Thursday, March 29, 2012

Liberal Brown Deer School Board Candidate: Have Legal Counsel Find Way to “Restrain” Criticism

Local school board politics can get very interesting, and Brown Deer is no exception.

Conservative former school board member Mike Christopolus has been a bit of a thorn in the side of liberal board members, engaging in the nefarious activity of writing to the local paper BrownDeerNOW criticizing the policies and performance of the school district.

Some people are more thin skinned than others, but liberal school board member Leslie Galloway Sherard wanted to explore legal avenues to shut Christopolus up.

In an e-mail to board members in late 2010, she complained:
I am tired of seeing a letter in the NOW paper from Mike C. that continues to attack our District, its’ [sic] employees and our efforts to help students be successful. I would like to craft a response to the paper from the school board.
OK, she is blowing off steam, and wants to respond. No harm, no foul.

But then she escalates:
I would also like to ask our legal council [sic] about these continued attacks many of which contain information that is not true. These letters do nothing but defame the District’s character and reputation. They also negatively impact the work we are trying to accomplish.
Heaven help us if free speech “negatively impacts” somebody’s idea of what they are trying to accomplish.
We owe it to our children and our community to respond and identify a strategy to get these kinds of letters restrained.
Sherard, who signed the Walker recall petition, is up for reelection on Tuesday.

Neither Christopolus nor Sherard was immediately available for comment.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Newt Gingrich On Campus

From Marquette News Briefs:
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will speak at a campaign rally Thursday, March 29, from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Weasler Auditorium. Gingrich will give a speech and answer questions from the audience. Tickets for this free event will be available after noon on Tuesday, March 27, in the AMU, Brooks Lounge. There is a limit of one ticket per MUID.

Gingrich’s wife, Callista Gingrich, will also join him at the event, which is sponsored by College Republicans. For additional information, email Marquette College Republicans.
We are not a particular fan of Gingrich, but we welcome any presidential candidate to campus, as it provides students an opportunity to become involved (even if, initially, only as a spectator) in the political process.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, March 26, 2012

John Stossel At Marquette

Trayvon Martin: The More We Learn, the More Complicated It Becomes

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player


Then there is this from the Orlando Sentinel:
With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who eventually shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old, then Trayvon climbed on top of George Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk, leaving him bloody and battered, law-enforcement authorities told the Orlando Sentinel.

That is the account Zimmerman gave police, and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say. There have been no reports that a witness saw the initial punch Zimmerman told police about.

Zimmerman has not spoken publicly about what happened Feb. 26. But that night, and in later meetings, he described and re-enacted for police what he says took place.

In his version of events, Zimmerman had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from behind, the two exchanged words and then Trayvon punched him in the nose, sending him to the ground, and began beating him.

Zimmerman told police he shot the teenager in self-defense.

This is what the Sentinel has learned about Zimmerman’s account to investigators:

He said he was on his way to the grocery store when he spotted Trayvon walking through his gated community.

Trayvon was visiting his father’s fiancée, who lived there. He had been suspended from school in Miami after being found with an empty marijuana baggie. Miami schools have a zero-tolerance policy for drug possession.

Police have been reluctant to provide details about their evidence.

But after the Sentinel story appeared online Monday morning, City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. issued a news release, saying there would be an internal-affairs investigation into the source of the leak and, if identified, the person or people involved would be disciplined.

He did not challenge the accuracy of the information.

Zimmerman got out of his SUV to follow Trayvon on foot. When a dispatch employee asked Zimmerman if he was following the 17-year-old, Zimmerman said yes. The dispatcher told Zimmerman he did not need to do that.

Zimmerman told them he lost sight of Trayvon and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from the left rear, and they exchanged words.

Trayvon asked Zimmerman if he had a problem. Zimmerman said no and reached for his cell phone, he told police. Trayvon then said, “Well, you do now” or something similar and punched Zimmerman in the nose, according to the account he gave police.

Zimmerman fell to the ground and Trayvon got on top of him and began slamming his head into the sidewalk, he told police.

Zimmerman began yelling for help.

Several witnesses heard those cries, and there has been a dispute about whether they came from Zimmerman or Trayvon.

Lawyers for Trayvon’s family say it was Trayvon, but police say their evidence indicates it was Zimmerman.

One witness, who has since talked to local television news reporters, told police he saw Zimmerman on the ground with Trayvon on top, pounding him — and was unequivocal that it was Zimmerman who was crying for help.

Zimmerman then shot Trayvon once in the chest at very close range, according to authorities.

When police arrived less than two minutes later, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, had a swollen lip and had bloody lacerations to the back of his head.

Paramedics gave him first aid but he said he did not need to go to the hospital. He got medical care the next day.
If Zimmerman is telling the truth, it is indeed self-defense.

There is solid evidence that Martin had Zimmerman on the ground, and was pummeling him. But did it start with Zimmerman retreating toward his SUV, or was Zimmerman belligerently demanding that Martin explain what he was doing there?

The story is obviously more complicated than the simple narrative of racial murder that the media was first pushing. We doubt that Zimmerman can be convicted of anything by a fair-minded jury, and this is not because he did nothing wrong, but because any prosecution would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not defending himself.

Our best guess as to what happened: an aggressive Zimmerman provoked a violent response from Martin which then caused Zimmerman to use deadly force.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, March 24, 2012

More on Trayvon Martin Shooting

Two accounts. First a teenager who was a witness:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AySYPMy1Ejw

Now, someone in the neighborhood who heard (but did not see) the confrontation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj4RHJ0taoc

Key point here: somebody was shouting before the shot.

Was it Trayvon Martin yelling after being accosted by Zimmerman? Or was Zimmerman being assaulted by Martin, as one witness claimed?

We’ll welcome comments on the relative plausibility of both scenarios.

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 23, 2012

Was Trayvon Martin the Aggressor?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Obama’s Edsel

From Rich Lowry in National Review Online:
President Barack Obama says he wants to buy a Chevy Volt when he’s out of office in five years. If getting into a General Motors electric automobile means so much to him, he’d better hope he loses in November. What the president dubbed the “car of the future” in a visit to a Volt plant may not make it to January 2017.

The partially government-owned General Motors has suspended production of its government-approved miracle car and temporarily laid off 1,300 workers at a Detroit plant. The halt is the result of a piddling detail lost in the gushers of praise for a big, bad car company supposedly learning the error of its environment-destroying ways — people don’t want to buy the damn thing.

GM hoped to sell 10,000 Volts last year and sold only 7,500. It planned to sell 45,000 this year and is scaling back production to meet the real rather than the imaginary demand. The Volt is the Solyndra of automobiles, another Obama-touted recipient of government subsidies that was succeeding as a great paladin of the future in all the speeches and press releases until it ran into hard market realities.

The Volt is too expensive, too small, and too complicated to appeal to all but a tiny slice of what is already a tiny segment of the car market. Hybrids have never been more than about 3 percent of all U.S. sales. To buy a Volt, you need the money to splurge and the exquisite environmental consciousness to think plugging in your car will help save the planet, even though about half of electricity comes from coal. The Volt is as much affectation as car.

It costs more than $40,000. At that price, perhaps GM should have made it part of the Cadillac brand rather than Chevy. Most buyers dropping that much prefer to go all the way and buy something really nice — say, an Audi or a BMW.

According to GM, the average income of a Volt purchaser is $175,000 a year. These well-heeled buyers get a $7,500 tax credit for selecting a car out of reach of many Americans, a trickle-up redistribution toward the upper, politically correct end of the car market.

It’s not that the Volt isn’t a fine piece of machinery. It is a smooth ride and has been well-reviewed. It’s just not going “to make Big Oil sweat,” in the words of a smitten writer for the New York Times. Big Oil presumably has other things to worry about than a rounding error in the more than 12 million vehicles sold in the U.S. every year.

As Henry Payne of the Detroit News argues, the Chevy Volt is basically the electric version of the gas-powered Chevy Cruze. Despite the Environmental Protection Agency’s rating that the Volt gets 60 miles per gallon, as a practical matter it’s more like 35 (it can go less than 40 miles on battery alone and then needs to switch over to gas). That’s comparable to the Cruze, which costs half the amount, has greater range, seats more people, and is easier to operate since all it requires is a visit to the filling station. GM sells more than 200,000 Cruzes a year.

The Volt is looking like Obama’s Edsel. What the president so confidently deems “the future” when he talks of energy and cars is his ideological vision dressed up in the language of historical inevitability. If he had been told in 2009 that the real future of the car market would be trucks, SUVs, and the like, which again ticked above half of sales, he surely would have blanched. If he had been told that technological breakthroughs would bring a future of new oil production, he would have been no less insistent on funding the likes of Solyndra.

For all his smug confidence about his vision of the future, he doesn’t truly know what car he will be driving in five years. If he stays true to his word, it might have to be a secondhand Volt.
Ultimately, the liberal obsession with “sustainability” comes down to raw cultural bias.

Liberals resent mass affluence. The believe they are entitled to live better than other people, but ordinary Americans live in nice houses, own big cars, drive in from the suburbs to work and go where they want to go.

They vote against gay marriage and sometimes elect Republicans.

They are, in other words, uppity.

Since elitist liberals have trouble distinguishing themselves by consuming more than ordinary Americans, they have to distinguish themselves by consuming differently.

Thus they despise the vulgar affluence of the masses, while consuming politically correct luxuries. Hybrid cars. Fair Trade coffee. Exotic cuisines.

And of course they deride the tastes of ordinary Americans, whose affluence and political power they resent.

Labels: , , , ,

That Silly Bumper Sticker

Labels:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Single Parenthood is Bad for Children

It seems Senator Glenn Grothman has stirred up all the politically correct types by introducing a bill that would require a state agency that is concerned with child abuse and neglect to pay attention to the most important cause of that abuse and neglect: family structure.

This reflects on sexual behavior (having children out of wedlock) and liberals are committed to the notion that no sort of sexual behavior should be stigmatized, even if it has nasty social consequences.

But the data are overwhelming. Below is a chart from a report by the Department of Health and Human Services on child abuse and neglect.

(You can click on the image to see a larger version.)


There simply isn’t much room for debate on this. Sure some (actually many) single moms do a good job with their children. And some marriages are destined to break up. Further, maybe it’s the father’s fault.

But the social norms and mores that have produced a massive number of children being raised by a single parent have harmed children hugely.

That liberals want to impose silence on this reality suggests that they don’t really care that much about children.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

New York Times Prints Anti-Catholic Ad, Rejects Virtually Identical Anti-Islam Ad

From The Blaze:
The New York Times has rejected a full-page anti-Islam advertisement that mirrored a scathing anti-Catholic advertisement the newspaper published on March 9.

According to The Daily Caller, a March 13 letter sent by the Times to the parody’s sponsor, activist Pamela Geller, said the $39,000 anti-Islam ad was rejected because “the fallout from running this ad now could put U.S. troops and/or civilians in the [Afghan] region in danger.”

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, accused the Times of having a double standard and told DC that The Time’s was based on “either [anti-Catholic] bigotry or fear [of Islamic violence], and they’ve painted themselves into that corner.”
Here is the anti-Catholic ad:



And here is the anti-Islam ad:



It’s tempting to say that the Times is guilty of cowardice. It’s tempting to suggest they would show more respect for Catholics if Catholics might bomb the New York Times building.

In fact, we think cowardice has very little to do with it, and ideological bias is everything. The liberals at the Times, like liberals generally, hate social conservatives. But are’t Muslims social conservatives too?

The simple fact is that it’s Christians, and not Muslims that liberals have to fight for control of American culture and American politics. Muslims are hardly fans of gay marriage, but it’s Christians who turn out in large numbers to vote down same-sex unions.

Indeed, Muslims vote Democratic.

Muslims also serve as yet another victim group to whom liberals can show solicitude, and they are thus every bit as useful as blacks, “women” and gays. Further, Muslims tend to oppose U.S. intervention in the Middle East, and thus have the same views (but for rather different reasons) as liberals, who instinctively tend to sympathize with America’s enemies.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, March 16, 2012

Terrorists Don’t Like Fox News / Like Mainstream Media

From David Ignatius in the Washington Post:
Bin Laden and his aides hoped for big terrorist operations to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. They also had elaborate media plans. Adam Gadahn, a U.S.-born media adviser, even discussed in a message to his boss what would be the best television outlets for a bin Laden anniversary video.

“It should be sent for example to ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN and maybe PBS and VOA. As for Fox News let her die in her anger,” Gadahn wrote. At another point, he said of the networks: “From a professional point of view, they are all on one level — except [Fox News] channel, which falls into the abyss as you know, and lacks objectivity, too.”

What an unintended boost for Fox, which can now boast that it is al-Qaeda’s least favorite network.

Labels: , , , , , ,

How Socialism Has Harmed Europe

From the Wall Street Journal:
“Jobs and economic growth” will be the focus at today’s crisis summit in Brussels, but judging by recent meetings European leaders will address the financial symptoms rather than the causes of their economic woes. For insight into the latter, they might do well to read a report on Europe published last week by the World Bank, of all unlikely places.

The study’s lead authors, World Bank economists Indermit Gill and Martin Raiser, conclude that the Continent’s basic growth model of the last half-century is seriously amiss, and that it will take more than well-meaning summitry to fix it.

Some of the news in the report is good. Europe, despite its woes, still accounts for one-third of world GDP with only one-tenth of world population. Before the financial crisis, half of the world’s $15 trillion in trade in goods and services involved Europe. Within the Continent, the single market has created a boom in cross-border trade and investment, raising the incomes of millions of Southern and Eastern Europeans over the last few decades.

As for the bad news, the first source of trouble is the labor market. European workers aren’t nearly as productive as they ought to be, especially in the South. Labor participation is low, and those who are employed are working less than they used to. In the 1970s, the French worked the longest hours among advanced economies. By 2000, they worked a month and a half less than Americans each year.

Europe’s demographics also aren’t on the side of growth. Populations across the developed world are graying, but Europe’s low productivity growth means that its future labor shortfall will be especially acute. It doesn’t help that Europeans draw social security benefits earlier and more easily than their developed-world peers. Pension commitments will strain national budgets even if Angela Merkel gets her way on handcuffing euro-zone public debt.

Which brings Messrs. Gill and Raiser to the other serious drain on European growth. Big government, by their calculation, shaves about two percentage points off growth once public spending passes 40% of GDP. Some welfare states are better-run than others—think Sweden and Germany—but the World Bank report highlights a few important connections between the welfare state and growth.

Today, European governments spend more on social protection than the rest of the world combined, thereby entrenching powerful disincentives to work and enterprise. Social protections have also come at huge direct cost to taxpayers. Europe’s giant debts arose because of “public spending to protect societies from the rougher facets of private enterprise,” the authors write. It’s rare to hear an institution such as the World Bank that is typically sympathetic to its political bosses put the matter so clearly.

A few policy fixes suggest themselves. Labor is still not as mobile within the EU as once envisioned. Easing restrictions on immigration from outside the EU is highly controversial, but it would help Europe face its demographic and economic shortfalls. Wealthy European countries have suffered a net drain of 1.5 million highly educated people to the U.S. alone in the last few decades.

But something deeper that needs adjustment. “From North Americans,” the authors write, “Europe could learn that economic liberty and social security have to be balanced with care: nations that sacrifice too much economic freedom for social security can end up with neither, impairing both enterprise and government.”

Messrs. Gill and Raiser call Europe a “lifestyle superpower”: It attracts tourists in droves, and its residents enjoy peace and a high standard of living. But it’s not getting richer. Unless it again puts income growth ahead of income security and redistribution, the Continent will continue to decline as an economic power.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Andrew Breitbart: Message to Libertarians on Campus

Global Warmist’s Fraud: More

From Reason.com:
If the theory of man-made global warming were such a self-obvious truth, the result of scientific consensus, then why do advocates for this idea keep committing frauds to advance it? Even more disturbing, why are some writers willing to defend this behavior?

The latest embarrassment for global-warming activists came on Feb. 20 after Peter Gleick, founder of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security in Oakland, admitted that he committed fraud to obtain documents he thought would embarrass a conservative think tank that has been a leading debunker of some of the overheated claims of the climate-change Chicken Littles.

The memos, which reveal the group’s political and fund-raising strategies, provided little to embarrass the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, but it has damaged the reputation of a man who was a respected intellectual in the environmental world. Gleick, a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellow, doesn’t seem brilliant now, as he takes a leave of absence from the institute, faces public embarrassment and possible prosecution. (Heartland claims that one memo was fabricated, although Gleick denies that charge, but the scandal could get uglier.)
In fact, it’s quite clear that the memo was forged, although it’s possible somebody besides Gleick forged it and fed it to him.
But even after Gleick admitted and apologized for his action, Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik defended him: “It’s a sign of the emotions wrapped up in the global warming debate that Gleick should be apologizing for his actions today while the Heartland Institute stakes out the moral high ground.”

“Peter Gleick lied, but was it justified by the wider good?” asked James Garvey of the British Guardian newspaper. He compared Gleick’s action to that of a man who lied to keep his friend from driving home drunk. “What Heartland is doing is harmful, because it gets in the way of public consensus and action,” he argued. “If his lie has good effects overall—if those who take Heartland’s money to push skepticism are dismissed as shills, if donors pull funding after being exposed in the press—then perhaps on balance he did the right thing. . . . It depends on how this plays out.”

In his view, anything that gets in the way of “consensus” — i.e., everyone agreeing with Garvey — is dangerous, so why not cheat, as long as it “has good effects”? Let’s reserve judgment based on how it plays out.

What would these people argue if a conservative who argues that, say, public-sector unions are bankrupting the state, pulled a similar fraud to get his hands on documents from union officials? Would they be defending that? Of course not. These writers are advancing a Machiavellian political agenda, not advancing a consistent ethical principle.

When it comes to global warming, the ends apparently justify the means. People from all political persuasions do stupid things to advance their cause, but what bothers me most are respectable people who justify behavior they would never tolerate from their foes. That type of ideological fanaticism is corrosive of our democratic society.

It’s easy to chide the hypocrisy of Gleick. He had been the chairman of an ethics committee for a scientific association. His column blasting dishonesty still sits on his institute’s Web site. It’s harder to explain away his deceit as a mere aberration in the climate-change drama.

In the “Climategate” scandal in 2009, “Hundreds of private email messages and documents hacked from a computer server at a British university are causing a stir among global warming skeptics, who say they show that climate scientists conspired to overstate the case for a human influence on climate change,” according to a New York Times report from the time. The emails showed that the scientific community is so invested in this climate-change ideology for financial and ideological reasons that it rather cook the numbers than level with the public about the reality of the threat. A follow-up release of emails in 2011 provided even more evidence supporting skeptics’ claims.

In this scandal, Gleick created a bogus email account in which he pretended to be a Heartland board member. Then he contacted the organization and asked for documents from a recent board meeting. He released them on the Internet anonymously and to journalists while claiming to be a Heartland insider, according to the institute’s explanation.

Although he offered his regrets, Gleick’s mea culpa was laden with excuses: “I only note that the scientific understanding of the reality and risks of climate change is strong, compelling, and increasingly disturbing, and a rational public debate is desperately needed. My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts—often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated — to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved.”

How do you base a “rational public debate” on deceit?

It’s not as if the documents added anything to the debate. They didn’t show any enormous investment by big corporations. They proved, as one writer noted, that donors give money to organizations whose work they endorse. What a revelation. Isn’t that what happens on the environmental side, also?

Marc Gunther of The Energy Collective admitted that “the leaked Heartland documents didn’t prove very much.” He slammed allies in the global-warming movement for praising Gleick and comparing him to a whistleblower. Clearly, not all believers in man-made global warming defend the indefensible.

But there is something about global warming that attracts the “ends justify the means” crowd. It’s the same fraudulent ideology that California’s state government has embraced as it implements a first-in-the-nation cap-and-trade program that won’t do a thing to cool our state, but will raise taxes on businesses and drive many of them elsewhere. Advocates of AB32 were hardly fonts of honesty and rational debate.

Hey, if Planet Earth is in danger, then anything goes in the political realm also. That ideology is far scarier to me than a little warmer weather.
The global warming crowd resembles nothing so much as an apocalyptic cult. If they were just walking around with sandwich boards emblazoned with “the world is coming to an end!” they would be benign enough.

But these particular fanatics have a lot of political power, and are intent on imposing their apocalyptic vision on the entire society, using the power of the state.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Barack Obama: Anti-Israel

Labels: ,

Obama Contraceptive Mandate Isn’t a “Women’s Issue”

Liberals have portrayed conservative resistance to the Obama Administration’s mandate that Catholic (and other religious) institutions have to supply free contraceptives to employees as part of a “war on women.”

Of course, in the eyes of liberals, “women” equals feminists.

But real world women typically don’t agree with feminists. This is certainly true of abortion, where women are either no different from men in their opinions or, in some of the best polls, a bit more opposed to abortion being legal.

But what about the contraceptive mandate?

A recent Gallup poll asks respondents “How closely are you following the news about whether religious-based employers should cover contraception for their employees as part of their health plans — very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not at all?”

Then, respondents were asked “Based on what you know or have read about the matter, do you sympathize more with the views of – [ROTATED: religious leaders (or) the Obama administration]?”

Overall, 48 percent of the sample agreed with “religious leaders,” and 45 percent with the “Obama administration.”

But men and women gave virtually identical answers. 49 percent of men agreed with “religious leaders,” and 47 percent of women did. The two percent difference is within the margin of error.

While 39 percent of Catholics and 42 percent of Protestants agreed with the Obama Administration, 68 percent of people who professed no religion agreed with the Obama Administration. So the “war on women” seems to be, in reality, a war of irreligious people on religious people.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, March 02, 2012

Understanding Liberals

Labels: ,