State Superintendent Candidates Debate at Marquette
By David Ade, March 28, 2017 News at 5
State Superintendent Tony Evers, and challenger Lowell Holtz had several heated exchanges in a debate Tuesday.
The two candidate are vying to run Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction.
Evers is seeking his third straight term in that role, while Holtz is trying to ascend to that position after running districts in Beloit and a Milwaukee suburb.
Tuesday's debate was hosted by Marquette University, and the candidates showed their differing opinions on school choice, funding for public schools, and how to address a statewide teacher shortage.
Holtz criticized Evers for a lack of results, while Evers touted state A.C.T. scores.
Tensions rose as Evers challenged Holtz' integrity.
The incumbent blasted his challenger over an accusation Holtz bribed primary opponent, John Humphries, to drop out of the race in exchange for a six-figure job.
Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Elections Commission said Holtz did NOT violate any state laws, and tossed a bribery complaint brought by a liberal advocacy group.
Evers and Holtz will meet again, Wednesday, at a forum in Madison. Video Clip here
by Theo Keith, Fox6.com March 28, 2017
MILWAUKEE -- One week before Election Day, things physical between the two candidates for state superintendent during a debate at Marquette University Law School.
As incumbent Tony Evers and challenger Lowell Holtz attacked each other for alleged corruption in the race, Evers clutched at Holtz's wrist for a few seconds.
"Do you want to hold my hand?" Holtz reacted.
"No, but I want to finish talking," Evers shot back, as the two talked over each other. "I want to finish talking."
Evers ripped his opponent over an alleged deal between Holtz and another candidate during the primary. Under the terms, one candidate would drop out and would get a $150,000 taxpayer-funded job and a driver if the other candidate won office. The person who exited the race would also get broad control over several major Wisconsin school districts, including Milwaukee Public Schools.
Holtz has confirmed bringing the proposal up at a meeting with then-opponent John Humphries in December, but has said the ideas came from unnamed businessmen and there was never an agreement.
"We had two of my opponents on the back of a napkin -- in your handwriting -- talking about (the deal)," Evers said.
"False. False. False," Holtz responded. "I never wrote anything down. Not a thing. Tell the story the right way or don't tell it at all."
It was the most heated exchange of a race that has gotten personal, and it comes one week before the April 4th election.
Holtz is supported by Republicans and school-choice advocates, while Evers is backed by unions and Democrats. They disagreed for much of Tuesday's debate, including over President Donald Trump's budget, which both candidates said would cut funding for teacher training. READ the Rest and see video clips here.
To Win Back What We’ve Lost: How Defenders of Religious Freedom Are Fighting to Reclaim International Law
by Benjamin Bull, Public Discourse March 24th, 2017
Benjamin Bull is chief counsel and executive director of ADF International, an alliance-building legal organization that advocates the right of people to freely live out their faith.
Despite conceding crucial legal and political ground for decades to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, opportunities abound for defenders of religious freedom to gain that ground back. The last two decades have witnessed a growing clash between European secularism and rising Islamic immigration, which has brought an increasingly aggressive Islamic voice to the politics and culture of the continent. This surge poses a double threat to Christian religious freedom in Europe and North America.
The first threat is that Islamic (Sharia) law restricts the ability of Christians to evangelize or even speak critically on the topic of Islam. The second is that radical secularism’s counteroffensive to Islam proposes to eradicate all religious distinctions in favor of the primacy of the state’s interest in assimilated citizens. This, too, has produced increasing limitations on the free exercise of religion in Europe—including Christian religious freedom.
If either of these versions of intolerance ultimately wins the battle for Europe, American courts will probably give credence to their diminished views of religious freedom. In the United States, we’re already seeing Canada’s version of this clash play out, as that country’s growing statism forces all religious faiths to conform to the lowest common state-sanctioned secular denominator. READ it HERE.
We also know the secular left has worked diligently to promote the globalization of law and cultural values and to centralize international governance through institutions like the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council, the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States, and the European Court of Human Rights. These institutions have been able to remove governance from—and overcome limitations and constraints imposed by—individual nations’ constitutions, legislative bodies, and democratic processes. READ it HERE
Vicki's podcast on Friday, March 24: interview with Rep. Glenn Grothman and Sen. Ron Johnson following Ryan's pull of the healthcare bill.
Photo: UW-LaCrosse Chancellor Joe Gow
UW-La Crosse parent says chancellor dismissed concerns about ‘orgasm’ emailer
By M.D. Kittle / March 23, 2017 WisconsinWatchdog.org
MADISON, Wis. – The mother of a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student claims the institution’s chancellor was willing to put student safety at risk to protect the career path of a dorm director who sent out a sexually explicit email to hundreds of university residents.
The incident received national attention in the fall of 2015, when Drake Hall Director Jude Legiste fired off an email to nearly 300 students instructing men on how to overcome the female “orgasm deficit.”
Titled, “You Gone Learn Today!!”, the message included “crude, salacious descriptions of how to achieve orgasm” through various methods, according to the Pioneer Press. What prompted Legiste to send the email or why he thought any student would want to read it remains unclear.
He later apologized in a follow-up email for failing to “create a community in which people feel safe and welcomed.” That mea culpa arrived after he sent a kind of clarification email insisting that some recipients viewed his tutorial as “helpful and an honest conversation on a topic that rarely gets discussed.” He acknowledged that others saw it as “offensive, creepy and that it was not my place to send it in the first place.”
Legiste, who described himself as an advocate of gender equity, suggested holding a hall forum, in the basement, or he said he would meet with students on an individual basis. READ it HERE
By Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | March 24, 2017 Center for Family & Human Rights
NEW YORK, March 24 (C-Fam) The world witnessed the United States returning to the pro-life fold after years of abortion advocacy from the Obama administration yesterday during the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
After the gavel fell signaling the adoption of the annual agreement of the commission, known as Agreed Conclusions, the United States delegation delivered a poignant pro-life statement.
International consensus on UN policy on “sexual and reproductive health” is that “it does not create new international rights, including a right to abortion,” the U.S. said.
The turn rolled back gains for abortion supporters, such as explicit mentions of abortion without the full spectrum of caveats from previous UN agreements that cast abortion in a bad light.
This year, the agreement not only omitted abortion, but qualified all references to “sexual and reproductive health,” “sexual and reproductive health-care services” and “reproductive rights” by referring to UN previous agreements saying abortion is not a right, committing nations to help women avoid abortion, and precluding them from promoting it as a method of family planning.
The United States said it, “does not support abortion in reproductive health assistance” and emphasized that “the U.S. is the largest bilateral donor of maternal, newborn and child health assistance and family planning.” This was a response to critics of the recently restored Mexico City Policy defunding groups promoting or performing abortion.
The agreement dealt a hard blow to European and Nordic countries that promote “comprehensive sexuality education” that teaches children younger than 4 about “early childhood masturbation,” LGBT rights, and legal prostitution.
A last-ditch attempt by the EU to remove caveats to the term “sexual and reproductive health” failed.
READ the Rest
by George Neumayr, March 20, 2017 American Spectator
After all the parsing at the Comey hearing, that remains the bottom line.
Straining at the tweet and swallowing the camel has become Washington’s favorite pursuit, and it was on tiresome display at Monday’s Congressional hearing with Jim Comey. Out of it came two clashing headlines: “Comey Denies Obama Ordered Wiretapping on Trump,” “The FBI is Investigating Trump’s Links to Russia.”
In other words, the core claim underlying Trump’s tweets is true: people acting on the authority of Obama opened an investigation into Trump’s campaign, then criminally leaked mention of it to friendly news outlets in an attempt to derail his election. When is Obama going to apologize for that?
Were the Republicans less feckless and docile to the media-determined parameters of any discussion, they would have kept the focus on the outrageousness of Obama investigating an opposing party’s candidate at the height of an election campaign. But their first instinct is always to distance themselves from Trump, not defend him.
So unlike Adam Schiff, who prosecuted the case for the Dems ruthlessly, the Republicans dithered, striking Comey with the flat of the blade. Instead of probing his vague answers, they complacently accepted them before trailing off into the next series of unilluminating questions.
“I have no information that supports those tweets,” Comey replied to one of Schiff’s leading questions. Why didn’t Republicans ask him to elaborate? Was he saying that the FBI didn’t investigate the computer server connected to Trump Tower (as reported by Circa News)? Was he saying that his investigation hasn’t intercepted a single one of Trump’s communications? He would have declined to answer these questions, but that refusal to answer would have cast doubt on the authority of his categorical denial. After all, if he can’t describe his investigation into the Trump campaign, how can anybody be sure that it excludes Trump’s communications?
Congressman Devin Nunes, the chairman of the committee, couldn’t match Schiff in partisan zeal and rigor, as evident in his giving Schiff fifteen minutes of opening remarks while restricting himself to five minutes of them. In his sheepish remarks, he defensively treated the media’s outrage at Trump’s tweet as if it were the first and most important matter that he needed to address. READ it HERE
by Glenn Greenwald March 16 2017, The Intercept
From MSNBC politics shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.
The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed. READ it HERE.
Don’t Let Culture Define Religious Liberty
by Joseph Sunde • March 17, 2017 Acton Institute Powerblog
When a fashion designer recently called for an industry boycott of Melania Trump due to her political beliefs, plenty of progressives called it brave and principled. Yet when Christian wedding photographers express their own disagreements or beliefs, acting on one’s conscience somehow becomes a “sticky issue.”
That’s how one student describes it in a series of interviews at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In their discussions, the Alliance Defending Freedom found total consensus among students that creative professionals should have the freedom to conduct business according to their beliefs. That consensus quickly began to break down when the “creative professional” in question was an evangelical Christian (vs. a Muslim singer or an anti-Trump fashion designer.) READ MORE
by Samuel Gregg, published at Public Discourse March 15, 2017
Samuel Gregg (shown above) is Research Director at the Acton Institute.
What does natural law say about the power of judges in constitutional systems of government?
When President Donald Trump announced his first nominee to the Supreme Court, many observers quickly noted that Neil Gorsuch wrote his doctoral thesis under the supervision of the Oxford legal philosopher John Finnis. Some immediately asked whether Gorsuch’s approach to constitutional interpretation might be shaped by the “New Natural Law Theory” (NNLT) pioneered by Finnis and others.
The columnist George Will, for instance, expressed the hope that Gorsuch might “effect a philosophic correction” to what Will regards as a lacuna in Justice Antonin Scalia’s theory of originalism. In his 1997 book A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law, Scalia wrote, “there is no such philosophizing in our Constitution, which, unlike the Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, is a practical and pragmatic charter of government.”
Will takes a different view. Natural rights, he claimed, may be “independent of the Constitution” insofar as they “are grounded in [human] nature.” But natural rights are also, Will stated, what the Constitution exists to protect. Will concluded by suggesting that the fact the Gorsuch studied under the author of Natural Law and Natural Rights (1980)—the book which some believe single-handedly revitalized natural law theory in jurisprudence and philosophy more generally—might foreshadow more attention to natural rights in Supreme Court deliberations.
No one can predict with certainty Gorsuch’s take on any question on which he might be called to deliberate if he receives Senate confirmation. But before too much ink is spilled speculating on whether natural law in general or NNLT in particular will influence Gorsuch’s thought, it is worth reflecting on two important prior questions. How does natural law theory view constitutionalism? And what does this mean for the exercise of judicial power? READ it HERE.