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Inspector General at DHS Placed on Paid Leave Following Report of Welfare Fraud

MPR News reported that Carolyn Ham, the Inspector General (IG) at the Department of Human Services (DHS), has been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of a “probe.” The Inspector General’s office is in charge of protecting welfare programs from illegal activity and fraud. Last week the Office of Legislative Auditor (OLA), released a report that found a “serious rift” between the IG’s office and the DHS investigators tasked with investigating fraud. The report also noted that the IG’s office reported directly to the politically appointed commissioner at DHS and thus, had no independent authority. (The OLA, in a letter to...

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Senate GOP takes action on Child Care Fraud: Calls for DHS Inspector General Ham to Step Down

In response to the legislative audit revealing wide-spread welfare fraud and other illegal activity connected to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) summarized here, the Senate GOP Leadership sent out this news release last night: Senate Republicans heard legislation yesterday to address the shocking revelations of the Legislative Auditor’s report on the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).  Four bills in the Human Services Reform Committee focused on increasing oversight and maintaining the integrity of the funding. Senator John Jasinski (R- Faribault) presented two bills to address CCAP fraud. “When the man in charge of investigating CCAP says that fraud could be at least 50% of the entire...

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Unearthing Scholastic Seriousness with Back-Boned Courage in St. Paul?

The Star Tribune ran a story Friday (February 22) headlined, “St. Paul Students Push Ethnic Studies as Core Classwork.”  Featured terms included “culturally relevant curriculum that teaches history through the lens of the oppressed”; “empowering of students to ‘develop into agents for justice in their communities’”; celebrating students’ “identity and ethnicity,” and the old reliable “strengthening self-esteem.” According to reporter Anthony Lonetree, Minneapolis Public Schools offer similar electives, but not required core courses, as is proposed in St. Paul. It would be easy – too easy – to dismiss the St. Paul effort, which is led by a student group called “SPPS...

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An Artful (and Accurate) Expression of Left-Wing Fantasies

Lance Morrow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center takes a pretty good shot at both sides in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend (“America is Torn between Trump’s Fibs and Progressives’ Fantasies”): Mr. Trump works with huckster falsehoods -- the flashy superlatives of a car salesman. The progressive left works with conceptual falsities. Voters in 2020 will decide which style of lies they prefer. Yet his longer, artful diatribe against the Left rings very true, and will be appreciated by conservatives: The progressive left embraces new visions of perfection -- tamer in its methods than its 1930s predecessors, but sometimes outdistancing...

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Alexis de Tocqueville on Sanders and Socialism

Alexis de Tocqueville is properly credited for getting America insightfully right in his legendary Democracy in America in the 1830s.  My goodness, the young Frenchman was brilliantly prescient, but who possibly could have known he also would anticipate, nearing two centuries later, the economic and social aspirations of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar? “Democracy,” Tocqueville wrote, “extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it.  Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number.  Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality.  But notice the difference: while...

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The Community Virtues of Voting in Person

This post appeared at MinnPost on February 13, 2019. There has been no shortage of books over the last decade about how Americans are in centrifugal flight from one other. Journalist Bill Bishop, for instance, in 2009, addressed “why the clustering of like-minded America is tearing us apart,” in The Big Sort. The title of Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, in 2012, needs no embellishment. Robert Putnam’s Our Kids, in 2015, is often viewed as the left-of-center counterweight to Murray’s right-of-center analysis. A year later, in 2016, Yuval Levin’s The Fractured Republic, aimed at “renewing america’s social sontract in the age of individualism.” And most recently, Nebraska Sen....

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False Feminism: How we got from sexual liberation to #MeToo

This essay was published in the February 2019 issue of First Things. As the #MeToo movement has spread from the upper echelons of Hollywood to the halls of Congress, what has most struck me is the startling disconnect between the movement’s feverish sensitivity to sexual impropriety, on the one hand, and women’s eager embrace of our nation’s sex-drenched popular culture, on the other. For example, in 2017—the year #MeToo came to public attention—hip-hop/rap surpassed rock for the first time as the most widely consumed genre of pop music. Americans are now avid consumers of a form of music that demeans and hyper-sexualizes...

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