What does it take to become a child prodigy?

I have two favorite living child prodigies: one from the United States (age 13) and one from Norway (age 11).

Grace VanderWaal won America’s Got Talent in 2016, at age 12. She competed by singing her own songs that she wrote (the first video). She then signed a contract with Columbia Records and put out her first short album (with 5 songs) that reached #9 in the United States. She went on to win awards from the Teen Choice Awards and Disney.

Angelina Jordan won Norway’s Got Talent when she was age 8, singing classic jazz. At age ten in 2016, she recorded “I Put a Spell on You.”  If you enjoy that performance, there’s more. You will discover Angelina performs barefoot. Her first album is scheduled for release this year.

Grace VanderWaal and Angelina Jordan are both child prodigies. Scientific American explains what it takes to be a child prodigy.

“Recent research indicates that basic cognitive abilities known to be influenced by genetic factors also play a role in prodigious achievement. In the most extensive study of prodigies to date, the psychologist Joanne Ruthsatz and her colleagues administered a standardized test of intelligence to 18 prodigies—five in art, eight in music, and five in math. There was a wide range of IQs in the sample, from 100—the average for the general population—to 147—well above the usual cutoff for “intellectually gifted.” However, with an average score of 140 (above the 99th percentile), nearly all of the prodigies did extraordinarily well on the tests of working memory. …

“With an average score of 148, the music prodigies in the Ruthsatz study were especially high in working memory (the average for the math prodigies was 135 and for art prodigies was 132). In fact, all eight of the music prodigies were at or above the 99th percentile, and four were at or above the 99.9th percentile. The odds of eight randomly selected people scoring this high on a test are essentially zero. …

Prodigies also exhibit an unusual commitment to their domain … “Often one cannot tear these children away from activities in their area of giftedness, whether they involve an instrument, a computer, a sketch pad, or a math book. These children have a powerful interest in the domain in which they have high ability, and they can focus so intently on work in this domain that they lose sense of the outside world.”

What happens to child prodigies when they grow up?

To discover how far Grace VanderWaal has gone since winning America’s Got Talent at age 12, in 2016, to the first weekend in October 2017 at the Austin City Limits Music Festival as she starts her first national concert tour at age 13, watch the next video.

It’s wild! Her fans love her songs and they love who she is at this age. We all change as we age and mature. I hope Grace gets only better as a person, and that she never forgets who she was when she started out.

UPDATE

Since I’m a writer and a published author, I wanted to add the names of a few child prodigies in that field, but to be clear, I was never a child prodigy.

  • Flavia Bujor wrote her first book when she was 12 and published it with Harper Collins when she was 14.
  • Nancy Yi Fan started writing her first novel when she was 7. She completed that novel when she was 11. Harper Collins published that book in 2007, and it became a New York Times bestseller.
  • Jake Marcionette wrote his first book when he was 12, and that book also became a New York Times bestseller.
  • Alec Greven was nine when he wrote: “How To Talk to Girls”.  His book made the New York Times bestseller list for a book he says he wrote in a week.
  • Dorothy Straight is on record as being the youngest published author ever. At the age of four, when many children can’t read let alone write, she wrote a story for her grandmother. Her parents took a shine to it and sent it to Pantheon Books, who published it in 1964 when Straight was 6.
  • TopTenz

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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To Make America Great Again, Trump must return the United States to the 1960s.

In 1900, 40-percent of Americans lived in poverty, 7-percent graduated from high school, and 3-percent from college. Women were chattel. That means they belonged to a man: father, husband, brother, etc. Children as young as seven could be sold into a form of slavery called servitude and in some states that included legal prostitution.  Even in states where prostitution was illegal, few ever did anything to save those children sold into that life by their poor parents.

How educated is the United States today? In 2014, 90.83-percent of Americans had a high school diploma or GED, and 44.08 percent had an associate and/or bachelor’s degree.

Since Trump doesn’t read, he doesn’t know this or doesn’t care, and that there is no time in American history that we were greater than we were in the 1960s.

If we look at the chart in this Atlantic piece, we discover America was greatest between 1960-1970, the Civil Rights Era; and when labor union membership was at its highest.

In fact, “Middle-Class Decline Mirrors The Fall of Unions In One Chart” we discover that the middle class was best off at the high point of union membership in 1967.

Now imagine if Trump was a reader and he was actually educated and knew all this and his make “America Great Again” was to return the U.S. to the 1960s, but without a war like the one in Vietnam.

That will never happen, because the malignant narcissist in the White House links his presidency to America Being Great Again. Nothing else counts to Donald Trump. He thinks that once he was elected and sworn in, the United States was Great Again.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Ask Eva Moskowitz if it is okay to abuse and exploit children

Unicef.org says, “One of the most deplorable developments in recent years has been the increasing use of young children as soldiers. In one sense, this is not really new. For centuries children have been involved in military campaigns. What is frightening nowadays is the escalation in the use of children as fighters. Recently, in 25 countries, thousands of children under the age of 16 have fought in wars. In 1988 alone, they numbered as many as 200,000.”

The history of exploiting children is long, and child labor reached new extremes during the Industrial Revolution. Children often worked long hours in dangerous factory conditions for very little money. In fact, in 1900 when 40% of the U.S. population lived in poverty and less than 7% of children graduated from high school at age 17/18, eighteen percent of all American workers were under the age of 16. – History.com

Because of this history of exploiting children, in 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which included putting limits on many forms of child labor, and in 1949, an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act directly prohibited child labor for the first time. – Stop Child Labor.org

World leaders have also exploited children. From the 1920s onwards, the Nazi Party targeted German youth as a special audience for its propaganda messages. Hitler used his “Hitler Youth” program as a kind of “Boy Scouts” for the training of children to obediently follow him, and to prepare them to become his future soldiers. Hitler also gathered his youth together in large youth rallies that had a strong peer pressure effect in strengthening his grip as an authority figure.

From 1966 – 1976, Mao also used groups of militant university and high school students called the Little Red Guard that were formed into  paramilitary units as part of his Cultural Revolution. These young people often wore green jackets similar to the uniforms of the Chinese army at the time, with red armbands attached to one of the sleeves. They were formed to help party chairman Mao Zedong combat “revisionist” authorities—i.e., those party leaders Mao considered as being insufficiently revolutionary. … Several million Red Guards journeyed to Beijing to meet with Mao in eight massive demonstrations late in 1966, and the total number of Red Guards throughout the country may have reached 11 million at some point. – Britannica.com

How exactly did Mao manage to rally these kids behind his cause? Well, propaganda had a lot to do with it. Posters were everywhere, and many young people also received copies of Mao’s “Little Red Book.” Officially called “Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung,” one of the most printed books in history – only the bible has been printed more.

When one thinks of the Cultural Revolution – or Mao in general – the image that comes to mind is often of young Chinese feverishly waving their little red books in the air, reciting Mao’s quotes word for word. In a drastic move, Mao also had the nation’s schools shut down, calling on the youth of China to mobilize and support his cause.

Hitler Eva Mao

That is why I think Eva Moskowitz has joined the ranks of leaders like Hitler and Mao. What she is doing with the children in her corporate Success Academy Charter schools is no different than what Hitler and Mao did. Eva gathers her youth together in large youth rallies and this has a strong peer pressure effect in strengthening her grip as an authority figure—exactly what Hitler and Mao did.

If you don’t know who Eva is, I suggest you read Eva Moskowitz is Out of Control by Daniel Katz, who asks, “Is Eva Moskowitz running a chain of schools or is she running the lobbying arm for her billionaire backers, who see the expansion of the charter school sector as a means for profit and as a means to break public sector unions?

The New York Times also ran a story about Eva and her autocratic tactics. “In a rare look inside the network, including visits to several schools and interviews with dozens of current and former employees, The New York Times chronicled a system driven by the relentless pursuit of better results, one that can be exhilarating for teachers and students who keep up with its demands and agonizing for those who do not.

“The high-pressure atmosphere at Success leads to substantial teacher turnover, though the precise rate is unclear. According to the latest school report cards, in 2013-14 three Success schools had turnover rates above 50 percent, meaning more than half the teachers from the previous year did not stay. …

“Most of the former teachers interviewed, however, said that they left not because of the workload, but because they disagreed with Success’s approach, which they found punitive. …

“Several former teachers and staff members said that they had also been uncomfortable with Success’s suspension rates.

“At Success Academy Harlem 1, as the original school is now called, 23 percent of the 896 students were suspended for at least one day in 2012-13, the last year for which the state has data. At Public School 149, a school in the same building, 3 percent of students were suspended during that same period. Statewide, the average suspension rate is 4 percent.”

Manipulators like Hitler, Mao and Eva want what they want and fight hard to attain their goals. But the tactics they use are also very effective weapons of power and control.Psychopaths and Love.com

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

99 Cent Graphic for Promomtion OCT 2015

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

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Promoting the Same Book for Seven Years—info for authors

First—a brief history of my first novel (I’ve published four so far and have started a fifth that I plan to turn into a series).

I started researching and writing “My Splendid Concubine” in 1999 (total copies sold to date are almost 21,000).  During that time, we visited China nine or ten times and traveled extensively throughout that country doing research. Concubine, after a stack of printed revisions almost as tall as I am—I was six-foot-four but as we age, we shrink—the novel’s 1st edition came out in December 2007, and it sold 562 copies in its first two years. In 2010, the novel went through more editing and revisions, and then the 2nd edition came out with a new cover. Between 2010 and 2013, the 2nd edition sold more than 11-thousand copies. The 3rd edition, after more editing, revisions and another new cover, came out in 2013 and has sold more than 9-thousand additional copies and is still selling.

During those seven years, Concubine was promoted in several local brick-and-mortar book store author events, through thirty-one traditional talk radio shows where I was a guest expert on China, and three book blog tours in addition to two BookBub ad campaigns: one in 2013 and another in 2014.

What follows is a brief report of the most recent $0.99 promotion of My Splendid Concubine from April 13 – April 19, 2015.  When that promotion ended, I submitted a price increase from $0.99 back to $3.99, but as I’m writing this post, I see that Amazon has kept the price at $0.99—and it has now been more than five days since the official promotion ended.

Starting Sunday, 4/12, I pinned—after I made sure that price had been dropped by Amazon and Draft2Digital—a Tweet promoting the sale to the top of my Twitter page and tweeted fresh tweets to support the sale several times a day in addition to the pinned tweet that was always there.

To discover how to pin a Tweet to the top of your Twitter page so that it’s what everyone sees first when they visit, I’ve included this video from YouTube that explains how to do it.

When I checked my Twitter Analytics page (I’m not sure you can open this link), it turns out that the Tweet that promoted the sale (the pinned tweet) was the Top Tweet for the last 20 days with 4,178 impressions (number of times users saw the Tweet on Twitter—I have no idea how they measure that). Using Twitter analytic, I learned that the same pinned Tweet was Retweeted 54x, the image was clicked on 7x and the link that led to Amazon was clicked 5x, and that was just the pinned Tweet.

I have no idea how many times all of the other promotional tweets were seen. For instance, I found one of the same Tweets that was not the pinned version, and it was viewed 904x and engaged 23x. Engaged means the number of times a user has interacted with a Tweet, and I probably posted the same Tweet three to five times a day during the sale.

But what about the four ads I ran with The Fussy Librarian, Choosy BookwormeReaderNewsToday and Riffle?

The price drop to $0.99 was submitted on 4/11. Note: Seven copies sold for the full price at $3.99 between 4/1 through 4/4.  No copies sold between 7/5 – 7/10.

Sales by Date During the Promotion

  • 4/11 – 2
  • 4/12 – 20
  • 4/13 – 29 (two ads ran: The Fussy Librarian and The Choosy Bookworm)
  • 4/14 – 50 (one ad ran: eReaderNews Today)
  • 4/15 – 14
  • 4/16 – 13 (I think the ad from Riffle ran—a site with a high Alexa rank in Canada—but there were no sales from Canada during the promotion, and I’m not sure if the ad ran the day it was scheduled, because I never saw it even though I searched.)
  • 4/17 – 3
  • 4/18 – 3
  • 4/19 – 3
  • 4/20 – 1 (I submitted the price change from $0.99 to $3.99 at 7:30 AM)

During the same time span as the Concubine promotion, my other three books sold 12 copies at the full price of $3.99.

The result: More than 160 copies have sold so far in April for all four of my books—but most of the sales were for “My Splendid Concubine”. The total number of sales for January, February and March were 148 or an average of 49 copies a month. I think that an increase of sales of more than 326% for April was a success.

 
I think exposure is more important than profit. If the work is worth reading, the exposure might lead to those profits in the future.

For instance, Amanda Hocking didn’t earn much money or sell many books for her first eight years as an indie author, and then her sales went viral making her an internationally known author and a millionaire.  For those eight years, Hocking worked part time jobs for poverty wages, and lived at home with her mother who nagged her relentlessly to get a real job that would support her. Hocking said she worked really hard developing her social media platform. I wonder if her mother is nagging her today.

In May and June, my 4th book, The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova, will be going on a book Blog Tour with a $0.99 price drop from $3.99 in addition to plans to run ads on several sites, for instance, BookBub (if the ad request is accepted), Fussy Librarian, and eReaderNewsToday.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

 Covers for first 3 novels

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Evidence of a Corporate Reformer Pretending to be something he isn’t, and how the wealthy are buying the U.S. one election at a time

UPDATE 4/30/15

There are two previous updates that may be found at the bottom of this post. In the 13 days since the last update, NINE more poster sized flyers poured into our mailbox, and it is obvious that Steve Glazer’s wealthy and corporate supporters are outspending Susan Bonilla at least $8 to $1 if not more.

FOUR of the flyers that supported Glazer came from JobsPAC (Chevron and AT&T are two of the corporate supporters that contribute money to this group)—KNOWN SPECIAL INTERESTS!!!

Another FOUR that supported Glazer came from Bill Bloomfield, a millionaire oligarch with a proven history of supporting the corporate education reform movement and corporate Charter Schools—A KNOWN SPECIAL INTEREST!!!

Only ONE flyer was paid for by Susan Bonilla for Senate 2015, and it made no claims against Steve Glazer. Instead, it let us know that Susan was endorsed by the California Small Business Association.

What did JobsPAC have to say?  Two of the flyers claimed Bonilla spent taxpayer money (like all elected representatives do all the way to the U.S. Congress) to furnish her offices and made other allegations. The other two flyers alleged she voted for a bill that would make it harder to fire teachers that abuse kids (THIS IS FALSE) and the governor vetoed the bill (TRUE). At the bottom of the flyers in very small print, they provide the bill number they are referring to. It was AB 375. I looked it up.

Here is a link to the history of AB 375:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB375

I challenge anyone to read the history of this bill and find where there is language that protects teachers who abuse kids!  AB 375 passed both the assembly and state senate by overwhelming majorities. The governor did veto the bill on 10/10/13, and here is Governor Brown’s reason:

To the Members of the California State Assembly:

I am returning Assembly Bill 375 without my signature.

The goal of this bill is to simplify the process for hearing and deciding teacher dismissal cases. I have listened at great length to arguments both for and against this measure. While I agree that it makes worthwhile adjustments to the dismissal process, such as lifting the summer moratorium on the filing of charges and eliminating some opportunities for delay, other changes make the process too rigid and could create new problems.

I am particularly concerned that limiting the number of depositions to five per side, regardless of the circumstances, and restricting a district’s ability to amend charges even if new evidence comes to light, may do more harm than good.

I share the authors’ desire to streamline the teacher discipline process, but this bill is an imperfect solution. I encourage the Legislature to continue working with stakeholders to identify changes that are balanced and reduce procedural complexities.

Sincerely,
Edmund G. Brown Jr.

The flyers paid for by Bill Bloomfield claim that Steve Glazer has a record of fighting for education, but they don’t define what that means. I’ll tell you what it means. It means he has a record of fighting for corporate education reform and corporate Charter schools, that might profit off of our children if Steve Glazer is elected.

****

If you aren’t aware of the war being waged in the United States by a few billionaire oligarchs to remake the United States into a country that fits what they think, then it’s time to wake up and learn how to discover the signs of oligarch funded propaganda designed to manipulate and fool voters during elections. These billionaires are buying their way into the Republican and Democratic parties, and they are libertarians, neo-liberals, and neo-conservatives—and all of them threaten our freedom and way of life, because to win, they subvert the democratic process protected by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

For Instance, for the last few weeks, occasionally, the phone rings, and the call ends up being for one of the candidates running in a special election in California’s State Senate District 7 (where I live) that will be held on May 19.  There are two candidates in this runoff election, and both are Democrats, but I think one of them is a corporate loving, teacher bashing, union hating, corporate reformer pretending to be something he isn’t.

The two candidates are Steve Glazer and Susan Bonilla. Bonilla is in the state legislature and identities herself as an educator. Campaign literature for Glazer claims he is a mayor and a university trustee.

The phone rang a few days ago, and I ended up talking to someone working in Glazer’s campaign, who claimed this was a dirty campaign and inferred that Bonilla was responsible for the dirt and lies. Then this guy went and said that Glazer was running a clean and honest campaign, and I thought, “What?” That’s not what I’ve been seeing.  Maybe he isn’t paying for the dirty flyers being slipped into our mail boxes, but his allies and supporters are doing it for him.

For weeks, a day seldom goes by that one or more two-sided color campaign posters supporting Glazer don’t show up in our mail box. I don’t remember getting many from Bonilla. I have two posters supporting Glazer on my desk from last Thursday (4-9-15) and two more that arrived the following Saturday—all spouting the same claims against Glazer’s opponent. What’s strange, I don’t remember getting any similar material from Bonilla or her supporters bashing Glazer. It’s almost as if she isn’t campaigning, and no one has called me from her campaign.

Back to that phone call from the Glazer’s campaign staff. I replied that I didn’t know much about Bonilla, but said that I suspected that Steve Glazer was a corporate education reformer because it looked like his financial support was coming from that sector.

The Glazer supporter at the other end of the line denied this before he hung up, but SF Gate reported that Glazer is against unions and wants to ban strikes, in addition, he is supported by business-oriented groups, and he supports changes in teacher tenure. That usually means no due-process job protection for teachers. Believe me, I taught for thirty years, and bad teachers can be fired. Due process rights do not protect teachers who are incompetent, but the incompetence must be proven with evidence and witnesses. I repeat, public school teachers do not have a guaranteed job for life.

I’m going to point out the evidence that no matter what Glazer’s campaign people claim over the phone, Glazer is a corporate reformer because the corporate types love him enough to spend a lot of money sending out these misleading dirty campaign posters and flyers. Does it really matter if the candidate pays for this sort of crap or if one of his supporters pays for it?  I don’t think so.

I’m going to start with the poster that has a young boy on the cover pulling his hair out. Right next to that image, it says, “Why does Susan Bonilla want us to have bad teachers.” To be fair, the poster says that this was paid for by Jobs Pac, a bipartisan coalition of California employers. If Glazer wasn’t a corporate reformer in sheep’s clothing, I don’t think he’d be supported by a coalition of California employers that translates, for me, to private sector corporate types—the same types who are waging a national war against the public schools and labor unions.

On the other side of that poster, there’s that kid again still pulling his hair out.  Above his, soon to be bald head, it says, “Susan Bonilla backed extreme legislation that put special interests ahead of kids. Bad teachers are holding our kids back and affecting their ability to graduate and go to college—putting their future and California’s future at risk. But instead of standing up for them, Susan Bonilla voted a bill (AB1619, 2014) that would preserve the status quo—where firing bad teachers is nearly impossible, and moving up as a good teacher takes years.” This is probably what Glazer’s supporters are talking about in that bill:  “If the certificated employee has completed less than three consecutive years of service, the employee shall complete his or her probationary period and shall be granted permanent employee status upon reelection to his or her fourth year of service, as applicable pursuant to this section.”

To be clear, “permanent employee status,” doesn’t mean the same as a guaranteed job for life that you can’t be fired from. You might be interested to find out just how many ways a teacher can be fired from Teaching Monster.com, and the New York Times reported, “In states with tenure, teachers must work satisfactorily for a period of time before they are eligible for tenure. In California, it was 18 months—or two school years. In most other states, it is three or four years. Only then may the principal decide whether to grant tenure. A teacher with tenure is entitled to a hearing before he or she may be fired, and evidence of misconduct must be presented before an independent hearing officer. Tenure protects academic freedom. In the absence of tenure, teachers may be fired for any reason. Teachers may be fired if the principal doesn’t like them or if they are experienced and become too expensive. Teachers may be fired for being outspoken.”

Wait a minute.

How many bad teachers are there in California’s public schools that they are going to ruin the lives of millions of children—and according to the corporate supporters of Steve Glazer—destroy California, and it will all be Bonilla’s fault, because she introduced bills to support and retain more teachers in addition to improving teacher training—that’s what I discovered when I visited her website and looked at the legislation she has introduced and supported.

Who is Bonilla? Prior to serving in the California State Legislature, Susan was the Mayor of Concord and County Supervisor for Contra Costa County. Before entering her career as an elected official, she was a high school English teacher in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (our daughter went to a middle school there for a few months before we moved). Susan earned her B.A. in English from Azusa Pacific University and her teaching credential from California State University Los Angeles.

I then sent an e-mail through Bonilla’s campaign site and asked how long she’d been a high school teacher, and also asked if she supported the Common Core high stakes testing that fails children and ranks teachers so they can be fired and their public schools closed. It’s now Sunday and Bonilla has had more than 48 hours to reply but hasn’t. If she does after I publish this post, I’ll update.

I’m going to return to that one claim of Glazer’s corporate supporters that bad teachers are going to put every child’s future and the future of California at risk.

In the Vergara trial in Los Angeles where the judge ruled that teachers should lose their due process job protection rights, two witnesses for the plaintiff testified that they guessed from years of classroom observations that about 1% to 3% of teachers were ineffective. If those two witnesses for the plaintiff in the Vergara trial were right about 1% – 3% of teachers being ineffective, what does that mean?

The California Department of Education reports that there were 295,093 teachers in California public schools for the 2012-13 school year teaching out of 10,366 public schools.

That 1% equals 2,951 teachers and 3% equals 8,853, and with 10,366 public schools in California, each school has less than one teacher who is ineffective, or 1,513 – 7.415 public schools in California don’t even have one ineffective teacher.  It all depends how you look at it, but of course the corporate special interests that support Steve Glazer want you to think it means the end of the world.

By the way, Governor Brown and the teachers’ unions are appealing the Vergara verdict that was a trial funded by a billionaire who wants the transparent (open information), non-profit, democratic public schools closed and our children turned over to opaque (secretive), for profit (anyway you look at it) corporate charters that are controlled by CEOs and/or billionaire oligarchs.

About two years after our daughter graduated from a public high school—she attended public schools in four public school districts in California—I asked her how many incompetent teachers she had k-12. She thought about it for a few hours, and then said, “Two.”  Those two incompetent teachers didn’t stop her from graduating from high school as a scholar athlete with a 4.65 GPA, and being accepted to Stanford where she graduated last June 2014.

Here’s my thinking. Steve Glazer’s wealthy, corporate, special interest supporters are not interested in the needs of 99% of the people and their children, and I’m not voting for Steve Glazer.

UPDATE on April 14, 2015 at 7:00 PM PST

FIRST: Two fliers arrived in the mail today. One was from a Steve Glazer supporter (Bill Bloomfield) bashing Susan Bonilla with what I think are misleading claims.Bill Bloomfield invested time and money to support and reform the Republican Party before leaving its ranks in March 2011. He says he grew tired of his party’s increasing “hyper-partisanship” and conservative social agenda. Bloomfield now calls himself an independent. Bloomfield is a wealthy Manhattan Beach businessman and real estate developer.

LA Weekly.com says, “If there’s a common thread there, it might be education reform. Both Kashkari and Tuck are big supporters of the education reform movement, with its emphasis on fighting teachers unions, rolling back tenure, using test scores to evaluate teachers, and expanding charter schools. Bloomfield is also a supporter of Students First, the education reform political action group.”

The other flyer was one of the rare few that arrived in our mail box from Susan Bonilla paid for by her own campaign, and I scoured it looking for accusations and dirt on Steve Glazer, and couldn’t find any dirt.

Does this mean Glazer can claim he’s running a clean campaign because he has supporters who are paying for the dirty side of it.

I couldn’t find anything on Bonilla’s flyer/poser that was dirt, but there was a list of her accomplishments as a mayor, country supervisor and state assembly-member. And there was this: Susan Bonilla’s Clean Campaign refuses funding from tobacco companies or tobacco-funded special interests; only honest, factual, respectful campaigning, and no personal attacks, no misleading voters. On the other side of the flyer, California Attorney General endorses Bonilla.

SECOND: An e-mail arrived in reply to the questions I sent in an e-mail through Susan Bonilla’s Website. Here it is:
Dear Mr. Lofthouse:
Thank you for taking the time to contact my office. As your California State Assemblywoman, it is vital that I hear from you regarding the decisions made in the State Capitol and how they impact our community.

Sometimes my Assembly district or capitol offices receive requests, such as yours, that are related either directly or indirectly to my campaign. I hope that you will understand that it is not appropriate nor are my Assembly offices allowed to respond to campaign issues or requests. My Assembly offices are here to represent and serve the people in my district. You will need to contact my campaign office directly.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me and I hope you will understand. The information that my office receives from constituents is a significant consideration in my legislative decisions. Please feel to contact my district office at (925) 521-1511 anytime for non-campaign assistance or for more legislative information.

Sincerely,
Susan A. Bonilla
Assemblymember, 14th District

Website: Assemblymember Bonilla

UPDATE on April 18, 2015 at 7:00 PM PST

Since the last update, three more poster/flyers arrived in the mail. Two were from Bonilla (paid for by her campaign and not by millionaire/billionaire donors) and one from Glazer’s supporters paid for by an organization called JobsPAC, a bipartisan coalition of California employers. Don’t let the fancy title fool you. JobsPAC does not support workers. Some of the biggest donors to JobsPAC are Anthem Blue Cross, PG&E, Anheuser-Bush, Western Manufactured Housing Communities (WMA), Edition International and Chevron Corporation. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled. If you vote for Steve Glazer, you are voting for the interests of these corporations. – ElectionTrack.com

The JobsPac flyer says, “Assembly woman Susan Bonilla Likes to Enjoy the Good Life — at Your Expense.” The CEO of PG&E’s total compensation for 2011 was more than $9 million.  Imagine the high life he lives with that money, and I’m sure that Steve Glazer, if elected, will make sure to vote for legislation that will benefit PG&E. WMA is a statewide trade association whose members are largely mobile home park owners who, collectively own, operate and control over 175,000 mobile home spaces in California. The CEO of Chevron was paid $32.2 million in fiscal 2012, up 20% from $24.7 million in fiscal 2011.

Now that you know a little bit about some of Steve Glazer’s supporters, the question Susan Bonilla asks on one of her two flyers makes sense: “Why are Mega Developers Spending $1 Million to Smear Susan Bonilla and Elect Steve Glazer?” Bonilla’s other flyer says: “Steve Glazer’s Actions speak louder than his words”, and then compares claims made by Glazer’s campaign to news published in the Los Angeles Times, SF Chronicle, the Mercury News, and in the Contra Costa Times (with the dates the news ran so you can look it up yourself if you want to—the flyer supporting Glazer doesn’t offer this detailed information of its sources) offering the evidence that what Glazer claims doesn’t match what he does.

______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

 2015 Promotion Image for My Splendid Concubine

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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More than a novel—an education about what will happen to the U.S. without labor unions and justice

Grisham’s “Gray Mountain” offers an education of what the United States will become without labor unions and justice.

I’ve read most if not all of John Grisham’s work, and I was not disappointed by Gray Mountain. What I really appreciated was the door he opened into a world I had no idea still existed in the United States.

If you think that working people are safe from corporate greed, you should read this book and pay attention.

While the characters and the plot carry the story along, the actual history of Appalachia and Big Coal threads its way through the novel like blood flowing through the Carotid Artery from the heart to our brain but in this case, the blood is coal and it is clogging the artery contributing to brutal poverty and causing much suffering and early deaths. I think Grisham is evolving into a muckraking author-journalist in the best tradition of the golden age of journalism.

The coal industry is plundering Appalachia. It is a tragedy what the greedy, cold blooded corporate industry is doing to both the environment and the people who live there.  The results are hundreds of mountains decapitated, forests obliterated, water polluted, wildlife displaced and people made sick with cancer, lung and heart disease, and Grisham doesn’t  spare us from any of these inhuman corporate crimes.

What has the coal industry done and what is it still doing? Let me summarize—Appalachia, a region of extraordinary beauty and natural diversity, is under attack. Mountaintop removal is strip mining on steroids—a radically destructive form of surface mining whereby coal companies bulldoze the forest, decapitate the peaks with explosives, push the shattered rubble into adjacent valleys, and destroy the ecologically crucial headwater streams that had been there before.

If you read this book—or listen to it like I did—Grisham will take you on a dangerous and dramatic ride with Samantha Kofer, a 29-year-old graduate of Georgetown and Columbia Law who was earning $180,000 a year before the story takes her from the world of big law to a non-profit, legal aid clinic in the heart of coal country.

The story Grisham paints makes clear that the labor unions that once offered some protection for the workers in this industry were broken years earlier by the crooked, brutal, greedy coal companies, and what makes this story even more tragic is that in the real world where we live, corporations and billionaire oligarchs are waging endless war against labor unions all across America to do the same thing that the coal industry did several decades ago. If you want to discover what the U.S. will look like for workers without labor unions, learn with Samantha Kofer.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Runner Up
2015 Florida Book Festival

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

Honorable Mentions
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography at 2014 Southern California Book Festival

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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What happens when the GOP Profit Politics of Jeb Bush and the Authoritarian CCSS testing regime come together in Florida

First, I want to tell you about an 8th grade student I home taught back in the early 1980s. I was teaching English full time at an intermediate school and was asked if I would home teach one of my students who was being treated for a brain tumor that would include surgery. Even at her young age of 13, she was already a top-ranked figure skater and had a chance to compete in the Olympics. The brain tumor ended all that.

About thirty years later, I heard back from her when I received an e-mail, and she let me know that she had survived the surgery, recovered, graduated from college, married and was living a full life. Because of the tumor, she never did get her chance to compete in the Olympics.

Now this comment arrives from Cathy Bacot, who I think lives in Florida.

Cathy says, My daughter is in 10th grade this year she has brain cancer; she is missing 80% of her cerebellum from surgery to remove a 5cm tumor when she was 4 years old; she cannot write or type proficiently because of her brain injury; she uses a gait trainer or wheelchair to ambulate; she has epilepsy; she has damage to her grey matter from 12 years of different chemotherapy treatments; she has expressive aphasia; ataxia; apraxia.

She is in school full time, she took the FCAT in 5th grade and scored a 4, she is very intelligent. She has a one on one para at school to assist her with physical as well as academic tasks. It took her 9 days to complete the FCAT reading test when she was in 5th grade. It was exhausting for her and she cried every morning before going to school to take the test because she did not want to sit alone in that class room another day and read and answer questions.

It takes her a very long time to read even though she knows all the words because she processes much more slowly than the average person. In the classroom she is allowed to use books on tape or have her para read long passages to her, but this accommodation is not allowed on statewide standardized tests. This year she is required to take the new ELA in order to qualify for a standard diploma.

She is a straight A student, she works extremely hard to maintain her good grades and deserves a standard diploma. We were told that even with all her disabilities she is required to take the test.

This year there is a writing segment included in the test which was not included in past years. She is expected to type out essays when they know that she is physically unable to do this. They said they would work on getting her a designated person that she can dictate to in order to complete this part of the test.

Can you imagine how that will go? Most people have a hard time understanding my daughter because of her apraxia, that paired with her aphasia and just being a kid who is probably not too comfortable with sharing her ideas out loud with a complete stranger is a recipe for disaster. And this is just the ELA.

I haven’t even gotten started with the Algebra EOC. These tests are going to require hours upon hours of testing for her, days of doing nothing but sitting in a classroom taking a test that most kids finish in just a couple of hours.

I am going to try and get the new exemption under the Child With Medical Complexity subsection for her, but I’m not sure if she qualifies. It seems like they are limiting the exemption to kids who have no motor or language function, but I am going to give it a shot. I will keep you posted on what happens. If anyone has any advice for me regarding this, I welcome it.

Conclusion from Blog Host: It’s time to fight back. It’s time to stand up and stop this insanity. I didn’t join the U.S. Marines and end up fighting in Vietnam to support a government like this anywhere in the United States. Elected representatives like these in Florida do not represent what the Founding Father’s created for this republic.

If anyone has any advice for Cathy Bacot regarding what is happening to her daughter and other children in Florida, she will welcome it. 

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”