Ron Fournier’s article about Wednesday’s IRS hearing is sloppily written. It doesn’t show he’s interested in accuracy:
Conservatives are applauding Issa for shutting down a Democrat. Without evidence, the Right has convicted Lerner, the IRS, the White House, and President Obama of abuse of power.
Conservatives like me applaud Chairman Issa for shutting off Rep. Cummings’ microphone in the middle of a political stunt aimed at deflecting attention from the latest Lerner emails:
I might be crazy but I’ll bet most judges would admit that as evidence. That’s Mr. Fournier’s accusation of convicting Lerner without proof just disappeared. That’s before talking about how Ms. Lerner said something that sounded like a motive for targeting TEA Party organizations.
BTW, that dismisses the Democrats’ protestations that progressive c(4)’s were targeted with equal vigor. Prior to the Citizens United ruling, progressive organizations had applied for and been granted c(4) status. They’d been operating under that part of the Internal Revenue Code for decades. The biggest influx of c(4) applications came from TEA Party organizations and organizations like True the Vote.
That’s before talking about the fact that no progressive organizations have filed a lawsuit demanding that the IRS hadn’t approved or rejected their application for c(4) status. If Lerner and the IRS had applied the same policies equally to both parties, shouldn’t these progressive organizations be complaining about inaction on their applications, too?
The dog that isn’t barking often speaks loudest.
The kid that cries wolf the loudest often isn’t credible. In this instance, Mr. Fournier is crying wolf. Clearly, he isn’t paying attention to the proof that Chairman Issa asked Ms. Lerner about. While Ms. Lerner took the Fifth, Chairman Issa read into the record emails showing Ms. Lerner expressing her worries that she didn’t want Cincinnati working on the TEA Party organizations’ c(4) applications. Additionally, she didn’t want it to look too political while DC fiddled with the TEA Party organizations’ c(4) applications.
That’s what I’d call getting trapped in God’s little acre — east of the rock, west of the hard place. At this point, I’d certainly take the Fifth if I were in Ms. Lerner’s predicament. Thankfully, I’m not foolish enough to put myself in such a difficult position.
Over the past week, I’ve highlighted the fact that Julianne Ortman said she didn’t favor repealing Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act. Since one of the quotes was from the Star and Sickle, aka the Star Tribune, it’s fitting that conservatives question whether the Strib got the quote wrong. This video should dispel any worries that they misquoted Ms. Ortman:
If that doesn’t satisfy people that Julianne Ortman doesn’t favor repealing Obamacare, nothing will. Defeating Franken is one of Minnesotans’ top priorities this November. We won’t have a chance to fire Franken this November if our candidate sounds like Al Franken.
We know this because Mitt Romney couldn’t carry the attack to President Obama on Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, because Obama would hit him on Romneycare each time Romney brought up the ACA. Does anyone think that Franken and his allies won’t highlight these statements if she’s the candidate? Of course they will.
If we want to deal with this from a position of strength, we can’t have a compromised candidate. It’s that simple.
Last night, Chris Dahlberg criticized Julianne Ortman’s statement that she “isn’t a full repeal person” in this tweet:
Chris Dahlberg ?@dahlberg4senate·
#Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster. It’s a shame Sen. Ortman is standing with Sen. Franken against repeal. #mngop pic.twitter.com/kN5mPU2q6f
I don’t know whether Sen. Ortman is honestly against repealing Obamacare or if she’s simply pandering to moderate voters. What I’m certain of is that Sen. Ortman’s statements aren’t winning her votes with GOP delegates.
I know that because the vast majority of delegates to the GOP State Convention hate the Affordable Care Act with a passion. Further, they understand that it’s impossible to fix a couple parts of the bill without throwing other parts of the bill totally out of whack. Finally, they know that sounding like Al Franken won’t help Republicans defeat Franken.
Mike McFadden favors repealing the ACA:
America’s health care system is broken, but Obamacare is not the answer. Before we can make the kind of changes Americans deserve, we need to repeal the “Unaffordable Care Act” and replace it with a patient-centered, market-based solution that will lower costs and increase accessibility for all Americans. Minnesota has some of the best health care minds in the entire world. Instead of looking to bureaucrats in Washington, we can take charge and develop homegrown solutions for health care. By restoring power to the states, we can free Minnesota to become a laboratory for innovation and a standard-bearer for health care solutions that work.
That’s the type of strong statement it’ll take to defeat Al Franken. Mr. McFadden would put physicians and families in charge of their health insurance. It wouldn’t let the federal government dictate to families.
I’ve met Sen. Ortman. She’s an honorable public servant. Unfortunately, she’s wrong on this issue. To defeat a well-funded Democrat incumbent, Republicans can’t afford to make this type of major mistake.
Are Yield Rates Important?
by Silence Dogood
The Office of Strategy, Planning & Effectiveness maintains a public website that contains a wealth of information about SCSU.
The website may be accessed here. If you click on the link for Applications/Admissions, you obtain the following document.
One of the key pieces of information is the number of matriculating students. Essentially, this represents the incoming freshman class of students. With the scale used in the figure above, you can see the numbers of students matriculating is declining. However, when plotted on a separate plot, the data shows the decline more clearly.
From Fall 2006 to Fall 2008, the number of matriculations increased. However, from Fall 2008 to Fall 2013, the number of matriculations decreased from 2,403 to 1,703, representing a decrease of 700 matriculations, which corresponds to a decrease of 29.1%. The lost tuition from these 700 students represents a decline of $4,900,000 (assuming $7,000 per FYE).
Just in case someone wants to argue with the assumption of $7,000 in tuition for an FYE, the figure below shows the MnSCU website that documents the revenue summary for SCSU for FY13 of $7,600 per FYE:
One of the key points to recognize from this data is that Dr. Mahmoud Saffari, who was hired as Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management in 2003, was dismissed in the fall of 2011. Essentially, Dr. Saffari was the administration’s scapegoat for the decline in enrollment in the fall of 2011. However, he was also here while the enrollment went up from Fall 2006 through Fall 2008. More importantly, he hasn’t been here for the declines for Fall 2012 and Fall 2013. Perhaps the administration needs to find another scapegoat.
Further analysis of the data, which perhaps is only something of interest to data geeks, is calculating the “yield rate” of the application/admission process. Essentially, the yield rate is the percentage of those students offered admission who then matriculate. The following figure shows the yield rate from the data above:
Not to ascribe too much to the visible decline because if you make a lot more admissions offers the percentage may decline but the number of actual matriculations may increase. However, the number of matriculations has declined significantly and the data does not show an increase in admission offers. The data clearly shows that, for whatever reasons, fewer students are choosing to attend SCSU. The data also shows that blaming Dr. Saffari for the enrollment decline in Fall 2011 doesn’t seem to be supported by the data.
Unfortunately for SCSU, the data shows a problem and the administration has not put forth much of a plan for reversing the decline in enrollment. Hopefully, the administration is not counting on
to actually make a difference.
I wish I didn’t have to continually criticize the SC Times for publishing this outlandish editorial. It’s just that I find their intellectual dishonesty that repulsive. This paragraph is especially repulsive:
Faculty and staff leaders need to get engaged, too. They must start by demanding accountability of employees who seek anonymity in making potentially damaging claims but offer no proof of what they are saying.
The Times didn’t write about a specific person who’s allegedly making these claims. They wouldn’t even talk about what claims were supposedly made. They didn’t even offer proof that this anonymous troublemaker was making things up. Instead, they talked about anonymity and not offering proof.
That’s the picture of gutlessness and hypocrisy. That’s called accountabilility for thee, just not for me.
Aside from that, it’s time for someone to hold the Times accountable for not living up to its promises. For instance, John Bodette has promised that the Times would do more investigative reporting than the year before. He’s done that each of the last 2 years.
What’s interesting is that I haven’t seen proof that a Times reporter has submitted a data practices act request, aka a DPAR, to the University to dig into a controversial subject?
Thus far, I haven’t seen anything resembling an investigative article from the Times on the transcript scandal. I wrote here about how “the St. Cloud Times couldn’t be bothered with dispatching one of their education beat reporters to the campus to cover the student transcript fiasco.” Instead, they ran Conrad Wilson’s MPR article.
Why hasn’t the Times dug into the Coborn’s Plaza financial fiasco? It’s been open more than 3 years. SCSU lost #2,250,000 the first 2 years it was open. At a SCSU Budget Advisory Committee meeting this year, the Committee members were told that the University hoped to keep the losses to “only” $980,000 this year.
When the Times reported on the University’s fall semester enrollment, the Times ‘reported that enrollment was down 1.3%. That was the administration’s figure. The MnSCU FYE figure, which gives the accurate picture of the University’s enrollment health, was significantly different:
The MnSCU website on the thirtieth day classes showed enrollment at SCSU to be down 5.6% in FYE (full-year equivalent).
Tuesday, Jim Knoblach officially announced his candidacy for the House seat in HD-14B, currently held by DFL freshman Zach Dorholt:
Knoblach, a St. Cloud real estate investor, served in the state House from 1995 to 2006, when he chose not to run again.
He said last month that he was considering a run for the 14B seat. In a news release Tuesday, Knoblach said he wants “to put some balance and common sense back in the Legislature.”
First things first: I will be supporting Jim at next week’s endorsing convention. I’m not part of Jim’s campaign team but I’ll enthusiastically support Jim, partially because I’ve considered Jim as a friend for years, partially because he’s one of the smartest policymakers I’ve ever met.
Immediately, Jim started defining the race against Dorholt:
“Unlike Mr. Dorholt, you won’t find me voting for new job-killing taxes one year, and then claiming to be a tax cutter by suggesting they should be repealed the next year,” Knoblach said in his release.
It isn’t just that Rep. Dorholt is attempting to make his vote for the Democrats’ Tax (increase) Bill disappear. It’s true that, in voting for the bill, he voted for funding Tom Bakk’s $90,000,000 office building. Not only that but Dorholt voted for the Business-to-Business tax increases that he’s now hoping to repeal.
With Jim, I know that I won’t see him changing his mind moment-to-moment to fit his political needs. The great thing about Jim is that he’s a man of principle who thinks things through first. Jim’s willing to fund important priorities that Minnesota’s Constitution madates. He just won’t vote for things like $90,000.000 office buildings for part-time politicians.
Recently, Rep. Dorholt tried explaining away his vote for the Democrats’ tax increases this way:
“I’m not somebody who’s going to vote against a bill when it has much more good in it than bad,” Dorholt said.
Shame on Dorholt for saying that. The Democrats’ tax increase bill included middle class tax increases, the funding for a politician’s pork palace and a sales tax on farmers. If that’s Dorholt’s idea of a bill that “has much more good in it than bad”, then it’s time to question Dorholt’s priorities.
Just when President Obama, Vice President Biden, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. This article provides the salt for these clowns’ open wounds:
First, Sarah Palin. In 2008, the Alaskan conservative warned that Putin was on the prowl. Quote: “After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of moral indecision and equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.”
Wow. Mrs Palin not only got the country that Putin would threaten right, she also predicted the reason behind it. Obama’s “indecision and equivalence” over Iran, Egypt and, most importantly, Syria, has probably encouraged Putin to believe that there would be next-to-no Western response to an attack on Ukraine.
This was highly predictable. It’s only surprising to the children at Foggy Bottom and in the West Wing. They either didn’t see this coming or they didn’t care. History won’t award a gold star to any of these fools for their decisions prior to Russia’s invading Crimea. (A dunce’s cap for each is the better fit.)
Unfortunately for the Feckless Foursome, the humiliation doesn’t (and shouldn’t) stop there:
Second, Mitt Romney. Romney’s foreign policy approach was broadly mocked in 2012. The country was keen to withdraw from overseas conflict in the wake of Iraq and Afghanistan and Mitt’s vague neo-conservatism seemed out of step with the public mood. Sometimes, said the critics, it came off as something that his advisers were coaching him to say; a nod and a hint to AIPAC rather than a strongly held belief. Rachel Maddow concluded, “It’s not just that Romney is uninformed; it’s that he hasn’t figured out how to fake it.”
Romney confirmed the sceptics’ worst fears when he described Russia as America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” Barack Obama lashed out with some adolescent sass: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because. The Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
Actually, people who lived through the 80′s are praying that we’d that type of leadership back. That was when Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John-Paul II brought down the Soviet Empire. That was when Jeane Kirkpatrick and Lech Walesa contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The Feckless Foursome didn’t notice or didn’t care that Putin still thinks that the collapse of the Soviet Union was “the collapse of the century“:
Mr Putin therefore went out of his way to extol the virtues of democracy and talk up Russia’s potential for foreign investment. He lamented, however, the collapse of the USSR in 1991, calling it “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe”.
That’s quite the contrast in sobriety. The Feckless Foursome insisted that Russia was a friend that didn’t have expansionist goals, despite Putin’s expansionist rhetoric. While Rachel Maddow was making herself look stupid, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin said unpopular things that turned out to be 100% right.
Finally, I’d love asking Mrs. Clinton how that reset button thingy is working out lately.
Technorati: President Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Reset Button, Vladimir Putin, Russian Bear, Soviet Empire, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Ronald Reagan, Tear Down This Wall, George H.W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John-Paul II, Lech Walesa, National Security, Cold War
It isn’t surprising that the UAW would run to the NLRB for a shoulder to cry on after suffering a humiliating defeat in its attempt to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee. It isn’t even surprising that the UAW is attempting to silence opposition to the unionization movement:
On Feb. 14, the workers made their voices heard, with 53% voting against allowing the UAW to represent them. I believe that the workers understood that they were nothing more than dollar signs for the UAW. Obviously, I could not have been happier for the Volkswagen employees, for the community and for Tennessee.
Unfortunately, the UAW has chosen to ignore the employees’ decision and has filed objections with the National Labor Relations Board, charging that elected officials like me should not be allowed to make public comments expressing our opinion and sharing information with our constituents. It is telling that the UAW complaint does not mention President Obama’s public statement urging the employees to vote for the union.
Ordinarily, the NLRB’s rulings aren’t reviewed by the courts. If the NLRB rules that it was improper for public officials to speak about the UAW’s unionization drive, their ruling will get taken to court, where they’ll lose badly.
If the NLRB issues such a ruling, they’ll be exposed as Big Labor’s corrupt shills. They’ll lose credibility in the eyes of the average citizen.
Most importantly, the UAW will be exposed as sore losers who had run of the VW plant for 2 years and who didn’t face management opposition for that time but still couldn’t win the organizing election. That’s pretty pathetic.
When the SC Times published this Our View Editorial, they crossed a line they shouldn’t have crossed. Here’s what I’m talking about:
Faculty and staff leaders need to get engaged, too. They must start by demanding accountability of employees who seek anonymity in making potentially damaging claims but offer no proof of what they are saying.
That’s a cheap shot at Silence Dogood, a cowardly act on the Times’ behalf and intellectually dishonest. The Times didn’t even have the political courage to name names.
First, I’ve willingly published Silence’s articles on LFR because they’re well-researched and because the Times hasn’t covered the things that Silence has written about. Admittedly, some of the things that Silence has written about will sting President Potter and SCSU but that isn’t Silence’s fault. That’ll happen because President Potter made some foolish decisions that’ve literally cost SCSU millions of dollars that shouldn’t have been spent.
Second, when the Times said that Silence has made “potentially damaging claims” without offering “proof of what they’re saying”, they’re being intellectually dishonest. At the start of each of Silence’s posts, Silence has said where the data for the article came from. In all instances, the information used in Silence’s articls was either from official SCSU budget reports or they’ve been from MnSCU’s enrollment database. In both instances, they’re public documents.
Why wouldn’t the Times identify the person they were accusing? In the first sentence, they insist that faculty must demand accountability for anonymous people “making potentially damaging claims”, then they don’t refer to the only person they could possibly be refering to. That’s the epitome of being gutless.
The biggest reason why Silence stepped forward was because the Times wasn’t covering the stories Silence wrote about. The next biggest reason why Silence wrote those articles is because Silence hated seeing the University needlessly deteriorate into where it’s at today.
In FY2010, FYE enrollment was 15096, the highest in University history. Last year, FY2013, FYE enrollment was 13,053, a drop of 13.5%. Why hasn’t the Times reported this? In their article about first semester enrollment, the Times acted like President Potter’s off-campus PR firm:
For fall 2013, enrollment is at 16,245. Last year, it was 16,457. That’s a 1.3 percent drop. It dropped 4.8 percent from 2011 to 2012. St. Cloud State had enjoyed five years of growth previously.
What’s disappointing is that the Times reported headcount enrollment, which is sometimes called show-and-tell enrollment. It’s what universities show the media right before telling them that things aren’t tanking. Budgets, however, are based on FYE enrollments because they’re more accurate in telling the financial health of a university.
Since its peak in FY2010, FYE enrollment at St. Cloud State has dropped almost 19%. As the previous quote shows, the Times didn’t report the whole truth. The only question they haven’t answered is why they haven’t reported the whole truth.
Rather than cheap-shotting people who care about the University, perhaps the Times should consider the idea of not accepting everything President Potter says as though it was etched in stone with God’s finger on top of Mount Sinai.
That’d be a refreshing change.
The more she speaks, the more Sen. Ortman sounds like Al Franken on health care. During an interview with KSTP’s Tom Hauser, Sen. Ortman said “Whether you agreed with Obamacare or not, it was passed by Congress, it was signed by the President. It was his initiative. It was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Compare that with Al Franken’s statement:
But it’s the law of the land. We should be moving forward, not re-fighting the same old fights. And we certainly shouldn’t shut down the government just because you wish Obamacare weren’t the law.
Ms. Ortman, we know that Democrats in Congress shoved the bill down America’s throats. We know that the Supreme Court ruled, incorrectly I believe, that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional.
Sounding like Al Franken won’t change people’s hearts and minds about the ACA. The best way to do that is by laying out a vision that’s different from Al Franken’s vision, which is Obamacare. Saying that Obamacare is the law of the land doesn’t highlight the fact that, under the ACA, health insurance premiums and deductibles are higher. Saying that it’s the law of the land doesn’t highlight the fact that people’s networks are smaller under Obamacare.
Most importantly, saying that the ACA is the law of the land doesn’t highlight the fact that Al Franken’s vote for the Affordable Care Act gave the federal government permission to tell families what coverages would be required for their health insurance policies.
To win the health care fight, Republicans need to offer Minnesotans lots of health insurance options. That starts with the premise that families, working with their physicians, are best suited to make the right decisions. It doesn’t start with the premise that Al Franken’s one-size-fits-all plan is best for Minnesotans.
As for Franken, his gibberish about moving forward is fluff. I’d love hearing his explanation of what that specifically entails. Does that mean keeping Obamacare as is? Does that mean making the exchanges work better? Would Franken vote to change the Essential Health Benefits requirements so catastrophic policies would qualify as Acceptable Health Plans?
It’s time to tell Al Franken and the Democrats that the 2014 elections will be about who’ll cling to the failed status quo, aka Obamacare, vs. who’s willing to propose a plan that gives families the options that will cover their needs while lowering health insurance premiums.
Candidates that aren’t willing to fight for a patient-centered plan don’t deserve the people’s votes. It’s just that simple.