The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation paid the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) more than $100,000 to support teacher training and materials on implementing the Common Core school standards, The Cardinal Newman Society has discovered.
The $100,007 grant made in September will only fuel division over the NCEA’s public encouragement for Catholic schools to adopt the Common Core standards, despite serious concerns about the standards’ academic quality and impact on schools’ Catholic identity.
The revelation comes even as The Cardinal Newman Society and other Catholic groups and dioceses—led by the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS)—are co-sponsoring a meeting in New Jersey with Catholic school superintendents, principals and educators to discuss concerns about the Common Core, a controversial education reform movement funded largely by the Gates Foundation.
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Billy Graham delivered what may be his last address to America last night in a short video entitled “The Cross,” in which the world-recognized preacher asked America: “I know where I’ve come from, I know why I’m here, I know where I’m going, do you?”
Graham’s message aired Thursday evening as the pastor celebrated his 95th birthday in Asheville, North Carolina with an estimated 900 attendees, including former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The 30-minute message was later made available for viewers to watch online on the My Hope with Billy Graham website, and will be made available in select broadcasting networks this weekend.
At age 95, Graham’s most recent message has been dubbed as possibly being his last; the evangelical leader and former spiritual advisor to multiple U.S. presidents has suffered a series of medical ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, in his old age. Graham’s message in “The Cross” was one of both sadness and hope; the pastor lamented over how greatly America has distanced itself from God, and how he believes the nation is in “great need of a spiritual awakening.”
“I want to tell people about the meaning of the cross [...] the real cross of Christ,” Graham, who appeared impassioned even in his old age, said in the video. “I know that many will react to this message, but it is the truth and with all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth.”
Graham then asked Americans to look inside themselves and to seek a revival in Christianity: “I know where I’ve come from. I know why I’m here. I know where I’m going. Do you?” the pastor questioned. Graham’s address was also sprinkled with excerpts from his past sermons. “People don’t want to hear that they’re sinners. To many people it’s an offense,” Graham told his audience in the pre-recorded message. “The cross is offensive, because it directly confronts the evils that dominate so much of this world.”
A public school bus driver in Minnesota has been fired for leading Christian prayers on his bus. George Nathaniel, 49, had previously been warned against the prayer sessions but he decided to continue with the prayer sessions anyway. Nathaniel, who also works as a pastor for two Minneapolis churches, claims he had been upfront about his intentions to lead prayer sessions. He also says the Christian religion is under attack.
“I let them know I am a pastor and I am going to pray,” he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. But on Oct. 30, he received a letter from the Durham School Services bus company, which stated: “There have been more complaints of religious material on the bus as well as other complaints regarding performance. In accordance with the previous final written warning you received, your employment is hereby terminated.”
What was the reason for the firing? Nathaniel was fired for violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from establishing a national religion. And in the 1962 case Engel vs. Vitale, the Supreme Court “ruled that it’s unconstitutional for a public school to lead or encourage students in prayer,” as Opposing Views put it. The Court has repeatedly upheld the ban in subsequent rulings.
What exactly did Nathaniel do? His sessions took place over the seven-minute ride to the Edward D. Neill Elementary School and Metcalf Junior High School. Nathaniel told the Star Tribune the sessions would start with a song and then the students were asked if they wanted to join in. He said the idea was to “give them something constructive and positive to go to school with.”
WASHINGTON — Even as President Barack Obama sold a new health care law in part by assuring Americans they would be able to keep their insurance plans, his administration knew that tens of millions of people actually could lose those their policies.
“If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep your plan. Period,” Obama said as he pitched the plan, the unqualified promise he made repeatedly.
President Barack Obama speaks at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas on Nov. 6, 2013.
LOUIS DELUCA — Dallas Morning News/MCT
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/11/07/207909/analysis-tens-of-millions-could.html#storylink=cpy
Yet advisers did say in 2010 that there were large caveats and that anyone whose insurance plan changed would lose the promised protection of being able to keep existing plans. And a report in 2010 said that as many as 69 percent of certain employer-based insurance plans would lose that protection, meaning as many as 41 million people could lose their plans even if they wanted to keep them and would be forced into other plans. Another 11 million who bought their own insurance also could lose their plans. Combined, as many as 52 million Americans could lose or have lost old insurance plans.
Some or much of that loss of favored insurance is driven by normal year-to-year changes such as employers changing plans to save money. And many people could end up with better plans. But it is not what the president pledged.
Caught in the firestorm of his broken promise, Obama on Thursday apologized.
“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” he told NBC News Thursday evening. “We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”
Pope Francis kissed a modern day leper on Wednesday. The whole world is being drawn to its knees. I believe this a move of the Holy Spirit. I only pray that Christians will respond and seize the moment.Pope Francis, a man who moves in the Holy Spirit, responded to Jesus Christ on Wednesday. He left the pope mobile and embraced this man with the affection of a spiritual father. He kissed him with paternal tenderness. He recognized his beauty as a gift from God, the source of all beauty. He saw this man as the Father does and drew us to our knees. In so doing, he calls us all to conversion.
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) – On Wednesday, November 6, 2013, Pope Francis traveled through the crowd of the faithful gathered in St Peters square to hear his weekly catechesis. This is a tradition of the modern popes. Each, in their own manner and style, teach the Christian faithful on an aspect of living the Christian life.
The whole world paused in the face of an authentic witness of God’s love and Mercy on Wednesday. The gates of hell were rattled. We all beheld the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ spoken in a language much more powerful than words.
Francis usually delivers a simple and popular exposition on living the Christian life. He is a pastoral pope, a man who speaks in simple words and prophetic action. On Wednesday, after his beautiful address, he followed his customary practice of driving through the crowd in an open pope- mobile.
This is an evangelical Catholic Pope. He is a man deeply in love with Jesus Christ, the Living Word – and deeply in love with the people whom Jesus loves. He speaks with words and actions. Like his namesake, he is a word walking, a living testimony to the prophetic meaning of the Christian message.
Pope Francis saw a man in the crowd who was severely disfigured by neurofibromatosis. This is a debilitating disease which has devastating effects. The effects can include intense pain and suffering, vision problems, learning impediments, cancerous lesions and severe disfigurement.
The physical effects can sometimes render those afflicted with such severe disfigurement that people recoil from even being around them. This reaction is much akin to the reaction people had toward lepers during the life of Francis of Assisi. He was among them. He hated lepers and avoided them at all cost.
However, during the movement of God’s grace which occasioned his profound conversion and commission, Francis confronted a leper. He was moved by the love of God to embrace and kiss this leper. When he did, the leper was revealed as Jesus Christ.This changed Francis and spawned a movement which changed history.
In August, Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission issued an update to its guidelines for providing cancer treatment to low-income individuals covered by the state Medicaid program. These new guidelines require that Medicaid deny coverage for certain cancer treatments for patients that have been deemed “too” sick, haven’t responded well to previous treatments, or can’t care for themselves. Through these new rules, Oregon state bureaucrats are severely restricting access to care and dooming potentially thousands of local patients to a premature death…It’s true that for some late-stage cancer patients, the odds are long than any additional treatment can help. But without access to the latest that medical science has to offer, a patient’s survival rate simply drops to zero. These guidelines dictate that Medicaid only provide “palliative” care – painkillers, acupuncture treatments, wheelchairs, drugs for nausea, and the like.
It’s death panel time!
Oregon’s new Medicaid guidelines take treatment decisions out of the hands of doctors and patients and put them in the hands of distance state bureaucrat willing to cut costs no matter the human toll. It’s the practice of cost-centric controls over patient-centric care.
In the new USA, these kind of death maneuvers will always be done in the bowels of the deep bureaucracy without direct representational democratic involvement.
Harper Lee, pictured when receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
More than 50 years have passed since Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird, her gripping novel about racial injustice in deeply segregated Alabama. Now the town where Lee was born and raised, and which served as the inspiration for her best-selling book, has once again become the scene of an unsettling legal dispute that has divided the community.
This time Lee, who at 87 is profoundly deaf and almost totally blind, is not the author of the story but – on the surface at least – its protagonist.
In a move which has shocked Monroeville, Lee, who resides in an assisted-living facility in the town, is bringing a lawsuit against the local museum, accusing the small, not-for-profit institution of exploiting her fame and the prestige of her Pulitzer-winning book without offering compensation. The museum is fighting back, condemning Lee’s lawsuit as “false” and “meritless” and warning that the legal action could destroy an institution that honours the author’s legacy and provides an economic boost to the town.
It is the kind of ugly public dispute that Lee, an intensely private figure who has spent her life avoiding the spotlight, might have been expected to avoid. Unsurprisingly, Monroeville has been awash with with rumour about whether Miss Nelle, as the author is known locally, was personally responsible for the decision to sue the museum.
The answer to that question is complicated, but it appears to involve Lee’s 102-year-old sister, Alice, and a close associate, an attorney who happens to be married to a relative of Truman Capote.
Ronald Dworkin’s profound and moving final book, now published posthumously, is unique among the works that he wrote throughout the decades of his extraordinarily creative life. Anyone who read Dworkin or heard him lecture knows that he possessed a brilliant and elegant mind, conceptually sophisticated, analytically astute, and always at the service of a moral, legal, and political cause.
Spinoza, a seventeenth-century Jewish-Dutch philospher, walks book in hand
through Amsterdam while being ostracized by the Jewish community.
But this book is marked by a different tone and style. It does not present a set of arguments that aim at changing beliefs and convictions; instead it conveys a philosophical, even spiritual sensibility. Its ambition is to effect not a shift in any particular position but a transformation in the way we see the world and in the stance we take toward the most basic features of our existence. The incisive qualities of Dworkin’s mind are evident in various arguments that appear throughout the book (especially in the chapter titled “Religious Freedom,” which examines the nature of the constitutional protection of religion), but the main endeavor of Religion without God is to convey an attitude—not so much to argue as to “show,” to set before the reader a certain philosophical temper and to share a particular stance.
Religion without God: what can such a stance mean? Is God not constitutive to religion in the way that liberty is constitutive to liberalism? Could we imagine a book called Liberalism Without Liberty? And if we can isolate the stance implied by Dworkin’s paradoxical title, what is gained by calling it “religion”? There is, moreover, a deeper cultural puzzle. Dworkin stood for many years at the center of contemporary American liberalism as perhaps its most important and eloquent defender.
Though it stoutly defends freedom of religion, contemporary liberalism has taken a hostile, or uneasy, or indifferent attitude toward the religious project. Its exponents usually give the impression, and gladly, that they are religiously tone-deaf. (This is a matter of temperament, which is not intrinsically related to argument as such. Wasn’t the civil rights movement of the 1960s religiously inspired? But experience has taught us that in philosophy and in politics temperament is of at least equal importance to argument.) Why, then, should Dworkin have “tainted” his thinking by associating himself with such a sensibility even as he asserts his atheism?
Ignatieff offers various explanations for his readiness to be swept up: patriotism, ambition, a longing for significance, familial obligation. All played a role, but perhaps none larger than hubris. “What’s complicated about hubris is that if you knew what you were in for, you’d never do it,” he says. “Blindness—and it was a moment of blindness—is the necessary condition for much human achievement.” He looks out the window onto his small balcony awash in sunlight. “So I’m divided between being glad that I was so hubristic and being appalled.” He turns back to me. “I mean, who did I think I was?”
Rene Johnston, Toronto Star, Getty images
Michael Ignatieff left Harvard and reinvented himself as a politician. A surreal rise and dizzying fall ensued. Here he gives a speech to Canada’s Liberal Party.