A bipartisan committee of House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement Tuesday on a new budget. The agreement was not the "grand bargain" that many deficit hawks had hoped for, but, if passed, it would provide some stability through 2014 by preventing future "crises," like October's government shutdown.
The agreement was announced by the two chairs of the conference committee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), in a late Tuesday press conference.
"I'm proud of this agreement," Ryan said. "It reduces the deficit – without raising taxes. And it cuts spending in a smarter way. It's a firm step in the right direction, and I ask all my colleagues in the House to support it." more >>
Perhaps she was upset she wasn't included in the shot, or maybe she thought taking a self-portrait during a tribute to an iconic world leader in his home country was tasteless. Whatever the case, Michelle Obama's notably tight jaw and icy glare will likely go down as one of the most memorable images from an event meant to pay tribute to South Africa's anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.
"If it's a funeral she looks like she's the only one being mature. Why couldn't they take pictures after the funeral," suggested Stephanie Novak, writing on CP's Facebook page. "I bet that's what she's thinking if anything. She's probably thinking they should show more respect than that."
Novak was among numerous online readers who have been speculating exactly what might have been the cause for Mrs. Obama's hard look Tuesday during a tribute to Mandela that was attended by leaders from around the world. Tens of thousands of South Africans were also gathered at the First National Bank (FNB) Stadium in Johannesburg to remember their first democratically-elected black president who helped bring an end to decades of oppression and segregation. more >>
The media are currently filled with reports of students in the U.S. scoring poorly on international tests. The Program for International Student Assessment, which compares 15-year-olds in most industrialized countries, reports that American students dropped from 25th to 31st in math, 11th to 21st in reading and 20th to 24th in science. The solution consistently offered for these low rankings is to spend more money on schooling. But numerous studies examining the billions of dollars we've spent on education in the last decade show that money has not improved the performance of U.S. students, and higher-scoring foreign countries spend far less per pupil than we do.
Now we are told we need a new national system called Common Core State Standards Initiative, and it has provoked a grassroots uprising. Parents don't want federal control or a federal curriculum, and teachers don't like the CC tests.
Common Core advocates loudly proclaim there isn't any CC curriculum, saying there are only standards, which local schools can use to write their own curriculums. But the CC tests (usually called assessments) are the mechanism of federal control over curriculum because teachers must teach to the test. more >>
A curious photo montage of Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama and Denmark Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at late South African leader Nelson Mandela's tribute has been making the rounds online Tuesday, with speculation that Mrs. Obama was none too pleased with her husband taking a selfie with the Danish leader.
According to a photo shared online by Agence France-Presse, the testy affair may have been sparked after President Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt got up close and personal for a self-portrait, with the Denmark leader sandwiched in the middle.
Clearly, Mrs. Obama had no interest in getting involved. more >>
A British journalist has denounced a recent British Broadcasting Corporation interview wherein recently deceased human rights activist Nelson Mandela was compared to Jesus Christ.
Dominic Lawson wrote in a column published by the UK Daily Mail on Sunday that it was "absurd for the BBC to compare him to Christ."
"Mandela's greatness is not in doubt. His ability to work with and, apparently, forgive those who incarcerated him for 27 years in appalling conditions does conform to behaviour we might characterise as saintly," wrote Lawson. more >>
If we are going to impact future cultures, we will need young people who have a vision for what can happen when they enter into their destinies with a motive to solve problems and be used of God. Many of today's next generation operate from no moral absolutes. George Barna defined those born between 1984 and 2002 as the Mosaic Generation, because they're "very mosaic in every aspect of their life. . . . There's [no attribute] that really dominates like you might have seen with prior generations." They are comprised of nonlinear thinkers who cut and paste their beliefs and values from a variety of sources.
In a 2009 Barna Group survey, Barna describes the next generation like this: "Mosaics and Busters have come to expect experiences that appear unscripted and interactive, that allow them to be open and honest with their questions, that are technologically stimulating, that are done alongside peers and within trusted relationships, and that give them the chance to be creative and visual." He believes that connecting with young people has always been a challenge, but today that struggle is at a much deeper level.
"It's a completely different set of values based upon a very varied interpretation of the meaning of life and how to achieve success or significance in one's life," said Barna in an interview. "They want spirituality; they want faith experiences; they want a taste of religion; but they don't want to have to go through all of the stuff that they see the adults doing at the typical church. But, because the Internet fits with their schedule-it's a 24/7 opportunity-they're using it to explore things they might not have access to otherwise." more >>