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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