Saturday, July 30, 2011

TV Wasteland: Selection Process Biased Against The Good Ones

"Graham of Evidence" Reality TV Sizzle Reel from Sovanna Mam on Vimeo.

A Show Promo for "Renaissance Coronor" Graham Hetrick : Too good for television?
Why is cable TV such a wasteland? The selection process is a major culprit. It is extremely biased against thoughtful programming.

Did you know that when a show creator is trying to sell the show to the producers he does not even get to show them a full pilot episode? Even the five minute "sizzle" piece above is far more time than producers today are normally willing to give a proposed program before they decide whether to pursue it or not. Two minutes is all they usually allow. Doesn't that explain a lot of what you see on TV? A deeply flawed and superficial selection process is biased against thoughtful programming. Some things take more than 120 seconds to show their value.

The irony is that the kind of people who would be attracted to a program like the one above are a demographic that advertisers crave to attract: Educated, hip people under 50 who likely have high incomes. Such types are abandoning television altogether these days. No wonder. The selection process is set up in such a way that it will, by formula, exclude just the sort of shows they would be interested in.

Take away its star-studded cast, and I wonder if the brilliant 30 Rock! would have even made it onto television.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Whole Different Sort of Tyranny (Nate Bell Quotes)

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
— C.S. Lewis

Establishment Character Assassin John Brummett today turned his nasty on State Rep. Nate Bell from Mena. This was a result of Bell's Facebook chatter, specifically his comparison of the actions of some nanny-staters in the state legislature to those of the Nazis. Brummett rebukes Bell on a number of levels, all incorrect, but I want to sort through only some of that in this column.

First Point: Nate Bell is one of those rare legislators who is willing to communicate with common citizens via things like facebook. People are tired of politicians who only speak in carefully crafted sound bites. But that's what we are going to get if we stand by and let the Nate Bell's of the state get character assassinated by small men like Brummett when they make a controversial off-the-cuff remark. I commend Bell and those like him who are willing to have an ongoing dialogue with common citizens. In the course of doing that, they are going to say something now and then that draws some heat. I hope we as voters are mature enough to understand that this is the price of real dialogue. I don't want to continue down the path of plastic candidates.

Second Point: Bell did indeed err in his accusation, but not for the reasons that Brummett supposes. The Nazi's were statist tyrants, and so are the nanny staters, but they are not the same kind of statist tyrants. The Nazis, in the name of benefitting their own kind, caused harm to others. The nanny-staters, in the name of helping for others, harm them while doing well for themselves. One is murderous, the other merely suffocating. Both are deleterious to freedom for those not in their ruling elite. One is honest about the harm they intend to put on others, the second claims they are "helping" others, even if it is against their will. Both see government as the solution and liberty as the problem.

One is worse than the other, but neither are good. Nazis are the only sort of evil that post-modern leftists will recognize as evil. Because of that, we tend to over-use them as representative of all sorts of evil. They are not. Nanny-staters are a separate sort of evil. If not so blatant in their evil as Nazis, they to some degree compensate for it by being less honest and more hypocritical. Nate Bell is guilty of sloppy categorization in this instance, and nothing more. That's a small price to pay to have leaders still willing to converse with us.

New Redistricting Map Appears Just Before Deadline

Governor Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel have dropped new House Redistricting maps on us less than 36 hours before the deadline. The two maps appear to be identical.

This just emphasizes again, though no further emphasis was necessary, what a fraud the whole process of "public input" was for Joe Woodson and these two men. Our imperial masters grant us a full day to examine the new state house lines which they will impose on us for an entire decade.

As near as I can tell, the new maps don't fix any of the complaints about the old ones. Mike Beebe still picks on girls, and the people of Randolph County. The Black Caucus is still going to lose two minority-majority districts in the house. This shiv in the back is their reward for their faithful service to Sun King Beebe.

Anybody out there know why Beebe and McDaniel pulled this capricious stunt? There are lots of changes, but the only significant one I see is that Republican David Sanders will not have to move now. The map a week ago basically put him outside of what was the rest of his district. Now he can take his house off the market. Maybe it was a reward for Sanders steering the GOP into the disaster of a "listening tour" that was actually a corporate-sponsored fundraiser where they were listening to lobbyists! That event involved Congressman Steve Womack in a way that violated federal campaign finance law, and Womack wants them to give the money back! I am joking about that being the reason, but I wonder what the actual reason is. Why is Beebe changing the map at the last hour in a way that benefits Republican Sanders while leaving so many others that were smacked before stay smacked?

Take a look at that map and see how little sense it makes in district 61 or 80 or many other places. County lines mean almost nothing on this map. They spread districts out over five counties when they could have put them in two. Whatever the reason those two had for dropping a new map on us, it wasn't for the good of the people of Arkansas. If they had been concerned about that, they would have shown us maps weeks or even months ago, like the minority member of the Apportionment board did- Secretary of State Mark Martin.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Risk Analysis and the Feminization of American Men

Ladies, please don't misunderstand me here. I am blessed to have good women in my life who I love thoroughly. The intended target of conviction for this piece is not women, its men who want to think like you- and by that disallow you the freedom to be who you really are in balance with the masculine mind.

Throughout human history men have had the role of risk-takers. Women have had more of an emphasis on safety and security. This is a generalization of course, but an accurate one.

The interplay between the two, with women advocating the safe choice and men deciding that certain risks are worth taking, has been an essential part of keeping humanity on the road to progress. Because of those balancing forces, we have moved along the path of progress, falling off neither to the side of foolish risk-taking that leads to destruction, or excessive emphasis on safety which leads to stagnation.

Ironically, the unwillingness to take a calculated risk is itself risky in the long run. By refusing to attempt to capitalize on opportunities whose likely rewards are greater than the risks of incurring costs, one can wind up in a situation where you have no choice at all. When disaster strikes, inadequate resources are at hand to cushion the blow, due to an over-emphasis on avoiding even a small risk. Because of this, the divide between the "feminine" side and the "masculine" side, is really a preference for avoidance of immediate risk that is presently visible- not total risk.

There is an ongoing effort in Western Civilization to feminize men. I have observed that part of the outcome of this diabolical effort is that many men are no longer able to rationally analyze risk, or at least seem uninterested in developing their latent capacity to do so.

I am in a business (natural gas) where landowners I deal with have the possibility of extremely high rewards. There are some risks too, but nothing like the over-blown scare stories that have no scientific merit. I was amazed to find a number of men where even the most baseless thought of risk paralyzed their minds so that they were unable to even process the potential rewards. If there was any rumor of risk, they were going to do nothing. Men in this class were not interested in looking at the evidence to see if the risk was a credible one or not- the rumor of risk alone committed them to inaction. Nor, if the rumor of risk was present, were they interested in attempting to investigate the potential size of the reward so that even if the risk was true they could perform a viable risk-rewards calculus.

I am sorry, I do not like grown men acting this way. I don't say we need to be like teenage boys, dealing with testosterone for the first time and so engaging in excessive risk without an appropriate reward, but we do need to fill our role. Men are the ones who are supposed to be the advocates for risk-taking. That is, risk taking in the short run in order to provide more security in the long run. Women are for immediate safety and security. Too many of us are shunning that role.

We used to be a society where men understood that you had to take rational risks in order to obtain valuable rewards. Now, we want "guarantees", especially of the government variety. Well, no politician can truthfully promise you reward without risk of loss. That doesn't stop them from promising it untruthfully, because they sense that not only most women but now even many men are willing to make the following irrational trade: They will trade the right to keep more of their own earnings and even their personal liberty and freedom in exchange for a promise from a politician (which cannot possibly be kept) that they will be taken care of for life no matter what happens. In other words, risk is eliminated.

It's no wonder we can't say no to things like endless debt just to make things "ok now." There are consequences to these things that affect our politics, our home, everything. I support the re-masculization of America.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Harris Poll: Ron Paul Even With Obama

Winning the GOP Primary should be the hard part for the Texas Congressman. He is already even in the polls with Resident Barack Obama, even though the latter has far more name recognition. The only thing keeping Ron Paul from defeating Obama is a certain slice of the GOP base who refuse to vote for him.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Broadway's Past Ethics Problem/Not Good Choice for AR Director of Higher Ed.

Broadway's Past Ethics Problems
Why Broadway Is Not a Good Choice for Arkansas Director of Higher Education

There has been a great deal of discussion over Governor Mike Beebe's choosing Shane Broadway to head the state's Department of Higher Education because he lacks the qualifications set out in the law. Arkansas Code Annotated 6-61-203 says the director “shall be an experienced educator in the field of higher education” who “must have relevant experience on a campus of higher education.” Broadway is one of the leading Democratic politicians but in no way fits those qualifications.

It is a shame that Governor Beebe doesn't abide by his own words quoted in the papers concerning another incident: "The law is the law. If you don't like the law, you try to change it in the way this country was set up and designed to change the law." (Quote from AP story by DeMillo)

But in this controversy I have seen no mention of Broadway's past ethics problems. Broadway was the architect behind the socialist State take-over of all school facilities in Arkansas in 2004 (only one of 10 states to do so). Schools can no longer build or remodel without permission of the state and according to state regulations.

Broadway sponsored the bill (SB7) that provided the $10 million dollar study to determine the amount of money needed to provide adequate school facilities. The study came back recommending from $2.3 billion to $4.5 billion for school buildings, and that study became one of the biggest boondoggles ever experienced in Arkansas.

Broadway knowingly hired Randall Fischer, a criminal from Ohio, to oversee the $10 million dollar study. An Arkansas Democrat Gazette editorial gave details about this incident April 7, 2004 with the title, " Hey, it's just ethics." Another Dem Gazette article April 1, 2004 ("A-OK in Arkansas") describes the events as follows:
As I wrote last week, Fischer resigned his Ohio position in 2002 shortly after a judge there ruled that he had no authority to approve school construction contracts. Last July, he was convicted on two misdemeanor conflict-of-interest charges stemming from his awarding, without bids, of at least 1,800 contracts. Apparently, some grateful recipients gave him and his staff gifts. Fischer was assessed court costs and a $1,250 fine.
Because of his August 2002 resignation and a revolving-door statute, Fischer was banned from performing work related to school facilities in Ohio.
State Sen. Shane Broadway, D-Bryant, who co-chairs the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Educational Facilities, last week told our reporter Seth Blomeley that he’s known all along about Fischer’s history. Yet he didn’t find the charges serious enough to bother informing most legislators.
"I think it was a kind of blown-out-of proportion issue," Broadway was quoted saying. "People are found guilty of ethics violations all the time. I don’t know how long you hold it against a guy."
Say what? Fischer was convicted just nine months ago in an Ohio court and could have served seven months in jail instead of just paying a fine and getting a judge’s stern lecture about violating the public trust.
Excerpts from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette editorial entitled on April 7, 2004 "Hey, it’s just ethics"
TO HEAR Shane Broadway tell it, an ethics violation is pert near as common as ducks in Stuttgart. I think it was a kind of blown-out-of proportion issue. People are found guilty of ethics violations all the time. I don’t know how long you hold it against a guy.—The Hon. Shane Broadway, Arkansas state senator.
Wow. You’d think Shane Broadway was a Louisiana legislator. Or maybe a Chicago councilman.
What do the folks up in Ohio think? Well, there’s David E. Freel, executive director of the Ohio Ethics Commission, who said this after Mr. Fischer’s no contest plea: "This isn’t a question about an individual meal or golf at a public golf course. This is an aggregate total of a lot of golf and events from people who got millions of dollars in public work."
It’s the kind of ethical standard we have encountered too often in Arkansas legislators from the time of Mutt Jones and Nick Wilson and entirely too many others. And always the excuse is the same: Hey, it’s only an ethics/legal/moral violation. Happens all the time. Forget it. Attitudes like Shane Broadway’s are largely responsible for the kind of permissive atmosphere that lets this rot take hold.
Even though there were several newspaper articles on Broadway's actions, Arkansas did not hold it against Shane Broadway either. And Broadway did not even ask Fischer to resign. Fischer continued to oversee the $10 million dollar facilities study in Arkansas, which became one of the biggest boondoggles in Arkansas with hundreds of errors and crazy mistakes. But you can't keep a good BIG-SPENDING Democrat down in Arkansas. Broadway advanced to the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor last year.

For rest of article click on Monday below or go to this link:'s%20Past%20Ethics%20Problems.htm

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Black Democrats Down on Redistricting Plan

Steele: Whose Side is He on?
The redistricting maps that Governor Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel put together had been a closely held secret throughout the process. Forums held around the state were a farce, as the public had nothing to look at or comment on except the maps put forward by Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin. Because the other two members of the Aportionment board are Democrats, the Martin maps were widely regarded as irrelevant to the final disposition of the district lines.

When Beebe and McDaniel dropped their maps on us a bare week before the deadline, various folks were outraged. Sure enough, they used the opportunity for vindictive political payback against legislators they did not like, regardless of what it meant for the people of the districts involved.

The virtuous elected official should use the power with which they have been entrusted so as to benefit the citizens who bestowed it to them. To use that power for personal payback is an abuse. That's what we have in the maps put out by Beebe and McDaniel.

I am not a big fan of Sen. Jason Rappert, but what they did to him was blatant. They did not even try to hide the fact that they were going to move the lines so as to put him in a completely different district. We already learned what they did to the rare Democrat who stood up to Beebe from time to time (Linda Collins-Smith). Fort Smith districts were chopped up strangely as well. And of course, Republican districts were "packed", that is, they had slightly more than the average population of a district in them, even in areas where it is reasonable that they will continue to grow even as the Democrat parts of the state continue to whither.

But there was racial "packing" in the Beebe/McDaniel maps too. And the way it was done has upset the Democrat's most loyal voter group- blacks. It seems that the Beebe/McDaniel maps have actually reduced the number of minority-majority seats in the legislature from their current levels, even though the black population of the state has not declined in the last ten years. Currently, there are 4 minority-majority state Senate seats, but the Beebe/McDaniel plan would take one of those four and make it's minority-majority status so razor-thin as to be practically meaningless. To rub salt in the wound, another nearby district has 75% minority vote, far more than they need to assure a fair shot at minority representation. Beebe is "packing" minority votes into one district in a way that could cost them another.

In the House, the Beebe/McDaniel plan would cost their most loyal constituent block representation. They would go from the current 13 minority-majority house districts to only eleven. And this reduction of representation is by no means something that is demanded by the demographic facts on the ground. Secretary of State Mark Martin's plan actually increases the number of minority majority house seats to fifteen- making it almost perfectly in line with their proportion of the state population.

You can read more about the discontent within the black caucus here. Now here's an important side-story in this deal: While the plan does knife them in the back even after their complete loyalty to the Democratic Party, in the end I believe most of them will vote for their own political lynching. That's how stuck on the plantation they are. Even if it means that the "Black Caucus" will lose about 20% of its membership next session, 80% of them or more will vote the way Massa Beebe wants. That's even when they could back the Martin plan instead, which would increase their house membership by about 20%.

To any black citizen offended at me for writing the above paragraph: please direct your anger appropriately, at your "leaders" who will sell you and each other out in order to please the party. If you are a black legislator and are offended: I will be happy to sincerely apologize if you as a caucus prove me wrong. If you act respectably I will be glad to respect you. It's what I want to do. It's my default setting. So far, many of you haven't earned it, and that's the only way respect is truly obtained. What you normally get by pulling the race card as a routine response to policy challenges isn't really respect. If you surprise me on this issue and act in ways that earn true respect you will experience the difference, and not just from me.

It is not exactly a sign of confidence that the "leader" of the black caucus is one of the most personally corrupt members of the Arkansas legislature, Rep. Tracy Steele. He says in the Talk Business article that although the black caucus is not happy about the map, he does not see them suing over it. Of course not. Not when their "leadership" is for sale. He is going to do what the guys with the big check books want him to do. He is going to do what the guy who directs so many public tax dollars (Beebe) wants him to do. That is, let the caucus make a bunch of noise about how unfairly they are being treated, and then steer them away from any action which might actually prevent them from getting run over by Beebe and the Democrats.

It's really sad. It's like watching a neighboring family where the guy beats her. You wanna do something, but until she wants to help herself enough to act, what can you do?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Legislative Expense Wars

Many of you know about Conservative Arkansas' recent efforts to call attention to what, in their view, is an abuse of legislator's expense accounts. I have not weighed in on the issue, mostly because life is crazy for me right now, but also because of the complexity of the issue. I'd like to do so now, including proposing a possible outcome that will satisfy all parties that are reasonable.

The bottom line is that the Arkansas Constitution limits legislative pay, but allows them to set a budget for reasonable office expenses. Legislators routinely hire their spouses or create their own companies to run their office for them, and simply turn in one "receipt" each month- the bill from the often in-house service which runs their offices for them.

Conservative Arkansas says that they should be reimbursed for expenses for which they show a receipt, but not contract out their whole operation to their own business or to a spouse. The language in Amendment 70 is pretty clear that legislative expenses are not to be used as an extra source of income to the legislator.

The first thing I want to say about this is that I think Amendment 70 should be repealed. I know its popular to complain that politicians make too much money, but at times the average citizen forgets the truth of Scripture, and on such occasions the average citizen is in error. It is written "the laborer is worthy of his hire." $15,000 is far too little to pay to the people who make the laws of your state. It's crazy to expect quality people to work for that, even if they care.

If you owned a business with a five billion dollar annual budget, would you trust people you could hire for $15,000 a year to run it? I wouldn't. It's asinine. Fortunately we have better people than that, but only because they wind up getting more than that- and the way they get it is exploiting loopholes of the type currently stirring up controversy.

While some pass off the job as "part time", the truth is the job is a 2nd full time job for many of these folks. It's true its a job with limited official duties, but in order to stay in the job you have to do a lot more than the official duties. You can't hold down most full time jobs while doing a good job as a state legislator. There is no way I could afford to be a state legislator if I stuck to the official salary, and no way I would want the job if I had to resort to what I felt was dishonest means to get more than the official salary. It's a system that discourages the most competent and most fastidiously honest from even applying. Many good and honest men of course do apply anyway, it's just a shame they have to be faced with this ethical dilemma right from the start.

I frankly feel that the practice of a legislator starting an LLC which has a primary function of "managing" the legislator's office, and whose profits go right back into the legislator's pockets, is a violation of Amendment 70. I don't share the same view about a legislator who hires his/her spouse to run their office. A supportive wife is very helpful to a good honest politician. The wives of public officials do a lot of work for free. I don't have a problem with it if in this instance they actually get paid for the work they do. Complaints about nepotism aside, most of the time no one in the world would do a better job for a legislator than their wife.

Between these two cases is the case of a legislator who already owns a business with some other primary purpose and simply uses the staff and supplies from that office to also conduct their legislative work. Again, that is a very efficient way to conduct business, and there is no sense, cost or otherwise, in having a completely new office or staff person. And that corporation, which has a primary purpose other than that of being a legislative office, has a right to make a profit on this side business, just as it does its primary business. I think the key is that there must be a primary business (and source of revenue) that is not related to the legislative office.

I am a person who gets paid a flat amount for expenses. If I choose to live large, it costs me money. If I choose to live frugally, I get to keep some of it. It's all legal for me, and I would be a hypocrite if I came down hard on the legislators for doing the same thing. Still, the language of Amendment 70 is very clear. I think the problem is the amendment as much or more than the practice, but as of now, it's the law.

We need a new amendment that doubles legislative pay and closes the loophole of office expenses going to an LLC which is owned by the legislator and has a primary function of running the office. Let's pay good people something closer to what they are worth, and we won't have to worry about the job attracting scoundrels who use questionable means to get more than the agreed on amount out of us.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mike Beebe Picks on Girls

Gov. Mike Beebe picks on girls. Especially if the are in his party and dare to vote their conscience instead of the party line. Consider the case of pro-life Rep. Linda Collins-Smith, who made our "ten best legislators list." Here is a report from a member of her district. It shows how far beyond the bounds of sound redistricting principles, and even common decency to both the legislators and the people of the districts involved, Mike Beebe is willing to go to enforce vindictive retaliation on a woman who would not follow his orders....

District 80, represented by State Rep. Linda Collins-Smith, has been drastically changed with her home county of Randolph being split into THREE pieces. That alone is an obvious attempt to get rid of her, but he apparently hopes to kill two birds with one stone by pitting her against another conservative, Lori Benedict, who lives in Fulton County.

Randolph and Fulton counties are not contiguous. Sharp County lies between them, so to connect the two he had to create a bridge across the very narrow north end of Sharp County.

Further aggravating the issue is that District 80 (now consisting of all of Randolph County and two-thirds of Sharp) had only a slight population increase that could have been addressed simply by moving a small portion of the balance of Sharp County into the District.

Whatever the eventual outcome, it is apparent that the legislature must modify the Board of Apportionment to make it non-partisan.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Garland County Tea Party: Acting Locally to Fight the NWO Globally

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On Tyranny in Gould, and in Springdale

Many people around the state are shaking their heads at the actions of the Gould City Council. The City Council, tired of a citizens group pestering them, voted to "disallow" the group to exist within the city of Gould. The Mayor's veto of that measure was over-ridden.

While those of us in the Northwest part of the state may look on such actions with disdain, I want you to know that it is not just the City Council in Gould which has an attenuated view of citizen rights. I spoke with Jan Lea, who is the 3rd District Organizer for Secure Arkansas, the other day. Secure Arkansas was circulating petitions for a ballot amendment which would bar illegal aliens from receiving certain public benefits. The right of her group to do this under the constitution of this state is undeniable....

The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good; and to petition, by address or remonstrance, the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.
- page 4 of the state Constitution

She reported to me that city governments in NW Arkansas did everything they could to try and suppress the petition drive within their city. In Springdale especially, police would roll up and tell them the could not solicit petitions, even on private property. When they stood their ground, the police kept calling people and looking for "violations" to send them packing. Finally they left after the police told them that they could not have signs near the road, even if they were holding them. Of course, businesses commonly hire folks to hold signs like that, but the multitude of laws are selectively enforced on politically disfavored groups.

She reported other problems in other places in the area, but that was the worst. The others ran them off of public property. In light of the Constitution that's bad enough, but to hassle someone until they leave private property for which they have the owner's permission to be on smacks of tyranny.

What we increasingly find is that we have the "freedom" to operate within a rigged system, and that when we go outside it, our "freedom" does not mean much. Try getting a few signatures on a petition that the moneyed interests in a city oppose and you will find out just how tenuous your "freedom" is. Forget trying to "take back Washington" my friends. We have to take back our own homes first.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

State GOP Begins "Listening Tour"

.....and here is who they are listening to, according to Roby Brock's "Talk Business"...

Last week, the caucus began a "listening tour," starting with a business roundtable and fundraiser in northwest Arkansas that brought bankers, businessmen and big-wigs from the corporate giants in the region to the table. Cong. Steve Womack (R) and Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (R) were co-hosts for the event along with corporate sponsors, such as J.B. Hunt, Tyson Foods, Cox Communications, SWEPCO and several lobbyists.

The state GOP is all the guys with the big checkbooks. Us common trash, not so much.

For example, Tyson big-wig Archie Schaffer is reported to be one of the biggest proponents for "the barrio", a re-districting plan that would gerrymander through several cities to produce a Hispanic Majority state representative district. Not even all the Latinos like that plan and for sure the Tea Party types don't. I think the Hispanic community has the most right to be upset about it, and not just the one in Rogers that does not want to wind up just a sub-set of the community in Springdale. Maybe Tyson will sponsor someone for that race too. Then the poor Hispanic community will not only have to take orders from Tyson Foods at work, but when they go home, "their" representative will be taking orders from Tyson Foods as well.

Aside from a few big-wigs and a slice of the Springdale Hispanic community, nobody on the ground wants it, yet "Representative" Charlie Collins, with support from GOP Chair Doyle Webb, has been adamant in support of the idea.

This of course, is just the most current example on my mind.

We the People have lost our government because we don't control the two political clubs through which access to the ballot is gained.

The Democratic party is loathsome. It is powered by a few meglomanical billionaires who have dreams of controlling the world. It's "intelligensia" is a stunted PC group of college ivory-tower types who repeat to each other the same failed ideas with no true thinking outside the box tolerated. Throw in a few demented Hollywood types that come from dysfunctional families, and are separated from the reality the rest of us live in by fame and fortune all out of proportion to their real contributions to society, and you have the top of the party.

The base of the party consists of disparate groups of parasites with their hands out, lusting to use the power of the state to rob and pillage their neighbors who have earned more because they have served others better. The parasite cannot continue to grow faster than the host without killing both organisms. This can't continue, and when the host is no longer able to sustain these groups, I predict they will turn on each other with utter ruthlessness, since it is only a common desire to use the state to loot those more virtuous than themselves that binds them together.

That is your post-modern Democratic party. Unfortunately, the other choice has schizophrenia. It has a secular part that is in it to find a way to use government to tilt the playing field in favor of their particular industry. In other words, they are only one step removed from the more direct parasitism of the left. It is not about encouraging people to buy their products of their own free will at free market prices, its about mandating their purchase through government fiat. Drug companies are among the worst here, but not the only example of the type. Unlike the Christian-affected upper-crust of olden days, these folks tend toward an ugly social Darwinism.

The other part of the base tend to be good Christian folks who are not very into this. They would rather raise their kids, and hope they can just vote for whoever FOX News tells them to and this will all just go away. Despite their personal piety, they usually have no idea what the Scripture actually teaches about government. They are in the party, but have little to no influence in its actual policies. They are treated as rubes that the other factions manipulate to gain power. Much of the Tea Party has come out of this slice, and they are the wild card.

The leadership of the party is controlled by the same financial interests that control the other one, though the ID of the billionaires may vary.

Fraudclosure and Bankster-Captured Government Strikes Again

This time in Florida, where two government employees who were getting too close to proof of bankster fraud were abruptly terminated.

Hispanics Against "The Barrio"

Just in case you think that a Hispanic-majority state rep. district is something that all Hispanics want: Former Arkansas LULAC Director Shawn McGrew is having a meeting this evening in Rogers about the idea of a majority-Hispanic district. He is against the idea. Any such district would have to take the Hispanic areas of both Springdale and Rogers, snaking through Lowell along the way, to get the needed voting majority.

Some Hispanic leaders in Rogers don't want the shots being called from Springdale, others think that it would be unwise to over-concentrate all of their influence in one district.

O'Beebe Tactics on Budget Battles

Did anyone else notice how Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe uses the same tactics as Resident Obama when it comes to budget battles?

Both men are upset that you are allowed to keep as much of your own earnings as you are when they could spend it so much better. They would prefer that governmental monetary "shortfalls" be covered by increasing taxes, rather than simply reducing spending. If you add value to society by earning an income, remember, the real reason you exist is to fund programs that will glorify the state, and of course its divine leaders.

Consider the Resident. He has said that if the budget crisis is not resolved that he "can't guarantee Social Security checks will go out." This is the same man who would not, under any circumstances, consider reducing the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that go to #1 abortion provider Planned Parenthood each year. Those dollars it seems, Mr. Obama can guarantee. The bank bailouts? Guaranteed! The same with the illegal war in Libya that he is prosecuting against the wishes of the American people and without approval from Congress. There is plenty of money coming in from current tax receipts to cover Social Security and interest payments, if that is what they choose to spend it on. And let's remember that there is supposed to be a social security "trust fund" with hundreds of billions in it as well- except that the federal government stole all the money and that you can't trust the feds with your social security.

Beebe uses the exact same tactic- when faced with a budget crisis, don't look for unpopular spending to cut- do the opposite. Cut what seems most unfair to the average citizen so they will relent and allow taxes to go up again. In Beebe's case it was money for foster children's programs that he cut saying that "tax cuts had to be paid for somehow." Secretary of State Mark Martin said something like "hey I saved enough money under my budget to re-fund the foster children's program. You can use this money right here." Beebe could not let Martin look like a frugal public servant, so his office announced that it had come in even more under-budget than Martin. It turned out that all Constitutional offices, traditionally controlled by Democrats, were over-funded. Just like Obama, Beebe had the money for the foster children all along, in his own office budget even!

When city governments ask for a tax increase, they always say they will have to cut fire and police if it does not pass. When state government wants to reach deeper in your pocket, it cuts foster children's programs. When the feds are faced with the consequences of their outrageous expenditures they holler that social security will have to be cut. It's all a scam from some of the most dishonest people in our society.

A Waffle Iron to the Groin

Well it hurts to write this, but Max Brantley is right. Right about corrupt Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. He writes with almost as much disgust over McDaniel as he has for an honest conservative Republican- and I have to admit that I did not even give him that much credit for fairness. It helps that McDaniel is so far over the line.

He even comes to the same conclusion I came to a month ago when Advance Arkansas' Dan Greenberg documented McDaniel's lawlessness. McDaniel is going to keep doing it until someone tells him he can't.

District 54 Special Election Results

There was a special election in east Arkansas for state house district 54. The man originally elected to the office (Fred Smith) resigned after a felony conviction (which he is appealing) and questions about whether or not he actually lived in the state. The winner of last nights election, Democrat Hudson Hallum, is under investigation over questions about the way his campaign handled absentee ballots in the primary election in which Hallum narrowly lost to his opponent in regular balloting, but triumphed on the basis of an overwhelming margin in absentee ballots.

Hallum got 51% of the vote. The reason he won such a narrow majority in the heavily Democratic district is because there was an independent in the race, D'James Rogers, who received about 28% of the vote. Republican John Geelan had a bit over 21%. Less than 2000 votes were cast.

I could make some more points about how independents can do better than the "hated" party in many areas of the state. I could go on about the need for instant runoff voting, or some other method to make sure that people don't have to live with representatives who fail to get majority support. But I don't want to do that here.

To me the real story here is the population. What a mess of corruption, and most of them don't even consider the idea of rejecting the corrupt Democrat representation that has brought them this low. Go to their communities, they are dying. They are poor. They are miserable. Yet they continue to "dance with who brung them" even when where they have been brought to is a place of despair. If it was you or me, don't you think we'd try something different? Apparently, folks who want something better for themselves are simply leaving. The population of the district has declined, even while Republican areas of the state have grown and prospered.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hispanic District - Rebuttal To GOP Charlie Collins Email

A Supreme Court Overturned a 1992 Congressional Redistricting Plan Which Had Created Minority Majority Districts
Redistricting - Use of Race Might Violate the Equal Protection Clause in the state's Redistricting Plan - Court Rules

I wrote a couple of articles regarding the possible creation of a Hispanic majority district with these subject lines: "AR GOP's sign on to Hispanic District" and Rebuttal to AR GOP state chair on Hispanic District These emails discussed a letter from Republican Charlie Collins of Fayetteville's to Governor Beebe and the Redistricting Board that began with this sentence: "We are writing to express our support for creating a Hispanic majority House district in Northwest Arkansas." The letter was evidently designed to get other Republicans to sign on to it. I believe some Republicans did agree to sign on. However, I understand the letter was never sent after they received a great deal of negative responses.

The other article was a rebuttal to the state Republican Chair Doyle Webb who was quoted in the paper as saying: " Hispanic voters relate to the Republican Party best. Hispanic Arkansans are growing in population and we would not object to a Hispanic district if by law one is warranted."

GOP Representative Collins sent out another email to those who had contacted him about the Hispanic District (entire email below - I don't share individual emails sent to me personally but this one was sent to several people). I want to comment on remarks in his email: Collins states in his email that "We need to apply the law of the land fairly and consistently." Indeed we do need to apply the law of the land fairly. We citizens are expected to obey the law, and it causes great resentment and encourages lawlessness when the illegal aliens are not held accountable to the law in the same manner.

The Voting Rights Act is the major point I want to address in this email. But there are a couple of other points I want to make first.

1.If Collins is concerned about applying the law of the land fairly, then why did he refuse to co-sponsor HB1292 by Jon Hubbard that would deny benefits to illegal aliens except in case of emergency? Thirty-two other Republicans did co-sponsor it, and how many bills has Collins sponsored to bring an end to the illegal activity committed by illegal aliens in Arkansas? He was sent several emails asking him to become a Co-sponsor by constituents and had phone calls on the matter.

2. There is no voting majority in the area being considered as a Hispanic district. Collins said in his email: "The redistricting process is affected by the Voting Rights Act of 1965." A Voting Rights Act concerns voters, doesn't it? I heard that the percentage of Hispanics in the district they are talking about creating is 48% Hispanic. That probably means we are talking about 24% of Hispanic voters. The growth rate in the area would prove that no more than that could be citizens because it takes a few years to become a citizen. Statistics also indicate the percentage rate of Hispanics in Arkansas applying for citizens is less than 50%. Therefore, this district could not even be compared to other 13 majority districts for African Americans since they are legally here and have a legal right to vote.

Collins continued: "The voting rights of Hispanic citizens has nothing to do with illegal immigrants. We do not hold one person accountable for the crime of another, that is un American." It is also un American to create a Hispanic district when half the Hispanics considered are not even legal. That would definitely violate the intent of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

3. Collins also said, "There have been lawsuits in Arkansas over this topic in the past." And there have also been lawsuits taken to the Supreme Court as well! Is Collins aware of those rulings? In regard to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (which has been amended by Congress four times), "The United States Supreme Court in Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900 (1995), overturned a 1992 Congressional redistricting plan which had created minority majority districts in Georgia as unconstitutional gerrymander. In Bush v. Vera, the Supreme Court, in a plurality opinion, rejected Texas's contention that Section 5 required racially-gerrymandered districts. There are other links that agree with this assessment.

4. Collins also said, My key point is that IF, only if, the Voting Rights Act applies following the 2010 census to Hispanics, that the law be applied fairly and consistently, which could potentially lead to our 14th majority minority district. State Republican Chairman Doyle Webb said, " Hispanic Arkansans are growing in population and we would not object to a Hispanic district if by law one is warranted." It appears that the Republicans are leaving it up to the Democrats to interpret the law.

Shouldn't our state Republican leader and a Republican representative discussing this issue know what the law says instead of relying on the Democrats to interpret it? If the Hispanic District is created, the Republicans should be going to court with it rather than encouraging it. Most true conservatives don't believe in denying minorities votes or obstructing their right to vote but don't believe in giving them special treatment either because that violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The paragraph below explains the philosophy/policy of conservatives.

5. The Voting Rights Act and Equal Protection [VRA]
"In the 1990s the Justice Department's use of the VRA to prevent minority vote dilution came under attack in the Supreme Court. The Justice Department has sometimes insisted that compliance with section 5 requires maximizing minority voter strength. This in turn would require taking race significantly into account when states redraw their legislative and congressional districts. Some legal scholars and political leaders have claimed that the practice of placing voters in particular districts based on their race violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This clause prevents states from denying to individuals "the equal protection of the laws" and has long been understood as prohibiting government from classifying individuals on the basis of their race. In Shaw v. Reno (1993) and Miller v. Johnson (1995), the Court suggested that such use of race might violate the equal protection clause if race was the predominant motivating factor in the state's redistricting plan. The Court's suggestion raises questions about how stringently the VRA may be used in the districting context."

Republicans over the nation have valiantly fought over the past years to keep the voting laws consistent with the US Constitution and preserve our equal protection under the law according to the Fourteenth Amendment. The original Voting Rights Act in 1965 never mentioned redistricting but was concerned with banning the poll tax and other literacy tests that prevented minorities from voting.

Conservative agree there were many injustices committed by law against minorities before 1965, and would in no way want to limit the voting rights or any other rights of legal citizens. But now we have swung too far the other way, and we must fight for our constitutional rights just as the minorities fought for theirs when laws did not give them equal protection under the law.

For Collin's email and other information on the Voting Rights Act see this link:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Balderdash on Hispanic-Majority Legislative District

"Balderdash! The hilarious bluffing game." It's State Rep. Charlie Collins' of Springdale (and parts of Fayetteville) turn to play, and he is claiming that Federal Law might require the state to gerrymander a minority-majority Hispanic district in NWA. I call "Balderdash!"

Please view the applicable section of the Voting Rights Act for yourself. There is simply no history of discrimination and disenfranchisement of legal citizens of Hispanic descent comparable to that suffered by African Americans. Nor is there anything in that U.S. code I just linked to that would justify racially gerrymandering a legislative district up here. Check it for yourself. Rep. Collins, or anyone else for that matter, is free to point out the language in that code which legally requires this. This is neglecting the whole argument of whether or not the entire act is constitutional, or is good for race-relations.

It is true that Hispanics in NWA do not participate in the political process as much as residents from other groups. One possible explanation is discrimination, another possible explanation is that this is not their country! There may be as many Marshallese Islanders in east Springdale that are here legally as their are Hispanics.

Springdale and Rogers both have ward systems for their city councils. They have minority-majority districts there, and it has not made any difference. A lot of them don't want to get involved with this mess we call American politics.

Until someone provides statistical proof that there is 1) an unreasonably low participation rate of LEGAL CITIZENS of Hispanic descent and 2) a COMPACT district that is minority majority could be made, then the requirements for making such a district have not been met even if there were a history of voter disenfranchisement to base such a requirement on. There isn't.

There is even more than one way under the law to "cheat" minorities. One way is "fracturing", that is splitting them up with the goal of keeping them from getting influence or control over any one district, and "packing", which is doing the opposite. It's concentrating them all in one district so that representatives from surrounding districts are not troubled with them. So making the district could be considered just as much a trick to limit their influence as not making it.

Why not just make compact districts that keep interests from communities together, and let the chips fall where they may? That was what the federal intervention was originally meant to try to do anyway.

Look, everything I have heard about Rep. Collins is that he is generally a good guy. I believe it. But I don't believe that there is any compelling legal reason to racially gerrymander a district in NWA, and if anyone, Collins included, claims there might be then it is incumbent on him to show us where that is in the code. Otherwise "federal law is forcing me" becomes code language for "The people who put me here don't want this, but I am going to claim I have no choice and do it anyway."

Collins would no doubt benefit from losing those Democrat-voting areas from his district, but I also know that a couple of big wheels from Springdale are pushing this. Archie Schaffer from Tyson foods and Chamber of Commerce head Perry Webb for another. The will of the ordinary middle-class citizen is being ignored in this rush to start judging people by "the color of their skin" rather than "the content of their character." And that's not a dream, it's a nightmare.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Dist. 54 Fraud

It looks like Arkansas media finally is starting to report in on the election "irregulartites" in the special election for house district 54. I guess the story finally got too big for them to ignore- I was about to have to get you a link from a Memphis paper!

Our "state wide newspaper" is part of what is holding this state back. They are terrible. On the bright side, their very awfulness provides a niche market for independent bloggers. My target audience is people in the state who actually want to know what is going on.

Hispanic District in NWA? "Not Gonna Happen" says Martin

Gavin Lesnick photo of Secretary of State Mark Martin looking at fellow board of apportionment member Gov. Mike Beebe.

Legislative Redistricting News: Various officials from the Republican Party of Arkansas have floated a number of trial balloons about having a Hispanic-majority legislative district in NWA. Any such district, contrary to any maps you might have seen, would have to carve out a chunk of east Springdale, snake through Lowell along some highway or ROW, and end with a large portion of east Rogers. Classic racial gerrymandering.

The folks floating these trial balloons forgot to clear it with the one Republican whose opinion on this matters most: Secretary of State Mark Martin. He is one of three votes on the state apportionment board which determines where the lines are drawn. I spoke with Martin briefly on the phone today.

Martin is confident that the minority-majority district "is not gonna happen." For one thing, he plans to vote against it. There are a lot of moving parts into what might motivate at least one of the other two to vote against it, but the bottom line is that he feels confident that this idea is going nowhere.

Martin did not comment on the idea that he was under pressure from his own party to vote yes. A "yes" vote from the NWA Republican could give Beebe or McDaniel cover to make their vote yes.

Martin is uncomfortable in principle with the idea of making race the predominant factor in drawing district lines, and even more so in this instance. He said, "There is no compelling legal reason to do this. I know who elected me, who my supporters are, and I know that they would not want me to vote for something like this."

What? Is this guy from the 1950s or something? Voting on a hot button issue that you are bound to catch heat from the liberal media for, in the face of pressure from your own party leadership, just because that's what the people who support you want? Outrageously refreshing!

Friday, July 08, 2011

A Contrast in Congressmen

Compare this to Ron Paul's "We the People" act. This would remove the federal courts from jurisdiction on questions of the Establishment Clause and Privacy Issues, sending them back to the states. That would have the effect of overturning Roe. v. Wade, permitting those states who wish to do so to protect innocent life. It would prevent the courts from forcing states to recognize homosexual marriages performed in other states. It would re-permit freedom of religious expression, even in public areas.

Please read this short and insightful bill.

Contrast that to Congressman Tim Griffin. Since he is all for the warfare state and the welfare state he has absolutely no idea how to fix the budget crisis. And because of that he resorts to useless gimmicks that would do nothing to solve the problem.

A Hispanic Majority District in NWA?

..............................................Doyle Webb...........

Recently there has been a lot of talk about forming a majority Hispanic legislative district in NWA. The chairman of the state Republican party, Doyle Webb, has come out in favor of it, as have some Hispanic groups. I am going to start by saying the same thing I said recently when the topic was forming black-majority districts down south. In fact, I will just pull that out and quote myself, because the same principle applies.

If implemented, the effects will be the same here as they have been everywhere else this has been tried: it will polarize the legislature on racial issues and at the same time marginalize minority concerns. A few polticians of color might be better off, but the average black Arkansan will have less influence, not more. This is because minority-majority districts concentrate more minority interest in fewer districts. Ten legislators with districts which have 20% minority vote would be fools to ignore their concerns. But if you concentrate those voters into two districts that are all minority and eight that have almost none, then their concerns can be discounted by the other eight.

That means you wind up with polarization- two indignant and outraged minority legislators who fume that their issues are ignored and eight legislators who have no self-interest in addressing their issues. In fact, doing so could cost them their job ....

Now for observations related to this particular story....

1) First a btw. I am less than impressed with new Demozette reporterette Sarah D. Wire, who refers to Secure Arkansas as "An anti-immigrant advocacy group." Really sweetie, I know the Secure Arkansas folks well, and it's Illegal Aliens that they are against, not legal immigrants. But that is just standard lefty-journalist misinformation.

Where it really gets funny is her self-description "I love digging up the story no one else has and inspiring a conversation with my readers. My natural ability for using documents and numbers to discover issues and trends has brought me to a career focused on political journalism." Compare that description with her recent reporting on Secretary of State Mark Martin's revelation that his office spent $3.2 million less than they were budgeted: "all spent less than allowed Surplus normal, official says after Martin lauds leftovers ".

Ha! She missed the real story in her effort to repeat the Democratic talking points with fidelity. The real story wasn't that Martin's numbers were only a few percent better than the rest of them, it's that (unknown to Martin and the conservatives) all constitutional offices are deliberately overfunded. This at a time when the governor is cutting programs for foster children and telling families in the Great Depression Part II that there is simply no room for them to get any more tax relief. "My natural ability for using documents and numbers to discover issues" she says. Stop it sugar, you're killing me!

2) Rep. Charlie Collins, Chairman Doyle Webb, and the rest of the Republican establishment that is pushing for this are carpet-bombing the base of what, for now, is their own party. Is it an effort to get the Hispanic vote to switch sides? For all the talk of that, it's never happened and there is no evidence that it ever will. Hispanics, except for Cubans, vote overwhelmingly Democrat. The idea that they are social conservatives and will switch over for that reason is silly. Blacks are also socially conservative- they were the difference in voting down homosexual marriage in California for example. They don't often vote GOP either. Besides, the GOP is not really socially conservative these days, so why should they switch over based on that?

I speculate that the real reason the GOP establishment wants this is to avoid accountability to the grassroots, the Tea Party types in particular. They want districts that are so overwhelmingly Republican that they can give the finger to grassroots activists secure in the knowledge that they can still get re-elected. They can do this by taking areas that vote overwhelmingly Democrat, such as Hispanic areas, an lump them all in one district.

Right now there is a delicate balance. There is a certain segment of their districts that will always vote Democrat. There is a middle segment that could go either way, and there is a conservative segment that will vote reliably GOP. And there is another even more conservative element that will vote reliably GOP UNLESS the politician disrespects them. If that group sits out a given race, then the Republican can lose to the Democrat.

I think that what they want to do is take out so many of the Democrats, that the Democrats won't even run anyone in those districts. Even if they do, they want to fix it so the establishment Republican can win even without the Tea Party types. They can safely give them the finger, knowing that even if those voters sit it out, they are safe.

If they try this and the Tea Party types get tired enough of it, it could backfire. A motivated Tea Party could counter with realchoicing.

3) A lot of the Hispanics in NWA are in this country illegally. The census was designed to count them anyway. Therefore a district which has a Hispanic majority population may still not have a Hispanic majority group of voters. Just think how angry they will be if they get Apartheid, lumping them into one district, and they still fail to get a brown face in that district.

4) And that brings me to my last point. The best way to get over race is to get over race. This is obsessing on it. When I taught for nine years in a black majority district I was asked more than once about how I had such good relations with most of my minority pupils and parents. "What's the secret?" I would be asked. "Nothing." I would say, "that's the secret. Treat them like you would anyone else. Expect of them what you would expect of anyone else."

Thursday, July 07, 2011

MSNBC Ron Paul Blackout

Did they forget anybody with this graphic? Ah yes, the only candidate with a serious strategy to put our fiscal house in order (and thus wreck the ruling class gravy train). Texas Congressman Dr. Ron Paul raised over $4.5 million dollars in Q2. That would have put him solidly in 2nd place, maybe even first place considering Romney's totals are "pledges" not cash in hand like Paul has.

Ruling class media, you suck.

PS- In a poll of likely Texas Republican Primary voters, Ron Paul tops the list with 22%. Texas Governor Rick Perry finished 2nd with 17%. Texas has a huge chunk of Republican convention delegates (~150), behind only California (~170) and way ahead of 3rd place Florida (~100). By comparison, Arkansas will have around 35 delegates.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Secret's Out on Over-Funded Constitutional Offices

Secretary of State Mark Martin (R) has been the target of constant media assaults. Many of those attacks were on the grounds that he was wasting taxpayer dollars. The attacks focused on specifics while leaving off important details. For example, he took heat for purchasing a new vehicle, but few of those reports were fair-minded enough to note that Martin's predecessor, Democrat Charlie Daniels, turned in four vehicles as he was walking out the door. Even after the purchase, Martin's office has fewer vehicles than did his predecessor.

Martin took the attacks and quietly kept doing his job. Eventually, the financial picture became clear. Today, after eight months on the job, Martin announced that the Secretary of State's Office has a $3.2 million surplus which can be returned to the state Treasury. He spent 17.8% less than his office was budgeted. This is a perfect example of how the media can paint a false picture by harping on only one detail and ignoring the bottom line.

Martin's #1 media critic, ArkTimes editor Max Brantley, is so obsessive-compulsive about running down Mark Martin, that in his angry reaction to the news he let out dirty little secret. It turns out that every constitutional office is deliberately over-funded! Max ranted that since everyone of them is funded with a 15% cushion then Martin was taking credit for nothing. He then produced stats that showed the Treasurer was going to come in 14% under budget and the auditor 15.4% under budget. The Attorney General came in 16.3% under budget, but he has been suing people with lawyers paid from the public treasury and then stuffing the awards back into his own office. Martin did not have the advantage of this illegal tactic when he trimmed 17.8% off of his budget.

I certainly did not know that state constitutional offices were deliberately over-funded so that the amount they really expect to spend is only 85% of what they get. I talked to a couple of other folks who have been around at the capitol and they did not know it either. I am not sure that Martin knew it- his current operating budget was set by his Democratic predecessor who at the time thought that a Democrat would succeed him. Did you know it?

At a time when families are straining to make ends meet all those constitutional offices are over-funded and none of them ever bothered to mention it to us- until now. And that was only in a desperate attempt to maintain the dishonest picture they have painted of Martin. It sure was not done in an attempt to ID waste and excess in government spending. It appears Martin himself is the only one trying to do that.

Their attempt falls flat anyway. Whether he spent 17.8% less than expected or 2.8% less depends on where you start measuring from and is not the point anyway. The point is that by either standard the official story that Martin is some sort of wasteful big-spender simply cannot possibly be true. They may question this particular expenditure or that one, but on the whole the numbers speak for themselves.

Oh, but there is one more extremely important point here. The Governor's office did not let Martin stake the claim to saving a larger percentage of the budget than any constitutional officer. They claimed (though no one can ever be sure with Mr. Beebe) that they are going to spend 25% less than their budget. Now that's a pretty big pile of money that the Governor has accumulated, so let me take you back a week or so....

You may recall that Rep. Donna Hutchinson (R) Bella Vista and Governor Mike Beebe got into a spat very recently. Beebe slashed money for some foster children's programs by about 50% to get an extra $1.59 million out of the budget. Beebe blamed Republicans in the state legislature for the budget cuts, saying that they passed more tax cuts than he thought sound, and that the money for that had to come from somewhere. The cuts began days ago (July 1st).

Excuse me Governor. Two weeks ago you were telling us that you had to cut the money to foster children's programs because "the tax cuts had to be paid for somehow." Now, in an effort to keep Martin and his employees from getting some kudos, you claim that your own office is only going to need to spend 75% of the money allotted to it! You had the extra money in your own office all along, but instead of using it, you cut the kid's money and played the blame game.

Contrast the Governor's contemptible behavior with that of Secretary Martin. In the press release, Martin offers the savings from his office as a possible solution to the problem, "Our success at increasing the efficiency of the office has resulted in a clear benefit to the taxpayers. For example, this savings could be used to prevent the cuts in the foster care program, and if not, maybe they can be part of a future tax cut. Of course, that is a decision for the legislature and Governor to make.” Martin writes.


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What's Wrong With Hammer's "Religious Freedom" Act?

A member of "Westboro Baptist "Church"" protests at the funeral of a dead serviceman. Completely legal, right up to the edge of the casket? A Missouri judge thinks this behavior is protected by Missouri state law, and Kim Hammer's "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" would embolden such behavior right here in the Natural State.

When a panel of activists picked our Best Ten and Worst Ten lists of state legislators we got a lot of very positive feedback. The one sore spot was placing Rep. Kim Hammer of Benton on the "Dishonorable Mention" list. There were several reasons he made the list, but one of them was the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act." That struck a nerve even with some very good folks who thought it was a good bill. It's not a good bill. It has a good name, and it may have been sponsored with the best of intentions. But I don't evaluate policy by the intentions of those proposing it. I evaluate policy by it's probable consequences, both intended and unintended.

In the case of this bill, the probable outcome would be to encourage every oddball religious group that has a grudge against society to be as obnoxious as possible. But don't take my word for it, look at the text....

16-123-403. Religious freedom preserved.

29 (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, no

30 government entity shall burden a person’s free exercise of religion through

31 the enforcement of a rule of general applicability or otherwise.

32 (b) No government entity shall burden a person’s free exercise of

33 religion unless it demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that

34 application of the burden to the person and the specific act or refusal to

35 act is:

36 (1) Essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and
(2) The least restrictive means of furthering the compelling

2 governmental interest.

So if anybody gets to have arbitration for a legal matter whose results are recognized by our civil courts, then under this act a Muslim Sharia court has to get the same recognition, unless one of our screwed-up judges finds that the state has a "compelling interest" to stop it. This vague language gives far too much leeway to an already out of control judiciary whose values are mostly at cross-purposes with those of the American people.

And let's see how this law can be used like a club against a local government simply trying to make Muslims apply to the same laws as the rest of us, and stopping Westboro "Baptist" from desecrating the funerals of our service members...

18 (a)(1) A person whose exercise of religion has been burdened by a

19 government entity in violation of this subchapter may in any judicial or

20 administrative proceeding before a court or other tribunal of competent

21 jurisdiction assert the violation as a claim or defense.

22 (2) The court or tribunal may grant any combination of

23 declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and monetary damages deemed

24 appropriate for the violation.

25 (b) A person who prevails against a government entity in any

26 proceeding to enforce this subchapter may recover reasonable costs and

27 attorney’s fees.

They would feel secure knowing that if the authorities did not dot every "i" then they could easily get a free pass to break the law, and even win a lawsuit and get money off of it.

And if you think it far-fetched that something like the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" could be used to give Islamic Sharia courts the full backing of law then you had better think again. In England, a clause in the Arbitration Act said that if both parties agreed on an arbiter, then the courts were to back their rulings in certain areas of law. There are now 85 Sharia courts operating in England and their rulings are backed by domestic courts. Under Hammer's bill as I read it, if two Muslims agree that a Sharia Court will be the arbiter of their dispute, the government will not be able to shut it down without shutting down the arbitration process for everyone- and maybe not even then. Read the language of the bill and think about it through the eyes of a liberal judge.

How about noise ordinances with their 5 times a day "call to prayer?" As I read the bill, there is no "compelling government interest" behind noise ordinances and they would not carry the same weight as religious practices are given under this bill. If a city tried to fine a Mosque for noise ordinance violations or "disturbing the peace" with their prayer calls it would be the city itself on trial. The ordinances would be on trial, not the mosque. Just the way the law is written makes it so likely the city would lose a lawsuit that it would serve as a deterrent from even attempting to enforce laws on Muslims that it used to enforce on everyone.

Some people have tried to frame this as a 1st amendment issue. It's not. That says "CONGRESS shall make no law." The first amendment is a prohibition against the central government interfering in the free exercise of religion. The fact is, plenty of state governments had official state religions at the time of the adoption of the amendment and for decades afterward. They were not considered violations of the amendment because they knew it was a prohibition against central power.

The closer you get to the local level the more people should have the right to set the rules of their society as they see fit. Families for example, should have more leeway than cities or counties, who should be able to make more rules than states. The central government should have very little power to regulate personal behavior in a free society. That way, everyone can live in a place where the rules are more to their liking. Some people will like fewer restrictions, and some more. Let them all be free to have it their way. That's liberty.

The Founders would be shocked at the behavior of Westboro Baptist members. Every county in the country would have probably locked them up for it. I'd vote to do the same in my county, even if I would vote against making one rule for the whole state, much less the whole nation.

All Hammer's bill does is turn over to judges all decision-making power as to whose practices are allowed to trump the will of the majority of the local population and whose must bow to the will of the local authorities. Given their track record, this is an awful idea. Hammer's bill is written under the assumption that all religious practices are equal. They are not, and legislating against that reality is going to bring Westboro Baptist protests to every military funeral, Sharia Courts to our country by much the same route they came to England, and Rastafarians blowing dope smoke in your face- all in the name of "sincerely held religious beliefs."

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Ten Best Legislators in the State of Arkansas

Sometimes we can get stuck in a pattern where we over-dwell on the negative in our state government. It is too easy to forget that there are still a lot of true public servants in elected office. Our duty is to pray for all of them, our privilege is to honor those who serve well. Therefore it is with great pleasure that I present to you our list of the "ten Best" legislators in the state of Arkansas, as determined by a confidential panel of activists by these criteria. The "Bottom Ten", or "Ten Worst" list of Arkansas Legislators, click here.

1. Rep. David Meeks (R) Conway

When you have a situation where a number of legislators had very good records, (though none of them perfect), how do you decide who is number one on the list? What sets David Meeks apart is an attitude of service. He is the best listener in the ledge. A major difference between a demogouge and someone who simply listens to his constituents is why they are doing it. His style does not display the smallest trace of self-promotion. He does the right thing, for the right reason. He communicates with the grassroots better than probably any other legislator. When some people get power, they get haughty and view other power holders as the group they want to please. Meeks is true to his name, he has not a trace of haughtiness as he keeps the common people informed. He even deals with criticism with grace and discretion. That means he has the tools needed to get even better. Meeks listens to us, and there are some other legislators who ought to listen to him.

2. Rep. Bryan King (R) Green Forrest

Our panel thinks a lot of Bryan King, and apparently so does his caucus. The Republican House members voted him Minority Leader. With him serving as leader, they had the gumption to stand up to some less principled Republican senators on the issue of tax cuts. He was very active legislatively. He sponsored a lot of bills, and they were good bills. Did he get a lot of them passed? No, but some of those bills are going to be picked up next time and they will have more support as a result of his work this session. His voting record was as good as it got in the state house.

3. Duncan Baird (R) Lowell

Simply an outstanding legislator. He is the "gold standard" when it comes to legislative ethics. He has declared a "not one cup of coffee rule" from lobbyists. A sound social and fiscal conservative who understands where the system needs to be reformed. For example, his proposal to amend the constitution to create a "rainy day fund" would have addressed weaknesses in Arkansas' "Revenue Stabilization" laws that most don't even know exist.

4. Rep. Linda Collins-Smith (D) Pochahontas

Are you surprised to see a Democrat woman with a hyphenated last name from Nick Wilson's hometown on our top ten list? Don't be. Collins-Smith bucked her own party- at great personal and political cost, to do the right thing on a number of issues. That includes a bill that would defund abortion from any Arkansas version of Obamacare that is imposed on the state. Defending innocent human life is the first duty of a just government. Even many Republicans seemed to have forgotten that. Collins-Smith has not, and she took the heat for showing up the democrats posing as "conservative" for what they really are. Her own party may not appreciate her stand, but We the People take notice, and salute her for it.

5. Rep. Nate Bell (R) Mena

One of the few willing to stand up to the Governor and say "no" on the increased budget. Staunch opponent of Obeebecare. A strong proponent of individual property rights. He makes the list for how hard he fights the bad ideas, and how often he supports the good ones- not how many bills he can get passed. That's because most of our trouble is not that we have too few laws, but too many. If there was a place he could improve, it would be responding to criticism with grace equal to the panache he displays when going after the bad bills.

6. Rep Jon Hubbard (R) Jonesboro

What a welcome relief for the people of Jonesboro to have replaced the ultra-liberal Joan Cash with Jon Hubbard. He will not flinch at taking on the "hard issues." What often makes them "hard" is that they promote truth in an age of dishonesty in government. Health issues slowed him, but he would not let them stop him. Jon Hubbard is the Rooster Cogburn of the Arkansas legislature. He goes after the bad guys with "true grit."

7. Rep. Justin Harris (R) Prairie Grove

The liberals hate it that a guy who is conservative as Harris gets state money to operate his "God's Kingdom" daycare. I guess they expect his business to compete with people who take the money while he refuses? And of course the PC crowd tries to claim a monopoly on caring about children. Harris blows up the left's phony paradigm just by doing what he does and doing it well. He has an excellent voting record and a mild demeanor while dealing with activists and constituents. That meekness does not at all hinder him from being steadfast in pursuit of limited government.

8. Rep. Debbie Hobbs (R) Rogers

Most of her bills were too conservative to get passed, but she is game to try and keep pushing the bar forward. She is a friend of disabled children and transparency in how state government distributes money. A pro-liberty legislator who is strong on individual and state rights. Hobbs has a strong overall conservative vision. She has a keen grasp of the nuances of how the legislative process works. Give her a legislature a little less controlled by leftists (in both parties) and she could do some real good.

9. Rep. Andrea Lea (R) Russellville

Sometimes we get so excited over the bold bills that don't really have a chance of passing in this current environment, that we forget to appreciate some very smart legislators who support most of those bold bills, but who are also good at sponsoring more modest efforts which have a greater chance of success. Andrea Lea is an example of this type of legislator. Smart, conservative, ethical, and effective. That's a pretty good set of traits, and it puts Lea on the "Ten Best" list.

10. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R) Hot Springs

Take everything we just wrote about Andrea Lea and apply it to Bruce Westerman as well.


Honorable Mention

There were far more than ten legislators whose conduct merits praise. Even the "Honorable Mention" list is not all-inclusive of the good ones. It is a blessing for our state that this is so. Still, here are the ones who earned more than five points in the balloting, but did not get enough to make the "Ten Best" list. Congratulations to these honorables as well....

Rep. Allen Kerr (R) Little Rock
Senator Johnathan Dismang (R) Beebe
Rep. Jane English (R) Little Rock
Rep. Andy Mayberry (R) Little Rock
Rep. John Charles Edwards (D)Little Rock
Rep. Loy Mauch (R) Bismarck

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Ten Worst Legislators in the State of Arkansas

We present to you our list of the ten worst legislators in the state of Arkansas, as determined by a confidential panel of activists by these criteria. Tomorrow I hope to get past this "Rogues Gallery." Our "Ten Best" list will be revealed the 4th of July.

1. Senator Percy Malone (D) Arkadelphia
Lots of state legislators are wrong on the issues. Lots of them like to spend OPM on nanny-state nonsense and make-work jobs for the "connected." But to be the #1 "Worst Legislator" in the state of Arkansas you have to go further. Percy Malone combines his deeply flawed view of government with an unshakable belief that he is, in all things, right. While that may be good enough to make the top ten worst list, even that does not put him in a class by himself at the capitol. Hubris is all too common. What sets Mr. Malone at the top of the bottom is the extra step of considering it a moral imperative to be rude and nasty to those who fail to genuflect before his self-evident rightness. "Absolutely the most arrogant and liberal legislator I have ever personally met" notes one activist.

2. Rep. Eddie Cheatham (D) Crossett
Represetative Cheatham could only fail to garner the "#1 Worst" in a legislature which included Mr. Malone, and for many of the same reasons. He is a perfect example of the mindset which has held South Arkansas back for so long. His career largely consists of recycling failed old ideas and blocking new ones from getting a chance. He ran the education committee like the pharisees ran things. He would strain out a gnat (and then point to it as evidence of how properly he ran his committee) but then swallow a camel to improperly short-circuit the process when he did not like a bill. The southern gentleman facade comes off very quickly when things don't go his way. He will commit gross violations of procedure, "apologize" for the "misunderstanding", and then do it again when needed- so add two-faced to his other issues.

3. Representative Clark Hall (D) Marvell
A prime example of someone who deludes themselves into thinking they are a "conservative Democrat." Good ole' boy mannerisms and folksy talk paper over the voting record of a tax-and-spend liberal Democrat. The difference between Clark Hall and a NY Democrat is that the NY politician would be honest enough to admit that he is a liberal. While such double-mindedness is not uncommon, the reaction voters get when they shatter his illusory self-image with honest questions based on fact and reason is not. Why explain the contradictions in your record when you can just call people names? Why bother with reason when pounding the table harder always worked back home?

4. Senator Joyce Elliot (D) Little Rock
Elliot is against school choice and accountability, but in favor of taxpayers subsidizing people handing out condoms at a homosexual club. Tough on crime? Reform minded? Elliot actually wants more criminals in government. She sponsored a bill that would prohibit many state agencies from “inquiring into or considering the criminal history or criminal background” of job applicants! Just what we need, more criminals on state payrolls. And like all lefties, she has so many trendy ideas about what to do with your earnings. After all, unenlightened people like you would probably just blow it on your kids instead of something "progressive." No reports of her being belligerent to conservative activists but that may be a case of nobody bothering to approach her- we live on different planets.

5. Rep. Tracy Steele (D) North Little Rock

A crooked liberal with downright fascist tendencies. Don't like young men wearing pants hanging low? Pass a law against it! Seriously, he elevated student dress codes to a matter of state law. He's sneaky too. For example, it takes a certain number of members present to pass a bill out of committee. If he sees the vote is not going his way he will make eye contact with one or two of his partners in sleaze and they will just get up and walk out in the middle of the committee meeting. This is to prevent a vote from taking place. Hey, if you are against something, vote against it. But don't make a habit of short-circuiting the democratic process by acting like a Wisconsin Democrat who goes and hides to stop voting just because you might lose one. He is also personally corrupt. Lobbyists who approach him about bills might be told about how nice it would be if their industry would make a donation to his "foundation" for youth. Half the money raised by the foundation goes straight into his pockets.

6. Rep. Frederick J. Love (D) Little Rock
Occupation: "Grants Administrator." It's for folks that don't want the responsibility of being a "Community Organizer" but still like to hand out other people's money. If you think that is a dangerous life-experiences profile to put in charge of spending taxpayers dollars, then I think you'd be in a group that includes the overwhelming majority of the state's voters. He also sponsored a bill, passed into law even, that allowed a legislative committee on which he sits to order certain municipal officials to take training that they designate. His bill did not direct the Executive Branch to administer a program by which this function occurs, his legislative committee assumed the Executive job themselves! Usually, the courts and the executive usurp legislative power, but just to make sure the confusion is total, let's have legislative committees assume the duties of an executive department!

7. Senator Gilbert Baker (R) Conway
When Gilbert Baker is in charge of the "Loyal Opposition", there is no "Loyal Opposition." His propensity to cut deals with Beebe and other Democrats rather than take principled stands explains in part how the Governor has gotten away with so much even though on paper the Governor of this state is a relatively weak executive. His influence has waned as the number of Republicans who have taken a knife in the back from him over the years has grown. The blowback against his double-dealing reached a crescendo this last session when the House Republicans stood up to him and tabled all of his tax bills until he was willing to untable theirs. This last month he was in the papers talking about how proud he was to co-host a re-election fundraiser for Democratic Senator Larry Teague of Nashville, the President Pro Tem of the Senate. Sure almost all Republican Senators at least allowed their name to be used for the event, but as usual, he was out front pushing for it.

8. Rep. Jonathan Barnett (R) Siloam Springs

Considering how staunchly conservative his district is, they should have much better representation. It seems like this former member of the highway commission spent as much energy representing the commission as he did his district. It is OK to specialize in transportation, but Barnett’s time on the commission seems to have narrowed his imagination on solving transportation problems rather than giving him a strong foundation for improved solutions. Asking for a tax increase for your favorite commission during the Great Recession does not qualify as creative problem solving, especially on something that is supposed to be his strength! Plus, the “Carbon-Dioxide Storage Act.” Really?

9. Representative Buddy Lovell (D) Marked Tree

No matter what he calls himself, he's not your buddy. Especially if you don't like paying more taxes. Lovell seems focused on finding ways to scrape every last cent he can find out of your hands and into the hands of state government. Expanding and increasing the tax on communications equipment is one example. Giving the assessor more time to get around to your home to make sure you get charged every last cent they think you should pay is another. He even piddled with the sales tax. Not in way that would cost taxpayers a lot of money, but we were on alert about the major tax increase bills. These slip by and pile up without notice. Can't you even pretend you are not trying to shake us down for every penny by adding your name to the list of co-sponsors on one of the tax cuts that Gov. Beebe allowed?

10. Linda Tyler (D) Conway
Proving that not only boys can play the "good ole boy Conservative Democrat" game. Tyler definitely owes her seat to assurances to the people of her district that she was a "conservative democrat." Her voting however, was a lot more like Joyce Elliot than it was to a conservative legislator. The three criteria we went by were 1) positions on the issues, 2) character and integrity, and 3) effectiveness. She seems to have problems in two of those areas and is not particularly strong on the third.


Dishonorable Mention
- more than five points, but not enough to make the Bottom Ten

Sen. Sue Madison(D) Fayetteville- She will probably count it as a badge of honor because she does not hide the fact that she is very liberal. Honest, but honestly wrong.

Rep. Linda Chesterfield (D) Little Rock- the Identity Politics Queen of the Arkansas Legislature

Rep. Kim Hammer (R) Benton - Sponsored a so-called “religious freedom” act that advocates of Sharia law would love. He seems to have a grudge against people who want to trade in precious metals. He killed the open carry bill, despite his shifting story on it. And just in case you had too many choices on your ballot, he sponsored a bill making it harder for other parties to qualify for ballot access. A big-brother Republican.

Rep. Mark Biviano (R) Little Rock - posed as a “Tea Party” Republican, legislated as a “Crony Capitalism” Republican. Three of the nine bills he sponsored amounted to increased public subsidies of the Real Estate business. Biviano is a realtor. The other bills were not much to crow about either, including pork for already over-funded higher ed.

Sen. Jimmy Jeffress (D) Crossett - Another of the Southern Democrats whose view of government holds the region back. Against freedom to farm, and has a very similar personality profile to Percy Malone, just not the same magnitude of arrogance and obnoxiousness.