There's little to disagree with concerning U.S. District Court Judge Keith Starrett's ruling that an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), Thomas Payne, had no First Amendment claim against USM.Payne has been outspoken about his faith in class or during class activities. One graduate student told of Payne encouraging her to pray and said "anyone who is not a Christian is going to hell." Payne didn't contest that he made the statements but disagreed that what he said was inappropriate. Furthermore, Payne claimed USM retaliated against him through negative performance reviews as well as by not promoting him. Payne believes USM's policy had a "chilling effect" on his First Amendment rights "to express [his] Christian walk in the workplace."Judge Starrett ruled that the First Amendment provides faculty members at public colleges and universities considerable latitude about what they may say. But, he maintained, the First Amendment does not restrict a state university from cautioning professors against making statements that favor one religion or another, and that may seem to insult the religious views of some students.People can argue about whether "cautioning" means "warning" or purposely setting a professor up for firing. But, what interests The Motley Monk about this case is the graduate student's claim that Payne's statements caused many students to feel "uncomfortable." The graduate student noted that there was at least one non-Christian (an international student who was Hindu) enrolled in the class.There are a lot of beliefs--perhaps not religious beliefs, but beliefs nonetheless--that opinionated professors, and especially liberal professors, preach from the bully pulpit of their classrooms. Oftentimes, their sermons make many students feel uncomfortable. But, in the instance that the professors are ideologues, student complaints that these professors are proselytizing them are routinely ignored, as the professors and their academic administrators reject the complaints out of hand. They claim not that professors are protected by the First Amendment but by "academic freedom"...they're simply "pressing beyond the boundaries of current thought."That's what is interesting about this case: It highlights the duplicity present in U.S. public higher education today. Christians aren't free to preach their beliefs in institutions of public higher education and they shouldn't do so. Yet, ideologues of various other stripes are hired, encouraged, and even promoted for doing so, despite making students feel uncomfortable.Much of what's being tolerated in the name of academic freedom today is an affront to the basic purpose of higher education: The unfettered pursuit of truth.Let the discussion begin...
To read Judge Starrett's ruling, click on the following link:http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/mississippi/mssdce/1:2012cv00041/77820/147
The Motley Monk has posted a commentary over at The American Catholic titled “A Pope Conservatives Can Love?" In that post, The Motley Monk challenges how S.E. Cupp applies her lens for “conservative” in social, political, and economic theory to ecclesiology. It's a fundamental misunderstanding that causes many conservatives to fail to call out the liberals in the Church who continuously argue for “limited powers, reduced bureaucracy, and lean, local government.” Doing so enables them to manipulate local bishops and dioceses into doing whatever they, the liberals, want them to do.
Check it out...
To access The Motley Monk's post at The American Catholic, click on the following link:
Since St. Thomas Aquinas, ecclesiastical and civil law have been thought to exist on separate planes, with civil law being subservient to ecclesiastical law. This understanding has allowed Church officials to bind Her members to Church law, yet has also allowed those same officials to challenge civil laws.The most recent iteration of the application of this thought--tracing its roots back to St. Augustine--transpired a short time back at Chicago's DePaul University when Cardinal Francis George called upon Congress to revise U.S. immigration laws.
According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, Cardinal George told the audience:
We need to revise [immigration laws] so that families can remain together
and will be able to work, free of being torn apart....Deportation of non-criminals
simply must end..[deportations] separate families and thus contribute to a
tremendous erosion of social capital.
The Cardinal then went on to tell reporters:
We should end deportations because they break up families. The family is
the basic unit of our society, so if you break up families deliberately, you're
going to have a much weaker society.Nothing Cardinal George said about the effects of illegal immigration is incorrect. What he didn't say--and basic honesty requires noting this--is that every nation on earth has immigration laws and routinely enforces those laws. This includes the Vatican City State which is protected from the Roma (gypsies, not Romans) by a massive wall. Furthermore, Pope Benedict XVI upheld the rights of nations to defend their borders, stating that immigration should take place legally, not illegally. Furthermore, while Pope Francis calls upon the nations be charitable toward immigrants, his own nation isn't doing diddly-squat to protect illegal immigrants.The Motley Monk happens to think the Church's laws in these and other matters are correct and binding. But, it strikes The Motley Monk as somewhat duplicitous that many in the U.S. Catholic hierarchy willingly turn a deaf ear to what are clear violations of civil law simply because it suits their agenda.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the Chicago Tribune article, click on the following link:
Prayer from the heart is one of the best...
Two weeks ago, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy--who many view as the divided Court's "swing vote"--sent chills down the spines of those who worship at the altar of environmentalism. They believe the Justice's ignorant and uneducated skepticism--voiced about a key element of the Obama administration’s efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions--could portend the end of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulations of power plants, factories, and other stationary producers of carbon dioxide.
In his opening arguments, U.S. Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli, said the EPA faces an increasingly urgent problem in "climate change." Under the circumstances, he argued, the EPA had "made the most reasonable decision possible." Verrilli continued: "The EPA did what it did because it faces an urgent problem and every year that passes this problem gets worse."
The severe weather President Obama has been linking to "global warming," "global cooling," and "climate change." That is, depending upon which turn of the phrase best suits the most recent weather conditions.
Justice Kennedy would have none of Verrilli's conjecturing and suggested that the EPA overstepped its bounds in the way it is requiring greenhouse gases to be regulated under permits for power plants, factories, and other what he called other “stationary” sources. Kennedy said: “I couldn't find a single precedent that supports [the EPA's] position.”
Four other justices--those evil and wicked "conservatives" who love air pollution--appeared to join Kennedy. The other four justices--the pure and pristine "liberals" who worship Mother Gaia--appeared to back the EPA’s interpretation of its powers under the Clean Air Act. If Justice Kennedy sides with the conservatives and they ultimately prevail, the EPA will not be able to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the way President Obama wants.
A decision like this could also send a political signal that the Court may be willing to curb some of President's efforts to use his "phone and pen" to issue executive orders to legislate his agenda as Congress chooses to ignore it.
Oral arguments do not necessarily provide an accurate indicator about how the Court rules. But, Kennedy's skepticism was enough to send those who worship at the altar of environmentalism out into the woods to invoke the powers of Mother Gaia.
We'll just have to wait to see if Mother Gaia is able to sway Justice Kennedy.
Let the discussion begin...
To read about the hearing at the Supreme Court, click on the following link:
An article in Reason Magazine offers damning evidence that the Obamacare exchanges have failed miserably. This is news that the mainstream media isn't covering. Worse yet, it's news that most people don't want to hear because it's their taxpayer dollars that have funded this disaster.
To date, federal grants to develop state health exchanges have cost taxpayers more than $1.2B. $677M was spent to develop "healthcare.gov." Almost twice that amount was directed to the District of Columbia and 14 states in the form of grants to develop exchanges.
Seven of those exchanges are failing:
- With a total of $303M in federal grants (Oregon's exchange was supposed to provide a model for all other states), the launch was delayed for week and then for months. Independent consultants warned that the site was unworkable before launch, but the Oregon Health Authority withheld their payment in order to silence the consultants. Lawmakers have called for a federal investigation.
- Maryland received $157.2M in federal grants for a site that failed almost simultaneously with its launch. Sound familiar? The state terminated its $193M contract with its IT contractor in February. The problems are so severe that state officials announced they may scrap the site entirely.
- Massachusetts hired the same contractor that built the federal exchange, CGI. The Commonwealth's exchange suffered problems from the beginning. Worse yet, after receiving $135.6M in federal dollars, only 5,428 people signed up for coverage during the first three months. That's <1% of the Commonwealth's goal for the first year.
- Vermont's $165.2M in grants couldn't keep their CGI-built exchange from failing on its very first day. See a pattern developing? Some functions still don't work, including the insurance options for small businesses. Newsweek reported that CGI created a dummy demo site so that it would pass inspection. Lawmakers have called for an investigation.
- Minnesota's exchange director resigned in mid-December 2013 after taking a tropical vacation. Why? Site problems. Even so, 14 exchange officials were paid bonuses prior to the site's launch. Promises that the exchange would be fixed have not been met and outside consultants have said the problems will not be fixed by the end of open enrollment on March 31. To date, Minnesota has received $153.7M in federal dollars.
- During during the open enrollment period, Nevada was expected to enroll 118k. Unfortunately, only 16k enrolled. One exchange board member described this failure as "catastrophic." Receiving $83.7M for its exchange, Nevada officials have now revised downward their expected enrollee projection to 50k (or 42.3% of the original target).
- Hawaii's $205M in federal grants didn't provide hardly any return on investment. For two weeks immediately following its launch, the exchange was taken down. This seems to be the "narrative," no? To date, the exchange has only 4.3k enrollees. That's the lowest number in all of the states.
The Motley Monk offers his "kudos" to Peter Suderman and Reason Magazine for publish what other won't. This disgraceful failure provide even more damning evidence that the federal government cannot and should not run what free enterprise and the free market does best.
Let the discussion begin...
To read Peter Suderman's article in Reason Magazine, click on the following link:
"ObamaCare's Failed State Exchanges."
It was the perfect cartel: Taxi cab companies and individual taxi cab drivers in Chicago used to purchase city-issued medallions to operate taxi cabs. The companies would then would rent their medallions to drivers while individuals were free to sell their medallions to the highest bidder.In 1997, city officials capped the number of medallions. Here's what subsequently happened to the cost of a medallion: 1991 $ 28k
2006 $ 79k
Over the course of 13 years, that's a whopping 1286% increase!
So, what's going on in the The Motley Monk's hometown of the Windy City?
To purchase a medallion, a would-be taxi driver must find a current cab driver who is willing to sell his. If the city reclaims a medallion, the city sells it at auction.Okay. The Motley Monk gets the math. By limiting the number of medallions, the city guarantees cab drivers income. The city is happy. So are the cab drivers. Both make money on the sweetheart deal.
However, for anyone who has an iPhone, taxi cabs are becoming somewhat of a relic of the past. New modes of transportation have emerged. Just call for a car, receive a quote, pay with a credit card--oftentimes for less than the cost of a traditional taxi cab--and a driver and car will come to the designated location. Prices change depending upon the hour and customers are free to decide whether to to use the service or not when the price is quoted.
A nice, entrepreneurial, free market solution, no?
Not surprisingly, the cartel is suing its competitors...claiming, of course, to be looking out for poor and minority passengers who, the cartel alleges, are "underserved" by its competitors.
The truth is that those new modes of transportation--operating with less-stringent regulations--threaten to devalue the 6.8k+ medallions currently in use. According to Steve Chapman who exposed the cartel in a Reason Magazine article: Breaking up a cartel is bad for the cartel participants. Having pushed for and profited from a system that artificially limits the supply of cabs, the medallion owners now argue that it must be preserved for their benefit.So, what's going on in the Windy City?Why, it's nothing more than "business as usual" in Rahmville!Let the discussion begin...
To read the Reason Magazine article, click on the following link:
"Put the Taxi Cartel in the Rearview Mirror"
The Motley Monk happened upon an article in the Daily Record telling of an honor student, lacrosse player, and cheerleader--an aspiring biomedical engineer --who brings home a boyfriend who her parents believe is a bad influence. The student cops an "attitude." She won’t be respectful, keep a curfew, return "borrowed" items to her sisters, perform a few chores, and reconsider (or, better yet, in her parent’s eyes) terminate the relationship. So, the student either voluntarily moved out of her family’s home or her parents exercised some tough love and threw her out after she turned 18 on November 1, 2013. Not only that, the girl’s parents stopped paying her tuition and have kept her car because they paid for it.
Where’s the poor lass to turn and what’s she to do?
How about this idea: Move into her best friend’s house whose father just happens to be an attorney?
And guess what? The poor lass is suing her parents to pay her outstanding tuition, current living and transportation expenses, her legal fees of $12.5k+, and to commit an existing college fund to her.
Talk about a story from the realm of bizarro! But, it's true!
The student is a Morris Catholic High School senior, Rachel Canning. In court papers, Rachel alleges that her parents have abandoned her and is dependent as a student upon her parents for support. Rachel's father, Sean, is Lincoln Park’s retired Chief of Police and currently serves as Township Administrator of Mount Olive (NJ). John Inglesino, the father of Rachel's best friend, is an attorney and former Morris County (NJ) Freeholder. Inglesino is funding Rachel’s lawsuit and has hired the attorney who is representing Rachel.
But, then, there's this:
- Long before moving out, Rachel had been seeing a therapist and is supposed to be taking medication. Last fall, Rachel had disciplinary problems at school last fall and was suspended twice.
- When Rachel alleged that her parents abused her, Morris Catholic advised Rachel not to return home. The school contacted the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) based upon the allegations and "some difficult meetings between Rachel and Mr. Canning."
- The Morris Catholic English instructor and Campus Minister witnessed an encounter between Rachel and her mother in mid-October 2013. Mrs. Canning is said to have called her daughter a foul name and said that she didn't want to speak to her daughter again.
- A DCP&P representative visited the Canning's residence for nearly three hours last fall. Mr. Canning claims that representative found nothing amiss, concluding that Rachel was "spoiled." The investigation was discontinued.
In court papers, Rachel’s father claims well-intentioned but ill-informed people--including the Inglesinos--are enabling Rachel. He alleges that his daughter voluntarily left the family’s home. He said:
We love our child and miss her. This is terrible. It’s killing me and my
wife. We have a child we want home. We’re not Draconian and now
we're getting hauled into court. She's demanding that we pay her bills
but she doesn't want to live at home and she’s saying, “I don't want to
live under your rules.”
We're heartbroken, but what do you do when a child says "I don't want
your rules but I want everything under the sun and you to pay for it?
Did Rachel emancipate and remove herself from her parent's "sphere of influence" by voluntarily moving out of the family's home because Rachel wouldn't abide by her parents' rules?
That's the question Judge Peter Bogaard will decide at a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in the Family Part of New Jersey State Superior Court in Morristown.
According to family practice attorneys, the mere fact that a child has turned 18 is not an automatic reason to terminate financial support. A key New Jersey State Court decision specifies that, "A child’s admittance and attendance at college will overcome the rebuttable presumption that a child may be emancipated at age 18."
Kinda makes "Jersey Shore" look tame by comparison, no?
Let the discussion begin…
To read the Daily Record article, click on the following link: