Archive for July, 2013
When St. Cloud State went through its reorganization in 2010-11, President Potter said that an important focus of the school would be on STEM-related programs. To those who knew about the University’s rejecting Fedex’s offer of donating a cargo jet, President Potter’s statement about STEM being a priority rang hollow.
This article puts the SCSU-STEM-Fedex fiasco into perspective:
FedEx is donating a 20-year-old cargo jet to serve as a classroom in St. Paul. The 153-foot-long Boeing 727-200F named Timothy will permanantly cool its jets at the St. Paul Downtown Airport’s Holman Field. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the airport after the plane lands.
Previously used to deliver FedEx packages nationwide, the aircraft will soon be used as a stationary classroom for aviation students at St. Paul’s Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet School. “Instead of scrapping or selling these jets, we decided to donate them to help the next generation of pilots and aircraft technicians,” said Jim McCluskey, FedEx spokesman.
The jet will be donated to the Minnesota Association of Women in Aviation. Through a $100,000 federal grant, the Learning Jet classroom will be made available for other schools as well. “I think it’s important to students all over Minnesota because groups can use the space for real-world experience,” said Jill Wall, program manager at Farnsworth Aerospace.
In 2011, FedEx offered a similar plane to St. Cloud State. At the time, the University rejected the offer, citing the closure of the Aviation program. Further, they said they wanted to focus more attention on STEM-related programs and projects. This part of the article shows the foolishness of President Potter’s decision:
The jet’s classroom renovations will be finished in the fall. The school is planning to use the space for courses in science, technology, engineering and math. Within that curriculum, students will learn about transportation in aviation, railroads, highways and waterways.
The engine on the jet will be removed, but school officials are considering including the parts in the curriculum. The inside will have rows of desks on either side of the aircraft. In the back will be four simulator stations where students can learn to drive vehicles, fly aircraft and command boats.
The Farnsworth Magnet School leadership understood how important this jet would be to their STEM projects. That’s something that President Potter either didn’t understand or didn’t put a high priority on.
Finally, the jet FedEx wanted to donate to SCSU would’ve been stored free of charge at the St. Cloud Regional Airport. FedEx had already promised to fly the plane their on their dime. The only cost of bringing the jet in was in permanently mooring the airplane. It was speculated at the time that the St. Cloud City Council would’ve paid for that because the bill was expected to be approximately $2,000.
In short, it a) wouldn’t have cost SCSU a penny and b) would’ve been a great learning tool for students from grade school through college. In short, President Potter blew another decision that would’ve positively impacted SCSU and the greater St. Cloud community.
Tags: St. Cloud State University, Earl Potter, STEM, Farnsworth Magnet School, Holman Field, Classroom, FedEx, Donation, St. Cloud City Council, Education, St. Cloud Regional Airport, Math and Science
One of the reasons why I don’t miss Greta van Susteren’s show is because I always learn things I wouldn’t hear anywhere else on TV. This video is a classic example of what I’m talking about:
During her interview with Greta, Michelle Easton, the president of the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute, said that “the first thing that the IRS requested was the names of all of our contributors. Well, you know they can’t get that information. That is private information. But we had to fight and fight and fight to secure the privacy of our supporters.”
That’s when Greta jumped in, saying “I think there’s even case law from the Supreme Court asking for the names of the membership, which prevents it.” Less than a minute later, Greta said that the Supreme Court case was the NAACP vs. Alabama.
President Obama, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney have repeatedly said that the IRS scandal is a “phony scandal.” That’s an outright lie. When the IRS asks an organization for information it’s prohibited from getting, it’s a real scandal.
Later in the first block, Greta played a video of Lew’s interview on Meet the Press:
During the video, Lew said that “after weeks and weeks of investigations, IG investigations, Justice Department investigations, congressional hearings, there’s no evidence of any political involvement in the decisions leading up to that situation.”
That’s technically true but it’s also spin. Saying that Chairman Issa hadn’t uncovered a smoking gun that the White House micromanaged the political attacks on President Obama’s political enemies after 3 months of hearings is akin to saying Woodward and Bernstein were barking up the wrong tree with Watergate because they hadn’t found a smoking gun after 3 months of investigating. It took them 2 years to put the Watergate puzzle together.
I’m not saying this IRS scandal is Watergate’s equivalent. YET. It’s possible that investigators won’t find that smoking gun but it’s equally possible they will.
What we know now is that the IRS was used as a weapon against President Obama’s political opponents. Further, we’ve learned that the office of the IRS’s Office of Chief Counsel is accused of micromanaging the harassment of the TEA Party organizations. Finally, it’s possible that one of President Obama’s political appointees might’ve played a role in putting the harassing questions together. At this point, we can’t prove that William Wilkins helped put the questions together. We just know it’s possible.
At minimum, the investigation shouldn’t stop until we find out, conclusively, that Wilkins wasn’t involved in harassing his boss’s political opponents. If investigators find out that Wilkins was involved, then the investigation must continue. Anything less wouldn’t be acceptable.
Tags: IRS Investigation, Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute, IRS Audit, Michelle Easton, Donor List, NAACP vs. Alabama, SCOTUS, Darrell Issa, GOP, Wiliam Wilkins, IRS Chief Counsel, Political Appointees, Jack Lew, President Obama, Culture of Corruption, Democrats
A federal judge dismissed 2 lawsuits in-home child care small businesses filed after Gov. Dayton signed the bill into law. Here’s part of what the judge wrote of the dismissal:
Chief Judge Michael Davis wrote the “plaintiffs express a fear that, one day, there may be a certified union for family child care providers who accept State subsidies and that, one day, such a union may decide to impose a fair share fee on nonmembers of the union… Plaintiffs request that the Court peer into a crystal ball, predict the future, and then opine on the constitutionality of a speculative scenario…Courts may not give such advisory opinions. Plaintiffs’ claims are not ripe.”
Gov. Dayton issued this statement on Judge Davis’ dismissal:
I am very pleased that both lawsuits seeking to prevent child care providers from deciding for themselves whether or not to form a union have been dismissed by the Chief Judge of the United States District Court. I believe that working men and women should have the right to vote on forming a union, and that the Court’s decisions will permit such an election to be held.
Gov. Dayton’s victory might be temporary. The judge didn’t say the small business leaders’ lawsuit was without merit. He simply said it wasn’t ripe. That’s something echoed by the plaintiffs’ attorney Doug Seaton:
He’s dismissed the case but he’s dismissed it on the basis that nothing is ripe, nothing has happened yet in his view. We think enough has happened so the judge can decide and he shouldn’t dismiss the case but because of that part of the decision it’s possible that our evaluation will be- we’re better off to wait until there’s a filing by AFSCME or some part of the process in the election takes place and then it’s very clear- it is ripe. So that would be one avenue to re-file after a matter of time and developments or directly go to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to file an appeal of this decision.
Hollee Saville, one of the leaders of the anti-unionization fight, issued this statement on Judge Davis’ dismissal:
This is NOT over! We believe the Judge has erred and are considering our options to appeal or refile as the election process proceeds, but this challenge is not over. We remain convinced that home child care providers are not subject to unionization by the state under this statute.
Providers, PLEASE register to accept CCAP NOW so that you would get a vote.
We still need help adopting licensed family child care providers for mailings (any amount makes a difference) and will need help calling eligible voters soon, since we’re sure that AFSCME will present their 500 cards soon.
PLEASE visit www.MinnesotaFamilyChildcare.com to see how you can help.
At the heart of this fight is whether a legislature can write legislation that changes a private sector employer into a public sector employee without the employer’s consent. If the court rules that legislatures have that authority, then there’s nothing that legislatures couldn’t do.
As for Gov. Dayton’s statement, he’s intentionally omitting a pair of important points. First, legislatures shouldn’t have the right to call for a vote when existing federal legislation prohibits that vote. Also, legislatures shouldn’t have the right to write legislation that says private sector employers aren’t private sector employers. That’s what the DFL’s bill essentially does.
Finally, the DFL is playing with political fire with this issue. Anti-unionization activists are upset with the DFL for essentially throwing them under the bus to pay off the DFL’s political allies. The DFL stepped on a political landmine with this. Passing this legislation is motivating voters to vote against the DFL.
UPDATE: Here’s how Sen. Dave Thompson responded to last night’s child care ruling:
“On Sunday, July 28, 2013, The Honorable Michael Davis issued an order dismissing claims against Governor Mark Dayton pertaining to the childcare unionization legislation that was passed and signed into law during the 2013 legislative session. Of course, I am saddened by the decision, but am glad Judge Davis left the door open for the childcare providers to re-assert their claims at a later date.
“It is sad that these independent business people must work through the courts to try and stop the impact of this damaging law. This is what happens when elected officials put political interests ahead of the people. Governor Dayton and Democrats in the legislature have chosen to reward campaign contributors and union bosses while at the same time bullying childcare providers, most of whom are self-employed women.
“Rest assured if I am honored to be your next governor, I would make it a priority to repeal this ill advised and harmful law. This is an example of special interest politics at its worst, and Minnesotans should not stand for it.”
Here’s a quick quiz for voters: when was the last time the DFL didn’t side with their special interest allies?
Tags: Child Care Unionization, Mark Dayton, AFSCME, Mike Nelson, Corruption, Public Employees, PEUs, DFL, Hollee Saville, Doug Seaton, Small Businesses, Child Care Providers, CCAP, Federal Lawsuit, Michael Davis, Federal District Court, Dismissal
This morning on At Issue With Tom Hauser, former DFL gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza did his best to spin away the terrible Vikings stadium financing plan. When asked about the funding shortfall, Entenza said that “it shows that these stadium financing deals are complicated, don’t work the way that they hoped that they would and that the legislature will have to go back to work and find a non-general revenue fund.”
Earlier in the show, Jay Kohls said that e-tab revenue through June was $2.4 million, far short of the $35,000,000 that’s needed for the state portion of the $975,000,000 stadium cost. According to Kohls’ report, the state gambling board was hoping to have 2,800 establishments selling e-tabs. At the end of June, 300 establishments were selling the e-tabs.
Entenza is tapdancing. He should be ashamed of himself for that spin. Other cities and other states have built stadiums for their teams. I’ve watched them built in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City and St. Louis in addition to the Metrodome and Target Field. This is the only stadium funding mechanism that’s been this woefully short. In fact, it’s the only funding mechanism that didn’t come off without a hitch.
Gov. Dayton pushed the Vikings stadium so hard that he didn’t care whether the funding mechanism worked. He worried more about schmoozing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell than he worried about the funding mechanism.
Friday night, Michele Kelm-Helgen of the MSFA admitted that e-tab revenues likely will never produce the revenue required to pay off the stadium bonds. Then she admitted that the DFL legislature passed a tax increase by closing an income tax ‘loophole’ which is projected to generate $20,000,000 a year.
That’s right. She admitted that Gov. Dayton broke his promise that the state general fund wouldn’t be used to pay for the stadium. Gov. Dayton was foolish enough to buy the state gambling board’s revenue projections. Thanks to his pushing this project, Minnesota taxpayers will be paying for Zygi’s palace.
While pushing the Vikings stadium, Gov. Dayton said he wanted the new stadium to be known as “the People’s Stadium.” Thanks to Dayton’s funding mechanism, it’ll be the people’s stadium because they’ll be paying for it through higher taxes for the next 30 years.
Stadium financing isn’t complicated. It’s just that it was too complicated for Gov. Dayton.
Cordarrelle Patterson, aka CP to his coaches and teammates, apparently is off to a fast start with the Vikings. This is the part that stood out for me:
Two days into his first NFL training camp, Patterson has impressed the staff with his ability to retain information and execute pro plays despite his only having one year of Division I college experience.
“It wasn’t like starting from zero like we thought it might be,” said Frazier. “That encourages all of us. Now take that with a grain of salt. We’ve got a lot more football to go, but we like what we see so far.”
This isn’t to say CP is Percy Harvin’s equal. That’d be foolish considering the impact Harvin made while inspired. Apparently, there are some striking similarities between Harvin and CP. Both are dynamic from multiple formations and positions. Both are fast. What’s most impressive about CP is that he’s apparently a fast learner.
When Harvin was drafted, then-Vikings coach Brad Childress threw the playbook at Harvin. Coaches were impressed with Harvin’s ability to learn multiple positions quickly. Based on Brian Murphy’s Pi-Press article, it sounds like CP is a fast study, too.
That isn’t the label he had heading into the draft. If I had a $10 bill for each newspaper article or TV segment that characterized CP as “raw”, I’d be rich.
Harvin was traded to Seattle for Seattle’s first round and seventh round picks in last April’s draft and Seattle’s third rounder in next year’s draft. The Vikings turned Seattle’s first rounder into FSU cornerback Xavier Rhodes, a 6’2″ athlete with a 4.4 time in the forty. Meanwhile, Seattle put Harvin on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. If Harvin’s hip needs surjery, his season is likely over.
Most experts, including ESPN’s Bill Polian, Mark Schlereth and Tedy Bruschi, said the Vikings got the better of the trade long-term, with Seattle winning in the short-term. If Harvin doesn’t play this year, the Vikings will likely win the trade outright.
But I digress.
CP has some unique abilities:
Frazier said Patterson will get every chance to secure the kickoff return job. Unlike Percy Harvin, whose electrifying returns and the pounding he took on kickoffs sometimes kept him on the sideline during offensive possessions, Patterson’s size (6 feet 2, 220 pounds) should allow him to work double shifts.
CP is the type of dynamic playmaker that frightens defensive coordinators. His running skills are elite level. In fact, Polian said he didn’t consider CP a wideout, that he thought of CP as a running back. Watching some of his highlight videos, I’d wholeheartedly agree with Polian’s run-after-the-catch opinion. Being 6’2″ and 220 pounds and able to run a 4.4 forty is something that must be accounted for by defenses, too.
If CP learns the Vikings playbook quickly, as Brian Murphy’s article suggests, the Vikings offense could be frightening. The Vikings offensive line is solid, with Matt Kalil anchoring the unit. GM Greg Spielman added Greg Jennings and CP to a depleted receiving corps. Kyle Rudolph was last winter’s Pro Bowl MVP. And of course, the offense is built around Adrian Peterson, the seemingly bionic running back. If Christian Ponder continues to improve, the Vikings will challenge the Packers for the NFC North championship.
More on that in another post.
Tags: Minnesota Vikings, Cordarelle Patterson, Athleticism, Greg Jennings, Xavier Rhodes, Matt Kalil, Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, MVP, Christian Ponder, Seattle Seahawks, Percy Harvin, Injured Reserve, NFL Draft, Bill Polian, Mark Schlereth
This afternoon, a Democratic strategist was interviewed by Eric Bolling about the pension/bailout situation in Detroit. Showing the intellectual heft of a child going through terrible twos, this strategist asked if anyone would willingly sit across from a retired union worker and tell them “they won’t get their $18,000 a year pension that they paid into”?
Here’s the short answer. I’d volunteer for that responsibility.
While attempting to keep Michigan in the Democrats’ electoral column for 2016, which seems likely, this strategist is portraying this public employee union as a victim. That’s plain wrong. These PEUs campaigned for fiscally irresponsible politicians who promised the PEUs a goose that would continue laying golden eggs forever.
The PEUs bought the politicians’ BS and voted for fiscal irresponsibility. They wanted it. They got it. Now it’s time for them to deal with it. Let’s put it differently. These PEUs made their bed. Now it’s time for them to sleep in it. Next time, don’t vote for fiscally irresponsible politicians.
This strategist apparently thinks that unions that make fiscally foolish choices should be spared the consequences of their foolish decisions. That’s rewarding foolish behavior, which is a shortcut to more foolish behavior.
Finally, this strategist’s argument was disgusting. In terms of intellectual heft, it was the adult equivalent of a spoiled brat’s temper tantrum. There wasn’t anything adult about it. It intentionally played to people’s emotions. While that’s effective in certain situations, it isn’t a sign of intellectual heft.
Frankly, these PEUs and this Democratic strategist needs a timeout, followed by an extended period of adult supervision.
For months, we’ve heard the DFL, from Gov. Dayton and Speaker Thissen to DFL legislators, talk about taxing the rich because they hadn’t paid “their fair share” to support the DFL’s warped vision of government. Thanks to information included in Rep. Zach Dorholt’s e-letter update, we’ve got verification that the DFL just passed a massive tax increase on the middle class. Unfortunately, it’s mostly focused on small businesses. Here’s part of who’s getting victimized with the DFL’s middle class sales tax increases:
Commercial Equipment Repair:
Repairing and maintain electronic and precision equipment only if the service can be deducted as a business expense. Effective for sales made after June 30, 2013
TAXED if deducted as a business expense (purchased by a business), repair of the following items:
- cell phones, iPads, and similar devices
- computers, and everything that attaches to them like printers, monitors, and storage devices
- office equipment like photo copiers, scanners, and fax machines, CAD machines
- televisions, video and digital recorders and players
- communications equipment like two way radios, land line phones, and satellite dishes
- radar and sonar equipment
- medical and scientific equipment like microscopes, x-ray machines, etc.
Here’s another victim of the sales tax increase:
Commercial and Industrial Machinery and Equipment
Labor to repair or maintain commercial and industrial machinery and equipment is taxable, even when the equipment is installed into real property. This includes:
- refrigerators and freezers
- Farm machinery used in agricultural production (Note: The repair or maintenance is not taxable if farm machinery is owned for personal use.)
- Logging equipment
- Manufacturing and production equipment
- Mechanical cleaning equipment (floor sweepers, washers/scrubbers, etc.)
- Mining equipment
- Other heavy machinery (front end loaders, cranes, bulldozers, back hoes, skid steers, forklifts, etc.)
- Restaurant equipment
- Truck scales (portable and real property)
The DFL’s sales tax increases will hit tons of mom-and-pop shops. Repairing logging equipment will now get hit with the DFL’s sales tax increase. That hits the middle class hard. Tons of these loggers are small businesspeople making $35,000-$50,000. They aren’t rich by anyone’s definition. Repairs of cell phones, iPads, computers, and printers will now be taxed. How many people will get hit with that DFL tax increase? Perhaps hundreds of thousands? Certainly tens of thousands will get hit, with only a tiny percentage of them being “the rich.”
Unfortunately, the DFL’s victimization of Minnesotans doesn’t stop there. Here’s another group of people getting hit
with the DFL’s middle class tax increase:
Examples of taxable electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance:
- Power tools and shop equipment
- Computer equipment
- Office security system
- Sprinkler system in a production building
The DFL’s tax increases hit every income group in the state. Everyone will get hit with the DFL’s tax increases. What’s worst is that the DFL’s tax increase is paying off the DFL’s special interest allies while giving the average Minnesotan less effective government, especially less effective schools.
Think about this: the DFL raised taxes on everyone while repealing the Basic Skills Test for teachers. That isn’t just a bad deal for Minnesotans financially. It’s a terrible shafting of students who need high quality teachers so they can compete with people in other states and around the world.
What’s pathetic is that Gov. Dayton signed the DFL middle class tax increase into law at the same time he signed the repeal of the Basic Skills Test. What’s most pathetic is that Gov. Dayton signed the DFL middle class tax increase into law at the same time he signed the repeal of the Basic Skills Test requirement that he’d signed into law in 2011.
Does Gov. Dayton do whatever the DFL’s special interest supporters tell him to do? That’s what it looks like. There certainly isn’t proof that he’s ever stood up to the DFL’s special interest supporters. We certainly don’t need a governor who resembles a potted plant. We need a governor who thinks things through and acts in the best interest of all Minnesotans, not just the DFL’s special interest supporters.
Finally, St. Cloud needs a legislator who’s willing to tell his party’s leadership he won’t vote for legislation that hurts middle class families. St. Cloud needs a legislator who doesn’t vote according to the DFL’s special interest supporters’ wishes.
Thursday night, I got an email update from Rep. Dorholt, my ‘representative’ in St. Paul. Here’s the first thing he highlighted:
Minnesota schools receive $463 million
Here’s how he tried explaining it:
Minnesota schools will be receiving $463 million in repayments due to the budget we passed earlier this year, which accelerated the school shift payback. The previous legislature borrowed over a billion dollars from schools to patch up the budget deficit during the 2011-2012 session.
Minnesota Management and Budget recently announced that the state has $463 million in unaccounted revenue collected during the past budget cycle. This means that Minnesota’s economy is recovering faster than expected, and it also means that our schools will be getting a huge repayment. Due to the accelerated repayment plan, all of that money will go directly to Minnesota schools, and they should be fully repaid by 2014.
First, saying that there’s an accelerated payment plan is BS. The GOP budget produced a significant surplus. That’s why saying that “the state has $463 million in unaccounted revenue” is a tortured explanation for what actually happened.
Next, it’s offensive to hear the DFL taking credit for repaying the school shift. In 2012, the GOP legislature passed a bill that would’ve paid off a huge portion of the school shift. The DFL voted against that repayment, then Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill. Fast foward to this year’s budget.
Gov. Dayton’s Mulligan Budget didn’t include repaying the shift. In fact, the DFL proposed extending the school shift:
That isn’t likely because he was silent when Gov. Dayton unveiled his Mulligan Budget. Both of Gov. Dayton’s proposed budgets called for paying off the school shift in 2017.
The repayment plan didn’t become popular until Speaker Thissen tied it to an income tax surcharge.
Third, predictions that the school shifts will be paid off “by 2014” don’t take into account the uncertainty of whether the DFL budget will work. With companies leaving Minnesota, there’s no guarantee the DFL’s budget will produce a surplus. Meanwhile, we know that the GOP budget worked because it left a surplus of $463 million.
This part of Rep. Dorholt’s e-letter update is offensive:
In addition to paying back our schools, we passed several new measures and reforms to improve education from early childhood through college and ensure that our state is economically competitive for years to come.
The biggest ‘reform’ that the DFL passed is repealing the Basic Skills Test requirement that the GOP legislature passed and Gov. Dayton signed in 2011. Repealing that law undercuts everything. Without qualified teachers in the classrooms, all the other EdMinn/DFL talking points mean nothing. Protecting teachers that failed the Basic Skills Test isn’t reform. It’s a payoff to a DFL special interest supporter.
That isn’t something new. It’s a DFL tradition:
The DFL didn’t hesitate in repaying AFSCME with childcare unionization legislation. Why wouldn’t the DFL pay off EdMinn for their past support by gutting teacher quality? The DFL says that they’re doing this for the kids. That’s BS. They did it to keep EdMinn members making campaign contributions.
Rep. Dorholt also talked about who’s getting hit with the sales tax increase. It’s actually quite informative but it’s too long for this post. Check back later this morning for that post.
This post shows that Democrats are really reaching for anything as a glimmer of hope. Here’s what DFL Chairman Martin said:
Former WCCO news anchor Don Shelby is reportedly mulling a run against three-term Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen next year, potentially putting in play a suburban Minneapolis congressional district that has been in Republican hands for decades.
Shelby’s interest burst into the open amid remarks by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., who mentioned it at a Washington fundraiser Wednesday attended by about 30 or 40 campaign contributors, lobbyists and Democratic activists.
Peterson’s account of Shelby’s interest was confirmed by two prominent Minnesota lobbyists who were at the luncheon. Both said Peterson described Shelby’s long career in Minnesota broadcast journalism.
Democrats have been tight-lipped about Shelby’s possible entry into the race, but they made clear Thursday that they would welcome a respected Twin Cities figure with almost universal name recognition across the state.
“I don’t know if he’s in or not,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin. “If he is considering his options, I don’t think there’s any question that he’d be a very strong candidate against Congressman Paulsen. The fact is, if he gets in the race, it [the district] would become an immediate target for Democrats, not only in this state, but around the country.”
I think Martin is spinning this. In his 2008 election, his first run for office, Paulsen won by 8 points. In 2010, Paulsen won re-election by 22 points. In 2012, he won by 16 points.
If Chairman Martin thinks that sounds like a swing district, then he’s delusional. I think it’s that he’s just blowing smoke to ramp up fundraising.
Certainly, Shelby has great name recognition throughout Minnesota. Still, he’s a liberal challenging a popular incumbent. That’s a different dynamic than last year’s Bachmann vs. Graves race. None of Michele’s races were easy. Compare that with Paulsen’s margins of victory.
At the end of the day, a Paulsen-Shelby matchup would generate lots of publicity in the papers but Paulsen would still win by 8-10 points.
This afternoon, I was contacted by former Rep. Laura Brod. She and her husband issued this statement, which I’m publishing in its entirety:
A message from Wade and Laura Brod
This is the last kind of message we ever thought we would have to write. Or ever wanted to write. Here goes…
Those who know us understand that we have had a difficult marriage for quite a number of years. And while we love each other as friends, and respect each other as parents, we have effectively led separate lives, have been separated and are presently going through a very amicable divorce. We felt no need to publicize or communicate this private matter.
Like many married couples, we have both made mistakes along the way, and wish we had some do-overs. Still, no matter how difficult our marriage may have been at times, our Number One focus has always been to do everything we could to jointly raise our children in a positive and loving environment. We have awesome kids.
The Brod Family loves each other and we stand united against anyone who would seek to do us harm. Specifically, someone has posted a photo – which was illegally disseminated – on the Internet for the sole purpose of embarrassing our family and damaging our reputations. We cannot begin to explain why someone would be so mean, and so hateful. Nor can we overstate the humiliation they have caused.
As embarrassing as this entire incident is, we know the larger nightmare of harassment, cyber-stalking and privacy invasion is not unique to us, and we plan to fight back with everything we have. This matter has been referred to the FBI and we are pursuing all legal means possible to prosecute whoever is responsible for the illegal dissemination of this material.
While we understand the desire by some to turn a difficult family situation into a public controversy, we hope you will respect our family’s privacy during this challenging time as we seek to ensure the safety and security of our family.
We will have no further comment on this matter.
Wade and Laura Brod
The letter speaks for itself. That’s why I won’t add further commentary to it other than to say I wish the Brod family the best during this obviously painful time.