Sunday, May 24, 2015

THE NRA, PROMISES UNKEPT

 

(Yahoo News Photo Illustration/AP/Getty)
A leading national gun safety group, joined by members of Congress, is calling for investigations of the National Rifle Association’s fundraising practices and finances in response to a Yahoo News investigation published last week.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) has launched a nationwide petition campaign asking the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service to investigate “violations of federal law” by the National Rifle Association. The CSGV is made up of 48 organizations, among them religious, social justice, political and child welfare groups.
The Yahoo News report which disclosed that the NRA had violated multiple provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act, failed to report its political expenditures to the IRS for six consecutive years, and appears to have avoided paying federal taxes.

Yahoo News reported that the NRA misled prospective donors by telling them that money was being raised to support the tax-exempt operations of the organization when the money was, in fact, deposited to the account of its political action committee. Federal law — as well as multiple state laws — requires that fundraisers explicitly inform donors who the beneficiary of a contribution will be.

“Donations used to support candidates or causes with deception to the donors,  is a  violation of law,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a former Connecticut attorney general. “NRA donors deserve to know where their donations are going without any misinformation, and the solicitations described by Yahoo News merit scrutiny.”

Federal law also bars organizations like the NRA from raising funds for their political action committees (PACs) from the general public, and from using publicly accessible websites to finance their PACs. Tax-exempt corporations like the NRA are only allowed to solicit from their members. The NRA violated all of these provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act in soliciting contributions during the 2014 elections.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said, “Everyone needs to play by the same set of rules.  Thompson, the chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, said, “Many Second Amendment supporters and responsible gun owners contribute to the NRA because of the work it does to promote gun safety and support the hunting community. They have a right to know whether their money is going to these causes or to Beltway-NRA political efforts that undermine common-sense laws designed to keep criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill from getting guns.”

Thompson was referring indirectly to the NRA’s support for candidates who backed its successful 2013 campaign to thwart expanded background checks for gun purchases. The measure died in the U.S. Senate.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., whose district includes the Sandy Hook Elementary School where 26 children and adults were shot to death in 2012, said her office had heard from advocacy groups about the issues raised in the Yahoo News report.  She said. “The NRA is not above the law.”

The NRA has twice been challenged by the FEC for illegally moving corporate funds to its PAC. In 1983, again in 1991, and again in 2014. They signed a consent form not to violate campaign laws but continue to do so.

If you'd like to sign the petition, click on the link below.
http://csgv.org/action/tell-fec-irs-investigate-nra-violations-federal-law/

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

CANADIAN LETTER.

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You Americans Have No Idea Just How Good You Have It With Obama
Many of us Canadians are confused by the U.S. midterm elections. Consider, right now in America, corporate profits are at record highs, the country’s adding 200,000 jobs per month, unemployment is below 6%, U.S. gross national product growth is the best of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. The dollar is at its strongest levels in years, the stock market is near record highs, gasoline prices are falling, there’s no inflation, interest rates are the lowest in 30 years, U.S. oil imports are declining, U.S. oil production is rapidly increasing, the deficit is rapidly declining, and the wealthy are still making astonishing amounts of money.
America is leading the world once again and respected internationally — in sharp contrast to the Bush years. Obama brought soldiers home from Iraq and killed Osama bin Laden.
So, Americans vote for the party that got you into the mess that Obama just dug you out of? This defies reason.
When you are done with Obama, could you send him our way?
Richard Brunt
Victoria, British Columbia
It’s like pouring salt into a wound.
There is a bright side to Brunt’s letter. We, at least, know other countries are paying attention to President Obama’s accomplishments, even if the majority of Americans don’t feel they’re worth defending at the polls. It’s a shame. The Conservative bullhorn was so loud, it drove out the desire for many people to vote. And Democrats didn’t help. While pointing our fingers at the GOP (predominately our middle fingers) we forgot to blow our own horns. We forgot to build up our own President. We forgot to remind each other about what our own country looked like before Obama.
I have to believe the public really didn’t understand the GOP gerrymandering that took place the last four years. They didn’t see the many important and beneficial bills shot down by Republicans, one after another, out of spite. People wanted to see results, and the results were there. But half of America was blinded by the half-truths FOX ‘News’ and Conservative talking heads fed them, because you know, if you tell just enough truth mixed in with a bucket of lies, it causes confusion. And that can lead to a bad case of the F-ckIts. Netflix marathons are way more fun.
Blunt’s letter reminds me of one of my favorite Robin Williams quotes/memes:
Thank you Richard Blunt for the reality check. Thank you Robin Williams for the memories. And special thanks to James, TheEverlastingGOPStoppers.com(Website) and The Everlasting GOP Stoppers (on Facebook) for the good work you do.
Sources: Freep.com and Christian Science Monitor

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Past Blog Entries

Monday, May 18, 2015

BEAUTIFUL INVADER.

My husband and I took a trip to Washington State in the mid 1990's. Here we are, say about 20 years later and I was astonished when Jim and I traveled the state of Washington to see scotch broom covering the state. It filled clear cuts. It invaded parking lots, coming up through the asphalt in places. It is everywhere a pest, however beautiful it looks on rocky outcrops.

Last week, on my way to Oregon, I discovered Scotch Broom beginning its March into the state. It had invaded the back half of my seven acres near the river. I figured I could get rid of it quickly. Not so, explained my plant biologist daughter. You might be able to contain it by keeping it from spreading by vigilantly cutting it before it goes to seed. But, I don't have 100 years left to do that.  I also have it on my property in Murphys. You have to get every plant. Had I known I wouldn't have bought the stuff.

So, I've started a petition to change that. Please sign for me and let your friends know.

Subject: SAVE THE WEST FROM SCOTCH BROOM

Hi,
I bought Scotch Broom and now have to spend the rest of my life trying to rid my property of it. If I had known it is a take-over horror that interferes with natural plants, animals, birds, sidewalks and parking lots; it gravitates and fills clear cuts and that the seeds last 100 years I wouldn't have bought it.
That's why I created a petition to The Oregon State House, The Oregon State Senate, Governor Kate Brown, The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:
"Invasive plants are considered innocent until proven guilty. By then, they are out of control and cost millions to eradicate when possible. Why allow nurseries to sell invasive foreign species? At least labeling should be required. Simple testing first would save billions. "

Will you sign this petition?
Click here:
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/save-the-west-from-scotch?source=c.em.cp&r_by=13097902
Thanks!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

GOING THE DISTANCE.

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In Oregon, on Thursday, my cabinets were delivered. They wait installation by another crew.
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I'm certain the delivery guys have to be careful. There was a tear in one box. I took a picture. They denied they had torn it. I could feel around inside and could detect no scratches. Two bugs came out of the hole. One was a  roach. Nope, they said, that bug must have just crawled in. One big cabinet barely fit through the sliding glass door. It scratched the paint on the door. Nope, that scratch must have been there. It was almost comic, but the scratch was no big deal.

On Friday morning, Jim drove north and I drove south. I arrived in Davis, about 330 miles later, to meet Cedric and Virginia. Cedric had just arrived after a five hour drive from Mendocino. We loaded into their Prius, the five of us, within about 15 minutes and hit the road for Reno to attend my oldest grandson's graduation. Actually, not to attend it, but to be there for dinner and recognition.
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This is Momma Laurie who stated that her oldest son, Stewart,  is the first in her family to obtain a college degree. In my family and my husband's family, my two daughters were the first to obtain college degrees. Seated next to Laurie is Cedric, his sons, Theo and Owen and Poppa Ken.
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On the other side of the table, Virginia and my two oldest grandsons, Mason and Stewart. Of course conversation all around table was much about what will you do with your life, from the youngest, Theo, who thinks he'll probably be a vet, to our graduate, Stewart who wants to go to Japan and teach English as a second language, and, in the process learn to speak Japanese.
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After dinner, we spent some time in Ken and Laurie's room, chatting. We drank a bit of wine and enjoyed our short time together after the long drives.
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On Saturday morning, while Stewart and family got ready to attend graduation, at his suggestion, we went to a local breakfast joint all the locals adore. It is Peg's Glorified Eggs and Ham. The menu choices were wonderful and varied. The food delicious and the service excellent. Thanks, Stew.
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The boys had some variation of pancakes/waffle which came with has hash-browns and fruit or meat.
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I had a vegetarian eggs Benedict, that was delicious with spinach, onions, mushrooms, tomato, avocado and cheese. Yum.
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After breakfast we drove to the University of California Field Station for Virginia's meeting on invasive plants.
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It was partly gravel road to get there. No fancy quarters, people pitch their tents.
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She reported to the office to join her peers.
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She noticed a nest of baby birds and took a picture for me. I love seeing baby birds and especially watching them fledge. She will get a ride home from a colleague.

Cedric drove us  back to Davis,  and for me, another two-hour drive back to Murphys. I guess  I can safely say, we went the distance. Laurie promised to take gobs of pictures of the graduation ceremony.  I hope to see all of my grandsons graduate college. Five more to go.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

SHOPPING FOR A HOUSE AT THE MALL.

Shopping for everything that  goes into a new house is  pretty daunting. Two days, Jim and I have been at it and we return home tired and hit the sack early after unloading  a car full of boxes.
We go to Spicer's for lunch, near Lowes. Lowes is our choice because they give a military discount. What a friendly, nice store in which to do business.

But, now that we've purchased all of the lighting fixtures except one,  sinks and toilets for kitchen and bath, medicine cabinets, grab bars, towel bars, robe hooks, refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, microwave, and myriad other accoutrements, we have to consider inside doors, curtain rods, carpet and padding, closet doors, shelving,  blinds, composite decking, a solar alarm system. The cabinets and hardwood flooring will be delivered tomorrow. Counter tops in a few days. There is brackets and closet poles and door hinges and stains, and the list goes on and on. For me it is fun in a way, but still daunting details.

My house in Murphys takes a great deal of maintenance. This one is built to reduce maintenance.
Even so, it isn't easy. Jim likes the simplicity of being a rambler. But this little poem probably fits my life style:

The Example

Here's an example from
A Butterfly;
That on a rough, hard rock
Happy can lie;
Friendless and all alone
On this unsweetened stone.
Now let my bed be hard
No care take I;
I'll make my joy like this
Small Butterfly;
Whose happy heart has power
To make a stone a flower.
By William Henry Davies
This poem is in the public domain.

And here, the entertainment is built-in. Last night while we ate dinner, we had a visitor. The lettuce Jim threw to the deer is gone.
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I'd thrown out an apple core, simply because I compost. but this little skunk thought it made a great desert. We don't know what creature ate the rest of the lettuce.
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Cute to watch. We couldn't smell it.  Our windows were closed and we watched it duck through a small opening in the fence and be gone.

Normally when I visit here, we see wild turkeys. We've seen plenty of geese and I hear them land on my little creek as they come flying down and advertise their presence.

Doug arrives today, Jim and I out early for another round of shopping. It does seem strange to be buying a "house" from a shopping mall store.

Monday, May 11, 2015

PLAYING CATCH UP

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Jim left my house on Thursday to slowly make the drive to Rogue River, where my new house is under construction.
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You can see the berm I had put in to protect hoses that carry well water from my upper lot to this one. It is a huge project because of our serious drought. I have three new soaker hoses, connectors, two new 100 foot hoses and two fifty foot hoses hoping to keep my plants alive during this projected 10 year drought.
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I made the long drive on Saturday to rendezvous with Jim. Saves me the price of a hotel for the days that I’m here and is a good stop on his way north to Washington.
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The front deck is partly in place.
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The living room paint is dry, waiting for electrical installation.
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Master bathroom.
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Master bedroom.
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Walking toward the 2nd bedroom/office at the opposite end of the house.
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Laundry.
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I didn’t take a picture of the kitchen. I guess I got distracted by this little buck, shyly peeking around the storage shed.
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He settled right in next to construction materials by the fence and looked at us as though we were invading his home site.
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Go away, he seemed to say. And then, he was joined later by a brother who bolted when we got too close. Jim tossed them some lettuce that was getting old. One buck  took a bite and decided he liked grass better.
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We took a walk to my old swimming hole. The water was clear, reflecting sun shining through the trees. This is a year round creek, tributary of the Rogue River.
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We tromped the property to the second  gate and looked back at the house from afar. The former owner told me the property doesn’t flood where I wanted to build my house, but the county wouldn’t allow any other site except the narrow place the old mobile sat. But, a skinny little house will make an easy to maintain retirement home. It is covered with wild flowers in the spring and is zoned farm land. With chickens, a couple goats and a garden;  and steel head and trout in the river, sounds good to me.
Later in the day, I bought  my lighting fixtures. We couldn’t fit them all in my little car, so we’ll go back for the rest today. Got my flooring ordered which will arrive in a week. The cabinets get installed on Wednesday, electrical finished on Thursday, the day I drive back to Murphys. I’ll be making a return trip after my grandson’s graduation.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

MOTHER'S DAY IS MANY THINGS.

My mother is gone, but when I think of her, I remember how strong and resilient she was. She was at her mother's bedside through the birth of her 11 siblings. She comforted her at the death of two of those children, one at age 4, another at age 8. She lived through many tragedies but remained her grand children's darling gramma. And, great-grandchildren, too. She was religious, faithful, polite, patient,  always helping others but able to build her own dreams. She had a catering business late in life and made it a whopping success. She did it all with civility and grace. What an example she was to me.

I have many mother's in my life to celebrate, my daughters, my daughter-in-law. And each of them is a wonderful mother with dedication and the values we believe in and share. They too, raise their children and pursue their dreams. They are each unique with varying abilities. Women, as mothers, contribute so much to our culture, our comfort, our love, our greatness as a country, we  stop to salute them today and not forget them tomorrow.

It amuses me that at one time women were considered the weaker sex. I'm grateful my husband never considered me weak. He always recognized and acknowledged my own gifts and I have become the proud matriarch of my clan.  I'm proud to recognize their strengths and revel in my own.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL AND MAY YOU BE APPRECIATED  AS AN EQUAL PARTNER
BY THE MEN IN YOUR LIVES.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

SOMETIMES IT TAKES AN EIGHT YEAR OLD.

I have so many projects going, I barely even read my email. This caught my eye, written by Karen Attwood of the Independent  which I is a UK Newspaper.

An eight year old girl named Els, was very put off when the book company, Scholastic, told her in a title, that the pirate story she wanted to read was 'for boys.' She tells The Independent that when Scholastic comes to visit her school, everyone gets excited, and they spend a lot of money buying books. The UK student thinks Scholastic should be more responsible:
Books should be for everyone, we all like different things. If you tell a girl she could not have one of the books she likes, when she grows up she might feel lonely because she thinks that all the other girls like pretty, pink princesses and she doesn’t.
With her mother's loving encouragement to find a solution, Els sent a petition to Scholastic, signed by 80 friends and faculty from her school. The results were very good. No, the results were awesome. In a statement, Scholastic said that their website is being re-launched.
"We are no longer publishing anything new pitched ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’ in the title. Any historic titles still in the market will be reissued with new covers on reprint. We appreciate that every child is different and has the right to choose the books that are right for them."
Isn't that  amazing. The Independent, reports nine publishers have now agreed to drop gender labeling on books. Hopefully the rest of them will follow suit.
I love good news.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A TRIP TO ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

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The famous Antiques Roadshow, exciting. A chance to have treasures you've hoped would be worth a million or maybe a couple hundred thousand, valued by professionals. Maybe you would be on TV?
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We brought my low-end Sony camera. Jim took my picture headed for the end of the line. I was told they had 400 people registered to arrive for the day. My vouchers were for the 11:00 to 12:30 slot.You donate $150 for three items.DSC05053 (Copy)

Because I had a small Chinese silk rug, we were sent to the Asian Arts room. It was interesting to see how it worked. Chairs lined up before three tables of evaluators.
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Here I am, in second place and I'm excited, considering this a possible high value rug because I had a Turkish rug dealer tell me it was worth $25,000. He explained that Chinese rugs have over 2000 knots per square inch while Turkish rugs have half that. He said the Chinese didn't know what they had until recently. Now their rugs sell for very high prices.
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Isn't it beautiful?  This is the back of the rug.
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This is the front of the rug.
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The evaluator told me about the famous pictures. It is a scene called The Dream Of The Red Chamber, and, she said, "...it lacks the male villain."  There is a book about these figures and it was interesting to hear about it, but she doesn't value  rugs and I had to leave and go to the room for  Decorative Art.
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The  evaluator  was Deric Torres from the auction house, Clars. He dismissed my rug as not valuable, worth less than I paid for it at an estimated  $800. He also said the Chinese mix in fibers and the silk may not be silk, and they are an untrustworthy investment. However, I have a tag, receipt and provenance for mine, so I would have no trouble proving it was pure silk.  Now if it were a Turkish rug, said he, it would have some value.  Oh, well. I figured the Turkish rug dealer exaggerated, but I didn't expect it to be below the price I paid for it.

However, he got very excited about my Teka or Teca vase that he is holding. He showed me on the computer that it is worth $3,949 dollars, undamaged. I've had it for at least 20 years and last year my housemate hit it with a vacuum wand  and chipped it and then vacuumed up the chip. This happened while I was gone so I couldn't even retrieve the chip. Now the estimated value is 1700 to 2500 if you can get someone who wants it very badly. I think that is very unlikely, but it does  validate my choices. I paid $12 for it at a Murphys second-hand furniture store in the 80's.

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The third item I brought, an Israeli  vase, which is badly damaged, he valued at $600. I sometimes think they just want you to go home happy, if possible. It has an interest history, at least to me.
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On a trip to Disneyland in 1986 with a bunch of exchange students, we stayed at my daughter's apartment on Katella Blvd. not far from Disney. I stopped at a gallery and saw this piece priced at $300, way out of my budget at the time.
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It hung in my mind and I drew it from memory, and this is what I remembered. Not very accurate but for whatever unknown reason, I kept the drawing as a reminder of it.
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In 1988, I went back to Disney with a another car load of exchange students to my daughter's apartment, and here was that Israeli vase damaged, badly glued, on sale for $75. I bought it and rolled up my little drawing and put it inside the vase where it has sat very much loved on my dining room sideboard.
Torres told me it would cost as much as its value to have it restored, so, my broken down vase, that I always referred to as my chess piece, is worth what I paid for it--- maybe more.
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After our long wait in the decorative arts room, evaluation over, we went to the Virgin Sturgeon for lunch, a  place recommended by staff at KVIE.
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From a window seat by the river, we watched the boats and took a leisurely lunch before the 2 hour drive home. It was a fun day, I learned gobs and I'll probably go back next year and let them surprise me again with more "junk."

Sunday, April 26, 2015

ANTI-SCIENTIFIC ATTITUDE BY BIGOTED CHRISTIANS.

It is correct to assume that Christian attitudes have harmed our country and our way of life. How could this happen?

We have a situation of the  growing polarization of America, into two different cultural and political camps, each with almost diametrically opposing worldviews and contradictory sets of facts. One  possible reason  is schools.
Consider the following claims, from the A Beka Book and Bob Jones University Press fundamentalist textbook lines used in Christian schools now subsidized with state tax money in over a dozen states across America:
- Only ten percent of Africans can read or write, because Christian mission schools have been shut down by communists.
- "the [Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross... In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians."  
- "God used the 'Trail of Tears' to bring many Indians to Christ."
- It "cannot be shown scientifically  that man-made pollutants will one day drastically reduce the depth of the atmosphere's ozone layer."
- "God has provided certain 'checks and balances' in creation to prevent many of the global upsets that have been predicted by environmentalists."
- the Great Depression was exaggerated by propagandists, including John Steinbeck, to advance a socialist agenda.
- "Unions have always been plagued by socialists and anarchists who use laborers to destroy the free-enterprise system that hardworking Americans have created."
- Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential win was due to an imaginary economic crisis created by the media.
- "The greatest struggle of all time, the Battle of Armageddon, will occur in the Middle East when Christ returns to set up his kingdom on earth."
The following claims are from the Accelerated Christian Education textbook line, also used in state-funded Christian schools:
- Science Proves Homosexuality is a Learned Behavior
- The Second Law of Thermodynamics Disproves Evolution
- No Transitional Fossils Exist
- Humans and Dinosaurs Co-Existed
- Evolution Has Been Disproved
- A Japanese Whaling Boat Found a Dinosaur
- Solar Fusion is a Myth
 Louisiana is the latest front in the expansion of government funding of religious schools that use fundamentalist textbooks filled with dubious, factually incorrect, politically tendentious, and racially and culturally insensitive material.
Excerpt:
This 2012-2013 school year, thanks to a bill pushed through by governor Bobby Jindal, thousands of students in Louisiana will receive state voucher money, transferred from public school funding, to attend private religious schools, some of which teach from a Christian curriculum that suggests the Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution and states that the alleged creature, which has never been demonstrated to even exist, has been tracked by submarine and is probably a plesiosaur. The curriculum also claims that a Japanese fishing boat caught a dinosaur.

The downward spiral of American Culture is apparently not going away anytime soon. And, we have to pay for it?  Be careful when you vote. LIES A GREAT COUNTRY, DO NOT MAKE.