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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina’

Jonathan Pollard Underwent Emergency Surgery

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Jonathan Pollard was hospitalized on Wednesday, after becoming seriously ill.

After being rushed to the hospital, Pollard underwent surgery, but it not currently known for what specific health problem.

Pollard’s health has been seriously deteriorating as of late.

Refuah Sheleimah.

Dick Morris: Romney by a Landslide: 325 – 213

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

It’s refreshing to see a guy willing to bet his career on what looks from this end of the time tunnel to be a gross example of wishful thinking – except that in this case, pundit Dick Morris has been through a few careers already, first as a Republican, then as advisor and campaign manager for Bill Clinton, then as a Republican again, with enough strange and off-color anecdotes to keep an entire lineup of political comics in business.

I believe the above introduction is necessary so that you would go get whatever grains of salt you’ve got left in your political cupboards and rely on them heavily when reading the following predictions. Because, let’s face it, they’re incredibly seductive.

“That’s right,” says Dick Morris, it’s going to be “a landslide for Romney approaching the magnitude of Obama’s against McCain. That’s my prediction.”

Morris contends that Romney will win the McCain states from 2008, as well as Florida, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

In other words, all the baby-blue states Democrats have grown to love and think of as their own (with the exception of Indiana, Virginia and North Carolina) are really pink states. Romney is going to sweep them, and end up with 55% to Obama’s 45% of the national vote, if not an even wider margin.

Morris says that even though the Romney campaign was “brilliant,” as he puts it, the Obama side will lose because of their own mistakes.

The Obama negative ads in swing states were refuted by Romney’s congenial appearances during all three debates. He turned out not to be the monstrous robot they said he was.

Obama never made a convincing defense of his record, other than to say that it was GW Bush’s fault, and he had no vision to sell for the next four years. He didn’t ignite anyone’s imagination. So once people stopped fearing Romney, there was no other reason left to vote Obama.

Obama took too many states for granted, like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. He was misled by his own echo chamber. He should have treated them as swing states and invested heavily there. That’s what Romney did in North Carolina.

Obama looks tired. It’s not only his actual lack of sleep, there’s a sense that the man is used up, that, deep inside, he wouldn’t mind losing this one and go get a much deserved rest. McCain looked that way, four years ago. Bob Dole did in 1996. It’s hard to shake that feeling, no matter how many times he and his circle insist you’re “energized.”

And he looked mean and angry. He started talking about revenge in the last week of the campaign – voting for me is the best revenge, he said (I’m paraphrasing).

(To be perfectly frank, Obama is showing signs of being normal with his subtexted reluctance to do another four years of this hellish chore. I’m not sure that when we say someone is a “political animal” it’s such a big compliment. And yet, we don’t call our leaders “political humans.”)

Benghazi was a terrible mess, a collapse of the Intelligence network in Libya – and Obama should have said so on day 1. And Hurricane Sandy, with all the accolades from Gov. Christie and Mayor Bloomberg, was a very traumatic moment for many millions of Americans who might not be so wild about their incumbent president just now. Both events exposed an incompetence on the part of the Administration. Maybe the Benghazi failure didn’t touch so many voters, but, trust me, Sandy did.

Granted, Obama didn’t come across as callused and aloof as did GW Bush with Katrina, he jumped on his plane and went places right away – but a week later, people are still hungry and without power. You think they have a soft spot for the man at the top?

So, there it is, Dick Morris’s extremely convincing arguments why Team Romney is going to run away with the ball today. Like I said, very seductive…

Swing States: Obama Ahead Everywhere but N. Carolina

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

There’s only one bit of good news for the Romney campaign in the all-important swing state polls this weekend: their choice to pour a lot of ad money into North Carolina, to prevent it from going Democrat, is paying off.

Everywhere else, the president seems to either keep his lead—small though it may be—or pull ahead.

The polls are yet to reflect voters’ reaction to Obama’s handling of the Middle East storm over the anti-Muslim video clip and the killing of four consulate workers, including the ambassador. It’s possible, however, that Obama’s apparent hesitation in reacting to the upheaval would be balanced out by Romney’s attack on the president while the flames were still consuming the Benghazi mission.

In Virginia, Romney is probably paying for the governor’s attempt to pass a law to make the running of abortion clinics in the state practically impossible. This is not very popular with Virginia women voters, who favor Obama over Romney right now by a margin of 14 points. This explains the significant jump in Obama’s lead in Virginia.

The delegate map I enclosed presumes that Obama and Romney win all the states where they currently lead. It’s only a snapshot, obviously, but it appears that Romney is unable to catch up, so far, and, in a couple of cases—as in Ohio and Colorado—he is losing ground.

 

91612
State # Delegates Poll Dates Obama Romney Spraed
Colorado 9 8/31 – 9/12 48.3 45.3 Obama +3.0
Florida 29 8/31 – 9/12 47.8 46.5 Obama +1.3
Iowa 6 5/22 – 8/26 45 44.8 Obama +0.2
Nevada 6 7/24 – 8/26 49 45.7 Obama +3.3
New Hampshire 4 6/20 – 9/10 47.3 43.3 Obama +4.0
North Carolina 15 8/25 – 9/13 49.8 49.8 Romney +4.8
Ohio 18 9/7 – 9/12 48.5 44.3 Obama +4.2
Virginia 13 9/8 – 9/13 47.3 47 Obama +0.3
Wisconsin 10 8/13 – 8/21 48.2 46.8 Obama +1.4

Swing State Report: NC, VA, Leaning Romney

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

You’ll notice that I added North Carolina to the list of swing states. This is because the Romeny camp has declared it as such, probably not a minute too soon. With its 15 delegates, North Carolina broke McCain’s heart in 2008 and went for the Democrats. It’s good to know someone in the Romney camp is doing some thinking.

You’ll also note that Virginia this morning is leaning Republican, but well within the margin of error. Virginia will remain a tight race all the way to November.

We still don’t have a recent, reliable poll on Iowa. There’s only a Democratic campaign poll from 8/23-26, giving Obama 47% vs. 45% to Romney. Iowa also awarded its 7 delegates to Obama in 2008, but, like North Carolina, it should go Republican, all things being equal. Like Indiana, which went for Obama in ’08 (11 delegates). Today, Indiana is leaning Republican, and the universe is that much closer to equilibrium….

So, the swing states are still mostly going to Obama, but with some data seriously missing, and with margins that shouldn’t let the Democrats take a rest, nor fill Republican hearts with despair.

Stay tuned.

 

91212
State # Delegates Poll Dates Obama Romney Spraed
Colorado 9 8/13 – 9/2 48.7 45.3 Obama +3.4
Florida 29 8/22 – 9/9 48.3 46.3 Obama +2.0
Iowa 6 5/22 – 8/26 45 44.8 Obama +0.2
Nevada 6 7/24 – 8/26 49 45.7 Obama +3.3
New Hampshire 4 6/20 – 8/12 48.3 44.8 Obama +3.5
North Carolina 15 8/22 – 9/9 45.5 49 Romney +3.5
Ohio 18 8/15 – 9/9 47.6 45.4 Obama +2.2
Virginia 13 8/13 – 9/9 46.5 47.3 Romney +0.8
Wisconsin 10 8/13 – 8/21 48.2 46.8 Obama +1.4
91112
State # Delegates Poll Dates Obama Romney Spraed
Colorado 9 8/13 – 9/2 48.7 45.3 Obama +3.4
Florida 29 8/15 – 9/2 48.5 46.8 Obama +1.7
Iowa 6 5/22 – 8/26 45 44.8 Obama +0.2
Nevada 6 7/24 – 8/26 49 45.7 Obama +3.3
New Hampshire 4 6/20 – 8/12 48.3 44.8 Obama +3.5
Ohio 18 8/15 – 9/9 47.6 45.4 Obama +2.2
Virginia 13 8/13 – 8/23 47.3 46.7 Obama +0.6
Wisconsin 10 8/13 – 8/21 48.2 46.8 Obama +1.4
91012
State # Delegates Poll Dates Obama Romney Spraed
Colorado 9 8/13 – 9/2 48.7 45.3 Obama +3.4
Florida 29 8/15 – 9/2 48.5 46.8 Obama +1.7
Iowa 6 5/22 – 8/26 45 44.8 Obama +0.2
Nevada 6 7/24 – 8/26 49 45.7 Obama +3.3
New Hampshire 4 6/20 – 8/12 48.3 44.8 Obama +3.5
Ohio 18 8/15 – 9/9 47.6 45.4 Obama +2.2
Virginia 13 8/13 – 8/23 47.3 46.7 Obama +0.6
Wisconsin 10 8/13 – 8/21 48.2 46.8 Obama +1.4
90912
State # Delegates Poll Dates Obama Romney Spraed
Colorado 9 8/9 – 9/2 47.8 45.5 Obama +2.3
Florida 29 8/13 – 9/2 47.3 46.7 Obama +0.6
Iowa 6 5/22 – 8/26 45 44.8 Obama +0.2
Nevada 6 7/24 – 8/26 49 45.7 Obama +3.3
New Hampshire 4 6/20 – 8/12 48.3 44.8 Obama +3.5
Ohio 18 8/13 – 9/2 46.2 45.5 Obama +0.7
Virginia 13 8/13 – 8/23 47.3 46.7 Obama +0.6
Wisconsin 10 8/13 – 8/21 48.2 46.8 Obama +1.4

 

North Carolina Bans Gay Marriage

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment on Tuesday defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, eliminating the possibility of same-sex marriages in the state.

Unofficial returns showed voters passing the amendment with 61 percent of the vote, making North Carolina the 30th state to adopt a ban on gay marriage.

Campaigning against the amendment included a recorded phone message by former President Bill Clinton, who urged voters to oppose the amendment.

Campaign spokesman for President Barak Obama called the ban “divisive and discriminatory”.

Ensuring That No Child Is Left Behind

Monday, November 14th, 2011

A child’s uniqueness is something to be celebrated. When that uniqueness translates into diverse abilities and learning styles in the classroom, however, teachers are faced with a dilemma.

They can “teach to the middle” and hope to reach as many children as possible. Or they can face the challenge of diversifying their teaching-or to use the latest mantra in education-differentiating instruction.

Differentiating instruction seems to be the new wave of the future, with educators everywhere pointing to it as the most effective approach in the quest to reach every single student.

Differentiated instruction begins with the belief that teachers should adapt instruction to student differences. Rather than marching students through the curriculum in lockstep, teachers should modify their instruction to meet students’ varying readiness levels, learning preferences, and interests.

Why Differentiate?

Differentiating instruction helps teachers avoid the anxiety and boredom that result from “one-size-fits-all” classrooms, writes Carol Tomlinson, author of The Differentiated Classroom: Responding To The Needs Of All Learners.

When assignments are consistently too hard, students become anxious and frustrated. When tasks are consistently too easy, boredom results. Both these responses weaken a student’s motivation, and eventually, harm achievement as well, explains Tomlinson.

The differentiated classroom is one where teachers strive to tailor their instruction to individual student needs. They try to provide the right level of challenge for gifted students, for students who lag far behind grade level, and for everyone in between.

An impossible task? Not really. As one proponent of differentiation put it, “Each time you provide a student with extra help, more time, or a modified assignment, you’re differentiating instruction. All good teachers, whether they realize it or not, differentiate to some degree.”

Interestingly, the concept itself is far from novel. Back in the days of the one-room schoolhouse, when students ages 6-16 learned together, differentiated instruction was the norm.

What Are The Strategies?

Teachers who differentiate instruction rely on a number of strategies to make it feasible.

“There’s not one miracle thing that works for every child,” says Patricia Weaver, an education consultant from East Hanover, N.J who canvassed schools across the nation to study methods in differentiating. “You need a range of strategies.”

Some of the most common strategies include flexible grouping, which means grouping on the basis of diverse criteria. Sometimes students will be grouped by common interest (e.g. all are interested in learning about spiders), sometimes according to their level of ability, and other times according to their preferred learning style, whether audial, visual or kinesthetic.

Grouping is essentially a must, those who have tried differentiation agree. “If you don’t use flexible grouping, it’s almost impossible to differentiate instruction,” Weaver says. Trying to vary instruction without grouping students is simply too “unwieldy.”

Teachers can vary whole-class instruction by teaching small groups or individual students, Tomlinson suggests.

A Peek Into The Differentiated Classroom

Teachers from kindergarten to 12th grade are making use of these strategies in their classrooms, experts say.

In one school, the first grade teachers use supplementary reading activities to strengthen reading skills. On Mondays, they read stories to the entire class but break the class into groups according to reading levels for the next two days.

On Thursdays, the whole class as a unified group reviews the story once more, to measure improvement and reinforce learning.

To help students of differing abilities improve writing skills, some teachers have experimented with “peer tutoring” groups. In the groups that were surveyed, children read their work aloud and help one another with spelling and editing as they create their own books.  A writing activity that utilizes a differentiated approach in one school is the monthly class newsletter, for which the children write stories independently on topics of their choice.

Students love to see their names in print, teachers attest, and the pride they take in having their work “published” provides strong incentive to participate in future writing projects.

In another school, a 4th grade teacher differentiates math lessons by providing opportunities for some children to learn with manipulatives, some with the aid of a computer, while still others work best with “old-fashioned” pencil and paper.

“I have one student who uses a laptop computer all the time because of a writing disability,” one teacher noted.

At another school in the Midwest, a teacher of 7th graders learning about the cell uses mixed-ability groupings. Each of five students in a mixed-ability group might research a different cell part by gathering information from books at her own reading level. Then groups split up so that all students with the same cell assignment compare notes and teach one another.

Finally, students return to their original groups so that every member of each group can report to the others about the other cell parts. “It’s the coolest thing in the world to see a lower-ability kid teaching a higher-ability kid what he’s learned,” said the teacher. “This approach to differentiation helps motivate all students to push themselves just a little further.”

Diversifying In Math

Because 4th graders must memorize multiplication facts and not everyone has the same skill at memorizing, one teacher asks her students, “How do you think you could learn this best?”

She finds that the activities students prefer usually indicate how they learn most efficiently, so she often lets them choose whether to draw, write, use flash cards with a partner, or create three-dimensional models.

A teacher in North Carolina uses multi-leveled assignments to engage her 5th graders at all levels of ability. When she begins the unit on perimeter, area, and volume, she first presents a short lesson to the whole class. Together, she and the students measure various sizes of cereal boxes so that everyone is clear about definitions and processes.

Then, in groups of two, students receive activity packets. The more concrete learners receive packets with worksheets that guide them in measuring their own desks and classroom furniture, calculating the perimeters, areas, and volumes of things they can actually see and touch.

Other students with greater abstract reasoning skills are guided in designing their own bedrooms. This more complex assignment elicits students’ creativity in defining the dimensions of an imaginary bedroom and in creating scale drawings.

Students also calculate the cost and number of five-yard rolls of wallpaper borders needed to decorate their rooms. From catalogs, they select furniture and rugs that will fit into their model rooms.

Can Yeshivas Implement Differentiation?

Asking teachers to differentiate instruction raises a host of issues- time, classroom management and grading, among others. In a yeshiva that suffers from a shortage of teacher aides, as well as the extra funds necessary to vary textbooks and other teaching materials in the classroom, how can teachers be encouraged to move in this direction?

“The key word is ‘training’. You don’t learn to differentiate instruction in a one-afternoon workshop,” Tomlinson emphasizes. “It’s a multi-faceted process that takes time to master.”

Then too, an administrator has to become knowledgeable about differentiation, both the philosophy and the classroom implications, and to be devoted to its implementation.  A principal whose vision includes the conviction that “no child will be left behind” is likely to explore every possible avenue in the quest for sufficient resources to train his staff.

Some forward-thinking yeshiva principals employ someone trained in differentiation to work with teachers in their “traditionally” run classrooms. The specialist in differentiation coaches the teacher on how to modify assignments and tailor her curriculum so that even in a traditional setting, a certain amount of diversification of instruction is offered to students in need of it. 

What I Learned About America On My Summer Vacation: An Interview With MK Uri Orbach

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

In the less than two years since he gave up his full-time job as a print and radio journalist, Uri Orbach, 50, has distinguished himself as an indefatigable parliamentarian for the Religious Zionist Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party, which sits in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition government.

Rather than wasting valuable time during the Knesset’s nearly three-month summer break, Orbach decided to spend several weeks in the U.S. studying American political history and meeting with members of Congress and everyday citizens.

The Jewish Press: Who invited you to the U.S. and why?

Orbach: The State Department invited four new Knesset members as part of a special program to host parliamentarians who wish to understand and learn about the inner workings of the American government. The four of us were invited to political history encounters in Washington, D.C., New York and North Carolina. We learned about the political powers associated with the federal and state governments.  

 

Why was it important for you to participate in this event?

Most educational experiences provide you with something valuable. As a new politician, it is important for me to be given the tools and knowledge to understand how America looks at the world and at Israel. What’s interesting from my point of view is that the nature of American politics is very different from Israeli politics and is not suitable for our electoral system. However, it is important to understand the electoral and political process and perhaps adapt some of the ideas. I was particularly interested in the ongoing, direct relationship between the voting public and their congressmen.

Did you learn about U.S. history and politics before you became a journalist?

I thought I knew a lot about American history based on all of the reading I did as I kid. But when I went to America, I discovered how much I didn’t know about America. I still remembered central events in American history such as the Boston Tea Party, the Constitutional Convention, the Civil War and key points of American history during the 20th century.

You know, we see this big nation called America through an Israeli prism, which is only natural. But in order to truly understand America, you must see it through American eyes and that’s a completely different perspective. Despite the fact that Israelis are heavy consumers of American culture, movies, music, etc., there are other critical things to learn about America that cannot be understood just by focusing on the cultural aspects.

Who were the other parliamentarians who went with you?

Yariv Levin of Likud, Orit Zuaretz of Kadima and Hamed Amar of Yisrael Beitenu.

What struck you most in your encounters with America and Americans?

First of all, when traveling abroad with your colleagues away from the Knesset, you have an opportunity to understand them better within more relaxed surroundings. Rather than emphasizing our political differences on certain issues, we decided it was more important to focus on how we as a group of Knesset members can promote the image of Israel in a positive manner to our colleagues in Washington.

 

Congressman Dan Burton (R-Indiana), center, welcomes MK Uri Orbach, third from left, and other members of the Knesset delegation to his office on Capitol Hill.

 

I was left with some initial impressions and perceptions of the U.S. To me, America is a secular country with religious people. While there is a separation of church and state, the majority of the people I met are believers. Even American patriotism is based on an elemental core of religious belief. Israel, on the other hand, is a religious country where the majority of its citizens happen to be secular. The state of Israel is more involved in the personal religious affairs of its citizens (through the Chief Rabbinate, religious councils, etc.), even though most of the people are secular.

Where did you spend Shabbat, and did you have any trouble finding kosher food?

Though intense interaction with local Jewish communities was not a key goal of this trip, I spent my first Shabbat in Baltimore, where I had the chance to meet with members of the local National Religious [Modern Orthodox] community. My second Shabbat was spent in Manhattan, where I mingled with young members of the Carlebach shul and the Jewish Center on the Upper West Side. In the afternoon, I headed over to the Great Lawn in Central Park, where there were a great many kippah-wearing youngsters.

Getting kosher food in Baltimore and New York wasn’t a problem, but North Carolina was a bit more of a challenge. However, a friend of mine from Baltimore made sure I had kosher food so I wouldn’t be hungry for a moment.

How will your experience in the U.S. help you as an Israeli parliamentarian?

I’ll tell you something that might sound a bit weird. I’ve learned to appreciate the power of America, as well as the influence of the government. But I’m still left with the impression that America, with all due respect, cannot understand how our small country is surrounded by a range of enemies. America is this massive country that projects an image of power and being well defended. Thus, it is very difficult for Americans to actually understand what it means to be a small nation like Israel that is under constant threat and cannot afford to lose a single war. The notion of America and Israel both being democracies certainly creates a bond between us, but we cannot pin all our hopes on America.

Did you come to have a better understanding of President Obama during your time in America?

I’m afraid President Obama will be more committed to the peace process than to the fate of Israel. People who think peace alone will solve all the problems in the region just don’t understand the reality of things. I did not return from America with a more optimistic feeling in relation to the president, but I was left with positive feelings based on the discussions I had with members of the House and Senate.

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