Oregon Artist Spotlight: Ben Nanke – Hey Starbucks Girl

Salem, Oregon Singer/Song writer Ben Nanke playing his art at the Art Department

Check out CCTVSalem to see more local artists //misplaced//

Oregon Artist Spotlight: Ben Nanke – Mister Stargo

Salem, Oregon Singer/Song writer Ben Nanke playing his art at the Art Department

Check out CCTVSalem to see more local artists //misplaced//

#BlogCon2013 – Coalition Building, uniting Conservatives and Libertarians

This panel – Russ Walker, Michelle Ray, Jason Pye, and Teri Christoph – was by far my favorite of #BlogCon2013. It was a spirited and passionate discussion on how Conservatives and Libertarians must find common ground in the ongoing fight for Freedom.

#BlogCon2013 – Holding the mainstream media accountable

This was an excellent panel discussion with Larry O’Connor, Gabriel Malor, and Guy Benson on holding the media to account and how we, as bloggers can fill the media watchdog role.

#BlogCon2013 – Irving, TX May 11 – 13, 2013


Feb. 8, 2013 6:15pm  from TheBlaze 

Score a big win for parents’ rights. On Friday, the state of Texas announced that they had reached an agreement with the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum (TESCCC) that would bring sweeping changes to the very secretive curriculum management system known as CSCOPE.

Texas Announces Sweeping Changes To States Controversial CSCOPE Education Program

Back in November of 2012, and based on complaints from parents, teachers, and students,TheBlaze started covering the story about an internal takeover of the Texas Public School education system. According to parents and teachers that we spoke with, the CSCOPE system was causing problems on several levels.

Transparency – Parents were not allowed to review the lessons that being taught in school. CSCOPE’s parents’ portal was a very basic outline and contained only sketchy details. Any parent who requested access to the lesson plans was told that they needed to visit the actual school and be directed by a teacher to see the online lessons.

Oppressive and Threatening Conditions – Teachers complained that working under the strict guidelines of the CSCOPE program, they were expected to deliver the content verbatim and only on the scheduled days in the lesson plan. If some students were not grasping the lesson, the teachers were directed to move on to the next lesson. Uniformity and sticking to the calendar were stressed over actual learning. Teachers were also asked to sign a contract that would prevent them from revealing what was in the CSCOPE lessons or face civil and criminal penalties.

Lack of State Board of Education Oversight – The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) was virtually shut out of the decision making on CSCOPE.

The agreement announced Friday contains several very important points and makes changes to the system immediately.  One of the most popular concessions will make many educators happy – Teachers will no longer be required to execute the CSCOPE lessons verbatim.

There were other significant changes to the program

From the Cypress Creek Mirror in Texas:

  • All future meetings of the TESCCC Governing Board, beginning with the February meeting, will be public with all the respective notice requirements being met.
  • The TESCCC will begin a joint review process of all CSCOPE lessons with the SBOE beginning with Social Studies.
  • Amendment of all Terms of Use Agreements, signed by both teachers and districts, removing civil or criminal penalties associated with the release of CSCOPE content.
  • Clarifying that all teachers and districts may post any and all CSCOPE lessons that they deem necessary.

The introduction of transparency and the removal of the threats against teachers who exposed CSCOPE were two of the key arguments made by those hoping to slow CSCOPE’s growth. But the agreement actually went further than many people expected. The massive changes also include:

  • Ending the non-profit 501(c)3 arrangement that incorporates CSCOPE.
  • Initiating the posting of CSCOPE lesson content to their public website.
  • Creating a standing curriculum review panel, comprised of: parents, teachers, school administrators, members of the SBOE, and TESCCC board members.

Texas State Senator Dan Patrick was vital to the negotiation between the SBOE and CSCOPE. Mr. Patrick’s statement on the agreement expressed his satisfaction with it, but also issued a little warning to CSCOPE:

“I’m glad the CSCOPE Board realizes that immediate and long term changes must be made to address the serious issues raised by our committee, parents, and teachers. Our committee will be monitoring the situation closely to ensure they follow through with their commitments. We will also be looking at legislation to ensure these changes cannot be reversed in the future and that the SBOE continues in their role of oversight of CSCOPE content. The future of the program will depend on CSCOPE keeping the commitments they have made and gaining the trust of the legislature, teachers, and parents.”

If you are not aware of what CSCOPE  is or was doing, the organization is an offshoot of an educational program that traces its roots back to 1965 when the state established media centers / Education Service Centers (ESCs) throughout each of Texas’s 20 school districts. In recent years, these ESCs have been transformed into a non-profit group that created the curriculum management system known as CSCOPE.

To get a better understanding of how CSCOPE was pushing some controversial concepts into the schools, we suggest you review these Blaze articles:

(H/T: Red Hot Conservative)

Following the Yellow Brick Road

This is a simple, personal post – tomorrow I’m going to head up north to watch my niece perform in her school’s production of the Wizard of Oz. Molly landed the most excellent role of the Cowardly Lion (Dorothy wannabes step aside) and I have no doubt that she will do all of her ham-bone auntie’s proud with her interpretation of this classic character. I cannot wait to be in the audience to see her shine – this kid can act and sing – no jive from the God-mother here. Break a leg Molly – I’ll be the beaming auntie in the audience nudging your mom every time we see you on stage, and smiling my guts out!

THE Cowardly Lion

The Double Standard of Hollywood


Benedict Cumberbatch is facing criticism. The man beneath Sherlock Holmes’ hat on the BBC series Sherlock and the villain in the new Star Trek movie, Into Darkness, Cumberbatch offered his commentary on the social message behind the film. I see nothing wrong with that, and I’ll tell you why, but first let’s look at what he said.

“In the film there’s a debate among Starfleet personnel over how best to extract an enemy in a distant part of the galaxy,” said Tom Brooks, a writer for BBC America, “and whether that enemy should be subjected to due process.”

Cumberbatch concurred. “It’s no spoiler I think to say that there’s a huge backbone in this film that’s a comment on recent U.S. interventionist overseas policy from the Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld era,” he told BBC America in an interview. Criticism of the Bush administration is not at all uncommon in Hollywood and in media as a whole, but many are tired of hearing it.

Breitbart.com’s article on the statement offered clean-cut reporting and little commentary. The comment section, on the other hand, wasn’t as reserved.

“Oh Benedict, shut up and act. You are a pretty young guy, you are great in Sherlock but seriously man, just be Khan and don’t ruin the movie for me.”

“Thanks for the warning, Benedict. I know not to waste my money now.”

“Let’s blame Bush again. I’m so over this. Come up with something new, Hollywood.”

Now this article isn’t a commentary on what Cumberbatch said. Clearly, the same charges of interventionist policy can be leveled at our current President and his aggressive use of unmanned drones to kill overseas targets. This, of course, doesn’t absolve former President Bush of any guilt whatsoever. We’ve had a bad run of presidents.

However, Star Trek has always been cutting edge with social commentary, putting controversial issues in a science fiction setting, an effective strategy that Cumberbatch acknowledges the new movie is continuing.

Does everything hollyWEIRD produces have to send a flippin’ message?

I’m honestly not quite sure why you like Star Trek if you’re so against Hollywood using media to send a message.

When actors make left-leaning statements, generally conservatives respond by lamenting how actors have such a strong cultural influence, calling the actor’s intelligence into question, or responding with the pervasive “shut up and act.” You would think that the overwhelming consensus in the conservative community is that actors shouldn’t talk about politics. However, we’re then faced with the exception of Clint Eastwood.

Eastwood is an actor, yet he is also a conservative. His “empty chair” speech at the RNC was met with mixed feelings from conservatives, ranging from approval and emulation via “empty chair day” to concern that Eastwood has “lost it” and an uneasy feeling from his quirky onstage performance.

But almost nowhere were calls for actor Eastwood to “sit down and shut up” due to his place in Hollywood.

So why the double standard? Why do conservatives disdain liberal actors while lionizing conservative ones? I think the answer is pretty clear. It’s the same immature mentality of “if you disagree with me, shut up!” that conservatives hate when it’s coming from the left.

Can the opinions of actors be valid? Clearly the opinions conservative actors like Clint Eastwood, Adam Baldwin, and Ronald Reagan are valued by conservatives, but in the culture at large, many people take Hollywood opinions with a grain of salt. One of the most common arguments I hear against actors is that “they’re experts at acting, not politics. They should stick with what they know.”

Fair enough, they’re not political experts.

But then, couldn’t the same statement be leveled at many of us?

“You’re a bank teller, not a political expert. Stay out of politics and stick with what you know.”

“You work in a marketing department, not the military. What gives you any right to opine about Benghazi?”

“You’re not an economist, so shut up about the economy.”

When we start demanding that people are experts, we put the nails in our own coffins. I do a lot of research about the subjects I report, but I’m not a credentialed “expert.” Many of us aren’t experts, either, we’re just concerned citizens trying to spread a message. We can tell Hollywood to sit down and shut up, but sooner or later the same thing is going to be said to each of us.

Embrace the 1st Amendment. Be a loud talker.

Also, stop freaking bashing Hollywood and start encouraging your kids to follow their dreams, especially if they want to be filmmakers or actors. This hostile attitude towards Hollywood is what is keeping it so liberal.

His Engine

Ben Nanke: His Engine is one of my favorite songs that I’ve written, but I’ve found that it is really speaking to a specific group of people – Christians who are neither of the world nor in it. While I firmly believe that, as a Christian, we’re called to step above the depravity and darkness of the world, problems arise when we try to distance and isolate ourselves from it entirely.

I don’t want to be a Christian in philosophy only; I want to make a visible difference in the lives of my fellow man, both directly by connecting with others in a meaningful way, and also indirectly by producing positive content that inspires and by working in politics and journalism to further the cause of truth and justice.

Prayer and contemplation is essential, but change occurs through our actions.

Simply put, we are God’s engine.

If you are struggling with despair or confusion in this broken world we live in, and feel like there’s nothing you can do, I hope this song speaks to you. Thanks for listening!

For more music and content, check out my –
ReverbNation Page: http://www.reverbnation.com/bennanke
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/bennanke
Twitter Profile: https://twitter.com/BenQNanke

Copyright 2013

Salem, OR Chapter of The Well Armed Woman


The Well Armed Woman is local groups of women around the country that meet monthly to practice, learn and grow as shooters. We create opportunities for women shooters to be introduced to issues that are important to us, learn safe gun handling skills and train together.

We are here to expand the world of firearms to women all over the country in a safe, non-threatening way with the purpose of Educating, Equipping and Empowering woman shooters.

  • Educating women on firearm safety, gun care and handling
  • Developing gun handling skills
  • Building defensive gun skills and awareness
  • Developing confidence
  • Networking with women of like interests
  • Meeting new people/socializing 531714_3494237154790_1764379880_n

This is a brand new program and Salem, Oregon is part of a growing list of chapters forming all over the country.

We welcome women 21 years and older of all experience levels. From seasoned shooters to women just getting started with buying, shooting, and caring for firearms, we offer a comfortable learning environment.

If you live in the Mid-Willamette Valley and want to find out more send an email to dqnTWAW@gmail.com or click here to find out more.