Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category
I was stunned when I read Erick Erickson’s post on Erick’s new blog. (If you haven’t read Erick’s new blog, make sure you do. It’s a great combination of solid conservative thinking and the writers’ Christian testimony. I like it because it isn’t just about politics. It’s about something more important. It keeps people grounded.)
But I digress.
Erick’s latest post is actually a call to prayer. That thought came through loud and clear when Erick wrote “Over the course of the past few weeks my lungs have been filling with blood clots. The technical term in the medical report is that my lungs are “showered” with clots. My blood oxygen level cratered to the point of numb lips and the act of putting shampoo in my hair was leaving me out of breath.”
Though Erick’s health is improving, Erick still needs tons of prayers. James 5:16 says “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Here’s hoping Erick quickly (and fully) recovers so that he can torment liberals again.
LFR Pledge Week starts today. If you’ve appreciated my reporting and/or commentary, feel free to click the Donate Button at the top of the right sidebar. If you don’t want to donate electronically, just leave a comment to this post. I will send you an email with instructions on how to contribute to LFR the old-fashioned way.
In the past year, I’ve used LFR to advocate against a reckless school bonding initiative that was asking for $167,000,000 to build a new Tech High School ($113,800,000), renovate Apollo High School ($46,5000,000), improve security at the high schools ($4,200,000) and to pay for “technology ($2,500,000).” When the voters spoke, they didn’t just reject the bonding initiative. They humiliated the School Board, rejecting the initiative by a 8,460-vote to 7,393-vote margin.
The day after the vote, a loyal reader of LFR told me that they “had a turnout strategy and tons of money. You had common sense and the ability to motivate 8400 people to vote.” Honestly, I didn’t have to be a great salesperson. I just had to tell people what was happening, then let the people make the right decision. They did that and then some.
Over the next few months, many important decisions will need to be made. We need to pick a president who will fight for conservative principles. We need to keep Kurt Daudt as Speaker of the House and Jim Knoblach as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Not only are those priorities but we need to retake the majority in the Minnesota Senate and do our part to help Stewart Mills push Retread Rick Nolan into retirement once and for all.
Know that your support has humbled. I appreciate the fact that I have a loyal readership.
This post will be pinned to the top of the page through Friday, April 22.
A longtime blogging friend who goes by the pen name of Lady Logician wrote a rant in the wake of yesterday’s San Bernardino shooting. Suffice it to say that you might be offended with LL’s rant if you’re a delicate snowflake on a college campus or if you’re a hard left ideologue. LL’s rant contains more microaggressions per character than the thought police would permit if the First Amendment didn’t exist.
Without further adieu, here’s the Lady Logician’s rant:
The usual suspects wasted no time in clamoring for more gun control – before police even knew what they were looking at. But not once – NOT ONCE – has anyone talked about the fact that we live in a society that completely devalues life. If someone makes you angry, make them pay. Someone hurts you….hey – an eye for an eye man. And Gaia forbid you get inconvenienced by a pregnancy or an elderly parent that cramps your style…..don’t want it….it’s just a clump of cells anyway – who cares. We are a selfish society that feels that their rights trump everyone else’s.
You really want to stop the mass shootings in America? START VALUING THE LIVES OF OTHERS OVER YOUR OWN!!!! It’s that freaking simple!
This morning, she wrote Part II:
RANT PART 2 – Another reason for much of what is going on in the world today is the loss of the concept of the dignity of human life. In a world where a fish is more important than feeding humans, humans are no longer a priority. We have taken conservation of the planet to the extreme and forgetting that HUMANS ARE PART OF THE PLANET TOO! However, we have fallen into the PETA/H$U$ trap of thinking that humans are not as worthy of conservation (as a species) as animals. When we think of humans as animals, we start ACTING like animals and the taking of human life is just another manifestation of that. After all – it’s survival of the fittest, right?
The sickness has spread too far. When Kermit Gosnell was convicted of performing late term abortions, the prosecution painted a grisly picture of Dr. Gosnell’s practice:
Prosecutors described Gosnell’s employees as nearly as desperate as the patients. Some had little or no medical training, and at least one was a teenager still in high school. One woman needed the work to support her children after her husband’s murder.
Stephen Massof, an unlicensed medical school graduate who could not find a residency, told jurors that Gosnell taught him how to snip babies’ spines, something he then did at least 100 times at the clinic. “I felt like a fireman in hell,” Massof testified. “I couldn’t put out all the fires.”
If society won’t put a high priority on human dignity, if society doesn’t put a higher priority on human life than on a 2″-long fish in California’s Central Valley, if society doesn’t put a higher priority on slowing down and thinking things through than they put on ‘getting things done’, then we’ll deserve the world we’ll get.
We’re already getting a glimpse of that world. It isn’t a pretty sight.
LFR’s ‘early years’ were spent mostly offering opinions on international events. That abruptly changed when John Murtha accused the Haditha Marines of murdering Iraqi civilians in cold blood. That weekend, I spoke with Leo Pusateri about the lies that Murtha was told. Later that weekend, Leo started the Murtha Must Go blog on Blogger. (Actually, the first couple of years of LFR were on Blogger, not on this website.)
Thanks to some committed retired Marines and that website, the Haditha Marines weren’t railroaded by John Murtha. Murtha was the quintessential corrupt politician. I kidded at one time that they should rename his office after he died to the ‘Office of Corporate Welfare’. After he died, Nancy Pelosi didn’t take my advice. The good news is that the Haditha Marines either had their charges dropped or they were acquitted.
The next thing LFR dealt with extensively was the anti-war movement, which started with John Murtha and Amy Klobuchar, who I nicknamed St. Amy of Hennepin County. When she ran for the Senate, St. Amy of Hennepin County said “America needs a change of course in Iraq,” Klobuchar said. The measure “continued an open-ended commitment with no clear transition to Iraqi authority,” she said. “My priority is to transition to Iraq authority by beginning to bring our troops home in a responsible way.” I noted at the time that St. Amy didn’t express an interest in winning the war. Her interest was in bringing “our troops home in a responsible way.” It isn’t surprising that St. Amy has been an enthusiastic supporter of President Obama’s lose-at-all-costs strategy in Iraq.
We’re still paying the price for the 2006 and 2008 elections.
At one point, LFR was hacked, which kept the website down for almost a month. Thankfully, I wasn’t silence thanks to Examiner.com. Click on this link to subscribe to my articles. They’re entirely different than the things I publish on LFR.
One of the things that I’m most proud of is the role I played in defeating the School Board bonding referendum here in St. Cloud. The ISD 742 School Board tried passing the $167,000,000 referendum without giving people the opportunity to give input into the project. When the ballots were tallied, 7,393 people voted to approve the bonding while 8,460 people voted to reject the School Board’s proposal.
For a little perspective, most School Board elections and special elections in the St. Cloud area have a turnout rate of 18%. This vote produced a 31% turnout rate. After the measure was defeated, I got an email from a frequent reader of LFR which said in part “They had a turnout strategy and tons of money. You had common sense and the ability to motivate 8400 people to vote. (31% turnout in an odd-year election? with reduced polling places? Just amazing.)”
While it’s nice getting credit for producing those results, the reality is that the ISD 742 School Board was its own worst enemy. LFR was just the amplifier that highlighted their corruption. They tried keeping the vote below the citizens’ radar. They tried making voting as inconvenient as possible. When pressed why people couldn’t see the blueprints for the future Tech High School, the leader of the Vote Yes campaign explained “What a lot of them don’t recognize is, with the cost of designing a building, 80 percent of it isn’t going to be designed until after the referendum. And the plans we’ve got now are still tentative.”
Imagine that. The School Board wanted the citizens, since nicknamed “The Uppity Peasants Brigade”, to give the school board a blank $167,000,000, $115,000,000 of which is for a building that wouldn’t be designed until after the bonds had been approved.
Eleven years ago, I published my first post. Back then, I didn’t think about whether I’d blog another year, whether blogging would be a passing fad. I certainly didn’t think of blogging as a way to contribute to the political dialog even though that’s what I wrote about.
The first year of LFR, I wrote about the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. That’s how I got introduced to the MOB, aka the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers. Back then, I was fascinated by the various liberation revolutions, including the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, which started in the aftermath of the Purple Thumb Revolution in Iraq. That revolution intensified with the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, the former prime minister of Lebanon.
I remember writing about the first election in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. As I recall, the first person to cast a vote in that election was an elderly woman. I remember thinking that Mullah Omar must’ve been pulling his beard off. One of the Taliban’s specialties was treating women like chattel. Another of their specialties was to ostracize women from open society. In a single page of history, both of those Taliban ‘specialties’ were vanquished in the minds of the Afghan people. It didn’t mean that the war was over. It was just a symbolic point in history.
It’s amazing the lessons I’ve learned through this writing. One blog that I got a kick out of was called Give War a Chance. It isn’t that I want the United States military to be constantly at war. It’s that I’ll admit that Islamic Jihadists have been at war with the United States since the overthrow of Teheran. I recall Rudy Giuliani’s response to whether 9/11 was the jihadists’ declaring war on the United States. He said that it wasn’t, that they’d been waging war with us since 1979. Then he said that 9/11 was the first day that the US joined the war.
I’ve learned that presidential leadership makes a difference. President Bush wasn’t a great president but he was infinitely better than President Obama in the one category that matters. He put policies in place that actually put the terrorists on the run. People got bored with hearing him say that he’d deployed our intelligence assets to gather information that led to entire terrorist networks getting rolled up. He said he did that because he’d rather take them down where they lived rather than clean up the messes from terrorist attacks where we live.
That program led to the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, aka KSM, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. After capturing KSM, the Bush administration kept his capture quiet. They studied the laptops in an attempt to study the networks KSM was in charge of. That helped them capture entire networks of terrorists. When President Obama took over, he replaced those policies with drone strikes. Killing terrorists in drone strikes made for a nice headline every couple of months but it didn’t help us gather intelligence that kept us a step ahead of the terrorists.
That’s how the Obama administration was surprised by the rise of ISIS. They didn’t know much about that group of terrorists. They certainly didn’t know ISIS was as lethal as they are. As a result of not gathering intelligence in Iraq, the administration let ISIS establish a caliphate that’s let ISIS conduct lethal terrorist attacks in Paris.
Think of this post as LFR’s highlights of international events. Throughout the years, I’ve stuck my fingers into more than a few other things. I’ll write about some of them in Part II.
This afternoon, Dennis Whipple, the chairman of the Independent School District (ISD) 742 said “We are having record, historic turnout. All of our polling places — it’s really exciting to see the community engaged around this vote.” Later, Chairman Whipple said “Historically, we were told to expect for a special election or a referendum to expect between 4,000 and 6,000 votes to be cast. As we understand it, that happened before 11:00 am this morning.
This afternoon, I followed Chairman Whipple on Dan Ochsner’s Ox in the Afternoon show. (Click on this link to listen to those interviews.) One thing I highlighted is that I didn’t see EdMinn people pounding the pavement this cycle. I didn’t see many yard signs out, from either side really, either. This was a low-profile campaign on a high-profile issue.
Though there wasn’t much advertising run on the issue, interest in this issue ran high. When you break the turnout record before noon, that’s exceptionally high turnout.
Check back after 8:00 pm for updates and election results.
20:15 — Chairman Whipple was just on a local radio station from ISD 742 headquarters. He was asked what the next step would be if the bond was approved or rejected. Whipple said that it’s the same either way, adding that if it’s rejected that “we’d go back to listening to the concerns of the district.”
20:45 — The absentee ballots are being counted as this is being written. We might have those results at the top of the 9:00 o’clock hour.
21:00 — St. John’s University vote is in: Yes 74. No 45
21:45 — Ballots have arrived from Colts Academy, Tech High School, Talahi Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School. They’re counting the absentee ballots and the ballots from Apollo High School. Thus far, the SJU ballots are the only ones counted and announced.
- Tech High School 473 yes, 635 NO
- Colts Academy 695 yes, 784 NO
- Talahi 695 yes, 861 NO
- Lincoln 132 yes, 171 NO
- Apollo 621 yes, 777 NO
- Discovery totals: 468 yes, 515 NO
With 7 of 13 precincts in, 3,148 yes ballots, 3,788 NO ballots. Oak Hill ballots just arrived. Summary thus far: Yes: 45.4%, NO 54.6%
22:30 — Oak Hill totals: 1,379 YES, 1,146 no
With 8 of 13 precincts reporting, 4,527 yes (47.8%), 4.934 no (52.2%)
23:00 — St. Augusta totals: 435 yes, 835 NO. Westwood ballots just arrived. (H/T Kevin Allenspach) With 9 of 13 precincts reporting: 4,962 yes votes (46.2%), 5,769 NO votes (53.8%) total votes cast: 10,731
23:10 — Westwood results: 588 yes, 560 no. Unofficial totals with 10 of 13 precincts reporting: 5,550 yes (46.7%), 6,329 NO (53.3%). (H/T Kevin Allenspach) Total votes cast: 11,879
11:30 — SCSU results: 342 yes, 256 no. Absentee results: 435 yes, 487 no. Total votes: 777 yes votes, 742 no votes. Total votes cast: 13,399 With 11 of 13 polling stations reporting, 6,327 yes votes (47.2%), 7,072 no votes (52.8%)
Technically, there’s still 2 polling stations still left to report but the referendum will fail by a pretty substantial margin. School Board Chairman Whipple and Superintendent Jett haven’t officially conceded defeat but they’ve made gloomy-sounding statements before leaving their ‘Victory Party’ headquarters.
Consider that the last update of this post.
Much has been written recently by conservatives about narrative-driven reporting. That’s the latest nickname for something I started talking about in March, 2006. Back then, I coined the phrase Agenda Media. Glenn Reynolds’ USA Today column is just a newer way of talking about the same thing. Here’s how Reynolds breaks things down:
Why did Rolling Stone make such a colossal — and, potentially, very expensive — mistake? Like The Times editors, the editors at Rolling Stone had bought thoroughly into a narrative. For The Times, it was the hypocritical NRA. For Rolling Stone, it was sexually predatory fraternity members. In both cases, excitement about this narrative led to the reporting of things that weren’t true, and humiliation for the reporters and editors.
Ultimately, Rolling Stone and the NYTimes published those articles for this reason:
The other thing these stories have in common is that they all served Democratic Party talking points, whether based on anti-gun thinking, “war on women” sloganeering, or pro-Hillary sentiment. For whom journalists are rooting, of course, is no mystery to most news media consumers, but it’s telling that the errors so often point in the same direction. (As columnist Kurt Schlichter tweeted, the corrections to news stories never seem to make conservatives look worse than the original.) That’s a diversity problem, too, of course: When everyone in the newsroom shares the same political leaning, groupthink and outright propagandizing get a lot easier.
That’s just a more polished way of saying what I’ve written about since 2006. The Agenda Media isn’t interested in reporting the truth. They have to oppose the truth if they want to stay on the Democratic Party’s good side. The Agenda Media isn’t about old-fashioned reporting of facts. It’s about advancing the hardline progressives’ agenda. If that requires lying, then that’s what they’ll do without hesitation.
The secret to being an accepted member of the Agenda Media just requires a few things. First, you can’t have a conscience. Next, you have to love the hardline progressives’ political agenda more than you love the truth. Third, you have to follow the hardline progressives’ chanting points without question. Finally, you must enthusiastically deny that you have an agenda even if a conservative exposes your agenda.
Nicole Helget’s blog is getting attention. It’s getting under MnSCU’s skin, not to mention under Annette Parker’s skin:
On Thursday, a group calling itself Minnesotans United for Higher Ed, published similar allegations against another college president, also unnamed, with numerous examples of what it calls “intellectual fraud.” “We’ve uncovered two academically dishonest presidents, and there are more,” said Nicole Helget, a former South Central teacher and spokeswoman for the group. If the pattern continues, she said, “MnSCU will be the national laughingstock of higher education.”
MnSCU issued a brief statement Friday, saying: “We fully support all our outstanding presidents. It is disappointing that people with unknown motivations and a blog can repeatedly level baseless and reckless accusations against people they don’t like until they get the attention they seek.”
Others say that the allegations should be taken seriously. “It is an understatement to say that Annette has ‘borrowed heavily’ from our work,” said University of Richmond professor Jeffrey Harrison, co-author of an article Parker is accused of plagiarizing, in a written statement after reading the blog. “Nobody with her background and training could have engaged in such gross misconduct innocently.”
MnSCU’s statement shouldn’t be taken seriously. Talking about “our outstanding presidents” at a time when 11 of MnSCU’s institutions have to submit plans to fix their schools’ finances is foolish. If these colleges have outstanding presidents, why are their colleges in such dire financial shape? But I digress.
Here’s the heart of the Strib’s article:
In one example, Parker wrote: “More loosely formed partnerships also may be formed for strategic reasons such as the American Booksellers Association, a non-profit trade association that represents the owners of independent bookstores (Barringer & Harrison, 2000).”
The original source, the blog shows, appeared in the Journal of Management in 2000 with much the same wording: “More loosely coupled alliances may be formed for similar strategic reasons. For example, the American Booksellers Association is a not-for-profit trade association that represents the owners of independent bookstores.”
Harrison, who co-authored the 2000 article, said that it’s not unusual for academics to “paraphrase a couple of paragraphs” and credit each other. “However, in my opinion Annette has gone far beyond what is acceptable … she did not use quotations where she should have, and it appears that she did not even include citations for much of what she took from our article.”
MnSCU’s statement of support is worthless in light of this specific example of President Parker’s use of similar phrasing in her dissertation.
“We support all our outstanding presidents” doesn’t mean anything when the accuser presents irrefutable proof of a president’s plagiarism. At that point, “We support all our outstanding presidents” sounds more like spin than anything.
It’s apparent that the SC Times editorial board has bought into President Potter’s propaganda. Listen to this BS:
This new world requires bold thinking. It requires a vision for what St. Cloud State will be for the next 10 years and beyond. It requires bold initiatives. It requires all stakeholders to come to the table in good faith. They need to find solutions that may cause pain but the pain has to be shared. The highest priority must be to provide the highest quality education. What better place to spawn innovation than a major university? Put the collective brainpower to work on these challenges.
During the height of the Great Recession, in 2008, one of the community members on the Times Editorial Board said a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. That advice could easily be applied to the situation at St. Cloud State.
First, it’s disgusting that the Times didn’t get the dates of the Great Recession right. It started in late September, 2008. But I digress.
Next, President Potter has spoken for over a year about the need for innovation and creating niche programs. When Silence Dogood wrote this post, Silence wrote briefly about niche programs:
At the same time that the President distributed the data on the aviation majors, he brought up the need of the university to develop “niche” programs. It is almost ironic that the aviation program was already a “niche” program as the only accredited 4-year aviation program in Minnesota. The air traffic control program would have been the only program at a university in Minnesota giving it a “niche” status as well.
It’s frustrating to hear people stating that what’s needed are “bold initiatives.” That’s BS. What’s needed are great academics and solid financial management.
President Potter isn’t interested in “the highest quality education.” His actions have told the story that he’s mostly worried about his image. That’s why he spent $50,000 on becoming a member of the Great Place to Work Institute, aka GPTWI. That’s years after he paid the Earthbound Media Group $400,000 to rebrand the University.
President Potter is mostly interested in his image. EMG’s report to him said that SCSU’s image was getting hurt by “outsiders who control the ‘blogosphere'” because those “negative perceptions” aren’t “grounded in reality.” EMG wrote that because I was reporting the truth about President Potter’s questionable decisions. There isn’t a single thing that EMG or the administration can point to that I wrote that’s inaccurate about SCSU’s declining enrollment, the transcript scandal that the Times hasn’t written about or the money that’s been lost ($7,700,000 in 5 years) by President Potter as a result of the contract President Potter signed with the J.A. Wedum Foundation.
The thing that the Times hasn’t written about and that President Potter won’t admit to is that President Potter’s decisions have imperiled SCSU. As a result of President Potter’s inaction on SCSU’s dropping enrollment, St. Cloud State has lost more than $32,000,000 in tuition revenue and state budget appropriations. As a result of President Potter’s insistence that his contract with the J.A. Wedum Foundation is a success, SCSU has lost another $7,700,000 in the last 5 years.
Those aren’t the only things affecting SCSU’s gloomy financial outlook but they are the biggest items affecting SCSU’s financial and academic health. If President Potter had made these decisions as CEO of a corporation, he would’ve gotten fired at least 3 years ago. Thanks to his being a government employee, though, he’s instead gotten performance bonuses.
Here’s an innovation worth implementing: how about the MnSCU Trustees and/or the legislature requiring university presidents to stop making financially foolish decisions? That thing alone would be a big step in the right direction.
Technorati: St. Cloud State, J A Wedum Foundation, Declining Enrollment, Great Recession, Rebranding, Earthbound Media Group, Earl Potter, Great Place to Work Institute, Propaganda, Blogosphere, St. Cloud Times, Press Releases, MnSCU, Board of Trustees, Oversight
Michael Brodkorb’s article is insightful in that it highlights this week’s vote to delay Gov. Dayton’s decision to raise Gov. Dayton’s commissioners’ pay was a sham:
Let’s set the stage for Bakk’s tour de force performance. In 2013, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation – supported by Bakk – which would allow the Governor of Minnesota to set the salaries of commissioners. Dayton supported the legislation and said in a statement, “I have lost outstanding employees because someone else could offer them salaries 50 percent or even 100 percent higher than state government.”
After the legislation was passed, the commissioners received salary increases in 2013 and 2014. I could not find any public comments of concern about the salary increases from anyone, including Bakk. In January, Dayton again exercised the authority granted to him by Bakk and the Minnesota Legislature and he set salary increases to commissioners in 2015. But this time, Bakk cried foul.
As Michael said, this is political posturing. Last night on Almanac, the DFL’s panelists (Ellen Anderson and Ember Reichgott-Junge) attempted to downplay the Bakk-Dayton fight. The Senate vote is phony but the Bakk-Dayton fight is serious.
Here’s hoping that the House passes the Senate bill without amending it. That way, the bill goes immediately to Gov. Dayton’s desk, where he’s promised to veto the bill. After the legislature gets Gov. Dayton’s veto letter, they should immediately bring it up for a vote to override Gov. Dayton’s veto. Article IV, sec. 23 of Minnesota’s Constitution lays out the procedure for overriding a governor’s veto:
Sec. 23. Approval of bills by governor; action on veto. Every bill passed in conformity to the rules of each house and the joint rules of the two houses shall be presented to the governor. If he approves a bill, he shall sign it, deposit it in the office of the secretary of state and notify the house in which it originated of that fact. If he vetoes a bill, he shall return it with his objections to the house in which it originated.
According to this webpage, the bill originated in the Senate:
Senator Bakk moved to amend the Cohen amendment to S.F. No. 174 as
1.3Page 1, after line 6, insert:
1.4″Page 2, after line 30, insert:
When Gov. Dayton vetoes the bill, Sen. Bakk will have a real decision to make. He can either drop the subject and be exposed as proposing the amendment to provide political cover on an unpopular subject or he can schedule a vote to override Gov. Dayton’s veto. Most importantly, the DFL majority in the Senate will be in jeopardy because the DFL will be exposed as not being particularly bothered by Gov. Dayton’s pay increases to his commissioners.
This was a show-and-tell vote. It was a freebie. It helped DFL senators look like they were doing something without actually doing something. Sen. Bakk’s amendment didn’t repeal Gov. Dayton’s authority to raise his commissioners’ pay. It just delayed part of the pay increase Sen. Bakk and the DFL legislature gave to Gov. Dayton. After all, Gov. Dayton’s commissioners had already received part of their raises long before last fall’s election.