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What ELSE Have Minneapolis Airport Cops Been Up To?

August 30th, 2007 by Halli

Fair-minded readers may wish to read the details of another arrest and conviction at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.

Stephan Orzak, writing at Greencycle in Good News! details his arrest at the Minneapolis airport for riding a bicycle.

And yes, Sergeant Karsnia, the very police officer who arrested Senator Larry Craig, was involved in this case as well.

Orzak’s case, however, went to court and was heard by a jury. On August 18, Orzak was found guilty of nothing more serious than “Failure to Comply with a Lawful Order”.

Sound eerily similar to Craig’s “Disorderly Conduct” charge and guilty plea?

Check it out.

I’m anxious for your comments.

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Posted in Politics in General | 7 Comments »

Larry Craig: Guilty, or Just Guilty of “Pleading Guilty”?

August 30th, 2007 by Halli

There are many holes in the accusations against Larry Craig.

So many holes, in fact, that the Idaho Statesman has invested tens of thousands of dollars and months of Dan Popkey’s life to investigate Larry Craig’s sexual orientation and behavior over the past 40 years, but DID NOT GO PUBLIC with anything until they learned Craig had pleaded guilty to “disorderly conduct” in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.

Dan Popkey admits every lead he followed (including allegations from Craig’s college days at the University of Idaho in the late ’60’s) failed to yield one single verifiable event. Dan Popkey says:

The Statesman followed dozens of leads about alleged sexual partners. Two prevalent rumors swirl around two men who are dead. The Statesman has found no written record of sexual intimacy between those men and Craig. Relatives of those men are dead, unaware of proof to substantiate the rumors, or unreachable.

Two other alleged partners unequivocally denied having been intimate with Craig. Other accounts are simply unfounded. Some were inconclusive.

Nevertheless, Monday’s news of Craig’s plea unleashed a torrent of accusations, innuendo, rumor, hearsay and gossip in the pages of the Statesman, (and from countless other media outlets), all of which is much more sensational that the simple admission that the accounts were “denied…unfounded…inconclusive.”

The police case against Craig is thin, at best. All of the actions he is alleged to have engaged in can have simple and innocent explanations. Craig never voiced an intent to engage in homosexual sex with the policeman.

So what is Senator Craig actually guilty of?

Why, he’s guilty of pleading guilty.

And for that crime he has already been punished with nearly unprecedented media attention, ridicule, and the loss of committee leadership positions. He is being urged to resign by members of his own party, members who might once have been called friends, who might also have been expected to come to the defense of an otherwise dignified and effective senator.

After decades of honorable public service, Craig faces shame and disgrace throughout the remainder of his life, wherever and however he chooses to spend it.

Granted, it is difficult to claim innocence after a guilty plea.

But enough questions remain that the Senator ought to have been given the benefit of the doubt. As Sean Hannity observed, the story just doesn’t add up. (For tongue-in-cheek advice to Craig which showcases the preposterous premises on which the charges are based, read Varifrank’s “In Defense of Larry Craig“.)

There is more to this than we’ve been told.

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Posted in Family Matters, Politics in General | 3 Comments »

Guest Post: David Ripley Statement on Senator Larry Craig

August 30th, 2007 by Halli

David Ripley, Executive Director of Idaho Chooses Life, issued the following statement to Idaho’s Channel 6 in reaction to the swirl of controversy and innuendo surrounding U.S. Senator Larry Craig:

First of all, let me say that our prayers go out to Senator Craig and his family as they publicly endure this tragic set of circumstances.

Secondly, I would ask that folks take a breath and give this situation some time before making judgments. My own perspective is greatly colored by the despicable campaign of the Idaho Statesman and their ace pitcher, Dan Popkey. It’s just about the sleaziest “journalism” I’ve ever heard of. It is difficult to overestimate the emotional and psychological impact his year-long “investigation” would have on any of us. And I know of no one who could endure such scrutiny unscathed.

I believe Senator Craig has earned the benefit of any doubt. At a minimum, I hope he is able to fulfill his term because he has largely done right by the people of Idaho.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Politics in General | No Comments »

Guest Post: Sadly, Resignation Seems Appropriate for Senator Craig

August 29th, 2007 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

I listened very carefully to every word Sen. Larry Craig spoke yesterday afternoon during his press conference, in his effort to offer an innocent explanation for his actions surrounding his June 11 arrest in a Minneapolis airport men’s room.

Sadly, his comments were unconvincing and unpersuasive. He unfortunately chose not to address his conduct on June 11, and yet his most important responsibility yesterday was to directly address the events of that day and explain his actions.

His failure to provide a convincing alternative leaves observers with little choice but to come to the conclusion that his guilty plea was in fact an acknowledgement on his part that he engaged in inappropriate behavior.

Unfortunately, it appears that the appropriate and right thing for the senator to do at this point is to step down. Character is an essential qualification for public office, and the senator, by his own admission, has acknowledged that his behavior has fallen short of the conduct we should expect from public servants.

The senator also has probably lost the credibility necessary to be a leader on pro-family issues.

Idaho families need a senator who is in a position to serve as the point man on important social issues and provide the visible leadership that Idaho families need at the national level. It will be difficult for Sen. Craig to fill that role from this point forward.

One significant feature of yesterday’s press conference is that there were virtually no Republican Party leaders in attendance, and, further, party leaders seem to have draped a blanket of silence over the entire party apparatus.

Virtually no highly placed Idaho Republican has gone on record in support – wholehearted or otherwise – of the senator. The best that party leaders have been able to say so far is that they take the senator at his word and hope the public will not rush to judgment. This tepid support may be an indication that the senator’s GOP colleagues believe there is substance to the charges, and are finding it difficult to publicly affirm the senator or defend his behavior.

But courtesy for their colleague restrains them from public criticism, and the result is a kind of eerie and unsettling silence that has settled over Republicans statewide.

The lack of public backing from his friends in the party is perhaps the most telling sign that the senator’s effectiveness as a lawmaker has probably been fatally weakened, and that it might be a gracious thing on the senator’s part to hand his mantle to someone who can take his place without being saddled with the weight of his current problems.

Idahoans will always have reason to be grateful to Sen. Craig for the leadership that he has provided on social issues in his long and distinguished career in Congress. He has been a consistent voice and a consistent vote for legislation that protects the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage and the family, and has left a proud legacy of support for family-friendly policies. No one can take that from him..

We recognize that ultimately what the senator chooses to do is between him and his family and his God, and we will respect whatever decision he makes. Should he decide to serve out his term, we will continue to work with him to do good things for the families of Idaho and America.

God’s character is a perfect blend of justice and compassion. These qualities are, in fact, two sides of the same coin, and should always be on display in any action we take. Justice keeps mercy from becoming sentimental and weak. And mercy tempers justice to keep it from being harsh, angry and punitive.

Justice, I believe, indicates that it would be appropriate for the senator to step down, and compassion dictates that there be no rancor or bitterness in the process, and that the senator and his family be held in our thoughts and in our prayers.

Above all it’s a time for the faith community in Idaho to continue to pray for the senator, his wife and his family. This entire experience must be excruciating for them all, and lifting them up in prayer for healing, restoration and guidance is perhaps the best way to blend righteousness and mercy as we navigate our way through a troubled time. Regardless of what happens in the near future, it is incumbent upon us all to pray that God will guide the senator into a brighter and better future.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Politics in General | No Comments »

The Next GOP Presidential Straw Poll

August 28th, 2007 by Halli

It’s always interesting to participate in a poll and then view the results. Sentiments change and candidates come and go.

Cast your votes and check out the status of your favorite Republican presidential candidate(s).

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Posted in Politics in General | No Comments »

Guest Post: Major Scientific Problems for Global Warming Alarmists

August 28th, 2007 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Published – Idaho State Journal, 08/26/07

It would appear that the man-made global warming Nazis may have to go back to the drawing board on their “strategery” to usurp capitalistic consumption freedom from us. NASA very quietly last week changed their data of the hottest 10 and subsequently, hottest 100 U.S. years on record.

It seems a couple of very perspicacious scientists from Toronto, Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, found a problem with NASA’s data. To make a long story short, the incorrect data essentially had a Y2K (Year 2000) glitch that erroneously bumped the data readings from not just 2000 on, but even 1998, global-warming crusaders “hottest year” on record.

Not only have the global warming believers maintained that 1998 was the hottest year on record, but that five of the top ten hottest years have been in the last ten years. But because of the discovery by McIntyre and McKitrick, the temperature data that NASA used to compile the temperatures in 1998 have been corrected. The “hottest year on record” is no longer 1998, but 1934. Another alleged hot year, 2001, has now dropped out of the top 10 altogether, and most of the rest of the 21st century – 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 – plummeted even lower down the hot 100. In fact, every supposedly hot year from the nineties and this decade has had its temperature rating reduced. Four of our top 10 hottest years turn out to be from the 1930s. Yet CO2 emissions have skyrocketed over the past 15 years. So where’s the empirical correlation between surface temperatures (or even atmospheric temperatures) and CO2 emissions? Don’t feel alone if you fail to see any correlation.

James Hansen, the vaunted top NASA scientist for climate studies, has been actively evangelizing for global warming causes for years, and is over the department at NASA that monitors and publishes the climatologic readings on global temperatures. As active a proponent as he has been, it’s hard to say whether he knowingly published the bad data, or was clueless on the underlying math used to chart the trends. I will not attempt to ascribe a motive but I’m sure others will, especially since he has admitted exaggerating global warming claims in the past.

Although the adjustment figures were slight, they make a significant difference in terms of average temperatures. And it makes a huge difference to one of the primary arguments the AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) proponents have offered as evidence of mankind induced environmental warming which is the “Hockey Stick” graph. That’s the now famous depiction of global temperatures illustrating the sharp and rapid increase in temperatures in the past century. The data rise so fast for the computer model that the resulting chart resembles a hockey stick, with the sharply rising blade indicating the latest readings. Now with the corrected data, the chart more closely resembles the landscape of Kansas with a little mole hill around the 1930’s and a few spikes here and there, but nothing close to the hockey stick metaphor implemented previously to indicate a sharply increasing warming trend.

But that isn’t all. Not only was the underlying data incorrect, but there was a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce the hockey stick chart. The developer of the program generating the chart was University of Massachusetts scientist Michael Mann who purported to use a standard method known as “principal component analysis,” or PCA, to find the dominant features in a set of more than 70 different climate records. But the same two Toronto scientists, McIntyre and McKitrick, have found serious problems with the program itself. Not only does the program not handle conventional PCA, but it “handles data normalization in a way that can only be described as mistaken,” according to McIntyre.

The real shocker, according to MIT’s Technology Review, was “This improper normalization procedure tends to emphasize any data that do have the hockey stick shape, and to suppress all data that do not. To demonstrate this effect, McIntyre and McKitrick created some meaningless test data that had, on average, no trends. This method of generating random data is called Monte Carlo analysis and is widely used in statistical analysis to test procedures. When these random data were fed into the Mann program, out popped a hockey stick shape!”

In other words, it’s like a pitcher that may be pitching just about everywhere except over the plate, and the umpire sees every pitch as a strike. That’s what the computer model was doing with the slightly adulterated data; calling “strikes” even when the data was a “ball.” So much for the primary graphic metaphor for the global warming crowd.

As I said nearly a year ago, contrary to recent assertions, every reasonable person should question AGW. The only “proof” that I’m aware of validating AGW is a computer model. Anyone with knowledge of computers knows how a model can easily be tweaked to provide whatever result is desired. It appears that’s exactly what’s been happening.

Since AGW is more faith based than fact-based, I’m sure the AGW evangelists will have ample explanations and excuses for why the data doesn’t corroborate their assertions. We should see through such efforts as no more than dogmatic efforts to substantiate their pantheistic religion based on faith, for it obviously is not based on science as they purport. But in the meantime, those of us who are “deniers” can add to our scientific documentation on the falsehoods of the alarmists claims.

And for those who mockingly and smugly refer to us nonconforming skeptics as “deniers,” let’s just say this mockery of the scientific method by some of your premier proponents doesn’t lend itself to much credibility in the rest of your claims. And don’t blame us that we’re not as gullible or as anxious to take that Kierkegaardian leap of faith as you have been.

With the correction of James Hansen and NASA’s warmest years list, Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” chart discredited, and the debunking of the computer model generating that false association between global temperatures and man-made CO2 emissions, the primary arguments of the AGW advocates have been discredited. But you know they’ll come back with a vengeance with whatever “evidence” they can muster. But now that we know their fraudulent tactical approach, we will be more wary of them than ever.

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Posted in Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Taxes | 1 Comment »

Romney Criticizes Senator Larry Craig

August 28th, 2007 by Halli

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney hit Larry Craig hard during a CNBC taping (to be broadcast later) with Larry Kudlow, reports Johnathan Martin.

Senator Craig was charged with a misdemeanor for engaging in actions “often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct” in a men’s restroom in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport – behavior that Romney called “disgusting”. Craig later plead guilty to the charge, causing many supporters to doubt his protestations to the contrary in an official statement.

According to the CNBC FirstRead website, Romney observed:

“Once again, we’ve found people in Washington have not lived up to the level of respect and dignity that we would expect for somebody that gets elected to a position of high influence. Very disappointing. He’s no longer associated with my campaign, as you can imagine. … I’m sorry to see that he has fallen short.”

Craig was one of two senate co-chairs of Romney’s campaign, but to avoid “distraction” from the campaign, resigned his position.

Romney has moved quickly to disassociate himself from the tainted legislator by restricting access to a YouTube video in which Craig praises the former Massachusetts governor.

Romney continues in the interview:

“I think it reminds us of Mark Foley and Bill Clinton. I think it reminds us of the fact that people who are elected to public office continue to disappoint, and they somehow think that if they vote the right way on issues of significance or they can speak a good game, that we’ll just forgive and forget. And the truth of the matter is, the most important thing we expect from elected–an elected official is a level of dignity and character that we can point to for our kids and our grandkids, and say, `Hey, someday I hope you grow up and you’re someone like that person.’ And we’ve seen disappointment in the White House, we’ve seen it in the Senate, we’ve seen it in Congress. And frankly, it’s disgusting.”

Some regard Romney’s actions and comments as unforgiving and a rush to judgment. Perhaps we don’t know all the facts, they argue.

And certainly, Romney has been quick to sacrifice Craig in an effort to preserve his image as the family values candidate.

But can any reasonable person conclude Craig is innocent, in light of his guilty plea? Why would an innocent man admit guilt in a court of law?

We can only conclude that Craig is just what he said he is – guilty.

Romney has done the only thing he could: jettisoned dangerous and risky baggage.

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Posted in Politics in General | No Comments »

Guest Post: Idaho Values Alliance Regretfully Calls for Senator Craig’s Resignation if Accusations are True

August 28th, 2007 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer of Idaho Values Alliance

By now virtually all of America is aware that Idaho’s Sen. Larry Craig pled guilty on August 8 in Minnesota to a charge that he engaged in lewd behavior in an airport restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. (The charge was technically reduced to disorderly conduct.)

There are disturbing questions raised by the police report (which you can read here) that the senator needs to address in full, so that Idahoans will have all the information they need to make an informed judgment about what happened and how it reflects on Sen. Craig’s fitness to continue in public office.

The report suggests that the senator was familiar with the protocol used by homosexuals to arrange anonymous sexual encounters, which, if true, indicates that this is not the first time the senator has practiced this behavior.

According to the Minnesota Monitor, the restroom where the senator was arrested is “well known among men who seek sex in public places.” Directions to this particular restroom are posted on a gay website bulletin board, and one visitor to the website said, “This is the best spot for anonymous action I’ve ever seen.”

The police officer had no motive to lie, particularly since he did not know who was in the adjacent stall at the time, whereas the senator, out of simple self-protection, had reason, when the events came to light, to shape them in a way that put his conduct in the best possible light.

It strains credulity to think that the senator can provide an explanation for his guilty plea if he did nothing more than accidentally brush someone’s foot with his shoe and pick up a piece of paper off the floor.

The Judeo-Christian tradition says that the standard for identifying the truth is that “by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact is confirmed.” The senator’s guilty plea, when added to the officer’s testimony, satisfies the biblical standard for confirming the essential truth of what happened, and unless the senator can provide a compelling and convincing explanation for his plea, we will need to regretfully accept that the fact of his behavior has been established. It seems unlikely that he can “unring the bell” his guilty plea has sounded.

If the senator did indeed engage in the behavior to which he pled guilty, then the appropriate thing for him to do is to resign from office. Character is an essential qualification for public service, and the essence of character is what you do when you do not think anyone is looking.

Additionally, the senator will need time to focus on his own rehabilitation and the needs of his family, and it will be virtually impossible for him to do that given the enormous demands placed on a senator’s time and energy.

Respect for the senator and courtesy for him and his family does suggest that he be given an opportunity to provide a satisfactory explanation for his conduct and his guilty plea, and answer tough and direct questions about the episode. If his answers prove unsatisfactory, the right thing for him to do will be to step down from public office.

Regardless of how this circumstance turns out, the families of Idaho will always owe Sen. Craig a debt of gratitude for his faithful advocacy for public policies that protected the sanctity of human life and the American family.

As the Executive Director of the Idaho Values Alliance, I received approximately five dozen emails and phone calls from homosexuals and gay sympathizers from all over the country yesterday afternoon and evening. The one thing they all shared in common was an unseemly glee over the senator’s apparent fall from grace.

Not one expressed compassion for the senator, or for the toll this incident must be taking on his family. To have such utter disregard for the anguish involved in this circumstance, from the very people who pride themselves on their compassion, is both revealing and disappointing. Perhaps they are not the paragons of tolerance they imagine themselves to be.

It is certainly time for people of faith to pray for Senator Craig and for his family, and my wife and I will be among those who lift him up before the God of grace and mercy.

One larger issue must be addressed. The Republican Party platform clearly rejects the agenda of homosexual activists. The Party, in the wake of the Mark Foley incident in particular, can no longer straddle the fence on the issue of homosexual behavior. Even setting Senator Craig’s situation aside, the Party should regard participation in the self-destructive homosexual lifestyle as incompatible with public service on behalf of the GOP.

No member of the Republican Party in the 1860s could represent his party and be a slaveholder at the same time. Nor can the Republican Party of today speak with authority and clarity to the moral issues that confront our society and at the same time send ambivalent messages about sexual behavior. It is time for the Republican Party to be the party that defends the American family in word, deed, and by personal example.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Politics in General | 1 Comment »

Breaking News: Senator Larry Craig Pleads Guilty to Disorderly Conduct after Investigation of Sexual Activity

August 27th, 2007 by Halli

Rumors of homosexuality have swirled around Senator Larry Craig for years, though no credible individual has come forward with hard evidence.

The tide may now be turning against the Senator, however.

Boise’s Fox 12 website reports that the charge of disorderly conduct resulted from a June 11 lewd conduct investigation of the Senator. While using a restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, Senator Craig allegedly engaged in actions involving a plain-clothes police officer which indicated he “wish[ed} to engage in lewd contact.”

The Washington Post reports:

While he was being interviewed about the incident, Craig gave police a business card showing that he is a U.S. senator. “What do you think about that?” Craig asked the officer, according to the report obtained by Roll Call.

Craig actually pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge and paid $575 in fines, while a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. The Senator is on one-year, unsupervised probation.

Craig apparently had second thoughts about his plea. In a statement posted on his website he said:

“At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct. I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously.”

A guilty plea for “misconstrued actions”? Failure to secure the services of an attorney? A year of probation for Idaho’s senior legislator? What did he think he was handing the officer? A “get-out-of-jail free” card?

The consequences will now be anything but quick and expeditious.

And it has already begun: The Boston Globe reports that Craig has already stepped down as Senate Co-Chair of the Romney presidential campaign. Shortly after the arrest report went public, the Romney campaign also changed to “private” the status of a YouTube video of Craig praising Romney.

Because of Craig’s guilty plea, the Senate ethics committee may review the incident, though committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer would not comment last night.

This incident should shake the Idaho Republican party to its foundation. Craig has been nothing if not the paragon of decorum during his years in office, rising to leadership in powerful senate committees and commanding decisive victories over all challengers. All that was apparently thrown in the trash bin during a moment of impropriety.

If your name is Rex Rammell, Jim Risch, or Larry LaRocco, you are privately celebrating tonight.

If your name is Larry Craig, home in Idaho on the August recess, you are kicking yourself around the house and wondering where you stashed the toupee, fake mustache and dark glasses.

And the decision about an additional term may just have been made for you.

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Posted in Politics in General | 4 Comments »

Guest Post: The Small Patch on Which Pro-Abort Politicians Stand

August 27th, 2007 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

The Elliot Institute, one of the nation’s leading centers for research on the impact of “easy abortion”, just released a fascinating article on the politics of abortion rights.

They raise serious questions about the assumptions many in politics and the media make about abortion, especially the idea that “abortion rights” is a major concern of American women. Indeed, the source of their analysis is a public opinion study conducted by the pro-abortion “Center for the Advancement of Women”.

When asked by pollsters paid by the group, women ranked “preserving abortion rights” as a low political priority. 92% of women interviewed were very concerned about domestic violence; 74% named getting more time off work to care for family as a big priority. And 72% listed the plague of drug and alcohol addiction as a big priority for state and federal governments.

By contrast, only 41% mentioned “preserving abortion rights” anywhere on their multi-issue list.
Part of the surprising analysis is related to the fact that most women – particularly those who endured abortions – recognize abortion as a terrible choice. The Elliot Institute itself conducted a national survey in 2002. One of its more important findings came in response to the following question:

“When a woman has an abortion, do you generally think it makes her life better, worse, or has little impact?”

Only 16% of those interviewed believed that a woman’s life was improved by undergoing an abortion. 52% said they thought abortion made women’s lives worse. Even “pro-choice” women admitted that an abortion likely damages a woman’s life.

It has been said that abortion is no favor to women. This research strongly suggests that the American public recognizes this fact.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

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