Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Have we lost the ability to speak of the common good?

Anthony Esolen, one of our ten modern wise men, expounds on the etiolated condition of our modern political discourse:
It seems as if we have flattened our discussion of liberty to two dimensions, namely, what I feel like doing, because I am what is called an "individual," and what large government machines want me to do, in order to secure some ideal like equality or the End of Poverty or Peace in our Time. Gone is all notion of the community, and of those small groups -- families, fraternities, school boards, volunteer firemen, whatever -- that are essential to a fully human life, and that themselves are the means for the exercise of, and enhancement of, liberty. We don't have a notion of what I've called in these pages an Individualism of Responsibility, an individualism built upon my competence to perform the duties expected of me by my neighborhood and my community. That is, we don't have an individualism founded upon the shared expectation of virtue. If Richard Weaver was right about this, it's because we have inherited the spiritual and epistemological inversion of subjecting the intellect to the will. For it is impossible to talk about virtue without searching, with the intellect, for the Good that does not change from age to age, although our circumstances from age to age may require us, in prudence, to seek that Good under different forms and in different ways.
Click here for more.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Trusting our safety to the government bureaucrats rather than God

A group of atheists is suing the state of Kentucky to overturn a law that requires Kentucky's Homeland Security Office to mention that God is the ultimate guarantor of our safety. The group American Atheists claims that references to God in the law have caused them to suffer sleep disorders and "mental pain and anguish," proving once again that atheists are just not as sturdy as they used to be.

But it isn't just atheists with weak constitutions who are upset, there are a few self-professed Christians who apparently think that when it comes to safety from terrorism, government bureaucrats ought to trust in themselves rather than God.

Tom Eblen at the Lexington Herald-Leader, who touts his own religious credentials, expressed his anger over the law:
I'm furious that tens of thousands of dollars of public money is likely to be spent litigating this obviously unconstitutional attempt to require government to do the work of churches, synagogues and mosques.
Now first of all, it will be news to a lot of people that churches, synagogues, and mosques are the only places in which God can be acknowledged. In fact, millions of people and lots of institutions, many of which are outside places of worship, do it every day.

Secondly, why is it that some of the same people who think it is really silly to acknowledge reliance on God in the state's Homeland Security documents that very few people will see don't seem to be bothered by the fact that we acknowledge it on the nation's coined money that we all carry around in our pockets? Or does Eblen go along with the atheists on this one too?

The comparison of these two issues is not immaterial when it comes to the constitutionality of the law, since the "In God we trust" motto has already been litigated. In Aronow v. United States the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 1970 that it was constitutional. He might also check O'Hair v. Blumenthal, as well as the more recent Studler v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, in which an Indiana Appeals Court last month upheld the constitutionality of Indiana's "In God we trust" license plates.

Not that courts can't get it wrong, but anyone who says the court did reach the wrong verdict will have to explain what a state law generically acknowledging God has to do with Congress establishing a religion, a provision that Eblen references, but without noticing that it has nothing to do with a) Congress, or b) establishing a religion. If some enterprising person does want to take this up, he might also provide some explanation of the explicitly religious provisions in many state laws to which no one gave a second thought at the time the Bill of Rights was passed.

And, finally, Eblen's claims that the law is bad because of the money it will cost to defend it. How much will it cost to defend this law? Nothing. Zero. Nada. There is no evidence that the Attorney General's office will spend any more money now that they have to defend this law than they would have if the law had never been passed. They're not going to hire any more lawyers to do it, and it is extremely unlikely they're going to work extra hours.

This is government, remember?

In fact, this legal challenge might just give these people something useful to do. The last thing we want is a bunch of government lawyers with too much time on their hands.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Indiana Abortionists deserve coal for Christmas

Santa Claus is coming to town and it looks like he will be putting coal in some Indiana stockings. The shocking revelation that Planned Parenthood of Indiana is selling Christmas gift certificates for services including abortion came as unwelcome tidings to those that believe Christmas is the celebration of a successful birth.

A video just released by LiveActionFilms.org also shows how the Indiana abortion provider counsels a 13-year-old to lie about the age of her 31-year-old "boyfriend" to prevent reporting abuse to the state. The Planned Parenthood counselor even suggested that the 31-year-old could transport the 13-year-old across state lines for a covert abortion to bypass the state's parental consent laws.

Santa's "gonna find out who's naughty or nice..."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pornography has no place in civil society

I was recently asked to contribute an opinion piece on pornography to the Murray State News. Here it is. Also, a link is provided to see the opposing perspective and the responses.

Somehow we’ve been conditioned to believe that pornography is a matter of free speech, personal freedom and privacy and that any restrictions would undo the First Amendment. People like Larry Flynt tell us that banning it could lead us down the wrong path. As if the path our pornified nation is already on could get any more jaded.

Pre-Hefner America perceived pornography to be incompatible with public decency and civility. Post-viagra America is now picking up the pieces. Study after study shows a clear connection between pornography use and sexual crime. According to Jan LaRue, attorney and pornography expert, “86 percent of convicted rapists have admitted to regular use of pornography; 57 percent admitted imitating pornographic scenes in the commission of their crimes.” Between 1960 and 1999 "forcible rape" increased by 418 percent according to the U.S. "FBI Index of Crime".

Gene Abel of the New York Psychiatric Institute studied convicted rapists and found, "One-third reported that they had used pornography immediately prior to at least one of their crimes." Charles Linedecker author of Thrill Killers, a Study of America 's Most Vicious Murders, reports that 81 percent of these murderers ranked porn as their primary sexual interest. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice reported 148,110 victims of rape or sexual assault.

The idea that porn is victimless is now about as convincing as saying that long-term exposure to carcinogens isn’t linked to cancer. Women become demeaned and devalued. They are objectivized as playthings whose sole purpose is to fulfill someone’s twisted fantasy. A certain percentage act on their fantasies, but nearly all porn addicts are hindered from developing healthy relationships with woman according to psychologist Gary R. Brooks, author of The Centerfold Syndrome. Brooks says that porn promotes distorted images of women and fosters an obsession with visual stimulation.

Listen to how it affected one former student at Eastern Kentucky University: “Many people think looking at pictures of naked women is a progressive thing to do. It’s progressive all right,” said Angie.* “It gets worse and worse. And soon watching is not enough.” Angie dropped by her boyfriend’s apartment on campus where she caught a glimpse of a sex scene on TV. She confronted him, but he said it “was just a guy thing.” Later that night that scene became Angie’s worst nightmare as her boyfriend raped her at gunpoint. Angie escaped with her life, but she still has scars.

Other women aren’t as fortunate as Angie.

In the 1980’s more than 30 women died at the hands of a porn addict whose descent into sexual deviancy began when he discovered dirty books in the neighbor's trash. His name was Ted Bundy and violent sexual acts accompanied his murders.

Just before his execution in 1989 Bundy said: "There are those loose in [your] towns and communities, like me, whose dangerous impulses are being fueled, day in and day out, by violence in the media, in its various forms -- particularly sexualized violence ... . There are lots of other kids playing in the streets around the country today who are going to be dead tomorrow, and the next day, because other young people are reading and seeing the kinds of things that are available in the media today."

How many more Ted Bundy’s are in the making right now? How many more vulnerable woman and children have to be exploited and hurt before something is done? Porn advocates can wrap themselves in the First Amendment all they want, but their vacuous arguments leave them just as exposed as the Emperor and his New Clothes.

It’s time to tell the charlatans that porn has no place in civil society.

*last name withheld “Defeating Depravity,” The Southeast Outlook, summer 2004

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kentucky College Scholarships: Smart Kids Need Not Apply

In a stroke of Kentucky genius, State Auditor Crit Luallen (D) recommended to a panel studying college affordabilty that Kentucky should reconsider merit-based college scholarships. The AP reported today that Luallen said, "Kentucky cannot afford to give money to people who don't need it."

Apparently, academic performance should not be considered in awarding scholarships, only socio-economic and minority factors.

That's right kids: Forget about hard work and good grades; from now on, Kentucky's Robin Hoods will make sure that your parents are encouraged to make less money and throw away your report cards.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Your Honor, I plead liberalism": David Hawpe on political ideology as an extenuating circumstance

David Hawpe doesn't mess around. When he is defending corruption among his ideological allies, he rolls out the big guns.

In today's column, he defends State Rep. Tom Burch, who is facing ethics charges for using his influence to benefit a constituent in a child custody case, and appeals to the medieval poet Dante in doing it. Burch, says Hawpe, can be forgiven his actions since he was well-intended:
I invoke here the words of the one truly great president of the 20th Century, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who insisted, in his 1936 presidential nomination acceptance speech, "Governments can err, presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that Divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted on different scales."
To Hawpe, liberals are by definition well-intended, unlike those distasteful conservatives, who are motivated only by greed and selfishness. But even greed and selfishness can be excused as long as it is a liberal who engages in it.

Not only does Hawpe defend Burch, he defends Don Blandford, the former speaker of the Kentucky House who was sent to jail for over five years for accepting bribes:
Now let me say right up front that Blandford, BOPTROT notwithstanding, is one of my legislative heroes.
Why? Because Blandford pushed through the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA). He did it by physically stopping the House clock on the last day of the legislative session to avoid that inconvenient little constitutional requirement that legislation can't be passed after 12:00 a.m. of the last day, but hey, he meant well.

It seems somehow fitting that, in arguing that liberals should be excused for their bad actions simply because they are liberals, Hawpe should invoke the author of a book called The Divine Comedy.

We doubt a judge would be as impressed as Hawpe if Burch appealed to his political ideology as an extenuating circumstance. And we doubt Blandford, who has serve his sentence, is slapping his forehead wishing he had pled liberalism.

You wonder if it is arguments like this that caused Dante, in the part of his book about Hell, to place journalists where he did.

It's not a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Let's see now, what do you think people would say if several gays walked into a religious neighborhood and the people in that neighborhood got out into the street shouting profanities at them, and saying, "And we don't ever want them coming back. Do you understand all that homosexuals?! Do you understand?! I'm talking to you people! Stay out of our neighborhood if you don't like us."

How long would it be before major newspapers would condemn these religious people for their intolerance? In seconds, I mean?

Ask this as you look at the response of these gays to a few Christians who unwisely made their way into a gay section of town, apparently with evangelical intentions. I mean, like, what were they expecting? Tolerance?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gay rights groups target Lexington and Louisville for gay marriage protests

For Immediate Release
November 12, 2008
Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: 859-329-1919

Pro-gay marriage groups plan protests at city halls in Lexington and Louisville this Sunday as part of a nationwide protest against the decision of California voters to do what 30 other states have done: retain the definition of marriage that has prevailed for millenia.

"Protesting against the normal democratic procedures of our system of government is nothing new for these groups," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for The Family Foundation. "Historically, they can only win when they go behind the backs of voters and short-circuit the court system by convincing liberal judges to make political rulings in their favor. When they actually have to follow the legislative or voter referendum processes, they usually lose."

Cothran said the passage of California's Proposition 8 and similar measures in Arizona and Florida, which retain the definition of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman, sends a message that voters simply don't want to be told by special interest political groups that they have to abandon their whole system of morality.

Cothran said The Family Foundation will be monitoring the language used at the demonstrations. "The rhetoric of some of these groups approaches hate speech," he said. "We'll be paying attention to whether they practice what they preach about tolerance."

"I think the success of these measures shows that, although people want to be respectful of the way other people lead their lives, they're tired of the hateful language and being called 'bigots' simply because they believe in marriage the same way everyone has believed in it for thousands of years."

The Family Foundation was at the forefront of the movement to pass the 2004 Kentucky Marriage Protection Amendment, which voters ratified by a record "yes" vote.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

From Baptist student to cross-dresser: U of L encourages transgenderism

University of Louisville's official student newspaper, The Cardinal, profiled a male student who is changing into a woman with the support of our Commonwealth's flagship, tax-supported university. U of L has committed to gender-neutral bathrooms in addition to drag shows, campus organizations, and special departments for the support of transexuality. Read the article here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

National election results regarding gambling

Across the nation, Nov. 4 was a good day for opponents of gambling expansion and state-sponsored casinos – there were more victories than defeats in both large and small venues.

The greatest victory was in Ohio. Voters there rejected a $600 million casino proposal in southwestern Ohio. This was the fourth statewide vote in Ohio since 1990, with the casinos losing every time. Tens of millions were spent on each side of the issue as the southeast Indiana casinos engaged the expansionists as they tried to protect their marketing region. In other words, the people of Ohio simply became pawns as casino tycoons battled for their turf. Fortunately, southern Ohio will not have to deal with all the damage local casinos bring into an area.

In other positive actions, voters in Guam rejected casinos for resorts on the island and Massachusetts citizens voted to eliminate dog racing by Dec. 31, 2010. Maine, in its third such vote in recent years, appears to have rejected yet another casino, although the count has yet to be certified.

The major loss of the day was in Maryland. Voters there approved slots for three counties, the city of Baltimore and one state park in the western panhandle. Expansion opponents said their next stand would be taken on the local level where counties and the city must change local zoning laws to allow casino gambling, and sanction the location. This too will likely become a major struggle.

A second general area of law where opponents of casinos lost was with regard to loss limits. Missouri, the last major casino state to set limits to protect gamblers, lifted its loss limits of $6000 per day. This many years long battle saw the opponents finally overwhelmed by unlimited money spent by the casinos advertising campaign and the seductive promises of more revenue for community colleges as the enticement. Betting limits were also raised from $5 per hand to $100 at the casinos in Colorado. Again, the promise of revenue in day’s hard economic times, without considering the source of the money, carried the day. Casinos in Las Vegas spent over $7 million to get this law changed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Why Obama won

Barack Obama won for several reasons:

#1: When people are likable it's hard to believe they're radical.

#2: When you have a likable candidate and a less likable candidate, and there is apparently little that sets them apart on the important issues that are being discussed in the race, the likable candidate wins.

#3: When values issues are ignored by the "conservative" candidate, they can't help him--or hurt his opponent.

#4: When the so-called "conservative" candidate is running in the shadow of a so-called "conservative" incumbent, and the so-called "conservative" incumbent doesn't actually govern as a conservative--and the so-called "conservative" candidate has a flawed record on conservatism himself, then people can be excused for rejecting so-called "conservatism".

#5: The candidate with the consistent message (e.g. "hope") beats the candidate whose message is still a mystery to voters on election day.

#6: When the more liberal candidate runs on tax cuts he looks like the less liberal candidate.

Why conservatism was not a casualty of yesterday's election

The victory of Barack Obama in yesterday's election is already being called by some (notably those in whose interest it is for people to think such a thing) a "repudiation" of conservatism. Here are several reasons why that isn't so:

#1: McCain was far from a classical conservative.

#2: McCain did not make the election a referendum on conservatism, in fact, other than supporting the troops, he ran away from traditionally conservative issues.

#3: Although a very high Democratic turnout resulted in narrow losses on ballot initiatives that restricted abortion, same-sex marriage bans passed in states Obama won--Florida and California.

#4: In California, although 95 percent of black voters went for Obama, they supported Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage 70 to 30, indicating that even Obama voters were socially conservative.

Kentucky goes against the flow on election day

For Immediate Release
November 5, 2008
Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: 859-329-1919

Kentucky goes against the flow of the rest of the country on Election Day

Despite the fact that the liberal Democrat won the presidency yesterday, that didn't stop voters in Kentucky from voting conservative, according to a state family advocacy group. "There were some important conservative wins yesterday in several races," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst with The Family Foundation of Kentucky.

"Despite the wave of support for the more liberal candidate in the national race, many conservatives kept their seats and several new candidates ran on conservative positions on issues."

Cothran cited several races that indicated that conservatism on social issues is alive and well in the state. "There were several conservative pick-ups in the State House, as well races in which an outgoing conservative was replaced by another conservative."
  • In the 3rd State House district, a conservative Republican replaced a liberal Democrat--former education committee chair Frank Rasche.
  • In the 22nd House district, conservative Democrat Wilson Stone won, replacing the more liberal Rob Wilkey.
  • In the 9th State Senate district, a more outspoken conservative Republican, David Givens, replaced outgoing Richie Sanders.
  • In Senate districts 1 and 23, conservative incumbents held off strong challenges from more liberal Democrats.
In congressional races in the state, Kentucky voters also turned back a challenge by the more liberal Bruce Lunsford of Senator Mitch McConnell despite hopes from national Democrats who had hoped to unseat the Republican leader of the U. S. Senate. In both the 1st and 2nd congressional districts, the conservative Republican defeated the more liberal Democratic challengers.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Questions to take with you to the polls

The pinnacle of another political season is upon us and about the only thing that Kentuckians can agree on at this point is that they are ready for it to be over. The presidential race and its non-stop coverage unofficially began two years ago, leaving even the most politically interested among us exhausted. Our homes have been inundated by TV and radio ads, automated phone calls and political mailers. We’ve heard campaign speeches and watched the debates. Yet there are still many “undecided voters” – an interesting bunch, considering the wealth of candidate information available. But the question every citizen must answer is what precisely is it that we are deciding on?

What are the most important issues facing our commonwealth and nation? Who is best to lead on these issues? What kind of a nation are we and what leaders will protect the things we cherish? These are all critical questions. But in the day where political promises have saddled us with $11 trillion in debt and burgeoning federal programs are projected to bust within decades, we also ought to consider the role of government, what it can and cannot do for a free people. Politicians come and go, but our Commonwealth and nation will remain. Just what it looks like after their tenure is another question altogether.

Our Founding Fathers were wary of big government. In fact, after living under England’s heavy hand, they disdained it. They believed that freedom is incompatible with big government and liberty is best maintained by strong self-government. George Washington said, "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” James Madison, the architect of the Constitution said, "The essence of government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” The Founders’ theme was freedom and they recognized that overarching government was incompatible with it.

What is our theme today? What, if anything, are we willing to fight for? And just what is it that we are living for? What is it we expect our leaders to do once in office? Every political season has a way of forcing the big questions, similar questions our founders faced some 232 years ago when Thomas Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration explains who we are and what we are about better than anything. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Do we still believe that key phrase today? That there is such a thing as truth; that there is a God who created us and endows us with rights? It is no mistake that Jefferson prioritized life as the first of our unalienable rights. Without it, all other rights are meaningless. Since 1973, our nation has an abysmal record on life where abortion has denied that fundamental right to over 46 million unborn American children; a million alone last year and 4,315 of those were in Kentucky. What is liberty and what is the pursuit of happiness without life? Indeed, when perverted notions of liberty usurp life, we are left with a dubious kind of happiness.

Of all the issues, the sanctity of life is foundational. America has been engaged in a civil debate since Roe v. Wade and it’s time – even past time – that this issue be resolved to reflect the values of our Founders. Of course there are other important issues at stake, but our challenge, like Jefferson’s, is to prioritize and determine what the most important issues are when we vote on Nov. 4, because without our first right, we wouldn’t be going to the polls in the first place.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What we can learn from the U of L debacle

On Thursday, former University of Louisville Education Dean Robert Felner pled not guilty to stealing millions from U of L and University of Rhode Island. According to the Louisville-Courier Journal, Felner was indicted with 10 counts of mail fraud, money-laundering, conspiracy and income-tax evasion. The indictment charged Felner with " fraudulently obtaining nearly $2.3 million in grant money from University of Louisville and University of Rhode Island." Now that's a lot of dough.

It seems that university officials are always complaining that they don't have enough money. Now we understand why.

When $2.3 million goes missing from two universities unnoticed, it makes one wonder what other areas are being mismanaged. Apparently University of Rhode Island didn't miss the $1.7 million that Felner used to lavish on himself. In fact, they were "shocked" to learn he embezzled so much. http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20081023/NEWS01/810230440 Neither did it seem that U of L missed the $576,000 that was supposed to be spent on education.

The real lesson here is that university budgets could probably be cut a whole lot more without sacrificing the education that's supposed to be going on in the classroom. It is time to shine the light on our universities, their programs and how billions of our tax money is being spent. It's past time for university presidents to take responsibility and to stop passing the buck. As the U of L debacle clearly demonstrates, when university leaders are irresponsible, the buck may end up in the hands of thieves.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Darwinists who don't want to debate

If you thought the scientific community was a place of free and open discussion, you'd better think again. Northern Kentucky University recently announced a mock trial involving a fictional public high school teacher who is fired for teaching creationism in a biology class. The program is part of a series the university is sponsoring on controversial issues. But there are some people who don't want the debate to happen at all.

According to Inside Higher Ed, NKU University president James C. Votruba has received hundreds of e-mails asking him to call off the debate. It isn't the conservatives who are complaining, says the article, "scientists are." “Evolution is science and creationism is faith,” Vortuba told the online education magazine, but, he added, that's no reason to be afraid of a debate on the issue.

But there are those in the scientific community who think otherwise, and their voices seem to be growing louder by the day. “What this really is is an attempt to contrive a debate between science and superstition in which the superstition side gets to pretend they have equal status. [sic] And, of course, science issues are not settled in a courtroom, ever,” said PZ Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota at Morris, whose weblog Pharyngula, purports to be a watchdog on anti-evolution activity.

Myers is just one of many voices that in recent years have tried to shout down any debate about issues involving human development and origins on the grounds that any debate would give undeserved credibility to the anti-Darwinist side. The dogmatic tone Myers strikes is one being heard increasingly among those who hold to Darwinism, the reigning paradigm in the scientific community.

Earlier this year, advocates of Darwinism strongly opposed a bill passed by the Louisiana State Legislature that advocated objectivity, logical analysis, and critical thinking skills in the discussion of science and other controversial issues in state schools, claiming that the measure was a thinly veiled attempt to impose creationism in the classroom.

When you are reduced to arguing that objectivity is a creationist plot, you'd better start revising your public relations strategy. And when you have to abandon the very principles that you advocate on every other occasion in order to protect your beliefs, it's probably time for an intellectual gut check.

Tolerance and diversity are the academic watchwords when it comes to views that challenge other dominant paradigms, so why are they abandoned so quickly when it comes to discussion of controversial issues like evolution?

Why is there such a fear of debate?

"Within the larger scientific community, the issue is settled, but in the public policy arena, it’s not a settled issue,” Mark Neikirk, executive director of the university’s Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, told Inside Higher Ed. Scripps Howard, along with the university’s law school, is sponsoring the event. “In the real world, there is a public policy debate over how to handle this topic. Many Americans believe in intelligent design. Many Americans believe it should be taught."

Advocates of Darwinism are understandably frustrated. Despite the fact that they have had control of the nation's science education for decades, a majority of Americans still hold to some form of creationism, or at least intelligent design, a broader theory that would include creationism but also includes those who belief in some form of evolution guided by a designer.

Maybe one of the reasons there are so many people in this country who maintain a suspicion of Darwin's theory is the behavior of those who are its most ardent advocates. If the evidence for Darwinism is as airtight as its advocates claim, then why are they so opposed to the discussion of the issue in an academic forum?

In other words, their failure to convince the larger public may turn out to be their own fault.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Suffer the children

by Richard Nelson

One of my favorite shows when I growing up was The Wonder Years. Its about an endearing kid and his friends entering adolescence and trying to figure out life in the late 1960’s. Kids are still trying to make sense of things these days including their school experience which, if its anything like in the show, can be confusing. Notably, Ben Stein plays a science teacher whose monotone lectures make kids think of anything but science.

It’s even tougher to be a kid these days, mostly because of what young people are being taught about life and their sexuality. If only it were a problem of boredom where Ben Stein-like characters drone on about the birds and the bees, but that’s not the case. Kids today are increasingly being swept into the cultural whirlwind of sexual anarchy where too many adults have lost their moral bearings.

Case in point: Dr. Norman Spack, a pediatric endocrinologist at Boston Children's Hospital. Last year, Spack opened a clinic for preadolescent children convinced they are transgendered. As part of his treatment, Spack administers hormone-blocking drugs that delay the onset of puberty-- the first step necessary for a sex-change operation when they are older. Spack told the Boston Globe last March, “All I know is that when I see preadolescents, they have been dressing in the underwear of the other sex for years. These kids are almost certainly transgendered. They're a unique population of patients.”

Sorry Dr. Spack, but who is the adult here? When little Johnny comes in for a checkup wearing a dress and women’s jewelry, has it ever occurred to anybody, including his parents, that he should be told to wear pants and stop playing with Barbies? Kids are confused today. We get that. But most preadolescents can’t decide yet if they want to be human. So why in the world would they be allowed to make such permanent life-changing decisions?

The shipwreck perpetrated on young people by Spack is so beyond what Kevin Arnold faced in The Wonder Years. It’s beyond what any generation ever had to face. Our modern culture, which is well on the way to approving transgender rights, bears quite a bit of the responsibility. When society embraces the idea that sexual identity is as interchangeable as a nine-volt battery, we shouldn’t be so shocked that 11 and 12 year old boys want to dress in girls underwear. After all, if adults can do it, why can’t they?

About a decade ago, a real effort was made to teach school children that sexual abstinence is best until marriage. The idea, which has been implemented in schools all across Kentucky, is now being viciously attacked by groups like Planned Parenthood who believe abstinence education is more dangerous than giving ninth and tenth graders condoms and birth control pills. One affiliate recently launched a website called www.takecaredownthere.org. which targets middle school and high school students with provocative and vulgar messages about sex.

When kids aren’t being taught how to engage in sexual disorders, they’re being employed in causes that promote them. Earlier this year, California’s Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA) rallied middle and high school students to support gay marriage during the so called Freedom to Marry Week. Schools were encouraged to feature mock gay-weddings and host a movie night with gay-themed films--things every parent expects their public schools to be involved with.
There are 650 GSA’s in California (22 in Kentucky) and many are now recruiting young students to defeat the amendment that would kill something that every child would greatly benefit from: traditional marriage.

The Wonder Years--both the TV show and the preadolescent years of innocence, have long passed. But that doesn’t mean that kids who are trying to make sense of life these days, still couldn’t use a little help from adults who know better.

The Corns Appointment: The wrong message at the wrong time

"This is the wrong message to send at the wrong time," said Martin Cothran in response to today's announcement by the Kentucky Department of Education that the author of the decision that resulted in the Kentucky Education Reform Act has been appointed to the #2 state schools post.

State Education Commissioner Jon Draud appointed Ray Corns, the former Franklin County judge who authored the Rose vs. Council for Better Education decision of 1988, to the post of associate commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Legal, Legislative and Communications Services.

"The Rose decision was one of the most political decisions ever made by a state court," said Cothran, senior policy analyst for the group, "and went well beyond the call for equal funding by requiring the state legislature to completely turn Kentucky's schools upside down in the interest of a misguided egalitarianism."

"Why, at a time when we are trying to fix problems that his court had a hand in creating, are we appointing a member of that court to a position of prominence?" Cothran said the decision didn't fix what it was supposed to fix--inequalities in the state's education system--and it created new problems for which the state is now trying to find solutions through a task force that the Department of Education has had to convene.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Since when is the ACLU against free speech?

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an official complaint on behalf of two gay men who were called names at a McDonald's in Louisville, Kentucky. The group has cited the city's "Fairness" ordinance as grounds for the complaint:

Louisville has a local human rights ordinance which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public accommodations such as restaurants.

Now obviously the McDonald's in question has pretty low employment standards if they have a cashier who calls customers names--for whatever reason. But since when does the ACLU file complaints against someone's exercise of free (albeit hateful) speech? The ACLU has always defended any kind of expression on the grounds that, however distasteful it may be, it is protected under the First Amendment.

This is an issue that, if it involved any other issue than gay rights, the ACLU would be defending the McDonald's, not the two gay men. The ACLU has defended the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi party.

Either the ACLU is misinterpreting the Fairness Ordinance, in which case their complaint will have not effect, or they are interpreting it correctly, in which case the ordinance violates the First Amendment (at least according to the groups traditional interpretation). In either case, it makes you wonder why the group is going back on its previous commitment to free speech.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Heather has two mommies. Nevermind, make that one.

Today comes the Louisville Courier-Journal's unenthusiastic endorsement for yesterday's appeals court ruling that, 1) yes, we do have laws, and 2) yes, we should follow them.

The case involved a lesbian couple, one of whom conceived a child by artificial insemination, gave birth, and then split up. A family court judge, then proceeded to let the non-biological parent adopt the child, which, in Kentucky can only be done in a case where there was a marriage. The appeals court slapped them down and told them that they don't make laws (or change them), they apply them, which was apparently news to the family court judges.

These judges either didn't know what the laws were, or didn't care. Neither possibility is particularly comforting. But the Courier-Journal is less concerned about the corruption of our justice system and more concerned with ensuring that couples with two fathers or two mothers can enjoy the same rights to adoption that married couples have.

Oh brother.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ramsey finally apologizes

U of L President James Ramsey has finally offered apologies for the people hurt by Robert Felner, the former education dean at the school, a man Ramsey, until very recently, ardently defended. If Ramsey had a clue about PR, he would have at least just shut up since there was an investigation going on. If he had been a competent administrator, he would have taken care of the situation before it became public. And if he and Provost Shirley Willihnganz had had a clue about how to recruit deans for their departments, they would have seen the red flags in his background.

The people close to this case refer to Felner as a "psychopath" who routinely engaged in sexual harassment and intimidation. As one person described it to me, "the financial fraud is the least of his offenses."

We're glad Ramsey has apologized, but why in the world did it have to wait until way after everyone else in the known world had figured it out?

Oh, and how many other incompetent deans do we have at U of L because Ramsey and his underlings can't distinguish a competent administrator for a psychopath?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Family group criticizes Gov. Beshear for giving partial pardon to convicted pedophile

For Immediate Release
August 29, 2008
Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: 859-329-1919

"We don't remember seeing 'voting rights for convicted pedophiles' among Steve Beshear's campaign promises last fall," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation in response to yesterday's news that the Governor had given a partial pardon to former head of the Micro City Government, youth director Ron Berry.

Gov. Beshear restored the right to vote and the right to run for office to Ron Berry, who was convicted of 12 counts of sodomy with underage boys in the 1970s and 80s (and was accused of many more) while he was running the Micro City program. Critics at the time charged that four Democratic administrations had covered up Berry's activities .

"Before, it was local officials turning a blind eye to Berry's abuse of children. Now he's getting favorable treatment from state government," said Cothran.

The Governor's Office responded to objections to the partial pardon by saying that it is their policy is to automatically restore civil rights when applicants "have served their sentence, paid restitution and have no outstanding warrants."

"Maybe the Governor's Office could inform the families who were affected by Berry's depredations how he has paid restitution," said Cothran. "Quite frankly, this is just a strange argument."

"Basically what the Governor's Office is saying is that we shouldn't be concerned about the fact that he has given a partial pardon to one convicted pedophile who serves a little time because his policy is to give it to all of them."

"The other argument coming out of the Governor's Office is that this partial pardon is okay because no one objected. Maybe we missed it, but we don't remember Beshear asking about this at any of his town meetings."

P. J. O'Rourke on faith and science

The incomparably witty P. J. O'Rourke has a fabulous article in the new issue of Science and Spirit entitled, "On God." Despite the fact that O'Rourke is admittedly no scientist, he makes several excellent points about science, culture, and faith that are worth pondering.

His comment on the fact (which I have pointed out elsewhere, with much less wit) that most people believe science not on the basis of experience, but on authority:

Faith depends upon belief in things that cannot be proved, and I can prove that more people flunk physics than flunk Sunday School.

"But science can be proved," a scientist would say. "The whole point of science is experimental proof." Yet we non-scientists have to take that experimental proof on faith because we don't know what the scientists are talking about. This makes science a matter of faith in men while religion, of course, is a matter of faith in God, and if you've got to choose...

That what is intuitive and obvious is not necessarily inferior to what can be shown by experiment:
Science and religion both assert the same thing: that the universe operates according to rules and that those rules can be discerned. Albeit this does make it easier to believe in God than, for instance, organic chemistry. Just the fact of rules implies a rule maker while just the fact of mixing nitro with glycerin and causing an explosion does not imply a Ph.D.
That God has it over science any day when it comes to dependability:
I'm also given to understand that the rules of science begin to bend and even break at the extremes of the universe's scale. Down where everything is subatomic-sized, things tend to be a bit random with mesons, leptons, quarks, brilligs, slithy toves, etc., subjected to Strong Force, Weak Force, Force of Habit, and so on. Meanwhile, in the farthest reaches of outer space, matter, antimatter, dark matter, and whatsamatter are tripping over string theory and falling into black holes. God is not like that. He's famously there in the details, and He is the big picture.
And then there's the matter why we fear God but are scared silly by science:
One sympathizes with science's faithful. The apocalyptic power of God has existed forever, and He's been restrained about using it, despite provocation. The apocalyptic power of science has existed only since 1945, and the A-bomb has been tried twice already.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lee Todd's fear of real diversity at UK

The Family Foundation of Kentucky recently challenged University of Kentucky President Lee Todd to explain why it was that, despite his rhetoric about "diversity," there seemed to be little or no ideological diversity in some of its own departments--little diversity, but plenty of political activism going on at taxpayer and student expense.

In a recent Kentucky Kernel article, President Todd responded to our challenge by appealing to "academic freedom." "Free and open inquiry," said Todd, "is at the very heart of what institutions of higher learning are supposed to do ... We shouldn't attempt to regulate such inquiry."

Where does President Todd get the idea that real diversity and academic freedom are at odds? And why, when he and his university spend so much time talking about diversity, is there so little of it among the faculty on his own campus?

We called on the Gender and Women's Studies department to produce just one scholar on its allegedly diverse staff who deviates from the left-wing political orthodoxy that predominates in the department. The first response from the department was a tirade from Prof. Ellen Riggle, the associate director of the program, in which she portrayed our call for a demonstration of diversity an "attack on education in general."

How can someone who claims to support diversity say at the same time that calls for demonstrating diversity are an "attack on education"? We thought diversity was supposed to be good for education.

We pointed out how the department's own website proudly boasted of a number of professors in the department who were involved in left-liberal groups such as the pro-abortion Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the pro-gay rights "Fairness" Alliance, but could cite none who had affiliations with similar conservative groups.

Why was it, we asked, that all of the political activism among UK faculty seemed to be in one direction?

Once again, the response from faculty members was an angry rebuke against anyone who questioned the liberal party line. Dr. Melanie Otis was so upset with our challenge that she called it "targeting all faculties engaged in the scholarship that contributes to the elimination of social justice."

In other words, Otis seems to suggest, real diversity is a threat to her political agenda.

Why is it that those who talk so much about diversity get so upset when you ask them to demonstrate it themselves? Why are they so scared of the very thing they claim to support?

Kentucky taxpayers need to know that their tax dollars will not be spent on indoctrinating students in one set of political beliefs, and UK students deserve more than be presented with only one viewpoint on matters as important as family and gender.

In another recent article on this controversy in the Lexington Herald-Leader, former director of the Women's Studies program Dr. Joan Callahan characterized our call for diversity as "McCarthyism." But last time we looked in our history books, "McCarthyism" was a reference to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, whose rantings resulted in people not being hired because of their political beliefs--a process called "blackballing."

In other words, Dr. Callahan, while characterizing calls for diversity as "McCarthyism," was defending a department which appears to be doing exactly what the real McCarthy actually did: exclude people whose political beliefs deviate from the prevailing political dogmas.

In fact, we thought it was instructive that the only faculty members the Kernel could find to comment on our challenge to the department were left-wing professors. The Gender and Women's Studies program isn't filled with left-wing political activists, they seem to be saying, and the program has plenty of left-wing political activists willing to say so.

It sort of proves our point, doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An argument for school choice, British style

Via Contending with the Culture, a clip from the British television show "Yes, Prime Minister" about school choice. Sir Humphrey sounds like someone from an American teachers's union. No wonder it was Margaret Thatcher's favorite television show:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Meet the Faculty at the Gender and Women's Studies program at UK: Part V

Tax and tuition dollars to teach abortion and "involve students in activism" for Planned Parenthood?

Joanna M. Badagliacco is Associate Professor of Sociology, and Director of UK's Discovery Seminar Program. Dr. Badagliacco examines women's lives with respect to issues of reproduction, family planning, abortion, poverty, genomics, social justice, and social inequalities. Her current research focuses on homeless mothers in Kentucky. Dr. Badagliacco is a Fulbright Senior Specialist in teaching and methods. She is also the chair-elect of the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood of the Bluegrass. One of her life passions is gardening, and she is certified by the state of Kentucky as a Master Gardener. She devotes many hours to community service.

As director of UK’s Discovery Seminar Program, Dr. Badagliacco “involves students in research and activism through internships and volunteer opportunities.”

Salary = $54,494

"The Gender and Women's Studies Program at the University of Kentucky investigates gender broadly conceived and the cultures and contributions of women worldwide from feminist/womanist perspectives. The purpose of the program is to develop and coordinate an interdisciplinary curriculum in Gender and Women's Studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels; support critical research, teaching and public programming in Gender and Women's Studies that take into account various beliefs about gender, race, class, and sexuality; and foster interdisciplinary collaboration. The Gender and Women's Studies Program aims to serve the University and the Commonwealth through promotion of equity and commitment to excellence."

Is UK’s and U of L’s monopoly on ideological uniformity cracking?

by Richard Nelson

Move over UK and U of L. you no longer have the ideological uniformity market cornered at Kentucky’s state schools. Enter Murray State University (MSU), the oft-overlooked public school nestled in the Purchase region of far Western Kentucky. They’re billed as Kentucky’s “Ivy League” university by MSU’s public relations department, but administrative action to include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination code has garnered attention that they probably would rather not have.

I criticized the change in an op-ed earlier this year after I failed to convince the MSU Board of Regents that the move was bad policy. In another op-ed, I criticized gay political activists for subverting the institution of marriage for their own political purposes: http://www.wkms.org/programming/nelson2.html

Both op-eds aired as commentaries on WKMS public radio which operates on MSU’s campus. This struck a nerve with MSU professor John Utgaard. He equates my positions on human sexuality and the family with bigotry and further says that “bigotry should not have a place at the table.” http://www.wkms.org/programming/utgaard.html

It seems Utgaard would rather not hear another perspective on this hottest of social issues and implies that people with views like mine don’t deserve a hearing. I always thought that universities were supposed to be places of inquiry and tolerance, places that welcome a diversity of opinion. Then one day my colleagues brought to my attention that UK and U of L are actually not places where diverse opinions are welcome.

It's shocking, I know.

Now, it appears that Murray State is on the brink of joining the ranks of UK and U of L as institution’s of uniform thought. Maybe I’m wrong about MSU. If so, I’m ready to be corrected. If there are any professors at MSU who think that disagreement with the special interest political agenda of gay rights groups should still be permissible, it would be nice to know.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Meet the Faculty at the Gender and Women's Studies program at UK: Part IV

Tax and tuition dollars for teaching "cross-gender ventriloquism"?

Jan Oaks is Full-Time Lecturer of Gender and Women's Studies and English. Dr. Oaks directed the University of Kentucky Women Writers Conference for four years, and has special interests in the novel as a peculiarly female enterprise and the performance of gender in literary works by women. Her current scholarship involves cross-gender ventriloquism in early American novels and the intersection of feminist theory and pedagogy.

Salary = $33,083

"The Gender and Women's Studies Program at the University of Kentucky investigates gender broadly conceived and the cultures and contributions of women worldwide from feminist/womanist perspectives. The purpose of the program is to develop and coordinate an interdisciplinary curriculum in Gender and Women's Studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels; support critical research, teaching and public programming in Gender and Women's Studies that take into account various beliefs about gender, race, class, and sexuality; and foster interdisciplinary collaboration. The Gender and Women's Studies Program aims to serve the University and the Commonwealth through promotion of equity and commitment to excellence."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Meet the Faculty at the Gender and Women's Studies program at UK: Part III

Tax and tuition dollars to lobby for same-sex marriage and for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender legal status?

Ellen D.B. Riggle is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women's Studies and Associate Director of the Gender and Women's Studies program. Her research interests include the effects of minority stress on the well-being of GLBT individuals and same-sex couples, and legal status issues for same-sex couples. For more information about Dr. Riggle's research, please visit www.prismresearch.org.

Salary = $70,650

"The Gender and Women's Studies Program at the University of Kentucky investigates gender broadly conceived and the cultures and contributions of women worldwide from feminist/womanist perspectives. The purpose of the program is to develop and coordinate an interdisciplinary curriculum in Gender and Women's Studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels; support critical research, teaching and public programming in Gender and Women's Studies that take into account various beliefs about gender, race, class, and sexuality; and foster interdisciplinary collaboration. The Gender and Women's Studies Program aims to serve the University and the Commonwealth through promotion of equity and commitment to excellence."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Meet the Faculty at the Gender and Women's Studies program at UK: Part II

Tax and tuition dollars to to work on “strategies for social change" for The Fairness Alliance?

Melanie Otis is an Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the College of Social Work. She holds bachelors and masters degrees in Social Work and a Ph.D. in Sociology. Her research interests include examining the individual and community-level impact of homophobia, heterosexism, racism, classism, ethnocentrism, and sexism in the lives of LGBT people. Additionally, her work explores strategies for social change and advocacy around issues affecting members of disenfranchised groups. Dr. Otis is a steering committee member of the Bluegrass Chapter of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance.

Salary = $61,292

"The Gender and Women's Studies Program at the University of Kentucky investigates gender broadly conceived and the cultures and contributions of women worldwide from feminist/womanist perspectives. The purpose of the program is to develop and coordinate an interdisciplinary curriculum in Gender and Women's Studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels; support critical research, teaching and public programming in Gender and Women's Studies that take into account various beliefs about gender, race, class, and sexuality; and foster interdisciplinary collaboration. The Gender and Women's Studies Program aims to serve the University and the Commonwealth through promotion of equity and commitment to excellence."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Meet the Faculty at the Gender and Women's Studies program at UK: Part I

Tax and tuition dollars to advocate for the ACLU and abortion rights?

Robert S. Tannenbaum is Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies. He holds faculty appointments in the College of Engineering (Computer Science) and the College of Education (Instructional Systems Design). His areas of interest and research include all aspects of multimedia, especially its use in instructional systems. His responsibilities include finding and supporting ways for undergraduates to engage in research and scholarly activities beyond their regular classroom experiences.

He administers several research-related scholarship programs and edits Kaleidoscope, the University of Kentucky Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship. He has taught in the Discovery Seminar Program for four years. In the Fall of 2006, his seminar will focus on Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights.

Dr. Tannenbaum is a member of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and a member of the Advisory Committee for its Reproductive Freedom Project.
Salary = $107,636

"The Gender and Women's Studies Program at the University of Kentucky investigates gender broadly conceived and the cultures and contributions of women worldwide from feminist/womanist perspectives. The purpose of the program is to develop and coordinate an interdisciplinary curriculum in Gender and Women's Studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels; support critical research, teaching and public programming in Gender and Women's Studies that take into account various beliefs about gender, race, class, and sexuality; and foster interdisciplinary collaboration. The Gender and Women's Studies Program aims to serve the University and the Commonwealth through promotion of equity and commitment to excellence."

A few uncomfortable truths about the Scopes Trial you won't find in "Inherit the Wind"

Just when you thought all those Darwinists who were protesting that the movie "Expelled" made too much of the connection between evolution and racism, turns out that the book that was the subject of the Scopes Trial--the one being defended by the supposed forces of scientific truth--was a racist book:
The trial has usually been remembered merely as a conflict between a primitive religiosity and disinterested science, but the facts of the case are rather more complicated. Bryan was in his youth one of the most passionate and populist of 'progressive' politicians, a champion of labour and of the poor, an enemy of race theory, and a firm believer in democracy. In his day, evolutionary theory was inextricably associated with eugenics, an from early on he had denounced Darwinism as a philosophy of hatred and oppression, ardently believing that the Christian law of love was the only true basis of a just society. As yet, the rather obvious truth that evolutionary science need involve no social ideology whatsoever was not obvious even to Darwinian scientists.

Moreover, Civic Biology [the book that was the subject of the Scopes suit] was a monstrously racist text, which ranked humanity in five categories of evolutionary development (with blacks at the bottom and whites at the top), advocated eugenic cleansing of the race, denounced intermarriage and the perpetuation of 'degenerate' stock and suggested 'humane' steps for the elimination of social 'parasites'. These were the ideas that Bryan had long believed would lead humanity into an age of war, murder, and tyranny; and given what came in the decades following the trial, it would be hard to argue that Bryan--whatever his faults--was simply an alarmist.
From the excellent book, The Story of Christianity, by David Bentley Hart

Friday, August 8, 2008

Scorsone appointed judge

State Sen. Ernesto Scorsone has been appointed to a Fayette County circuit judgeship by Gov. Steve Beshear. Scorsone is one of the most strident liberal voices in the Kentucky Senate. Do you remember the question liberal groups throw out whenever there is a judge who takes the constitution seriously? "Does he have a judicial temperament?"

We're trying to figure what gave Gov. Beshear the impression that Scorsone has a judicial temperament.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Tolerance Police get another one wrong

Roger Clegg at Phi Beta Cons points out that in the New York Times' recent story on the National Science Foundation study finding that there is no gap in average math scores between boys and girls got Lawrence Summers wrong. The story claims that the study repudiates Summers, the former president of Harvard University who was run off from the university in a fit of ideological uniformity when Summers had the audacity to point out that males and females are different.

Summers had noted that boys and girls have different math capabilities, but, Clegg points out, not that their average scores were different, as the New York Times suggests. What Summers had said was not that the average scores of boys were higher than that of girls, as the National Science Federation study apparently found (at least that is what the Times' story seems to suggest), but that, while girls' scores are clumped in the middle, boys scores fell out on the extremes: that boys are both the best at math and the worst.

The moral of the story is that, if you question any of the central dogmas of the Tolerance Police, you can count on the fact that they won't care whether their charges have any basis in reality or not.

Friday, August 1, 2008

UK spends $159,000 to publicize $100,000 prize

In a burst of creative genius, UK had the bright idea of spending $159,000 to tell people about a $100,000 prize offered at this year's Ideafest. UK's PR department emphasized that it was private money that UK was wasting, not tax and tuition dollars this time. Read the story from the H-L website

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Media bias and the coronation of a rock star

He’s a rock star, a political savior and he’s running for president. But Sen. Barack Obama’s recent whirlwind tour of the Middle East and Europe may have left doubts as to what exactly he’s running for: President of the United States or leader of the European Union?

The European throng came just short of placing palm branches on the road before Obama’s cavalcade in Berlin (not Jerusalem). They clearly love him – 72 percent of Germans said they’d vote for him, but they can’t vote in this election. At least not yet. And the media, enamored with his performance, stood ready to crown their prince in Berlin – perhaps a fitting location to be enthroned even though Obama is not in the Hapsburg line.

Without question, Sen. Obama is a dynamic candidate and articulate speaker. He can move a crowd, but does this justify the media establishment’s infatuation with him? The media’s courtship of Obama is indicated by how much time they recently spent covering his campaign. According to a recent survey, Obama received 114 minutes of network coverage last month compared with McCain’s 48 minutes. Since January, Obama has 389 minutes of network coverage to McCain’s 203 minutes.

McCain, once the darling of the media, especially when he defied core Republican principles, now knows how it feels to be jilted.

Daniel Shore of National Public Radio justified the unequal coverage this past weekend by saying that Obama is making news and McCain is not. Whatever the rationale, the press establishment must realize that such imbalance in coverage amounts to free advertising for the Democratic nominee. On July 30, CNN reported on both candidates equally – kind of. The two-minute clip reiterated that McCain’s skin cancer had not returned. The report on Obama emphasized that he will work to expand freedom and liberty of the American people. Translation to prospective voter: old man with skin cancer or young man who will make you free?

This is not real journalism. It is advocacy journalism. Good journalism will report dispassionately. It should give both sides of a story equal time and report equally on a given topic. (I’m sure McCain would have liked to weigh in on the freedom issue). Good journalists should give political candidates equal coverage throughout an election. But that’s not happening here.

Consider that last week, all three network anchors – Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson and Brian Williams – followed Barack Obama to Europe and the Middle East. McCain has been to Iraq eight times and Afghanistan four since the war began and has yet to be accompanied by such a string of paparazzi. The New York Times gladly printed Obama’s essay on his plans for Iraq. But they promptly denied McCain the same opportunity unless he changed the content of his piece to "mirror" Obama’s perspective.

"With their lips they cry diversity, but their hearts yearn for ideological uniformity." Blessed be the name of Barack, And woe be to lowly yon voter.

Establishment media is making the news today. Could they be doing any less to help Sen. Obama get elected? Whatever the case, American voters see through the facade of the media’s pretense of objectivity.

According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, 49 percent of voters believe that a majority of reporters will try to help Sen. Obama with their coverage while only 14 percent believe that most reporters will try to help Sen. McCain win. The numbers have probably edged upwards since the survey took place before The New York Times debacle.

Media bias is nothing new, but they are doing voters a disservice when they feign impartiality. Allegiance should be to the truth, not to a particular political candidate. Then again, truth and fairness appear to be obstacles for the king makers devoted more to a coronation than delivering unbiased news to the American voters.

UK drops ten spots in major college ranking

For Immediate Release
July 31, 2008

Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: 859-329-1919

The University of Kentucky dropped in U. S. News and World Report's national college rankings from 112th in 2007 to 122nd in the 2008 rankings and was near the bottom of top-tier schools in the percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students. "This is one more indication that President Lee Todd and those running the university may not have their priorities in order," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation.

When UK was challenged on its attempt to implement health benefits for the live-in partners of its staff last year, the university defended itself by saying that it needed such a program to pursue top-20 status, prompting The Family Foundation to point out other, more important factors such as class size and lagging faculty salaries that were being ignored in favor of special interest social policy.

"The University of Kentucky needs to figure out whether it is there to serve students who have to foot rising tuition bills or whether it is going to continue dabbling in special interest politics through its employee benefits policies and its increasing emphasis on social and political activism in some of its departments," said Cothran. "If it started putting first things first maybe it would begin rising in the rankings instead of falling."

The U. S. News and World Report College Rankings are the most well-known college rankings.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The CJ looking the other way

Anyone notice that in the growing fraud scandal at the University of Louisville over federal education money that was apparently lining the pockets of Education Department Dean Robert Felner, e-mails pretty clearly indicated that not only was Felner engaging in financial fraud, but he was apparently doing it with his gay lover who was getting a cut of the money in his bogus nonprofit Illinois organization.

One of Felner's e-mails to Tom Schroeder in Rock Island, Illinois, his partner in crime, begins "Hi Honey." And several end with "Hugs".

Does this mean that the Felner scandal is an indication that gays are more likely to engage in financial fraud? Of course not. But what is interesting is that in today's story in the Louisville Courier-Journal, which has been a day late and a dollar short trying to keep up with the breaking story in the blogosphere, didn't even mention the gay angle on this story.

Now when was the last time the media failed to mention a sexual angle in a scandal story? If Felner has been engaged in a heterosexual relationship with a co-conspirator in this case you know darn well they would be all over it. But as it stands, not only does the CJ look like it is protecting James Ramsey and his increasingly ridiculous administration at U of L, but it also looks like it is running interference for the gay community--just like they did during the last election.

Let's see how long it takes the CJ to acknowledge the Felner/Shroeder relationship in this case. We're starting the clock now...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Slot Machines and Strippers make cozy bedfellows

Slot Machine opponents' worst fears are being realized in Somerset KY, where local authorities just busted an illegal club that offered patrons a chance with one of eight slot machines and a shot at one of the strippers/hookers that reportedly offered "bottomless lap dances." Is there any wonder that the people of Somerset want to keep slot machines and the parasites that accompany them out of their community? Read the H-L article...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Stumbo fires the first shot in run for Speaker

State Rep. Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) fired the first shot in what looks to be a several month long campaign to unseat Jody Richards as Speaker of the Kentucky House in a story in last Thursday's Louisville Courier-Journal. Stumbo criticized Richards for not doing enough to help the Governor in his campaign for casinos during the 2008 legislative session.

Look for Stumbo to increase the heat as the January 2009 organizational session approaches.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Slots Machines in Kentucky with no vote?

Rep. Tom Burch wants to circumvent the constitution and push slot machines without a vote from all Kentuckians. The media covered the story of Burch's new plan to bring slot machines to every "hill and holler." We appreciate Channel 32 (CBS) for allowing slot opponents a few words on the issue, but we found it pretty funny that 32 literally turned the microphone over to slots pushers (the racetrack spokesperson actually gave her monologue holding the mic):

Connie Leonard of Wave 3 (NBC) had a more balanced piece, although she mis-stated my position on how slots would affect racing. I told her that there is an initial bump in purses, but that slots eventually detract from horse race betting as people pour their money, time, and interest into the one-arm bandits. Otherwise good reporting from Connie:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Family group calls on legislators to hold universities accountable for public funds

LEXINGTON, KY—A family group today questioned the media spin coming from U of L President James Ramsey concerning a criminal investigation at his university and called for closer financial scrutiny by legislators of university spending. Dean Robert Felner and U of L’s education department are under federal investigation for the possible misappropriation of millions in educational grant dollars.

While U of L announced appointment of an auditor to look into grant appropriations, Ramsey had previously been dismissive, telling WHAS-11 News that many people “get a little weak and violate the law every once in a while.”

“Legislators must exercise their power of oversight to hold the universities accountable for the millions they are failing to manage responsibly,” said David Edmunds of The Family Foundation. “Attempts by the legislature to hold the universities accountable are often met with hostility by administrators who charge the legislature with ‘micro-management,’” Edmunds said. “But taxpayers should be asking, ‘Who’s manning the store?’”

U of L President James Ramsey also admitted in the WHAS interview, “There’s no system of internal controls anywhere” in relation to oversight of grant money. “Today’s announcement that U of L will appoint an independent auditor will appear to some as media spin. Given U of L’s track record, they are losing credibility on the issue of accountability with the people’s money and it is time for the legislature to step in.”

This investigation comes on the heels of controversy regarding U of L’s expenditure of a $1 million “bucks-for-brains” state grant on “drag queen research” and UK’s expenditure of tax and tuition dollars on advocacy for Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and The Fairness Alliance.

“Given U of L’s track record of violating the law [the Marriage Amendment] and of giving false testimony to legislators about U of L subsidizing domestic partner plans, Ramsey’s media spin and remarks in defense of Felner’s potential criminal activity are beginning to look like a pattern and are deeply troubling,” said Edmunds.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Doin' the Ramsey Shuffle

University of Louisville President James Ramsey, far-famed for lying to a legislative committee about his university subsidizing domestic partner benefits, is apparently standin' by his man in the case of former education dean Robert Felner, who is accused --making excuses for criminal activity to top it all off.

Apparently the standards are getting pretty low at UofL. Now it's okay for department deans to be “a little weak...violating the law now and then.” I wonder if that's what they teach in business ethics at Ramsey's university.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Response to David Hawpe's flip-flop in the C-J

(David Edmunds' letter appeared in the C-J on 7/12)

In last Sunday’s editorial, David Hawpe denounces The Family Foundation for raising questions concerning the expenditure of tax dollars on left-wing political activism at a university that talks a good game on the issue of diversity, but doesn’t appear to want to practice it.

In a Feb 23,2005 CJ opinion piece, “Academics give way to activism and it’s not a change for the better,” the writer raised a similar concern: that grant money from political activist Carla Wallace, who had “ties with Fidel Castro,” would be used to support “left-liberal interests, including Yassir Arafat.”

The author of the 2005 article was David Hawpe.

But when we raised similar questions about UofL using the same money plus 1million in taxpayer dollars on scholars whose specialty is research on “male-bodied drag queens” and UK funding the agenda of Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the Fairness Alliance, Hawpe’s concern over political activism suddenly gave way to liberal sanctimony.

Most of us wouldn’t care if the head of Planned Parenthood were teaching math or literature at UK, but teaching “abortion and family planning” at taxpayer expense and promoting one particular political agenda in the name of academic freedom and diversity, will come as unwelcome news to taxpayers.

UK is now paying homosexual couples $100.00 for interviews about the negative impact of The Marriage Amendment (www.prismresearch.org ) We wonder how Hawpe would react if our public universities, instead of running down the Marriage Amendment, which over 70 percent of Kentuckians approved, were promoting it.

(The C-J chose to delete the above website reference and change the sentence that mentions interviewing people "about the negative impact of The Marriage Amendment" to "interviews about challenges they face outside their relationship.")

Thursday, July 10, 2008

UofL President Ramsey a Martyr

Glorius reviews hit the front page of the C-J today announcing that UofL President James Ramsey, in an effort to bite the bullet for the sake of higher education, accepted salary increases that would bring his compensation to only $456,131. He received praise for accepting a $700 bonus- well short of the hundreds of thousands in bonus pay lavished on him the past several years.

Whether students struggling to pay tutuion increasing at a rate of 10% annually will recieve any comfort from the reduction to Ramsey's paultry $456,131 salary is unclear.

With Ramsey approving of 2 million dollars going to Drag Queen research, His false testimony in Frankfort last year regarding UofL subsidizing Domestic Partner Benefits, and now a federal investigation of UofL's Education department for misappropriation of funds one has to wonder what he has achieved to recieve such lavish praise.

Oh yeah, "Diversity Goals."

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Herald-Leader on record in support of ideological uniformity

By Martin Cothran

In its July 2 editorial, "Academic Witchhunt," the Lexington Herald-Leader charged The Family Foundation with engaging in a "witchhunt" in its efforts to shed light on taxpayer-supported political and social activism at the University of Kentucky. The Foundation had also pointed out the university's hypocritical rhetoric about "diversity" when, in fact, there seems to be little diversity in the ideological makeup of its own faculty.

In its frenzied attempt to burn The Family Foundation at the rhetorical stake for doing little more than reprinting several UK web pages, Herald editors didn't bother to address why it is that amidst the tiresome propaganda about diversity, left-wing professors get to occupy comfortable offices at our state universities while conservatives seem nowhere to be found.

There are entire departments at UK where there is not a conservative in sight. One of them is the "Gender and Women's Studies" department, a little bastion of state-supported, left-wing activism where conservatives don't even get to be the object of witchhunts – since there aren't any to hunt.

We have challenged the ideological mullahs in the department to produce just one faculty member on its staff who supported the Marriage Amendment of 2004, which was approved by 75 percent of voters – the very people whom the Herald-Leader expects to stand placidly by like good little taxpayers while their public universities use their tax money to undermine their beliefs.

In the Herald-Leader's story, former director of the Gender and Women's Studies Department, Joan Callahan, defends the program by saying that "there is no longer a single, traditional view" on the family. You can say that again. Not only is there no longer a single traditional view in her former department, there isn't any traditional view at all: there is now a single liberal view.
"The days of exclusion are coming to an end," she said. Oh really? If the "days of exclusion are over" in this little political fiefdom, then Callahan ought to be able to point to at least one faculty member in the Gender and Women's Studies program who has a traditional view on the matter.

We're not holding our breath.

Instead of the diversity people like Callahan like to talk about, there is none in this particular program. UK’s website lists faculty affiliations with groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and The Fairness Alliance, along with hyperlinks to those organizations.

Professors are listed as teaching “family planning and abortion” and also “involving students in activism” as part of the course descriptions.

One professor teaches a course for UK’s Discovery Seminar Program called “I know my Rights” that focuses on civil liberties law. Problem is, he's not even an attorney. His sole qualification for teaching about constitutional law appears to be that he is a Board member of an ACLU pro-abortion program.

Another professor even has UK funding her research on the negative impact of The Marriage Amendment on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender couples and paying them $100.00 to be interviewed about their “challenges.”

It would make an interesting thought experiment to imagine what the Herald-Leader's response would be if, instead of the left, the right had control of a whole department at one of our public universities. How would the Herald respond if UK's website proudly touted the fact that it had a whole department filled with professors who were members of prominent right-wing organizations?

Would it call those who pointed it out "witchhunters"? Not likely. In fact, it would be spearheading the attempt to draw attention to it – and naming names as it did so.

Would Lee Todd take time out from his empty rhetoric about diversity and join his pals at the ACLU to issue a statement about "academic freedom" to defend such a department, as he has done for the "Gender and Women's Studies" program? We doubt it.

But the Herald's editorial serves at least one useful purpose: it puts it on record in opposition to real diversity in our public universities.

Thanks for the clarification.

Monday, July 7, 2008

CJ's David Hawpe defends UK and U of L's Ideological Uniformity Initiative

by Martin Cothran

In yesterday's Louisville Courier-Journal, editorials editor David Hawpe condemns The Family Foundation for drawing attention to the lack of ideological diversity at our state universities and for questioning why, in a time of tight state budgets and rising tuitions, our public universities are spending public money to fund scholars and campus organizations who promote left-wing special interest political and social causes on campus.

In response, Hawpe says that the best thing to do with The Family Foundation is to ignore it, and he spends almost a thousand words explaining why.

Sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

I'm trying to remember how many times The Family Foundation has been condemned in Courier-Journal editorials. It's become sort of a ritual. Now it is going to pretend the organization isn't there--by talking about it. It's nice to be ignored: you get so much attention that way.

Hawpe first observes that, although it tried, The Family Foundation "failed to start much trouble" with an op-ed piece in the CJ on UofL's use of "Bucks for Brains" money on a scholar whose specialty was studying the cultural influence of "black, male-bodied drag queens."

Really? Failed to start much trouble? I now count six UofL faculty or officials who have written in to the CJ indignant that anyone would question the funding of special interest political and social activism on its campus. That doesn't count the letters and internet comments on the CJ website--on both sides of the issue. Add to that an editorial by one of the opinion editors. What's his name? ... Oh yeah: David Hawpe!

If it didn't start much trouble, then why is Hawpe writing about it?

The self-defeating response by Hawpe was rivaled only by UofL's response to the charge of a lack of diversity on its campus, which, strangely, was to roll out a parade of left-wing professors to deny it. UofL isn't lacking in diversity and they've got a whole faculty full of liberal professors willing to say so. If you think you have fallen down the rabbit hole, you have.

No wonder Hawpe identifies with these people.Six different UofL professors and faculty published in the CJ in defense of the university's Ideological Uniformity Initiative and not a single, solitary conservative from the university on the other side willing to identify himself.

I wonder why.

Hawpe then comments on similar criticisms The Family Foundation made of UK, where the "gender and women's studies" program enjoys a publicly subsidized ideological monopoly, saying, "UK president Lee Todd and state American Civil Liberties Union director Michael Aldridge have issued appropriate statements defending academic freedom."

Gee, Lee Todd - and the ACLU. No liberals there!

Then Hawpe, his eyes and ears covered, desparately trying to ignore The Family Foundation (you remember, the group that didn't start the trouble Hawpe is not concerned about), tries to paint a scary picture of what could happen if The Family Foundation gets its way. He recounts events in Florida in the early 1960s in which a number of faculty were dismissed at the behest of the Johns Committee on grounds of homosexuality.

Of course, homosexuals are no longer fired, but recruited. Conservatives, on the other hand, are not fired. They don't have to be. They are simply not hired in the first place. We have challenged UK's "gender and women's studies" department to produce a single, solitary conservative on its diverse staff.

So far, no response.

UK and UofL don't need a John's Committee to rid themselves of conservatives who might challenge the liberal ideas that now enjoy protected and subsidized status at their ideologically uniform campuses: they've got people like Hawpe to keep them at bay.

We wonder what Hawpe's reaction would be if, instead of left-wing causes, right-wing causes were getting taxpayer and tuitions subsidies from our public universities. What would be Hawpe's reaction if, instead of Queer Theory and the study of "black, male-bodied drag queens" the university had a scholarly enclave of, say, white supremacists which the university proudly boasted about on its website? Let's call it the "Aryan Studies Center."

Would Hawpe be writing editorials defending its publicly supported status? Would Lee Todd and his pals at the ACLU be talking about academic freedom?

Not on your life.

Our academic institutions - particularly our public institutions of higher learning -should be focused on the critical scholarly examination of all view points, and should be a place where the skills to do this are taught and nurtured. In no case should they be turned into centers for political indoctrination of any kind.