Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Parents want more school choice according state surveys.

The Friedman Foundation has done a number of state surveys, asking parents "What type of school would you select in order to obtain the best education for your child?"

The surveys were done in Oklahoma, Idaho, Tennessee, Nebraska, Illinois and Georgia. Private schools were the choice of about 41 percent of parents. Public schools averaged about 17 percent. Home school 16 percent and charter school 23 percent.

If the market was really able to operate, the educational landscape would be much different with many more kids educated in private schools. At a savings to the taxpayers I would dare say.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Judge's punishment for noise violators: Listen to Barry Manilow

A Colorado judge has a unique way of punishing noise violators: Require them to listen to music they don't like. Among the lists of punishment music are Barry Manilow, Barney the Dinosaur and The Platters.

According to a Colorado newspaper story:
Barry Manilow's "I Write the Songs" may begin with the line, "I've been alive forever,'" but for noise ordinance violators, listening to Manilow may feel like forever.

Fort Lupton Municipal Judge Paul Sacco says his novel punishment of forcing noise violators to listen to music they don't like for one hour has cut down on the number of repeat offenders in this northwestern Colorado prairie town.

About four times a year, those guilty of noise ordinance violations are required to sit in a room and listen to music from the likes of Manilow, Barney the Dinosaur, and The Platters' crooning "Only You"

"These people should have to listen to music they don't like," said Judge Paul Sacco for a segment about the program that aired Friday on Denver's KUSA-TV.

Sacco began the program years ago when he noticed that many of the repeat offenders simply showed up at his courtroom to pay their fine with cash.

"Most kids don't want to hear somebody like Glenn Close trying to sing opera," he said.

Video of a recent class showed teenagers with long faces shifting in their seats or looking up at the ceiling.

"You can't fall asleep," said teenager Rueben Fuentes right before letting out a bit of a sigh.

Members of a garage band were at the class after playing music late at night in their backyard.

"The cop station was two blocks away," said band member Robert Mort. "People who were at the party loved it. I'm not sure the cops did."

"Too much music, too loud, too late," added band member Harrison DeRuiter.

So what does Sacco think of Barry Manilow?

"I actually don't think Manilow's too bad," he said.

I'm sure for some listening to Manilow wouldn't be punishment though it would be for others. I guess the judge has to make sure the punishment fits the crime.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's going down to the wire. Coleman- Franken race could be decided by less than 100 votes. And Soros raising money for Franken.

The focus of political attention in Minnesota is of course on the Coleman and Franken recount. At the start of the recount, Coleman held a 215 vote lead out of over 2.88 million votes cast for US Senate candidates in Minnesota. Now, with 46% of the votes recounted, Coleman's lead is down to 136 votes. Of the 46% recounted there are 826 ballots challenges by the Franken and Coleman campaigns.

If the ratio of lost votes holds up for the remaining 54% of votes yet to be recounted that would bring Coleman's lead down to 43 votes.

One of the more interesting comments about ballot challenges was made by the state's foremost election expert. According to Joe Mansky, Ramsey County elections manager who formerly worked for the Secretary of State's office from 1984 to 1999 very few vote overturns occur.
The number of challenged ballots continued to increase Thursday, reaching 823. Mansky -- who worked from 1984 to 1999 in the secretary of state's office and is widely considered the state's foremost elections expert -- said that people shouldn't expect many of those challenges to bear fruit.

"I can only remember two ballot challenges in all those years that were sustained," he said, meaning that the campaign lawyers' views prevailed over the opinion of election judges.

He said he wouldn't be surprised if campaign lawyers negotiate a reduction in the number of challenged ballots before the Canvassing Board meets next month to go through them.

However things turn out the final result will be very close and likely in court. And it appears to me that Franken's campaign is setting up a court challenge by their efforts to get to people whose absentee ballots were rejected.

The lesson to be learned, as it was in the 2000 presidential election, is every vote is important. Voters should never presume their votes don't matter.

In related matter, it was interested seeing liberal billionaire George Soros held a fundraiser for Al Franken in New York City. He's been in the middle of efforts to politically move the United States in a left wing direction.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gays concerned about a fissure with African Americans in their liberal coalition

I was recently directed to a letter written by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force encouraging their folks to not point the finger at the African American community for shooting down their efforts to defeat the California Proposition 8 constitutional amendment which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

It says in part:
This past week has been a difficult time. With the passage of Proposition 8 in California to change the state constitution to eliminate the right to marry, our community has experienced a difficult defeat. We are angry and upset by the passage of Proposition 8 and the betrayal of the promise of equality that has been the hallmark of the Golden State. Yet, we know that this is only a setback in—not the end of—our journey toward full equality for the LGBT community.

It is natural to analyze what went wrong. But in recent days there has been a tendency to assign blame to specific communities, in particular, the African American community. The fact is, 52 percent of all Californians, the vast majority of whom were not African Americans, voted against us. In addition, the most recent analysis of the exit poll that drove much of this speculation determined that it was too small to draw any conclusion on the African American vote, and further polling shows that the margin was much closer than first reported. Most importantly, though, none of this discourse changes the outcome of the vote. It only serves to divide our community and hinder our ability to create a stronger and more diverse coalition to help us overturn Proposition 8 and restore full equality and human rights to LGBT people.
The letter eludes to the fact that there's frustration among homosexuals with the African American community which basically put the amendment over the time. I've heard 70% of African Americans voted for the amendment, far more than any other racial group. Without their support it wouldn't have passed.

African Americans went out to vote for Obama in overwhelming numbers while at the same time voted to protect marriage.

I suspect homosexual activities know that many African Americans are not too excited about having their race compared to a person's sexual preferences as white liberals love to do regarding same sex marriage and previous bans on inter-racial marriage. (For the record, the comparison is invalid; inter-racial marriage bans are also anti-marriage because it attempted to keep particular women and men from marrying; something which is fundamentally different than efforts to fundamentally redefine the institution to include same sex persons.)

Who knows but the election of Barack Obama to the presidency may usher in a new era of African American political engagement in politics. One in which the African American community looks at issues and politics with a fresh perspective. Realizing that alliances with the homosexual community and other liberal groups aren't in their best interest. Whether it pertains to the redefine of marriage which will only cause further disintegration of the family which has so dramatically harmed the African American community. Or the push for further expansion of the welfare state which has only generated dependency and further family breakdown.

The interests of the African American community do not coincide with liberal interest groups.

Stand by the Mormons

As the attacks against supporters of Proposition 8 increase, I have become concerned with the abuse directed towards Mormons. The LDS church became a target of protest and violence after raising nearly $20 million and mobilizing to pass the amendment to protect marriage in California.

I have friends in the Mormon church. We acknowledge our theological disagreements. However, I believe we must lock arms with our allies in the public square to protect marriage, life and family.

We should also take a public stand against the hatred and bigotry they have absorbed because of something we all believe in.

To the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints who worked to pass Proposition 8, I say thank you.

California and Thank-a-Mormon day
John Mark Reynolds

"Proposition 8 would not have passed if it had not been for LDS (Mormon) money and manpower. For their hard work as participants in the process, this small religious group received some of the worst attacks of the political season. They were demonized and stereotyped by opponents of Proposition 8 and sometimes by the mainstream media."

"Despite this fact at times a plausible Mormon presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, was the subject of unfair religious scrutiny. (Some forms of scrutiny of religion are fair, but some are just bigoted. Distinctions start here.) Too often people they have supported in the past were weak in their condemnation of such bigotry."

"Republicans should not ask for Mormon money and manpower and then regulate their leaders to the backrooms when leadership roles are handed out."

"Of course, nobody should confuse political and social agreement with theological unity."

"My theological differences with the Mormon faith are deep and important. Within the last month I have argued that the LDS view of the God is not compatible with what we know about Divine love. Those theological discussions and disagreements must continue bringing clarity with charity to the important disagreements."

"They are important because they are, after all about eternal things."

"In the battle for the family, however, traditional Christians have no better friends than the Mormon faithful. It would be wrong if that support were taken for granted. We are intolerant of the false attacks on Mormon faith and family. We stand with our Mormon friends in their right to express their views on the public square. We celebrate the areas, such as family values, where we agree."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

U of MN official program calls for challenging white privilege, universal health care, abortion rights, living wages, and same sex marriage

Here's an email message put out by Anne Phibbs, Director of the GLBTA (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally) Programs Office at the University of Minnesota. The official pro-homosexual advocacy program of the University of Minnesota subsidized with our taxpayer dollars.

The tag line at the bottom of the statement, highlights the Leftist ideological bent of the group, e.g. "We recognize the intersections of gender and sexuality with race, ethnicity, class, ability, ability, age, culture, and all social systems; we are committed to holding ourselves ad others accountable for working against all forms of oppression." Oppression?

In her email letter, Ms. Phibbs calls for her and her fellow GLBTA allies to "Be out and proud and visible -- as a progressive queer/GLBTA movement..."

She notes that she's going to attend an Anti-Proposition 8 rally "as a representative of the thousands and millions of queer and GLBTA activists who understand that our agenda is as much about challenging white privilege, ending gender and sexual violence, creating access for people with disabilities, and ensuring universal health care, access to education, reproductive rights, and living wages - as it is about same sex marriage."

That's quite an agenda for an official program of the University of Minnesota.

"Challenging white oppression." Sounds like U of M President Bruininks might be in trouble.

"Ensuring universal health care" the government I'm sure. That's an expensive and controversial proposal.

"Reproductive rights." I didn't realize the University of Minnesota was taking sides in the abortion debate.

"Living wage." What would that mean for the millions of lower wage earners who would lose their jobs?

And of course, last but not least is "same sex marriage." This sounds like the University of Minnesota is in the vanguard of the sexual revolution.

With the state facing the prospect of a several billion dollar budget deficit and the University of Minnesota certain to call for more state tax dollars, I think the the legislature and the governor's office should take a closer look at how the University of Minnesota is spending the money it already receives from the state before making new legislative appropriations to the University of Minnesota.

University of Minnesota

<span class=GLBTA Programs Office" src="" nosend="1" width="282" height="164"><span class=GLBTA Programs Office" src="" nosend="1" width="328" height="164">

GLBTA Programs Office E-Blast
Friday, November 14, 2008

Bridging Our Communities

Considering Tomorrow's Protests

As many of you know by now, tomorrow will be a national day of action for GLBT rights, with protests planned across the country. Information about the protests planned for Minnesota are included at the end of this email. This day of action has grown out of anger and frustration over the passage of Proposition 8 in California and other anti-GLBT legislation in Arizona, Arkansas and Florida.

Here at the U of M today, I have spoken with students, colleagues and community members who plan to attend the protests because they are angered by the loss of same sex marriage rights. And I have spoken with others who will not attend, in part because they are frustrated with an organized GLBTA movement that seems to take same sex marriage rights as the primary focal point of its political agenda.

In weighing my options, I've decided to attend tomorrow both because I am angry about Proposition 8 and other measures around the country - and because I know that same sex marriage rights cannot be our focus as a movement.

I want to attend tomorrow as a representative of the thousands and millions of queer and GLBTA activists who understand that our agenda is as much about challenging white privilege, ending gender and sexual violence, creating access for people with disabilities, and ensuring universal health care, access to education, reproductive rights, and living wages - as it is about same sex marriage.

Now, more than ever, we need to be out and proud and visible - as a progressive queer/GLBTA movement that rejects the simplistic politics of separation and division. In support of that vision, I offer here some text from an open letter to the community by organizations involved in the No on 8 effort. This letter addresses some of the painful discussion that is occurring in our communities around who "caused" the defeat of Proposition 8.

Please take a moment to read this letter, and to work against a simplistic analysis pitting "the GLBT community" against "the African American community." We are not two distinct communities, but one human community made up of many identities, faiths, beliefs and worldviews. It is my hope that the passage of Proposition 8 can serve as a catalyst - to get us sharing our stories and experiences with people we've not yet talked with.

The full text can be found at:

"It is natural to analyze what went wrong. But in recent days there has been a tendency to assign blame to specific communities, in particular, the African American community. The fact is, 52 percent of all Californians, the vast majority of whom were not African Americans, voted against us. In addition, the most recent analysis of the exit poll that drove much of this speculation determined that it was too small to draw any conclusion on the African American vote, and further polling shows that the margin was much closer than first reported. Most importantly, though, none of this discourse changes the outcome of the vote. It only serves to divide our community and hinder our ability to create a stronger and more diverse coalition to help us overturn Proposition 8 and restore full equality and human rights to LGBT people. It also deflects responsibility from the group that is responsible for this miscarriage of justice: The Yes on 8 campaign. They waged a deceitful and immoral campaign that brought about this violation of our human rights and dignity."

In hope and struggle,

Anne Phibbs
Director, GLBTA Programs Office

The following area protests are being staged on Saturday, November 15:

Minneapolis: 12:30 p.m. assembly at Hennepin County Government Center, 315 South 5th Street

Saint Paul: 3:00 p.m. assembly at State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard

Duluth/Superior: 12:00 p.m. assembly at MN Power Plaza, Lake Avenue and Superior Street

Fargo/Moorhead: 12:00 p.m. assembly at Fargo (west) side of the Veterans Memorial Bridge on Main Avenue

For more information:
National Day of Action
Minnesota Events Details

About the GLBTA Programs Office

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally Programs Office is dedicated to improving campus climate for all University of Minnesota students, staff, faculty, alumni, and visitors by developing and supporting more inclusive understandings of gender and sexuality.

We recognize the intersections of gender and sexuality with race, ethnicity, class, ability, age, culture, and all social systems; we are committed to holding ourselves and others accountable for working against all forms of oppression. The GLBTA Programs Office seeks to bridge and build communities that create affirming and welcoming environments in which people can be their whole selves and which honor all identities and experiences.

To contact the GLBTA Programs Office, please call 612-625-0537, email us, or visit our website.

This e-mail was sent to ... by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally Programs Office at the University of Minnesota, 138 Klaeber Court, 320 16th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. To stop receiving this e-mail communication, click here to opt-out.

Video - Gay mob swarms Christians in Castro District: "We're going to kill you."

VIDEONETDAILY Sparks fly as 'gay' activist mob swarms Christians
Residents of homosexual district: 'We're going to kill you. We know who you are'
Posted: November 17, 200810:16 pm Eastern
By Chelsea Schilling© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Hundreds of homosexual activists rushed out of bars and swarmed a group of Christians who were singing
songs in San Francisco's Castro District – and some even threatened to kill the worshippers.

A group of Christians had been singing and praying in the "gay" district for several days, but they never expected an angry mob would run them out. However, that's what happened Friday night.

One woman who was attacked
told her story with Pastor Lou Engle at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. She said the group's fellowship had been peaceful for several nights before the riot.

"People would come stand with us and join us," she said. "We got to pray for some people."
But then angry men began yelling profanities and warning the Christians to leave the district.
(Warning: Video may contain offensive language)

One asked, "Why are you here?"

The leader of the group said, "We're here to worship God, and we're here because we love you."

A group of men approached the Christians and covered them with a large cloth, backing them into a corner. Then the angry mob began swearing and growing larger. The bars began emptying out, and a crowd completely surrounded the Christians.

The worship group began singing "Amazing Grace," while an estimated 500 "gay" advocates sang, "We Shall Overcome."

The woman said she and her friend were doused with hot coffee. One man took a Bible from her friend, hit her on the head with it, pushed her to the ground and began kicking her. People began lunging at the Christian group, blowing whistles in their ears.

"They started saying, 'We're going to kill you,'" she said. "They started taking our pictures and saying, 'We're going to kill you. We know who you are."

Then she said a man jumped through the crowd and pushed her forehead. Just then, a squad of police officers arrived in riot gear, surrounding the Christians and forming a protective human wall.

She said the police told them, "You have to leave if you want to make it out."

When the group continued praying, an officer came back and said, "You don't have a choice anymore. We're going to escort you out."

The officers then took the Christians to their cars. The angry mob began lunging at them through the riot gear and chanting "Shame on you!"

Some yelled, "We are going to follow you all the way home!" Others called the Christians "hypocrites."

One man screamed into a camera, "We don't ever want them coming back. Do you understand that, other Christians? Do you understand that, other Mormons? I'm talking to you, people. Yeah, you. Stay out of our neighborhood if you don't like us. Leave us alone!"

The woman said her group had merely organized a peaceful fellowship and wasn't there to condemn homosexuals.
"We hadn't preached," she said. "We hadn't evangelized. We worshipped God in peace, and we were about to die for it."

"Their rights were respected," Joe Schmitz, an opponent of Prop. 8, told San Francisco's KTVU Channel 2. "They got a chance to go ahead and pray on the sidewalk, and I had the opportunity to express my freedom of speech, which is telling them to get out of my neighborhood."

The following day, approximately 20,000 people marched in San Francisco to protest passage of California's Proposition 8 protecting traditional marriage. Several thousand people conducted other protests around the nation in cities such as Manhattan, Chicago and Los Angeles. According to reports, many protesters feeling emboldened by the recent election chanted, "Yes we can!" – a slogan popularized by the Barack Obama campaign.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Will the Coleman-Franken race end in a tie or just plain close?

That's what one analysis came up with. That based on a statistical analysis of voting patterns, undervotes, etc. (Though it should be noted that Coleman picked up another nine votes since the 206 number was out there.)

Some think that problem votes will tilt Franken's direction from new voters and others unfamiliar with the voting process. Others think it will help Coleman because problematic votes will more likely be from elderly voters who would tilt Coleman's way.

Either way, it's sure to be tight.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Will Obama simply push a rewarmed version of the "New Deal?"

President-elect Obama did an excellent job of selling "change" to the American people during the last election. What wasn't always so clear was what that "change" would look like. He did talk about raising taxes on the wealthy, redistributing wealth as a good thing, giving lower income Americans a refundable tax credit, and moving towards universal health care.

In reality, he was only advocating further advances along the lines of the "New Deal" programs of FDR which means more government, more taxes and more regulation of various areas of human life.

Will the current financial crisis be used as a pretext for advancing this agenda just as FDR did the New Deal in the 1930s? Is this another case of history repeating itself? Amity Shlaes, author of a recent book on the Great Depression, suggests that's just might be what happens in this New York Post op/ed piece.

She writes:

THE trouble with new financial crises is that they provide pretexts for implementing old social agendas. As the president-elect's new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said recently, "never allow a crisis to go to waste."

Consider President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, which President-elect Barack Obama invokes when he talks of "a defining moment." Like Obama today, FDR was inaugurated into trouble. He wisely addressed the financial crisis through the steps that we learned about in school. He signed deposit insurance into law, reassuring savers. He created the Securities and Exchange Commission, making the stock market more transparent and consistent. He soothed our grandparents via his radio Fireside Chats. This was the FDR we love.

But FDR also used the crisis mood to push through an unprecedented program of reforms that progressives had been hoping to put in place for years. Sen. George Norris of Nebraska, for example, had for decades argued that utilities should be in the public, not the private, sector. As far back as the early '20s, Norris wanted to build a big power project on Tennessee River. He wanted the government - and not the Ford Motor Company, which was drawing up such plans - to be in charge. FDR made Norris' progressive dream a reality by creating the publicly owned Tennessee Valley Authority. Washington won out, but it wasn't clear its power served the South down the decades.

Will Obama attempt to do the same thing?

The Obama administration isn't likely to advocate a new NRA. But President-elect Obama may go along with Democrats in Congress as they push other old social agendas. They, like the early-'30s Democrats, now have the ugly snapshot of capitalism for which they longed.

Foremost on their reform agenda, as in 1993, will be health insurance. Indeed, we are practically guaranteed a "healthcarization" of our financial crisis, even though health care and mortgage-backed securities have little to do with one another. "Nationalization" used to be a scare word. But the easy nationalization of the giant AIG makes the nationalization of private health care suddenly seem possible.

A Democratic Washington also will likely legislate the fondest wish of private-sector unions - the famous "card-check" legislation that will deprive workers of the chance to cast an anonymous vote on shop unionization. This, in turn, will put upward pressure on wages that workplaces can't afford.

The greater danger is that the public-sector unions, with support of Democrats, will push up their own pay aggressively. Behind the GM crisis is the crisis of state and city budgets - which the demands of AFSCME, the public-sector union, will only exacerbate.

President-elect Obama creates an opening for such demands when he says, as he did recently, that everything about the last four years was wrong. Everything? Sure, the financial crisis needs addressing. But government health care and card check don't have much to do with mortgage crises.

So remember what's really be going on: Voters want change - Obama's campaign message. But the Democratic Party is widening the definition of change by the hour. And the crisis? It's just a pretext.

If Obama does push New Deal approaches we can expect greater economic difficulties in the form of a much longer recession if not depression or maybe more likely, the return of inflation. The latter resulting from an unwillingess to confront our nation's unwillingness to live within our means.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Be careful what you say in public, especially if you're a political figure

It happened to former Majority Leader Dean Johnson who was caught on tape saying things he later regretted about supposed conversations he had with Minnesota Supreme Court justices.

Well, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie during a television interview said the Coleman campaign was "willing to win [the election recount] at any price." Later, when asked at a press conference about his comment, he said he never said that. Unfortunately for him, both of his comments are on tape. Captured, of course, by the Republican Party. It's now on You Tube.

You can go here to see it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Will Governor Pawlenty run for re-election in 2010?

Even though it's only a little over a week since Election Day there's already speculation over whether Governor Pawlenty will run for a third term. Some say Minnesotans only want their governor's serving two terms. Beyond that they wear out their welcome; witness Rudy Perpich in 1990.

I don't think that's necessarily the case with Governor Pawlenty. He's a likeable person, wears well with people. This is demonstrated by his approval rating in the mid 5os and how he conducted himself during the Mississippi bridge collapse. Also in times of uncertainty I think people will be more predisposed to stick with a political figure who they like. And I think many see him as a necessary check on the DFL-controlled legislature.

The only hesitation is he's generally won with strong third party candidates in the race and hasn't won over 50% of the vote. Not necessarily according to a post by Eric Ostermeier on University of Minnesota's Smart Politics website.

He notes that

First, since Pawlenty survived 2006 it is quite likely he will survive 2010 -- as the odds of a third straight Democratic wave election are extremely low. With a more favorable political environment at his back, Pawlenty could easily win a third term. Remember, unlike Norm Coleman (who also appears to have won in the face of a Democratic wave), Pawlenty has a fairly high job approval rating: in the low to mid 50s.

Secondly, the fact that Pawlenty has not received 50 percent of the vote is an artifact not of his unpopularity but of the uniquely strong position third parties enjoy in the State of Minnesota. Over the past 10+ years, Minnesota has the highest support for third parties across elections in the Midwest - U.S. House, U.S. Senate, state legislature, and, of course, in gubernatorial contests.

He also notes there have been other three term governors in our state's history.

But a run for a third term per se would not be unprecented in Minnesota political history. Seven Gopher State Governors have each won three consecutive gubernatorial elections, although each were for two-year terms:

· Republican John S. Pillsbury (1875, 1877, 1879)
· Democrat John A. Johnson (1904, 1906, 1908)
· Republican Theodore Christianson (1924, 1926, 1928)
· Farmor-Laborite Floyd B. Olson (1930, 1932, 1934)
· Republican Harold E. Stassen (1938, 1940, 1942)
· Republican Luther W. Youngdahl (1946, 1948, 1950)
· DFLer Orville L. Freeman (1954, 1956, 1958)

I also think if Governor Pawlenty has interests in running for the presidency, running as a sitting governor is much more to his advantage than as a private citizen.

I don't think it will be easy for him to win re-election but it's certainly doable given that the party in charge of Washington DC is the Democrat party and that usually bodes well for the party out of power in off year elections.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Will Obama walk the talk on public education when decides where his daughters will attend school in DC?

Many liberal public officials, including President-elect Obama, have touted the value of public education and toed the teacher's unions' line in opposing private school choice options for poor parents.

The inconsistency, or one might say hypocrisy, of their position is they tout their concern for the less fortunate yet vehemently oppose giving poor, often inner city parents the same opportunities they enjoy -- sending their children to a private school in lieu of a poor performing, unsafe inner city public school. (And of course it should be noted that private school choice can be done in such a way that it will actually save taxpayers money in the long run.)

And their opposition to private school choice is also inconsistent with their redistributionist policies done in the name of spreading the wealth around, albeit except when it comes to helping poor parents choose the best education opportunity for their children, which is often a private school.

Clarence Page, African American, liberal columnist raises the question: will the Obama's place their kids in a private or public school?

Parenting humbles any of us who try it -- even new residents of the White House.

Choosing a new puppy? Ha! The Obamas face a much tougher public relations dilemma: Are they willing to put their school-aged daughters where daddy's political promises have been?

The education world is waiting to see whether Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, will be sent to private school while their father continues to oppose tax-supported programs that offer a similar choice to less-fortunate parents.

The question of vouchers as an alternative to public schools crosses color lines, but it is particularly appropriate for the nation's first African American president.

Page notes that Michelle Obama's actions after the election give a clue to their intentions; she went to Washington, DC and toured a private Georgetown day school.

The inconsistency of people who argue in favor of public schools, oppose private school choice options for poor parents, and yet send their kids to private schools goes beyond Obama and other liberal elected officials to public school teachers. Now I'm sure not all public school teachers oppose private school choice but I suspect most of them do and the teachers union they belong to clearly does.

Page notes that public school teachers send their kids to private schools in significantly greater numbers than the general public.
Yet teachers unions lead opposition to such alternatives, even though studies like a 2004 Thomas B. Fordham Institute report find big city public school teachers to be more likely than the general population they serve to have their own children in private schools.

In Obama's hometown, Chicago, for example, 38.7 percent of public school teachers sent their children to private schools, the Fordham study found, compared to 22.6 percent of the general public.

In Washington, D.C., 26.8 percent of public school teachers sent their children to private schools, versus 19.8 percent of the public.

I wonder if school choice won't become a bigger issue with Obama in the White House. Hopefully, leaders in the African American community will raise their voices on the importance of giving all parents access to better schools, whether public or private schools.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Will the history of the Great Depression repeat itself under an Obama Administration?

It's interesting learning what happened to bring on and lengthen the Great Depression of the 1930s. From what I've read the chief culprit for prolonging the problem was actions taken by the government. They tightened the money supply, raised taxes particularly on higher income folks, the people who run and invest in businesses, and raised tariff barriers which resulted in reciprocal actions by other countries which in turn slowed economic growth.

Looking at some of President-elect Obama's constituencies, it's not hard imaging many of those things happening again. He's already proposing raising taxes on those with highest incomes. His labor union constituents will no doubt clamor for trade protection from other countries. (It doesn't seem likely there will be a tight money policy with the Fed doing all it can to flood the market with money. Bernanke the Fed chair was a student of the Great Depression.)

I came across this graph on what happened with the highest income tax rates during the 30s. They started out at 25% at the beginning of the depression but ended up at 79% by 1940. Today, the highest rate is 36% but will go up to 39.5% if we don't make the temporary cuts permanent. However, with massive budget deficits it's not hard envisioning Obama and a Democrat Congress raising it even higher.

This could be another case of history repeating itself.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for McCain, but according to Barna they're a smaller percent of Americans than you might think.

Evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for McCain over Obama. According to a survey by George Barna it was 88% to 11% respectively. Barna finds though evangelicals represent only 7% of all adults. The reason for the small percentage is Barna uses a more detailed definition of evangelicals based on their theological beliefs.

When pollsters ask individuals to self identify themselves, 41% of individuals who voted identified themselves as evangelicals. Of this 41% only 16% would fit the theological meaning of the term evangelical. Of the self described evangelicals 61% voted for McCain and 38% for Obama.

It would be interesting to see how that dynamic played out among Catholics. Self identified Catholics voted for Obama over McCain by a 56% to 43% margin. Though I'm sure it's much less than the self identified "born again" or "evangelical" split, I wouldn't be surprised if the truly devout Catholics went for McCain., particularly because of his views on abortion and homosexual marriage.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What happened to tolerance and respect for diversity?

After the passage of Proposition 8, an amendment to the California state Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman, homosexual activists are filing lawsuits and taking to the streets. They once again are seeking to press their social agenda for overturning the mores of society by whatever means necessary, legal usurpation of the political process or intimidation.

Another news story reported on 2000 gay activists protesting outside the Mormon Temple in Los Angeles because of the Mormon's support of Prop 8.

There seems to be very little tolerance here for people, including the majority of Californians who supported the amendment, on the other side of this issue. It's interesting to note that the African American and Hispanic were bigger supporters of Prop 8 than the white community.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations President-elect Obama. You will be in my prayers as you lead our nation over the next four years.

With the election of Barak Obama as president we certainly do enter a new chapter in our nation's political life. People concerned about war and the financial crisis facing our nation said they want to give the "other guys" a chance to address these problems.

As people know, who have read my blog posts, I strenuously disagree with many of Mr. Obama's positions and his underlying worldview on the role of government and the importance of protecting the sanctity of life and marriage. And I'll no doubt continue to voice these views in the future. However, Mr. Obama will shortly become our next president. I pledge to keep him in my prayers and will pray that he has the wisdom to navigate the upcoming challenges internationally, particularly the struggle against terrorism, and restoring sanity and order to our nation's financial health. I strongly desire to see him succeed in these endeavors.

His election as the first African American man as president is also a milestone which I believe will have ramifications far beyond his presidency. Hopefully, it will help heal the racial divisions which continue to exist in our nation. His presidency no doubt will serve as hope and an example for a new generation of African American youths. Youths too often devastated by lack of hope and the devastations resulting from fatherlessness and broken homes. His presence in the office of president may well do more good than any legislation he initiates.

May God bless you and your family, Mr. Obama.

Buyer's remorse with Franken?

The latest polling returns from the Minnesota Secretary of State show Norm Coleman winning over Al Franken by 462 votes out of 2.42 million votes. It's certainly too close to declare victory by either side in light of a recount next month. (Hopefully, it won't be a rerun of Florida 2000 controversy.)

But looking at the voting numbers, the race shouldn't have been close if another candidate had been in the race for the DFL. Franken had over 360,000 fewer votes than Obama and nearly 400,000 fewer votes than all eight DFL congressional candidates. In other words, a lot of people ticket split between Obama and Franken. Hundreds of thousands couldn't bring themselves to vote for him no doubt because of his work as a SNL satirist and some of his writings on rape and women and mockery of Christians beliefs. While he certainly brought a lot of money to the table, a candidate with a Minnesota "nice" personality and not the baggage would no doubt have done better.

Amendments to protect marriage pass in all three states

Amendments to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman passed in all three states including California where the State Supreme Court legalized homosexual “marriage” in May. With the addition of Florida, Arizona and California, a total of 30 states have now amended their constitutions to protect the sanctity of marriage.

Arizona voters, who rejected a marriage-protection amendment two years ago voted to protect marriage this time around.

In the past, efforts to allow the people of Minnesota to protect marriage via a marriage amendment were blocked by liberals in the state legislature. In 2008, a bill to legalize homosexual marriage was introduced in the Minnesota State Legislature. The bill immediately received 19 sponsors.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The people have spoken

We are a post-racial nation with a post-modern president.

Congratulations President-elect Obama.

The effects of the Obama's proposed tax policies on jobs and the economy

Here's an interesting article showing the impact of the Obama economic/tax plan on an actual business if implemented into law. His proposals for mandating health insurance by private employers, increasing the highest tax bracket, increasing the minimum wage, changing union voting rules will all impact private employers in a big way. One effect with reduced economic growth and fewer jobs.

Here's an excerpt:

Specifically, here's what the owner of the larger firm said regarding six of Obama's key proposals for the small-business sector: The average wage at his company, figuring the 52 paychecks of his office staff, installers and service workers, is $31,200, $15 an hour.

First, "Barack Obama and Joe Biden will require that employers provide seven paid sick days per year," states the Obama campaign's Web site. "I give three paid sick days," explained the business owner. His extra cost for this one new regulation would be $24,960 (4 extra days, 52 employees, at an average of $120 per day). "That's one of the women in the office," he said. "I can make up that cost by letting one of the office people go."

Second, Obama states that employers will be required to pay 100 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums for 100 percent of their employees or face a tax penalty. "I pay 75 percent of their coverage," explained the owner. "The family policy is about $11,000. For single guys, it's about $5,000." At an average annual cost of $7,000 per policy, his additional cost for 52 employees to cover the 25 percent of the premiums that he currently doesn't pay is $91,000. "That's the price of three installers," he said. "Just to stay even with where I am, I'd have to fire three more people or raise some prices and fire two."

The result is more unemployment or more inflation, or both.

Third, with the estate tax, Obama is calling for a top tax rate of 45 percent on estates valued above $3.5 million, producing an estimated "death tax" of $675,000 on an estate of $5 million. "You're kidding," he said. "They took half my income on the way up and now they want another half when I die?" He estimated that his business is already valued at more than $3 million, in addition to the value of his home and investments. "Why," he asked, "would I want to grow to 100 employees? What'll stop them from changing it to 75 percent?"

The cost in jobs that will never be created in the U.S. economy because of this single disincentive to growth? Incalculable.

Fourth, Obama's economic plan calls for a hike in the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour within three years. The business owner's reaction? "That's bad for two reasons. I don't have anyone at minimum, but raise the bottom by $3 and a guy making $15 wants $18. Plus it's bad for productivity when people think their pay raises are coming from government instead of from their own individual effort."

Fifth, saying he'll "play offense for organized labor," Obama is proposing that workers should be denied the right to a private ballot at work in deciding whether to unionize. "That'll never be," said the plumbing entrepreneur. "I'm in business because I'm independent, not to take orders from a grievance chairman. I'd shut down."

Sixth, the increase in taxes on this small business owner from Obama's proposed hike in the income tax rate from 36% to 39.8% on incomes above $200,000 and the proposed increase in Social Security taxes comes to $32,000 per year. "That's another employee," he said, referring to the termination of another installer in order to just stay even.

And the jobless plumbers? They can be re-socialized to work for ACORN.

At a time when our economy is already reeling, the accumulation of these initiatives will no doubt prolong and/or deepen a recession or worse.

With a Obama Administration, we will no doubt get change but change isn't always for the better.

Monday, November 3, 2008

No surprise: Study links sex on TV to teen pregnancies

A study by the Rand Corporation says there's link between teenagers watching sex on TV with pregnancy.

The RAND Corp. study is the first of its kind to identify a link between teenagers’ exposure to sexual content on TV and teen pregnancies. The study, released Monday and published in the November edition of the journal Pediatrics, found that teens exposed to high levels of sexual content on television were twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy in the following three years as teens with limited exposure.

The study’s authors are quick to point out that the factors leading to teen pregnancies are varied and complex — but they say it’s important for parents, teachers and pediatricians to understand that TV can be one of them.

“We were surprised to find this link,” said Anita Chandra, the study’s lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization. “But teens spend a good amount of their time watching television — an average of three hours a day — and we don’t know a lot about its impact on their health decisions …

“We don’t think that [TV] is necessarily more significant than some of the family and neighborhood factors that can lead to teen pregnancies. But even when we removed all the other factors, we still saw a compelling link between a high exposure to sexual content on television and teen pregnancies.”

In the debate over pornography and obscenity laws, opponents argue there's no linkage with the sexual abuse of women and other social problems resulting from out of control sex. I've always found these arguments to defy common sense. If advertisers spend millions and billions of dollars for 30 second ads or print ads in newspapers to influence behavior then why should we assume there's no linkage between sexually violent and other forms of pornography with such social problems as rape, abuse and promiscuity.

Now there's evidence suggesting that sexual messages and scenes on television impact teenagers. Again common sense would say there's a linkage between sex on TV and teen pregnancies.

What should be done about it? Of course parents need to teach and train their kids to be discerning TV viewers, yet that doesn't go far enough. Because sexually explicit material is so ubiquitous and pervasive in society and impacting not just on teenagers but adults, it's appropriate for standards to be implemented regarding acceptable and unacceptable content. Exactly what was done for so many years on television and the movies.

Of course, that's unacceptable with the anything goes mentality of so many in society.

What's the response of the National Association of Broadcasting? They released a statement saying:
Though NAB has not had a chance to review the report, it’s worth noting that broadcasters encourage parents and caregivers to use the V-chip and other program blocking technologies that would screen out shows that are inappropriate for children. We would also point out that broadcast television is generally far less explicit than programming found on cable, satellite and on the Internet.”

In other words, they don't want any further restrictions or self police the content and messaging on the network programs.

I think sex saturated messages are a form of cultural pollution which harms people in just as real ways as environmental pollution. It damages and destroys lives and relationships. Just ask a family or a teenager what the impact of an unplanned, out of wedlock teen pregnancy had on their lives.

Yet in today's society, anything hinting at moral standards is immediately ignored or dismissed. We as people and a society are poorer as a result.