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Archive for February, 2018

I don’t actually believe what the headline says. I just thought I’d use a headline the way progressives used words at CNN’s townhall meeting. That’s the one where people said Sen. Rubio had blood on his hands because he wouldn’t reject campaign contributions from the NRA.

What I can say with certainty is that the NEA isn’t in touch with its members on guns in schools. According to this article, the NEA issued a statement that said “Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence. Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms.”

Apparently, teachers in Ohio disagree:

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones told FOX Business’ Liz MacDonald that the response from teachers and school administrators has been overwhelming. “We thought we’d get 20, 25 signed up. We had 50 within the first hour. We had 100 within two hours, we had three hundred within like five hours. We offered to teachers first, then we start getting calls from a secretary that works in the school, janitors that work in the school,” Jones said.

More schools are beginning to train their educators to access or carry concealed weapons with reports suggesting there are now more than 1,000 school staffers in a dozen states with access to guns in schools spanning 225 districts.

Apparently, the people sitting on the front lines have a different opinion of what is and isn’t needed than the suits in the offices. Imagine that. Union leadership isn’t in touch with its members. That’s virtually unimaginable. (I’m kidding.)
Pay attention to this interview:

This is a paid professional law enforcement officer. Does the NEA seriously think that they know better how to protect schools than this police officer? Forgive me if I side with the police officer over the NEA on school security measures.

I find it disturbing that the NEA didn’t know that the thirst for arming teachers was this strong amongst teachers. Was it that the NEA didn’t know? Or was it that they knew and chose to not represent their dues-paying members? Both possibilities are frightening.

Thursday night at the St. Cloud Public Library, Dr. John Palmer gave a presentation based on this document. One of the primary focuses of Dr. Palmer’s presentation was to establish a set of facts so St. Cloud could have an honest discussion about the hidden costs of St. Cloud’s changing demographics.

One of the statistic sets that Dr. Palmer cited was the median household income for the major demographic groups. Dr. Palmer cited statistics from the State Demographer’s Office, which said “Median income is the point at which half the individuals earn less than that amount and half earn more. In 2015, the Median household income of Minnesotans was $60,900. Whites had a median household income of $64,100 with the next four largest groups of Minnesotans (Blacks, Mexicans, Hmong and Somali) having a substantially lower median household incomes than Whites. In order of median income, Hmong had the highest median income at $53,000 and Somalis had the lowest median income at $18,400. Black median income was $28,800 and Mexican median income was $38,500 in 2015.”

Dr. Palmer also noted the poverty rates of these demographic groups:

The largest Minnesota refugee-related population (Hmong), in 2015, have almost three times more of their population living below or near the poverty level than White Minnesotans (61% v. 21%). When the most recent (Somali) and second largest, refugee-related population are compared to White Minnesotans based on percent living below or near the poverty level, nearly four times more Somalis (21% v. 83%) live below or nearly below the poverty level than Whites. When the most recent refugee population (Somali) in Minnesota are compared to the largest and nearly 30 year resident refugee population (Hmong) in Minnesota, it appears that resettled refugees experience great challenges in escaping poverty and low-income status in the decades following resettlement.

Then Dr. Palmer observed:

“If you’re a Minnesotan and you see this data, you should be embarrassed. Something is wrong with this picture,” he said. It confirms the existence of a wide disparity in the economic health of different groups, Palmer said.

Dr. Palmer followed that up with this observation:

“When we look at the experience of the Hmong community and continuing economic challenges faced by African-Americans … we have not done, as a society, a very good job,” he said. “And then, we’ve brought in another population that have high needs.”

After Dr. Palmer’s presentation, he opened the floor to accept questions. One of the ‘questioners’ accused Dr. Palmer of cherry-picking statistics, arguing that Somalis had opened a number of businesses.

This missed the point that too many Somalis live in poverty or close to the Federal Poverty Level, aka FPL. The point Dr. Palmer tried making was that a) Minnesota hadn’t done a good job of making the American Dream available to these minority populations and b) he’s interested in finding a solution to lift these people out of poverty so they could live that American Dream.

Another questioner identified herself as a teacher at SCTCC. She asked whether Dr. Palmer put a high priority on diversity. He replied that he put a high priority on diversity of thought and that he loved America the melting pot but not America, the salad bowl, reminding people of the phrase e pluribus Unum, which means “out of many, One.”

It isn’t a stretch to think that #UniteCloud’s attendees hoped to pick a fight. As Dr. Palmer said at the outset, “If you came to hear an anti-refugee speaker you might as well leave, because I’m not that. That’s not who I am, that’s not what I do, that’s not what I want to be known of as in the community.” Nonetheless, people from #UniteCloud and ISIAIH/GRIP did their best to stir racial tension and animosity. Instead of succeeding, they exposed themselves as only interested in creating heat, not shedding light.

Put differently, Dr. Palmer came seeking a solution. #UniteCloud and ISIAIH/GRIP came to pick a fight.

It’s frightening to think that someone as stupid as Jeffrey Toobin could be paid to be an analyst. Then again, we’re talking about CNN, which seems to set new lows each week. The question is whether they’ll ever stop digging. According to this article, when told of President Trump’s idea to arm teachers, Toobin said “That is insane. That’s an insane idea. Seriously? Did anybody go to school here? Does anybody remember their teachers? Do you think we should give all of them guns? Do you think they want guns?”

First, let’s look at what Toobin said. He said “Personally, I am pro-rancor. I am pro-vitriol. I am pro somebody doing something about this rather than being polite when you hear the president of the United States say the answer is to give every teacher in America a gun. That is insane. That is an insane idea.”

Next, let’s admit that Jeffrey Toobin is lying through his teeth. That isn’t close to what President Trump said. In fact, I just read through the transcript from Wednesday afternoon’s meeting with students, parents and teacher from Parkland HS. The first time that arming teachers was brought up was when Fred Abt spoke:

And one possible solution, which we’ve discussed with Secretary DeVos over lunch, was, if a tragedy strikes, can we wait for the first responders to get to the campus four, or five, or six, or seven minutes later? And one possible solution, which may not be very popular, would be to have people in the school, teachers, administrators, who have volunteered to have a firearm safely locked in the classroom, who are given training throughout the year.

There are plenty of teachers that are already licensed to carry firearms. Have them raise their hands to volunteer for the training. And when something like this starts, the first responders are already on campus. And if it’s not the teachers, you could have people that work on the campus. A custodian could be an undercover policeman. Someone who works in the library or the lunchroom could be an undercover policeman. He serves lunch every day, but he also has a firearm at the ready. A guidance counselor.

If you can’t stop it from happening, and with hundreds of millions of guns out there, I don’t know if it will ever be fully stopped. But the challenge becomes, once it starts, to end it as quickly as possible.

It wasn’t even brought up by President Trump. That didn’t matter to Jeffrey Toobin. His goal wasn’t to further the conversation. It’s apparent that his goal is to put words that advance his agenda into President Trump’s mouth. I know he isn’t a reporter but can’t he at least get this right?

Toobin’s mission wasn’t to enlighten or inform. Toobin’s mission was to throw white gas on the situation. Toobin’s mission was to misinform.

It’s impossible to take CNN seriously as serious journalists. It’s relatively easy to think of them as competitors with National Enquirer or other tabloids.

IBD’s editorial highlights the changing political dynamics surrounding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, aka the Trump/GOP tax cuts.

Initially, IBD highlights the Democrats’ intention to run on the unpopularity of the tax cuts, saying “Writing in the Atlantic in December, longtime political reporter Ron Brownstein argued that ‘President Trump and congressional Republicans have just taken the same leap of faith that Democrats did when they passed the Affordable Care Act.’ He went on to note that after Democrats passed ObamaCare in early 2010, despite strong public opposition, the backlash from voters ‘helped propel Republicans to the biggest midterm gain in the House for either party since 1938 and gave them a majority in the chamber they still haven’t relinquished.'”

A funny thing happened on the Democrats’ path to the 2018 bloodbath. Much to the Democrats’ dismay, “the more people know about the GOP tax cuts, the more they like them. In fact, the latest poll from The New York Times finds 51% supporting it. That’s up from 37% in December and 46% in January. Other polls, including the IBD/TIPP poll, have found similar shifts.”

The Democrats’ biggest problem is that they unanimously voted against the tax cuts. That means they voted against a bill that’s increased wages, increased take-home pay, triggered $1,000 bonuses, bigger corporate contributions to 401(k)s and greater job security.

Candidates like Phil Bredesen will have to fight that stigma. The Democrats will be a weight around his neck now that he’s jumped into the race. Good luck fighting those headwinds. The argument will be something like this: if Joe Manchin wouldn’t vote for the Trump/GOP tax cuts, why should Tennesseans believe that Bredesen would’ve voted for them?

The other thing that Bredesen will have to fight is the fact that he’s 74 years old:

It just fits into the larger GOP narrative that the Democrats’ bench is mostly old farts. It’s difficult picturing a bunch of old farts as being change agents.

Apparently, CNN gave Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Colton Haab a scripted question they wanted him to ask during last night’s televised townhall. According to the article, “‘CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,’ Haab told WPLG-TV.”

“Colton Haab, a member of the Junior ROTC who shielded classmates in the midst of terror says he did not get to share his experience,” WPLG’s Janine Stanwood explained. “Colton wrote questions about school safety, suggested using veterans as armed school security guards but claims CNN wanted him to ask a scripted question instead so he decided not to go,” Stanwood reported.

First, Colton Haab is a legitimate hero for saving his classmates’ lives. If everyone put others’ lives first like Colton, this nation would be infinitely better than it’s currently in. This is Colton’s indictment of CNN:

“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab said. “I don’t think that it’s going get anything accomplished. It’s not gonna ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have.”

What’s required to make substantive changes that improve students’ lives is to listen first. Let the people who just experienced something horrific talk. The panelists should first listen to the students and teachers before responding. Next, it’s essential to answer on point rather than reverting to pre-scripted talking points.

This isn’t about winning political points. It’s about changing things so students and teachers are safe. Period. That’s what Dana Loesch did in this CNN townhall meeting:

CNN’s ratings as a serious news outlet have been questioned. This will just add fuel to that fire.

While my constitutional position on Lt. Gov. Fischbach hasn’t changed, Don Davis’ article reminded me why I despise Sen. Bakk’s political tactics. It’s why Gov. Dayton didn’t trust Bakk. According to Davis’ article, Bakk said “he wants to time a lawsuit so the court can remove Fischbach as senator when Democrats can best elect a replacement for her in the central Minnesota district. If that happened, Democrats would take control. Fischbach said she is confident she can win her district again, if a court orders he removed from the Senate. But Bakk said Democrats have a candidate waiting who is ‘a good fit for the district.'”

That good fit must be Larry Hosch. He’s the only candidate who’d have a prayer in that district. If Hosch isn’t the candidate, then Sen. Bakk is just blowing smoke. The DFL’s bench in that district is virtually nonexistent. From what I’ve been told, Hosch’s wife is from Paynesville, which would be important to winning a special election.

That being said, Hosch announce his retirement from the House the minute that Rockville was added to his House district in 2012. Rockville consistently gives the GOP House candidate 80% of their votes. The minute the redistricting map was announced, Hosch essentially admitted that he’d get his butt kicked if he ran for re-election. What part of that sounds like Rep. Hosch is “a good fit for the district”? What part of this looks competitive?

FYI- HD-13A used to be Hosch’s district. He would’ve been lucky to lose by only 15 points if he’d chosen to run. Sen. Bakk can yap all he wants about good fits for the district but the numbers tell a different story. Whoever the DFL would run would get annihilated.

The point is that Sen. Bakk is either incredibly stupid or he’s playing a game. I don’t think he’s that stupid but I might be wrong.

It’s apparent that Tim Walz will say anything to win the DFL endorsement for governor. This article is proof that, when it comes to governing principles, Walz doesn’t have any.

Walz isn’t a leader. He’s a legislator, aka a talker. On the issue of gun violence, Walz said he’d “build new coalitions to ‘finally end the obstruction, get the NRA out of the way and get us to the common-sense solutions that we all agree on, including universal background checks, a bump-stock ban and yes, after listening hard to Minnesotans, an assault-weapons ban in Minnesota.'” First, banning assault weapons isn’t a solution. It’s a PR ploy meant to make people feel like they’ve done something without fixing anything.

The reason why is because the 1990s definition of assault weapons is mostly about cosmetics. The 1990s definition of an assault weapon is essentially a semi-automatic weapon with a few cosmetic changes. If the definition of an assault rifle stays essentially the same, it’ll be meaningless. If it’s expanded, the Supreme Court will likely strike it down because it’s too vague or expansive. That’s the opposite of a solution. That’s the definition of pandering.

Next, it’s important to highlight how Walz insists that Minnesotans need to “get the NRA out of the way.” How will Walz do that? The NRA isn’t a nefarious boogeyman organization. It’s an organization filled with people who feel passionately about protecting everyone’s civil liberties while protecting their families.

Michael Graham’s article sets the ill-informed straight:

Let’s start with a basic fact about the NRA that seems to have been lost: The “A” is for “Association.” As in “freedom of association?” Or “assembly” as it’s called in the First Amendment. Some 5 million Americans choose to pay dues and “associate” with other like-minded people who share their views on gun ownership.

This distinction doesn’t make the NRA good or bad, but it’s simply wrong to look at them the way we look at, say, the National Beer Wholesalers Association when it comes to the issue of DUI laws. The NRA isn’t the beer sellers. It’s the beer drinkers.

The DFL can’t win without its collection of boogeymen to vilify. Their arguments, like Walz’s, are intellectually dishonest or incoherent.

Admittedly, more significant was the money the two groups spent promoting their cause and attacking their opponents, $15 million by Planned Parenthood and $54 million by the NRA. Both of those figures, however, pale in comparison to the $90 million California billionaire Tom Steyer spent on the 2016 presidential race by himself–his part of more than $2 billion in total spending on the Hillary vs. Trump battle. The NRA’s contribution to Trump’s election, $30 million—is about 1.5 percent of that total.

And once again—remember where most of that money comes from. Not from the profits of Dr. Evil’s “Virtuecon,” but from members and donations. Citizens who pay dues and write checks for a cause they believe in.

It’s time to ignore show-me-the-money politicians. That’s what Walz is. Show him enough money and he’ll fight for anything. Literally:

This morning, America lost a person of utter humility and Godliness. Billy Graham, America’s Pastor, died this morning at the age of 99. There will never be another man like him. Billy Graham’s life should be a model for us all.

Rev. Graham was personable, gracious, humble and, most importantly, God-fearing. Because he worried more about living a Godly life, he was able to reach everyone. His message was simple: Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ.

During his life, he counseled 12 different presidents. It isn’t a stretch to think that he positively impacted each of those men. Whether he spoke with politicians, pastors or regular people, Rev. Graham’s habit was to treat everyone as though they were the most important person in the world. In doing so, he lived the Gospel message.

There’s an old Christian saying that goes like this: Preach the Gospel wherever you go and, when necessary, use words. Thankfully, Billy Graham lived his life in such a way that, whether you knew him personally or whether you saw him from a distance, you knew that he was a Godly man. A staple of every Billy Graham Crusade was the hymn Trust and Obey. It was the perfect message for those great events. The hymn opened with this verse:

When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way;
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued this statement. This paragraph is especially well-received:

His kindly manner and unpretentious nature made him a trusted confidant to twelve U.S. presidents, reassuring generations of Americans that their leaders could count on this humble man of God for counsel and support. By standing right in the middle, Billy Graham could reach everyone.

Billy Graham should be a reminder to us all that humility, gentleness and a spirit of forgiving can turn ordinary people into great ambassadors for Christ. Mike Huckabee spoke to those things in this interview:

I was fortunate to attend a Billy Graham Crusade in the old Metrodome in 1997. That Saturday night, he held a crusade for youth groups. Not only did he fill the Metrodome, which held approximately 75,000 people for those types of events, he had an overflow crowd outside in a series of parking lots, complete with Jumbotron monitors. The estimated crowd that Saturday night was just short of 100,000 people. I attended the Sunday night event. That night, the crowd easily exceeded 100,000 people. And what a night that was.

I’m predicting that the Democrats’ campaign that focuses on criticizing the Trump/GOP tax cuts is on its last legs. This article doesn’t do anything to change my opinion of that. Tuesday night on Shannon Bream’s show, Guy Benson debated Jehmu Greene about the Trump/GOP tax cuts. It wasn’t a fair fight.

Ms. Greene argued that Democrats had lost ground in the generic ballot polling because they didn’t stay on offense. That’s a foolish argument. Benson picked up on that immediately, saying that “Democrats don’t have a messaging problem. They’ve got a reality problem.” That’s what I’ve been saying on LFR since the tax cuts passed. I’ll question whether this is entirely a Nancy Pelosi problem, though. At this point, that’s true. This fall, though, Nancy Pelosi will just be the icing on a very right, tasty chocolate cake. The ‘cake’ itself is that the Democrats voted unanimously against the Trump/GOP tax cuts.

When Pelosi infamously referred to the bonuses as “crumbs”, didn’t everyone notice that Democrats immediately distanced themselves from Pelosi? Here’s the perfect illustration of the difference between crumbs and $1000 bonuses:

During the Benson-Greene debate, moderator Shannon Bream said that there’s sure to be lots of ebbs and flows left in this race. That’s true. What’s equally true is that the last month of the campaign is utterly predictable. Republicans will run ads nonstop highlighting the fact that every Democrat voted against the tax cuts. Imagine the narrator stating “Democrats voted against pay raises, big bonuses and better benefits” before switching to a middle class couple thanking Republicans for voting for the tax cuts before explaining how his bonus let them start saving for their daughter’s college education and how her raise is helping pay for a summer vacation. The ad would be finished by the GOP candidate saying “My opponent voted against you keeping more of your hard-earned money. I will fight for you, not the special interests.”

The reality is that Democrats are facing a difficult endgame situation. Like Benson said, the Democrats made their bed. Now they can sleep in it.

When MNLARS got off to a difficult start, Republicans criticized the rollout. They’d seen this movie before with the MNsure rollout. Gov. Dayton took to the microphone to complain that Republicans were grandstanding for political gain, saying “Once again Republican Legislators are just delighted to jump on something if they think they can do damage to the credibility of state government, especially to a Democratic Governor.”

This week, Jeff Baillon reported that Bob Helland, “a MNLARS Business Process Analyst”, took his complaints about MNLARS directly to the governor’s office. In “March of 2015, he went straight to the Governor’s office.” That’s where he “met with Jaime Tincher, the Governor’s Chief of Staff at the time and secretly recorded their nearly hour-long conversation.” On one recording, Helland can be heard saying that there’s “very little confidence in DVS management. This was kind of the last straw for me to say, there’s no truth in the public about this project and we have no truth internally, so I felt compelled to let you guys know.”

That’s the last he heard about it. That’s why Sen. Benson issued this statement:

Gov. Dayton knew MNLARS wasn’t ready for primetime. They rolled it out anyway. When it flopped and Republicans criticized Gov. Dayton, he defended himself, saying that this was all about Republicans picking on a DFL governor. He deserved the criticism because his chief of staff at the time knew about the problems, then did nothing to get the project delayed or corrected.

The DFL, aka the Party of Big Government, hasn’t done a thing to make certain that big government delivers the services that citizens need. If they won’t do that, then we need a different governing model. ASAP.