DNA—the Grass Roots Speak

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Digital Network Army

The Grass Roots Speak

Have you seen the new DNA logo Beetle Blogger is sporting today?  What is the DNA?  I’d heard about the Digital Network Army through my work with Proposition 8 in California, their email network was on fire and played a big role in getting information out throughout the state, organizing people and keeping people informed.  After the election, activity died down a bit on the DNA Network, but recently it’s made a new appearance.

I was able to get in contact with the DNA Team Captain and in my first exclusive interview, he was able to answer a few questions for me.

Beetle Blogger: So, what is the DNA exactly?  What do you do?  What is your “Mission”?

DNA Captain: The DNA is an organization of regular people, who are dedicated to preserving traditional family values.  The purpose of the DNA is to organize, or focus the voice of the people so it can be heard.  Alone one voice can get lost in the fray, but many voices speaking out on family issues in a focused way makes them more powerful.  We believe it’s important that the voice of the people be heard by policy makers and voters.

Beetle Blogger:
And you’re not really particularly religious or political are you?

DNA Captain:
Right, we’ve got members from all walks of life, all political persuasions, college alumni, concerned mothers, lawyers, famous people, regular joes, plumbers, people with money, people without money….just basically people who are alarmed about the changes they see happening in the social fabric of the country and want to make a difference.  We have a small army of writers, strategists, thinkers and philosophers.  The common thread is that they’re all people who believe in traditional morals and family and who are willing to get out and do rather than watch.  That’s our power.

Beetle Blogger:
I know you have an email network and you basically email chain news and information around the network, but how effective is that?


DNA Captain:
Well, it’s very effective.  They call the internet the new media because it takes power away from the traditional media and allows the common people to band together for causes.  We don’t have to wait to be spoon fed the opinion of the editors at CNN or FOX if we don’t want to.  We can go look it up on Drudge or many other places that are popping up.

We’ve got four areas we really focus on:

1. We disseminate news stories–This is our main focus, we are like a homespun version of the Associated Press.  When there are stories out there like the Scott Eckern story, or the El Coyote story that are not getting widespread press from the mainstream media, we need to have means to push those stories into the local media outlets, and from there the big guys may pick it up by force of pressure.  Our group heard about Scott Eckern being pressured to resign even before he resigned.  The DNA helped further a letter campaign in the 12 hours before his actual resignation, and after the resignation we published the information far and wide, submitting news tips to every major media outlet and even local media outlets.  Drudge got tips from several of our members and what started out as a very small story is now widely known.  Had it been a gay man forced to resign, the media would have spread it and made it national news by themselves, but when a story doesn’t fit their templates, the stories just don’t get reported.   We’re helping to change that.

2. We help get the message out so people can be educated on the core issues–with proposition 8, there was a major push by the opposition to conceal the arguments and issues, behind names like bigotry and hatred.  Our effort is to be solidly informed on both sides of the marriage issue and then to get the message out. Now that proposition 8 is over, it’s becoming clear that the battle has merely moved from one state to the others.  This information needs to be spread throughout the country.  If you watch the mainstream media, you get the impression that the only reason to oppose the redefinition of family is based on bigotry, ignorance and hate.  That is an untruth that does the entire country a disservice, yet the media continues to put that idea forward and unless people scratch the surface of the issue themselves, they might never know the true issues at stake here.  Many of our members are actively involved in writing letters to editors, publishing blog articles and spreading news stories on the fight for marriage and family that illustrate the consequences happening in our community from the attack on marriage and family.

3. We help people to coordinate their voices: because we’re all networked together, we can coordinate our efforts to make sure that newspapers and local news outlets have access to our voices.  Our army writes editorials and opinion pieces to keep our pro-family agenda in the public eye.

4. We are able to contact the army quickly!  We remain closely connected via email so the instant something happens, the information goes out immediately.

Beetle Blogger: Were you behind the CTA Tuesday sick-out/letter writing campaign?

DNA Captain: Well, not really, but we contributed our part by relaying the information through the network, we didn’t start the idea for the actual sick-out.  We spread the information that the California Teacher’s Association was using teacher funds to attack the family and that information went out like wildfire especially through parent circles.  A lot of teachers had no idea that their union had voted to spend millions of dollars to fight proposition 8 and 4, both family friendly issues, and the reaction instantly created a furor among both teachers and parents.  The backlash of that furor manifested itself in the sick-out effort and the letter writing campaign.  The idea was that if the schools became hostile to families and traditional values, the families would be forced to move their children to private or home school situations, which would take money from the school system.  The frustration out there was from the image of the schools fighting families.  The details on the sick-out came from the grass roots somewhere, but once one of our members picked it up and blasted it through the DNA network, it went like wildfire.  In the course of 24 hours news of the sick-out had made it to families all across the state.   It is an example of the power these types of networks can have.  We don’t have exact numbers, but we know of hundreds of students and parents who wrote letters to their teachers in protest of the CTA’s effort to undermine the family.

Beetle Blogger: So I guess that leads into my next question, how big is the DNA?

DNA Captain: We started out with just a handful of dedicated people, but within the first two months we’d grown to 400 members.  Now the membership has extended beyond the borders of California and we’re aiming at becoming a national organization. We decided after the election to initially end the DNA project, but watching the news and seeing the havoc and outrage out there, we realized that it had become a national issue and that there was a need for an organization like this out in the heartland.  So, we restructured, added some additional leadership and now we’re back with force and continuing to spread.

You know, the tide is turning out there against gay marriage, but the message has to get out.  If you watch the old media you don’t get a clear picture of the detrimental influence the re-definition of marriage can have on families and society.  Basic freedoms are at stake when you talk about creating a gay protected class because it crosses the morality line.  If people acting immorally is taught as moral and equal, that has a lot of consequences.  Now the DNA is not only about marriage, education and freedom, but it is the main focus right now of our organization.  As California goes, so goes the nation and so goes the world.  We can’t afford to let misinformation color the voters of this nation with ignorance.

That’s basically the message and the purpose of the DNA, to get the message out there so people can see both sides of the issues and make an informed choice.

Beetle Blogger: Now, your name isn’t really DNA Captain right?  Who are you really?

DNA Captain: I actually think that’s one of the genius aspects of this network, we encourage anonymity to protect individuals who may be subject to intimidation or danger.  No one has to give out names or personal information if they don’t want to, in fact many of our members create new email addresses completely separate from their normal family addresses in order to participate. This is a heated issue and we each want the ability to act and speak freely without worrying about our safety.  We’ve seen what the other side does to supporters of traditional marriage, so we set ourselves up this way for protection. The reason I don’t personally identify myself is first for privacy concerns, and second to add stability to the group.  We actually have several people who have served in the DNA Captain capacity, so it’s easier to have a title associated with the DNA rather than a specific name.

Beetle Blogger: How do people find out more information or join the DNA?

DNA Captain: We encourage volunteers, professionals, parent groups, friends and family to participate.  Have them go directly to our website located at www.DigitalNetworkArmy.com or email dna.teamcaptain@gmail.com directly to request admission.  Truthfilled. Respectful. Relentless. We can make the difference.

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www.DigitalNetworkArmy.com

Raddon Resigns–Twinges of Guilt?

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L.A. Times begins to show remorse?

The pressure continues out there.  Just this week Richard Raddon, the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival was forced to resign after gay advocates persecuted him with threats and intimidation.  He offered to step down as film director earlier but the film board voted unanimously in his support so he withdrew his resignation and decided to stick it out with the company’s full support.

The pressure moved from work to home however, as Raddon’s family was targeted, and that proved to be too much.  “No on 8″ supporters got a hold of his personal phone number and email and continued their threats and harassment. When Raddon again sent his resignation to the film board, this time they accepted.

Chad Griffin, a political advisor to Hollywood executives epitomizes the theme of the mob when he justifies their actions saying:

“A dollar to the yes campaign is a dollar in support of bigotry, homophobia and discrimination. There are going to be consequences. Any individual who has held homophobic views and who has gone public by writing a check, you can expect to be publicly judged. Many can expect to pay a price for a long time to come.”

As awful as scenes like this are, there is one shining ray of optimism.  This is the first time I’ve seen the Times react with something of a conscience as they report on the hurt caused by these mobs.  While less than outraged, they’re actually looking into the human aspect of more than just those on the side of the cause they publicly supported.

The times actually reported on the further harassment of Mr. Raddon and his family with less than glowing terms, seeming to draw a line in the sand of what is unacceptable, even for the Times:

From the L.A. Times–Raddon’s support for Proposition 8 has sparked debate within both the gay community and Hollywood, as many publicly worry about punishing people for free speech, even speech they deemed hateful, and his departure has already provoked ambivalence.

“I’m personally saddened by the outcome,” said Film Independent board member Bill Condon, the writer-director of “Dreamgirls.” “Someone has lost his job and possibly his livelihood because of privately held religious beliefs. I think the organization was ready to tough this out, but Rich ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the cost. I’m not sure he was right.”

It’s about time for the media to start sprouting a conscience over these incidents of abuse, mobocracy, and intimidation.  Where is the outrage on the pages of the Times for freedom of speech?

As long as our leaders both in state government and leaders of public opinion in the media refuse to condemn these strong arm actions, groups who use information to target neighbors will be emboldened and the intimidation of free citizens will continue.

The effort by the Times to curb mob action and bring balance into the story is welcome, but for many like Richard Raddon and his family, it’s too little, too late.

—Beetle Blogger

Unions Don’t Speak for Teachers

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Union doesn’t speak for all state’s teachers

By Larry Sand

In an election season full of surprises and headline-grabbing stories, none may have been more polarizing than the $1 million donation that the California Teachers Association gave to the No on Proposition 8 campaign in October.

Proposition 8, which passed Nov. 4, will return the state to a place where only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized. The union had become concerned that the pro-8 forces were receiving more in donations and decided to rectify that situation.

While a prior $250,000 donation from the CTA to Equality for All (a coalition of gay advocacy groups which opposed Proposition 8) got some media attention, the general response from the public was mild. However, something about the $1 million infusion seemed to galvanize many, especially teachers.

It seems that the public has awakened to the fact that teachers unions donate millions of dollars of their members’ dues to issues that have nothing to with education on a regular basis.

According to teachers union watchdog Mike Antonucci, the CTA spent up to $5 million on five of this year’s 12 state ballot measures, none of which had anything to do with education.

What makes all this even more egregious is that these monies come from members’ dues. The CTA does not poll its members on how it spends its political money; nor does it care that many of its members are outraged by its spending habits, which run consistently to the left.

The recent outpouring on this issue suggests that teachers think that the union has no business spending their dues on issues unrelated to education, but if they must, union political spending should at least reflect the diversity of its membership. And teachers are in fact all over the political landscape.

At the same time that teachers are angry, there are many who are angry at teachers. The public seems to think that it is teachers who gave the money to the Proposition 8 campaign. In a recent commercial, state Superintendent of Education Jack O’Connell said “California teachers and every major newspaper say no on Proposition 8.” Sounds as if the 335,000 teachers who make up the CTA are in lock step, when nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s the 800 members of the CTA State Council who make these political decisions. And, as a body, their politics run way to the left of the average teacher. So what is a teacher to do? Unbeknownst to many, there are options.

Most teachers in California are led to believe that they are forced to join a union when they are hired. Well, yes and no. While one can never fully escape the burden of living in a non-right-to-work state, the effects can be mitigated. In our state, a typical teacher has to fork over about $1,000 every year to the union. However, if a teacher applies for agency fee status, he or she will get a yearly rebate of about 30 percent, or $300 — the amount the union claims to spend on non-collective-bargaining-type (read “political”) issues. Hence, agency fee payers still have to pay the union $700 apiece for the right to teach in California, but they at least have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their dues are not going to support causes they are against. And there are other organizations they can join if they are concerned about any loss of protections typically offered by the union.

Those of us who have differences with our union can reclaim a part of the money taken from us and spend it as we choose, perhaps in ways that are in line with our moral, ethical and political beliefs.

Larry Sand is a veteran middle school teacher in Los Angeles and president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network.  www.ctenhome.org

Separation of Church and State

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Separation of Church and State!

Thoughts behind the effort to ban churches from participating in the national conversation

I’ve been listening to a lot of interesting theories on how this church or that church should lose its tax exempt status over its involvement in the moral issues of politics.  “Separation of church and state!” the religious opponents scream, but is the problem the churches running the government or the government running the churches?

The prevailing argument seems to say that there ought to be separation between church and state, so that means anyone who belongs to a church can’t speak or assemble, or have a public opinion on how government operates or the government will punish them by taking away their tax exempt status.

Even as we gather to celebrate the flight of pilgrims to America from the oppressive religious persecution of England, religious oppression is again raising it’s head in our recent political dialogue.  In the name of freedom, advocates of same sex marriage are threatening to oppress the religious community with monetary retribution as retaliation for expressing opinions the gay community does not agree with, and that’s not right.

As Glen Dean says in his recent post on religious freedom,

“The whole purpose of the first amendment establishment clause was to protect religion and religious people from government.”

Fundamentally the United States is a country that was built on freedoms, and freedom of speech and religion are among the foremost of these.   Pilgrims coming to the Americas wanted, above all, to be free to express their religious thoughts without being forced to conform to another set of values, political or otherwise.  England’s government required religious conformity because they had a state sanctioned church governing what could and couldn’t be said or done.  That is the origin of the thought that there ought to be “separation of church and state.”  No one ought to try to control religious freedoms by coercion or manipulation.

I look at the politically correct movement that uses tax dollars as a form of coercion to muffle dissent and control actions, and I see a situation mirror opposite to that of America’s forefathers, but with the same result—-censorship.

Today we have a situation where instead of having a church controlling the government, we have the government trying to control churches through tax law, and those who oppose churches are using the government as a tool to silence their opponents and to ultimately stifle dissent.

Whether it’s taxing churches and controlling them through tax code manipulation if they don’t conform, or whether churches are tax exempt and controlled by threatening to take the exemption away if they don’t conform, the result is the same.  It’s two ends of the same stick.  The only true freedom is the recognition that churches have freedom from government control that is inherent, not granted by the government.  If the freedom to speak is granted by the government, it can be taken away by the government.  Churches can and ought to say what they want as fellow voices in the national dialogue, and that speech should be free from recrimination or tax penalties for speaking on themes unpopular to others.

Those who think churches should be muzzled don’t have a constitutional leg to stand on.  Tax exemption has been the hidden boogey man that has kept church opinions in a box for years.  Oohoo, you’d better not say this!  You’d better not do that!  You might get the IRS after you!

From Wikipedia:

Freedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right to come together with other individuals and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests.  The right to freedom of association is recognised as human right, political freedom and a civil liberty.

In short, these freedoms are a human right, not a privilege benevolently bestowed by the government that can then be unilaterally whisked away.  So why does the Government think that it has any right to curtail the ability of people to assemble in churches to voice their opinions?  What about Freedom of Speech?

And to the voices clamoring for censorship of churches I ask the same question.  Why are you so eager to have censorship of ideas that conflict with your own?  If the facts are laid bare, truth will defeat falsehood in open competition.  It is up to each individual to uncover the truth; no one is wise enough to act as a censor for all individuals.
Noam Chomsky said: “If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favour of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favour of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favour of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.”

The whole argument for trying to tax churches boils down to the false idea that this tax exemption is a subsidy of churches by the government.  They don’t pay taxes because churches are good for society, so the government subsidizes them and encourages them to flourish.  If church tax exemption is a subsidy given by the government, then it can be taken away by the government.

Unfortunately, that thought goes against the much ballyhooed “Separation of Church and State!” that everyone says they care so much about.  The truth is that to be truly separate, the government should get out of the church’s way and quit trying to threaten them with boogeyman threats for conformity, in this case silence in the moral/political realm, or we’ll be losing more than just “tax status”, we’ll be losing the very freedom our country was founded to achieve.

–Beetle Blogger

eHarmony Fiasco

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Trying to Take Over the World–And Winning.

Gay Rights Advocates Breaking out the Bully Tactics Against American Business

Ok.  This eHarmony thing is keeping me up at night. It’s pure unadulterated chutzpah to even think that one community of people ought to be able force a private business to do their bidding.

Didn’t they read “The Analogy”?? This is wrong!  This is what your blogger warned you about!

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Remember this picture?

Foxnews reported on eHarmony’s capitulation to demands that they provide dating services to the gay community even though eHarmony’s formulas are based on years of research into traditional relationships between a man and a woman…not homosexual relationships.  Not only is eHarmony building a brand new business from the ground up, complete with new research and methods aimed at matching homosexual couples, but the agreement includes cash incentives and free memberships for the plaintiffs as well as mandating that eHarmony increase “gay awareness” in the workplace.

Obviously these people were total homophobes right?  Please.  If I go into a bar and demand a milkshake…does that make the bar owner some kind of phobic?  No.  Should I be able to take them to court to force them to feed me my favorite rocky road and whip cream delight?  Of course not.  It’s ridiculous, unless you’re gay, and of course, then everything is automatically about discrimination.

Coming after a private business, in fact targeting them, precisely because they might have moral objections to gay marriage is simply wrong.  Using legal manoevers to get what you want seems to be the tool of the new age bully and gay advocates are using it with wild abandon.

As Michelle Malkin reports:

Neil Warren, eHarmony’s founder, is a gentle, grandfatherly businessman who launched his popular dating site to support heterosexual marriage. A “Focus on the Family” author with a divinity degree, Warren encourages healthy, lasting unions between men and women of all faiths, mixed faiths or no faith at all.

Don’t like what eHarmony sells? Go somewhere else. There are thousands upon thousands of dating sites on the Internet that cater to gays, lesbians, Jews, Muslims, Trekkies, runners, you name it.

No matter. In the name of tolerance, McKinley refused to tolerate eHarmony’s right to operate a lawful business that didn’t give him what he wanted. He filed a discrimination complaint against eHarmony with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights in 2005.

Forcing a business to create a new business to service a market it never intended to service is a slap in the face to those of us who have adopted the good neighbor attitudes of live and let live that gay advocates are always spouting when the doctrine falls in their favor.  Forcing eHarmony to cave in to financial and legal pressures is the epitome of Mayor Newsom’s “Whether you like it or not” attitude and confirms a lot of fears out there about gay advocacy groups not being interested in getting along, but rather in dominating.

This completely creepy coersion effort has now turned into a class action lawsuit.  Gay rights advocates smell blood in the water and are circling eHarmony looking for more handouts, more power and more domination.  Other businesses it sees as vulnerable will be next.

Like Warner Bros’ comedy cartoon, “Pinky and the Brain” with their numerous crazy plots to take over the world, the gay community seems willing to try anything that will stick, and the legal system is only happy to play along as the goofy stooge, only in the real world the consequences aren’t amusing at all, and if you’re getting the feeling that they’re winning, you’re right.

–Beetle Blogger

Voice of Our Actions

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The Picture is Clear—It’s Time to Speak

Every experience, every story, every image painted on the mind through various modes of communication is aggregated into a whole that is perception.  My perception of the world and the forces in it has shifted with the marriage debate the last few months.  Suddenly individual stories come together to form a movement, a purpose.

While some may be painting the roses red, masking support for either one side of the marriage debate or the other, a surprising number have come out and clearly chosen sides.  Politicians, businesses, friends, individuals have spoken and been counted.

The great debate over same sex marriage has created a great clarity in the culture wars.  Proposition 8 acted as a sifter, or catalyst for decision, that brought this clear division between viewpoints and forced many to take a stand either on one side or the other.   With that clarity we see the sharpening edges of this truth, and with it comes a great awakening in the realization that the opposition to traditional values has more strength than many had ever supposed.

We see the world as through a glass darkly, imperfectly.  There are movements and efforts day to day that we only catch fleeting glimpses of, and in our uncertainty we may be tempted to say, it is nothing.  Those scurryings in the shadow have become clearer in California, but California is only a small part of the national and global moral struggle, the current battlefront being no less than marriage and family.  As this debate moves from one shore to the other and beyond, those moments of clarity will continue, forming a more precise idea of the world and the forces moving it…and seeing clearly, we are asked to choose.

Clarity…what does that give us?  The ability to act.  What then should we do?  What action can be taken to counteract this great force whose influence we see glimpses of all around us?

What we have seen here in the last month or two has been a gift.  It’s forced people to choose, to take sides, sometimes openly.  On the side of the gay rights advocates are businesses like Google, McDonald’s, and Apple.  There are leaders, politicians and many more.  For those of us who have chosen to stand on the side of traditional marriage and values, the numbers are greater, but the voices willing to speak out are fewer, and as we have seen, for good reason.

We’ve seen what the gay rights advocates have done with their voices.  They speak with violence, with derision, with the heavy arm of popular and legal coercion.  The casualties mount, names that are becoming household familarities as this discussion continues from the ballot box of California, Arizona and Florida to the kitchen tables of our great nation.  eHarmony, Leatherby’s, Marjorie Christoffersen, Scott Eckern….the list is long, and will continue to grow.

The picture is growing clearer and those who stand on the side of traditional marriage give a gift we ought to prize with support.  The time of blissful ignorance is over.  It is necessary to raise our voices and be heard, to band together for strength and unity to withstand the bully tactics of the opposition.

We cannot afford to be bullied into silence.  It’s time to band together with common goals in support of leaders, businesses and individuals.   Let the voice of our actions, votes and dollars follow values for informed consumerism.  There are many who have stuck their necks out in support of marriage and who risk suffering for it.  Beyond just a one time action, speaking with this powerful voice has got to become a way of life to be heard.

Each voice silent is a voice for the opposition.  The battle is well underway.

Mosaic Mural Painting: “Adam” — by Lewis Lavoie
(modeled after God Creates Adam” by Michelangelo)

Unions Shortchange Teachers

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Unions shortchange teachers

Dues are simply taxation without representation for many.
By Larry Sand
Just a few weeks into the new school year, and in the midst of an important political season at the state and national level, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the relationship that the teachers unions have with their members. Much has been written about these unions, and the case has been frequently and justly made that they are anti-student because of their adamant positions on school choice, charter schools and teacher tenure. And although these unions of course claim to champion teachers, this support is conditional and often comes at the expense of teachers.
In 28 states, a teacher is essentially forced to join a costly union. A typical teacher in Southern California, where I teach, pays $922 every year to his or her local, which then sends $611 of that amount to the state affiliate, the California Teachers Assn., or CTA, and $140 to the national affiliate, the National Education Assn., or NEA. (One has to wonder, if the unions are so beneficial, why do teachers need to be forced to join and to fork over such hefty dues in most states?)

And just what are all of these forced dues spent on? Untold millions go to political causes, whether a teacher agrees with the cause or not. According to Reg Weaver, the recently retired NEA president, his union’s rank-and-file teachers are about one-third Democrat, one-third Republican and one-third independent. Yet more than 90% of NEA political spending goes to Democratic causes, according to OpenSecrets.org. Thus, if you are a Republican and have conservative values, your dues are being used to support causes and candidates you oppose.

In August, just before relinquishing his position, Weaver spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Although it was not surprising that he expressed support for Barack Obama, he made an egregious statement at the end of his speech. After extolling the virtues of his candidate, Weaver said, “That, my friends, is why the 3.2 million members of the National Education Assn. are organized, energized and mobilized to help elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States of America.”

What? All 3.2 million? This coming from the man who has said that the NEA is only one-third Democrat. Who then speaks for the 1-million-plus Republican teachers and for the 1 million or more who are independents and may not have decided whom to vote for?

Another example is Proposition 8, a controversial measure on the November ballot in California that would seek to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. The CTA, which represents more than 300,000 teachers, just this week contributed $1 million — on top of a previous $250,000 donation — to help defeat Proposition 8.

As usual, the CTA did not seek input from its rank-and-file members on this issue. Although certainly some teachers are in favor of same-sex marriage, others are not. And just what, exactly, does Proposition 8 have to do with education? Why is the CTA pushing a “values” agenda that many parents, and many of its own members, may find offensive?

Aside from political choice, there are other areas in which teachers don’t fare well under the auspices of their unions. Carol Katter, a veteran teacher and lifelong Catholic, objected to the fact that her union supports abortion on demand. When she sought a religious exemption from paying her dues, a union official suggested that she change her religion! In her state, Ohio, the law allowed only Seventh-day Adventists and Mennonites to claim such an exemption. Only after much legal wrangling was Katter able to do so.

One of the great bêtes noires of teachers unions is merit pay. They insist that all teachers at a similar point in their careers make the same amount of money, regardless of workload, classroom size, job performance or other measure. Good teachers earning more than bad teachers? Not on their agenda.

Clearly, this old-style industrial model of paying people based on seniority can kill incentive. Good teachers are less likely to have the incentive to excel when peers who have lower aspirations, are less talented or less effective make the same amount of money.

All of us who object to what amounts to taxation without representation must speak up. Teachers who are happy with their union should have the right to continue that affiliation. However, the rest of us — especially those who live in states where we are forced to join a union — would be well served to take a hard look at the organization that claims to represent our best interests and start demanding change.

Larry Sand, a classroom teacher in Los Angeles for more than 27 years, is the president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network.   www.ctenhome.org

Tinderbox–Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t

Gay Marriage Colorado

Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t

The California Supreme Court in the crosshairs for Proposition 8

Now that the California Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case for overturning Proposition 8, the speculation begins.  What will they say?

In this case, it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario.

Personally, I would love to see the Supreme Court overturn themselves on this one.  What better ending to nullify the actions of an activist court than to force them to cross themselves.  As it works out, the hearing looks like it’s going to begin in March of next year, five months from now, and exactly a year from the Court’s overturning of prop 22 that made same sex marriage legal in California.

Poetic justice, chickens coming home to roost, bread on the waters—Call it what you will, that victory would be sweet.

California though, has more than their high court’s pride to worry about.  If Proposition 8 is upheld as many expect it will be, in this tinderbox situation where already the will of the people has gone unheard, would the court’s reasoning have much more sway against the agitators?  With tensions on this issue running high, and the grass roots gay movement only now kicking into gear… the protests and marches we’ve seen brandishing “eye for an eye” justice to date could only be a taste of what’s to come.

The nation will be watching this one, and for some the intoxication of an instant media added into the mix of sure frustration is a recipe for instantaneous combustion.

If the Supreme Court Justices reach out and tip the scale the other way, somehow contorting law and throwing out precedent (not that they’re strangers to these tactics), the reaction would be swift and immediate.  The voices now silently observing would put out a hue and cry that would ring both ocean fronts.

The Court is basically in a political box here. They are answerable to the people for their jobs if they make law instead of interpreting it.  The separation of powers looms large.  If they did overturn the will of the people, twice clearly expressed, they’d have to go so far out on a limb to do it that public opinion would break cleanly on our side and the people of this nation would stand up to be counted by droves, with hell to pay for any politician who stood in the way.

Regardless of how you feel about marriage, the sanctity of the people’s voice is paramount in every democracy.

The court must tread lightly when stepping across the people.  Already the whispers are running quietly through the state as all eyes turn to the Courts and wait for justice to come one way or another.  For now we’re keeping the powder dry.

–Beetle Blogger

eHarmony Bows to Pressure

queen-of-hearts-4eHarmony Bows to Pressure

In another tyrannical power grab through the courts, gay activists force this Christian dating service from the private sector to provide a service it was unequipped to provide, and possibly against the morals of it’s owners to provide.  It’s shocking to me that there are any judges or lawmakers of this free land that would think tyranny of the few is a good idea.  Would I be able to go to a liquor establishment and order a malt sundae?  Were I afflicted with money to burn could I force the issue?  The answer is no, because you and I, citizens x and y  are not as equal under the law as interpreted here, as citizens Q, who happen to be gay.

There ought not be a protected, higher class of people, yet time and again, the courts seem to be finding that there are citizens among us who are more equal under the law than the rest of us.

–Beetle Blogger

Fox News: Online dating service eHarmony has agreed to create a new Web site

— “Compatible Partners” — for gay and lesbian users, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General announced.

Created as part of a settlement with Eric McKinley, a gay man from New Jersey, the Web site will provide services for users seeking same-sex partners by March 31, New Jersey Division on Civil Rights Director J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo said.

eHarmony, which was founded by Dr. Neil Clark Warren in 2000, said the settlement was triggered by a Law Against Discrimination complaint filed by McKinley against the online service on March 14, 2005. As part of the agreement, eHarmony will pay McKinley $5,000 and will provide him a one-year complimentary membership.

eHarmony — which was not found in violation of the law — also agreed to ensure that same-sex users will be matched using the same or equivalent technology used for its heterosexual clients. It will also post photographs of same-sex couples in its “Diversity” section of its Web site and in advertising materials.

“Even though we believed that the complaint resulted from an unfair characterization of our business, we ultimately decided it was best to settle this case,” eHarmony legal counsel Theodore Olson said in a statement. “eHarmony looks forward to moving beyond this legal dispute, which has been a burden for the company, and continuing to advance its business model of serving individuals by helping them find successful, long-term relationships.”

“With the launch of the Compatible Partners site, our policy is to welcome all single individuals who are genuinely seeking long-term relationships,” eHarmony Vice President of Legal Affairs Antone Johnson said in a statement.

The New Jersey settlement is not the first lawsuit filed against eHarmony for failing to accommodate sex-same users.

Linda Carlson, of California, sued the online dating service in May 2007, alleging it discriminated against gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Carlson said she tried to use the Web site a month earlier to meet a woman, but was refused based on her sexual orientation. When Carlson wrote to eHarmony to complain, the company refused to change its policy, according to the lawsuit filed on her behalf in Los Angeles County Superior Court.  –article continued here: eHarmony to Provide Gay Dating Service After Lawsuit–Foxnews

Reuters–eHarmony Sued for Excluding Gays

Thu May 31, 2007 7:10pm EDT

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The popular online dating service eHarmony was sued on Thursday for refusing to offer its services to gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

A lawsuit alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Linda Carlson, who was denied access to eHarmony because she is gay.

Lawyers bringing the action said they believed it was the first lawsuit of its kind against eHarmony, which has long rankled the gay community with its failure to offer a “men seeking men” or “women seeking women” option.

They were seeking to make it a class action lawsuit on behalf of gays and lesbians excluded from the dating service.

eHarmony was founded in 2000 by evangelical Christian Dr. Neil Clark Warren and had strong early ties with the influential religious conservative group Focus on the Family.

It has more than 12 million registered users, and heavy television advertising has made it one of the nation’s biggest Internet dating sites.

The company said the allegations of discrimination against gays were false and reckless.

“The research that eHarmony has developed, through years of research, to match couples has been based on traits and personality patterns of successful heterosexual marriages,” it said in a statement.

“Nothing precludes us from providing same-sex matching in the future. It’s just not a service we offer now based upon the research we have conducted,” eHarmony added.

According to the lawsuit, Carlson, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, tried to use the site’s dating services in February 2007. When she was denied access, she wrote to eHarmony saying that its anti-gay policy was discriminatory under California law but the company refused to change it.

“Such outright discrimination is hurtful and disappointing for a business open to the public in this day and age,” she said.

Carlson’s lawyer Todd Schneider said the lawsuit was “about changing the landscape and making a statement out there that gay people, just like heterosexuals, have the right and desire to meet other people with whom they can fall in love.”

Carlson’s lawyers expect a significant number of gays and lesbians to join the class action, which seeks to force eHarmony to end its policy as well as unspecified damages for those denied eHarmony services based on their sexual orientation.

See the rest of the article here:  eHarmony sued in California for excluding gays–Reuters


Queen of Hearts Campaign

queen-of-hearts-1

Welcome to Wonderland:

The Queen of Hearts campaign for gay marriage rights

We all remember the captivating Queen of Hearts with all her pomp and circumstance, her thinly veiled sweetness and her uncomfortable smile like gauze over her tyrannical presence in Wonderland–

Queen of Hearts: Now then, are you ready for your sentence?
Alice: But there has to be a verdict first.
Queen of Hearts: Sentence first! Verdict afterwards.
Alice: But that just isn’t the way.
Queen of Hearts: [shouting] All ways are…!
Alice: …your ways, your Majesty.

Her approach to law has much in common with what we’re seeing today in the fight to overturn proposition 8.  As Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn pointed out yesterday, “…gay rights activists have adopted a “vote first, campaign afterward” approach to trying to win marriage rights for same-sex couples.”

You may have seen them, screaming with their banners, marching with their threats–thousands of activists taking to the nation’s streets in many cities in many states this last week, hoping to gather support for same-sex marriage.  But watching their anger, the question still burns, why now?  Where were these demonstrators, where was their fervor before the election?

rabbittime

"Oh! I'm Late! ....well don't just do something! Stand there!"

We’ve all seen protesters picketing, demonstrating and raging against LDS Temples in Los Angeles, Oakland and Salt Lake.  Mormon churches and other religious institutions that have supported Proposition 8 have been targeted, and several lawsuits have been filed all aimed at overturning the will of the people…AFTER  the fact, but where were they before?

“If I lose my temper, you lose your head. Understand?”

Michelle Malkin has documented many of these protests and violent demonstrations of angst.

“Anti-Prop. 8 organizers have targeted Mormon, Catholic and evangelical churches. Sentiments like this one, found on the anti-Prop.8 website “JoeMyGod,” are common across the left-wing blogosphere: “Burn their f—ing churches to the ground, and then tax the charred timbers.”

Thousands of gay-rights demonstrators stood in front of the Mormon temple in Los Angeles shouting “Mormon scum.” The Mormon headquarters in Salt Lake City received threatening letters containing an unidentified powder. Religion-bashing protesters filled with hate decried the “hate” at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif. Vandals defaced the Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills, Calif., because church members had collected Prop. 8 petitions. One worshiper’s car was keyed with the slogans “Gay sex is love” and “SEX.” Another car’s antenna and windshield wipers were broken.

In Carlsbad, Calif., a man was charged with punching his elderly neighbors over their pro-Prop. 8 signs. In Palm Springs, Calif., a videographer filmed unhinged anti-Prop. 8 marchers who yanked a large cross from the hands of 69-year-old Phyllis Burgess and stomped on it.”

“Off with their heads!”

Corporate heads, church leaders, and individuals, large and small donors are all cards in the path of the mob-like leviathan.  Supporters of the marriage initiative are as varied as they come, but one thing is unchanging, they’ve all been labeled and unfairly demonized as hateful bigots even as the impassioned behemoth cries for tolerance and “equal rights.”

Many of these businesses and individuals have been pressured into publicly changing their tune, forced to make large contributions to the No on 8 lobby in order to avoid the politics of destruction, a power wielded on a deadly whim.  Deep pocket donors fell, midsize business owners fell, finally individual donors, and even a few innocent bystanders.   In the carnage, the blade swings as haphazardly as if the Queen of Hearts herself ran the inquisition.

Painting the Roses Red

Painting the Roses Red--All ways here you see, are the QUEEN'S WAYS!

Painting the Roses Red

We’re painting the roses red,
We’re painting the roses red!
We dare not stop or waste a drop,
So let the paint be spread!

We’re painting the roses red,
We’re painting the roses red!!
We’re full of dread, And many a tear we shed…
Because we know…They’ll cease to grow…
In fact they’ll soon be dead!

Businesses have been painted into a corner, trying to appease gay rights activists while maintaining their principles.

Businesses have been painting the roses red, trying to appease gay rights activists to avoid boycotts while still maintaining their principles.

And yet we go ahead…
Painting the roses red!
We’re painting the roses red,
We’re painting the roses red!

Yes, painting the roses red!
Not pink…
Not green…
Not aquamarine!

We’re painting the roses red!

In case you missed it, Election Day is now long over.  The vote was Nov. 4th.  The people have spoken, not once, but twice.

There is a process in place for the voice of the people to be heard, it is the electoral process, the thin line in the sand that keeps us on the side of democracy rather than tyranny.

Who's been painting my roses red?  Gay rights activists have been naming names of p8 supporters for punishment.
“Who has been painting my roses red?!” Gay activists have been ruthless in identifying donors from the donor rolls for punitive action

Where were all these adamant protesters, pleading their cause to the people in September?  Why weren’t they out on the street corners holding hands and waving flags in October?  That’s where I was.  What I really want to know is, where were the hairy men in hot pink heels and gaudy wedding dresses when the final votes came in November?

Let me tell you, there was no grass growing under our movement until after the last vote was cast.  In our area, “get out the vote” phones were not silent until half an hour before the polls closed.  In some precincts we had 82% voter turn out.  Some of that was due to the presidential election but among supporters, the numbers were even higher.  Each vote was precious.

The huge outpouring of marriage support Barack Obama brought to the polls was nothing short of a wonder, but even then, when it seemed the wind was at our back, we didn’t take it for granted.  Polls, those finicky fairweather friends, were dipping daily like a drunken man over stony ground and none could be trusted.  Whether two up or seven down, our grass roots support tirelessly redoubled their efforts.

The work paid off, but all that time there was not a single rainbow raised.

With the election two weeks behind us, and the ballots certifiably counted, the only question left is if the inflamed masses are truly ready to hear the verdict.

White Rabbit: Your Majesty, members of the jury, loyal subjects… and the King… the prisoner at the bar stands accused of enticing Her Majesty, the Queen of Hearts, into a game of croquet, thereby and with malice of forethought, molesting, tormenting, and otherwise annoying our beloved…
Queen of Hearts: Never mind all that! Get to the part where I lose my temper.
White Rabbit: …thereby causing the Queen to lose her temper.

“All ways here you see, are the QUEEN’S WAYS!”

Now that the polls are closed and the party is over, gay rights activists claim that the people don’t have the right to make the rules.  Only one side’s voices are equal enough to be heard.  It sounds eerily familiar–doesn’t it Alice?  The voice of the people can’t be trusted to decide this big of an issue on their own.

Howl and lament, roar and scream through any megaphone you like, in as many cities and states and countries as you like, but in this country, every man and woman eligible to vote has an equal voice.  The tally is unchanged by the volume of that voice or the efficacy of it’s menace.  That is true equality.

The California Supreme Court will hear it’s case, but the power it has to act, is only that power granted to it by the people, and the people have spoken.

Still thinking the whole election was a mistaken effort?  Invalid before it began?  Think about it.  If the marriage vote had been illegal, would opponents have spent their 30 million in fighting it?

“The point is”, Mr Zorn points out, “the time for that argument was before the election; before asking for nullification of the result looked so much like the complaint of sore losers.”

queen-of-hearts-6queen-of-hearts-8

The fact is that to the majority of Californians, this issue was no hothouse flower effort, one night stand, nor heady fling of self intoxication, it was not motivated by either hate or power, it was a groundswell concern over the social fabric of families, an inherent love that could never be left to chance.

The fight for marriage truly mattered to the grass roots of the Yes campaign, and it showed in record numbers as they sacrificed their time and their means…..for some even their livelihood and their reputations…. to go and vote.

Rage on if you must.  Your true colors show through.

Contributing Sources:

The Queen of Hearts campaign for gay marriage rights–by Eric Zorn

The Insane Rage of the Same Sex Marriage Mobs–Michelle Malkin

Alice in Wonderland–By Lewis Carroll

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