Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Facebook Stock Gets Stuck

What if someone offered a stock and no one (except company employees) bought it?  That’s what happened to Facebook in its IPO – its initial public offering.  The stock went public at $38 per share and according to a TV reporter on WABC, it didn’t go very far.  He said he bought the stock at $43 per share and has been losing money ever since.

Fakebook is what the pundits are calling it.  In truth, it is quite useful for keeping in touch with one another.  Certainly the Tea Partiers are using.  Facebook pages are invaluable for sharing information and attracting new members.  It’s made its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg a billionaire.

So what went wrong?

According to CNBC:  “Facebook set a record for volume on its first day of trading, but the stock otherwise failed to live up to all the hype and posted just a modest gain for the day.  After an attention-grabbing half-hour delay to start its initial public offering, Facebook shares opened at $38, surged as much as 11 percent during the day, but ultimately finished just above unchanged after hitting an intraday high of $45.

“Late in the trading day, the stock threatened to hit negative numbers, vacillating around unchanged as underwriters put up a vigorous fight to defend the breakeven point.  The lackluster performance was both a testament to good pricing and a bit of an embarrassment for a company that was supposed to wow Wall Street on its opening day. And after the market close the SEC said it would be looking into apparent hiccups in the trading execution of Facebook shares on Nasdaq.”

CNBC goes on to say, “The stock stumbled around in the opening minutes as sell-order backlogs hit the share price. Conversely, big underwriters such as Morgan Stanley and others seemed to support the price once it hit the breakeven level.  Overall, Facebook's inability to make a clean break to a significantly higher upside surprised some market pros. Shares traded below $40 in the final hour.  Some 82 million shares changed hands in the first 30 seconds and volume passed 100 million after four minutes.

“The opening was marred by a lengthy delay that had traders dumbfounded as to how one of the largest IPOs in history could have been mishandled.  Traders apparently had trouble changing or canceling orders ahead of the offering, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Nasdaq officials told members it was "investigating an issue in delivering trade execution messages," the Journal reported.  As for Facebook, the price eventually moved above $40 though it had been expected to head much higher before the trading day ended.

“Zynga, a fellow social networking side which focuses on games that appear on the Facebook site, saw its stock plunge more than 12 percent, triggering circuit breakers that halted trading.  LinkedIn, a networking site for professionals, also fell sharply. Chinese social networking site Renren got pounded as well.

One financial guru noted, Facebook has “a very big opportunity set ahead of them because their monetization, the amount that they actually earn per user, is actually quite low. There's only upside to what they've been able to generate so far.”

CNBC noted that “trading was supposed to begin at 11 am on the Nasdaq, the platform that hosts many of the country's top tech companies.  However, technical problems delayed the opening, causing murmurs on Twitter and around trading floors.”

Facebook began as a database of women students at Harvard University.  The site soon went viral and Zuckerberg and his partners opened it up for the use of the general public.  Initial users enjoyed the site’s discriminating feature:  “friending” and “unfriending” people.  When its popularity began to increase, Facebook fell into disfavor with its original base, who claimed that it wasn’t fun anymore.  They didn’t defriend Facebook, but they were disappointed.

So if Facebook is popular and useful, even if companies consider it a distraction for their employees (although the upside is that any company can, and usually does, have a FB site), then why are investors shy about putting their money into the stock?  Facebook has plenty of advertisers.  Zuckerberg is a billionaire.

Well, the problem is, Zuckerberg is a billionaire who made his billions without having to put much effort into it.  Facebook users do the rest.  He’s had some hiccups, like the incredibly unpopular Timeline.  But otherwise, people love Facebook.

Investors are probably wary because Zuckerberg, in his iconic hoodie, pedals himself as one of the 99 percent, rather than the one percent he really is.  He earned his billions; he took my mother’s advice and invented something useful, if rather unsavory in its inchoate stage when he was still at Harvard.

They wonder what’s in it for them if he’s offering the service free to its users.  There, Zuckerberg is smart.  He follows the old-fashioned model of television in the Fifties and Sixties.  The television broadcast was free; networks charged advertisers to sell their wares.  It must still work or Zuckerberg wouldn’t be a billionaire.

He’s vowed not to soak his customers, the users of Facebook.  ‘We created Facebook for you, not to make billions,’ Zuckerberg noted.  An age-old, disingenuous remark, but one that used to be accepted in Successful America.  Patronize the advertisers; buy their products, and they’ll pay Facebook more money to advertise their wares, and you get free access to Facebook.  We used to get free access to television, until Al Gore decided Evil Capitalism was at work, and pulled the plug on over-the-air broadcasts.  Now, everyone has to pay for the service, and in addition, pay for everyone who can’t afford the service but wants it.

One other thing may be worrying investors and that’s the potential threat of Big Government to regulate the Internet.  So far, their efforts have been thwarted, but Big Government is a tenacious, alpha dog that doesn’t give up easily.

Still, good luck to Zuckerberg and congratulations to him for adhering to the old adage:  Give the customer what they want.

A Preponderance of Evidence

More evidence has been released in the Trayvon Martin case, where Hispanic George Zimmerman, in February of this year shot black teenager Trayvon Martin after a confrontation in which Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self-defense.

Zimmerman, part of a neighborhood watch group monitoring the community after a series of crimes, followed Martin after the hooded teen exhibited what he claimed was suspicious behavior.  Martin’s father’s fiancée lived in the gated community, where the teenager was a guest.  Zimmerman called police, but fearing the teen might commit a crime before they arrived, he followed him.

The behavior of someone who is lost could possibly be misconstrued as someone behaving suspiciously.  If Martin was new to the area, he may have forgotten which way to go.  Zimmerman may have been justified in following him, given the neighborhood’s recent history of crime.  Martin could well have become nervous seeing Zimmerman observing him, an anxiety only adding to a perception of suspiciousness.

And so the incident escalated, with the two men winding up in a common backyard of the condominium units.  Who initiated the confrontation is unknown.  What is known, now, is that Zimmerman suffered substantial minor injuries, including a broken nose, bruises, cuts on the back of his head, and, according to his doctor, a back injury.  They were not on the grass, as everyone assumed, but on concrete pavement.  Ultimately, Martin was shot through the heart at close range, with estimates between one and eighteen inches.  Definitely close quarters.

According to Fox News, Martin's autopsy indicated that medical examiners found THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, when they tested Martin's blood and urine. The amount described in the autopsy report is such a low level that it would have played no role in Martin's behavior, said Larry Kobilinsky, a professor of forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

“This kind of level can be seen days after somebody smokes,” Kobilinsky said. “If it comes up in the case, I would be surprised. It wouldn't benefit the defense, it wouldn't benefit the prosecution, and if the defense tried to bring it up, the judge would keep it out.”

Martin's parents contend that Zimmerman was the aggressor and an investigator who called for his arrest maintains that the fight could have been avoided if Zimmerman had stayed in his truck and waited for the police.  He said Zimmerman, after leaving his vehicle, could have identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and talked to him instead of confronting him.  No one knows whether that isn’t exactly what he did and that Martin initiated the violence.  The physical evidence indicates just that.  Other than the fatal gunshot wound and a torn skin at the knuckles – allegedly self-inflicted by hitting Zimmerman – Martin had no other injuries.

Zimmerman’s former co-workers have come forward to paint a racist picture of Zimmerman, whose mother is a Peruvian and whose father is white father.  One is a Middle Eastern man, and the other an unidentified woman who said Zimmerman made her feel uncomfortable.

Following Martin was both foolish and courageous.  Foolish became Martin might have been armed.  Foolish because he couldn’t judge well enough what Martin’s business in the gated community was.  Foolish because it’s never wise to approach strangers, especially under such circumstances.  You never know what the outcome  is going to be.  In this case, it was a tragedy.

Yet it took a certain rash courage to follow someone who’s behaving suspiciously on a dark and rainy night.  He was under no legal obligation to heed a 9/11 operator’s warning (though ultimately it would have been better if he had).  Though he was mistaken about Martin, he cared enough about his community not to just look the other way when he had the belief that a crime might transpire.  He probably did not follow Martin with the intention of committing a crime but preventing one.

The fact that Martin had traces of marijuana in his blood has no real bearing on the case, although it also means that he was no choir boy.  The fact that he was 17 has more bearing on the ensuing altercation; 17 year old boys (of any color or stripe) tend to be hot-headed.  The 27 year-old Zimmerman is accused of being immature.  Martin, being 17, had more excuse for being immature but his age also makes it more likely that he struck the first blow, instead of keeping his head and explaining that he was visiting his father in such-and-such a unit.

Martin’s father has since admitted, contrary to his wife’s assertions, that the voice crying out on the 9/11 tape is not his son’s.  Voice analysts have also said that the quality of the tape, at the very least, hinders any judgment of whether Zimmerman said f’g “coon”, “goon”, “punks” or “cold.”  It sure sounded like “cold.”

More is on trial than just a 27 year-old “white” Hispanic.  Florida’s stand-your-ground rule is at risk.  If it is struck down, victims will not be allowed to defend themselves but must run away from the threat (if they can).  Being pinned down, it’s hard to see how Zimmerman could have run away.  But the prosecutors do contend that he should have stayed away from Martin, no matter whether he was innocent or about to commit a crime.

The Florida State prosecutor should also be taken to task for her handling of this case, and the Media for not reporting all the facts of the four month old case.  Social justice is just racial profiling in reverse.

Community watchers are more in need of their guns than ever.  But they should also carry cameras that can let them do their jobs at a safe distance until the police arrive to do their jobs.  You’d be surprised just how terrified criminals – and people in general - are of cameras.  That’s the sorry state into which our union, our free nation has fallen.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The One World Order Menu

So, what will it be, Americans?  Would you like other companies to steal your technological ideas along with a little property redistribution?  The Progressives are also offering a special on one-stop criminal justice:  violate one of their laws and you’ll be summarily executed or imprisoned.  It’s very efficient.  No wasting money on lawyers.  No jury duty for hard-working Americans.  No trial by jury, no right to a speedy trial, just speedy “justice,” for instance, if you spank your child or tell it what to do, or don’t tie up your newspapers with string.

The OWO has  six major items on their agenda, which the foes of Agenda 21 have thoughtfully organized for us.  Here they are:


International Covenant on Environment and Development – Eco-Logic Jan/Feb 98

·         Agenda 21 (soft law) was the precursor to this treaty
·         Consists of 11 parts, containing a total of 72 Articles
·         It will convert the “soft law” recommendations of Agenda 21 into  legally binding  hard international law
·         Supports all the principles of Agenda 21 including the Precautionary Principle
·         It is in complete conflict with our constitution
·         This is the UN Treaty that will move the world into the clutches of global governance

The Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST)

·         1970’s UN came up with the plan to control the seas of the world.  In an attempt to control the mineral, oil, gas, and other riches of the sea they came up with Law of the Sea Treaty.
·         1973-1982 Law of the Sea Convention was created as a  scheme to pay for this program
·         Concerns about the treaty as expressed by Ronald Reagan and Ron Paul:
·         Loss of US sovereignty
·         Mandates large fees and profit sharing with the UN ($500K+$1M+50%)
·         The sole decision on whether to grant or withhold mining permits rests with the UN
·         US must share technology with other countries
·         Of course we are also told these statements are unfounded.  Sorry but I will put my faith in Reagan and Paul instead of Panetta, Obama, and Hillary.

International Criminal Court

·         Would require the US to get permission from the UN to declare war.  Our Congress would have no say in the decision
·         Overrides our Constitution, President, Supreme Court
·         No trial by jury, no right to speedy trial, no right to confront your accusers, no presumption of innocence
·         It exists to prosecute presidents and other top government officials
·         4 basic crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, aggression) Who defines these crimes
·         This could spill over to American citizens on American soil (NDAA???)
·         President Clinton and President Bush were totally against the ICC

UN Small Arms Treaty

·         It is a backdoor treaty to ban guns in America
·         Being told it is to stop the exporting of guns
·         Hillary Clinton has pledged ratification of this Treaty

Rights of the Child

·         Ban spanking in school and at home, cannot stop your child from associating with undesirable friends
·         Create a legal basis to sue state and local government to demand increased spending for welfare, education and health care for children
·         US to give foreign aid to poor nations to assure their children have adequate health care, education, nutrition and housing
·         When making decisions that affect the child the child must have input
Code of Conduct in Outer Space

·         Prevents the US from deploying anti-missile defense weapons systems in outer space to counter the threat from Iran, North Korea and China (this is the most affective method of detecting missiles attacking the US and Israel)
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in complete support of these treaties.  A treaty is ratified by the Senate; it does not go to the House (the Senate deals with foreign affairs, the House, with the budget).  A two-thirds vote is required and a treaty can only be reversed by a Constitutional Amendment or agreement by all participants.  All of these treaties have been around for years and have been kept at bay.  Obama wants all of these Treaties ratified and he will find a way to get them enacted whether by Executive Order or Treaty.

If we wish to avoid the fate of the Roman legislature, we must act swiftly.  France just elected its first communist president.  Greece is yet again teetering on the brink.  Italy has flirted with fascism and communism for years, and Spain is a disaster, politically and ecologically.  Wind farms weren’t the great ecological wonder they thought they would be.  They’re said to be kicking themselves for all the billions they wasted on these noisy, dangerous, inefficient contraptions.

When you read over the list, you see the Totalitarians have pretty much everything covered.  The environment?  Check.  The seas?  Check.  A Code of Conduct in Outer Space (?!) check.  Anyone thinking they’re going to escape a la the Jupiter 2 better reconfigure their plans.  Guns?  Fugeddaboudit!  Your empowered progeny will be turned into little finks with their own attorneys.  The government won’t need drones to spy on you; they’ll simply ply your five year old with interrogative questions.  Does your Mommy use birth control?  Does your Daddy drive an SUV?  You’d better tell us or we’ll have to send them to jail.  And they will.

Inevitably, we’ll be set against one another, neighbor versus neighbor, child versus parent, spouse versus spouse.  We must unite in freedom or suffer enslavement. 

Make your choice – while you still can.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Suckling at the Government Teat

Time magazine’s newest controversial cover shows a child who’s definitely not an infant, a baby, or even a toddler – that is to say, a child that has teeth, that can eat, walk and use the bathroom on its own somewhere between late 3 and 4 – suckling at the breast of someone whom we assume is his mother.

Once, on vacation at Club Med, I was sitting at the American table at one of CM’s Caribbean resorts. I was sitting with a group of Texans from Texas. A French father sat down with us. He had a very pretty little girl of four with him. We were glad to speak with some of the French; generally, they avoided us and being on French territory, it was hard to avoid the French. Americans were in the minority. 

As we spoke with him, he took the girl into his lap and proceeded to give her a bottle. The Texans were appalled. Having cared for many children, I was appalled. Suckling is for toothless babies, my mother has always said. Once they grow teeth, they can eat on their own. Once they can walk on their own, they can use the bathroom. A child with a full set of teeth suckling at your breast…ouch! Pere, we concluded in English, definitely had an attachment problem. We also concluded that one day, fil would have a problem. But that was the 1980s.

Rush Limbaugh rightly pointed out on his program yesterday that we should ask ourselves, ‘What is wrong with this picture?’ Incidentally, congratulations to Rush for having his bust placed in state capitol of Missouri, Columbia. He says the Liberals and Conservatives are battling about his bust being placed in the hall of fame in Missouri. The Liberals object because they know their “busted.”

Well, to return to the other busts. Rush asks why would Time place such a photograph of breast-feeding, portraying a child obviously too old for the practice suckling at his mother’s bosom? Certainly, the photograph would cast breastfeeding in a negative light and Time being a Liberal magazine, and Liberals casting themselves as champions of such public practices, publishing such a picture would be counterproductive, would it not?

It would; unless you’re trying to cast aspersions on motherhood. The cover asks “Are You Mom Enough?” Both Rush and Glenn Beck on his TV program noted that Stalin and Hitler, while giving orders of damehood to mothers, actually frowned on motherhood as a full-time occupation. In Russia, particularly, mothers were encouraged to warehouse their children and go off to work to produce for the commune.

The photo is counterintuitive to proper notions of motherhood. The object of parenting is to raise children, that is, to let them grow up. You care for them only as long as they need attendance. Mom’s (and Dad’s) job is to teach their progeny to become independent. This child on the cover of Time is a poster child for Obamacare’s extended health insurance for children up to the age of 26.

Juvenilization of our youth is a definite Socialist goal. Unweaned, cossetted children remain immature longer. They’re less likely to take risks, risk-taking being a requirement for taking strides towards independence. Instead, our government would have parents coddle them indefinitely, until they become men- and women-children, at which point the government will assume the role of parent. Cradle to grave: that’s Socialism.

There’s a time and a place for everything, even breastfeeding, if a mother chooses to do so. Time magazine has the first amendment right to place a breastfeeding mom on its cover. Although it makes right-thinking people of all sorts squeamish, the photograph makes a double point about motherhood and Socialism.  The photo is socialist propaganda at its most pernicious (and painful).

It’s enough to give freedom-loving Americans colic.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Make Yourself Useful

At the commencement address to the all-female class of 2012at Barnard College in New York City yesterday, Obama’s advice to the graduates was:  Don’t Believe the Media.

His notes, following a Gallup Survey conducted last September that found 47 percent of Americans regard the Media as “too liberal” and 13 percent believe it is “too Conservative”, while 36 percent of the Goldilocks respondents felt the Media was “just right”.

He consoled the women for having it tougher than previous generations

 “My job today is to tell you don’t believe it [the scandalous stories in the Media – except of course for the denizens of the financial world whom he tells us are not ‘model citizens’,” said Obama. “Because as tough as things have been, I am convinced you are tougher. I’ve seen your passion and I’ve seen your service. I’ve seen you engage and I’ve seen you turn out in record numbers. I’ve heard your voices amplified by creativity and a digital fluency that those of us in older generations can barely comprehend. I’ve seen a generation eager, impatient even, to step into the rushing waters of history and change its course.

“And that defiant, can-do spirit is what runs through the veins of American history,” Obama said. “It’s the lifeblood of all our progress. And it is that spirit which we need your generation to embrace and rekindle right now.”

My nephew just received his Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.  Here is my advice to my nephew, the same advice my mother gave to me and some dissimilar advice from his maternal grandfather.

When I asked Grandpa for three words of advice upon my graduation from high school, he replied, “Ask your mother.”  My advice to you is, “Ask your father.”  Definitely do not ask your mother for career advice.

Grandma Evelyn’s advice to me was, “Make Yourself Useful.”  Right now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Yeah.  She would say that.  That sounds like Grandma Evelyn, all right.”  And she’s right.  Make yourself useful.  We know that you will.  You took my advice upon graduating from high school – the same advice I just gave you – and listened to your father; you pursued a degree in mechanical engineering.

Always have a back-up plan.  Always have another skill you can turn to if you can’t find a job in the major you took in school.  Fortunately for you, you’re smart, you got good grades, and educated yourself in a field with a future.

You’ll have lots of competition even in the field of engineering.  Just ask your Asian girlfriend.  I would advise you to seek a position in that field for which you are suited.  Your father would have you take a job that would help you climb the corporate ladder.  You may, in fact, have to take such a job to begin at a company.  But take the advice of the Human Relations advisor at his company:  you’re best suited for research and development.

You’re sociable enough, but you know you’re not like either your father or mother.  You’re not a hermit, but you’re no social butterfly, either.  While you’re kind and sociable enough to get along with other people, you’re also quiet and studious.  You’re no party animal, Nephew.  Remember your high school graduation?  Don’t let Dad nag you into a job where you have to, if my readers will pardon the expression, kiss butts to get ahead.  You’re the farthest thing from a kiss-butt and you know it very well.  How unfortunate that Mom and Dad had me care for you in the second year of your life.  I taught you all the wrong lessons for climbing the Corporate Ladder, I’m afraid.

You have a first-rate mind for solving problems, just like your great-grandfather (Grandma Evelyn’s father).  You have your father’s father’s mind for mathematics and his analytical ability.  You have both your maternal grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s mechanical ability.  You don’t need to climb anyone’s ladders, Nephew.  Of course, you should be polite and not provoke anyone, either.  Let your mind do all the work, keep your mouth shut, and you’ll go far.

So make yourself useful, and invent things.  Invent things that will make other things better.  You have the skill and the personality to be successful at it, and become rich.  Become rich, Nephew.  Become as rich as your skills have given you the opportunity to become.  Become rich because you’ll deserve it (Grandma Evelyn taught you well how to invest your money).  Become rich because it’s better than being poor.  Become rich because it will make you independent and give you the ability to help others, if you want to.

Become rich because it will make your Dad proud and Grandma Evelyn ecstatic.  Become rich because it will annoy the Occupiers and make Obama angry.  Becoming rich doesn’t get any better than that, let me tell you.  Become rich because you’ll be able to live well, buy a big house, and produce lots of little grandnieces and grandnephews for me to play with.  You’ll probably become rich someplace other than New Jersey (New Jersey is not the place to become rich - if you try, you'll fail) so when you become rich, you’ll be able to buy me the plane tickets to come and play with your children.

Becoming rich is the reward useful people earn for making themselves useful.  Congratulations and good luck, Nephew!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Give NJ DYFS An "F"

The New Jersey Divison of Youth and Family Services, hard on the recent report of a N.J. parent questioning the secrecy portion of his eight year-old twins’ exam, is pressing the N.J. Assembly to pass a bill that would give DYFS broad powers in preventing New Jersey families from homeschooling.  Without this option, thousands of children would be exposed to the dogmatic inculcation of our progressive school system.

The alert comes from the Home School Legal Defense Association. (

In their e-alert, the HSLDA writes:

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

A new bill is rushing through the New Jersey Assembly that would give
the Division of Youth and Family Services breathtakingly broad power
to prevent hundreds or even thousands of families from homeschooling.

The bill, A 2881, was filed only yesterday but is being rushed to a
hearing on Monday. We need to respond quickly, as well!

The bill prohibits a child from being homeschooled unless DYFS gives
permission if the child is in the “care, custody or supervision” of
DYFS. But many children get entangled with DYFS for reasons totally
unrelated to education. And the bill gives DYFS “blank check” power to
prohibit homeschooling for any reason or no reason at all!

DYFS has a history of making poor decisions about children in their
care. They should not be given blank-check authority to make
educational decisions about home schooled children.

Consider these situations which have nothing to do with education but
which might lead to a child coming under DYFS supervision:

--a child gets in a fight at the local park, and a judge gives DYFS
supervision of the child;
--a baby gets sick and a judge decides the family waited too long to
go to the emergency room, and places all the family’s other kids under
DYFS supervision;
--a family is remodeling and the house is so messy that a judge gives
DYFS supervision of the kids;
--a family with 6 biological children adopts a 10-year old orphan from
Russia who starts makes up bizarre stories about maltreatment, and a
judge gives DYFS supervision over all kids as a result.

We have asked the bill’s sponsor, Pamela Lampitt, to postpone the
hearing so homeschool representatives can meet with her to discuss
whether a narrow, more targeted bill can be drafted that would address
legitimate needs without hammering parents whose homeschool program is
not even in question. She has not responded, so we must take action.

Requested Action

1. Please attend the hearing Monday morning at 10 a.m. in Committee
Room 16, 4th Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, N.J.  Consider what you
might tell the committee if you have an opportunity, but even if you
do not speak, your presence will speak loudly. We need a big crowd to
stop this bill!

2. Were your kids ever under DYFS supervision for reasons totally
unrelated to education? I would like to hear your story! Please email
your story to me at


This bill is probably unnecessary. If a judge ever actually takes
jurisdiction of a child, which usually happens in serious cases, the
judge probably already has the power to make decisions about the
child's education.

This bill may make people afraid to accept services from DYFS.

The bill provides no definition of “care, custody or supervision,” so
we don't even know for sure what situations would cause a family to
come under DYFS' power to prohibit homeschooling. Nor does the bill
define "homeschool." This could allow a judge power to define
homeschooling in a way that threatens the freedom of families.

The bill gives the Department of Education power to create regulations
to carry out the bill’s provisions. Regulations are created by the
will of bureaucrats, not by a democratic process. Because of this, they
can be hostile to the rights of individuals.

The bill’s language starts by saying “notwithstanding any provision of
law to the contrary, ...” This means that all other state laws must
give way to this new bill. Every other right you have under state law
will be below – [subservient] – to this bill.

The New Jersey Home School Task Force is united in opposing this bill.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!


Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel

Even if you don’t homeschool your children – even if (like my mother), you wouldn’t want to – this is still an important freedom that is under fire.  As private schools are under increasing state regulation and expensive, homeschooling is the only viable alternative for parents concerned about their children’s education.

Call your assemblyperson and ask them to give this bill a failing grade.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Secrets of Spying Educators

For several generations, it’s been an open secret among schoolchildren that teachers will ask prying, personal questions about secrets children may be keeping.  Most younger children are faithful to their families, and even if there is a secret, they won’t divulge it.

According to a report in the N.J. Star Ledger, with assistance from the Associated Press, one New Jersey father learned the secret that secrecy questions were part of exams for his twin eight year-old sons.  This enquiring father wanted to know just why children were being asked to divulge secrets and by what authority the school system made such intrusive incursions into their children’s lives.

The article states that the educational establishment’s justification is that they want to be able to uncover any problems with abuse or other disruptions in the child’s family life that could affect their ability to learn.  Never mind that the educational establishment already diverts their attention with such politically-tinged issues as gay marriage and climate change.

Most kids just make stuff up, the story notes.  A dangerous solution given the increasing totalitarian, not to mention litigious, nature of our society.  Had I told my teacher back in 1968 that my parents left us at the local movie theater for the whole day because they couldn’t afford a babysitter while they and all our relatives went to our cousin’s wedding (hence, no one to babysit us), a social worker would have been called.  Today, they’d be arrested for abandonment.   ‘Making stuff up’ could get innocent parents in a world of trouble.

My parents warned us not to answer our teachers' prying questions.  These interrogations were part of the communist agenda to undermine the family, they said; it was what children in the Soviet Union had been to taught to do for years – fink out their parents.  Soviet children would tell their teachers something a parent had said that was contrary to the party line and when they came home, the children would often find their parents had vanished, never to be seen again.

The Star Ledger story revealed other interesting tactics used on the tests, such as including incomprehensible story passages.  I remember reading such passages and being told I couldn’t understand them because I was slow or stupid.  Math tests, it was also acknowledged, bore incorrect answers.

When my older brother wrote down the correct answer for when Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic – 1927 – he was marked wrong.  He challenged the teacher’s marking.  When that attempt at justice failed, my mother went to the school.  She showed the teacher a page in an almanac that indicated when Lindy hopped the pond.  Still, the teacher was unmoved.  She insisted that my brother’s answer – and the page in the almanac – were wrong, and that Lindy crossed the Atlantic in 1928.

To add insult to injury, the teacher went on to note that she felt my brother was “slow” and that he probably belonged in a special needs class.  Mom was outraged (as she should be).  She’d had a math teacher with an agenda when she was in high school, taught the class poorly, and failed my mother.  Mom had to take a remedial math course.

Fortuitously, my grandfather was an electrical and mechanical engineer.  On shore leave at that time, he taught Mom algebra in one night.  She answered every question in the remedial class, and had perfect scores on every test.  She was so good, the remedial teacher had to ask her not to answer any more questions so he could help the students who were struggling.

One of those students, she says, was Georgie Timmerman.  Even with help, he was having trouble.  He sat next to Mom, and when she found he was looking over at Mom’s test paper, she slid it over further so he could see better.  Georgie would die a few years later on Utah Beach during the D-Day invasion.  Mom says his name is on a memorial on a square somewhere near 233rd Street and Pratt Avenue in the Bronx.  Since, he’s gone, no one can expel him for “cheating”.  He already paid the ultimate price for us and freedom.  Georgie is not only a testament to the courage to fight for freedom, but to succeed in spite of incompetent, agenda-driven teaching.

Their teacher, suspecting something was amiss, gave them the chance to take one last test which, if they passed, would settle the score for them for the year.  Their failing mark in algebra would be wiped out and they wouldn’t have to repeat the algebra course the next year.

So it’s no secret that Mom had no use for my brother’s teacher.  This teacher went on to predict that my brother would barely graduate from high school (he was in the 6th grade at the time) and would never go on to college; that he would probably wind up working in the local rubber factory.

The rubber factory is closed and Big Brother not only graduated from college, but earned his MBA as well, with excellent grades.  He produced a son who is graduating this month from a top school with a graduate degree in mechanical engineering.

How do you teach your kids to tell the teacher to go jump in the lake if they ask personal questions?  That’s the proper answer to intrusive queries.  I did.  I defended my parents to the bitter end.  Not every student is that brave.  Those without the necessary temerity can just leave the question blank.  However, when the truth is on your side, you may speak with impunity.  When the right to privacy is on your side – and it always is, in school – your children should speak with boldness and tell the teachers to mind their own business.