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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Ann Coulter Action Figure

No this isn't a joke.

"I think it's terrific!" Ann says, "This action figure can talk, wear different outfits and hairstyles."

But that's not all. Ann adds, "It also kills terrorist leaders and converts their followers to Christianity."

(thanks Ken Avidor for the tip)

New Spin on the AFA Poll

Now that the anti-gay American Family Association has egg on their faces because they conducted an internet poll on gay marriage - hoping to present it to congress - and the poll results backfired on them, they've come up with new spin on the matter.

I got this item from the Steven Bennett Ministries. Steven Bennett is the latest in a round of Professional ExGays.

1 - SBM Reaches 250,000 "Gay" Activists/Sympathizers
-----------------------------------------------------------
Last week SBM partnered with the American Family Association (AFA) to reach over 250,000 "gay" activists and sympathizers with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the truth about homosexuality.

AFA is conducting a poll on "gay" marriage. Always thinking of a way to
reach the lost with the gospel, AFA contacted SBM to send a Christmas
greeting to many who responded to the poll.

A link in the e-mail led people to a web page which allowed the recipient to
listen to Stephen Bennett's testimony online, as well as the ENTIRE CD which
was passed out by SBM in Provincetown, MA this year - "You Are Truly
Precious in God's Eyes." The 10 minute + CD is evangelistic to reach the
homosexual with the truth about homosexuality, and more importantly, gives the listener an opportunity to pray and receive Jesus Christ!

While the "hate mail" and calls flooded in to AFA and SBM, tens of thousands
of homosexuals heard the gospel! Keep them ALL in prayer -- for countless
seeds were planted -- and God's Word NEVER returns void!

SBM sincerely thanks AFA for their heart's desire to reach the homosexual
with the gospel of Jesus Christ. (*To listen to the above audio resources,
please go here )

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Response to Rep. Karen Klinzing

Klinzing's response to my post on Creationism was picked up by PZ Myers who maintains the Pharyngula blog who gave it a good fisking.

I had written Klinzing a response (I can never resist when things things fall into my inbox so to speak). Here it is.

Rep. Klinzing:

First of all - I'm curious - do you have a background in Science? I do.

At 01:23 PM 12/24/2003 -0600, Karen Klinzing wrote:
Dear Ms. Eva,

Are you suggesting that public schools should not teach about the John T. Scopes trial? Most Social Studies teachers do, Ms. Young. It's in all of the text books. In order to teach about that trial in the public school history classes, the Social Studies teachers may need to define terms involved in all sides of the trial, including creationism and evolution. Sounds like your one-sided perspective about history, aka "evolution - only" perspective, might be the more skewed, (or in your terms "wacky") perspective on history.


EY: No, certainly not. The Scopes trial belongs in Social Studies classes. However, Creation Myths don't belong in biology classes - unless there is empirical evidence for them - and empirical evidence doesn't mean - "we don't understand this, so therefore it must have been created by an intelligent designer". Should the Flat Earth Society also be given "equal time" in Science Classes?

Belief in God is religion - and proving whether God exists or not is not the type of question Science can answer. Science answers questions about how things work.

Most mainstream parents would find it a travesty to learn that their students did not learn the DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES that created America. I have been a public school social studies high school teacher in East Bloomington for 11 years, where many Minneapolis students have taken advantage of open enrollment options to attend our public high school. Along with Minneapolis students, at least 20 % of my classes include students who grew up in East Bloomington learning about and believing in creationism. Is it the responsibility of the American Goverment to disregard their belief system any more than to disregard that belief system of an atheist or evolutionist such as yourself? How can public school teachers respect the DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES in the classroom without presenting all sides of the debate? To teach that evolution is not a debate is to choose your side of the issue.

EY: Ms Klinzing: Do you teach Biology? Or are you teaching social studies? I'm not discussing the Social Studies Standards - I'm discussing the Science Standards.

Evolutionary theory is applied in much of the molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics and other research here in Minnesota and elsewhere. I'd challenge you to show one application that's been produced as a result of "Creation Science".

I'm concerned that Minnesota not follow the road Kansas did with putting Creationism into the Science Standards. When the Kansas School Board (state wide - elected) put something in the standards that questions about evolution shouldn't be tested for in the biology tests - Faculty Recruitment at the University of Kansas was much more difficult.

Governor Pawlenty wants to make sure Minnesota becomes a biotech powerhouse. Dumbing down Science Standards to avoid all mention of the age of the Earth (as Maple River Education Coalition/Edwatch is proposing) will not help in that endeavor.

I believe that faith in God AND believing the theory of Evolution are not mutually exclusive.

EY: No argument here. However I don't think it's possible to experimentally show the existance or nonexistance of God. That's something you take on faith.

Who is to say that YOUR evolution-only persepctive should prevail in the public school classroom at the expense of disrespecting 20 % or more of the students. 85% of the students, be they Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, in the public school classes have read the Book of Genesis about the creation of the world in Sunday school. Why should n't they learn about the diverse perspectives that formed the context for the John T. Scopes court trial which changed curriculum in American public schools. Would you also suggest that we disrespect 20% of the students who are a racial minority when we teach about the Civil Rights movement....probably not. You would like to pick and choose the views to fit your agenda and not present all of the perspectives. Who deemed your perspective on the world the most correct? The point of a free-public education in a democracy is to about all of the sides of the debate not

EY: I'm saying that in Biology Classes, things like taxonomy, anatomy, physiology and the scientific method should be taught. Reading the bible isn't part of the scientific method. I'm also curious if kids are going to be reading the book of genesis in the public schools, should they also be reading the Koran? What about learning about Pagan beliefs?

Remember that Galleleo got in trouble with the Catholic Church when he pointed out that the evidence showed the Earth revolved around the Sun and not the other way around.

I'm disapointed in your false representation of Senator LeClair's and Senator Bachman's viewpoints. You dishonorably smear their honorable characters by claiming that Bachman is "wacky" and "bears false witness.". Your aim to create a history that lacks diverse perspectives is dishonorable to the principles of democracy on which this country is founded. Your misguided and one sided propaganda is a danger to free, democratic, public education.

EY: She did bear false witness - when she stated that the Stillwater Gazette retracted their story. They retracted the headline.

I'm also not addressing the Social Studies Standards. I'm addressing Bachmann's view on the Science Standards.

Here's a useful resource about Countering Creationist Arguments

MN Legislator Responds to the Issue of Sen. Bachmann and Creationism

Dear Ms. Eva,

Are you suggesting that public schools should not teach about the John T. Scopes trial? Most Social Studies teachers do, Ms. Young. It's in all of the text books. In order to teach about that trial in the public school history classes, the Social Studies teachers may need to define terms involved in all sides of the trial, including creationism and evolution. Sounds like your one-sided perspective about history, aka "evolution - only" perspective, might be the more skewed, (or in your terms "wacky") perspective on history.

Most mainstream parents would find it a travesty to learn that their students did not learn the DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES that created America. I have been a public school social studies high school teacher in East Bloomington for 11 years, where many Minneapolis students have taken advantage of open enrollment options to attend our public high school. Along with Minneapolis students, at least 20 % of my classes include students who grew up in East Bloomington learning about and believing in creationism. Is it the responsibility of the American Goverment to disregard their belief system any more than to disregard that belief system of an atheist or evolutionist such as yourself? How can public school teachers respect the DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES in the classroom without presenting all sides of the debate? To teach that evolution is not a debate is to choose your side of the issue.

I believe that faith in God AND believing the theory of Evolution are not mutually exclusive. Who is to say that YOUR evolution-only persepctive should prevail in the public school classroom at the expense of disrespecting 20 % or more of the students. 85% of the students, be they Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, in the public school classes have read the Book of Genesis about the creation of the world in Sunday school. Why should n't they learn about the diverse perspectives that formed the context for the John T. Scopes court trial which changed curriculum in American public schools. Would you also suggest that we disrespect 20% of the students who are a racial minority when we teach about the Civil Rights movement....probably not. You would like to pick and choose the views to fit your agenda and not present all of the perspectives. Who deemed your perspective on the world the most correct?
The point of a free-public education in a democracy is to about all of the sides of the debate not (sic)

I'm disapointed in your false representation of Senator LeClair's and Senator Bachman's viewpoints. You dishonorably smear their honorable characters by claiming that Bachman is "wacky" and "bears false witness.". Your aim to create a history that lacks diverse perspectives is dishonorable to the principles of democracy on which this country is founded. Your misguided and one sided propaganda is a danger to free, democratic, public education.

EY: Hmm..... How do dissenting views, strongly expressed threaten a free, democratic, public education?

Update: This was picked up by PZ Myers on the Pharyngula blog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Leviticus Crowd Divisions on FMA

Mass News has a couple of excellent articles on the subject. On the Focus on the Anus Empire and more specifically about Focus vs Other Anti-Gay Organizations on the FMA. Both articles give a good insiders look at the major players among the Leviticus Crowd.

Senator Bachmann Pushes Equal Time for Creationism in Public School Biology Classes

A letter written to Bachmann on the subject - published on talk.origins - and this letter was not written by me.

Dear Senator Bachmann;

http://www.stillwatergazette.com/story.asp?cat=NEW&story=6538 [now unavailable]

District 52 Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, a Lutheran, said she has never advocated against teaching evolution in Minnesota public schools she simply wants teachers to discuss creationism as well.

The public schools are for education, not religious indoctrination. The proper place for religious indoctrination is in the home and churches. Note: Comparitive religion classes would not be indoctrination and so are proper in public schools.

There is not only nothing to discuss with creationism, but there are myraid of creation myths. The oldest creation myth I'm aware of is the Sumerian "Tiamat the Dragon" at some 5.5 thousand years of age. Such is much older than the xtian deity who's stories were stolen from other religions with names, times, and places filed off and changed. (Such was unrepentant wholesale theft which was against the "Commandment" against theft)

Creationism is not a theory, nor a law. It's not even a hypothesis. It's unsupported assertions and lies mixed with broken logic. It's rubbish from start to finish. Creationism provides no answers, no information.

"I have no problem with teaching the various theories ... of origins of life. ..." She said. "But, I think theres one ... philosophy ... that says only one could be taught and that one would be evolution. And because the scientific community has found that there are flaws in abiding by that dogma, I think its important to teach that controversy."

I'm sorry to say, but you're seriously misinformed.

First, evolution does not deal with the origins of life. Evolution deals with things after life has appeared. One of the theories of the origins of life is abiogenisis. Fifty years ago the basic building blocks of life were constructed in a lab.



Because "eminent, reasonable minds" in the scientific community disagree with the theory of evolution, Bachmann said, "I would expect that teachers would disagree, and students would disagree, and the public would, certainly."

Really? Please provide names, dates, and flat quotes of these 'eminent, reasonable minds in the scientific community who disagree with the theory of evolution.' No quote mining need apply. What is it that they 'disagree' with? Please don't insult people by providing names such as "Behe, McDowell, Gish, Hovind" and the like.

By the way, the following URL provides information on the scientific
method which is a tool. It would do you great good to read it.

http://www.scientificmethod.com/i_13.htm


More.....

Senator Michele Bachmann Bears False Witness on Creationism

The Stillwater Gazette published a covering Senator Michele Bachmann's views on Creationism. Talk.origins has a thread discussing this article. Several of the posters wrote Bachmann. One of the talk.origins posters, posted Senator Michele Bachmann's response to his email criticizing her views on the Science Standards:

I emailed Senator Bachmann and received a personal reply as well as an attachment indicating what she wrote to the newspaper.

/quote
Thank you for your email, I appreciate you taking the time to write.

The Stillwater Gazette has retracted the story in which they wrongly attributed my position on this issue. I am attaching a statement I sent to the Gazette clarifying my
position.

Sincerely,

Michele Bachmann

October 1, 2003
Statement from Senator Bachmann

A famous quote says, "You can't unring a bell." Similarly, once a false statement is made, it can't be fully taken back. The Gazette did that to me in the Monday edition by attributing views to me that I do not hold, nor did I say.

Over the years, the Gazette has gotten plenty of quotes and information wrong about me, but I have usually let it go and tried to overlook the mistakes. This time I can't do so because the Gazette blew it "big time."

The Gazette reported in a headline that I said "schools should teach creationism." That is a false statement. I told the reporter that I believe all scientific evidence surrounding an issue, in this case the
study of the origin of life, should be brought into the classroom. In other words, academic freedom and balance for students should include respected, science-based critiques of evolutionary theory.

The reporter also asked me my personal views on origins and I answered his question. Like the followers of any of the leading religious faiths in America, I believe that the world was ultimately a product of design rather than a product of time and random chance.

But at no time in the interview did I say creationism should be taught in public schools, nor did I suggest my beliefs become the curriculum.

The Gazette wrongly placed my photo beneath a quote that did not represent my views or accurately and professionally report an interview. Both the readers and I were done a disservice.

/quote

From Skeptical News - Bachmann is bearing false witness on this one.

Gazette only retracted creationism story's headline, not entire article
http://www.stillwatergazette.com/story.asp?cat=NEW&story=6544
(Created 10/16/03 9:53:00 AM)

STILLWATER - The Stillwater Gazette last month did not retract a Sept. 29 article about creationism's place in public education.

"We retracted and corrected that article's headline, but not the article itself," Managing Editor Greg C. Huff said.

On Sept. 30, the Gazette published on its front page an apology for the headline which appeared above the print version of the Sept. 29 article. The mis-reprensentative headline indicated erroneously that Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, and other local Republican lawmakers believe that Minnesota educators should teach creationism. The Gazette's on-line version of the article carries a more accurate headline.

Although the Gazette both retracted and apologized for the mis-representative headline, Huff said, "we absolutely did not retract the article itself, and continue to stand by it."

Huff wrote the Sept. 29 article.

Who said what?

Neither Bachmann, nor District 56 Sen. Brian LeClair, R-Woodbury, specifically told the Gazette that Minnesota educators should teach creationism. And although District 56A Rep. Eric Lipman said that "exposing students to the tenets and outlines of creation science" is as important as teaching the ideas of Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and Darwin, he did not specifically use the term "creationism."

And although Bachmann - in reference to long-standing debates between evolution and creationism advocates - told the Gazette in an interview that "I think it's important to teach that controversy," she later clarified that she did not mean by that statement that Minnesota educators should teach creationism as fact. And LeClair said only that in 12 years of Catholic school he "spent time discussing both evolution and creation."

Bachmann later clarified that the Sept. 29 article's original headline mis-represented her political opinions, "as a senator," that "all science-based evidence on a topic should be allowed in the classroom," that "government should not censor scientific evidence," and that "in this subject area, students and teachers benefit from academic freedom."

In the interview for the Sept. 29 article, Bachmann also confided several of her personal beliefs about mankinds' origins, which she neither recanted nor challenged the veracity of. And while those statements did not justify the article's original headline "Local Republicans: Schools should teach creationism," Huff said, "the ensuing article is 100-percent accurate."

Monday, December 22, 2003

Bloggers on Senator Michelle Bachmann

Daily Kos:

This is simply an attack on gay folks by two bigoted legislators. Last year, during a debate on benefits for same-sex partners of state employees, Senator Bachmann actually pulled out stats from Paul Cameron, provided by the idiots at Concerned Women For America's "research" project, about lower life expectancies for gay men.

Ryan Anderson:

Oh lordy, save us from the gays! The gays are coming! What ever shall we do now that Massachusetts judges have ruled that banning gay marriage is against the state's constitution? Never fear, Senator Michele Bachmann, a Republican with an untouchable anti-gay record is here to save the day along with Mary Liz Holberg who has a similarly shiny record! Oh save us ladies! Amend our state constitution to ban gay marriages! I'm begging you! Stop the terror that is behind all of the world's evil, stop the gays!

Moderate Left:

Constitutional Fun!

Constitutional amendments are the hip, happening thing right now. Republicans are currently proposing two to the Minnesota constitution: the "Taxpayers Bill of Rights" amendment and an anti-gay marriage amendment. (Both are being pushed by that paragon of right-wing, Sen. Michele Bachmann [R-Stillwater].)

Meanwhile, the GOP nationwide is also pushing their own anti-gay marriage amendment to the Constitution, one which may or may not strip gays of even the possibility of civil unions.

Now, I'm unsupportive of all of these amendments on their ideological merits. But even if they were reversed, I'd question the wisdom of enshrining contentious political issues in the Constitution.

For instance, take Bachmann's "Taxypayers Bill of Rights"--please. The amendment is designed to put a stranglehold on spending. The idea is that taxpayers need some sort of mechanism to prevent the government from overspending.

But taxpayers already have a mechanism to prevent the government from overspending. It's called the ballot box. Minnesotans have elected a Republican governor and a Republican House. Republicans control the state pursestrings. If Republicans can't hold the line on spending, I suggest they cede the "party of fiscal responsibility" label.

And what happens if the people change their mind, and want money spent freely? They'll elect Democrats. That's the way our system works.

The Constitution of the United States has worked well because it's an aggressively non-partisan document. The only contentious political issue enshrined in the document was the prohibition of alcohol--and that didn't exactly work out well. If the Republicans want to cut spending, by all means, do it. You're the party in power. But don't think that what you believe now is what will be always.

Wendy:

Raising concerns about the possibility of "judicial tyranny" after a Massachusetts court supported the legality of gay marriage, a group of Minnesota legislators is proposing a constitutional amendment ensuring that marriage in Minnesota would remain a union only between a man and a woman.

Voters would see the issue on the November 2004 ballot under a plan announced Thursday by Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, and Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville.

"If the people of Minnesota want to change the definition of marriage, then let them decide that question at the ballot box," Bachmann said. "This is the question of our day. Who will make this decision that could forever change our people? The people or, in Minnesota, four judges?"



Now, for starters, my money is on the fact that Sen. Bachmann and Rep. Holberg are in the closet lesbians who are trapped in shitty marriages and are secretly in love with each other. But I'm just guessing...

On a serious note, though, lawmakers in Minnesota push constitutional ban on gay marriage, but my question is this: WHY?

Is it hurting people? Is it causing some type of civil war? Is it violating something that will effect so many people that it could cause utter anarchy? No, it's not.

And because the answer to those questions happens to be no, I find it really hard to believe that a state's legislature would spend/waste any time at all trying to prove why this type of a law should or shouldn't be passed in any state, when I'm sure there are much more pressing things that need to be addressed.

How about we looking in to some sort of additional aid for the homeless people that file into jam packed buildings and churches every night just to have a spot to lay their head and a place their kids can sleep without worrying being bothered? How about we spend a little time and money trying to prevent the spead of life taking diseases? How about we put a little effort in getting kids off the street so they don't smoke weed and snort cocaine in the alley behind the grocery store while their momma's inside spending her government assistance on cigarettes and booze?

By candidates using it as a forum to sway votes one way or the other, it simply puts the entire equal rights agenda on a plateau that the Massachusetts court spoke out against: "It isn't up to government to decide moral questions of this sort. Its task is to treat people as people."

Its task isn't to treat gay people as gay people, and straight people as straight people - PEOPLE AS PEOPLE. Is that so hard?

Alice Through the Cyberglass

This gem is from the now defunct RaucousCaucus site. Ken Avidor - site administrator did not author this one.

Eva

Alice walked through the looking glass and entered a kingdom of "nice" people in a flat land. There was something about the flatness that seemed very curious.

A white rabbit told Alice to visit the royal court in the city with the dry spring. On her way, she came upon many odd characters with strange tales. Alice wondered what kind of city they had built.

Among the quickest of the nobles, there was Duke Matthew Thomas Reinback, who was a master of illusion. His friends called him "M.T." for short.

Alice asked the Duke why he would come and go so quickly.

He purred, "Hey, I'm building community for my subjects. I'm a progressive visionary. I'm the change guy."

"But I really wish you wouldn't disappear so quickly," replied Alice.

"All righty then," said the Duke. And this time he vanished quite slowly, beginning from his toes, and ending with a grin, which remained some time after the rest of him had gone.

Alice wandered on and came to a small doorway that was only a foot high. She took from her pocket the mushroom she had found at the "Dystopia for Lackeys" shop and set to work nibbling on it until she was about a foot high.

After going through the door, Alice walked down a little passage and found herself in a great room full of peasants all hunched over phosphorescent screens. Many of them were curiously flat and shallow, like playing cards. Some were ornamented with diamonds or clubs, while others had green hearts on their backs.

The white rabbit had followed Alice and now whispered to her, "This is the Great Hall of E-Bauer. You must be very careful not to upset the Queen. She's very temperamental, you know."

Alice whispered back, "Why is that so?"

The rabbit only replied, "Why does a leopard have spots?"

Alice stood quietly in the corner, doing her best to be inconspicuous. All of the cards seemed to be telling tales and criticizing one another. Some were brash, and some were timid; some were direct, and others were roundabout ­ or least as roundabout as a card can be.

At the head of the table sat the Queen, with a smug look and darting eyes. She repeatedly interrupted the various conversations with admonitions to be nice and to only speak about the affairs of her kingdom. But many of the guests were well-traveled, and they repeatedly tried to find ways to speak of the whole world.

Alice heard the Queen impatiently scolding one of the knaves. "You are not to speak of these things!"

"But your majesty ..."

"Enough! You've had your warning!"

After some time, Alice was amazed to see the smile of Duke M.T. again. There it was, lingering in the hot air above the room.

Others had noticed the smile too, and they made remarks about how silly it seemed. That prompted a new squabble among the various cards at the table.

"Decorum! Decorum!" admonished the Queen.

The din subsided, but Alice could see several cards still snickering and giggling over how dreadfully silly the floating grin looked in the rafters.

The Queen was not amused. "You're getting into some very dangerous territory here, Seven."

The white rabbit was whispering in Alice's ear again. "She has quite a fondness for the Duke, you know."

"But why?" responded Alice. "He's just a foolish toothy grin. He's no deeper than his cavities."

"Hush!" warned the rabbit. "You mustn't say that here!"

"Very well," whispered Alice, "I shall have to write it in my diary."

Just then, a page rushed in with the news that a plague of locusts had descended on a neighboring kingdom, destroying all of its crops and creating widespread panic. The room was instantly buzzing over the terrible tragedy.

"This is not an issue that concerns our kingdom!" barked the Queen.

"But your majesty," replied a spry peasant with many hearts, "there may be many poor souls coming to stay here."

The Queen turned crimson with fury. "We do not condone any discussion of the rulings! Off with his head!"

At that point, two executioners leapt out of the shadows and dragged the peasant from the room.

A joker protested, "That's not fair!"

The Queen snapped, "What makes you think you can challenge me?"

"Why is a raven like a writing desk?" replied the joker.

The Queen was not amused. "Off with his head!"

In the growing commotion, many other cards became oblivious to decorum. The four of clubs even wondered out loud whether the Duke's grin could help the peasants in the neighboring kingdom.

"Off with his head!" bellowed the Queen.

As the pandemonium grew, with cards and guards rushing to and fro, the Queen turned apoplectic and went stamping about the room, shouting, "Off with his head!" or "Off with her head!"

The white rabbit whispered to Alice, "We'd better leave."

Alice agreed, and they slipped down the hallway. In the distance, Alice could still hear the Queen.

"Off with their heads!"

Acknowledgement: The authors would like to thank Lewis Carroll (and other cowardly satirists who hide behind pseudonyms) for their inspiration.

Disclamer: Any similarities between the royalty in this story and actual satraps, grinning dukes or neighborhood playing cards, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

AFA Poll Results

I oppose legalization of homosexual marriage and "civil unions" 36.54%
(174603 votes)
I favor legalization of homosexual marriage 55.14%
(263441 votes)
I favor a "civil union" with the full benefits of marriage except for the name 8.32%
(39757 votes)

Who needs Crime Fiction: When you have Reality in River City

David Shove recently wrote an insightful piece to Minneapolis Issues on a fictional takeover of the Park Board. Unfortunately David Shove's piece on "owned legislators" is more than "just fiction". Yes, right here in
"River City". Unscrupulous businessmen do attempt to take over neighborhoods to loot their NRP dollars and access publicly held land. Mafia like people do try to bribe City Council Members to assist with such activities. They brag that they "OWN" public officials and "THEY" will provide the officials
"real retirement". The City Council and Mayor do turn a blind eye to such things and allow them to continue even after that person is under indictment by the Federal government. Somali immigrants come, and in their eagerness to become businesspeople and achieve the "American Dream", they become victimized by such unscrupulous people. Forced and coerced by the "Boss" to vote the way the Boss wants or they lose everything.

A City official asked Jim Graham last week why there was not a Somali Zone with Somali "OWNED" businesses and Somali owned buildings; such as the Asian owned businesses down Nicolett and in St. Paul or the Hispanic owned businesses down Lake Street. The answer was that because of their eagerness the Somali people were easily preyed upon. That as they attempted to start a business the City assisted "Boss" waited to rent them a small cubicle for several hundred dollars. Waited to drain the fruits of their handwork and economic vitality so effectively that the Boss became a multi-millionaire while the Somali people who are so eager would remain impoverished. Such a drain, and their adherence to their faiths proscription against interest, kept them from amassing the economic wherewithal to buy their own buildings.

Right here in River City (good old Minneapolis) our City Council passed as
a "consent item" the sale of an entire city block of land to a person under indictment for bribing a City Councilperson to access NRP funds and City owned land. The whole Metropolitan area watched this on the Ten O'clock News, Channel 4, Channel 5; Channel 11, and the others. The bribed City Council Member has served his time in prison, yet the briber continues to walk free. Not only walk free, but be allowed to buy whole City blocks by consent of the WHOLE City Council and then signed off on by the present Mayor. What "favors" must have occured for that blindness to occur? What favors indeed needed to be given to not even need discussion about such an injustice? I am sure the reason there was not discussion was by design.
So Members could later plead ignorance and "they just didn't realize what was happening".

So the victimization continues and the "racketeering" continues. It continues and indicates that yes indeed you can buy your justice, "Right here in River City".

That sale becomes final next week and that's not fiction. What should be
a TV fiction on early Alfonso Capone on the "Southside of Chicago" is indeed reality right here on the "Southside of River City".

Jim Graham,
Minneapolis

DNC Blog Covers Bush Support for Anti-Gay Amendment

"If this issue is going to be taken back - it's important to ask whether anti-gay "Defense of Marriage" type bills reduce the heterosexual divorce rate - that's the real threat to marriage."

The "Defense of Marriage" bill passed the house 342-67 and the senate 85-14. And yes, to be honest, I do consider a constitutional ammendment a far truer democratic process than a decision by appointed judges. The house and senate would not have passed these bills by such a wide margin unless their constituents contacted them.

It is a loosing issue to oppose this. Most Americans do not want a constitutional ammendment, because they don't want to face the issue. But if the courts thrust it on them, not only will they support it they will take out their anger on those that forced them to do so.

Posted by Joel Axenroth :: 12/18/03 05:16 PM
Joel said:

"The "Defense of Marriage" bill passed the house 342-67 and the senate 85-14. Most Americans do not want a constitutional ammendment, because they don't want to face the issue. But if the courts thrust it on them, not only will they support it they will take out their anger on those that forced them to do so."

Let's remember that every legislator (up for re-election), including Senator John Kerry, who voted against the DOMA was re-elected.

All nine of our candidates have taken a public position against this amendment, which as others point out, would immediately repeal hundreds of laws enacted by state legislatures to provide benefits to gay and lesbian Americans.

Conservatives want to reinstate the holiding of Bowers v. Hardwick so that anytime a GLBT plaintiff steps into a courtroom, this amendment can be used to deny rights to the plaintiff and/or repeal existing pro-gay laws.

Let's also remember that even if same-sex couples are permitted to marry in Mass next year, they will still not have the right to benefits governed by federal law (Social Security, pension, veteran's benefits, etc.).

Only a Democratic President will sign into law federal protections for GLBT families. While GLBT activists all across the country are working tirelessly to win our community the freedom to marry, we all need to work doubly hard to elect a Democratic President so that we can have rights at both the state and federal level.

Happy Holidays! Eric Stern DNC Director of GLBT Outreach

Posted by Eric Stern :: 12/19/03 10:15 AM

EY: I don't agree with Eric Stern's conclusion. Remember that DOMA was passed during the Clinton years.

Q and A

Recently I posted this on the Minneapolis Issues list:

At the same time, when I and others from the Republican City Committee and LCR have staffed a booth at Gay Pride - or at the Rainbow Families Conference - it's inevitable to get a few people coming up with the "how can you be a republican - that's like being a jew for Hitler" type nonsense.

Another list member responded privately:

Eva,

My gut reaction is to ask why it is nonsense? It strikes me as pretty on target.

====================================
Here's my answer - this column was originally published in Lavender Magazine in December 2002.

Will Shunning Gay Republicans Move the Ball Forward?
By Eva Young

"I guess if you're gay but you're also rich, and you like to pollute, and
you don't like black people, then you vote Republican. But it's not
rational to think that voting Republican is the best way to advance the gay
agenda."
--Barney Frank, quoted in Jake Tapper, "A Log Cabin Divided," Salon
(on-line), April 6, 2000

"I can't in good conscience urge the rest of us to do what part of me
really would like to do: slap them silly and throw them off the Washington
Avenue Bridge."
--Richard Osborne, "The Gay Agenda - Don't "Just Say No" to Republican Homosexuals - Say Nothing To Them At All," Lavender, November 29, 2002 (become a member of mn-logcabin yahoogroup to read this).

"Gay Republicans make as much sense as African American Klansmen"
--Pete Wagner, Editorial Cartoon, The Minnesota Daily, April 18, 2000

Items like the foregoing are rather typical of what many gay Republicans face from other members of the gay community.

What is ironic about these items is that we frequently are treated to lectures from the "progressive" left about the need for tolerance and inclusion. However, items like the ones cited above show that tolerance and inclusion is only for those who hold the standard orthodox left political views.

Osborne's column quotes antigay segments of the Minnesota Republican party
platform. He suggests that by being active in the Republican Party, gay Republicans are supporting these antigay elements in the party platform.

Osborne's solution is to shun gay Republicans socially in order to bring them in line with liberal orthodoxy. What I don't understand is how shunning gay Republicans is going to help the gay community as a whole in our struggle for equal treatment under the law.

The items at the beginning of this column demonstrate a complete ignorance of the work Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) is doing across the country - educating Republican candidates, elected officials, party leaders (at all levels), and gay and lesbian individuals about both sides of complicated, politically charged issues that face us all as Americans.

LCR does what no other gay and lesbian organization or individual is strong enough to do. It puts a human and personal face in front of Republican officials; it educates the "gay community" about Republicanism and our party's issues; and it boldly stands in the face of "politics as usual" to ensure that the two-party system works to guarantee equality for all Americans, specifically gay and lesbian Americans.

None of this is easy work. None of it is rewarded by members of either side.

In fact, in my experience, gay and lesbian Republicans get more punishment and grief from the far left in our own community than from the far right. But we are committed to stand in the face of those who ridicule us, in order to change the Republican Party and, in the process, build a better America.

Do the nutcases in the GOP still have too much influence in the party? I certainly would give an unqualified yes to that one.

I just heard from a friend who managed a campaign for a candidate in the western metro suburbs. My friend met with a GOP theocratic activist who is a major player there. Candidates in the area greatly fear this activist because she is known as a kingmaker--and breaker.

The activist asked my friend what church he attends. (He is Catholic, but doesn't attend church regularly). Then, she started going on in rather vivid detail about "gay bowel syndrome," and whatever else. My friend wasn't quite sure what this had to do with the campaign.

As gay and lesbian Americans, we should band together on those things we can agree on. We should take a stand on our issues and communicate it to
all elected officials in a unified voice.

We must recognize the validity of both parties in our legislative system. We need to know that our struggle only can advance when we work from within
each party to argue the validity of equality for our community.

In this past election, the Republican Party achieved significant victories in Minnesota, gaining seats in the Minnesota Legislature, as well as winning the gubernatorial and U.S. senatorial races.

Now that the election is over, as a community, we need to figure out how most effectively to deal with this situation. As a community, we should start reaching out to our Governor Tim Pawlenty and Senator Norm Coleman.

Certainly, significant challenges on gay issues exist within the Republican Party. A segment of the Republican "base" is motivated by antigay bigotry of the sort promoted by Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Allen Quist, Tom Prichard, and company.

However, the one way to change that sort of thing among politicians is to challenge and expose it when it occurs, and to make sure that antigay messages lose politicians more than they gain. It also means becoming active with volunteer and financial support for GOP politicians who support us.

Pawlenty heard quite a bit from antigay bigots when he voted in favor of the Minnesota Human Rights Act GLBT Amendment in 1993. I always have wondered how many people wrote Pawlenty to thank him for his vote.

Gay activism in the Democratic Party isn't going to do anything to counteract the excessive influence antigay theocrats have in the Republican Party. And shunning gay Republicans isn't going to help in this regard, either.

The only way to counteract the antigay element in the GOP is by being active in the party, and by working with other people in the Republican Party who want to bring it back to its historic roots as the party of Lincoln.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Defying Party Labels

from the Minneapolis Rumours list.....

Dyna Slutyer recently wrote a long rant - which included much "Republicans are evil and bigoted" type drivel. Several people responded:

Connie Nompelis:
Says who? I am pro-choice and in support of equal freedoms (such as contract) for glbt individuals. If that doesn't make me "moderate" I don't know what would.

Neal Krasnoff - Anti-Gay Democrat......

I'm generally pro-life and against same-sex contracts - marriage -
but agree with the DFL on labor issues.

You're a moderate, I'm a centrist.

Neal Krasnoff
Active Member, Communications Workers of America
Loring Park

I'm pro-life, pro-choice, pro-freedom, pro-labor and think government should get out of the marriage business and leave it to churches.

I'm a right-wing, conservative Republican.

Chris Johnson
Fulton

Chuck Muth's News and Views on Gay Marriage

Freedom to Choose

"I agree that civil unions should be allowed. Just as the choice should be mine if I wear that seat belt (I'm not hurting anyone else if I choose not to), gay people should have the right to join in union. It does not hurt me."

- News & Views reader Martina McHugh

************************************
Stop the Federal Marriage Amendment

Citizen Outreach launched and is hosting an online petition where you can voice your opposition to the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. As we've said in this newsletter time and again, you do NOT have to support gay marriages in order to OPPOSE a constitutional amendment prohibiting them. This is an issue best left to the states. Please take a minute to help derail this unwise effort by signing our "Stop the Federal Marriage Amendment" petition.

Andrew Sullivan on O'Reilly/Drudge Conflict

quoted in Chuck Muth's News and Views

The BS Zone

"On Monday, Fox News star Bill O'Reilly had bragged to NBC's Today Show that 'We've outsold that guy [Franken] all over the place. We're running against Hillary for most copies of non-fiction books sold this year!' The results, alas, showed that Bill O'Reilly's oeuvre, 'Who's Looking Out For You,' was easily bested by Al Franken's screed 'Lying Liars' and way behind Senator Clinton's largely unreadable account of meeting lots of African prime ministers, 'Personal History.'

"...Alarmingly, I find myself agreeing with (O'Reilly) on many issues. But he is so obnoxious, so transparently phony, so gung-ho in a crude populist know nothing kind of way that I'm almost embarrassed to be on the same side much of the time. Does anyone say 'I may be wrong' more disingenuously? Is there anyone more aggressively watchable because he is so awful?"

- Columnist Andrew Sullivan

EY: The big laugh about O'Reilly was him calling "Inside Edition" a legitimate news show - it wasn't - it was a tabloid show.

Friday, December 19, 2003

What Did the White House Know and When Did They Know It?

from a post by Charlie Swope on MN Politics Discuss.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile," said national security adviser Condoleeza Rice on May 16, 2002.

"How is it possible we have a national security advisor coming out and saying we had no idea they could use planes as weapons when we had FBI records
from 1991 stating that this is a possibility," said Kristen Breitweiser, one of four New Jersey widows who lobbied Congress and the president to appoint the
commission.

Not only were there the FBI records but there had actually been a previous attempt to use planes in this way. Some years ago the French thwarted an attempt to crash a civilian airliner into the Eifel tower. This was well publicized at the time.

Charlie Swope
St. Paul

Michele Bachmann - Shiite Republican

A friend of mine submitted this letter to the editor about Senator Michele Bachmann.... Stillwater - her district - is no Corcoran.

To the Editor:

Halloween is long past, but Michele Bachmann continues to masquerade as a freedom-loving, tax-cutting patriot. Unfortunately, her true colors are starting to show through her red, white and blue costume.

Bachmann's legislative report would have us believe that she's been busy balancing the budget, protecting grandma in the nursing home and single-handedly reforming education. But her actions of late belie her slick brochure's message. Over the past several weeks, Bachmann's headline-grabbing stunts have included calling for installing the Ten Commandments in public buildings and classrooms; a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages, which she shrilly termed "judicial tyranny" - and a "decision that could forever change our people"; and a call for teaching creationism in science classes.

It would be nice to have a state senator who was actually concerned about representing her district, rather than one who is bent on advancing her own name recognition and narrow, ideologically driven agenda in a quest for higher office. Maybe even a senator who brings people together rather than one who drives wedges between them with intolerance and divisive fringe issues.

Bachmann's radical vision for a fundamentalist, theocratic state would be better suited to Alabama—or Iran. But it has no place in Minnesota, particularly representing the citizens of Senate District 52. We can do better than this in 2006.

What did Bush say about Marriage?

Everyone is still confused. Andrew Sullivan and Steven Miller suggest that Bush is saying he is supportive of Civil Unions. Log Cabin Republicans criticizes Bush for stating he might support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages, but also mention that his language suggests support for Civil Unions.

Chuck Muth weighs in [see Lawfully Wedded Press Release Section for original] and clarifies things:

Bush's Marriage Statement Raises More Questions Than It Answers

"Split the Baby" Positioning Doesn't Take Controversy Off the Table

(WASHINGTON, DC) - Citizen Outreach President Chuck Muth issued the following statement in response to President Bush's remarks to ABC's Diane Sawyer Tuesday evening on a potential federal marriage amendment:

"Rather than take the highly emotional issue of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage off the table in his comments to Diane Sawyer, President Bush instead assured the issue will continue to be hotly debated, especially among limited-government conservatives. In reality, the president's "split the baby" statement raises more questions than it answers, to wit:

1) By saying he'll support a marriage amendment "if necessary," does the president mean only if the federal Defense of Marriage Act is somehow nullified by a court? And if protecting states' rights is his objective, why not just codify DOMA in the Constitution rather than support a national ban on gay marriage?

2) Would President Bush support gay marriage in Massachusetts, or any other state, if the state passed it through their legislature rather than via court edict?

3) One thing about the current language of the FMA is that not only does it prohibit gay marriage, it also prohibits "the legal incidents thereof" - meaning civil unions. Does the president support an amendment that would ban civil unions as well?

4) If a constitutional amendment is passed banning gay marriage, how would the obvious conflict be resolved with the First Amendment protection of religion should a church in the U.S. decide to recognize gay marriages?

5) In saying he supports protecting "the sanctity of marriage," does that include heterosexual weddings performed by Elvis impersonators at drive-through windows in Las Vegas and marriage-for-money heterosexual unions performed on network TV?

"The more deeply conservatives look at the idea of amending our founding document to define marriage, the more they see this is a very bad idea. The best thing government can do to help protect the institution of marriage is to get out of it altogether and turn it back over to the churches and other cultural institutions."

Citizen Outreach is a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., with over 25,000 supporters who champion limited-government public policies.

# # #

EY: Chuck is correct. Bush's statement raises more questions than it answers. It is rather typical of the way politicians muddle through this issue.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

AFA Bigots Not Getting the Poll Results they want.....

From: American Family Association
Subject: Those favoring gay marriage voting 5 times greater than those opposing it
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 17:01:41 -0600




THOSE FAVORING HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE VOTING 5 TIMES GREATER THAN THOSE OPPOSING IT

Since midday Wednesday, those favoring homosexual marriage are casting five times more votes than those who oppose it. Their votes have risen from about three percent to nearly fifty percent.

We have received several emails from homosexual marriage supporters saying they are forwarding news about America’s Poll on Homosexual Marriage to all their friends.

Credit must be given to those supporting homosexual marriage. They care enough to get involved. They are dedicated to their cause. And the poll numbers are showing that dedication.

Have you voted? Go to www.marriagepoll.com to vote and then forward the poll to your friends.

Sincerely,

Don

Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

P.S. Please forward this email to at least one friend.

Polls on Gay Marriage

from the FRC Daily Bleating.....

American Public Increasingly Opposed to Same-Sex "Marriage"

While the battle to preserve marriage in America is far from over, I believe a poll released today on the subject is encouraging news. According to USA Today, Americans oppose homosexual "marriage" by a more than 2-1 margin (65% to 31%). The margin among those who feel strongly about the issue was 3-1 (52% to 17%), meaning those who oppose same-sex "marriage" are more adamant about their position than those who support the redefinition of marriage. It's clear the defense of marriage is a political winner. Every poll taken in the past several months shows a growing opposition to homosexual "marriage."

EY: Actually polls are volatile on this - and say different things depending on what question is asked. Polls consistantly show clear opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment (support between 10-20%) which FRC is pushing.

The bleating continues:
Why is that? I believe that as the American public sees this debate shift from the theoretical idea of same-sex "marriage" to the real public policy possibility that marriage could soon be open to homosexual couples, they increasingly are against it. It's very similar to what we saw in the debate over partial-birth abortion. The more the issue was talked about in the media and debated on the floor of Congress, the more educated the American people became on the horrors of the procedure and the public opinion polls began to reflect that opposition. Not only did larger majorities of Americans begin to oppose the partial-birth abortion procedure but the abortion culture as a whole. I believe we're seeing that same phenomenon now on marriage. We must continue to be in the public square standing firm to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Increasingly, it's not only the right thing to do, it's the popular thing to do. Elected officials should take notice.

EY: Actually with the so-called "partial birth abortion" issue, there's been much misinformation about the issue. In fact I'm still unsure of whether the recent bill passed by congress prohibits "partial birth abortions" when the fetus is dead.

The public is put off by the idea of gay marriage. The public is also put off by anti-gay bigotry - and the more visible the Leviticus Crowd is - the more appalled the public is by them.

Bush threw a huge bit of red meat to the Leviticus Crowd - and they are still whining.

A Conservative Petition Opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment

Join the likes of Andrew Sullivan, Chuck Muth and Yours Truly and sign.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Concerned Women for America Has a Hissy Fit over Bush Interview.....

CWA Warns: Presidential Embrace of Civil Unions Undermines Pro-Family Effort to Save Marriage 12/17/2003

"Creating counterfeit marriage is immoral and destructive," CWA’s Sandy Rios says.

Washington, D.C. - President Bush last night drove a wedge into the pro-family effort to preserve the institution of marriage by signaling that his administration supports the creation of homosexual civil unions or domestic partnerships at the state level.

In answer to a question by ABC News' Diane Sawyer, Bush said:

"If necessary, I will support a constitutional amendment which would honor marriage between a man and a woman, codify that, and will - the position of this administration is that whatever legal arrangements people want to make, they're allowed to make, so long as it’s embraced by the state or - start at the state level."

Sandy Rios, president of CWA, had this response:

"The president is right on marriage, but tragically wrong on civil unions. Whether it's done by a state, a court or the federal government, creating counterfeit marriage is immoral and destructive. It is not compassionate to create incentives for people to engage in homosexual behavior which leads to rampant disease and early death, especially among homosexual men."

Robert Knight, director of CWA’s Culture & Family Institute responded, "President Bush is rejecting Judeo-Christian moral teaching in order to please homosexual activists and some misguided advisors who think this will be politically advantageous. But this is not only immoral, it is bad politics. It will serve only to unite his enemies and demoralize his base."

Jan LaRue, CWA’s chief counsel, said: "Marriage is protected by law as the unique relationship and foundation of civilization. The President has courageously led the war on terrorism. We were counting on him to exhibit the same leadership in the war on marriage. His stated position on civil unions is greatly disappointing, and we hope he reconsiders what’s at stake."

Tune in tomorrow to Concerned Women Today to hear Sandy Rios and Robert Knight discuss the President’s comments. The show reaches over 1 million listeners per week and can be heard in the Washington, D.C., area on WAVA 105.1 FM at 2:30 p.m. EDT.

For Information Contact:
Rebecca Riggs
(202) 488-7000
media.cwfa.org

Log Cabin Republicans responds to Diane Sawyer's interview with President Bush
December 16, 2003

(Washington) Log Cabin Republicans agree with President Bush that marriage issues should be governed by the states but express concern over his possible support of any anti-gay Constitutional amendment. In an interview with Diane Sawyer on Tuesday evening, President Bush said, "The position of this administration is that whatever legal arrangements people want to make, they're allowed to make, so long as it's embraced by the state or at the state level."

"While we are pleased that the President has clearly stated his support of states' rights, we are concerned that the President said he might support amending the United States Constitution," said Log Cabin executive director Patrick Guerriero. "Log Cabin has consistently and clearly opposed any effort to write discrimination into the United State Constitution. A November 2003 poll from the Pew Research Center found that a majority of Americans are opposed to amending the Constitution. Log Cabin urges the President to avoid a divisive culture war that will only divide the American family. As the nation embraces the holiday season, united in the war on terror and with an improving national economy, there is no need to divide Americans on social issues," added Guerriero.

"We absolutely agree with Vice President Cheney, and now President Bush, that these issues should be dealt with by the states. Conservatives have always believed in states having authority over these issues," said Guerriero. "The proposed Federal Marriage Amendment would not only ban civil recognition of gay families, it would also strip fundamental rights and responsibilities from those families. Supporting the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment is wrong, it is not necessary and would codify discrimination in our Constitution," concluded Guerriero.

Log Cabin believes in civil recognition of loving gay and lesbian couples in law-abiding,tax-paying committed relationships. This basic recognition will encourage stabile families, offer tax fairness, insure inheritance rights and guarantee hospital visitation rights. Civil recognition will in no way interfere with religious traditions or religious freedom.

###

Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay Republican organization, with state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time Washington office and a federal political action committee.

John Aravosis's Take on Bush Pandering to the Bigots

THE LIST - EXTRA
Washington, DC
December 16, 2003

SUBSCRIBE: http://thelist.c.tep1.com/maabLRpaa2ZB7b5qPwnb/
UNSUBSCRIBE: http://thelist.c.tep1.com/maabLRpaa2ZB8b5qPwnb/
SUPPORT THE LIST: http://thelist.c.tep1.com/maabLRpaa2ZB9b5qPwnb/

---------------

BREAKING NEWS: BUSH WILL SUPPORT ANTI-GAY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

ABC News has just reported that President Bush said today that he WILL support adding an anti-gay amendment to the United States Constitution if such an amendment is necessary to ban gay marriage. "If necessary, I will support a constitutional amendment which would honor marriage between a man and a woman, codify that," Bush reportedly told ABC's Diane Sawyer today.

Some pundits are trying to give the president wiggle room because he said "if necessary." That's a distinction that's hardly heartwarming. If necessary, the President of the United States has announced that he would support enshrining anti-gay bigotry in the great constitution of our nation. The thought should sicken every American, and any foreigner who ever looked up to America as a beacon of hope in a troubled world. To flippantly support desecrating the American constitution in order to suck up to a bunch of evangelical anti-Christs. Have you no decency, sir?

Winnie Stachelberg of the Human Rights Campaign, America's largest gay civil rights organization, warned that Bush's amendment could eliminate scores of civil rights protections for gays and lesbians:

"It could strip away any legal protection for millions of hard-working, tax-paying Americans and their children, including the right to Social Security survivor benefits, to the right to inherit a partner's property without heavy tax penalties, even the right to visit a loved one in the hospital. And any attempt to use this amendment to score a few votes is a strategy sure to backfire and cost elected officials their claims of compassionate conservativism."

Whether you're gay, straight, Democrat or Republican, if you have an ounce of self-respect you will no longer support President Bush. Over the past several months, scores of gay Republicans came forward and said they would leave the Republican party if Bush supported this hateful amendment. Now is the time for gay and gay-friendly Americans to show who's side they're really on. As the president is so fond of saying, you're either with us or against us.

I recommend everyone contact the President and the Republican party national headquarters and let them know that it will be a cold day in hell before you ever support them again. You might also like to ask
them why we need a constitutional amendment to protect us from the Vice President's lesbian daughter:

** President Bush
mailto:president@whitehouse.gov

** Republican National Committee (RNC)
mailto:ChairmansOffice@rnc.org
mailto:membership@rnchq.org
mailto:info@rnc.org
mailto:support@gopteamleader.com
mailto:Political@rnc.org

** Ed Gillespie, RNC Chairman & Maria Cino, RNC Deputy Chairman
Phone:202/863-8700
Fax: 202/863-8774

** Office of the RNC Co-Chairman, Ann Wagner
Phone: 202-863-8545
Fax: 202-863-8631

You can find the contact info for the Republican party in your state
Via this link - contact them and let them have it:
http://thelist.c.tep1.com/maabLRpaa2ZCab5qPwnb/

More on this story later this week. And please send this special update to all of your friends. Everyone needs to know of George Bush's Christmas gift to gay Americans.

JOHN

HRC CAUTIONS PRESIDENT NOT TO JOIN ATTACKS ON AMERICAN FAMILIES BY
ENDORSING ANTI-GAY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT


For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2003

Contact: Mark Shields
Phone: (202) 216-1564
Cell: (202) 716-1637

Contact: J. Smith
Phone: (202) 216-1580
Cell: (202) 716-1650

A Discriminatory Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is Never Necessary, Warns HRC

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign cautioned President Bush today not to join attacks on American families by supporting a discriminatory anti-gay amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The measure currently pending in Congress would bar any state from granting marriage rights and could permanently deny any legal protections to same-sex couples - including civil unions, even if they were granted by state legislatures.

In tonight's ABCNEWS Primetime interview, Bush said "if necessary" he would "support a constitutional amendment which would honor marriage between a man and a woman."

"It's never necessary - in fact it would be shameful - to insert prejudice and discrimination into the U.S. Constitution," warned HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. "To use this country's most cherished document to strip away individual liberty and freedom would be nothing short of a disgrace - with which the vast majority of the American people disagree."

"The president also said tonight that it is his job to do everything he can 'to protect America and Americans.' This amendment would strip away any legal protection for millions of hard-working, tax-paying Americans.

For instance, after spending a lifetime together, when one partner dies, the surviving partner could lose their home because of they are denied Social Security protections and are heavily taxed where spouses are exempt - this amendment would codify that kind of injustice," added Stachelberg. "The American people will see through attempts to use this constitutional amendment for political purposes - a strategy sure to backfire and cost any elected official at the ballot box."

According to a November 2003 survey by the Pew Research Center, only 10 percent of Americans favor a constitutional amendment to ban marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Many leading conservatives have also announced their opposition to amending the Constitution for this purpose, including Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-N.Y., Morton M. Kondracke, William Safire, David Brooks, Chuck Muth, George Will, Ward Connerly, Jonah Goldberg and David Horowitz who said, "To do this in peacetime would be unwise; to prosecute it in the midst of war is reckless."

For a complete listing of quotes from conservative leaders and pundits opposed to this, visit here

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the
public to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

-30-

The FRC Bleating on Bush's Statement on the FMA

FRC Says President Bush's Statements on Marriage of Concern

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In an interview with Diane Sawyer to air tonight on the ABC network, President Bush was asked about his position on a Constitutional amendment to defend marriage. In an early transcript released by ABC News, the president is reported to have said he supports an amendment "which would honor marriage between a man and a woman." He also says, "The position of this administration is that whatever legal arrangements people want to make, they're allowed to make, so long as it's embraced by the state or at the state level."

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement regarding President Bush's comments:

"While I'm encouraged President Bush says he supports a Constitutional amendment honoring marriage between a man and woman, I'm very concerned about his additional comments which seem to suggest the definition of marriage, which pre-dates western civilization and the United States Constitution, can be redefined at the state level."

"This sounds as though the administration would support civil unions which are counterfeits of the institution of marriage. The President's remarks also undermine state legislators who are fighting to protect the institution of marriage in states like Massachusetts.

"Marriage is about more than tax credits and other financial benefits. For a variety of reasons, the institution of marriage is the bedrock of our nation and no state should have the ability to alter that."

EY: In otherwords, he's not kowtowing enough to the bigots.... Still FRC is serving as a good foil....

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

HRC Statement on Bush Support of the FMA

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2003

STATEMENT BY WINNIE STACHELBERG ON REPORTS OF PRESIDENTIAL SUPPORT OF AN ANTI-GAY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

WASHINGTON – Human Rights Campaign Political Director Winnie Stachelberg made the following statement regarding an ABCNEWS.com report that President Bush told Diane Sawyer in an interview airing tonight that "he would support a Constitutional amendment ‘which would honor marriage between a man and a woman.’"

"We are gravely concerned by reports that the president would join in these attacks on American families. We will closely monitor this interview to more completely understand his position. To be clear, it is never necessary to insert prejudice and discrimination into the U.S. Constitution – a document that has a proud history of being used to expand an individual’s liberty and freedom, not to take them away. Of all people, the American president should know this.

"The amendment pending in Congress would go much further than defining marriage as between a man and a woman. It could strip away any legal protection for millions of hard-working, tax-paying Americans and their children, including the right to Social Security survivor benefits, to the right to inherit a partner’s property without heavy tax penalties, even the right to visit a loved one in the hospital. And any attempt to use this amendment to score a few votes is a strategy sure to backfire and cost elected officials their claims of compassionate conservativism."

According to a November 2003 survey by the Pew Research Center, only 10 percent of Americans favor a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that GLBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

-30-

EY: It will be interesting to see what LCR does with this one.

Bush supports FMA

According to a Dianne Sawyer Interview (according to SiriusOutQ News)..... It will be interesting to see what LCR does with this one.

Don't the Boys in Blue Have Better Things to Do?

Deep in the heart of Texas (near Dallas).... via Atrios.

Friday, December 12, 2003

The Leviticus Crowd shows it's face

from Andrew Sullivan....

FISKING KLINGHOFFER: A paleo-con comes out and says that same-sex marriage should be banned entirely for Biblical reasons. Since the Bible is the source of all moral truth, no human "reason" should stand in its way. Here's a fisking of the article. I, for one, am delighted to see the real reasons for some opposition to civil marriage rights for gay citizens. For some on the far right, the notion of a separation of church and state is anathema. And they are the prime movers behind amending the Constitution on theocratic lines.

from the fisking - by Jim Davila

I notice that Klinghoffer didn't cite Leviticus 20:13 as his proof text ("If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them." RSV). He's being quite inconsistent here: if biblical rules against homosexuality are so critically important for the survival of our society now, how can he say that the biblical penalty prescribed for the offending act is only meant for the messianic future? Why not say that the rule has only a future application too, when the penalty can be applied? And he doesn't explain where he gets all the stuff about the Temple in Jerusalem and the Sanhedrin, neither of which figure in Leviticus at all. He certainly gives the appearance of backpedaling so as not to come across as utterly barbaric; and a consistent position along these lines would be utterly barbaric.

EY: Well that's what I don't get - why the rest of Leviticus chapter 18 isn't up for a constitutional amendment.... Or why if people are so upset about the sodomy ruling, why noone introduces an amendment to the constitution to allow for sodomy laws. If those laws are that important to the Leviticus Crowd - they are really duty bound to constitutionally prohibit sodomy.

And ofcourse it goes without saying - what about Deuteronomy chapter 22 (enter book and chapter in form) which suggests that when a man doubts his wife is a virgin - and he can prove it - the wife gets stoned. Should this go into the constitution?

Monday, December 08, 2003

Federalist Quotes George Will opposing the FMA

From today's Federalist Newsletter..... Usually the Federalist includes anti-gay drivel when it discusses this issue.

FAMILY

"More than 40 percent of first marriages in the United States end in divorce. Cohabitation by unmarried heterosexual couples has risen rapidly, from 523,000 in 1970 to 4.9 million today. Procreation outside of marriage, although the seedbed of millions of individual tragedies and myriad social pathologies, has lost
much of its stigma now that 33% of births -- including about 60% of births to women younger than 25 -- occur to unmarried mothers. So the 'sanctity' of American marriage is problematic. ... Amending the Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman would be unwise for two reasons. Constitutionalizing social policy is generally a misuse of fundamental law. And it would be especially imprudent to end state responsibility for marriage law at a moment when we require evidence of the sort that can be generated by allowing the states to be laboratories of social policy." --George Will

Gay Marriage Issue may backfire on Republicans

Sullivan and Signorile agree.

Meanwhile today's Star Tribune reprinted Raymond Keating's spin that this issue and the issue of partial birth abortion will help Bush.

A New Conservative Website Opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment

Maintained by Chuck Muth of Citizen Outreach. The site answers these and other questions:


  1. Without a federal amendment to the Constitution, won't all states have to recognize the gay marriages of other states under the full faith and credit clause?
  2. What about the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality in Leviticus?
  3. What is required to amend the Constitution for this purpose?


Also check out the Leviticus Files for rantings by the usual suspects in the Leviticus Crowd.




Sunday, December 07, 2003

Jim Thomson on the Culture of Divorce

exerpted from a post on mn-politics-national.....

EY:
I'd also challenge Thompson to demonstrate how the possibility of same sex marriage burdens the institution?

JT:

The high rate of divorce that we have today, began in the 1960's. During
that decade, advances in medicine (the birth control pill) and social
upheaval put heretofore unknown pressures on the traditional family. Women
began to assert their rights to work outside of the home, to be the arbiters
of when and how many children they would bear.

The very notion of an "Ozzie and Harriet" family (whether it was ever based
in reality or not) as the model of success became a object of scorn.

Changes in the legal responsibilities between marriage partners made
dissolution easier (no fault divorce).

Jim Thomson

And my days might be numbered on the Minneapolis Rumours list....

I post the following because Brauer's post, misrepresented Ken Avidor's criticism.

David Brauer writes:
I'm glad Russell agrees our story was accurate and fair, if not exactly what
he and Ken Avidor (who talked to Robyn yesterday) want. (Ken wrote me to
complain that Jeff Carlson's guitar playing wasn't mentioned in the story -
alas, a casualty of not having been there, and something I viewed as not
essential news...my editorial choice.)

EY:
This is trivializing what Ken Avidor said. I've gotten copies of the complete thread of correspondance between David Brauer and Ken Avidor - with permission from Avidor to post it. I've posted the correspondance on the Central Chat egroup: [and below on this blog]

The Spokesman Recorder also covered this meeting - and the Lake St Project in more depth.

Isaac Peterson, the author of this article won an award for his coverage of the 35W issue.

Brauer continues:
As for my larger editorial choices bullying is increasingly being viewed as a major mental health problem that surveys say affect somewhere between 8 and 15 percent of school kids. Minneapolis Schools have a relatively new districtwide response to it, and we wanted to see how it worked. Check it out; lots of good interviews with kids affected.

EY:
I wouldn't disagree with this editorial choice.

I think that it's interesting that according to the correspondance between Ken Avidor and David Brauer, it appears that Jeff Carlson's guitar playing stunt was mentioned in Repka's original story - but removed by Brauer's editorial choice.

In this correspondance, Brauer also says the Spokesman article was a press release from Stride - so I went and read the article:

And it's not a press release. It's a report about this meeting - and other issues related to the Lake Street PAC. The Spokesman did have a letter to the editor by a Stride member.

When I got a note about this issue from Avidor - I sent a note to Robin Repka (the reporter) and David Brauer (Editor of SW Journal/Skyway News - and also List Meister here) - to check the facts. Both told me that Robin had not attended the meeting - but that she had called multiple people - not just Tom Johnson to put her story together.

I appreciate that the Spokesman Recorder has been covering this issue.

The Listmeister vs the Cartoonist

posted with permission from Ken Avidor.

Thank You Nomination:

Jeff Carlson.

I would like to thank Jeff Carlson for working to create a more livable city. Jeff's passion for the lively streetscapes of Bogota and Curitiba is matched by his optimism that Minneapolis streets can become great places for people and not primarily conduits for cars. Many people in Whittier may know about Jeff's activism on behalf of bicyclists, transit and pedestrians and his opposition to the widening of Lake Street, the destruction of the 28th Street Tot Lot and the 35W Access Project.

A native Minnesotan, Jeff welcomes the new communities of immigrants that have revitalized the neglected areas of Minneapolis. He is an advocate for the many small, immigrant-owned businesses on Lake Street. Jeff is fluent in Spanish and speaks some Somali. Recently he was on a Channel 9 news broadcast playing guitar and singing a song about Lake Street. He's also a rapper and plays trumpet and sings in a Salsa band.

Like Jane Jacobs , the author of "The Life and Death of Great American Cities", Jeff Carlson's activism and opposition to the highway expansionists is rooted in his daily celebration of life on the sidewalks in the city he loves. Jeff's enthusiasm for all things urban and life itself is a great inspiration to me.

-Ken Avidor

P.S. I've attached a grainy picture of Jeff you can use (funny that Robin Repya failed to mention Jeff's performance at the November PAC meeting...but there's so much that Ms Repya failed to report). If you need a better one, call Jeff.

********************
From: "David Brauer"
Date: Thu Dec 4, 2003 8:49:06 PM US/Central
To: "'Ken Avidor'"
Subject: RE: Thanks for Jeff Carlson

Had the stunt been significant to the issue, I would have left it in Robyn's story.

If you have substantive complaints about our reporting, I'd be glad to know them. But if it's all snide asides, there's not much I can do.

Best,
David

**************************
From: "David Brauer"
Date: Thu Dec 4, 2003 9:03:05 PM US/Central
To: "'Ken Avidor'"
Subject: RE: Thanks for Jeff Carlson

The other frustrating thing, Ken, is that we have made a concerted effort to quote Jeff or someone from STRIDE in nearly every Lake Street story we do (for example, Crosstown expansion). But the only time I hear from you is when you want to get in a shot.

What's up with that?

I know you view your causes as just, but the needless antagonism toward those who don't always sing from your hymnal is just plain weird, not to mention counterproductive. Try treating the rest of us like we also value our community, and are trying to do a good job. In other words, like we are human beings.

David
********************
From: Ken Avidor
Date: Fri Dec 5, 2003 9:25:14 AM US/Central
To: "David Brauer"
Subject: Re: Thanks for Jeff Carlson

David Brauer,

I don't know what you are talking about. What shot? I had a very nice conversation with Robyn Repya.

-Avidor

*********************
From: David Brauer
Date: Fri Dec 5, 2003 9:30:13 AM US/Central
To: Ken Avidor
Subject: Re: Thanks for Jeff Carlson

I quote: (funny that Robin Repya failed to mention Jeff's performance at the
November PAC meeting...but there's so much that Ms Repya failed to report).

Still waiting for specifics, Ken.

**********************
From: Ken Avidor
Date: Fri Dec 5, 2003 10:12:36 AM US/Central
To: David Brauer
Subject: Specifics

I recommend this article by Isaac Peterson who was at the meeting:

This is a good letter from a PAC member:

The motion to dismiss [Smith Parker] is at:

http://www.stride-mn.org/about-smithparker/motion_to_dismiss.pdf

-Avidor

*****************************
From: David Brauer
Date: Fri Dec 5, 2003 10:30:59 AM US/Central
To: Ken Avidor
Subject: Re: Specifics

I read both pieces, and while I'm sure you're glad the S-R is singing from the hymnal, we've reported on most of the issues months before they did. (Some of that is even linked on STRIDE's Web site.

So again, specifically, what did we miss?

Also, the motion to dismiss never even got a vote, I heard.

David

**************************
From: Ken Avidor
Date: Fri Dec 5, 2003 10:42:52 AM US/Central
To: David Brauer
Subject: Hymnal?

On Friday, December 5, 2003, at 10:30 AM, David Brauer wrote:

I'm sure you're glad the S-R is singing from the hymnal

What "Hymnal"?

-Avidor
**************************

From: David Brauer
Date: Fri Dec 5, 2003 10:45:19 AM US/Central
To: Ken Avidor
Subject: Re: Hymnal?

One piece is written by a Stride member. The STRIDE hymnal. Robyn writes news.

We don't do press releases by you guys or Tom Johnson.

Again, what did Robyn miss?

***********************

On Friday, December 5, 2003, at 10:45 AM, David Brauer wrote:

Again, what did Robyn miss?

David Brauer,

What Robyn Repya and you are missing is this; What's happening at the Lake Street PAC is a part of an old campaign of destruction of cities and neighborhoods for such abstract concepts as "urban renewal", "traffic efficiency" "Economic Revitalization" and "Progress".

This anti-city ideology of Le Corbusier, refined and institutionalized by Robert Moses of progress through wholesale demolition, high-rise buildings and highway construction has created wastelands out of the most vibrant neighborhoods in cities across this nation. Our local legacy of shameful destruction can be found in Larry Millett's "Lost Twin Cities".

You have accused me and other members of STRIDE of singing from a "hymnal". If there is a book I would choose to sing from it would be Jane Jacobs' "Death and Life of Great American Cities". This 30 year old book debunked the modernist ideology of city planning that led to the destruction of so many wonderful places in cities across America. Instead of learning abstract, futurist theories, she asked the reader to go out into the street and observe the lives of people on the streets of neighborhoods the city planners called "slums".

But Jane Jacobs was not just a writer but an activist. She led the fight against Robert Moses's plan to build a highway across Lower Manhattan. This highway would have destroyed Soho, Little Italy, Greenwich Village and the East Village and Chinatown. She was far more strident than any member of STRIDE. She disrupted meetings and got arrested several times.

What if Jane Jacobs had been "nice" as you are suggesting STRIDE be and play by the rules imposed by the highway builders? If she had, the rich tapestry of neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan would be thing of the past...a tragic loss like Penn Station, like the South Bronx, like Rondo.

It is not STRIDE that follows a rigid ideology, but Tom Johnson. The hymn he sings is "Onward Highway Expansionists!" This hymn's words were penned by Robert Moses and Le Corbusier, the music is provided by the Auto Industry and the Highway Lobby. As long as a complacent and compliant media (do all those car ads have any influence?) continues to sing along from their hymnal, we will continue the concrete crusade to destroy the life on the streets of our cities and the bloody crusade for oil in Iraq, in Columbia, in the Sudan, in Nigeria, in Colombia and eventually, with gigatons of carbon pumped every day out of millions of tailpipes, the destruction of the Earth's biosphere.

STRIDE is not, as you characterize us a band of fanatics. We are a true grass-roots organization made up of individuals who care deeply about Minneapolis. We also care about what kind of example our city sets for the nation and the world. If we selfishly say that economic efficiency is the only criteria for decisions about the design of Lake Street, what can we say to people elsewhere who weigh profit with the destruction of their forests and fisheries? How do we claim to be "progressive" when we permit the highway expansionists to destroy homes, a park, small businesses, bringing more pollution and car traffic into our neighborhoods?

What is especially frustrating, is your notion that STRIDE is "radical" when much of what STRIDE advocates is considered sound city planning in cities like Toronto, Chicago and Portland.

I'm am concerned that you, the editor of two influential newspapers, the list-manager of a popular e-mail discussion group have joined the campaign to marginalize and silence people who question Tom Johnson and the highway expansionists. You describe Jeff's song as "a stunt"...are all protest song's stunts? Bob Dylan? Paul Robeson? Woody Guthrie? What forms of political expression do you consider worthy of coverage in your papers? Is satire and cartooning also unworthy political expression? Thomas Nast? Herblock? Gary Trudeau? In the face of a taxpayer financed, multimillion dollar campaign to destroy a good part of South Minneapolis, opponents would be foolish not to use every form of expression we have at our disposal to stop the insane "35W "Excess Project".

The other troubling part of your letters is your insistence that nothing happened at the November PAC meeting that was not reported in Robyn Repya's article. She alluded to a "heated" discussion but does not explain what the nature of that discussion was. But how could she? She wasn't there. It's not her fault that she wasn't there. You should have assigned someone to go there. If you didn't have anyone available, you could have gone yourself. If you lacked the resources, you could have mentioned that the SWJ was quoting sources instead of giving the impression that a SWJ reporter was at the meeting. Some prominent reporters have gotten into trouble recently for pretending to be where they weren't.

-Yours,
Ken Avidor

Southwest Journal Responds

Southwest Journal Editor David Brauer responds to the criticism of his editorial judgement.

Russell and list:

Reporters get to go on vacation once in awhile, including Robyn Repya. We - and indeed no journalists - don't get to every meeting (and the Journal goes to A LOT of them, including many Lake St. and 35W PAC meetings).

So every once in awhile, you have to do a story by calling around. Especially for a meeting where the PAC group didn't even make a final decision on an advisory opinion about Lake Street's parking configuration.

As I posted to the list some months ago, we've done quite a few stories on the Lake Street and 35W PAC processes, including STRIDE's complaints about Smith Parker. I believe this was the third story we've done on 35W or Lake Street processes in our last three issues.

We've made a conscious effort to include STRIDE representatives in local transportation stories - Jeff Carlson has been quoted numerous times.

Also FYI - there are 26 Journals every year. In 2003, two covers have been about Lake Street and the 35W processes - one a profile of Smith-Parker's Tom Johnson and the other in which we went up and down Lake Street interviewing people on what they wanted to see in the future streetscape. Information from both stories has been featured on STRIDE's Web site.

I'm glad Russell agrees our story was accurate and fair, if not exactly what he and Ken Avidor (who talked to Robyn yesterday) want. (Ken wrote me to complain that Jeff Carlson's guitar playing wasn't mentioned in the story - alas, a casualty of not having been there, and something I viewed as not essential news...my editorial choice.)

As for my larger editorial choices bullying is increasingly being viewed as a major mental health problem that surveys say affect somewhere between 8 and 15 percent of school kids. Minneapolis Schools have a relatively new districtwide response to it, and we wanted to see how it worked. Check it out; lots of good interviews with kids affected.

David Brauer
Kingfield
Editor, SW Journal and Skyway News

Friday, December 05, 2003

MFC doesn't seem to be the website source for the Legislative Emails

I would be very interested in getting copies of one of these emails - with full headers. This would help to find the web source of the emails.

Another legislator Comments on the Email Deluge on Gay Marriage

This legislator withheld their name, but commented on this site.

I too have received about two hundred emails on this subject, from around the state, within about a 24 hour period. I disagree with the charachterizatation of many of the emails being "worded exactly the same". They all appear to be individually worded, and absolutely are not "form" emails. Although, they do seem to be entered on a website by the individuals, and then the website is forwarding the email to all 201 legislators. Every email comes with a full name, address and email address.

I don't call that orchestrated, I call that time-saving and effective!

On the flip side, I have received one contact expressing opposition to the amendment. Although, as this debate heats up I expect the legislature to be completely inundated from both sides- probably starting in February when we are back in session.

EY: Feel free to add your comments. I'm still curious about which website is referring these emails.