner’s many innovative writings and E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge Curriculum, developed after his landmark book, Cultural Literacy, was published in 1987. None of this came out of the Department of Education. The Department of Education spends about $200 million a year on research intended to improve educational practice. No evidence exists that these expenditures have done any significant good. As far as I can determine, the Department of Education has no track record of positive accomplishment—nothing in the national numbers on educational achievement, nothing in the improvement of educational outcomes for the disadvantaged, nothing in the advancement of educational practice. It just spends a lot of money. This brings us to the practical question: If the Department of Education disappeared from next year’s budget, would anyone notice? The only reason that anyone would notice is the money. The nation’s public schools have developed a dependence on the federal infusion of funds. As a practical matter, actually doing away with the Department of Education would involve creating block grants so that school district budgets throughout the nation wouldn’t crater. Sadly, even that isn’t practical. The education lobby will prevent any serious inroads on the Department of Education for the foreseeable future. But the answer to the question posed in the title of this talk—“Do we need the Department of Education?”—is to me unambiguous: No. Copyright © 2011 Hillsdale College. The opinions expressed in Imprimis are not necessarily the views of Hillsdale College. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the following credit line is used: “Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.” SUBSCRIPTION FREE UPON REQUEST. ISSN 0277-8432. Imprimis trademark registered in U.S. Patent and Trade Office #1563325.

Obamateurism of the Day - January 27, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Obamateurism of the Day January 27, 2012 by Ed Morrissey When Barack Obama gives a speech, whether it’s a State of the Union address or a campaign pitch, an unfavorable fact check is practically de rigueur. However, Obama’s effort to make his point on corporate taxes got so badly botched on so many points that actually negated his entire argument that taken together they make for a rather potent Obamateurism. The Cato Institute did the research that Obama should have done for himself: Claim: “Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas.” False: There are no such breaks. Instead, we punish U.S. and foreign businesses for investing and creating jobs here. Claim: “If you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it.” False: There is no such tax deduction. Claim: “No American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas.” False: America is not a prison camp. Besides, imposing a 40-percent tax rate on corporations that invest here is not a “fair share.” Claim: “From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax.” False: We’ve already got a corporate “alternative minimum tax,” and it’s an idiotic waste of accounting resources that ought to be repealed. Claim: “It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas.” False: We penalize them for locating jobs here. Besides, the overseas operations of U.S. companies generally complement domestic jobs by boosting U.S. exports. … Claim: “If you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.” False: It’s a horrible idea to create special breaks for certain types of government-favored businesses. It would simply encourage the exact type of tax game-playing and lobbying that the president decries. What’s a “high-tech” manufacturer? What’s an “American” manufacturer? What’s a “manufacturer”? How “hard hit” do towns need to be? Obama managed to get only one thing correct about the corporate tax: it’s the highest in the free world. That’s why every effort to reform it, whether from Republicans or from the President’s own deficit commission, proposes to reduce it. The Bowles-Simpson committee gave those recommendations to Obama more than a year ago, and Obama has yet to act on it. And he’s given two SOTU speeches since, apparently without bothering to read the report or the laws he’s demanding to change.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Obama’s Open Buffet - January 25, 2012 By George Neumayr

Obama’s Open Buffet January 25, 2012 By George Neumayr Glib and cocky as ever, Barack Obama used his State of the Union address on Tuesday night to push his sophomoric and gimmicky socialism. While the nation drowns in debt and the economy continues to teeter, Obama devotes himself to the empty symbolism of the “Buffett rule.” He had the Omaha billionaire’s secretary placed in a seat of honor near the First Lady. Barack and Michelle are the quintessential champagne socialists, enjoying the trappings of power — the First Lady donned an ostentatious royal blue designer dress that probably cost more than several months of her prop’s secretarial salary — while decrying the excesses of the rich. The speech was immensely dull, revolving around the usual tedious laundry list of nothing proposals. It made Monday’s sterile Republican presidential candidates debate look stimulating. Obama conceives of himself as the great puppet master of the American economy, doling out “rewards” and “punishments” to the business community. He paid tribute to the widow of Steve Jobs, also strategically placed in the audience. This seemed odd. Didn’t Steve Jobs regard Obama as an anti-business president? Jobs was also known for shipping jobs to Asia, owing to the left’s stifling regulations. Obama, in this address, made a special point of condemning this practice, vowing to reward companies that keep jobs at home and punish companies that go global. It is clear that Obama doesn’t want companies to prosper here or abroad, unless they somehow fit into his statist schemes. The speech was full of dreary government-knows-best proposals. The great community organizer announced that community colleges under his leadership will play a pivotal role in the revival of the American economy. Community colleges can become “community career centers” that tutor Americans in new skills, he said. Obama also revealed his high hopes for wind farms and other forms of “clean energy.”

Friday, January 20, 2012

Liberty News Networks Januaruy 20, 2012 - Candidate for President lied about Drug use, Deals Cocaine, smokes crack, has gay sex and murdered his gay lover in 2007?

Candidate for President lied about Drug use, Deals Cocaine, smokes crack, has gay sex and murdered his gay lover in 2007?

It’s certainly a lot more shocking than what was alleged about Cain a couple of weeks ago. According to that accuser, Cain wined, dined and was refined. Cain made a move, she said no, he politely went home and she went to her suite that he provided. Or today’s accusation of a 13 year friendship which Cain says was without sexual “benefits”.

The media is predicting the end of Cain’s campaign, He’s sunk, a skunk and on and on.

But what about allegations of a murdered gay lover, Donald Young who was choirmaster at the Candidate’s Church. Would that be the death blow if it were true of Cain?

You probably haven’t yet heard about this. Larry Sinclair says he met the potential Presidential candidate in a bar after being introduced by a limo driver. Sinclair claims that he was hustled by the candidate for a few free drinks then gave him $250 to buy Cocaine, smoked crack with him and had gay sex with the Candidate.

Pastor Manning in a radio interview buttresses Larry’s story saying that others have also revealed to him that the candidate is bi-sexual.

Sounds wild? What a feeding frenzy to be expected in the Media about these much more serious allegations.

Allegations that even if false will prompt the media to flood the candidate with questions and cast doubt on his move for the Presidency. They could debate the issue, interview the accuser and keep up pressure in the hopes that the candidate resign.

And yet NOTHING. Not a peep.

That’s because Donald Young was the choirmaster of Trinity United Church on the Southside of Chicago headed by the wrong reverend Wright and attended by then Senator Barrack Hussein Obama (AB-Ummah, Father of the Muslim World)

Sinclair brought these allegations against then Senator and Presidential candidate Barack Obama and the Media said nothing. I didn’t hear about this until last week. (Hat Tip Bill Fowler) The accuser Larry Sinclair had to make YouTube videos and even rent out a hall on his own dime to get any attention.

Sinclair had a checkered past just as Cain’s accusers do. Yet the Media dismissed Sinclair’s charges offhand and ran full speed with what are, in comparison, puny allegations against Cain.

No leftist bias in the media? Not State Controlled?

Is Obama a Liar? Absolutely. One is hard pressed to find anything truthful about him. He can’t keep a thought straight in his head without his teleprompter. Does he seem to be on crack or messed up because of too much use of it? Would these allegations have made any difference in his election?

Anyway it’s too late now, Obama and his ilk have already destroyed the USA.

Did you know that all the gold in the world, 30,000+ Tons according to the World Gold Council, is worth less than the over 2 trillion dollars that Obama and his cronies just borrowed for themselves. Not to mention the 14+ trillion we are saddled with right now to pay for their corrupt deals, welfare, wars, waste, “bailouts”, Stimu-less, Crony Capitalism etc. and the 100 trillion in future obligations foisted on taxpayers for Socialist entitlements that buy votes from the dependent class created by supposedly “free” money.

Get the picture? The socialists have done exactly what every corrupt government has done in the last 5000 years for their own gain; they defrauded you by stealing the value of your currency and spent every penny of your money, your children’s money and maybe even your great grandchildren’s money.

You were too busy to notice because of their propaganda, false scapegoats, economic hardships, busts and booms and a glut of entertainment to distract you.

The first thing to do is stop the bleeding. Stop listening to the ignorant, blind and brainwashed people that vote for Democrats, Liberals and Socialists. Stop putting your faith in Republicans or Conservatives or Libertarians.

THE ONLY WAY TO CORRECT THIS ATROCITY IS TO REPAIR THE CONSTITUTION AND RETURN THE BALANCE OF POWER. If not then all the blood spilled in the Revolutionary and Civil war will have been for naught.

Stop fooling yourself, your vote means nothing and counts for nothing in the current 2 party Democratic Socialist system.
We are already way down the slippery slope. Only the speed of the descent will be altered by changing politicians.

YOU MUST fight for the Repair Amendments to be brought to the States by Congress OR your States must call a Constitutional Convention.

You and your States still have this power. It is the last fail safe mechanism. Use it before that too is taken away.

Don’t let this be the Lone Voice Calling in the Wilderness.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Barack Obama's 32 Month Report Card - by Rich Carroll

Barack Obama's 32 Month Report Card

by Rich Carroll

Copy this article. You will need researched material to mail your liberal friends and/or relatives.

Mr. Hope and Change wants to create a nation humbled; humiliated, casting-aside capitalism and individual freedoms for one where we the people are government controlled. This would be a system that genuflects mediocrity, steals personal aspiration and opportunity, and punishes those who strive to succeed.

A gallon of regular gasoline the day Obama was inaugurated was $1.79 on average in the U.S. Today that price is $3.59, a 100.6% increase. The number of food stamp recipients has risen since Obama took office from 31,983,716 to 43,200,878, a 35.1% jump. Long term unemployment soared 146.2% during the same 32 month period from 2,600,000 to 6,400,000. Staggering hope and change isn't it?

American citizens living in poverty have risen 9.5% from 39,800,000 to 43,600,000, and the number of unemployed has jumped almost 25% from 11,616,000 to 14,485,000 as of August 31, 2011. The number of unemployed blacks has risen from 12.6% at the end of George Bush's term to 15.8% today, a 25.4% increase, and finally, our national debt is up 34.4% from 10.627 trillion to 14,278 trillion *

Keep these figures in mind as we recount the number of firsts for this presidency:

First President to refuse to show a valid birth certificate.

First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.

First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.

First President to preside over a cut to the credit rating of the United States .

First President to violate the War Powers Act.

First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the
Gulf of Mexico .

First President to defy a Federal Judges court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law.

First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.

First President to spend a trillion dollars on shovel-ready jobs and later admit there was no such thing as shovel-ready jobs.

First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.

First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat.

First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions.

First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.

First President to terminate Americas ability to put a man in space.

First President to encourage racial discrimination and intimidation at polling places.

First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present.

First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.

First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly speak-out on the reasons for their rate increases.

First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state they are allowed to locate a factory.

First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN)

First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago.

First President to fire an inspector general of Ameri-corps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case.

First President to appoint 45 Czars to replace elected officials in his office.

First President to golf 73 separate times in his first two and a half years in office.

First President to hide his medical, educational and travel records.

First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it.

First President to coddle American enemies while alienating Americas allies.

First President to publicly bow to Americas enemies while refusing to salute the U.S. Flag.

First President to go on multiple global apology tours.

First President to go on 17 lavish vacations, including date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends, paid for by the taxpayer.

First President to refuse to wear the U.S. Flag lapel pin.

First President to have 22 personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife
First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000.00 a year at taxpayer expense.

First President to repeat the Holy Qur'an tells us, and openly admit the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth.

Remember that 32 months of Obama White House we the people have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our nation's entire history, as the Obama's plan their next extravagant vacation to the Indonesian Island nation of Bali .

Hope and change anyone?????????

* sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Wall Street Journal, Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Dept. of Labor, Standard & Poors/Case-Shiller, Federal Reserve, US Treasury, Heritage Foundation.

America Akbar with Gadi Adelman 01/05 by Radio Jihad Network | Blog Talk Radio

America Akbar with Gadi Adelman 01/05 by Radio Jihad Network | Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Holy Land Moments - Our Rock of Refuge

Our Rock of Refuge

January 5, 2012

“Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go;give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.” — Psalm 71:3

We have been following David in the early stages of his life, prior to becoming king of Israel. At this particular point in his life, David had finally come to an understanding — and peace — with King Saul. Not only had Saul acknowledged David as God’s anointed king, but he also recognized David’s mercy and compassion toward him. You might think that at this point, David’s troubles were over.

Not so. After many months away from home, David and his men returned to their home base at Ziklag, only to discover that enemy raiders had plundered their homes, taken their wives and children as prisoners, and had burned their homes to the ground. As the Bible records it, “David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.”

Faced with this overwhelming tragedy, David’s men began to turn on him. They even began talking about stoning David and killing him on the spot! David was in serious trouble. But rather than engaging in finger-pointing and assessing blame or arguing with his men, David looked for a solution. And he did what he always had done when facing difficult situations — he “found strength in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6).

Asking the priest, Abiathar, to bring him the ephod (the priestly garment), David asked God, “Should I chase them? Will I catch them?” And the Lord answered him, “Pursue them. You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue” (1 Samuel 30:8). So David and his men did exactly that. When they came upon them, they found the Amalekites eating, drinking, and celebrating their great plunder. David and his men rushed in, destroyed their enemy, and regained everything that had been taken — including their wives and children!

David was successful in defeating his enemy, and in diffusing a volatile situation with his own men because he had a lifelong habit of not panicking in difficult situations, but in looking for solutions. And the first place he always looked for help was to God, his “rock of refuge, to which I can always go” (Psalm 71:3).

We need to ask ourselves: Is that how we approach difficulties in life? Do we look for solutions to our problems, or do we look for scapegoats, like David’s men did? Is God the one to whom we can always go, or is He our last resort when all else fails?

Next time you face an overwhelming situation, remember David. Begin cultivating a habit of going to God first, and asking Him for guidance in finding a solution.

Let God be your rock of refuge.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

RubinReports: Goodbye Democracy: My Political Analysis is Banned by a European Government Computer Program As "Hate Speech"

RubinReports: Goodbye Democracy: My Political Analysis is Banned by a European Government Computer Program As "Hate Speech"

Patriot Post Gratitude For What? Mark Alexander January 5, 2012


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Holy Land Moments - A Message The POTUS Should Read!!!

Maligned and Misunderstood
January 3, 2012

“In everything he [David] did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.” — 1 Samuel 18:14-16

Perhaps you have worked on a project for your immediate boss, which has captured the attention and praise of the higher-ups in your company. Your intent was solely to do your best work, but in light of the accolades you have received, your boss is now angry with you. She sees your efforts as your intent to undermine her and make her look bad. Your protests to the contrary fall on deaf ears, and now your boss is doing whatever she can to make life unbearable for you at work.

Given that situation, there are a number of ways we could respond: We could fight back and angrily confront the boss; we could make her life miserable by not doing our job; we could go to her boss and seek relief. Or we could do nothing, but continue to do our best work.

That’s what David did. He continued to do his best despite the growing opposition to him. Saul became increasingly jealous of David with each new success — whether it was on the battlefield, or even within his own household, where David was much loved by both Saul’s older son, Jonathan, and even his daughter, Michal. To Saul’s eyes, David was using his success on the battlefield and his popularity among the people as stepping stones to the throne.

And nothing David was going to say or do would persuade Saul otherwise. Unfortunately for David, the consequences were more dire than just having an angry boss. Unable to control his jealousy, Saul wanted nothing less than David’s demise, and so David was forced to run for his life and became Israel’s most famous fugitive.

Despite the hardships he suffered, not to mention the unfairness of his situation, David did not fight back. Throughout this ordeal, David remained humble. Despite having the popular support of the people and a group of 600 men who remained loyal to him, David did not press his advantage against Saul. He did not allow his successes to color his perception of his own importance and demand the throne.

Why? Because David knew the source of his success. He knew to whom belonged the glory and the praise: God. Ultimately, David knew that God was in control and would work out the situation according to His plan and in His time. And God did.

That’s a great lesson for us all. When we are unfairly maligned or misunderstood, we need to step back from the situation, continue to do our best, and ask God for His strength to endure and His guidance in working it out. Like David, we can trust that God is in control and He knows the best possible outcome for us.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein