Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April 13, 2011

Did a Michigan Town Ban Tea Party Signs in Public Parks? | The Blaze
"The Common Sense Patriots of Branch County–a tea party group–has filed a lawsuit in federal court objecting to the city of Coldwater’s ordinance prohibiting the posting of signs in a public park."

"A federal lawsuit claims a Branch County tea party group was denied the right to display banners and signs at a tea party rally at a public park in Coldwater because it was “too political” and “too controversial.” The Coldwater City Council then passed a resolution banning all banners and signs in that park.
The Thomas More Law Center law firm filed its lawsuit last week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Attorney Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center alleged that Coldwater City Manager Jeff Budd objected because the Common Sense Patriots of Branch County were “too political” and “too controversial.”
Coldwater, MI is about 30 miles west of Hillsdale, where my son attends college.  Nothing against the good folks in Coldwater, but we spent a couple terrifying nights in a Super 8 Motel there.  The hotel we originally booked had some sort of "mechanical problems" so they moved us to the Super 8.  When we arrived,  they didn't have us on "the list" and had no rooms.  No worries,  the front desk clerk walked down the hall to "look in a few rooms to see if any were empty. " I am not making this up!  She found a room for us and the next day we returned to the hotel to find that the room below us had been sealed by the police - apparently it was a meth lab. When my key card didn't work in our room, the nice tattooed and pierced desk clerk was happy to re-program it for me, no name or ID required,  I simply told him what room number I wished to enter.   At the breakfast "buffet" there was a sign that said (all caps),  "ONLY ONE DOUGHNUT PER PERSON!!"   Apparently, someone didn't heed the sign, as there were no doughnuts at all when we arrived.  In fact there was no food whatsoever.  Or coffee.   Our room also featured a toilet that leaked onto the bathroom floor and a security lock that was broken, as if someone had broken the door down from the outside.  

On the plus side,  Coldwater does have a mighty fine BW3's and a fantastic thrift store.   I hope these Tea Party folks prevail in their fight for free speech in a public park.  

While we're in the netherlands of Michigan,  Roll Call had a nice story about Hillsdale's College and it's new Kirby Center for Constitutional studies in D.C.:

‘Conservative Citadel’ Comes to Capitol Hill : Roll Call Around the Hill
"The Michigan college that National Review once touted as a “citadel of American conservatism” is making its mark on Capitol Hill...
...Late last year, the private college opened the Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship at 227 Massachusetts Ave. NE, a stone’s throw from the Capitol, to hold classes for students in its internship program and host public events and lectures....
... The Hill is already turning to the center as a resource, [Kirby Center Director David J.] Bobb said, thanks to the newfound fervor for the Constitution. With the reading of the document at the start of the 112th Congress and the new Constitutional Authority Statement required for bills in the House, Bobb said Hillsdale is looking forward to using its D.C. location to engage with Members.
“This is precisely what we exist to do — to foster debate and to make an argument that the Constitution means something,” Bobb said. “There’s a tendency for some Members to say that you have to be an attorney or a judge to weigh in on the Constitution, and we think that is contrary to the understanding the founders had and what we ought to have today.”...
 ...According to Hillsdale spokesman Joe Cella, about 20 alumni work on the Hill in positions ranging from legislative assistant to chief of staff.
They bring with them an education steeped constitutional principles, limited government and individual liberty — a decidedly conservative take on the typical liberal arts education. 
In keeping with its mission, the college operates completely without federal or state funding. Students take a core curriculum modeled on a classical liberal arts education with a required course on the Constitution, keeping with its mission statement of “maintaining inheritance from the Judeo-Christian faith and Greco-Roman culture....
...[Bentley] Graves, a 2005 graduate who studied political economy and moved to D.C. for a Heritage Foundation internship before joining King’s team, said he credits Hillsdale with developing his political ideology. He noted, however, that the college’s educational experience focuses on the intellectual side of conservatism rather than a political agenda.
“One thing that people always think about when they hear conservative college is Republican factory, but honestly, over my time there I became much more conservative than I was knee-jerk Republican,” Graves said. “And I think a lot of kids come out of Hillsdale that way, with a much greater appreciation for what it means to be a limited government, constitutional conservative and more motivated by that than pure politics.” 
Economic Liberty and the Constitution
Hillsdale College's Allen P. Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship will be hosting an Online Constitution Town Hall on "Economic Liberty and the Constitution" on Saturday, April 16, 2011.  It's FREE, FREE, FREE!!  All you have to do is register online to watch the event live (it will also be archived on the website a few days after the event if you miss it).  Most of us won't have the opportunity to attend Hillsdale College, but these online events give us a chance to learn from Hillsdale professors and scholars and experience what the students hear each and every day in their classes.   Here is the schedule for the event:
Saturday, April 16, 2011        
10 - 10:15 a.m. (EDT) 'Choosing Liberty': Welcome and Introduction
The Honorable Mike Pence
U.S. Representative, Sixth District of Indiana
Today citizens must choose whether they will live as citizens, or subjects.

10:15 - 11: 15 a.m. (EDT) 'How Our Economic Liberty Has Been Diminished'
Dr. Paul Moreno
Grewcock Chair in Constitutional History, Hillsdale College
Economic liberty was revered by the Founding Fathers, who enshrined its principles in the Constitution. A hundred years ago, those tenets were attacked by the Progressives, who saw property rights as the protection of special interests, and our Constitution's structure as an impediment to progress as they defined it.

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (EDT) 'How Our Economic Liberty Can Be Restored'
Dr. Larry P. Arnn, President, Hillsdale College
Economic liberty can be restored as decisively as it has been lost, but a restoration of constitutional principles cannot happen without citizen understanding and vigilant defense of the principles of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

David Cameron brands 'all white' Oxford University a disgrace - Telegraph
"On a visit to the north of England, the Prime Minister singled out Oxford for criticism when he accused elite institutions of having a 'terrible record' of enrolling teenagers from state schools.
Senior officials at the university described the figure as 'highly misleading' as it related only to British students who described themselves as black Caribbean. They said Oxford admitted another 27 students who described themselves as black African and another 14 who were mixed race."
Oxford defended itself, saying that only 452 black students across the country had met it's rigorous admissions standards.  So should Oxford lower its standards?
"Graham Stuart, the Conservative chairman of the Commons education select committee, suggested that the Government's approach was wrong. 'The problem we have with various minority groups in this country who don't get into the best universities is that they don't receive a sufficiently good education in the first place,' he said.
'You don't solve that by forcing institutions with high standards to lower their intakes, you deal with it by improving the standards of state education for all. That's the betrayal and the scandal here – we don't provide good enough education in our schools. 
'We let down the poorest and those from ethnic minorities and that's what we have got to put right, not blame Oxford for the situation we've got ourselves into."
The larger issue seems to be the state of "state schools" in the country:

"The Prime Minister, who studied at Brasenose College, Oxford, said leading universities did not have a good record when it came to admitting state school pupils, claiming the numbers had gone down in the past 20 years. “That is a terrible record,” he said. 
An Oxford spokesman said the university was “fully committed” to admitting the most able students regardless of background. “The fact remains that there is a real issue around attainment in schools,” she said."
Britain has a fledgling school choice movement and is now experimenting with "Free Schools" in response to parental demands. 
"Free Schools are all-ability state-funded schools set up in response to what local people say they want and need in order to improve education for children in their community."
As of September 2010, only 16 free schools had won approval from the government.  
  "The group behind the King's Science Academy, a free school due to open in Bradford, is driven by a vision of liberating inner city children from 'ghettoisation'. Sajid Hussain, a science teacher and assistant head who hopes to lead the new secondary school, said: 'We hope to teach good manners. We're looking at a sense of responsibility, social conduct, sitting down and dining. Independent schools are quite good at this kind of stuff.'...
...James Turner, projects and policy director of the trust, said the group was aiming for a school which is 'very academically focused' and encouraged pupils to apply for elite universities.
'We want to be clear that coming from a poor background does not preclude success – students from these areas can get good qualifications in valued subjects and gain access to top universities. We're addressing the inverse snobbery which says that 'people like you' don't go to certain universities or follow certain career paths or achieve at the highest levels.'"
Of course,  the teacher's unions and education establishment types are all for these innovative schools because they'll go to any lengths to raise student achievement.

Ha! You didn't fall for that, did you?
 "The new schools, many more of which are expected to be approved in coming years, could also pose a challenge to the teaching unions because they emphasise raising standards through longer hours and more flexible teaching. Both methods could prove contentious."
 The approval process is now getting bogged down in building codes and disagreements about whether profits should be permitted.  

As an aside, I think the whole concept of counting people by their skin color is offensive.  As a Christian, I believe we are all "one blood," descended from Adam.:
"And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26).
 The rest is just variations in pigment and melanin. 


ChrisM said...

Thanks for the post! Good perspective.

Your last comment, however, I just had to say something about. I completely agree that every person on earth is of the same essence biologically and spiritually, and for this very reason I think we have to count people by their skin color. We shouldn't have to, but we do. Minorities (in America) are under and over represented in segments of society that causes them overall harm. This indicates that there is a relationship between a person's skin color and his or her economic and political standing.

I think as Christians we need to be especially attentive to counts that control for ethnicity because we are called to end injustice and advocate for the disadvantaged. "I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy."

If we want to join God in his work of bringing justice to the poor, then we have to be aware of the social impact of ethnicity.

Paula said...

I think we ought to be aware and do our part to eliminate racism where it exists in our society. I don't think racial quotas and lower standards for minorities are the answer.

I think a big part of giving opportunities to those in poverty is school choice. Parents are desperate to get their children out of failing schools and places exist where students can get a decent education and have a chance at a better future. Let's get this done already!

ChrisM said...

Yes, I agree there!