If only State Representative Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) were a known member of the American Legislative Exchange Council. Were this known to be the case, the irony of an invitation passed along to Bluestem would be complete.
The event--which includes a free lunch for the lawmakers:
The Heartland Institute is hosting a health policy event in Saint Paul, Minnesota on Monday, March 12th at the State Office Building. Please contact Kendall Antekeier at 312-377-4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP today!
With the future of the federal health care law still uncertain, many states including Minnesota are left to question whether to move forward with implementation of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Our event aims to educate lawmakers about health insurance exchanges and offer a roadmap on how Minnesota can claim control of its health care system.
Please join us on Monday March 12th, for this FREE policy event with experts from The Heartland Institute and our legislative host, Representative Mary Franson. The event takes place at the State Office Building, Room 200, 100 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Saint Paul MN. Complimentary lunch and refreshments will be provided followed by opening remarks at 12:30 p.m. followed by presentation and Q&A.
Please RSVP today by calling Kendall Antekeier at 312-377-4000 or contact her by email at email@example.com.
Monday, March 12, 2012
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm CST
State Office Building
100 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, MN 55155
Monday, March 12, 2012
· 12:00 noon - Food & Refreshments
· 12:30 p.m. - Introduction of Speaker
Rep. Mary Franson (R) 11B
·PPACA: An Exchange of Responsibilities
Benjamin Domenech, Research Fellow, The Heartland Institute
Benjamin Domenech (firstname.lastname@example.org) is managing editor of Health Care News and a research fellow at The Heartland Institute.
Benjamin joined The Heartland Institute in 2009 after several years working and writing on national health care policy, beginning with a political appointment as speechwriter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, and continuing as chief speechwriter for U.S. Senator John Cornyn during the Medicare Part D debate on Capitol Hill.
In addition to his work with Heartland, Benjamin is currently editor of The City, an academic journal of faith, politics, and culture, published by Houston Baptist University. He previously worked as a book editor for Eagle Publishing, where he edited multiple New York Times bestsellers in the arenas of politics, history, and sports. He was a founding board member of Redstate, a prominent conservative activist community site, and co-hosts Coffee & Markets, an award-winning daily podcast focused on politics, policy, and the marketplace.
Educated at the College of William & Mary and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Benjamin regularly writes opinion columns for the Washington Examiner and RealClearWorld, and in 2009 he was chosen as a Journalism Fellow by the Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution. He lives in Virginia with his wife, Christine.
At the risk of offending some readers' tender sensibilities, Bluestem finds Franson's hospitality to be a target-rich environment, and had to pause to consider which fish needed to be taken first from the barrel.
Let's start with Benjamin, who deserves no small credit for a creatively-edited biography.
Domenech's wikipedia entry sums up the most well-known episode of his public career: his removal as a blogger for the Washington Post after plagiarism charges emerged:
Domenech, who wrote for RedState under the pseudonym "Augustine", was hired by the Washington Post's online arm to write a blog providing "a daily mix of commentary, analysis and cultural criticism". The blog, "Red America", launched on March 21, 2006, but Domenech resigned three days later after only six posts, after other bloggers posted evidence that Domenech had plagiarized work from the Washington Post, The New Yorker, humorist P. J. O'Rourke, and several other writers.
Domenech was first accused of appropriating a chapter from O'Rourke's 1990 book "Modern Manners" for an editorial in The Flat Hat, a weekly student newspaper at William and Mary. O'Rourke denied Domenech's claim that the humorist had granted permission to use his words, adding that he could not recall ever meeting the college student.
As the previous links on the matter mention, at least one of the pieces Ben Domenech is accused of having plagiarized was a movie review for National Review Online. A side-by-side comparison to another review of the same film speaks for itself. There is no excuse for plagiarism and we apologize to our readers and to Steve Murray of the Cox News Service from whose piece the language was lifted. With some evidence of possible problems with other pieces, we're also looking into other articles he wrote for NRO.
Still later, National Review announced that they had confirmed three other instances of apparent plagiarism. Side-by-side comparisons published on the site indicated that Domenech had also lifted phrases from Rolling Stone, the Dallas Morning News, and other sources.
Go read the whole thing. Michelle Malkin, one of those best-selling authors Domenech edited, put it succinctly:
I certainly understand the impulse on the Right to rally around Domenech. But I can’t ignore the plain evidence. And the charges can’t be dismissed as “lies” or jealousy attributed to Ben’s age.
As someone who has worked in daily journalism for 14 years, I have a lot of experience related to this horrible situation: I’ve had my work plagiarized by shameless word and idea thieves many times over the years. I’ve also been baselessly accused of plagiarism by some of the same leftists now attacking Ben.
The bottom line is: I know it when I see it. . . .
Fortunately for Benjamin, others assisted in his glorious rehabilitation, including the sponsor of his junket to Minnesota to hobnob with legislators concerned about health care exchanges.
Closely associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Heartland Institute has been much in the news of late (Domenech's last stint in the limelight came when he posted rumors about a potential Supreme Court nominee's sexuality, which was, Bluestem supposes, a step up from calling Coretta Scott King a "communist" at the time of her funeral).
Reuters sums up the recent Heartland headlines in Renowned climate scientist comes under fire:
The prestigious Pacific Institute climate research group has opened an investigation of its president and founder, Peter Gleick, after he admitted fraudulently obtaining documents from global warming skeptics challenging his work. . .
Gleick himself went public about the matter on Monday with a statement confessing that he had posed as someone else to obtain internal memos from the Heartland Institute, a think tank that argues skeptic positions, among them that climate change is not caused by human activity and that health hazards from tobacco have been exaggerated. . . .
Heartland is among a group of skeptic organizations that have written extensively about the so-called Climategate case in which thousands of climate scientists' emails were hacked via the University of East Anglia in Britain.
The initial batch of those emails were released in 2009 and a second set in December 2011 as a major climate conference was getting under way in Durban, South Africa.
Heartland cited those emails in claiming that the scientists who wrote them were trying to cover up evidence that cast doubt on human-caused climate change. Five separate investigations later found no wrongdoing on the part of the scientists. The source of the hacking was never identified.
Gleick has admitted that he obtained various internal Heartland documents -- including a fundraising plan, a meeting agenda and a budget -- by soliciting them under someone else's name, then forwarding them anonymously to members of the media and other climate scientists.
One of those lists dozens of major U.S. corporations from a wide range of industries as donors to the Heartland Institute, among them tobacco and energy companies. Another lists consultants Heartland has paid, one of them hired to devise a "climate education project" for public school children.
In a written statement on Monday, Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast acknowledged that all of the documents Gleick circulated were authentic except one, titled "2012 Heartland Climate Strategy," which Bast called a forged memo.
Gleick claimed he received this document anonymously in the mail and that it provided the impetus for him to use a false identity in requesting additional records from Heartland in a bid to verify its source. .. .
Gleick behaved unethically and the furor over his bad behavior has obscured the whiff of hypocrisy on Heartland's part, but more importantly, the substance of the ill-gotten but authentic documents, with criticism hinging on the side of the ideological divide on which writers and bloggers sit.
The most interesting take Bluestem found was in the Los Angeles Times business columnist's observations in Subterfuge vs. propaganda in global warming debate:
Gleick's greatest gift to Heartland may be that the controversy has made it appear more relevant to the global warming debate than it really is. The documents themselves show Heartland struggling to raise money from conservative donors.
Heartland's biggest donor, an anonymous contributor whose millions have sometimes represented as much as 63% of its annual revenue, has advanced smaller amounts every year since 2008, falling below $1 million in 2011. (This is according to the fundraising document, the authenticity of which the institute doesn't dispute.) Heartland hopes to jack that up to $1.25 million this year, but it's unclear from its internal documents whether that number represents the donor's firm commitment or Heartland's wishful thinking. This year, for the first time, Heartland will mount a direct mail fundraising campaign, but the internal documents show that the campaign will cost more than $500,000 and operate at a loss for at least the first year.
The institute's total revenue has been dwindling since 2008, falling from $7.8 million that year to $4.6 million in 2011, according to annual tax returns it files publicly and to its internal budget document. The documents say Heartland plans to restore revenue all the way to $7.7 million this year, but they forecast success in its fundraising with a childlike optimism that makes your average high school pep rally sound like the last rites. . . .
Hard times on the hard right, indeed. Perhaps Heartland can drum up some pearl clutching among Minnesota's progressive community and extract money from North Star Conservatives. However, with the state's Occupy movement out saving the foreclosed homes of military veterans, Bluestem hardily anticipates even a half-hearted mic check for Franson and Domenech.
Sourcewatch has more, including tantalizing items in its index:
- 1 Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
- 2 About
- 3 Leaked documents
- 7 Funding
- 7.1 Foundation funders
- 7.2 Exxon funding
- 7.3 Secrecy on funding sources
- 7.4 Funding base
- 7.5 1999 funders internal data
- 9 2010 Form 990
Given the Heartland's primary audience of lawmakers, and funding base from industry, some wags have suggested that this is a lobby shop, but given the short staff at the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board, those legislators considering the offer of free lunch and refreshments from the Heartland Institute will have to let their own ethical compasses determine whether or not they'll take the gift while listening to the notorious plagiarist delve into the moral hazards of health exchanges.
But perhaps with legislators putting their jackets on so many ALEC bills this term, they might actually feel quite comfortable around Benjamin.
Photo: Mary Franson, R-Alexandria. At least she's not trying to represent Glencoe and the rest of18B, however friendly she finds this district.