Monday, December 8, 2014

Deceivers and Dreamers

Dreamers and Deceivers  True Stories of the Heroes and Villiams Who Made America
By Glenn Beck with Kevin Balfe

Date Review Posted:  December 8, 2014
Author:  Glenn Beck
Release Date:  2014
Web Site:

  CCCCC  (A case could be made that I would only review the best of the best because if while reading a book it does not hold my interest, I would not finish it and therefore would not review it.)

Format:  "Historical Fiction" written in a novel format to make it interesting with each chapter being self-contained meaning you don't have to read one chapter before another.  Historical Fiction is historical fact made interesting by drawing word pictures of what may or probably  happened but the story remains true.

Reason For Reading THIS book:  I heard about the book while listening to the radio.  I researched its subject matter and found it to be interesting and I was not disappointed.

Number Of Times I Have Read This Book:  Once

Brief Summary of Content:  

Each chapter reads like a short story about people in American history who you may or may not know a lot about.  For example most people are well aware that Woodrow Wilson was the President of the United States but were you aware of a remarkable deception he played on not only America but the entire world.  My favorite story involves Alan Turing who frankly I had never heard of before.  His story is truly unbelievable and he single-handedly may have helped to win World War II and yet his name, for most people, would be a mystery until now.  It is a great story of perseverance and dedication and even though he could be considered as one of the saviors of free-thinking people throughout the world, his death was truly sad and totally unnecessary.  It is a valuable lesson for all of us as are all the stories in this book.

President Grover Cleveland:  The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing President
Howard Armstrong:  "I Did Not Kill Armstrong":  The War of Wills in the Early Days of Radio
President Woodrow Wilson:  A Masterful Stroke of Deception
Charles Ponzi:  Streets of Gold:  Charles Ponzi and the American Scheme
Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball:  He Loved Lucy:  The Tragic Genius of Desi Arnaz, the Inventor of the Rerun
Upton Sinclair:  The Muckraker:  How a Lost Letter Revealed Upton Sinclair's Decption
Alan Turing:  How the Father of the Computer Saved the World for Democracy
Alger Hiss:  The Spy Who Turned to a Pumpkin:  Alger Hiss and the Liberal Establishment That Defended a Traitor
Walt Disney:  The City of Tomorrow:  Walt Disney's Last and Lost Dream
Steve Jobs:  Make It Great, John":  How Steve Jobs and John Lasseter Changed History at Pixar

Who Should Read the Book?    If you are interested in history and everyone should be, then this book is for everyone to read.

Final Test:  Would I read the book again?  ABSOLUTELY!   Would I give it as a gift?  ABSOLUTELY!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Me & Lee

Me & Lee How I came to know, love and lose Lee Harvey Oswald
By Judyth Vary Baker

Date Review Posted: 
Authors:  Judyth Vary Baker
Release Date:  2010
Web Site:

  CCCCC  (A case could be made that I would only review the best of the best because if while reading a book it does not hold my interest, I would not finish it and therefore would not review it.)

Format:  Historical

Reason For Reading THIS book:  I read the book Dr. Mary's Monkey (a fabulous read) and Judyth Vary Baker was referred to in the book.  When I did a Google search I discovered she had written this book Me & Lee so I read it.  I have always been interested in the murder of John F. Kennedy because I never believed the Warren Commission was accurate and in fact I believed they lied regarding many of the details in the report including the number of shooters.  So when I was so fascinated with Dr. Mary's Monkey, Me & Lee became a MUST read for me and it was obviously the right thing to do.  My comments will explain.

Number Of Times I Have Read This Book:  Once but I believe I will read it again because I read Dr. Mary's Monkey twice and the second time was so much more meaningful to me and I believe a second reading of Me & Lee will be as well because you once you have read the entire book(s) you know what to look for as you read it the second time.

Brief Summary of Content:  

This is a love story about Judyth Vary Baker (the Me in Me & Lee) and Lee Harvey Oswald.

The best way to review this book is to describe how it has significantly impacted my believe in what I thought happened when John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas.  Prior to reading this book and another book entitled Dr. Mary's Monkey, I believed that JFK was murdered in Dallas and that Lee Harvey Oswald was one of the shooters with the emphasis on "one of the shooters" because I have never believed that a lone gunman killed Kennedy.

Judyth Baker has remained silent for over 40 years because frankly she feared for her life and the lives of others involved during the time of the JFK murder.  Like so many historical events when you start to read about the players involved you start to question what you have always believed to be true and this book is certainly no exception. 

You have three choices to make when reading this book.  First you can accept Ms. Baker's story as written to be 100% true.  Second you can disbelieve 100% of what she has written.  And third you can believe some of what she has written and disbelieve the rest.  After reading Dr. Mary's Monkey which took place about the same time in history and then Me & Lee, I am now of the belief that most if not all of what Ms. Baker has written is true and if you believe that you also believe that Lee Harvey Oswald actually had nothing to do with the JFK murder and he was in fact as he stated - a patsy.

I truly believe that for anyone who reads this book, their minds will definitely changed about what happened in Dallas and the players were not as they seemed.  Just as a for instance, Jack Ruby was believed to have killed Oswald because he was so outraged that he killed Kennedy.  If you believe what Baker wrote, Jack Ruby knew Oswald for many years and actually considered him as a son.  Ruby also worked indirectly for Carlos Marcelos the New Orleans area mafia boss.  So when Ruby was called by Marcelos and given instructions to kill Oswald he went into his bathroom and threw up.  This was never explained other than he threw up.  But after reading the book you realize he did so because he was ordered to kill his long-time friend Oswald or be killed himself.

This is just one of the many twisted plots of the book - definitely a must read.

Who Should Read the Book?    EVERYONE!  It is part of history that needs to be told and should re-open the investigation in the murder of John F. Kennedy.

Final Test:  Would I read the book again?  ABSOLUTELY AND I AM!  Would I give it as a gift?  ABSOLUTELY!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Enemies Within

The Enemies Within:  Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U. S. Congress
By Trevor Loudon

Date Review Posted:  October 7, 2014
Author:          Trevor Loudon
Release Date:  2013
Web Site:
Related Blog: New Zeal Blog

  CCCCC  (A case could be made that I would only review the best of the best because if while reading a book it does not hold my interest, I would not finish it and therefore would not review it.)

Format:  This is a book based on facts that cover the past 70 to 80 years of the U. S. Government and its Congressional Leaders.

Reason For Reading THIS book:  I watched the movie, Agenda; Grinding America Down  ( and one of the featured speakers was Trevor Loudon and I was impressed by his understanding of what is happening in American politics and why America is so important to the world, especially during the current series of wars and terrorist attacks.
Number Of Times I Have Read This Book:  Only once.

Brief Summary of Content:  
Some of the Chapter Titles; all Socialist and/or Communist organizations and their memberships
How the Soviets Destroyed a U. S. Military Alliance
The Cesar Chavez Holiday Campaign
Latino Immigrants:  Tools of the Left
The Vietnam Scan
Communist Party USA
Committees of Correspondence
Communist Workers Party/Asian Americans for Equality
Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Workers World Party
Democratic Socialists of America
Institute for Policy Studies
Campaign for America's Future
Progressive Democrats of America
21st Century Democrats
World Peace Council
Socialist International
Council for a Livable World
SANE/Peace Action
Congressional Progressive Caucus
Congressional Black Caucus
Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
Populist Caucus

This is one scary book.  I read a great deal and frankly, I was unaware of most of the organizations mentioned but more importantly the relationships between these Socialist and/or Communist organizations and prominent Americans but far more importantly members of the U. S. House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate.  It also outlines the affect the organizations had on these elected officials to help drive the direction of the Democratic Party and America through elections and political influence.  THIS IS JUST SCARY STUFF!

Towards the end of the book there are 64 bibliographies included of some of the elected officials that have either direct Socialist and/or Communist ties or who are consciously or unconsciously being influenced by Socialist and/or Communist organizations.

Who Should Read the Book?    Anyone interested in history.  Anyone who is concerned about the future of a Capitalistic America and anyone who is interested in the direction being taken by the Democratic Party.  Regarding the last - I would be shocked if a current American who says he or she is a Democrat and who reads this book would be happy with what they read or satisfied with the direction the Democratic Party is currently taking.  It is not an easy book to read but WOW, the content!

Final Test:  Would I read the book again?   Probably not but not because it is not worth reading, but rather once read it becomes more of a reference book for your library.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The American Boomerang

The American Boomerang; How The World's Greatest Turnaround Nation Will Do It Again

Date Review Posted:  June 2014
Authors:  Nick Adams
Release Date:  2013
Web Site (as applicable):
Facebook (as applicable):
Rating:  CCCCC  (A case could be made that I would only review the best of the best because if while reading a book it does not hold my interest, I would not finish it and therefore would not review it.)

Format:  A book based upon the observations of an Australian from the viewpoint of an "outsider" (Adams' words, not mine).

Reason For Reading THIS book:  I heard the author do an interview on the radio was most impressed with his observations of America and Americans and felt compelled to read his book.  It was not a mistake and I highly recommend anyone reading this review to do the same thing.

Number Of Times I Have Read This Book:  Only once but feel I will be reading it again, it is that good!

Brief Summary of Content:   From a cover sleeve recommendation.  "It's the locker room at half time and the home team is listless, confused, and playing lousy.  But Nick Adams has a powerful pep talk for Team USA that is just the kind of bracing, snap-out-of-it, kick-in-the-pants that a great nation needs to get back in the game to win.  The American Boomerang is more than a sorely needed love letter from Down Under - it's a timely, wise, and heartfelt plea to America to embrace its inherent exceptionalism."   Jack Fowler, publisher of National Review

A long standing practice is that lawyers, doctors, real estate agents, professional in general, should never represent themselves because you tend to lose your objectivity and only see what you want to see rather than what you need to see.  This book is evidence to that practice as Nick Adams see America and Americans like most Americans would not and his view WILL surprise you.

Adams repeatedly declares that America and Americans is the great country and people on Earth and that all countries would be in deep trouble if America did not exist.  The book goes on to explain why Adams feels this way.  Adams traveled the United States for months taking notes, interviewing Americans and then put his thoughts down in this book.

Every American needs to read this book to reinforce what they may or may not already know - American truly IS a great country and that the world would be in serious trouble without America and Americans.  Adams explains why he feels this way and more importantly he lays out a plan of action for America to insure its place in the world as the ONLY country that is in a position to secure peace throughout the world.

You can tell a lot by the titles of Chapters in a book and this book is no different.  Here are the Chapter Titles (my comments in parenthesis):

Chapter 1:       The Cowboy Spirit (The John Wayne principle)
Chapter 2:       Old Glory (The flag and why respecting and displaying it is extremely important)
Chapter 3:       Faith (One of the foundations of America, faith in the Devine)
Chapter 4:       God's Troops (Adams is very high on the American military and explains why)
Chapter 5:       The Value of Liberty (Adams suggests that ONLY in America do people enjoy liberty)
Chapter 6:       Competitive Culture (Why everyone-gets-medals is not a viable principle, and why Americans want to win!
Chapter 7:       The Land of the Self-Made Man (Woman) 
Chapter 8:       Constitutionally Limited Government (Contrary to current beliefs primarily by the left)
Chapter 9:       Tradition (Why American traditions are important and need to be continued)
Chapter 10:     Armed (The best armed services in the world and why America needs to continue that presence)
Chapter 11:     Imperiled Future  (What America has to look forward to and why)
Chapter 12:     An Almost Treasonous Culture War  (Big Government, Nanny State, etc)
Chapter 13:     Radical Islam  (Pretty much says it all and what needs to be done.)
Chapter 14:     The Future  (Can be changed with proper leadership)
Chapter 15:     The Nature of the American Boomerang  (America has shown that it can return from disasters like Katrina, 9/11, and others better than ever and why it WILL happen again).
Chapter 16:     A New Chapter:  How America Comes Back  (This is Adams' outline for what American should do to renew itself as the natural leader of the world and why).

I am a retired disabled U. S. veteran and as I read this book I my love of country and price was renewed.  It has always been there but I was just too close to America to see it for what it really is.  It took an outsider (Adams) to open my eyes as I am sure it will do the same for anyone who reads this book.  I would love to be a fly on the when a moderate left leaning Democrat reads the book (there is no hope for the far left) because it is hard to read without agreeing with Adams

Final Test:  Would I read the book again?  ABSOLUTELY!  Would I give it as a gift?  ABSOLUTELY!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Radical Remission

Radical Remission, Surviving Cancer Against All Odds
By Dr. Kelly A. Turner

Date Review Posted:
Authors:  Dr. Kelly A. Turner
Release Date:  2014
Web Site:     

  CCCCC  (A case could be made that I would only review the best of the best because if while reading a book it does not hold my interest, I would not finish it and therefore would not review it.)

Format:  This is a combination research book, personal instruction book, and a very interesting series of stories by people who have experienced a "radical remission" from life threatening cancers.

Reason For Reading THIS book:  I saw an interview on one of the morning talk shows where they interviewed Dr. Turner and she was fascinating.  I was compelled to read the book even though I do not have cancer, at least that I know about.  I have no regrets whatsoever for reading the book and highly recommend it to others to read.

Number Of Times I Have Read This Book:  Only once but I can guarantee you that I will use the book as a source of information.

Brief Summary of Content:   The following is a list of the 9 Chapters in the book that relate to the top 9 tactics out of more than 74 such tactics that almost all of the people identified in the book with their stories used to help heal them of cancer.  The personal stories are mesmerizing.  The 9 Chapters are:

Chapter 1:  Radically Changing Your Diet.  This one really struck home and I started adopting some of the suggestions immediately like reducing my intake of dairy products, white breads, red meats, etc.  "Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food.  Hippocrates.  The majority of the people studied all tended to make the same four dietary changes where were, (1) greatly reducing or eliminating sugar, eat, dairy and refined foods, (2) greatly increasing vegetable and fruit intake, (3) eating organic foods, and, (4) drinking filtered water.

Chapter 2:  Taking Control of Your Health.  "Action is the foundational key to all success."  Pablo Picasso.  I don't want to reduce this chapter to just one or two sentences because it cannot be done.  Patients realized that taking control of your healing is not only considered good but essential for the healing process.  Taking control in this regards means not to just accept the bad news of a diagnosis but to rather research ALL methods of healing considering both the conventional (Western) type treatments as well as alternative methods as well the top nine such methods are discussed in this book.

Chapter 3:  Following Your Intuition.  "In vital matters, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves."  Sigmund Freud  This chapter is about what it would suggest it is about.  We oftentimes "feel" something.  Some people ignore these feelings while others act upon them.  The descriptions and case study in this Chapter hopefully will open your mind to be more aware of your "gut feeling" or "intuition."

Chapter 4:  Using Herbs and Supplements.  "The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician."  Paracelsus, Sixteenth Century Physician.  I  personally found this chapter very fascinating and the stories are nothing short of unbelievable.  While the specific herbs and supplements are not identified there are reading references at the end of the book that do.  In America the use of "herbs and supplements" is oftentimes debunked but in this Chapter there are numerous stories of people who have used herbs and supplements to help effect their cure of cancers.

Chapter 5:  Releasing Suppressed Emotions.  "Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel (body) in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured."  Mark Twain.  Great Chapter.  It describes the effect that past angers have on the body and its ability to ward off sickness.  The Chapter provides stories of just how some patients use this methods to help heal themselves from various cancers.

Chapter 6:  Increasing Positive Emotions.  "The purpose of our lives is to be happy."  His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama.  This Chapter delves into the need to set your proper mindset every day, one that focuses on gratitude and thankfulness for everything positive in your life and why that attitude needs to be improved upon every day.  The Chapter identifies patients who used this method, including laughter, to help cure their various cancers.

Chapter 7:  Embracing Social Support.  "In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge."  Aristotle.  this is exactly what it suggests - the importance of having loving friends and giving love yourself. 

Chapter 8:  Deepening Your Spiritual Connection.  "The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated."  Plato.  I found this Chapter the most interesting of all.  The stores of healing are simply miracles in action and they need to be read.

Chapter 9:  Having Strong Reasons For Living.  "I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive."    This too is exactly what it suggests.  People tend to live longer when they identify their specific reason as to why they want to live.

Who Should Read the Book?    Everyone.  We all know someone who has cancer and this book may be their life-line to healing. 

Final Test:  Would I read the book again?  YES.  Would I give the book as a gift?  Absolutely.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

One Nation

One Nation, What We Can All To Save America's Future
By Dr. Ben Carson

Date Review Posted:  March 27, 2014
Authors:  Dr. Ben Carson
Release Date:  2014
Related Blog: (not necessarily a blog but interesting nonetheless)

  CCCCC  (A case could be made that I would only review the best of the best because if while reading a book it does not hold my interest, I would not finish it and therefore would not review it.)

Format:  Part Biography, Part Historical, Part Identifying Problems, Part Providing Solutions

Reason For Reading THIS book:  I have read some of Dr. Carson's speeches and when I saw he published this book, I felt compelled to read it.

Number Of Times I Have Read This Book:  Only once but the content is extremely clear and Dr. Carson's proposed solutions also seem very clear and responsive.

Brief Summary of Content:   The Table of Contents provides a great deal of information just in the chapter titles that follow (my comments in parenthesis):

PREFACE:  Dr. Carson's speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast  (Outstanding!)

Chapter 1:  Saving Our Future
Chapter 2:  Political Correctness (Great chapter)
Chapter 3:  Elitism
Chapter 4:  Ignorance and forgetfulness
Chapter 5:  Bigotry
Chapter 6:  No Winners In Political Fighting (Common Sense!)
Chapter 7:  Enslaving Our Children-Don't Sell The Future (Also Common Sense!)

Chapter 8:  Pushing Back
Chapter 9:  Respectful Disagreement
Chapter 10:  The Art of Compromise (But not on your core principals)
Chapter 11:  Becoming Informed (I especially like this one)
Chapter 12:  Wisdom and Knowledge (Another of my personal favorites)
Chapter 13:  My Brother's Keeper

Chapter 14:  Without A Vision (All I could say about this one is "AMEN!"
Chapter 15:  Role Models (Another winner!)
Chapter 16:  The Origin of Morality
Chapter 17:  TAKE COURAGE!

Part Biography:  The book traces Dr. Carson's childhood which to say the least was fraught with problems like one might expect growing up in a not-so-good section of Detroit with a brother and a single Mom.  It is really an amazing story now that you know how it developed but growing up I don't think many would have give you very good odds on Dr. Carson even surviving his childhood.  He describes at one point where only Divine Intervention kept him from actually stabbing a fellow student.  He describes that moment as a turning point in his life.  I particularly liked reading about how his mother would require he and his brother to read two books each week and then write a book report and give it to her.  Neither he or his brother ever wanted to miss the deadline for submitting the reports to his mother who they later discovered could not read the reports.  He also describes how at first he was picked on/bullied because he did not fit in with the "cool" people in his schools but as he continued to grow intellectually and started to pull good grades the same people who picked on him began to respect him especially due to his growth within the school's ROTC program.

Part Historical:  You can easily understand how the social climate at the time of his youth affected his development in at first a negative way but later in a positive way when he made the decision that he did not have to grow up like so many of his peers did and not to also die as so many of his peers.  He describes how it was that you either grew up in the gang lifestyle and probably die in the gang lifestyle or you can step outside that lifestyle and grow intellectually and therefore take yourself from that lifestyle to one you would prefer.  He read biographies of the great people in history and the successful people and learned from what they did and then emulated their success in spite of his environment that would seem to dictate a different outcome.  Dr. Carson also developed historical facts about where the country was going during his youth and adolescent time in his life.

Part Identifying Problems.  Dr. Carson covers just about all that has happened in America to bring it down.  He covers the education system, unions, healthcare, taxes among other things and how in his opinion the country got to where it is today; not a good place to be.  More importantly he not only clearly identifies the problems he also provides solutions.

Part Providing Solution.  This is the best part of the book.  His solution to providing everyone with proper Healthcare and doing away with Obamacare is brilliant.  He also addresses solutions in regard to the country's educational system, partisan politics, the tax structure and the most important aspect of all - he develops a very clear VISION for the country, something we have not seen (no pun intended) since the days of Ronald Reagan.

General comment.  As I read the book I almost felt like I was reading something that President Ronald Reagan would have said or wrote about.  I liked that very much.  So much that if the 2016 Presidential Election were held today, there would be no doubt in my mind who I would vote for IF Dr. Carson were to run.  No doubt whatsoever.  More importantly, I did not start reading the book with that outlook.  I liked Dr. Carson but was unsure of him being President of the United States.  Now I am sure.

Who Should Read the Book?    Everyone, no exceptions but especially Democrats and Independents; it will be an eye-opener!

Final Test:  Would I read the book again?   I may not read it again but I will certainly keep it around as a future reference manual.  Would I give it as a gift?  ABSOLUTELY!

Friday, May 16, 2014


By Glenn Beck, Kevin Balfe , and Kyle Olson

Date Review Posted:  May 15, 2014
Author:          Glenn Beck, Kevin Balfe, and Kyle Olson
Release Date:  2014
Web Site:

  CCCCC  (A case could be made that I would only review the best of the best because if while reading a book it does not hold my interest, I would not finish it and therefore would not review it.)

DISCLAIMER:  This review was NOT written by me, it was written by Kathleen Jasper, a former Assistant Principle in the Florida school system and that is what makes her review extra special.  When I read her review I felt I could not do my review the justice that she gave the book especially since it was written by someone who you would have to consider on the other side of where most people would put Glenn Beck.  Please review Ms. Jasper's web site at; it is a wonderful sight with great content.  If you want to see the online interview between Glenn Beck and Kathleen Jasper, go to:, it is an outstanding interview!  Ms. Jasper's review is reprinted with her permission and appears exactly as she posted  it on

Ms. Jasper's review:

In Glenn Beck’s new book, Conform, I realize the one thing that would unite a liberal like me and a conservative like him is the fact that we both believe to conform to what a system deems appropriate, proficient, or standard is detrimental to creativity, autonomy and most important, independent thinking.
The fight against standardization, high-stakes testing, big data and shady education policy is not exclusive to any party or ideology. After reading Conform, I realized Glenn Beck and I agree on many things. Here are just a few:

Common Core is not the answer.

In Conform, Mr. Beck meticulously outlines Common Core and reveals that this new government initiative is about money and control. Those who are the major players in the Common Core push are those who stand to profit either politically or financially off of our students.
I was pleasantly surprised that Mr. Beck goes after the right people in his critique of the Common Core: Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, The Gates Foundation, Achieve Inc., President Obama and US Secretary of Education, Arne Dunken – a hodgepodge of democrats and republicans pushing our students into, what I call, the machine.
The idea that a standard curriculum like the Common Core would solve problems like high mobility rates and achievement gaps is simplifying the multifaceted and complicated problems in our current system – problems exacerbated by No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race to the Top (RTTT).

The push towards College and Career Ready limits our students to a grim future.

According to Mr. Beck, Common Core is designed to create workers not thinkers, and I agree. I use the word drones when referring to ideal students under standardization.
Drones are what I saw when I visited a first grade classroom in a Florida public school recently. All the students were sitting in front of computers. I asked the teacher, “And what are they doing?” thinking they must be on the Internet creating something or looking up information. She told me, “They are getting ready for FCAT (the current standardized test for Florida students). We are teaching them how to take online tests.” It was something out of a Brave New World or 1984 and literally sent chills down my spine.
The underlying premise and discussion regarding the Common Core is, “students must be college and/or career ready.” So basically the Common Core is running on only two choices, which are grim at best. The first grade class I visited was a prime example of that preparation.
I argue, and so does Mr. Beck, students should be given freedom in how their future unfolds. Students should be able to choose whether they want a traditional education or whether they want to pursue a tech school, trade school, online school, internship, apprenticeship and more.
There are an infinite amount of possibilities for students. Why are the Common Core crusaders only pushing 2: College and Career? We should be preparing them to make choices not preparing them for a life designed by a testing company. 

Standardization and high-stakes testing is about MONEY.

There is money to be made in books, curriculum and tests. And when they are all aligned, a word used often in education, they are easy to package and sell to districts and states.
Private companies can then control our students while they give kickbacks to Common Core crusaders on Capital Hill. In Conform, Mr. Beck exposes the tangled web of interconnection among the Gates Foundation, testing companies, and data collection/storage services.
High-Stakes testing, like those left over from NCLB and those being administered for Common Core and RTTT, bring in big profits. Companies like Pearson print the books, build the curriculum, make and score the tests, and store the data. Testing companies lobby hard so high-stakes tests are the only measure we use to assess our students and hold teachers accountable.
And here’s the shocker, the same people who are pushing Common Core, accountability, and standardization, all have their hands in the companies tasked with providing the services needed for test construction, test administration, and data collection, storage and analysis.

We don’t need any more data.

Mr. Beck and I are in complete agreement that currently districts, schools, teachers, administrators, students, and parents are required to bow down to the almighty data. Every decision has to be data driven. We collect it, store it, use it, and worse, waste it. In classrooms all over the country there are data walls, data folders, data software, data chats, data groups, data, data, data. We are over saturated with data and it has become impossible to use it effectively.
This push towards collecting, storing, using, distributing and analyzing the infinite amount of data we accumulate in schools and beyond is big money for those who stand to gain. In fact, Mr. Beck explains $787 billion dollars were spent in stimulus money to build systems capable of tracking and storing longitudinal data of student progress. Eventually we will be tracking people from conception until death.

The Common Core is State Led? Really?

The audacity of the federal government to say this is state led is preposterous. Many state governors were asked to adopt the Common Core before the standards were even written. And as states stand up and say, “No, we are not going to proceed with the Common Core,” the federal government is threatening them with heavy fines and loss of school funding. How does this type of intimidation and fear tactics occur if this initiative is state led?


Glenn Beck has a valid point when he says, “Americans may not be able to go from the glut of standardized testing we have now to nothing – but maybe there is some middle ground.”
I believe there is middle ground to explore. Here are just a few suggestions.
1.      Scale back high-stakes testing. We do not need the amount of tests we currently have in circulation. Under the Race to the Top Grant, districts have been forced to implement content area tests separate from those already in place. Students are testing 1/3 of the school year. Media centers, computer labs and other resources have been stolen by testing companies.
2.      Create a global perspective on school design. For example maybe take a few notes from Finland. Yes their demographics are different but if that’s the only reason we are refusing to explore the tactics Finland uses to be as successful as they are, we are missing the mark. A few things to take from Finland right off the bat: they don’t standardize, they revere teachers, and they allow students to make choices in their learning.
3.      Allow districts and communities to develop curriculum in tandem with parents, students, teachers and administrators. Relinquish some control and have faith in people to decide their own destiny. Educators are smart; give them back their autonomy.
4.      Eradicate isolation in education. We isolate students based on test scores, abilities, poverty levels, and exceptionalities. Stop categorizing unique students into finite classifications. When we do this, we determine their future before they have a chance to know who they are.
5.      Use your voice. Stand up and stop conforming. Talk to teachers in your area; talk to parents. Students can learn the laws and their loopholes and refuse standardized tests.
Mr. Beck and I both agree this country was built on the backs of men and women who stood up, said no and refused to get into the machine. Every evolution and revolution in this country has occurred because people refused to allow the machine to determine their existence and the existence of their children.
And in the words of my conservative friend Mr. Glenn Beck, “We have the right solutions and the will to implement them. We are ready. Are you?”
Number Of Times I Have Read This Book:  Only once.  Will I read it again?  Absolutely!

Who Should Read the Book?    Everyone interested in the future of America.  Education IS the future of America and it is currently on the wrong track with more money being spent on education than in any other country in the world with results that fall far behind other countries.  If you are happy with this result, don't read the book.  If you are unhappy, read the book.  Give the book to teachers you know.  The book is so important and there are so many people who that when they hear the name Glenn Beck are turned off and therefore will not read the book and that will definitely not only be their loss, it will be the country's loss as well.  This is a very important book.