Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PFOX Flyers: MCPS Central Office Blames Principals

There has been a lot of interest these days in the PFOX flyers that Montgomery County Public Schools have been sending home with students. The flyers themselves are just what you'd expect from PFOX, suggesting that nobody would really want to be gay and if you think you are you should contact PFOX so they can help you become straight, instead. We understand how PFOX feels and why. It is a reprehensible point of view, dangerous to young people, based on fantasy and wishful thinking and contradicted by science, but ... that's PFOX for you.

The problem is that our public school district is passing PFOX's flyers out to our county's children. School officials have always maintained that they are not allowed, because of a court order, to exercise any discretion in determining what materials are distributed. If a nonprofit submits something, then the schools have to give it to our kids, they say.

The Post did some digging and found out something interesting. Their question was, who decides?
I asked Montgomery County schools officials to explain who is responsible for vetting the fliers that non-profit groups are allowed to send home with students four times a year.

The issue arose when my colleague Michael Birnbaum reported about fliers that were passed out to some Montgomery County high school students from an organization that insists that therapy can turn gays into heterosexuals.

The fliers, from the group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, were distributed at Churchill High School and other schools last week under a district regulation that allows non-profit groups to distribute information that is not deemed to be hate speech.

Some entities can distribute information whenever they want: The school system itself; federal, state, or local governmental entities; nationally affiliated PTAs operating within MCPS and MCCPTA; and parent-teacher organizations at special education schools and alternative centers that operate in lieu of nationally affiliated PTAs.

According to school spokesperson Dana Tofig, it is up to a school principal to raise any concerns about material that a non-profit is distributing.

If a principal does have concerns, the material is sent to the Office of School Performance for review and legal counsel may be consulted, Tofig said. A final decision “is made by executive staff if the material is appropriate for distribution.”

Tofig said that a 2006 lawsuit forced the school district to adopt this policy and it leaves “very little room for interpretation.”

Apparently principals at schools where the anti-gay flier was distributed either didn’t see it or weren’t concerned enough to speak up. Up to Montgomery County principals to challenge fliers

It is not clear if that last sentence is the writer's opinion or if it came from the MCPS spokesperson. Either way, you have to wonder, are principals unaware of the material that they are giving children, or do they think this is okay? Because most people do not think it's okay.

The Post points you to THIS SITE for the MCPS flyer policy. That page links to a decision tree for determining whether a flyer should be sent home with students. One route to acceptance is for non-PTA or school groups where the flyer has the required disclaimer, the materials do not violate law or MCPS policy, and the group is a registered nonprofit organization. It does not say, "Principal exercises judgment" or "Principal approves material" at any place on the flow chart.

The article continues:
I understand that the school system is required to pass out the information because of the lawsuit, and that the regulations surrounding this are supposed to be “viewpoint-neutral.” Only hate speech is off-limits.

The problem is that hate speech isn’t always easy to define. To many people, this flier clearly qualified. What if a non-profit group wanted to send out material on how to become a transgender? Or a group of atheists wanted to invite kids to a seminar critical of organized religion? What if the material is not spewing hate but is, nevertheless, patently wrong?

The information on the PFOX flyers is patently wrong. It directly contradicts the schools' health curriculum and the consensus among scientists and medical and mental health practitioners and researchers about the nature of sexual orientation. A lot of people worked hard to develop a curriculum that was accurate and also reflected the values of our community, and the school district undermines that by giving students literature that tells them just the opposite of the classroom lessons.

Somebody needs to look at these flyers and what they represent, the real message to and about gay people. It is cleverly veiled -- "you can change" is an especially insidious message that tells gay teens there is something wrong with them and tells straight teens that their gay peers have chosen to be the way they are. Last week a member of PFOX's Board of Directors said on Hardball that homosexual behavior should be criminalized, they call themselves Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, but they don't even use the "and Gays" in their acronym, which would make it PFOX-GAG. They are no friends of gay people. Parents, some of them, but not friends.

At some point a real live human being needs to take responsibility for the information being given to our children at public school. Somebody needs to look at it and put their foot down, they need to say, I don't care what your bureaucratic policy says, parents trust me to be responsible for their children and there is no way I am giving them this material.

Somebody needs to decide, and so far the word has been that the school district's lawyers were the ones. They have always said, PFOX is a nonprofit, we have agreed to allow all nonprofits to send home flyers, therefore MCPS staff have to spend their time handing out dangerously incorrect literature to students.

Now Dana Tofig, the MCPS Director of Public Information, is saying that it's really been up to school principals all along. I'll bet there's more than one harried principal looking at that Post article in amazement. This appears to be the MCPS administration denying responsibility for distributing hate literature to our children, now they're saying they didn't order anybody to do it, the principals decided. I'd like to hear what a principal has to say about that!

This reporter has one thing wrong.
Now that this policy has become news, I’m betting that a lot of organizations that didn’t know about it will avail themselves of the opportunity to distribute information to kids and their families.

Naw, it's a big pain to distribute flyers. It is expensive to print them up, you have to go around to every school on a certain date, you have to bundle them a certain way, it takes hours of work. We did it once, thinking that it would be sensible to counter PFOX's poison with an alternative view. But in reality, this is not a matter of "opposing viewpoints." It's not, like the lady said at the Parents Coalition listserve, that PFOX "disagrees with homosexuality." That would be like disagreeing with blue eyes, or disagreeing with being tall. The problem is that PFOX's point of view is nonsense. It is old-fashioned bigotry, there are people who are gay by nature and PFOX promotes prejudice against them. It's not just a different point of view, it's wrong, and our school district should not be passing this material out to students.

Now the central office is circling its wagons, saying that the schools are really responsible for the decision to distribute these flyers. That's a good sign, at least they realize they are under attack.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get over it

ACLU states:
“The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects speech no matter how offensive its content. Speech codes adopted by government-financed state colleges and universities amount to government censorship, in violation of the Constitution. And the ACLU believes that all campuses should adhere to First Amendment principles because academic freedom is a bedrock of education in a free society. When one of us is denied this right, all of us are denied. Since its founding in 1920, the ACLU has fought for the free expression of all ideas, popular or unpopular. That's the constitutional mandate. “

February 10, 2010 11:04 AM  
Anonymous my friend Frosty got buried said...

"Because most people do not think it's okay."


most people don't care

"a reprehensible point of view,"


"dangerous to young people,"

not according to Joy- she's some gays benefit from trying to change

"based on fantasy"

as opposed to the TTF "homosexuality is healthy and happy" fantasy?

"and wishful thinking"

I thought you liked hopey, changey stuff

"and contradicted by science,"

LOL...and what science would that be?

"The Post did some digging and found out something interesting."

I'd appreciate if they could do some digging at my house and see if they can find my azalea bushes

"The problem is that hate speech isn’t always easy to define"'s easy...hate speech is anyone who disagrees with TTF..what's the mystery?

"What if a non-profit group wanted to send out material on how to become a transgender?"

PFOX didn't do that, they said contact us if you want information

"Or a group of atheists wanted to invite kids to a seminar critical of organized religion?"

that would be great! what an evangelistic opportunity!

"What if the material is not spewing hate but is, nevertheless, patently wrong?"

big deal, kids need to develop skills of discernement anyway

"The information on the PFOX flyers is patently wrong. It directly contradicts the schools' health curriculum and the consensus among scientists and medical and mental health practitioners and researchers about the nature of sexual orientation"

notice he doesn't say "contradicts research"

the personal feelings of certain scientists are irrelevant and, indeed, brings the issue of their objectivity

"A lot of people worked hard to develop a curriculum that was accurate"

an accurate description of the postition of gay advocates, that is

"and also reflected the values of our community,"

apparently not, since any direct vote is avoided by the lunatic fringe

"and the school district undermines that by giving students literature that tells them just the opposite of the classroom lessons"

that's what happens when you teach advocacy rather than facts

"That would be like disagreeing with blue eyes, or disagreeing with being tall. The problem is that PFOX's point of view is nonsense."

saying physical appearance is equivalent to deviant desires is nonsense

February 10, 2010 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right, "Anonymous"...allow PFOX-GAG to print and say anything they want to.

Give them authorized permission to pass their tripe out to students.

Let's open the schools to the propaganda of the Klu Klux Klan, the "Flat-Earthers", the "Birthers", the "Deathers" and the "Know-Nothings".


BUT - don't start the crybaby tactics you always resort to when anybody dares to challenge your lies and bigotry and hatred of anybody who doesn't fit your extreme right-wing views of who should exist in our society and who isn't acceptable.

How dare you attempt to define and twist the meaning of Constitutional guarantees to sanction whatever YOU want to print and distribute but then puke with fright when anyone stands up against you?

Freedom of speech is a two-way street. It is the right of any citizen to CHALLENGE inaccurate, hateful speech. Not to do so invites consequences that history is replete with...silence is not conducive to liberty!

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)


February 10, 2010 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry you don't want to acknowledge that ex-gays exist, Jim, but your denials aren't reality. Ex-gays exist, and they don't want to be persecuted. Get over it, bud.

February 10, 2010 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

this is why the gay agenda must be resisted

Bob McDonnell is pitching in!

February 10, 2010 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of mouthing the acceptable right-wing and pseudo-Christian platitudes about how so-called "ex-gays" are discriminated against, please cite some FACTS (incidences, dates, names, other pertinent details) to support your unfounded assertions that "Ex-gays exist, and they don't want to be persecuted."

BTW...are you an "ex-gay"? If so, as a reformed and "saved" heterosexual, how have you been discriminated against? You speak with such authority...but we all know that your words are drivel and have absolutely no validity.

Also: Are you the infamous Peter Sprigg? (he of the "criminalize homosexuality" screed) or perhaps the infamous "ex-gay" "Christian" pastor, Anthony Falzarano?

February 10, 2010 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Situational ethics do not flatter you! And I thought you were a follower of Christianity!

"this is why the gay agenda must be resisted
Bob McDonnell is pitching in!"

"No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency."
Theodore Roosevelt


February 10, 2010 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, Bob McDonnell could have done the expedient thing and allowed gays to attack people with frivolous lawsuits and force people to associate with gays

but, he did chose to do the right thing instead

Virginians are lucky to have him

thanks, Barry

"According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted Feb. 4-8, Americans believe by 57 percent to 36 percent that it is a good thing the Democrats lost their veto-proof majority in the Senate because it will force them to cooperate more with Republicans."


February 10, 2010 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word? Obviously the GOP's favorite word is No.

February 10, 2010 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's what everyone's answer should be when the question is should we start a new entitlement by borrowing a trillion dollars from the Chinese?

what do you think that answer should be?

February 10, 2010 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Here's an example of the GOP's love of doing nothing other than saying no.

When Obama supports something, the GOP says no, even when it's something they supported a few months ago.

It's an excerpt from a piece that discusses Mitch McConnell's flip flop on the Conrad-Gregg proposal to create a "bipartisan commission that would craft fiscal reforms that Congress would then have to vote on as a package."

"...There's been no question about Mitch McConnell's position of ardent, unwavering support. Last spring he needled President Obama for not backing it. He endorsed it numerous times.

Here, for example, is what McConnell had to say last May:

"We must address the issue of entitlement spending now before it is too late. As I have said many times before, the best way to address the crisis is the Conrad-Gregg proposal, which would provide an expedited pathway for fixing these profound long-term challenges. This plan would force us to get debt and spending under control. It deserves support from both sides of the aisle."

"As I have said many times before, the best way to address the crisis is the Conrad-Gregg proposal."

And then, last week, he voted against it.

What could have changed since May? When I asked, through a spokesman, the senator sent this response: "If people were serious about getting the debt under control, they wouldn't have supported the President's budget which doubles the debt in five years and triples it in 10. Or $2.5 trillion in health spending, or a trillion in stimulus spending. Our problems are not a result of taxing too little, but of spending too much."

But didn't McConnell consider spending the culprit last May, too? Isn't rising debt an argument for the commission?

It's impossible to avoid the conclusion that the only thing that changed since May is the political usefulness of the proposal to McConnell's partisan goals. He was happy to claim fiscal responsibility while beating up Obama for fiscal recklessness.

But when Obama endorsed the idea, as he did on the Saturday before the vote -- and when the commission actually, against all odds, had the wisp of a chance of winning the needed 60 Senate votes -- McConnell bailed.

He was hardly the only cynical player. As Mike Allen of Politico pointed out after the vote, a half-dozen Republicans who had co-sponsored the measure voted against it -- including, sadly, former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, Ariz.

Obama, too, was hardly a profile in courage. He endorsed the commission belatedly, to appease Senate fiscal hawks whose votes he would need to increase the debt limit once their commission went down to defeat. Key aides had been arguing against the commission for much of the fall, and the president made no effort as far as I know to twist arms.

Even so, the commission attracted 53 votes. If McConnell had rallied his backsliding colleagues, and joined them, it would have passed.

And McConnell has the word leader before his name. There was a time when that word suggested a responsibility -- not always, maybe not even most of the time, but sometimes, on issues of true national importance -- to put public interest ahead of partisan consideration.

For McConnell, evidently that's not what the word means anymore.

"As I have said many times before, the best way to address the crisis is the Conrad-Gregg proposal. ... It deserves support from both sides of the aisle."

Minority Leader McConnell was for it until Obama answered McConnell's calls to support it too. GOP Senate Minority Leader McConnell has proven himself to be a mis-leader.

February 10, 2010 1:12 PM  
Anonymous hopey changey dopey and doc said...

give it a rest, anon-Bea

people like the good party saying no to Obama

we have equilibrium

people basically want the good party to make sure nothing bad gets passed until they can take over in November

that's how our system works

a lot of people are not impressed by that whole hopey, changey thing:

"Former Democratic Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder says if Barack Obama is to fulfill his promise of positive change in America, the president must "make some hard changes of his own" by replacing inexperienced members of his team with "others more capable of helping him govern."

In an editorial for Politico Tuesday, Wilder writes Obama's White House staff is made up of too many people left over from the campaign or from his time in Chicago. "Getting elected and getting things done for the people are two different jobs," Wilder writes, suggesting the president and his people haven't fully made the transition from campaign mode to governing."

imagine that

someone has noticed that the emperor has no clothes


February 10, 2010 3:07 PM  
Blogger David S. Fishback said...

The MCPS spokesman made it clear that the final call on whether a flyer may be barred is done by the Central Office. Here is what the regulation Jim linked to says:

"Any principal who is concerned that informational material or an
announcement submitted for distribution or display may violate law or MCPS policy shall immediately submit a copy to the Office of School Performance. Informational materials or announcements that violate law will not be distributed."

But what if the flyer does not violate law, but does violate MCPS policy? If an MCPS policy -- for example, stating that school premises may not be used by outside groups to press "therapies" that are medically dangerous according to mainstream medical groups -- is violated, would the flyers be barred under the regulation.

Could MCPS bar the flyers if it had such a policy, consistent with the Child Evangelism Fellowship decision? Could MCPS bar flyers that propagated the use of leeches for physical illness? The answers to these questions may not be crystal clear. But we should think about them.

February 10, 2010 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I will never give the truth a rest, Anone. Bullies like you who try to silence people like me just strengthen my resolve.

Mitch McConnell actively worked to get Obama to support the bipartisan Conrad-Gregg Fiscal Commission, and the very weekend Obama did get behind it, McConnell turned tail and sunk it.

That is not leadership or governing; it is illustrative of the GOP leadership's backstabbing ways. Seven GOP co-sponsors of the legislation also voted against it, marching in lockstep with their mis-leader McConnell.

With all of his years of experience on Capitol Hill, McConnell should know better. You don't govern by supporting bills for months and then killing them.

February 10, 2010 4:01 PM  
Anonymous matterhorn man said...

have you been the victim of bullying, AB?

you poor dear

and you'd never say an unkind word about a soul

I don't want you to think I'm bullying you by taking advantage of your weak mind with my vastly superior intelligence but Mitch McConnell is a legislator of the minority party not our country's leader and Obama has to be stopped before permanent damage is done to our country. Though, he was thoroughly inexperienced in governance, Obama wanted to be the leader. He now must take responsibility:

"Veronique de Rugy has a good post on the limits of blaming Bush for the deficits. Yes, Bush enacted a horrible prescription drug benefit and tax cuts that didn't improve matters. But the net increase in interest on the Federal debt under Bush was dwarfed by the current and future projected deficits, and will naturally shrink further as inflation returns. And the tax cuts expire this year. The proponents of blaming every single bad thing that happens on one George W. Bush offer the wan defense that, after all, it would be hard to not extend the tax cuts. But that argument applies equally well to Bush; it would have been hard not to enact the tax cuts in the first place, and politically disastrous not to do a Medicare prescription drug benefit, and idea that was essentially forced on him by Democrats eager to curry favor with seniors.

Whatever George W. Bush did or did not do, he's no longer in office, and doesn't have the power to do a damn thing about the budget. Obama is the one who is president with the really humongous deficits. Deficits of the size Bush ran are basically sustainable indefinitely; deficits of the size that Obama is apparently planning to run, aren't. If he doesn't change those plans, he will be the one who led the government into fiscal crisis, even if changing them would be [sob!] politically difficult.

I have a serious question for the people who are mounting this defense: at what point in his presidency is Obama actually responsible for any bad thing that happens? Two years? Five? Can we pick a date for when bad things that happen on Obama's are actually in some measure the responsibility of one Barack Obama, rather than his long gone predecessor? And then stick with that date? Conversely, can we agree that as long as the bad things that happen are really George Bush's fault, any good things that happen should probably be chalked up to his administration as well?"

February 10, 2010 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bea -- When Obama got behind it, he changed it dramatically. It was no longer the same commission that was originally put forth. Obama's such a phony. ho ho ho

February 10, 2010 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Mike Airhart, TWO said...

Several of PFOX's board members, including its spokesperson, actively support the imprisonment of homosexuals here and abroad. Some also support the death penalty and forced brainwashing (torture) against LGBT people in Uganda and other countries.

PFOX is therefore comparable to an anti-Semitic organization seeking to imprison Jews or a racist organization seeking to execute African-Americans.

Even if the content of the fliers was legitimate (it's not), the organization itself poses a threat to student safety and American democracy.

February 10, 2010 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why do you think homosexuality should be legal?

February 10, 2010 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is hush-hush, so keep it on the downlow but, apparently, Rahm Emanuel is in negotiation to replace Simon on American Idol

February 10, 2010 7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"WASHINGTON — Back-to back storms have turned snow day in the nation's capital to snow week. Federal agencies have been closed since Friday afternoon, the House of Representatives and the Senate have canceled all votes and the endless stream of luncheons, congressional hearings, press conferences and cocktail parties — the lifeblood of political Washington — is frozen.

Forgive most Americans if they haven't noticed.

Far from Washington's snowiest winter in more than a century, Social Security recipients are still getting their checks. Tax returns and Medicare claims are being processed without interruption at regional centers around the country. Constituents can still contact their members of Congress through district field offices, and military commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq are going about their duties, albeit with fewer interrupting e-mails and phone calls from the Pentagon, the White House and Capitol Hill.

As Wednesday's blizzard buried the capital under another foot of snow, almost certainly shuttering federal offices until after President's Day next Monday, it also raised a question that Washington might not want answered.

Does anyone out there care that the seat of political power in the United States has been in hibernation for nearly a week?"

February 10, 2010 11:03 PM  
Anonymous disgusted with Dems said...

is there anyone who is not disgusted with the Dems?:

"Labor groups are furious with the Democrats they helped put in office — and are threatening to stay home this fall when Democratic incumbents will need their help fending off Republican challengers.

The Senate’s failure to confirm labor lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board was just the latest blow, but the frustrations have been building for months.

"Here's labor getting thrown under the bus again," said John Gage, the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 600,000 workers. "It's really frustrating for labor, and a lot of union people are thinking: We put out big time in money and volunteers and support. And it seems like the little things that could have been aren't being done."

The vote on Becker really set labor unions on edge, but the list of setbacks is growing.

The so-called “card check” bill that would make it easier to unionize employees has gone nowhere. A pro-union Transportation Security Administration nominee quit before he even got a confirmation vote. And even though unions got a sweetheart deal to keep their health plans tax-free under the Senate health care bill, that bill has collapsed, leaving unions exposed again.

Union leaders warn that the Democrats' lackluster performance in power is sapping the morale of activists going into the midterm elections.

"Right now if we don’t get positive changes to the agenda, we’re going to have a hard time getting members out to work," said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard, in an interview.

“There’s no use pretending any longer.”

The biggest threat, of course, is apathy from a Democratic constituency that has a history of mobilizing for elections.

"You're just not going to be able to go to our membership in the November elections and say, 'Come on, let's do it again. Look at what the Democratic administration has done for us!'" Gage said. "People are going to say, 'Huh? What have the Democrats done for us?'""

we're all wondering that!!

February 10, 2010 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

big issue for Nov 2010:

"Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson joined a bipartisan effort on Wednesday to block the administration from trying the Sept. 11th suspects in civilian courts.

Nelson (Neb.) signed onto legislation offered by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) to require military commission trials for those suspects. Nelson made the announcement in a conference call with reporters."

February 10, 2010 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...


Do you have a link or source for the information on the PFOX' board members' stands on criminalization of gay people? I'd be interested.


February 11, 2010 5:38 AM  
Anonymous the gay agenda is an iceberg which broke off said...

I bet you would, Robert

when you get it, make sure and post it here so PFOX can remove any board members who aren't in favor of it

also, now that it's legal to discriminate against gays in Virginia, let's make sure all PFOX board members are in favor of that too

that'll be a trend across the country as it looks like Repubs are going to sweep the governor races in November

gay marriage hasn't been passed anywhere, DADT is still in effect, and now discrimination laws giving special protection to gays are being reversed

the gay agenda isn't working out very well

you guys should fire Barney Frank and find someone else to be head of the gays in America

February 11, 2010 6:37 AM  
Anonymous common sense kid said...

What's behind the Tea Party protests, low approval ratings for Congress, distrust of the media and unease with experts in the Obama administration?

In short, a growing anger at the sermonizing and condescension by many of America's elites.

We see this specifically, for example, in the debate over global warming, which a year ago was accepted as gospel.

The high profile of prestigious scientists, former public officials like Al Gore and Van Jones, and the Obama administration all made impending cap-and-trade legislation seem likely. Skeptics were derided as "deniers" and virtual know-nothings.

But then the assertion of manmade climate change met a perfect storm.

First, several high academic priests of global warming were discredited. Leaked e-mails at East Anglia University in the United Kingdom revealed doctored evidence, personal vendettas and cover-ups among scientists.

More recently, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted it had relied on faulty information, leading it to make inflated claims on impending manmade warming disasters involving Himalayan glaciers.

These exposes dovetailed with a series of unconnected events that further undermined the climate-change diktat.

Many of the most prominent green advocates either seemed hypocritical or downright crazy. Al Gore, for example, has earned much of his new fortune from his supposedly disinterested public service to the green cause, and yet habitually leaves a carbon footprint like few others on the planet.

The president's own "green jobs" official, Van Jones, it was revealed, had signed a "truther" petition stating that the U.S. government had planned 9/11. His credibility shot, Jones had to resign.

Then there was the uncooperative weather itself. Environmental grandees jetted into frigid Copenhagen to discuss planet warming. Obama returned to a blizzard and, back in the U.S., portions of a very cold East Coast have since been blanketed with unprecedented snowfall levels - at a time when the public is supposed to be concerned that temperatures are unseasonably warming.

Other conventional wisdom from supposed experts has also been questioned. Take the model of the European Union.

After the September 2008 American financial panic, European diplomats and intellectuals lectured Americans on the evils of unfettered capitalism and the superiority of their statist model. The strong euro and steady expansion of the EU had convinced many that their soft socialism was the only way of the future.

But European prosperity was, in fact, heavily subsidized by decades of free protection by the U.S. military. Meanwhile, aristocratic bureaucrats in Brussels were increasingly not accountable to their skeptical continental constituents - and seemed terrified of popular referenda from member states on the EU constitution.

And now? Several EU nations like Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal face financial implosions - brought on by unsustainable government spending, out-of-control pensions and endemic tax cheating. The euro is falling fast. Bondholders of European debt are jittery. Now, countries like Germany and France - despite their own budget problems - may have to bailout Greece.

Yet, in 2009, the American binge of massive spending and borrowing, expansion of government, and new proposed taxes followed the model of the supposedly superior European system. But for all the massive new debt, unemployment here remains high and the economy still sluggish.

February 11, 2010 6:53 AM  
Anonymous common sense kid said...

The Obama administration came into office also convinced of another theory popular among many intellectuals, lawyers and members of the media - that the so-called "war on terror" had degenerated into a Bush administration overreaction to 9/11. Obama's anti-terrorism czar, John Brennan, lambasted the past anti-terrorism nomenclature and the methods of the very administration he used to work for.

President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay. Rendition, military tribunals and Predator drone attacks at one time or another were caricatured as unnecessary or counterproductive. Even the name "war on terror" was dropped for kindler, gentler euphemisms.

"Outreach" and "reset" with the Islamic world became instead the talking points. Highly educated experts had to explain to those of us who are less sophisticated that the real dangers were Guantanamo Bay and the waterboarding of a few terrorist detainees rather than the need to detain and interrogate actual terrorists.

And now? After the mass murdering at Fort Hood, the Christmas Day bombing plot, the popular outrage over offering a civilian trial in New York to the architect of 9/11, and the snubbing of American outreach by a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran, there's less reason than ever to accept a therapeutic approach to dealing with radical Islamic terrorism.

There is an unfocused but growing anger in the country -- and it should come as no surprise. Nobody likes to be lectured by those claiming superior wisdom but often lacking common sense about everything from out-of-control spending and predicting the weather to dealing with enemies who are trying to kill us all.

February 11, 2010 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

PFOX is already on record as being in favor of discrimination against LGBT people in Virginia, didn't you know?

What are the references to Bob McDonnell and Virginia for? Did I miss something? Can you at least provide a link?

Are you talking about Mcdonnell declining to include sexual orientation and non-discrimination in the Governor's employment policies, as his two predecessors did? Or is there something new?

February 11, 2010 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's what I'm talking about

February 11, 2010 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Oh, I see, it's a reference to the previous thread.

That policy, signed by the previous two governors, referred only to the nondiscrimination policy of the state government, not to other employers in the state. McDonnell had ruled (or simply said; I'm not sure if he was asked for an official opinion or was just playing the gay card, much as Republicans in Virginia have played the race card for years)as Attorney General that the governor didn't have the authority to write such a policy.

McDonnell's (am I spelling his name correctly? Do I care?) predecessor as Virginia's (Jerry Kilgore, who lost the governor's race to Tim Kaine) Attorney General had ruled that local governments couldn't write such a policy either. Fairfax County School Board, under the threat of a suit by PFOX and CWfA, chose not to enact such a policy.

It's worth noting that the Loudoun County governement, by majority vote, has included sexual orientation and gender identity in its employment policies. No one has appealed this to Virginia's current reactionary Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli.

Many of my DC and Maryland friends ask why I live in Virginia, and some won't even come here, not even to go to Costco.

February 11, 2010 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe a great county like Loudoun has allowed itself to become involved with such a horrendous policy.

Fairfax apparently has common sense, explaining why they maintain their standing as the best school systme in America while MCPS keeps sliding.

And we get stuck with all the fountain people in Maryland.

February 11, 2010 10:09 AM  
Anonymous hopey, changey, dopey and doc said...

"referred only to the nondiscrimination policy of the state government"

well, at least someone can discriminate against 'em

we can take some comfort in that!

February 11, 2010 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I'm pleased to provide you with the opportunity to take comfort in something.

Please note, the policy proposed in Fairfax was for the school system, while the nondiscrimination policy passed in Loudoun was for the county government. Neither had the force of law affecting non-govermental agents, unlike the nondiscrimination law passed in Montgomery.

Loudoun is a lovely place, isn't it? It's the home of Patrick Henry College.

February 11, 2010 10:41 AM  
Anonymous how's that hopey changey stuff goin'? said...

plus, there's still a Roy Rogers in downtown Leesburg

decent fastfood roast beef lives!

February 11, 2010 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Hooray for Roy Rogers!

February 11, 2010 11:26 AM  
Anonymous how's that hopey changey stuff goin'? said...

anon-deluxe and Robert are in agreement!

February 11, 2010 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I know it. Next we'll have hurricanes, floods, and epic blizzards.

Oh wait....

February 11, 2010 12:29 PM  
Anonymous how's that hopey changey thing goin'? said...

it's all from global warming, friend

remember when the Ayatollah used to blame everything on the CIA

global warming is the liberal CIA

February 11, 2010 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

have you been the victim of bullying, AB?

you poor dear

You can keep your fake pity for yourself. I never claimed to be bullied; what I said is bullies like you only strengthen my resolve. You come here to bully LGBT people day after day for the apparent pleasure you get from it. No matter how many times you're told to go away, regular Vigilance readers can attest to your long record of coming to Vigilance repeatedly to feed your LGBT bullying obsession.

Bea -- When Obama got behind it, he changed it dramatically. It was no longer the same commission that was originally put forth. Obama's such a phony. ho ho ho

Pho-ho-hony-Ano-no-noney it's up to you to show us the Presidential mark-up to S. 2853 you're "dramatically" lying about.

What Obama did was to propose a backup plan to create the bipartisan Fiscal Commission panel by executive order if the Senate didn't pass its own bill. The bill didn't pass even though 53 Senators voted in favor of it because the Grand Obstructionist Party has decided to continue to abuse the filibuster so that every vote called in the Senate must pass by 60 votes.

The GOP continues with their outrageous interference with those elected officials who want to do their job to pass legislation to keep us safe and open for business. The Obstructionists don't want to govern in a bipartisan way; they care more about the next election than they care about US citizen.

Grand Obstructionist Partiers want to bring "Waterloo" to their own duly elected President.

They're traitors!

February 11, 2010 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, Bea. Obama's fiscal commission is not the one originally envisioned. Read this (below) from Boehner's office.

"House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after urging Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner today to scrap the President’s partisan fiscal commission proposal and start over with a process that includes Republicans and the American people:

“The President’s fiscal commission proposal is nothing more than a partisan Washington exercise rigged to impose massive tax increases and pass the buck on the tough choices we need to be making right now. The Obama Administration should scrap this partisan fiscal commission proposal immediately and start over on a process that includes Republicans and the American people.

“Washington Democrats’ definition of ‘bipartisanship’ continues to be writing proposals of their own behind closed doors, then unveiling them and demanding Republican support. Bipartisan ends require bipartisan means, and the proposed fiscal commission fails to meet this common-sense standard.

“The American people want to see an end to Washington Democrats’ unprecedented spending binge, which is hurting our economy and stifling job creation. At the White House last December, Republicans called for bipartisan action now to stop Washington’s out-of-control spending, and last year put forth an alternative budget that would get the job done. Instead the Obama Administration wants to punt these matters to a partisan commission and move ahead immediately with a job-killing budget that spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much from our kids and grandkids. It’s disappointing.”

NOTE: Here are some of the concerns Leader Boehner shared with Secretary Geithner about the President’s partisan fiscal commission proposal:

• As Republicans have told the President before, we should begin making tough choices now instead of kicking the can down the road. We can begin by repealing ‘stimulus’ spending, using repaid TARP money to reduce the deficit as prescribed by law, and adopting real budget caps that limit federal spending on an annual basis. These steps would send a clear signal that the government is truly committed to getting a grip on our fiscal crisis.

• A truly bipartisan fiscal commission must be truly bipartisan in its makeup – 50/50 – as opposed to the imbalanced membership scheme the President has proposed for his partisan fiscal commission. Democratic leaders have only extended this charade further by proclaiming they will move ahead regardless of Republican participation.

• With the partisan commission not unveiling its recommendations until after the election and calling for a vote before the new Congress, the public would have little time to digest a bill that would have serious consequences for American families. The commission’s recommendations would be just another rushed partisan backroom deal.

• The commission proposed by President Obama would reportedly be barred from proposing cuts to any discretionary spending, which accounts for more than one-third of all federal spending. With discretionary spending off the table, tax increases would represent a very large portion of the policy options for decreasing deficits. By seeking to take the ‘comprehensive’ route on every issue except spending, the Obama Administration only reveals its unwillingness to end Washington Democrats’ spending binge."

February 11, 2010 3:25 PM  
Anonymous how's that hopey changey thang going? said...

got replicated and peer-reviewed research to prove that?

Americans are sick and tired of Democrats saying everyone that disagrees with them is something horrible like a "traitor", a "liar", a "bigot", yada, yada

Americans want Democrats' governmental interention plans stopped

the socialist window closed quickly

you missed your opportunity

the Democrat brand is being retired


February 11, 2010 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Bea -- when did this become the LGBT forum? I thought it was a forum to discuss Montgomery County's sex education program??

OH WAIT-- THAT'S RIGHT! THE LGBT community and the MC School Curriculum are one in the same! Thanks for the great reminder!

February 11, 2010 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

You think a curriculum with 90 minutes of instruction on respect for individual differences is a community?

No Anone, a curriculum is not a community.

Americans are sick and tired of Democrats saying everyone that disagrees with them is something horrible like a "traitor", a "liar", a "bigot", yada, yada

I suppose you prefer it when tea baggers say those who disagree with them are "socialists" "facists" "undocumented" "Muslims" "Jokers" and so they want to "revolt" and "secede from the union."

I don't need peer reviewed research to express my opinion that Republicans who are trying to undermine the first African American President of the United State are traitors. Each and every one of them swore an oath to "faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter" but all they do is sit down on the job and refuse to work with their coworkers on solutions to our problems.

During his first SOTUS, the world saw that every single one of the GOP Representatives and Senators sat on their hands when Obama said Wall Street should pay back the money Main Streeters loaned them in their time of need. The world saw the Grand Obstructionists sit on their hands every time their President mentioned attempts to help Americans rendered jobless by Bush's policies and mis-leadership. The GOP intends to obstruct any effort to pass laws to get Main Street paid back for the money we loaned Wall Street and Americans back to work. These Obstructionists are failing to "discharge the duties of their office" by doing nothing, which makes each of them traitors.

the Democrat brand is being retired


Oh that's a good one, but while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I am not impressed.

Enjoy your fantasies but everybody knows the only party trying to rebrand itself is the GOP. The GOP is attempting to rebrand itself as the Tea Party.

Hooooo yeah! Revolutionaries for the status quo!

You have some pretty high hopes for November. So tell us Anone, how hard are you hoping the economy does not recover this year?

February 11, 2010 6:25 PM  
Anonymous it's a red year said...


I don't go in for that hopey, changey stuff

facts are facts

Obama will lose in November because he refuses to adopt pro-growth policies

no one has to click their heels and close their eyes

Barry hasn't a clue

as for this remark:

"Republicans who are trying to undermine the first African American President of the United State"

implying that opposition to Obama is racist is inflammatory

another thing about Dems that Americans are sick of

glad to hear you're shrugging off Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts

February 11, 2010 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"The Obama Administration should scrap this partisan fiscal commission proposal immediately and start over on a process that includes Republicans and the American people."

If that's Bonehead's statement, he obviously does not comprehend that the term "bipartisan" means both Republican and Democratic representatives of the American people were included.

"Hyena time! Here‘s Sean Hannity on FOX Monday. Quote—here is Sean talking—“It is the most severe winter weather in—winter storm in years, which would seem to contradict Al Gore‘s hysterical global warming theories.”

Here‘s Senator Jim DeMint Twittering yesterday—quote—“It is going to keep snowing in D.C. until Al Gore cries uncle.”

And here‘s Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell when asked about passing climate change legislation just yesterday—quote—“Where is Al Gore now?”

Well, here are the facts, gentlemen. The average global temperature last year was the second highest on record. The past decade was the warmest ever. Cold weather in one area over several days doesn‘t change the reality of what is happening to this planet, the only one we have got, by the way. It is isn‘t something to laugh about, gentlemen, unless you don‘t care what happens to this planet down the road. And I suspect some of that you folks, sadly, don‘t."

facts are facts

Then why don't you try stating some facts because the rest of your comment consisted of a prediction about November, a dumb movie reference, and four personal opinions.

February 12, 2010 8:15 AM  
Anonymous i got the chills from global warming said...

"unless you don‘t care what happens to this planet down the road"

that's true

unless this global warming stops, we'll have a White Christmas every year

then, what will we have to dream about?

"lose your dreams and you will lose your mind"

does the DSM-IV have any categories for the psychological devastation of excessive snowfall caused by global warming?

I heard Al Gore is on medication and flying his "eco-friendly" private jet back and forth between his various residences to make sure the heat is still pumping

February 12, 2010 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out this website, Bea. Thirty-one thousand scientists have signed a petition, refuting man-made global warming.

February 12, 2010 9:56 AM  
Anonymous i need an understanding heart said...

oh please....those are just the 31,000 scientists who are right-wing traitors

that nefarious gang of thirty-one thousand scientists!


it isn't very pretty what those scientists without pity can do....

February 12, 2010 11:23 AM  
Anonymous if we stop to gaze upon a star said...

isn't it odd that, in the hottest decade like ever, that the major weather manifestation is the biggest blizzard like ever....

ours is not an easy age

we're like tigers in a cage

it isn't very pretty

what 31,000 scientists without pity

can do

February 12, 2010 11:28 AM  
Anonymous they just talk about how bad they are said...

that's just the American scientists

think how many of these dastardly scientists exist WORLDWIDE


I'll be right back

a huge icecicle just crashed down on my car and set off the alarm...

February 12, 2010 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Gore is a perfect example of what man-made global warming is all about. Tax the hell out of the "little people", leave them in poverty, and allow the "big people" like Al Gore to fly around in jets!

February 12, 2010 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 12, 2010 3:08 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Yes, Anon, it's been a long boring day back at the office for you. And yes, there is a lot of moisture in the atmosphere, producing a lot of snow. That's because the oceans are warming up.

If you want to discuss something, please feel free. Don't insult our intelligence with this idiocy.


February 12, 2010 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we always have lots of moisture, it hasn't increased from global warming

it's usually not cold enough to snow when it gets here

February 12, 2010 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The atmosphere's water vapor content has increased by about 0.4 kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m_) per decade since 1988.

February 13, 2010 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

has global warming only been a phenomenom since then?

February 13, 2010 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think?

February 13, 2010 3:13 PM  

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