Archive for the ‘Corruption’ Category
Thursday morning, Rep. Greg Davids sent a letter to Gov. Dayton about MnSure. Here’s that letter:
In the letter, Rep. Davids highlighted the fact that the MnSure Board of Directors was given authority to vote on something called Active Purchaser. This paragraph hits at the heart of what’s wrong with the MnSure Board of Directors:
The reality is that active purchaser gives seven unelected, unaccountable board members the powers to decide what constitutes a “meaningful choice” for hard working Minnesotans and small businesses.
Here’s what’s wrong with this model:
Shortly aftrer its botched launch, MnSure revealed its vision for active purchaser in response to questions about the lack of choices in southeastern Minnesota. A MnSure representative told an audience in Owatonna that the opportunity to deny carriers from selling on MnSure will result in more competition and reduced costs.
Rep. Davids highlights the foolishness of that type of thinking in the next sentence:
In southeastern Minnesota, reducing options to increase choice and competitiveness is a mathematical impossibility.
I’d modify that statement slightly. I’d argue that reducing options to increase choice and competitiveness is a mathematical impossibility anywhere in the United States, not just in southeastern Minnesota.
I’d oppose this type of board whether the governor was a Republican or Democrat, mostly because it usurps the power of the legislature. Also, that part of the statute is written with vague language and platitudes:
As you may know, the MnSure enacting legislation provided the Board with broad, ambiguous power to limit the number of plans offered on the exchange starting in 2015. This arbitrary authority is based on innocent-sounding, but subjective and easily manipulated terms, such as “quality and value” and “meaningful choices.”
Those terms are subjective to give the board almost unlimited authority over the companies that provide these plans. In short, it’s potentially a legally sanctioned extortion racket. Anyone that thinks that’s tinfoil hat thinking is kidding themselves about the condition of the human race.
Anyone that’s taken an honest look at Ted Kaczynski or Timothy McVeigh must admit that humans are capable of doing exceptionally wicked things.
Finally, Rep. Davids gave Gov. Dayton sound advice that Gov. Dayton will ignore:
It would be much wiser use of MnSure’s time to focus on enhancements to the consumer experience, user security, and the still unaccomplished task of electronically transmitting to insurance companies the application and payment information of those attempting to enroll through MnSure.
In short, Rep. Davids is advising Gov. Dayton to fix what isn’t working first.
I know that’s radical thinking to Gov. Dayton but it works in the private sector every day.
The Community College of San Fransisco is facing a daunting task. Here’s what’s happening:
In July, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, said it plans to revoke the school’s accreditation at the end of the school year, giving the college a year to prove that it can turn around or be shut down.
Here’s why CCSF is in this difficult position:
Among other failings, the private agency found the school had failed to reduce spending amid state funding declines while keeping too little money in reserves. City College has $10 million in savings and $850,000 set aside for emergencies, but the accreditor found the school faces long-term problems if it doesn’t change its spending patterns.
The commission also found the college didn’t meet standards in some instructional programs, in student support services and in library facilities.
Imagine that. Another California institution thinks spending isn’t linked to revenues. The culture must change:
Mr. Agrella has instituted a de facto hiring freeze on vacated faculty positions he considered not essential to the curriculum. Last month, he named a new chancellor, Arthur Tyler, to succeed an interim one. In perhaps his most controversial move, Mr. Agrella canceled a new $120 million performing-arts center.
That’s ridiculous. What community college needs a $120,000,000 performing arts center even in the best of times? CCSF isn’t enjoying the best of times, making this decision seem rather foolish. Despite the situation, people are upset with Mr. Agrella’s decision:
Timothy Killikelly, 56, a political-science instructor, said he likes Mr. Agrella, but disagrees with some of his moves, such as canceling the performing-arts center, mainly because voters had passed a bond measure for it.
CCSF won’t exist a year from now if a) it doesn’t get spending under control and b) it doesn’t focus its mission to what’s essential. The state accrediting board can put CCSF out of business if it doesn’t start acting responsibly. That would make the bonding vote moot. (Then again, we’re talking California, so it’s possible that they’d spend money on a performing arts center on the campus of a now-defunct community college.)
CCSF is the most dramatic case of financial mismanagement I’ve read. Unfortunately, it isn’t the only collegiate institution that’s been poorly managed. Colleges and universities nationwide have spent money foolishly, especially on shiny buildings that enhance a president’s self-image but do little to build a well-educated workforce.
At St. Cloud State, one of the least-talked-about financial disasters is the renovation of the National Hockey Center. It’s now known as the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. When the project was first announced, it was called the National Hockey and Event Center. When fundraising fell far short of the goal, the event center part of the project got dropped like a hot potato.
With enrollment dropping like a rock, tuition revenues have fallen short of what’s needed. Now SCSU is figuring out what to cut from their budget.
If only management had learned that you can’t spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need.
Technorati: Community College of San Fransisco, Financial Mismanagement, Accreditation, Performing Arts Center, Robert Agrella, St. Cloud State, Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, National Hockey and Event Center, Fundraising, Enrollment Declines, Tuition Revenue
This morning on At Issue With Tom Hauser, Matt Entenza made a fool of himself. Again. During the Face-off segment, Entenza tried defending the Affordable Care Act. He did as well as one could expect, which isn’t setting the bar high. After Andy Brehm said that the Affordable Care Act was a disaster that needed a major overhaul, Entenza got himself in trouble.
The trouble arrived when he said that, prior to the Affordable Care Act, “hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans” couldn’t get health insurance. That’s BS because, as recently as 2009, 93% of Minnesotans were insured, with another 5% of Minnesotans being eligible for state-subsidized health insurance.
Let’s do the math on this. Minnesota’s population following the 2010 census was 5,303,928. If 98% of the state either had insurance or were eligible for state-subsidized insurance, that’s 5,197,849 people. That means only 106,079 people weren’t insured or eligible for insurance programs.
That’s virtually universal coverage without a federal takeover of the health insurance industry. I triple-dog dare Mr. Entenza to top that percentage. In fact, I’d highlight the fact that the CBO said in scoring the bill that, after 20 years of the ACA, 30,000,000 people still wouldn’t be insured.
That’s right. The Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA, does a terrible job, especially compared with the fantastic job that Minnesota did without taking over the health insurance industry.
What’s more important is the fact that Matt Entenza knows this. It’s impossible to believe that the former House Minority Leader didn’t know that. Democrats prided themselves for providing health care. That’s before talking about the fact that his wife is Lois Quam, the former CEO of UnitedHealth Group.
Mr. Entenza isn’t ashamed of the fact that he lied. He didn’t hesitate in arguing against reality. The fact that he could be proven wrong this effortlessly didn’t deter him from lying about Minnesota’s leadership on health care issues.
Mr. Entenza is an affable man who won’t hesitate if he has to lie to defend the indefensible.
In the 1970′s, Democrats touted themselves as the greatest defenders of free speech. By contrast, the Democrats of today are the the greatest practitioners of censorship. This WSJ article is proof that Democrats are especially good at political free speech intimidation:
In recent weeks, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz has hit dozens of conservative groups with subpoenas demanding documents related to the 2011 and 2012 campaigns to recall Governor Walker and state legislative leaders.
Copies of two subpoenas we’ve seen demand “all memoranda, email…correspondence, and communications” both internally and between the subpoena target and some 29 conservative groups, including Wisconsin and national nonprofits, political vendors and party committees. The groups include the League of American Voters, Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Americans for Prosperity—Wisconsin, American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, Friends of Scott Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
One subpoena also demands “all records of income received, including fundraising information and the identity of persons contributing to the corporation.” In other words, tell us who your donors are.
The term fishing expedition jumps to mind. So does the term censorship. Ditto with illegal searches. Here’s why those terms apply:
The subpoena demand for the names of donors to nonprofit groups that aren’t legally required to disclose them is especially troubling. Readers may recall that the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent the tax-exempt applications of several conservative groups to the ProPublica news website in 2012.
The censorship thugs weren’t gentle. They didn’t request anything. They demanded things that they didn’t have a legal basis to ask for. Asking for confidential tax filings is illegal because IRS filings are confidential under federal law.
Expect some IRS employees to to get convicted of federal crimes and doing some serious prison time for giving Pro Publica confidential IRS documents. As outrageous as that is, that’s just the tip of the iceberg:
The subpoenas don’t spell out a specific allegation, but the demands suggest the government may be pursuing a theory of illegal campaign coordination by independent groups during the recall elections. If prosecutors are pursuing a theory that independent conservative groups coordinated with candidate campaigns during the recall, their goal may be to transform the independent expenditures into candidate committees after the fact, requiring revision of campaign-finance disclosures and possible criminal charges.
That’s admitting that they’re doing this to intimidate people who want to participate in the political process. That isn’t just unacceptable. It’s unconstitutional because it violates the First and Fourth Amendments. That’s before talking about the US statutes these warrants violate.
It’s notable that the new batch of subpoenas began flying just days before Democrat Mary Burke announced her candidacy for Governor. District Attorneys are partisan elected officials in Wisconsin, and Mr. Landgraf works for Mr. Chisholm. Neither of them returned our call for comment.
This isn’t litigation. It’s attrition. It’s painfully obvious that Mr. Landgraf and Mr. Chisholm are unapologetic Democratic political hatchetmen. It’s apparent, too, that they’ve used their office to a) threaten citizens who want to participate in the political process, b) intimidate legitimate political organizations and c) chill political free speech to help Democratic candidates.
They should be prosecuted for using their official positions as a campaign outlet for Democratic gubernatorial candidates, which is a clear violation of using elected offices for campaign purposes. My hope is that the Wisconsin AG opens an investigation into these Democratic anti-free speech thugs’ censorship campaign. They’re disgusting, not to mention that they’re criminals who should be removed from office.
Technorati: Witch Hunt, Censorship, Francis Schmitz, Bruce Landgraf, John Chisholm, Mary Burke, In-Kind Campaign Contributions, Corruption, IRS Documents, Democrats, Eric O’Keefe” Club For Growth-Wisconsin, Scott Walker, GOP, Election 2014
Scott Rasmussen’s column highlights the fact that elected politicians hate the inevitable shift away from centralized government. Here’s the key portion of Mr. Rasmussen’s article:
As society became more centralized, so did the government. Politicians were happy to ride the wave of societal trends as it brought them more power and money.
But the trends changed starting in the 1970s with the launch of cable television networks. That gave individuals more choices in the 1980s, and the Internet expanded those choices in the 1990s. Now we’ve reached a level of personalization powered by more than 100 million smartphones. The culture of individual choice and customization is so strong that no two of these smartphones are alike. We have different apps, music and more.
Over the past 30 years, as society has moved away from centralization, the political class has resisted. Government has grown ever more centralized. In fact, the federal government today directly controls a far larger chunk of the nation’s economy than it did just a generation or two ago.
That disconnect exists partly because politics and government always lag behind. It’s also partly because politicians are not thrilled with riding the new wave that disperses power away from the political class.
There’s no question about whether the political class will attempt to resist this inevitable dispersal. It’s predictable that they’d fight to keep the power they’ve accumulated.
The political class is totally out of step with the rest of America, especially in America’s heartland. That’s the single biggest factor for Washington, DC having the terrible ratings it’s got.
For instance, Senate Democrats have pledged to craft legislation that’d postpone the penalties required by the Affordable Care Act. There isn’t a Democrat-sponsored bill that would implement the proper policy perscriptions that would fix the Affordable Care Act’s underlying problems.
That’s a perfect example of the political class ignoring the policy preferences of the people. The political class isn’t about fixing problems. They’re about doing things so they can say ‘We tried.’ The tipping point is fast approaching that says trying isn’t good enough. Successful solutions are what’s required of the political class from this point forward.
Trey Gowdy is one of my new GOP heroes in the House of Representatives. He’s fighting to get the truth about the Affordable Care Act. He’s consistently questioned why the administration has said one thing, then delivered something totally different. This video is proof that Rep. Gowdy, (R-SC), doesn’t fit in with the political class:
“We were promised a state of the art website but we got an abacus and a sun dial. I want to know what we got for our money. I want to know if this thing can be fixed in 2 months, why didn’t you have it up and running in the 3 years you had prior to Oct. 1st.”
Rep. Gowdy is a straight shooter. Most importantly, he’s doing everything he can to protect the taxpayers from the government’s ineptitude. That’s why he’s one of the good guys in Congress. He’s the type of congressman who’s interested in a) protecting taxpayers and b) providing solutions to today’s biggest problems.
It’s incumbent on all TEA Party activists to find people like Congressman Gowdy and talk them into running for public office. The more Trey Gowdys, Jim Jordans, Mike Lees, Rand Pauls and Tom Coborns we have in Congress, the better.
That’s the only way to stop the political class from ruining America.
An Attempt at Restoring Academic Integrity
by Silence Dogood
At Meet and Confer on October 18, 2012, the Faculty Association (FA), almost six months from the initial meeting on May 2, 2013 to discuss transcript adulterations where the evidence that a student had registered for a course is removed from their academic transcript, officially asked for the data for all “poofs” (a term coined by Provost Devinder Malhotra) granted from FY07 to FY12 including the reason for the request and the person who approved the request for removal from the transcript. The FA also asked for a committee to be formed that would include faculty to review all future drops. Provost Malhotra said that this matter was an administrative prerogative and he would not consider participation of the faculty.
The Faculty Association was later informed by the administration that the data requested was stored in multiple locations and multiple formats and would be prohibitively expensive to obtain. What the administration agreed to provide was an analysis of a representative sample of one year’s data. The administration stated that for FY 2012, there were 1,197 academic petitions submitted requesting a change in status. Data provided by John Palmer in his report of May 10, 2013 indicated that out of the 1,197 cases where academic petitions were submitted between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012 (FY12), a subset of 237 cases (19.7%) were selected for further review.
Late in Spring Semester, a copy of the original data set without identifying information was obtained. Identifying information was removed so that it would not violate FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act). It is important to note that this data was not provided officially by the administration. Until the Palmer report, the only data provided by the administration was provided by President Potter at Meet and Confer on February 21, 2013 when he listed the number of grades that had been changed from “F” to a “W”. President Potter seemed quite pleased to cite how small a percentage these represented out of the total number of grades reported. What is curious is why President Potter was answering a question that was not asked by the Faculty Association.
At the last Meet and Confer of the year on May 2, 2013 (coincidentally the same day one year earlier that this issue had been brought to the attention of the administration by the faculty), John Palmer, who had been tasked with the process of analyzing the data, began his report with about 5 minutes left in the meeting. At 5:00 p.m., Provost Malhotra (who was chairing the meeting) said “in the interest of time what we’ll do is we’ll put this item back on the agenda for Meet and Confer next time we meet.” With Meet and Confer over, he and President Potter got up and left the room.
What is surprising about these events begins with the fact that Associate Provost Palmer has always provided a written report prior to giving his review. In this case, he was reading his report without providing a written copy. Later, it was learned that he was directed not to provide copies of the report because “the Provost had not had time to review the report.” Eventually, John Palmer’s report was forwarded to the Faculty Association on May 10, 2013.
Dr. Palmer’s report contains a large amount of information about the 1,197 academic petitions submitted and much information has been gained. Despite the disappointment of not having complete data going back to FY07, it was a beginning in good faith to understand scope of the “issue.” The administration is loath to call it a problem. However, whatever you call it, the process is certainly not complete. The administration promised information for FY13, which has yet to be shared.
On July 1, 2013, John Palmer was removed from his position as Associate Provost of Faculty Relations (something that almost everyone on campus knows but something that has yet to be announced to the campus). With John Palmer’s departure, the investigation of transcript adulterations has essentially ended without providing data for FY13. It is apparent that, in the eyes of the administration, the “issue” is closed. I guess I wouldn’t want to keep talking about disappearing grades that at first I had said was not a problem, then had admitted it was a ‘small’ problem.
Excuse me! Disappearing grades is a HUGE PROBLEM. Whether you call them ‘drops’ or ‘poofs,’ the idea that the record of registration is removed from a student’s transcript without the faculty member’s knowledge is simply unacceptable. And yes, even the administration’s own data shows that in over 30% of the cases, faculty are not consulted.
So the issue has now shifted from trying to understand the scope of the problem of disappearing grades to finding a way to create a process going forward that will insure the integrity of the faculty member’s role is assigning grades and the administration’s responsibility of maintaining a record of the grades assigned. A document was brought to the Faculty Senate on September 10, 2013 by Professor Jack McKenna, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee:
Proposed Joint Committee on Late Withdrawals and Drops
On January 14, 2013, Provost Malhotra’s memo Re: Petition Process for Late Withdrawals and Drops lists 10 individuals as “decision makers.” John Palmer’s Summary Analysis dated May 10, 2013 lists 16 people as “Authorized Decision Maker (ADM).” Even with “guidelines” provided by Provost Malhotra, this number of individuals, whether it is 10 or 16, making enrollment transcript change decisions cannot help being inconsistent.
This spring, the Academic Policy Working Group (a joint administration/faculty advisory committee) brainstormed with Assistant Dean of University College Nancy Mills several mechanisms for dealing with late withdrawals and drops. No formal proposal as to the process was agreed to at the time. However, the suggestion was for a committee to review all late withdrawals and drops for the purpose of standardizing the process and providing consistency in the decisions being made. It was suggested that a committee of five individuals be formed for the purpose of developing a process and basis for making these enrollment decisions. A suggested makeup of the committee was suggested: Assistant Dean of University College (Nancy Mills); A Dean or Assistant/Associate Dean (selected by the administration); Director of Financial Aid (Mike Uran); Faculty Director of Advising (Steven Klepetar); and a faculty member (selected by the Faculty Senate). Additionally, a member from the Office of Records and Registration would be a non-voting ex-officio member. The committee would provide a report of summary data at Meet and Confer each term.
From the minutes of the Faculty Senate on September 10, 2013: 013 8.c.1-8.c.3)—McKenna spoke to Faculty Senate.
Motion to approve the formation of a grade change policy working group to make policy and recommendations, comprised of six members: Assistant Dean of University College, a Dean or Assistant Dean appointed by Administration, Director of Financial Aid, Faculty Director of Advising, and two faculty members appointed by Senate—(Karasik/Hubbs). Amended and passed unanimously.
Motion to change one faculty to two faculty appointed by Senate—(Hubbs/Hergert). Passed
The amended motion passed the Faculty Senate unanimously—something that does not happen too often!
The motion was presented to Provost Malhotra by FA President Steve Hornstein on Monday, September 16, 2013. The motion was also presented at Meet and Confer on October 9, 2013, where Provost Malhotra said he would respond “within ten days.” Why it should take from September 16, to October 23 to respond is a mystery to me. However, all editorial comments aside, the faculty await the Provost’s response by October 23, 2013.
There are many definitions of integrity; a popular one says that integrity is the “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”
It’s time for the administration to step up and do the right thing. The removal of the record of registration of a student in a class is something that should not happen as a routine matter of course. It is something that should happen only in extreme circumstances. If this is not the case, then the very foundation of the academic integrity of the university is called into question.
President Potter and Provost Malhotra, form the Academic Petition Review committee and begin the attempt to restore academic integrity to SCSU.
Technorati: Corruption, Student Transcripts, Late Drops, Late Withdrawals, Earl Potter, Devinder Malhotra, St. Cloud State, Jack McKenna, Steve Hornstein, Faculty Association, John Palmer, Data Analysis
If we know anything about this administration, it’s that a) they’re highly ideological, b) they don’t hesitate in ignoring laws and c) they’re utterly incompetent. Now that it’s confirmed that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is refusing to testify, it’s time to subpoena her and force her testimony.
The Affordable Care Act’s botched rollout has stunned its media cheering section, and it even seems to have surprised the law’s architects. The problems run much deeper than even critics expected, and whatever federal officials, White House aides and outside contractors are doing to fix them isn’t working. But who knows? Omerta is the word of the day as the Obama Administration withholds information from the public.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is even refusing to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a hearing this coming Thursday. HHS claims she has scheduling conflicts, but we hope she isn’t in the White House catacomb under interrogation by Valerie Jarrett about her department’s incompetence.
The department is also refusing to make available lower-level officials who might detail the source or sources of this debacle. Ducking an investigation with spin is one thing. Responding with a wall of silence to the invitation of a duly elected congressional body probing the use of more than half a billion taxpayer dollars is another. This Obama crowd is something else.
Secretary Sebelius is acting like she’s above oversight. That’s unacceptable at any time but it’s especially unacceptable when she’s overseeing the biggest trainwreck in recent history. This paragraph is telling:
No doubt a hearing would be a spectacle—with TV cameras on hand—but Mrs. Sebelius can’t hide forever. Even pro-entitlement liberals want to know about what went wrong and why, how much if any progress is being made, and whether the ObamaCare website Healthcare.gov will be usable in a matter of months—or years.
Let’s summarize what we know and don’t know. First, it’s indisputable that the federal health insurance exchanges don’t work. Second, we don’t know how long it’ll take to get the federal health insurance exchanges fully functional. Third, we aren’t certain that people purchasing insurance through the federal exchanges are eligible for federal premium support payments. Thanks to this federal lawsuit, it’s anything but certain that people purchasing health insurance through federal-run health insurance exchanges will get premium support.
Fourth, we know that Kathleen Sebelius has time to attend a gala the night before the committee hearing. Fifth, we know that IT experts have stated that they’d be ashamed if their work was this big of disaster:
LUKE CHUNG: It wasn’t designed well. It wasn’t implemented well. It looks like nobody tested it.
JAN CRAWFORD: Luke Chung’s company builds online database programs. He supports the new health care law. He says it’s not demand that’s crashing HealthCare.gov. The entire website needs a complete overhaul.
LUKE CHUNG: It’s not close. It’s not even ready for beta testing from my book. I would be ashamed and embarassed if my organization delivered something like that.
Despite all that we know that’s disturbing and all that isn’t known that we need to know, Kathleen Sebelius apparently thinks she’s beyond congressional oversight questioning. It’s time she learned, harshly if needed, that she isn’t.
Technorati: Kathleen Sebelius, Health Insurance Exchanges, Glitches, Congressional Oversight, Premium Support, Federal Health Insurance Exchanges, Federal Lawsuit, HealthCare.gov, IT Professionals, Lawlessness, Incompetence, Democrats
Harry Reid is the ultimate spoiled brat. He’s refused to negotiate with House Republicans throughout the budget process. Now he’s prepared to take the final step and shut the federal government down:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will double down on Monday afternoon and again dismiss the House’s attempts to chip away at Obamacare as part of a government funding bill.
The Senate will come in session at 2 p.m. and shortly thereafter vote to table the funding bill passed by the House over the weekend that repeals a 2.3 percent levy on medical devices and delay Obamacare by a year. The Senate will send back a bill funding the government through Nov. 15, leaving the House a handful of hours to respond ahead of a midnight shutdown deadline.
The Democrats that vote for tabling the House’s continuing resolution will be voting to shut government down. There’s no justification for not repealing the medical device tax. There’s no justification for telling corporations that they get a special break from complying with the Affordable Care Act while forcing families to buy a product they’ve decided not to buy.
With its actions, the Democratic Party has identified itself as the Special Interest Party. Likewise, they’ve identified themselves as the party that doesn’t listen to the American people. Finally, the Democratic Party has identified themselves as the party that owns this sluggish economy.
By tabling this bill, Democrats voting for tabling will be saying that their policies will put America on the right path. That’s arrogant. Their policies have led to robust part-time job growth. The Democrats’ poliicies have led to the creation of Part-Time Nation, where company after company is cutting their employees’ hours to avoid the ACA’s penalties.
Elimination of the medical device tax has broad bipartisan support in Congress and a nonbinding vote earlier this year on repealing the tax drew the support of 79 senators. But senators will not vote specifically on the tax Monday, because the upper chamber is expected to take a single vote to dismiss all the House’s changes.
God forbid that Sen. Reid let the Senate vote to repeal a tax that they’ve voted to repeal before. There’s no polite way of putting this so I’ll just say it. Sen. Reid is a tyrant. He’s the picture of spoiled brat government. He’s refused to negotiate a continuing resolution that puts the American people first. He’s refused to budge from the Democrats’ initial position.
The only thing that approaches Sen. Reid’s arrogant behavior is the Capitol Hill press corps indifference to reporting on the CR from the perspective of the American people. They’ve slanted their stories so that they’ve just paid attention to Washington inside baseball. Instead of asking who’s got momentum or talking about conventional wisdom, shouldn’t the Capitol Hill press corps ask both parties how their CR benefits the American people? That’s before them talking about how Sen. Reid’s obstinant behavior is pushing the federal government into a shutdown.
Rep. Jim Newberger’s op-ed in this morning’s St. Cloud Times highlights how out-of-state special interests, with allies within Minnesota, want to make electricity more expensive and less abundant. Rep. Newberger’s op-ed highlights the lies the Sierra Club is willing to tell to get their way:
First, the Sherco power plant is not “dirty,” nor does it produce “slime” as recent Times submissions have opined. I have lived 1 mile downwind from the Sherco plant since 1998. Every morning, I look out my window and see the plant. I have never seen plumes of black smoke coming out of four smoke stacks, as portrayed in some of the environmentalists’ propaganda.
The truth is Sherco has two stacks and the color of the “smoke” is clear white. And I have yet to find “slime” in my yard,or on my car or home.
Second, Sherco meets the strict federal standards for clean air and will be spending millions to make its operation even cleaner.
The Sierra Clubs’ lies aren’t surprising considering the Sierra Club’s agenda:
Our goals include:
- Retiring one-third of the nation’s more than 500 coal plants by 2020
- Replacing the majority of retired coal plants with clean energy solutions such as wind, solar, and geothermal
- Keeping coal in the ground in places like Appalachia and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin
In short, the Sierra Club’s goal is to take America back to the stone ages. Wind, solar and geothermal aren’t capable of replacing coal. What’s worse is that that’s just the tip of the Sierra Club’s anti-civilization agenda:
“No state has adequate protections in place. Even where there are rules, they are poorly monitored and enforced. Thanks to the multiple federal exemptions, we can’t even count on the federal government to keep us safe! Together, though, we can change that! No industry, no matter how wealthy or powerful, can withstand the righteous passion of the American people. The out-of-control rush to drill has put oil and gas industry profits ahead of our health, our families, our property, our communities, and our futures. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.”
—Allison Chin, Sierra Club president, July 28, 2012, at the Stop the Frack Attack rally
These nutjobs think that natural gas isn’t clean enough? That’s insane. Let’s remember that the Sierra Club passionately opposed the building of the Alaskan Pipeline in the 60′s and 70′s. Back then, the Sierra Club’s president wrote an op-ed in Outdoor Life. In his op-ed, the Sierra Club president predicted doom and gloom for the Barrows Caribou, stating the Pipeline would forever disrupt the Barrows Caribou’s migration routes. “And for what?”, the Sierra Club president asked. “For a few years worth of oil?”
These environutters’ predictions have consistently missed their mark. In fact, they’ve missed to such an extent that it’s impossible to take them seriously. The Sierra Club’s latest campaigns are just the latest campaign against modernity.
Finally, what’s worst is that they can’t prove their accusations. The people making the accusations aren’t scientists. The vast majority of the executive board for the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club are nothing more than activists. John Hottinger used to be the Senate Majority Leader. Several executive committee members are from the Blue Green Alliance. Javier Morillo-Alicea is the president of SEIU Local 26.
In other words, the Sierra Club’s executive committee is filled with progressive activists. Their expertise on the environment is nonexistant. If reporters did their jobs, these activists/faux experts wouldn’t have any credibility.
What they’re experts at, though, is organizing campaigns. That’s their specialty. It’s foolish to let these faux experts set environmental policy. I’m confident that, if questioned by a real expert, like Mike Beard, these Sierra Club Executive Committee members probably couldn’t speak beyond their chanting points.
The best thing for conservatives to do is a) expose these political activists for the frauds they are, b) write frequently about these activists’ anti-jobs, anti-middle class agenda and c) get politically active by commenting on regulations when regulatory agencies open themselves for comments.
Just complaining about these environmental extremists isn’t sufficient. Defeating them is the only acceptable response. If conservatives do their due diligence, they’ll defeat these anti-jobs activists. If conservatives leave the battlefield unattended, they’ll lose. Worst of all, families will lose. The DFL, the Sierra Club and their allies want high energy prices.
It’s time to win this fight.
Yesterday, I spoke with some well-connected people at Townhall Tuesday who said that the House Higher Education Committee isn’t likely to take up a serious investigation into St. Cloud State’s corruption because “it’s a St. Cloud issue.” This didn’t come from a single person. It came from several people who’ve supplied me with reliable information in the past.
Let’s explode the myth that there’s anything local about MnSCU. That’s a political dodge that’s been used by politicians on both sides of the aisle. Simply put, it’s BS. University presidents report directly, and solely, to the MnSCU chancellor, who then reports to a rubberstamp known as the MnSCU Board of Trustees.
That each of these groups live in their own ivory towers is disturbing enough. University presidents can, and have, told their communities to stuff it. Certainly, Chancellor Rosenstone has washed his hands of anything to do with SCSU’s financial mismanagement. There’s no question that the MnSCU Board of Trustees are disinterested bystanders.
Simply put, it’s a system designed to discourage accountability. If it weren’t for a handful of citizen journalists, there’s no doubt that MnSCU would’ve swept any attempts to hold its universities and presidents accountable aside.
I’d love seeing Chairman Pelowski and Vice-Chair Dorholt prove me wrong by launching a serious investigation into St. Cloud State. Until I see that happen, I’ll take a Missouri point of view. They’ll have to show me that they’re serious. I won’t take their talk seriously until their actions show me that they’re serious.
From another angle, I’d love seeing some legislators put together legislation that would create local accountability. The ideal legislation would put in place an accountability panel that was independent of MnSCU. This accountability panel would have the authority to gather documents from their university without putting a Data Practices Act request together. That would mean there’d potentially be an adversarial system.
That’s better than the crony-filled rubberstamp system we’ve currently got with MnSCU.
This independent investigatory panele would also have the authority to perform audits of the universities’ books to make sure funds aren’t being improperly co-mingled or shifted.
What’s interesting is that every SCSU professor I’ve talked with thinks that MnSCU is a joke. That’s been the opinion from them whether they’re conservative or liberal or somewhere in between.
Former legislators think that, too. St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis once told me that he submitted a bill to kill MnSCU before it became operational when he was a state senator. He knew it wouldn’t deliver on its promises. Mayor Kleis was vindicated on that.
What’s clear is that the current system isn’t working. It isn’t preventing corruption and mismanagement. It isn’t punishing people after it’s been proven that they’re corrupt or that they’ve mismanaged their university’s finances. At this point, there isn’t even proof that MnSCU or the legislature is even interested in oversight.