Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Marquette: Campus Free Speech Worst Offender List

Marquette University has distinguished itself as one of the top ten in the country.

Unfortunately, it's not an honorable distinction. It's a disgrace.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) includes Marquette on its annual list of the top 10 threats to free speech on campus.

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, writes:

Marquette University's chilling campaign to revoke the tenure of political science professor John McAdams due to writings on his private blog ensures its place on this year's list. McAdams criticized a graduate instructor for what he viewed as her inappropriate suppression of certain viewpoints for in-class discussion (one student's opposition to same-sex marriage in particular), and the instructor came in for heavy criticism. Marquette then suspended McAdams without due process and abruptly cancelled his classes for the next semester. It also publicly insinuated that McAdams violated its harassment policy and was a safety threat to the campus, despite a complete lack of proof for either charge. Marquette's disregard of due process and its incredible denial that its campaign against McAdams's tenure implicates free speech or academic freedom in any way should frighten anyone concerned about faculty rights. Indeed, if the university succeeds in removing McAdams, free speech and academic freedom will lose whatever meaning they had at Marquette.
M.D. Kittle provides an update on John McAdams and Marquette's assault on academic freedom.
Now McAdams’ professional fate, in large part, rests in the hands of a jury of his peers presiding over one of the more intriguing speech- and academic-freedom cases to confront a U.S. college campus.

“Well . . . the limbo is not good, but I am still collecting my salary, and my fringe benefits, so I’m not in huge distress,” McAdams wrote in a recent email to Wisconsin Watchdog.

McAdams says he’s hoping for the best from Marquette’s Faculty Hearing Committee, but if the advisory panel decides the administration should cut the professor’s tenure and fire him, McAdams says his next step will be a lawsuit.

...“My lawyer thinks it’s unlikely that, even if things go my way, that I’ll be restored to my normal status by this coming fall semester,” McAdams said.

His lawyer is Rick Esenberg, founder and president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, or WILL, a Milwaukee-based public interest law firm.

The controversy isn’t a First Amendment question per se, Esenberg has said. Private institutions can fire whom they please. But the veteran professor is protected by a contract, which in turn protects faculties’ academic freedom — principally speech.

“Their contract says you can’t be terminated for speech that would otherwise be protected by the U.S. Constitution. Marquette has obligated itself, and I think wisely, to academic expression. Now it’s time to live up to that commitment,” Esenberg said in a February Wisconsin Watchdog story.

But it appears Marquette, or at least its administration, is sticking to its guns.

Marquette President Michael R. Lovell has said he will not disclose further details of the proceedings until all “procedures required under university rules and policies are complete.”

“As our president notes, the decisions here have everything to do with our Guiding Values and expectations of conduct toward each other and nothing to do with academic freedom, freedom of speech, or same-sex marriage,” wrote Marquette spokesman Brian Dorrington in an email to Wisconsin Watchdog. “Debate and intense discussion are at the heart of who we are as a university, but they must be balanced with respect.”

Lovell said he doesn’t believe McAdams was being collegial when he wrote on his blog that philosophy teaching assistant Cheryl Abbate should have spent more time addressing varying opinions on gay marriage instead of dismissing them as “homophobic” and shutting them down.
Although this is not a new story and McAdams has been lingering in this limbo for months and months now, I still find it hard to grasp. I can't believe that Marquette has lurched to the Left so radically in an effort to be politically correct, destroying free speech on campus in the process. It's an unbelievably poor choice.

Lovell claims "the decisions here have everything to do with [Marquette's] Guiding Values and expectations of conduct toward each other and nothing to do with academic freedom, freedom of speech, or same-sex marriage."

That, of course, is ridiculous. McAdams' conduct was not out of line. His criticism of Abbate was completely legitimate and reasonable. What is out of line is Marquette holding McAdams personally responsible for the inappropriate behavior of others.

I am truly disgusted by what Marquette has become.

Lovell's first year as president of the university has been a disaster.

He has permitted the stifling of speech that gives voice to Catholic teaching, muzzling a student, and attempted to fire McAdams for merely sharing the story of an instructor's inappropriate behavior on campus.


Lovell's leadership is damaging Marquette. That's a matter that should be addressed and soon.

If Marquette continues down this road, we will continue to withhold our financial support. We wouldn't consider giving the university a dime until McAdams is allowed back on campus and teaching again.

At present, I would never recommend Marquette University to any prospective students.

That's so very sad.

Tim Cook: Hypocrite


Sure, that makes sense.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Rolling Stones - Summerfest 2015

Finally, it's official.

The story Mark Belling broke weeks ago has been confirmed.

The Rolling Stones will be playing in Milwaukee at the Marcus Amphitheater on June 23, 2015.

From the Summerfest website:
There's only one way to kick off The World's Largest Music Festival...and that's with The World's Greatest Rock 'n Roll Band, THE ROLLING STONES! That's right, Summerfest welcomes THE ROLLING STONES on Tuesday, June 23rd in the Marcus Amphitheater, (the night before the festival gates open) for the ultimate Kick-Off to Summerfest. There's more! Rolling Stones ticket holders are invited to join in The Official Pre-Party presented by Fiduciary Management, Inc. inside of the South Gate, featuring 2 stages of live entertainment with food and beverages available for purchase, starting at 5:00pm until 7:30pm, before the concert.

Some festivals have opening bands...Summerfest has THE ROLLING STONES! Don't miss Summerfest's Kick-Off Concert with the ROLLING STONES, June 23rd at the Marcus Amphitheater!
This is huge.


"Signing perhaps the most iconic rock 'n roll band of all time, The Rolling Stones, to kick-off Summerfest a night early is unprecedented and a monumental way to begin Summerfest 2015," stated Don Smiley, President and CEO of Summerfest.

"We jumped at the chance to host The Rolling Stones and feature them in true Milwaukee fashion. There were a variety of key factors to consider, including the multiple day lead time needed to set up the show, which worked seamlessly with our preparations to open The Big Gig. Needless to say, June 23 will be a historic night for Summerfest, music fans and Milwaukee, and we could not be more thrilled!"

The show is part of a 15-city North American tour by legendary British band, that kicks off in May at Petco Park in San Diego and includes stops in Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Minneapolis and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, among others. No shows have been announced for Chicago.

With a capacity of around 25,000, the Marcus Amphitheater is by far the smallest venue on the tour.

The group has vowed to perform 1971's landmark "Sticky Fingers" LP in its entirety at each concert.
This is really a small venue for a band like The Stones.
Tickets for the show will go on sale Monday, April 13 at 10 a.m. For more ticket information, visit the Stones' website.
EVERYONE is going to want tickets for this.

The resale value will be astronomical.

If I manage to get tickets, I'll be at the concert.

Let's be honest, this really isn't a Summerfest date. But given that the concert will be only hours before the gates actually open, it's certainly fair to call it the kick-off to the 2015 festival, and the biggest band to ever perform at Summerfest.

Terri Schiavo: Ten Years Ago

Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo
December 3, 1963 - March 31, 2005

Today marks the tenth anniversary of Terri Schiavo's death.

It's hard to believe ten years have passed.

She died after her family lost a prolonged, contentious battle for her right to live. Terri's parents, Mary and Bob Schindler, lost their precious daughter, and her siblings, Suzanne and Bobby, lost their beloved sister.

What haunts me about Terri's death is that she was not terminally ill. She was not dying. Michael Schiavo successfully fought in court to have his wife starved and dehydrated to death. She was sentenced to die.

Nightline, March 15, 2005, while Michael Schiavo was on his media blitz to win over public opinion, he said:

"Terri will not be starved to death. Her nutrition and hydration will be taken away."


For me, that statement sums up the twisted lies of the Culture of Death proponents and the brutality of Terri's court-sanctioned murder.

There was so much disinformation disseminated about Terri's condition, before and after her death.

The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, a group dedicated to "Helping Families Fight for Those Who Cannot Fight for Themselves," provides straightforward answers to
frequently asked questions about Terri, her life and death.

These facts are important in understanding the wider social ramifications of Terri's death:

Was Terri dying?

No. Terri suffered from no terminal disease or condition and her cognitive disability did not jeopardize her life in any way. She was simply a physically healthy woman with a brain injury.

Was Terri brain dead or in a coma?

No. Brain death is not a catch phrase used to describe a persons condition but rather an authentic medical diagnosis determined when respiration and other reflexes are absent. Coma is a profound or deep state of unconsciousness. An individual in a state of coma is alive but unable to move or respond to his or her environment. Terri was neither brain dead, nor was she in a coma.

Were there any machines keeping Terri alive?

Absolutely not. Contrary to media reports, Terri did not require life sustaining equipment such as a ventilator. The only thing keeping Terri alive was the same thing that keeps every one of us alive – food and water.

Was this an “end-of-life” issue?

No. Terri’s case should not be confused with legitimate end-of-life cases in which patients are terminally ill and imminently dying. As already stated, Terri was neither ill nor dying.

Was Terri in a Persistent Vegetative State?

No. Despite Judge Greer’s ruling, and in keeping with the 40 medical affidavits submitted to the court, all evidence proves that Terri was not in a PVS. Terri’s behavior and ability to interact with her surroundings did not meet the medical or statutory definition of persistent vegetative state.

Did the autopsy prove that Terri was in a Persistent Vegetative State?

No. The autopsy was unable to determine whether or not Terri was actually in a persistent vegetative state. In fact, on three separate occasions, the report stated that an autopsy is unable to determine if a person is in a persistent vegetative state because the person must be alive in order to make such a diagnosis. The autopsy did prove that that, prior to Terri's death, she was physically healthy and would have lived a long life had she not been dehydrated over a period of two weeks.

Were Terri’s parents able to make any decisions regarding her medical care or well being?

No. From 1993 until her death, Terri’s parents were not allowed to participate in her care. As guardian, Michael Schiavo had 100% control over Terri. He refused to allow her parents to help their daughter in any way. In fact, during the final weeks of her life, Terri’s parents were informed that if they so much as tried to give her a drop of water, or provide comfort care in any way, they would be arrested by the armed police officers who guarded her room 24 hours a day.

Was Terri receiving any rehabilitation in the years prior to her death?

No. Terri was essentially warehoused and abandoned from 1992, when Michael Schiavo ordered all rehabilitation and therapy stopped, until her dehydration death in March of 2005. This was in spite of the fact that countless doctors said Terri’s condition could have improved with continued rehabilitation and therapy – and that her condition had been improving while she was receiving therapy.

Why did the court allow Terri to be killed?

Permission to starve and dehydrate Terri to death was granted based on hearsay evidence that surfaced almost eight years after her collapse, alleging that she wanted to die.

Did Terri have an advance directive?

No. Terri had no written advance directive that indicated her wishes. The court allowed her to be killed based only upon hearsay evidence provided by Michael Schiavo, his brother and his sister-in-law – ignoring testimony by Terri’s biological family and lifelong friends to the contrary.

Was there money involved?

Yes. A trust fund of nearly $800,000 was established and earmarked for Terri’s rehabilitation and therapy, with Michael as the inheritor in the case of Terri’s death. Tragically, the bulk of this money was instead used to pay Michael Schiavo’s attorney fees in his quest to end her life.

Did the court recognize the money Michael Schiavo stood to inherit as a conflict of interest?

No. In fact the court failed to acknowledge that not only was Schiavo’s monetary interest a conflict, but that he had moved on with his life, was engaged to be married to another woman, and already had children with the other woman. In short, his role as guardian was rife with conflicts of interest.

Did Terri have her own attorney?

No, she did not. In fact, the judge in this case defaulted as her guardian/attorney.

Was it appropriate for Congress to step in to assist in Terri’s case?

Absolutely. Congress has every right to pass laws that prevent the deaths of innocent persons.

Was this a private family matter?

No. Michael Schiavo chose to take the matter out of the realm of privacy by introducing it to the courts in 1998. It was Terri’s family who reached out to Congress for help in saving her life. Michael had essentially already started a new family with his fiancĂ© and children.

What did the law passed by Congress actually do?

It gave Terri the right to a federal review – for a federal judge to make sure that her due process rights had not been denied. This is the same right given to all prisoners on death row.

After Terri died of dehydration on March 31, 2005, President George W. Bush remarked:
I urge all those who honor Terri Schiavo to continue to work to build a culture of life, where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others. The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favor of life.

In Terri's case, there were serious doubts and questions. Nonetheless, she was sentenced to death, an agonizingly slow-motion execution. That atrocity happened even though we had a pro-life president in the White House.

Now, of course, we have Obama in the White House, the most radical anti-life president to ever occupy the Oval Office.

On February 26, 2008, in Cleveland during a Democrat primary debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, candidate Obama invoked Terri Schiavo.

Nat Hentoff wrote a piece about that for Jewish World Review.

In none of the endless presidential candidates' debates has there been a meaningful discussion of the rights of disabled Americans. However, in the Feb. 26 debate in Cleveland, Barack Obama casually and ignorantly revealed his misunderstanding of the basic issue in the highly visible and still-resonating official death sentence of a disabled woman, Terri Schiavo. I have repeatedly called her death the result of "the longest public execution in American history."

When moderator Tim Russert asked Hillary Clinton and Obama if "there are any words or votes that you'd like to take back ... in your careers in public service," Obama answered that in his first year in the Senate, he joined an agreement "that allowed Congress to interject itself (in the Schiavo case) into the decision-making process of the families."

Obama added: 'I think that was a mistake, and I think the American people understood that was a mistake. And as a constitutional law professor, I knew better."

When he was a professor of constitutional law, Obama probably instructed his students to research and know all the facts of a case. The reason Congress asked the federal courts to review the Schiavo case was that the 41-year-old woman about to be dehydrated and starved to death was breathing normally on her own, was not terminal, and there was medical evidence that she was responsive, not in a persistent vegetative state.

So if Obama had the opportunity to take back a vote he cast in his years in public service, it would be the one he cast to offer a disabled woman the right to a federal review – for a federal judge to make sure that her due process rights had not been denied, the same right given to all prisoners on death row.

Obama said, "I think that was a mistake, and I think the American people understood that was a mistake. And as a constitutional law professor, I knew better."

Clearly, Obama is on the wrong side when it comes to promoting a Culture of Life and safeguarding the civil liberties of the weak and vulnerable.

Obama actually regrets voting to grant Terri the right to a federal review before being sentenced to death. He regrets having voted to support Terri's right to due process. I find that extremely troubling.

Obama's regrets about granting Terri Schiavo due process and his attitude about the value of her life are even more disturbing given the passage of government-run health care.

Ezekiel Emanuel, one of Obama's top advisers on health care and brother of Rahm Emanuel, takes this stance:

[Health services should not be guaranteed to] individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.

People like Terri won't stand a chance of receiving treatment or being treated with dignity when health care becomes rationed by the government. They will be denied services because funds are limited. The disabled and the elderly will lose under ObamaCare, as it moves towards its goal of government-run health care, a single payer system.

Terri's dramatic experience deeply touched so many people, even though nearly all of us were witnesses from afar. For me, her story helped clarify the value of life and what I consider to be our moral obligation to protect the weak and disabled. Her devoted family's desire to care for her and their efforts to save her life were truly inspiring.

Terri's story is a lesson in love.

The struggle for life to prevail, when engulfed in a Culture of Death, is a challenging but morally imperative endeavor.

When speaking of his sister's plight, Bobby Schindler recalls the words of Thomas Jefferson: "The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government."

Obviously, Obama is no Thomas Jefferson. We've seen the energy Obama puts into his assault on the dignity of human life. Our work to counter his extremist agenda is more important now than ever.

Although today is a sad day, we can honor Terri's memory by continuing to work to build a lasting Culture of Life; keeping in mind the words of Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, that "an attack against life is an attack against God."

On this tenth anniversary of Terri's death, I pray that her mother, her siblings, her other family members and her friends find comfort and peace.

I also remember and pray for Terri's dad, Robert Schindler, who passed away in August 2009, and Brother Paul O'Donnell, who passed away just a little over one month ago.


Prayer in Remembrance of Terri Schiavo

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.

I know that life is always a good,
and that it never loses its value
when it is beset by weakness or injury.

Lord, thank you for the life of Terri Schindler-Schiavo.
Even in her suffering and death
She revealed Your glory
and truth that life is always sacred.

As I remember Terri, I also commit myself
to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,

And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!


Observe Terri's Day, March 31, 2015.

Activities for Terri's Day!

Suggested Activities for Individuals, Parishes and Schools For Terri's Day:
---Say the Prayer in Remembrance of Terri daily, the week before and after Terri's Day.

---Hold a Memorial Service and/or Mass on Terri's Day.

---Conduct or participate in a parish or school essay contest about what happened to Terri, and the issues surrounding care for the disabled and their right to life.

---Create and publicize a website in honor of Terri.

---Invite a speaker to your school, parish, or community organization to address issues surrounding the care of the disabled.

---Organize a letter writing campaign in remembrance of Terri by one or more individuals to local papers or blogs.

---Spend time volunteering at a nursing home or hospital.

---Spend time with a disabled friend or relative.

---Write to or visit elected officials regarding legislation that would increase protection for people facing circumstances like Terri did.

---Fill out, and make others aware of the "Will to Live".

---Register to vote and participate in elections. Challenge candidates on their views regarding Terri and those who face the same challenges and dangers she did.

Obama HonorsTed Kennedy

Yesterday, Ted Kennedy was celebrated.

From CNN:

President Barack Obama, formally dedicating on Monday an institute to the U.S. Senate and one of its legendary occupants, hailed the importance of the legislative body even while suggesting its best days have faded.

Speaking at the Boston waterfront site of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, Obama claimed too many current-day senators arrive in Washington only to be corrupted by private interests and campaign money.

...The institute was dedicated at a moment when public opinion of Congress has sunk to new depths; organizers hope the museum will teach visiting students how the Senate works, thereby stoking interest in government and civics.

Obama said Monday the lessons imparted by the museum could also teach the men and women serving in the real Senate chamber in Washington — some of whom he said were governing out of fear, rather than a desire to advance the country's interests.

"What if we carried ourselves more like Ted Kennedy? What if we worked to follow his example a little bit harder?" he said.
I wonder how Mary Jo Kopechne's family feels about this.

Was she mentioned at the dedication?

Mary Jo Kopechne, 1962 college yearbook photo

[Ted] Kennedy's family legacy seemed to assure him a competitive candidacy for the presidency -- but for a fatal mistake on July 18, 1969. Following a dutiful appreciation party for the "boiler room girls" who had worked on his brother Robert's campaign, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts. Although Kennedy managed to escape, his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned. Furthermore, Kennedy did not report the incident immediately. Later, he pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. Chappaquiddick seemed to quash Kennedy's presidential prospects.

This is an extremely sanitized version of the story. There are many resources available that go into much more detail.

Here is Kennedy's explanation of what happened:

Edward M. Kennedy: "Chappaquiddick"

Broadcast nationally from Joseph P. Kennedy's home on 25 July 1969

My fellow citizens:

I have requested this opportunity to talk to the people of Massachusetts about the tragedy which happened last Friday evening. This morning I entered a plea of guilty to the charge of leaving the scene of an accident. Prior to my appearance in court it would have been improper for me to comment on these matters. But tonight I am free to tell you what happened and to say what it means to me.

On the weekend of July 18, I was on Martha's Vineyard Island participating with my nephew, Joe Kennedy -- as for thirty years my family has participated -- in the annual Edgartown Sailing Regatta. Only reasons of health prevented my wife from accompanying me.

On Chappaquiddick Island, off Martha's Vineyard, I attended, on Friday evening, July 18, a cook-out, I had encouraged and helped sponsor for devoted group of Kennedy campaign secretaries. When I left the party, around 11:15 P.M., I was accompanied by one of these girls, Miss Mary Jo Kopechne. Mary J was one of the most devoted members of the staff of Senator Robert Kennedy. She worked for him for four years and was broken up over his death. For this reason, and because she was such a gentle, kind, and idealistic person, all of us tried to help her feel that she still had a home with the Kennedy family.

There is not truth, not truth whatever, to the widely circulated suspicions of immoral conduct that have been leveled at my behavior and hers regarding that evening. There has never been a private relationship between us of any kind. I know of nothing in Mary Jo's conduct on that or nay other occasion -- the same is true of the other girls at that party -- that would lend any substance to such ugly speculation about their character.

Nor was I driving under the influence of liquor.

Little over one mile away, the car that I was driving on the unlit road went of a narrow bridge which had no guard rails and was built on a left angle to the road. The car overturned in a deep pond and immediately filled with water. I remember thinking as the cold water rushed in around my head that I was for certain drowning. Then water entered my lungs and I actual felt the sensation of drowning. But somehow I struggled to the surface alive.

I made immediate and repeated efforts to save Mary Jo be diving into strong and murky current, but succeeded only in increasing my state of utter exhaustion and alarm. My conduct and conversations during the next several hours, to the extent that I can remember them, make no sense to me at all.

Although my doctors informed me that I suffered a cerebral concussion, as well as shock, I do not seek to escape responsibility for my actions by placing the blame either in the physical, emotional trauma brought on by the accident, or on anyone else. I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the policy immediately.

Instead of looking directly for a telephone after lying exhausted in the grass for an undetermined time, I walked back to the cottage where the party was being held and requested the help of two friends, my cousin, Joseph Gargan and Phil Markham, and directed them to return immediately to the scene with me -- this was sometime after midnight -- in order to undertake a new effort to dive down and locate Miss Kopechne. Their strenuous efforts, undertaken at some risk to their own lives also proved futile.

All kinds of scrambled thoughts -- all of them confused, some of them irrational, many of them which I cannot recall, and some of which I would not have seriously entertained under normal circumstances -- went through my mind during this period. They were reflected in the various inexplicable, inconsistent, and inconclusive things I said and did, including such questions as whether the girl might still be alive somewhere out of that immediate area, whether some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys, whether there was some justifiable reason for me to doubt what has happened and to delay my report, whether somehow the awful weight of this incredible incident might, in some way, pass from my shoulders. I was overcome, I'm frank to say, by a jumble of emotions, grief, fear, doubt, exhaustion, panic, confusion and shock.

Instructing Gargan and Markham not to alarm Mary Jo's friends that night, I had them take me to the ferry crossing. The ferry having shut down for the night, I suddenly jumped into the water and impulsively swam across, nearly drowning once again in the effort, and returned to my hotel about 2 A.M. and collapsed in my room.

I remember going out at one point and saying something to the room clerk.

In the morning, with my mind somewhat more lucid, I made an effort to call a family legal advisor, Burke Marshall, from a public telephone on the Chappaquiddick side of the ferry and belatedly reported the accident to the Martha's Vineyard police.

Today, as I mentioned, I felt morally obligated to plead guilty to the charge of leaving the scene of an accident. No words on my part can possibly express the terrible pain and suffering I feel over this tragic incident. This last week has been an agonizing one for me and for the members of my family, and the grief we feel over the loss of a wonderful friend will remain with us the rest of our lives.

These events, the publicity, innuendo, and whispers which have surrounded them and my admission of guilt this morning raises the question in my mind of whether my standing among the people of my state has been so impaired that I should resign my seat in the United States Senate. If at any time the citizens of Massachusetts should lack confidence in their Senator's character or his ability, with or without justification, he could not in my opinion adequately perform his duty and should not continue in office.

The people of this State, the State which sent John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster, and Charles Sumner, and Henry Cabot Lodge, and John Kennedy to the United States Senate are entitled to representation in that body by men who inspire their utmost confidence. For this reason, I would understand full well why some might think it right for me to resign. For me this will be a difficult decision to make.

It has been seven years since my first election to the Senate. You and I share many memories -- some of them have been glorious, some have been very sad. The opportunity to work with you and serve Massachusetts has made my life worthwhile.

And so I ask you tonight, the people of Massachusetts, to think this through with me. In facing this decision, I seek your advice and opinion. In making it, I seek your prayers -- for this is a decision that I will have finally to make on my own.

It has been written a man does what he must in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles, and dangers, and pressures, and that is the basis of human morality. Whatever may be the sacrifices he faces, if he follows his conscience -- the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow man -- each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of the past courage cannot supply courage itself. For this, each man must look into his own soul.

I pray that I can have the courage to make the right decision. Whatever is decided and whatever the future holds for me, I hope that I shall have been able to put this most recent tragedy behind me and make some further contribution to our state and mankind, whether it be in public or private life.

Thank you and good night.

Here's an account of the scandal as relayed on PBS's American Experience, "The Kennedys":
Narrator: Friday, July 18, 1969. As the Apollo 11 crew approached the moon, fulfilling a goal set by John Kennedy, Edward Kennedy was in Massachusetts, fulfilling still another family obligation—attending a reunion party of young women who had worked for his brother Robert's last campaign. One of them was Mary Jo Kopechne. The party was held on Chappaquiddick Island, off Martha's Vineyard.

Late that evening, Kennedy left the party with Miss Kopechne. Sometime later, his car
plunged off a narrow wooden bridge. Kennedy managed to get out. His passenger did not. Yet, for 10 hours, he failed to report the accident. The car was discovered by two boys on an early morning fishing trip. Police were summoned and the young woman's body was recovered. The diver suspected she had not died immediately.

Kennedy aides helped the other party-goers leave the island hurriedly, without making
statements. On Saturday morning, Kennedy finally appeared before Police Chief Dominic
Arena and was allowed simply to leave a hastily handwritten statement and return to Hyannis Port.

5th reporter (archival): I mean, wasn't there some point—since someone was killed and he hadn't reported it for 10 hours—in actually questioning him a bit deeper?

Dominic Arena, Police Chief (archival): Right, well—well, to tell you the truth, at the time, I thought I would have been able to get back to him. When he left here, I, at the time, thought that he was going to consult his attorney and we would get further [information] from him.

Rita Dallas, Joseph P. Kennedy's Nurse: After Chappaquiddick, I can still see Eunice flying in the house. She took off her coat and threw it. She said, "Where's Teddy?" She said, "I want to talk to him." But there was rage and horror and anger, a lot of anger at not any particular person, not at Teddy, but, I really think, at fate.

Narrator: The Senator stayed behind the walls of the Kennedy compound. Friends, advisers and former speechwriters descended upon Hyannis Port to offer legal advice and propose ways to salvage the Senator's political future.

Midge Decter, political essayist: An army of Jack's loyalists and speech writers—that court that was still, to some extent, a court-in-exile and still dreaming of Washington—descended on Cape Cod to help him, advise him and to write this speech he gave.

Narrator: Just hours before going on television, Senator Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received a two-month jail sentence—suspended. That night, Kennedy offered his version of what had happened, calling his own conduct "indefensible."

Edward M. Kennedy (archival): I would understand full well why some might think it right for me to resign. You and I share many memories. Some of them have been glorious, some have been very sad. The opportunity to work with you and serve Massachusetts has made my life worthwhile and so, I ask you tonight—the people of Massachusetts—to think this through with me.

Narrator: Massachusetts rallied to the last of the Kennedy brothers, but across the country, many found his explanations inadequate, his speech mawkish.

Hays Gorey, Time Magazine: Many of us in the press corps thought it reminded us of Nixon's "Checkers" speech. It did not ring true. It was highly political and intended, obviously, to save his political neck.

Pierre Salinger, White House Press Secretary: I think that Ted Kennedy was very badly advised, very badly advised by those who went to advise him. I mean, instead of putting it in the context of the future of his political life, they should have just put it in the context of what happened and had him deal with what happened in the most honest and open way possible.

Narrator: As the story of Chappaquiddick unfolded, Democratic leaders were meeting in Virginia to discuss the next presidential campaign.

Sen. Fred Harris, U.S. Senate 1964-73: Everybody knew - well, they thought—that Ted Kennedy would be the Democratic nominee for president in 1972. Right in the midst of that retreat came the terrible news of the tragedy at Chappaquiddick.

We stopped what we were doing. The issues were still there, but there was no question, from that moment on. Ted Kennedy would not be the Democratic nominee. The situation changed totally and we simply quit and went home.

Rita Dallas, Joseph P. Kennedy's Nurse: Teddy went upstairs and he said, "Dad, there was an accident." And he said, "There was a girl in the car," and he said, "She drowned." He said, "It was an accident."

And his father had his head forward, listening to Teddy and then, he dropped his head back. And Teddy sat down and he put his hands up to his face and he said, "I don't know, Dad, I don't know." But after that, I could see a deterioration in Mr. Kennedy.

Narrator: Joseph P. Kennedy, 81, refused nourishment and began to waste away. He died on November 18, 1969.
Senator Ed Markey called Ted Kennedy the "greatest senator of all time."

I do not agree with Markey's assessment.


Video from the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute:

Monday, March 30, 2015

Abortion Clinic: Spa-Like

"Slick ads" in metro stations in Washington declare: "Abortion. Yeah, we do that."


In other words, "End human life. Yeah, we do that."

"Kill. Yeah, we do that."

"Slaughter the unborn. Yeah, we do that."

When you're going to kill your developing baby, why not do it in a spa-like setting?

Get comfortable.

From the Washington Post:

With its natural wood floors and plush upholstery, Carafem aims to feel more like a spa than a medical clinic. But the slick ads set to go up in Metro stations across the Washington region leave nothing to doubt: “Abortion. Yeah, we do that.”

The clinic, opening this week in tony Friendship Heights, specializes in the abortion pill and will be unique for its advertising. Its unabashed approach also reflects a new push to destigmatize the nation’s most controversial medical procedure by talking about it openly and unapologetically.

Plagued by political setbacks in recent years, abortion-rights activists are now seeking to normalize abortion, to put a human face — and in some cases, even a positive spin — on the procedure.
A positive spin on abortion. Really?

Yes, and maybe the world would have been more receptive to Hitler's "Final Solution" if Auschwitz and Buchenwald had natural floors and plush upholstery. Maybe spa-like surroundings would have destigmatized what was actually happening there.

Perhaps the world would accept Iran's execution and imprisonment of gay people if it occurred with a spa-like vibe.

Perhaps the horrific human rights abuses in China, including organ harvesting, aren't so bad. Maybe that all could be destigmatized with some relatively simple spa-like adjustments.

Maybe ISIS wouldn't have the PR problem it does if its beheadings were carried out in a more inviting setting, wood floors and tasteful, plush upholstery.

"Beheading. Yeah, we do that."

Good grief.

...At Carafem, staff members plan to greet clients with warm teas, comfortable robes and a matter-of-fact attitude.

“We don’t want to talk in hushed tones,” said Carafem president Christopher Purdy. “We use the A-word.”
"Bring me a plush robe. Now, abort my baby."

"Tea? Yes, thank you. I love these floors!"

It's sick.

I hope with all my heart and soul that a wood floor, a nice robe, and a matter-of-fact attitude does nothing to "normalize" abortion, make it like a day at the spa.

The reality of what is happening at an abortion clinic should not be blurred by this silly spa window dressing.

A positive spin? Seriously?

The gravity of ending a human life should not be destigmatized.

Service for Trevor Casper, Scott Walker's Remarks

Below is the text of Governor Walker's remarks from the service for Trooper Trevor Casper today:

On behalf of the State of Wisconsin, I want to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Trooper Trevor Casper. And on a personal level, Tonette and I offer our prayers, today and in the days to come, to Trooper Casper's parents Kevin and Deborah, his sisters Lauren and Olivia, his grandmother and grandfather, his dear friend Brittany, and to all of his other family and friends. Thank you for sharing Trevor with us all.

We also offer our prayers to his extended family in the Wisconsin State Patrol, and to law enforcement officials all across this state and around the country. There are representatives from nearly every state here today. We mourn with you - and we thank God every day for men and women like Trevor who are willing to serve.

Flags across this state fly at half-staff - both as a sign of respect to the family, friends and co-workers of Trooper Casper, and also as a symbol of our collective sorrow here in Wisconsin in losing one of our finest.

Trevor Casper was born ready to do this job. We heard that time and time again this week - from his parents, from the police chief here in town, from his classmates at the academy.

As Kiel Police Chief Dave Funkhauser told my office earlier this week, Trevor understood the importance of "protect and serve" at an early age. He said that Trooper Casper had all of the attributes he would want of his own officers. He said you could talk to anyone in Kiel and they would tell you that Trevor was true, and real, and good.

Zac Bohlman went through the academy with Trevor and told us of how excited Trooper Casper was to be at the academy. He said that they had just had a conversation about how they both loved the Fond du Lac area and their work.

Chris Reyna also went to the academy with Trevor. Chris spent more than two decades in the United States Military and so he was the oldest in the class. Trevor was the youngest, yet they bonded.

Chris told us that he asked Trevor on the second day of the academy if he was ready for this and Trevor said, "I was born ready."

Chris said that he respected how focused and committed Trevor was to protect and serve. As Chris said, Trevor was wise beyond his years.

Kyle Dudek roomed with Trevor at the academy and got to know him as a positive force in the crowd. If anyone was struggling, he said Trevor was there to cheer them up. The two hit it off as they were both excited to serve in the state patrol and they both shared a love for hunting, fishing and wrestling.

Kyle said he spoke with Trevor about their training and how they would act when facing dangerous situations. Kyle said that Trevor was unwavering in his commitment to uphold his oath and eliminate the threat to protect others, even though it would mean putting his own life in danger.

That is exactly what Trooper Trevor Casper was doing on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. He was doing what he was trained to do. He was eliminating the threat. He was showing what it means to protect and serve. He was doing what he was born to do.

Video, from FOX6 News:

SNL: Pepboys and Starbucks

Saturday Night Live took on Starbuck's disastrous Race Together campaign.

Inspired by Starbucks's Race Together campaign, Pepboys launches its own initiative to encourage employees and customers to discuss gender and sexual identity: Genderflect.

Eric Clapton - 70

Happy 70th Birthday, Eric Clapton!

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Aaron Rodgers Gets Snippy on Twitter

A lot of the stuff people tweet is better left unsaid.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Claire Van Fossen: Justice Means NO POLICE

Claire Van Fossen, a self-described "lifelong Sherman Park resident who is deeply dedicated to a vision of a socially just Milwaukee," wrote an absolutely clueless piece as part of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's "Purple Wisconsin project."

She believes that a "just and free world means a world without police."

Say what?

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Whether we call them because of a dispute between neighbors or a robbery, a shooting or sexual violence, the police rarely meet our needs. They don’t help us heal. And they don’t prevent future harm. Rather than serve as advocates for true justice, they use their nearly limitless power to reinforce the oppressive status quo. They threaten us with violence and incarceration and target the most oppressed and vulnerable people in our society. By blaming “crime” and “criminals” instead of systemic oppression for society’s ills, the police exacerbate societal problems, harm citizens, and bar the people from liberation by maintaining the capitalist social order.

For certain, the negative effects of policing outweigh the benefits. In times of falling violent and property crimes, increased spending on police (ergo increased arrests, especially for petty crimes and drug offenses and especially in communities of color) has a host of negative impacts on individuals and communities, with little to no social benefit. Within the communities most affected, police hamper economic mobility, fragment families, and usurp taxpayer dollars which could otherwise be spent on the meaningful work happening to make those same communities safer and healthier.

What’s perhaps worse is the fact that, because the police do not keep us safe, their predominant role in society is maintaining a social order that enables people in power to operate with the least amount of disruption possible and thus continue to exploit and oppress the already disenfranchised. By targeting low-income individuals and people of color, the police maintain a racial and economic system of social stratification that is profitable and beneficial only for the ruling class.

And unlike basically every other institution in our country, they do this while safely insulated from competition, market feedback, the price mechanism, and the profit-loss system. As a result, there is virtually no system of accountability of police to their "clients" or the public, and any complaints against police are passed off as having been made by "criminals". Even in a state like ours, where investigations of police must be conducted by outside entities, those entities are often mostly made up of former police, and so perpetrating officers are almost never indicted nor face any criminal charges when they commit even the gravest of violent transgressions against the citizens they have vowed to serve and protect.

Plainly stated, police departments function as monopolies and come with incentives to overspend, overcharge, under-produce, and generally work in opposition to their clients’ interests and in favor of their own and of those of the ruling class. The police represent a nearly all-powerful, irreprehensible institution whose sole purpose is to keep poor and black folks oppressed so wealthy whites can prosper. It is for this reason that the abolition of the police must be a key component of the work to establish a more just, free, and equitable world.
Yes, Claire, the police are the bad guys. They don't help us heal and they function as a monopoly.

Seriously, what's wrong with you?

An adult shouldn't be this blind to reality.

Van Fossen says, "the police do not keep us safe."


She believes, "their predominant role in society is maintaining a social order that enables people in power to operate with the least amount of disruption possible and thus continue to exploit and oppress the already disenfranchised."

This drivel is straight out of the ivory tower.

So, what does it mean to imagine a world free of police? And what do viable alternatives to policing look like? The answer may be more intuitive than you think. As Luis Fernandez, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University, puts it, “Most of our communities already exist without policing. Most of our human interactions are already outside of the purview of police officers…Most social relationships between people do not require police intervention.”

Indeed, the absence of police might actually mean the chance to connect to one another more as people, on a human level. By eliminating the involvement of the state in social conflicts, we increase our opportunity to practice methods of conflict resolution like mediation, dialogue, and reconciliation - and we replace the racist, militaristic penalism which characterizes policing in this country and which proves so costly to our communities in so many ways.
And maybe without a police department unicorns could freely romp the streets and bring joy to all!

Van Fossen has the audacity to call the police in the U.S. "racist" and "militaristic."

Truly offensive.

It may take years before enough Americans recognize this, though. In the meantime, we have the power to reduce the role of the police in our own individual lives. This year I made a New Year’s resolution not to call the police. By participating in efforts in my neighborhood to reduce the presence and role of the police in our interactions, I’m also taking part in ensuring there is an organized, collectively-responsible immediate community with viable, humane and self-empowering alternatives to calling the police. Additionally, I know I can rely on resources like friends, help hotlines, restorative justice practices, crisis centers and so on should I find myself in a jam.
God help us if Americans ever adopt Van Fossen's beliefs.

Does Van Fossen really think a hotline or crisis center will suffice when it comes to maintaining order in society?

She wants "viable, humane and self-empowering alternatives to calling the police."

If someone is raped or robbed at gunpoint, I don't think we should be thinking of "self-empowering alternatives to calling the police."

The absence of police won't mean the "chance to connect to one another more as people, on a human level."

That is beyond idiotic.

It's not realistic.

Whatever our chosen alternatives to calling the police, we all deserve a conflict-resolution and crisis management process that is democratic, accountable, transparent, and over which our communities have the ultimate control. Our humanity, our justice, and our freedom depend on it.
Communities do have ultimate control over the police department. Good grief. We elect officials responsible for the department. The police aren't rogue oppressors, unaccountable to the public.

Is Van Fossen for real?

Mark Levin said, "Liberalism is the philosophy of the stupid."