Archive for December, 2012

According to the minutes of the October 18 Meet and Confer meeting at St. Cloud State, the SCSU Faculty Association is questioning what happened with a number of student transcripts without the faculty’s consent:

So officially what we would like to do is have data for FY07 through 12 of each semester and summer session the number of late withdrawals that are signed off after and the number of late withdrawals that faculty were not involved in. I saw three in one day in my department where the faculty were not consulted last spring and so I know its happening. Perhaps an even more concerning issue of the faculty is the number of transcript, and I don’t know a way to describe it but I am going to use alterations where students are removed from being listed as having been enrolled.

It’s difficult to picture a situation where a student disappears from a university’s enrollment list. It’s more difficult to picture a situation where a student and his/her grades disappear. As difficult as that appears to be, that’s what appears to have happened at SCSU.

As disturbing as that is, it apparently isn’t an isolated incident:

We had discussions about late withdrawals and I provided some information about some late withdrawals that when you read them you almost laugh. It’s unfortunate that they are getting withdrawals and faculty don’t even see that, don’t even get to sign off and so somehow the process isn’t being followed…

The fact that this isn’t the first discussion about late withdrawals between the SCSU Faculty Association and the administration is troubling enough. The fact that it wasn’t solved the first time adds to the administration’s troubles. The administration’s response is questionable:

Admin: The sense that we haven’t shared information is not correct; we have shared information on this in the past. It is true that we’ve also agreed that we can share that information with you. I’ve directed folks that make the decision that once the decision is made and if there is any change in the transcript that should be conveyed to the dean of the school/college within which that course resides and to the instructor who was in charge of that course. So we will do that.

That’s difficult to believe considering this response from the Faculty Association:

We have agreed to processes at least twice that I can remember. The last time was when Mitch was in your office and to get yearly reporting of late withdrawals and late withdrawals without faculty input and we got that information. I think that’s one of the things that just ought to come out to us all the time, every year. The other piece of it is that it’s difficult to do some things like helping with student success, some things like doing accurate assessment if people disappear from our records and we don’t have that information in our records anymore or if we learn for example that, and this is kind of an odd example I suppose, you don’t know that a student has taken a course three times because there is no record of it and the student is in there for the fourth time and you’re trying to figure out a way to help that student be successful and yet you’re blindsided by this lack of information.

Let’s summarize:

  • The Faculty Association noticed students who had gotten late withdrawals from classes that the faculty hadn’t signed off on.
  • The Faculty Association raised this issue with the administration at least once before.
  • The Faculty Association and the administration agreed to a process to deal with this type of situation.
  • Though they had reached an agreement on the process, the process wasn’t followed.

As bad as that is, it gets worse:

Admin: That goes to the question also of support structures for student success and I agree and we are at least taking some steps in that direction with MAPWORKs, with other areas where we keep track not only via transcript which I think is after the event but while the students are in the classes.

FA: So if there was a withdrawal that faculty were not aware of and if the person was literally taken out of a course afterwards would that show up in MAPWORKs?

Admin: That probably won’t show up in MAPWORKs.

It’s apparent that the administration tried presenting MAPWORKs as a solution. It’s equally apparent that the Faculty Association noticed that MAPWORKs isn’t a solution, which the administration quickly admitted. The question that remains is why the administration would talk about MAPWORKs as a solution to the problem.

This is how potentially explosive this situation is:

In that spirit I’m hoping that we have shared governance, the curriculum is the primary responsibility of the faculty and the grades we trust you to maintain the integrity of them and while there are legitimate reasons for altering the transcripts and such we really do think that it would be a good thing for you to bring us into this process and not assert the management right that we can do whatever we want because I guarantee you the ill that you don’t know is much, much, much worse the ill that you know. I know this is something the faculty will revolt over.

The thought that the faculty would revolt if the administration doesn’t involve them in this process is understandable. The faculty take their job of grading students seriously. The thought that the administration might keep the faculty in the dark about how students’ transcripts are getting altered without the professor signing off on the alteration is troubling.

SCSU better clean this situation up quickly. That said, I can’t say that there isn’t more to this than what we’ve learned thus far. If there’s more, that’s trouble for this administration.

Follow this link for more on this subject.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Mitch Berg’s attempt to educate Dave Mindeman about economics is a hopeless situation, though it is fun watching. Mitch tried explaining that Mindeman’s “Blizzard of facts” didn’t put things in context. Here’s part of Mr. Mindeman’s argument that the economy does better under Democrats’ leadership than under the GOP:

And just in case Mr. Berg wants to highlight Obama’s tenure….

A. Corporate profits have surged an average of 51.8% under Obama, the best out of any stretch of party control since 1933, S&P said.

Mitch was right in highlighting this:

Except it’s not because business is banging along on eight cylinders. It’s because businesses are sitting on their cash. They’re laying off workers and outsourcing jobs. They are not investing in new plants, new products and new hires.

Mitch’s observation is important because it highlights the fact that businesses aren’t expanding because President Obama’s regulatory policies (Dodd-Frank, the PPACA) discourage long-term economic growth. Rather than admitting that Mitch has a legitimate point, Mr. Mindeman threw this hissy fit:

So these are the “job creators”? They would rather sit on their wealth and tank the economy than move the country forward?

Glad the Republicans take advice from these characters.

The insinuation is that business is waiting for a better “business climate”. And what is that exactly? Is there a need for more workers? Unemployment says no. Better tax rates? If they have all this cash, why would they need tax cuts?

That’s proof that Mr. Mindeman isn’t an expert in connecting economic dots. That’s why I’m putting this post together. In the spirit of bipartisanship, I’ll answer Mindeman’s questions:

The insinuation is that business is waiting for a better “business climate”. And what is that exactly?

The best explanation I have for what constitutes a pro-growth business climate is a period in time when entrepreneurs know that regulations will be relatively stable, that labor costs will be reasonable and the opportunity to make profits is good. Right now, entrepreneurs know that President Obama’s administration is a regulation-making nightmare.

Entrepreneurs have said forthrightly that they don’t know if they’ll be complying with regulations today but might be out of compliance a week from now. Why would a business hire additional people if he isn’t certain about what regulations he has to comply with?

Better tax rates? If they have all this cash, why would they need tax cuts?

Nobody’s talking about tax cuts at this point. What’s been proposed is eliminating corporate welfare, broadening the tax base in exchange for lower rates and tax simplification.

So these are the “job creators”? They would rather sit on their wealth and tank the economy than move the country forward?

First, entrepreneurs can’t wait to create jobs and wealth. With this administration’s strangling load of new regulations and the threat of massive tax increases in the immediate future, these entrepreneurs would be foolish to put their capital at risk.

Second, this administration’s treatment of capitalists like villains isn’t conducive to job, wealth and prosperity creation. Telling businesses to put their money at risk so the government can confiscate it through outrageous tax rates is the best way to guarantee miniscule job growth, which is what we have.

But let’s look at Berg’s “bonus” questions…..

Why is Paul Krugman’s wet-dream state California floating toward the surface, its belly slowly rotating toward the sky, with a private sector that is leaving the state as fast as moving trucks can be secured?

California was the victim of the Republican “wet dream”, Proposition 13….which has shackled California legislation for decades. And the idea that super majorities are required to pass tax legislation (another GOP “wet dream”.) Now that California has formed Democratic super majorities, we shall see how the state can work.

This fight’s outcome has been determined. California will be a mess for the forseeable future. Prop 13 wasn’t the problem. After Prop 13 passed, economic growth in California continued.

What’s crippling California is their pension system and their cultish adherance to insane environmental policies. Environmental policies have crippled the agriculture economof California’s Central Valley. A different part of California’s environmental policies are preventing the state from tapping into vast energy resources lying just beneath the surface.

Rather than investing in job-creating fossil fuel project that would create wealth and prosperity, California took the opposite approach. They’re investing heavily in failed green energy economies. The only jobs the green industry has created are being filled with bankruptcy lawyers.

No amount of tax increases will fix California’s economy if they continue to ‘invest in’ failing green energy projects while not tapping into fossil fuel reserves. No amount of Mindeman’s arguments will put that in better context.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When it was reported that SCSU’s enrollment had dropped 4.5%, SCSU Provost Malhotra tried spinning it as routine:

“This was not unexpected and was less than anticipated,” said Devinder Maholtra, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “While we saw decreases overall, we did see positive increases among some segments.”

“As with many colleges and universities, there are numerous factors leading to fewer enrolled students. We have seen indicators that point to economic hardships, decreased funding opportunities and students wanting to stay closer to home,” Malhotra said.

Here’s what isn’t routine:

The University’s partnership with SCTCC accounted for 169 of this year’s 1,122 incoming transfer students. Transfer students make up about 40 percent of St. Cloud State’s total student population.

Enrollment shrunk by 774 students. That isn’t awful by itself. When that’s combined with 1,122 students transferring into SCSU, that’s frightening. The only way that happens if if a ton of students left SCSU for what they perceived as greener pastures.

There’s no way to spin that as a positive development.

Here’s SCSU’s recent enrollment history:

SCSU enrollment history
2012 — 16,457
2011 — 17,231
2010 — 18,319
2009 — 17,686
2008 — 16,998
2007 — 16,882

That means SCSU lost all of the enrollment gains of the past 6 school years and then some. That isn’t awful. That’s terrible.

More important, though, is the likelihood that this is causing major difficulties with SCSU’s finances. Couple that with Chancellor Rosenstone’s budget proposal to cap tuition increases at MnSCU at 3% for the next biennium and you’ve got lots of problems heading in SCSU’s direction.

With the economy hitting a tough stretch, it’s difficult picturing a scenario where SCSU’s enrollment increases sometime soon. Couple that with a smaller-than-hoped-for budget increase from the legislature and you’re potentially looking at some serious budget cutting at SCSU.

The only way that doesn’t happen is if the legislature starts limiting the number of administrators each university employs while limiting the number of administrators serving at MnSCU Headquarters in St. Paul.

Finally, it’s worth noting that this year’s 30-day enrollment figures weren’t released until Christmas shopping had started. This year’s report is filled with negatives. In 2007, the report was filled with positives. That year’s report was published on Oct. 18th, a time when people were more likely to take note of the University’s good news.

The University’s actions this year, compared with their enrollment reporting in other years, suggests that they aren’t as proud of this year’s report as they’re spinning it.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

After the DFL’s legislative victories in the House and Senate, it became fashionable to talk about major tax hikes. It didn’t take long for the DFL to quickly tamp that talk down and replace it with chanting points touting tax reform instead. Fortunately for the GOP, I’ve kept track of the DFL’s tax reform proposals, including their previous reform proposal:

“This bill proposes the most significant tax overhaul in 20 years,” said the bill’s chief author Rep. Ann Lenczeswki, DFL-Bloomington.

In addition to the tax hikes, Lenczewski’s bill removes a variety of tax breaks for homeowners and businesses. Charitable contributions, the mortgage interest tax deduction and the property tax deduction for homeowners are eliminated and replaced with a tax credit based on income. The bill also eliminates several business tax breaks, like the Research and Development credit and parts of the governor’s JOBZ program.

Lenczewski said she wants to clean up the state’s tax code.

“Which is to sweep the tax code clean of all of the preferential treatment and subsidies and things we can’t afford anymore and instead bring a fairer, more progressive income tax to Minnesotans based on the ability to pay,” she said.

Rep. Lenczewski’s tax overhaul is stunning because it would’ve:

  • Raised tax rates
  • Eliminated deductions for home mortgage interest, charitable giving and property taxes
  • Eliminated the R & D tax deduction for businesses.

Mitch Berg has a great post about DFL tax increases titled “Now We Are All ‘The Rich’”. Unfortunately, Mitch didn’t include Cy Thao’s infamous quote, which I broke in this post:

Today, at a committee hearing, Cy Thao told Steve “When you guys win, you get to keep your money. When we win, we take your money.”

Another golden oldie that I haven’t talked about recently is Steve Murphy’s quote about the 2008 gas tax increase:

Tucked away in a big transportation funding bill being fast-tracked to a Senate floor vote today are future increases in Minnesota’s gas tax that could push it from 20 cents a gallon to more than 40 cents over 10 years, higher than any state’s current bite at the pump.

“I’m not trying to fool anybody,” said Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, sponsor of the measure that would increase funding for roads and transit by $1.5 billion a year once it was fully implemented in the next decade. “There’s a lot of taxes in this bill.”

In short, the DFL’s happy talk about tax reform is what most people call tax hikes. There’s little in the way of replacing the relic tax code with a 21st Century tax code. Historically speaking, there’s just lots of major tax hikes to the DFL’s tax ‘reforms’.

Whatever the DFL calls it, the reality is that their ‘reforms’ will hit everyone hard.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I just published this post about progressive fascism in Minnesota, which is a good start on what’s wrong with public debate in Minnesota but that doesn’t go far enough in talking about what’s the heart of the problem.

What’s wrong is illustrated with this disgusting depiction of progressive fascism:

It was an experience I will remember a long time. Especially seeing the backs of the state troopers–as they lined up shoulder to shoulder to keep the crowd from touching us. And the screaming, “Shame! Shame!” at us. Doesn’t really go with earlier in the evening when they were singing Amazing Grace, and shouting “No Hate”. Of course, they seemed to think it was perfectly loving to scream “Bigot” 10 inches from my face and spit on one of the other reps. (By the way, he has MS, walks with a cane and is a little slower. No hate, right?

This video highlights what’s at the heart of the problem:

What caught my attention is Prof. Rauch’s statement that “Minorities aren’t delicate flowers” that need protection. Later, his statement that an attitude of “Bring it on” is what changes people’s minds. Pluralism, not purism, he said, is the way to change people’s minds. He’s exactly right.

What’s interesting is that Prof. Rauch isn’t a hardline conservative. He’s a gay rights activist and proud liberal. He isn’t interested in shutting down debate. He’s advocating for passionate, respectful debate.

The gay rights activists that spat on Rep. Hamilton weren’t interested in passionate, respectful debate. Their shouting down people they disagree with is the opposite of debate. That might win elections but it doesn’t win mandates. It simply says that one side did a better job of turning out voters than the other side.

This review of Greg Lukianoff’s book hits at the heart of what’s wrong with progressive fascism:

Lukianoff tells me of a recent survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges and Universities: ‘Out of 24,000 students who were asked the question, “Is it safe to hold unpopular positions on campus?”, only 35 per cent of students strongly agreed. But, when broken down, the stat indicates something even worse. Forty per cent of freshmen strongly agreed, but only 30 per cent of seniors.’ In other words, students unlearn freedom of speech during their studies.

It’s troubling to think that dissent is discouraged on college campuses. What’s worse is that students aren’t the only people who are told that they shouldn’t express dissent:

‘Even worse, only 16 per cent of university faculty strongly agreed with this statement. It’s not even a particularly strong statement, and if we’ve reached a point where only 16 per cent of faculty strongly agree with it, then we’re doing something wrong.’

When the vast majority of faculty say that holding unpopular positions” is dangerous for them, then something’s seriously wrong with university administrators.

It’s time for debate-loving people of all political persuasions to join together in fighting the latest version of fascism.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

This LTE contains a disturbing scene:

I attended both Voter ID public hearings in the city of Rochester during this election year. I went there hoping to learn more about the proposed amendment, along with hearing more from the opposing point of view.

I didn’t realize I was in for such a rude awakening. Most of the hearing consisted of people shouting and talking over the representatives from both sides on the issue.

I completely respect the idea of the First Amendment and the freedom of speech. Unfortunately, people seem to believe it applies only when the speaker’s point of view agrees with their own.

When speaking with Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer after the hearing in Rochester, she stated this was the worst reception she had ever received. One lady verbally attacked her right in front of me, along with a young man grabbing her arm on the way out of the forum.

I decided, with a group of like-minded individuals, to escort her out of the building.

This is the face of DFL activism. Though this incident involved the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment, this isn’t the only time DFL activism has gone way past the line. I wrote about another incident where the DFL activists’ behavior was disgusting. This is a firsthand report from a legislator:

What became unnerving was that last night as we moved closer to the vote they got louder and faster. There was one woman who screeched every time the main doors opened. Made me long for a pair of socks. It was an experience I will remember a long time. Especially seeing the backs of the state troopers–as they lined up shoulder to shoulder to keep the crowd from touching us. And the screaming, “Shame! Shame!” at us. Doesn’t really go with earlier in the evening when they were singing Amazing Grace, and shouting “No Hate”. Of course, they seemed to think it was perfectly loving to scream “Bigot” 10 inches from my face and spit on one of the other reps. (By the way, he has MS, walks with a cane and is a little slower. No hate, right?

This past session, the DFL spoke in public about the need for compromise. They spoke of it as the political Holy Grail. The DFL’s hypocrisy was exposed because they took a my-way-or-the-highway approach when they were the majority party in the legislature. From 2007-2010, there weren’t calls for civility and compromise. Those words were quickly forgotten.

Thanks to ABM’s lies and the Twin Cities’ media’s unwillingness to call them on their disgusting pattern of lying, progressive fascism has displaced Minnesota Nice. Here’s hoping that Republicans take principled stands against the DFL’s bad policies.

More importantly, here’s hoping the GOP articulately explains why they’re opposing the DFL’s counterproductive policies. Only through clear articulation of our principles will we win debates. We won’t win elections if we don’t win the debates.

The good news is that positive solutions will quickly discredit progressive fascism’s chalking points.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This article makes lots of sense in saying the ACA might well go the way of the BCRA, aka McCain-Feingold. First, here’s what Catron said about the process that got rid of the BCRA:

Another provision of Obamacare being challenged in court is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). IPAB, you will recall, is Obamacare’s rationing board. When PPACA was signed into law, Congress transferred much of its power to this committee, which will decide what services will be approved by Medicare and how much the providers of those services will be paid. The Goldwater Institute has filed a lawsuit, Coons v. Geithner, which challenges the constitutionality of IPAB under the separation of powers doctrine.

Congress has sole authority on setting the parameters of service. Congress essentially said that they were getting out of the oversight business and that they were giving future presidents a blank check on health care.

This might be the biggest sticking point in the ACA:

And, no list of Obamacare lawsuits would be complete without mentioning the Oklahoma lawsuit challenging the illegal IRS rule by which the Obama administration will attempt to funnel tax credits and subsidies through federally-created exchanges, despite the law’s stipulation that such premium-assistance can only be offered via state-run exchanges. This litigation is, in many ways, the most important of all the lawsuits. Without its insurance exchanges, and the accompanying subsidies, Obamacare will crash and burn.

The bill’s language is quite clearly written. Only those people who purchase their health insurance through state-run exchanges can get premium-assistance subsidies. If the Obama administration can’t extend these subsidies to exchanges run by the federal government, they’re in a difficult position because tons of states have said that they aren’t establishing state-run exchanges:

Over the past week, the list of states not participating in the system has grown to nineteen as the states of Wisconsin, Ohio and Nebraska chose to join sixteen others in rejecting the state health insurance exchange that is called for under the Obamacare law.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin announced his choice in a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday writing, “No matter which option is chosen, Wisconsin taxpayers will not have meaningful control over the health care policies and services sold to Wisconsin residents.”

Maine Governor Paul LePage wrote to Sebelius explaining why his state won’t implement the state exchange saying, “In the end, a state exchange puts the burden onto the states and the expense onto our taxpayers, without giving the state the authority and flexibility we must have to best meet the needs of the people of Maine.”

It’s clear that at least 19 states are opting not to establish state-run exchanges, meaning the federal government must implement fed-run exchanges. That’s without undecided states making their decisions. Those states include Florida, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Arkansas and Iowa.

NOTE: That’s the status as of Nov. 16. It’s likely that at least half of the states that are undecided will reject state-run exchanges, driving the total north of 25 states. If all those states reject establishing state-run exchanges, that represents approximately 162,616,000, which is significantly more than half of the U.S. population of 309,000,000.

Not only wouldn’t those people get subsidized health insurance but it would force the federal government to foot the bills for the exchanges. That will dramatically drive up the federal government’s annual deficits. If you think they’re outrageous now, you’re right. If the federal government has to run 25-28 individual exchanges, these deficits will seem like the good old days.

Killing the PPACA can’t happen soon enough. Once that’s done, serious people can implement real health care reform.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve occasionally taken time from writing about politics on LFR to write about great athletes in Minnesota sports. This is another of those times. I won’t write about Adrian Peterson, the best running back in the NFL, though he’s certainly deserving of all the praise he gets.

I’m not writing this post about Kevin Love or Ricky Rubio, either. Once Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio get back into game shape, the T’Wolves will be a formidable NBA team. It’s quite possible they’ll make the NBA playoffs with that dynamic duo.

I can’t wait to see newly acquired Alex Meyer, a flamethrowing righthander that the Twins acquired from the Washington Nationals in exchange for Denard Span. That isn’t likely to happen this season but it’s likely he’ll be part of the Twins rotation in 2014.

The player I’m focusing on tonight is possibly Minnesota’s best kept secret. It’s time T’Wolves fans got to know more about Alexey Shved. Quite a few years ago, then-T’Wolves Kevin McHale passed on Manu Ginobli late in the 2nd round. T’Wolves never let McHale live that down.

This past summer, T’Wolves VP of Basketball Operations David Kahn signed undrafted free agent Alexey Shved prior to the Olympics. He’s been quietly turning heads in Rubio’s absence with his shooting, his ability to play the point and his lights out performances in the fourth quarter.

Friday night was a perfect example of a ‘typical’ Shved game. Shortly after entering the game, Shved hit a pair of 3-pointers. Then he went silent the rest of the half and the entire third quarter, at least in terms of scoring. He still played smart defense, limiting Monta Ellis’ offensive production after he’d gotten off to a fast start.

Then came the fourth quarter and what a performance Alexey put on. He played the entire quarter, ran the point, distributing the ball to the open player while hitting shot after shot. Granted, he didn’t turn into a Kevin Durant- or LeBron James-like scoring machine. Still, he hit some key shots like his 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left on the shot clock.

Columnists have given him the nickname of the ‘Russian Rubio’ because his court vision and instincts are extraordinary. He’s great at pushing tempo. He’s what fantasy hoops players talk about as a stat sheet stocking stuffer. In a year or two, it won’t be surprising when he scores 18, grabs 5-8 rebounds, dishes off 7-8 assists with 2 steals and a block.

What I haven’t talked about yet is what’s most important. What’s most impressive is the fact that he isn’t overwhelmed by the situation. He’s played in the Olympics. He’s hit big shots at crucial moments. Like Rubio, the game doesn’t get too big for them.

Minnesota T’Wolves fans, I hope you take the time to get to know Alexey. He’ll be putting smiles on T’Wolves fans for the next decade.

Former Twins manager Tom Kelly said that putting Kirby Puckett, Gary Gaetti, Kent Hrbek, Frankie Viola, Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris made him a smarter manager. It won’t be long before Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved will be making T’Wolves coach Rick Adelman a smarter coach, too.

If there’s a more intolerant bunch than elitists on college campuses, it’s difficult to think who it might be. The anti-First Amendment, pro-censorship crowd is getting exposed thanks to Greg Lukianoff’s book and George Will’s column about Mr. Lukianoff’s book. Here’s something from Lukianoff’s book that Will highlighted in his column:

In recent years, a University of Oklahoma vice president has declared that no university resources, including e-mail, could be used for “the forwarding of political humor/commentary.” The College at Brockport in New York banned using the Internet to “annoy or otherwise inconvenience” anyone. Rhode Island College prohibited, among many other things, certain “attitudes.” Texas Southern University ‘s comprehensive proscriptions included “verbal harm” from damaging “assumptions” or “implications.” Texas A&M promised “freedom from indignity of any type.” Davidson banned “patronizing remarks.” Drexel University forbade “inappropriately directed laughter.” Western Michigan University banned “sexism,” including “the perception” of a person “not as an individual, but as a member of a category based on sex.” Banning “perceptions” must provide full employment for the burgeoning ranks of academic administrators.

There’s no more passionate defender of the First Amendment than George Will, though it’s apparent that Mr. Lukianoff isn’t a slouch in that respect either.

The censorship police’s intrusion into campuses must stop ASAP. They simply don’t have the right to limit speech. That’s what makes this next part especially appalling:

Many campuses congratulate themselves on their broad-mindedness when they establish small “free-speech zones” where political advocacy can be scheduled. At one point Texas Tech’s 28,000 students had a “free-speech gazebo” that was 20 feet wide. And you thought the First Amendment made America a free-speech zone.

It’s apparent that progressives don’t like the First Amendment. Their tactics are geared to shut down discussions. In the past 4 years, we’ve heard progressives talk about how the First Amendment should be restricted. That’s what McCain-Feingold, aka BCRA, sought to do. Thankfully, the Supreme Court got it right with its Citizens United ruling. Thankfully, BCRA is now gutted. Thankfully, a portion of the First Amendment was restored.

Now it’s time to start picking fights on college campuses about the progressives’ censorship campaign. It’s time to start stripping the censorship police’s authority. It’d be great if the censorship police can be stripped of their authority in a quick ruling.

Most likely, though, it’ll be a lengthy, hard-fought fight. The thought/censorship police accumulated their power over time. They won’t willingly let go of that authority.

However long it takes, the fight must start today. It isn’t overstatement to say that the left has been waging war against the First Amendment for a generation. It’s time for First Amendment advocates, whether they’re constitutional conservatives like Mr. Will or free speech liberals like Mr. Lukianoff, to mount a full frontal assault against the censorship police. More accurately, it’s probably best that We The People join Mssrs. Will and Lukianoff in their fight for the Constitution and the First Amendment.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The incoming DFL majorities aren’t even sworn in and they’re already telegraphing their expensive agenda:

Gov. Mark Dayton’s own transportation advisory panel called Friday for a higher state gas tax and other fees and taxes to raise at least $50 billion more for roads and transit over the coming two decades.

The Transportation Finance Advisory Committee’s recommendations aim to improve the state’s roads and expand transit, including new light rail lines, as a boost to the state’s economy.

That’s a $2,500,000,000 a year regressive tax increase for the next 20 years. How many of LFR’s readers think they need a $2,500,000,000 a year tax increase? More importantly, how many of you think it’s important to raise taxes by that much to build sparsely populated light rail lines so taxpayers can subsidize them for the rest of their lives?

Predictably, the DFL is all over this action:

“My sense is the governor would very, very much like to get us back in a posture of making these needed and key investments,” said Sen. Scott Dibble, a Minneapolis Democrat who served on the advisory committee and will head the Senate Transportation and Public Safety Division.

Sen. Dibble is a blithering idiot if he thinks light rail is a “needed and key investment.” It’s a waste of money that’s constantly taking money out of people’s pockets for something only a handful of people use on a daily basis. Simply put, it’s a long-term waste of taxpayers’ money.

That isn’t the worst part about this panel’s recommendations. This is:

The 19-member group led by Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel picked the costliest of three options it studied.

Of course they picked the most expensive option. The DFL has the votes. The DFL doesn’t care what Minnesotans think about light rail. In fact, they’ve never cared about the taxpayers’ opinions. The DFL is the party that caters to special interests. They aren’t the party that listens to main street. They’re the party that listens to their special interest allies.

It’s time to quit pretending that the DFL is all for compromise and fairness. Sen. Wellstone fought hard for his beliefs but was willing to compromise. He loved debating issues on the floor of the Senate. Ditto with Hubert Humphrey.

Today’s DFL has little in common with Humphrey or Wellstone. Today’s DFL is all about grabbing as much money from people’s wallets as possible. Whether it comes from a middle class worker’s wallet, the rich’s wallet or from the working poor’s wallet is irrelevant to a DFL legislator fixing on going on a spending binge.

God help us all.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,