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Saturday, May 10, 2008

MFC Holds "Parental Alert" Meeting

Does Peter LaBarbera Get His News from David Duke's Website?

The Anti-Semetic Ted Pike has been one who has taken on the cause of defending a teenager who has been accused of a hate crime in Illinois. His article appears on David Duke's website on May 1st. LaBarbera picks up on the story on May 7. The story then gets published on Worldnet Daily.

From Rev Ted Pike's article Zionist Sponsored “Hate” Legislation Railroading Christian Teenagers in Illinois published on David Duke's site:

The police department of Champaign, Illinois is reported to be under pressure from higher authorities to increase its quota of hate crimes convictions. Brett Van Vanasdlen, an 18 year-old Christian college student on a baseball scholarship, didn’t know this. On April 12 he and a friend saw two homosexuals leaning on each other and holding hands, walking toward them on the sidewalk. “Look at those two guys holding hands,” Brett said to his friend and walked past them. According to Brett’s mother, the next thing he knew, one of the homosexuals (whom he perceived to be drunk) had grabbed him by the shoulder, putting his face up to Brett’s and repeatedly shouting, “What did you say?” Brett told him to go away several times and then pushed him. The homosexual fell over backwards. On his back, the homosexual told his partner to call the police. In eight minutes, four officers arrived. Two interviewed Brett and his friend and assured them there would be no problem. Brett had been physically accosted and detained, clearly an assault. The other two officers interviewed the homosexual, who was taken to the hospital.

Box Turtle Bulletin pointed this out:

Velasquez was walking with friends at 1:00 am. Another young man, Brett Vanasdlen, saw him and made a bigoted remark.

According to Velasquez, he responded, “How ignorant was that?” and kept walking. According to Vanasdlen, Velasquez grabbed him and started screaming, “What did you say” in his face.

In both stories, Vanasdlen threw Velasquez to the ground where he was knocked out, suffered head trauma, and was taken to the hospital. He was released the next day and is fine.

Vanasdlen was arrested and charged with a hate crime. He’s been released until his trial.

It is likely that this will be a very straightforward case. There were witnesses who can make their argument and a judge or jury will either convict or acquit Vanasdlen of assault.

But the story does not stop there.

David Duke, onetime Louisiana legislator and Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, has a website where like-minded individuals proclaim their beliefs. They rant about the corrupting influence of Jews, how civil rights laws lead to black men raping white women, how European countries need to keep their ethnic identity free from the dilution of immigration, and radical hispanics want to return the Southwest to Mexico. Rev. Ted Pike is a regular writer who specializes in anti-Semitic screeds (he loves Jews in the same way that LaBarbara love gays).

On Duke’s website, Rev. Ted Pike tells a version of the story provided by Vanasdlen’s mother. He claims that Vanasdlen is only being tried because “The police department of Champaign, Illinois is reported to be under pressure from higher authorities to increase its quota of hate crimes convictions.”

Pike encourages his readers to protest Vanasdlen’s arraignment before the facts are presented at trial. And it appears that one of his peers is taking up the cause.

Peter LaBarbera, an anti-gay activist better known for his extensive collection of gay porn and his video-taping of leather and other fetish events, is now meeting the challenge on Duke’s website. In case some of his readers are not also readers of Duke’s racist website, LaBarbera invites them to join the campaigners (LaBarbera downplays the racist and anti-Semitic connection, calling Pike a “pro-family advocate”).

Kudos to Box Turtle Bulletin for pointing out the source of Peter LaBarbera's story.

University of Toledo's Crystal Dixon Suspended

A Worldnet Daily article describes the suspension of the Associate VP of Human Resources, Crystal Dixon for writing an oped that was critical of the comparison of discrimination against blacks to discrimination against gays. The piece quotes some of Dixon's piece:

Dixon then responded.

"I respectfully submit a different perspective for Miller and Toledo Free Press readers to consider. … First, human beings, regardless of their choices in life, are of ultimate value to God and should be viewed the same by others. At the same time, one's personal choices lead to outcomes either positive or negative," she said.

"As a black woman who happens to be an alumnus of the University of Toledo's Graduate School, an employee and business owner, I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are 'civil rights victims.' Here's why. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a black woman. I am genetically and biologically a black woman and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended. Daily, thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle evidenced by the growing population of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex Gays) and Exodus International just to name a few.

"Economic data is irrefutable: The normative statistics for a homosexual in the USA include a Bachelor's degree: For gay men, the median household income is $83,000/yr. (Gay singles $62,000; gay couples living together $130,000), almost 80% above the median U.S. household income of $46,326, per census data. For lesbians, the median household income is $80,000/yr. (Lesbian singles $52,000; Lesbian couples living together $96,000); 36% of lesbians reported household incomes in excess of $100,000/yr. Compare that to the median income of the non-college educated Black male of $30,539. The data speaks for itself," she said.

PFOX is not an accurate source. I'm surprised she didn't quote the "average age of death for a gay man is 43 nonsense."

The article continues, where she acts as if she speaks for the University of Toledo.

She said the alleged benefits disparity at the university, cited by Miller, came about simply because the employees of the two institutions were working under different contracts.

"The university is working diligently to address this issue in a reasonable and cost-efficient manner, for all employees, not just one segment," she said.

But she argued God created male and female, according to Genesis 1:27, and "there are consequences for each of our choices, including those who violate God's divine order."

"It is base human nature to revolt and become indignant when the world or even God Himself, disagrees with our choice that violates His divine order," Dixon said.

This statement suggests she is speaking for the school, and that the school participates in religious discrimination.

Then came the suspension announcement from the school, along with Jacobs' condemnation of Dixon's writings.

"Her comments do not accord with the values of the University of Toledo. It is necessary, therefore, for me to repudiate much of her writing," he said.

"Our Spectrum student group created the Safe Places Program to 'invite faculty, staff and graduate assistants and resident advisers to open their space as a Safe Place for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning [LGBATQ] individuals.' I took this action because I believe it to be entirely consistent with the values system of the university. Indeed, there is a Safe Places sticker on the door of the president's office at the University of Toledo," Jacobs said.

"We will be taking certain internal actions in this instance to more fully align our utterances and actions with this value system," he said.

Employees of an institution have every right to speak out. They do NOT have the right to suggest institutional support of their view point. Dixon was discussing how university benefits were determined - something she would only know about because of her job. Ms Dixon's oped implied she was speaking for the University of Toledo, and therefore, in my view, her suspension was in order. To address the situation, she should write a follow up oped, to clear up that she was speaking for herself as an individual, and not for the institution.

Miller said he disagreed with Dixon, but acknowledged she had the right to express her beliefs.

"The university operates in an atmosphere of idea exchange, and while I recognize the institution's desire to distance itself from her, this is a basic free speech issue and I am disappointed she has been punished for expressing her views,” he said.

An official with the pro-homosexual Equality Ohio said Dixon's ideas were "more appropriate for her place of worship" and didn't belong elsewhere.

The school's diversity program is set up "to attract and retain diverse faculty, staff, and students" by pledging "to respect and value personal uniqueness and differences."

I think Miller misses the point for reasons I've stated above.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Republican Activist Bloggers Not Happy About Minnesota Republican Party Finances

Lady Logician:

There is an old saying admonishing people who live in glass houses not to throw stones. MNGOP Chairman Ron Carey should have remembered that prior to beating the Al Franken tax story into the ground. You see, in his zeal to encourage Al Franken to "come clean" on his tax problems, the MNGOP (under Ron Carey's leadership) still has not come clean on their finances, as several papers reminded readers yesterday. The FEC, you see, had issues with how certain expendatures were reported and Chairman Carey promised an immediate and speedy audit. The results of that audit, that Chairman Carey promised was forthcoming, is still - one year later - yet to be released.

Many party activists, myself included, have had problems with Chairman Carey, especially when it comes to things like party messege and credibility in the face of leadership "issues". Some expressed their frustrations in public forums, I did not. Oh I voiced my concerns. When he was running for re-election last June, Chairman Carey called me and when we finished over an hour later I had gotten the last of my concerns out. I know that I was not the only one to voice concerns to the Chairman....concerns that he said he would address and for the large part has not.

As people may recall, Ron Carey barely won reelection to be party chair. The Lady Logician thinks this may hurt Norm Coleman.

Now I fully comprehend that Chairman Carey is not running for Senate and AL Franken is, however the average voter is not going to make that distinction. The average voter is going to see these stories and they are going to say that the MNGOP is just as guilty as Franken...thus negating any messege inroads we activists might have made!

The ball is in Carey's court. If he were smart, he would release the audit PUBLICALLY and immediately and he would drop the tax issue and move on to talking about why voters need to vote for Norm Coleman (as opposed to against Al Franken). Senator Coleman has a record that Republicans can be proud of...a record that has frustrated Conservatives for sure, but for the large part has been a good representation of ALL MINNESOTANS. Rather than leaving that important story just to bloggers (like Gary Gross and myself) he needs to be talking about that and leaving the attack pieces to the blogosphere - where it can be done without damaging the candidate or the party. Right now, Chairman Carey, your actions are damaging the entire Republican ticket! For the Senator's sake, until you get the MNGOP's house in order, please stop trying to help us.

Ofcourse, the Al Franken hasn't paid his taxes has been a story found by, and pushed by Michael Brodkorb of Minnesota Democrats Exposed.

As I said earlier, I was totally surprised that the Franken campaign failed to point out that Ron Carey was throwing stones from a glass house much earlier.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Norm Coleman Has Conference Call With MOBsters

Was Tracy Eberly of Dirt Worshiping Heathens fame invited to participate? What about Tom Swift?

Gary Gross:

Last night, I joined several of my MOB friends for a blogger conference call with Norm Coleman. Norm was on his A game last night. Sen. Coleman started the call with a brief monologue about Al Franken’s tax troubles. Sen. Coleman said that it wasn’t that Franken owed lots of money in taxes–he doesn’t–it’s that it showed that he isn’t willing to take responsibility when something goes wrong. I agree.

Franken has offered a litany of ‘the dog ate my homework’ type of excuses since Michael exposed him. Sen. Coleman said that Minnesotans have a simple view on this issue: If you owe taxes, you pay them and you don’t make excuses.

That's interesting that Coleman's take on this, is a bit different than Michael Brodkorb's. There's no notes on whether the Blo N Go issue came up during the conference call.

Meanwhile, the Strib covers how Ron Carey has been throwing stones from a glass house, regarding Al Franken's tax problems.

The Minnesota Republican Party has scored a series of body blows against DFL U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken over business irregularities that Franken attributes to his accountant’s mistakes.

But the state GOP has some bookkeeping issues of its own, problems that persist despite a yearlong, self-initiated audit. The party has spent some $78,475 on accounting services since early 2007, according to its reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Failure to fully disclose expenses, questionable transfers of funds, math errors and other reporting problems have been flagged by the FEC in 28 letters to the state GOP since mid-December 2006.

The party has repeatedly missed deadlines to fully correct its reports and has told the agency it is working on solving the problems.
The irregularities are not unusual, said University of Minnesota law Prof. Guy-Uriel Charles, an expert on election law, after reviewing some of the correspondence. He said the problems are related to complex campaign finance laws.

The DFL Party has been questioned 19 times by the FEC over reporting problems during the same period. The DFL, however, has been able to address the issues raised, with the exception of what it calls a persistent software glitch.

The problems with the GOP bookkeeping take on added weight given the party’s attacks on Franken for irregularities with workers’ compensation and disability insurance premiums and the filing of taxes.

Last month, GOP party chairman Ron Carey said, “Why do Hollywood celebrities think there is one set of rules for them and one set of rules for everyone else when it comes to paying taxes?”

A left-leaning blogger tried to ask Carey about the party’s FEC reports at a news conference the GOP called last week to highlight Franken’s problems. Carey dismissed him, saying the press briefing “is something for our credentialed media here.”

Carey did not respond this week to Star Tribune requests for an interview about the FEC filings.

“Just like any political entity, the Republican Party of Minnesota continues to work with the FEC to make certain our filings are in compliance,” party spokesman Mark Drake said in an e-mail Tuesday.

The Drama Queen has been curiously silent about this.

Neva Walker's Excellent Performance

I have been critical of Rep. Neva Walker in the past. I listened to the debate over the education bill. She did an excellent job of defending her sex ed provision in the house of representatives. Go here, and find "3001" to listen. She gave some moving speeches about the diverse constituents in her district, and her own experiences as a single parent.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Conference Committee Drop Kicks Sex Ed Provision

From OutFront Minnesota:

Legislative Update
A legislative conference committee has dropped the sex education legislation from the Education Policy Omnibus bill. Governor Pawlenty indicated he would veto the bill because of the sex education provision. This is a disappointing move. However, according to the Coalition for Responsible Sex Ed there are contingency plans in the works to keep moving forward on this legislation. The bill would enable school students to receive age-appropriate comprehensive sex education so they can make good choices for themselves now and in the future.

Stay tuned to OutFront Minnesota E-news for updates on sex education.

Senator Sandy Pappas opposes deletion of Sex Education
1. Click here
2. Go to Monday May 5th, 2008 - Conference Committee on S.F. 3001, Part 3 - and cue up to 5 minutes, 30 seconds

There are less than two weeks left in the 2008 legislative session. It's going to be action packed up to the end! The legislature must adjourn by Monday, May 19th.

Sandy Pappas: "We were told by the governor's staff that the Minnesota Family Council would have to sign off, on the language... We are deeply disappointed Mr Chairs that this isn't going to be included in the bill."

Pappas makes a good point: The Minnesota Family Council wasn't elected to anything. Why is the Governor kowtowing them them at the expense of rational policy.

The DFLers will hold firm on a primary seat belt law, and booster seats for all kids under 8 or under 80 pounds. They throw gays over the bus quickly. I can bet there will be no house vote on the municipal domestic partners bill.

Meanwhile you have DFL and Republican leadership using their political capital to jam the Mall Boondoggle down our throats.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Write to Rep. Michael Nelson

DFL Rep Michael Nelson deserves to hear from a lot of people about the Mall of America parking lot scam.

Here's the link to his legislative webpage.

Here's the message I sent earlier today.

I don't care who might get a job out it.... the proposal to allow the Mall of America to steal money from the fiscal disparities fund for a
non-public purpose is a bad idea. If the Legislature wants to incentivize new construction for non-public purposes, lower everybody's taxes. Don't pick specific winners (which also creates losers). I'd be curious about how your own constituents feel about the work you've done on this topic. Where is Brookdale in relation to your district? Are you representing your district, or are you just a mouthpiece for the labor unions? I'm holding out hope that this dies in the conference committee, especially since Rep. Lenczewski pointed out that nobody has agreed to back the bonds.

Greatest Hits From the Tax Bill Debate

I watched several hours of Monday's debate on the floor of the Minnesota House re: the 2008 Omnibus Tax Bill.

Fascinating stuff....

Wife abuser Rep. Mark Olson introduced an amendment to the bill that would have amended the Minnesota Constitution to eliminate all property taxes. I *think* the revenue would be replaced by more regressive sales taxes. Olson failed to mention that little item when he introduced the amendment. What a sensational idea. I missed the vote on the amendment, so I don't know who else lined up with the wife beater.

The tax bill contains no language about the proposed Mall of America theft of fiscal disparity funds. The supporters of this bad idea knew that it wouldn't fly in the tax committee chaired by Rep. Ann Lenczewski, so while the Senate included it in their bill, the plan is to 'work it out in conference committee'.

Rep. Torrey Westrom introduced an amendment to use TIF instead of fiscal disparities for this bad idea, which gave the tax committee chair a chance to show this idea for the fraud that it is.

She wanted the members to take the vote and get everybody on record, but at the end Rep. Westrom withdrew his amendment. Coward.

So, the conference committee will meet, with no official House position on the Mall of America theft.

Rep. Lenczewski very effectively pointed out what should be a show-stopper for the whole thing. In order for the fraud, I mean, um, deal to happen, some unit of government has to agree to back the bonds for the construction. Representatives from the City of Bloomington have gone on record as refusing to back these bonds. Hennepin County is another possibility, but I don't know if there have been any official discussions, and my opinion is that they're still feeling the sting of the Twins stadium fallout.

The response on the floor was that finding a backer for the bonds would be, again, 'worked out in conference committee'. Rep. L. pointed out that the state cannot compel another unit of government to back the bonds.

Hopefully this is dead.

Has Anybody Authored a Bill?

As I listen to the three presidential candidates parse words and gnash their teeth over a summertime gas tax holiday, I just wonder whether anybody has actually authored a bill in the US House or Senate.

Are the candidates talking about the summer of 2008? Um, Memorial Day is May 26th, less than three weeks away. They had better get cracking.

Personally, I think a lot of Americans see this idea for the empty sales pitch that it is. If John McCain were serious, he'd be in Washington pushing this bill through committees to get to a floor vote.

Please, give us more credit. Nobody is fooled by this story.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Derbyshire on Expelled: Blood Libel on Western Civilization

National Review Online:

When talking about the creationists to people who don’t follow these controversies closely, I have found that the hardest thing to get across is the shifty, low-cunning aspect of the whole modern creationist enterprise. Individual creationists can be very nice people, though they get nicer the further away they are from the full-time core enterprise of modern creationism at the Discovery Institute. The enterprise as a whole, however, really doesn’t smell good. You notice this when you’re around it a lot. I shall give some more examples in a minute; but what accounts for all this dishonesty and misrepresentation?

My own theory is that the creationists have been morally corrupted by the constant effort of pretending not to be what they are. What they are, as is amply documented, is a pressure group for religious teaching in public schools.

Now, there is nothing wrong with that. We are a nation of pressure groups, and one more would hardly notice. However, since parents who want their kids religiously educated already have plenty of private and parochial schools to choose from (half the kids on my street have attended parochial school), as well as the option of home schooling, now very well organized and supported (and heartily approved of by me: I just wish I knew how they find the time); and since current jurisprudence, how correctly I am not competent to say, regards tax-funded religious instruction as unconstitutional; creationists are a pressure group without hope, if they campaign openly for the thing they want.

Understanding this, the creationists took the morally fatal decision to campaign clandestinely. They overhauled creationism as “intelligent design,” roped in a handful of eccentric non-Christian cranks keen for a well-funded vehicle to help them push their own flat-earth theories, and set about presenting themselves to the public as “alternative science" engaged in a “controversy” with a closed-minded, reactionary “science establishment” fearful of new ideas. (Ignoring the fact that without a constant supply of new ideas, there would be nothing for scientists to do.) Nothing to do with religion at all!

I think this willful act of deception has corrupted creationism irredeemably. The old Biblical creationists were, in my opinion, wrong-headed, but they were mostly honest people. The “intelligent design” crowd lean more in the other direction. Hence the dishonesty and sheer nastiness, even down to plain bad manners, that you keep encountering in ID circles. It’s by no means all of them, but it’s enough to corrupt and poison the creationist enterprise, which might otherwise have added something worthwhile to our national life, if only by way of entertainment value.


One of my favorite comments came from “Pixy Misa” (Andrew Mazels) who correctly called Ben Stein's accusing Darwin of responsibility for the Holocaust “a blood libel on science.”

I would actually go further than that, to something like “a blood libel on Western Civilization.” One of the most-quoted remarks by one conservative writer about another was Evelyn Waugh's on Kipling. It bears quoting again.

[Kipling] was a conservative in the sense that he believed civilization to be something laboriously achieved which was only precariously defended. He wanted to see the defences fully manned and he hated the liberals because he thought them gullible and feeble, believing in the easy perfectibility of man and ready to abandon the work of centuries for sentimental qualms.

Western civilization has many glories. There are the legacies of the ancients, in literature and thought. There are the late-medieval cathedrals, those huge miracles of stone, statuary, and spiritual devotion. There is painting, music, the orderly cityscapes of Renaissance Italy, the peaceful, self-governed townships of old New England and the Frontier, the steel marvels of the early industrial revolution, our parliaments and courts of law, our great universities with their spirit of restless inquiry.

And there is science, perhaps the greatest of all our achievements, because nowhere else on earth did it appear. China, India, the Muslim world, all had fine cities and systems of law, architecture and painting, poetry and prose, religion and philosophy. None of them ever accomplished what began in northwest Europe in the later 17th century, though: a scientific revolution. Thoughtful men and women came together in learned societies to compare notes on their observations of the natural world, to test their ideas in experiments, and in reasoned argument against the ideas of others, and to publish their results in learned journals. A body of common knowledge gradually accumulated. Patterns were observed, laws discerned and stated.

If I write with more feeling than usual here it is because I have just shipped off a review to an editor (for another magazine) of Gino Segrè’s new book about the history of quantum mechanics. It’s a good, if not very remarkable, book giving pen-portraits of the great players in physics during the 1920s and 1930s, and of their meetings and disagreements. Segrè, a particle physicist himself, who has been around for a while, knew some of these people personally, and of course heard many anecdotes from their intellectual descendants. It's a “warm” book, full of feeling for the scientists and their magnificent enterprise, struggling with some of the most difficult problems the human intellect has ever confronted, striving with all their powers to understand what can barely be understood.

Gino Segrè’s book — and, of course, hundreds like it (I have, ahem, dabbled myself) brings to us a feeling for what the scientific endeavor is like, and how painfully its triumphs are won, with what sweat and tears. Our scientific theories are the crowning adornments of our civilization, towering monuments of intellectual effort, built from untold millions of hours of observation, measurement, classification, discussion, and deliberation. This is quite apart from their wonderful utility — from the light, heat, and mobility they give us, the drugs and the gadgets and the media. (A “thank you” wouldn’t go amiss.) Simply as intellectual constructs, our well-established scientific theories are awe-inspiring.

And now here is Ben Stein, sneering and scoffing at Darwin, a man who spent decades observing and pondering the natural world — that world Stein glimpses through the window of his automobile now and then, when he’s not chattering into his cell phone. Stein claims to be doing it in the name of an alternative theory of the origin of species: Yet no such alternative theory has ever been presented, nor is one presented in the movie, nor even hinted at. There is only a gaggle of fools and fraudsters, gaping and pointing like Apaches on seeing their first locomotive: “Look! It moves! There must be a ghost inside making it move!”

The “intelligent design” hoax is not merely non-science, nor even merely anti-science; it is anti-civilization. It is an appeal to barbarism, to the sensibilities of those Apaches, made by people who lack the imaginative power to know the horrors of true barbarism. (A thing that cannot be said of Darwin. See Chapter X of Voyage of the Beagle.)

And yes: When our greatest achievements are blamed for our greatest moral failures, that is a blood libel against Western civilization itself. What next, Ben? Johann Sebastian Bach ran a slave-trading enterprise on the side? Kepler started the Thirty Years War? Tolstoy instigated the Kishinev Pogrom? Dante was a bag-man for the Golden Horde? Why not go smash a few windows in Chartres Cathedral, Ben? Break wind in a chamber-music concert? Splash some red paint around in the Uffizi? Which other of our civilizational achievements would you like to sneer at? What else from what Waugh called “the work of centuries” would you like to “abandon … for sentimental qualms”? You call yourself a conservative? Feugh!

For shame, Ben Stein, for shame. Stand up for your civilization, man! and all its glories. The barbarians are at the gate, as they always have been. Come man the defenses with us, leaving the liars and fools to their lies and folly.

Read the whole thing. It's well argued and well written.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Mitch Berg: Defeating Moderate Republicans Is More Important than Defeating DFLers

He interviewed Jan Schneider, who got the Republican endorsement over Neil Peterson, partly because Peterson voted to override the transportation, but also because Peterson doesn't kowtow to the anti-gay Minnesota Family Council.

This is a laugh:

Jan needs your help, of course; Peterson is supported by a phalanx of big unions, including the construction unions that’ll be the big beneficiaries of the Transportation Bill.

Berg fails to point out that the Chamber of Commerce also supported the Gas Tax Increase.

Berg concludes:

Defeating the DFL is important; knocking off the Override Six is almost even bigger, since the long-term viability of this state is so closely tied to the viability of the GOP.

And Berg likes to call himself "center-right".

Meanwhile, where has Berg and others concerned about tax policy been about the Mall of America?