counter statistics

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Lynne Cheney Restates Opposition to the FMA

I don't support an amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage. I think it's a matter that should be left to the states. As a conservative, I don't support constitutional amendments generally unless the cause is clear and evident. The issue here, of course, is that some people think a constitutional amendment is necessary in order to preserve the rights of the states. I happen not to come down on that side of the issue and, indeed, there are many Republicans who do [not]. I think if you looked at our national convention, for example, among the prominent speakers -- Gov. Schwarzenegger, Rudy Giuliani -- feel the same way. It's not an issue that sets the Republican Party apart in one great mass. It's an issue upon which people differ." - Lynne Cheney, on NPR's Fresh Air, February 9.


Good for Mrs. Cheney. Some gay lefties are angry that Cheney didn't mention her daughter in this quote. That makes no sense to me.

Meanwhile Mike Rogers from the Outing Blog is livid about Lynne Cheney's interview.

Women on the Move

Ember Reichgott Junge, a former state senator and Attorney General Candidate has now debuted her Radio Show and New Media Effort, Women on the Move.

Ember describes the effort in her Minnesota Women's Press Column:

Women on the Move: it’s about time

I’m frustrated that the newspaper headlines and television news day after day from the state Capitol focus on stadiums, gambling and taxes. Rarely do you hear debate about the human side of the Capitol, like helping women who are working two jobs, desperate for child care and stressed by demands from their aging parents, succeed in the workplace. And rarely do you hear women’s voices making that case.


My take on this is a bit different. I've often gotten frustrated because women politicians are generally expected to work on "women's issues" whatever that means. Often it means child care. Meanwhile male politicians are expected to work on the big issues.

I'm frustrated because even today Americans really don't value women leaders. Look at the Sunday morning network political talk shows. According to a recent study by the White House Project, women guests are practically invisible. Male leaders appear on these shows at a ratio of about 9 to 1 over women. Do women leaders exist? You bet they do. Take the example of Washington U.S. Senator Patty Murray, chair of the Democratic Senatorial Committee. Imagine her frustration during the last election when she watched her male predecessor interviewed on the network talk shows—even as she was chairing the effort!


Now this is interesting. I was not aware Patty Murray was Chair of the DSCC. I had thought it was Jon Corzine.

If we don't do something different or create something new, nothing will change. We deserve more than one "Year of the Woman." We need to create a debate and we need to steer the conversation to what really matters.

I'll be honest. I've complained about this for years. Now I've decided to get off my duff and do something about it. I've created several new radio shows and I'm going to host the debate myself!

Our new conversation has already started on Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. on AM 950, Air America Minnesota. Beginning Feb. 17, we'll start a conversation with listeners around the world Thursdays from 1 to 2 p.m. on Internet radio at www.voiceamerica.com.

These shows are all about women on the move. They will inspire everyone—women and men. This is not just about gender equity (something many of us have worked to create for years). This is about valuing women's leadership and highlighting the great accomplishments of women.


Ember wants to go beyond this radio show and have a blog.

Two hours of radio/Internet air time is hardly enough time to create this debate. That's why a group of passionate women committed to the cause are helping "Women on the Move" to grow. We will soon launch our website at www.womenonthemove.us. Soon we hope to add our blog: "What’s Missing in the News." Further expansion of time on the radio airwaves is in our plans. And we are already exploring a weekly television series by, for and about women on the move.


I went to the Women on the Move website, and the blog isn't there. Once it is, I'll post about it here. Hopefully the blog will allow comments. Generally the more interesting blogs do.

Notably the womenonthemove.com website goes to a Real Estate site in Florida, womenonthemove.org isn't taken and womenonthemove.net is "coming soon".

"Intelligent Design" Creationist, Michael Behe misrepresents National Academy of Science President's views in NY Times Column

"Intelligent Design" Creationist Michael Behe scored a column in the New York Times on Monday.

Paul Meyers, Professor of Biology at University of Minnesota, Morris completely rebuts Behe's nonsense here.

From Behe:

In 1998 an issue of the journal Cell was devoted to molecular machines, with articles like "The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines" and "Mechanical Devices of the Spliceosome: Motors, Clocks, Springs and Things." Referring to his student days in the 1960's, Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences, wrote that "the chemistry that makes life possible is much more elaborate and sophisticated than anything we students had ever considered." In fact, Dr. Alberts remarked, the entire cell can be viewed as a factory with an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines. He emphasized that the term machine was not some fuzzy analogy; it was meant literally.


Bruce Alberts from the National Academy of Sciences cries foul.

Published: February 12, 2005

To the Editor:

In "Design for Living" (Op-Ed, Feb. 7), Michael J. Behe quoted me, recalling how I discovered that "the chemistry that makes life possible is much more elaborate and sophisticated than anything we students had ever considered" some 40 years ago. Dr. Behe then paraphrases my 1998 remarks that "the entire cell can be viewed as a factory with an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines."

That I was unaware of the complexity of living things as a student should not be surprising. In fact, the majestic chemistry of life should be astounding to everyone. But these facts should not be misrepresented as support for the idea that life's molecular complexity is a result of "intelligent design." To the contrary, modern scientific views of the molecular organization of life are entirely consistent with spontaneous variation and natural selection driving a powerful evolutionary process.

In evolution, as in all areas of science, our knowledge is incomplete. But the entire success of the scientific enterprise has depended on an insistence that these gaps be filled by natural explanations, logically derived from confirmable evidence. Because "intelligent design" theories are based on supernatural explanations, they can have nothing to do with science.

Bruce Alberts
President
National Academy of Sciences
Washington, Feb. 9, 2005


Behe's column was nonsensical on a number of levels. I point out this article because a typical tactic by Intelligent Design Creationists is to claim ID support from Scientists who do not support the nonsense.

UPDATE: Evolution Blog posted on this last night. Pharyngula and Panda's Thumb react.

David Eason Resigns

Rebecca McKinnon was in the audience and shares her recollections.

So Lefty Blogs got Jeff Gannon and Righty Blogs have got Eason Jordan.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Bill of Non-Rights

A Lloydletta reader has requested more information about the Bill of Non-Rights. Here's a link.

I use article II for my tagline.

ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.


Some of the others in my opinion are overly simplistic.

Arthur Miller dies

Miller was a brilliant playwright - author of Death of a Salesman and the Crucible.

From the Times:

PERHAPS the 21st century will be remembered as the American century; although just now, at its outset, it is hard not to think that this may be for all the wrong reasons. And if the same could be said, perhaps more kindly, of the previous 100 years, it would be fine to consider that this might in part be because it was the century of Arthur Miller, too.

His life spanned both, of course; and did not begin until 1915, when he was born to Polish-Jewish immigrants in Manhattan. His father, Isidore, made ladies’ coats, but his business failed in 1928 and the family moved to Brooklyn, across the East River. From Death of a Salesman to The American Clock, this scene of the sudden reversal of fortune was one that Miller the playwright — after he had served his apprenticeship working with his father, then as a shipping clerk in an automobile parts warehouse, and later, at the time of his first marriage, in the Brooklyn Navy Yard — would revisit again and again in his work. Of this time, the time of his father’s failure and the Great Depression, he once said: “It was hard to know where my own family situation left off and where society began. It was all happening right there in the living room.”

That was, in a sense, his great gift: that it was all happening right there in the living room. Death of a Salesman, All My Sons, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge — these are not great plays because of the political statements that they make, although the themes they embody are still as pertinent as ever. They are great plays, and works of art, because they are human stories of enduring power that live, and live again, through their characters.

When Death of a Salesman made its Chinese-language debut in Beijing in 1983 there was some doubt as to how well Chinese audiences — mostly raised on socialist morality plays — would understand Willy Loman’s story, however well-disposed they might be to the tale of a man broken on the capitalist wheel. However it was Loman’s relationships within his family that drew them in — and that make the play what it is, for any audience, anywhere. Miller ’s third wife, Inge Morath, recalled that a woman came in to watch the play in its Beijing rehearsals and broke down in tears at Linda Loman’s inability to save her husband. “It’s the same situation,” the woman said.

"God Blogger" Calls on Pat Robertson to get Sensitivity Training

Stacy Harp is sounding like a liberal.

MFC's Tom Prichard Gets Down on Buster

February 8, 2005
Dear Legislator,

Recently, Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) announced plans to broadcast the controversial "Sugartime" episode from PBS' "Postcards from Buster" cartoon series. For those of you not up on the latest cartoon characters, Buster is a rabbit figure in one of the world’s most popular children’s television shows, "Arthur." What is controversial about the "Sugartime" episode is that it features same-sex parents.

This particular episode was criticized by U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who in a letter to the president of PBS said, “Many parents would not want their young children exposed to lifestyles portrayed in this episode. Congress and the department's purpose in funding this programming certainly was not to introduce this kind of subject matter to children." PBS has since pulled the episode from mass distribution. We fully agree with Secretary Spellings. This episode is inappropriate for impressionable young children. In fact, it is unacceptable that TPT would deliberately target young children with such a controversial message – that a same-sex relationship is no different than a mother-father relationship.

On the contrary, the homosexual lifestyle is fraught with significant health risks and problems. TPT's radical view is highlighted by the fact that since PBS pulled the mass distribution of the episode, nearly 95% have public television stations have not committed to run the episode. I am bringing this to your attention, because TPT received nearly $600,000 during the '04-'05 budget cycle from the taxpayers of Minnesota.

I believe it is entirely appropriate to discontinue subsidizing TPT, because of its deliberate effort to propagandize unsuspecting, impressionable
young children.

TPT may argue that it represents the public interest but that is increasingly not the case. In addition to previous efforts to promote societal acceptance of homosexuality, TPT’s latest decision is an arrogant effort to target impressionable children with this controversial programming.

Some would argue that calling for an end to state subsidies of TPT amounts to censorship. That's merely a smokescreen to continue demanding that taxpayers subsidize activities that the majority of people in Minnesota find offensive and unsuitable for children.

As TPT's request for spending comes before the legislature this session, I strongly encourage you to reject any state subsidies for TPT.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,
Tom Prichard, President
Minnesota Family Council


This went to the entire legislature. I wonder if Prichard would think the MFC backgrounder on homosexuality which describes how gay men like to eat feces is more appropriate for children.

Chuck Muth on the Prescription Drug Benefit

THE WHITE HOUSE ON DRUGS

The White House twisted arms and pretty much shoved its new prescription drug "entitlement" down the throats of Republicans in Congress a little over a year ago. At the time, the White House assured reluctant Republicans that the cost of the program wouldn’t exceed $400 billion. Now comes a report in the Washington Post yesterday saying the actual cost is going to be more like $1.2 TRILLION. The White House immediately responded by saying the Post’s estimate was "completely wrong" and demanded a correction. But the Post today is standing by its story.

Normally, I’d give the White House the benefit of the doubt considering this involves the liberal Washington Post. But the fact is the White House DID play fast and loose with the numbers when the prescription drug bill barely squeezed past Congress and, frankly, I no longer take them at their word on this issue.

In any event, Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican and chairman of the 100-member conservative Republican Study Committee, is calling for Congress to re-open the debate on the prescription drug "entitlement" in order to "means test" it; that is, provide the prescription drug government assistance only to those who really need it. In other words, let’s not force the American taxpayer to subsidize Ted Turner’s Viagra.

The White House will fight this notion tooth and nail. Congress should do it anyway. It’s the "right" thing to do. But don’t hold your breath waiting.


It's worth discussing means testing this program. It would also be worth discussing not blocking the Federal Government using its bulk purchasing power to negotiate prices with the Drug companies.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Wide Open Senate Race

Whose in, Whose Out? Strib here. Major out: Al Franken.

Nick Coleman: Slam the Body Politic....

Seems like despite efforts by Norm Coleman, there will be a race from the Republican side. From the Strib.

Coleman predicted that Democrats will be involved in a "donnybrook" to decide whom they want to endorse. He said that Republicans will unite behind Kennedy, saying he already has a "leg up" on his potential competitors.

Coleman said the Minnesota race will become the No. 1 target for Republicans next year, adding: "Our chances of winning this seat are improved the quicker [Kennedy] can somehow have a party unite behind him."

Grams, who lost his reelection bid to Dayton in 2000, declined to comment on Coleman's announcement. Gutknecht was unavailable for comment.

Other Republicans applauded Coleman's move.

State Sen. Minority Leader Dick Day said Coleman was showing great leadership in trying to unite the party, calling Kennedy the party's "lead horse."

Minnesota Republican Party chairman Ron Eibensteiner said that Coleman's endorsement "carries weight with a lot of Republicans."

State Sen. Michele Bachmann of Stillwater, who had been considered a potential Republican candidate, said that "we could not do better than to see Mark Kennedy run for this important position." And Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, another person named as a possible candidate, said: "There's no doubt about it; I think Mark Kennedy will make a great senator."

Grams said that he is running for the seat but that due to legal constraints will not formally announce his candidacy until he can form campaign committees.


Clearly Republicans don't want a battle - and it will be interesting to see how Coleman's kingmaker effort will work. Grams ran an abysmal campaign in 1998 when he lost to Dayton.

Vin Weber isn't listed. His name was floated by Republican party chair Ron Eibensteiner on Almanac during the Christmas holidays.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Dayton Drops out

43% approval rating, no ability to raise money, and doesn't want to use his own money - this offers opportunities for the Democrats.

GayPatriot Get's New Digs

Here....

He may be the first conservative blogger to comment on the Jeff Gannon situation.

He also comments:

Let me make a final observations. The liberal blogs appear to be having a field day with this, but are ignoring the Eason Jordan story. It will be interesting to see how the conservative blogs deal with the Gannon issue.... if it develops as the liberal blogs seem to be suggesting.

One downside to the blogosphere seems to be further polarizing of news, facts, and in turn our political discourse. That's too bad.


Checked some other conservative blogs. Nothing on Powerline, nothing on Michelle Malkin, Captain Ed, though they all are obsessing about the Eason Jordan story.... Glenn Reynolds bites and points to Rip N' Read. But Gay Patriot got to this before Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit.

Draft Olympia Snowe for President: 2008

Works for me. Here. Hat Tip Dennis Sanders at Moderate Republican.

The War Between alt.tasteless and rec.pets.cats (Reprise)

History repeats itself. The Women's Student Activist Collective filed a grievance through the Student Activities Office against the Campus Republicans and the Students for Family Values.

Check out The War Between alt.tasteless and rec.pets.cats.

Seems like Tom Meyer of Campus Republicans is playing the part of Trashcan Man. Not sure who at WSAC is the rec.pets.cats defender.

I posted this as a comment on Brian Engstrom's and Marty Andrade's blog. We'll see how long the comments stay.

The War Between alt.tasteless and rec.pets.cats describes a usenet newsgroup invasion by the alt.tasteless regulars into rec.pets.cats. I do occasionally read alt.tasteless - and have posted there, but I am not a regular.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Is Students for Family Values a Front Group for Campus Republicans?

From the City Pages:

The independent conservative organization, whose goal is to ensure that the Republican Party remains as conservative as possible, split from the Minnesota College Republicans in 2000. The group also is at the heart of conservative offshoot groups like Students for Family Values; Students for a Conservative Voice; Students for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; and the conservative campus newspaper, the Minnesota Patriot.


Also:

Though much of the group's focus is on abortion issues, the men don't wince when asked why there are no women in the room (though one finally shows up later at an after-meeting get-together at Big 10). Currently, they say the male-to-female ratio is about 8 to 2. "They come and never come back," says Ochoada. "If we had Tupperware parties and stuff, we'd have more women," Dahl offers.


Tupperware parties?

From the Campus Republicans Email List:


We have a meeting again this week, and its back to our normal time, 6 pm in room 319 at coffman. This should be a big meeting, as we have a lot to discuss, nothing more important however than our pending take over of MPIRG. We have to discuss strategy, and the best ways of doing it without them knowing about it. Other than that we have to talk about michael wilson, our UN debate, the status of our fees, the miss america thing and whatever else anyone wants to talk about.


Also it appears the WSAC grievance also went after the Campus Republicans. It's still unclear exactly what the grievance is about. It seems that this "takeover" is going to be all about grabbing MPIRG's money.

Patrick Guerriero Interviewed by Gay Patriot

Here.

I think the difference between Log Cabin and some other groups is that we are proud to say that our goal is to go out of business. We want to not exist. Which is an interesting conservative way to look at it. We want to resolve issues of fairness for gay and lesbian Americans so that we can have the great debates about the War on Terrorism and healthcare and Social Security and those types of things.

Unfortunately for us, and its been aggravating to some of our friends, too often in the last year we’ve had to be in the position of defending the Constitution, defending gay families, having to respond to unfortunate flyers -- some of them coming from our own party, unfortunate comments coming from Democrats and Republicans. That has taken us to a place that you and others have critiqued which is focusing on that piece of our mission.

And our mission is dual – it is to reach a day where every American is treated equally under the law, or at least given the opportunity and responsibility to be treated fairly under the law. And, two – to make sure our [Republican] Party is on the right side of history. Because too many of our friends who we agree with on so many issues happen today to not be where they ought to be [on gay issues]. Some of them for political reasons, and others because the gay and lesbian community hasn’t done the important work of talking to them.


Well said, Patrick.

Joel Flake's Resignation Letter

BRIAN EDSTROM EYES ONLY

November 1, 2004

Brian:

As you may have noticed there have been several conversations on the SFV message boards that deal with issues surrounding Biblical interpretations and supposed "Christian" denominations. I have always been willing to accept a certain degree of disagreement among Christians. this stance however does not change the fact that I am a fundamentalist and the Bible says what it says.

Having said this, it needs to be understood that the Bible is very clear on divisions of major doctrine.

[block quote italics] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?

-2 Corinthians 6:14-16

Being that certain longstanding members of SFV are very vocal members of a cult (see conversation on the message boards) and that these members carry much sway with the doings of SFV, I cannot justify any longer my involvement in the organization.

Please understand that I am not doing this to spite any person. I am leaving SFV because it has become obvious to me over the last three days that the other members of SFV do not share a basic understanding of the Bible with me. I do not wish to break friendships and I hope this is not the result.

Although many on the forum seem to think the debates are over trivial issues, they are certainly wrong in this. Salvation and forgiveness of sin cannot be debated by two individuals while both are Christians. I hope this will become clearer to everyone involved sooner or later.

In this package I have included a CD with website files and other information in a digital format that will be needed in the future. There is a readme.txt fine in the main directory that you should read the first chance you get.

Even though it is totally clear why I am leaving SFV, you may share any of this information I have given you with anyone you wish after you have reviewed it.

Joel Flake


Marty Andrade gave me this resignation letter. I'm assuming that when he says Cult, he means the Catholic Church. That's what Bob Jones of Bob Jones University says about the Catholic Church also.

Students for Family Values Catfight Continues

Here's an Update on a story posted here, here and here.

A few of the principles stopped by and commented:

This is from the IRS webpage regarding 501c3 groups:

To be tax-exempt as an organization described in IRC Section 501(c)(3) of the Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for one or more of the purposes set forth in IRC Section 501(c)(3) and none of the earnings of the organization may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate at all in campaign activity for or against political candidates.

http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=96099,00.html

The Horowitz deal was not a campaign activity. his one statement about democrats is the only place where he might have crossed the line, but even that is not a political activity, since he wasn't speaking against any candidate.

Marty Andrade


Actually the Horowitz event wasn't the only thing Joel Flake cited. He also cited the effort by SFV leadership to silence Republican competitors - in this case Constitution Party people. Joel told me the reason Brian Edstrom removed the SFV web forum was because SFV officers were quoted on the forum suggesting they thought there was some partisan political activity at some of the SFV events.

Both Brian Edstrom and Andrade have tried to change the subject by focusing on Joel Flake's alleged hostility towards Catholics. Andrade said he would provide me a copy of Flake's resignation letter. Flake said he resigned partly because of theological differences with the group, but did not acknowledge being hostile towards Catholics.

Developing. . .

Yours Truly Interviewed about Blogs

Update: Powerline and Craig Westover comment on the story. I appreciated that this article covered some smaller blogs: mine, Dennis Sanders and several others.

Pioneer Press here.

Lloydletta didn't get a plug, but my other blog: DumpBachmann, did.

Minnesotans of all political stripes air their views online

BY TONI COLEMAN

Pioneer Press

What do a bank vice president, a gay black minister and a 17-year-old Mounds View high school senior have in common?

They blog about politics — advocating their political beliefs, critiquing opposing views and commenting about the day's news or each other. It seems that anyone with a computer and an opinion can start a blog.

There's the Minnesota Democrats Exposed blog, dedicated to exposing the "tactics" of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, and the Dump Bachmann blog, written by a lesbian Republican who is documenting every perceived anti-gay comment by Stillwater Sen. Michele Bachmann to provide ammunition for any moderate Republican willing to challenge her in the next primary election. And there's New Patriot, a consortium of left-leaning Minnesotans, which uses its name to debunk the notion that Democrats aren't patriotic.


Actually, I document more than anti-gay comments by Bachmann - mostly on Creationism. I also post letters to the editor I find that criticize her.

"Everybody's got an opinion. Most people are most interested in their own opinion. Why not blog? It's vanity press," said David Erickson, co-publisher of mnpolitics.com.


Erickson seems to be threatened by the competition. He's prefer to be a filter. Blogs make his site less interesting.

More blogs appear to be popping up every day in Minnesota. Some have
gained national notice, such as Power Line, which is credited with publicizing the holes in the "60 Minutes" report on President Bush's service in the National Guard. The site was named Time magazine's Blog of the Year.


Undeservedly so. Powerline is where you go to read re-cycled talking points from the Republican National Committee.

But most blogs have a much more limited audience. And while blogging
becomes increasingly popular as a source of political news and commentary, it remains to be seen what type of impact it may have on Minnesota politics.

"You don't need to call a rally. You don't need to own a newspaper. You don't need to be a big name. You need insights and views that are shared by others,'' said Larry Jacobs, political science professor at the University of Minnesota. "It's democratizing because the barriers to communication have fallen.''


Jacobs seems to understand the power of blogs.

Minnesotans are leaders in using the Internet to get involved in politics, said Steven Clift, who started the Minnesota E-Democracy Web site, which runs a St. Paul and Minneapolis online issues forum inviting public discourse on political issues affecting the Twin Cities.

"People have the opportunity when they want to check their opinion with others in a way that wasn't possible before,'' Clift said. "While that's empowering for many, it isn't often very civil.''


I think Clift is mixing up blogs and usenet.

A sampling of what you can find in a blog: "Um, so is there any chance
we can convince Mark Dayton not to run in 2006? Not that (Mark) Kennedy would beat him or anything, it's just that after the office-closing incident I'm convinced I can carve a stiffer spine out of a banana?"


This sounds like a comment on a blog.

More than 8 million people say they created a blog and the percent of
Internet users reading blogs is growing, up to 27 percent in 2004, according to a Pew Internet and American Life Project survey of Internet users.

Short for Web log, a blog is a personal Web page that takes the form of an online diary, a news digest with commentary or a never-ending opinion page for average Joes with something to say without editors limiting content and length. Many blogs allow readers to post their comments as well.

Blogging is particularly popular with Republicans who feel news media has a liberal bias.


Actually she misses the boat here. Liberals have used blogs to communicate for similar reasons. A good example of this is the activist blog, Daily Kos - which both talks politics and attempts online organizing. My guess is Coleman got this background from Powerline - and it's nonsense.

For Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker, two of the three lawyers behind
Minnesota's most prominent blog, Power Line, blogging is an extension of the opinion pieces they had been writing to newspapers for years.

Since they started blogging in May 2002, the goal had always been to "contribute high-quality commentary on public policy issues," said Johnson, a vice president at TCF Bank and fellow with the conservative think tank Claremont Institute. As the blog became more popular — it averages nearly 60,000 visits a day — they were invited to cover the Republican National Convention live on their Web site.

When he started three years ago, Dennis Sanders, a northeast Minneapolis blogger behind the Moderate Republican site, said there weren't many Republicans advocating a centrist view. "I wanted to be that blog that was willing to be a 'dissident Republican' who works for reform within the party."

But don't expect to find a blog bashing Democrats or chastising Bush, with whom Sanders disagrees.

"I want people to come away thinking about what I wrote instead of coming to my site to have their views reinforced," said Sanders, the gay, black minister.

Journalist Kevin Featherly approaches his blogging hobby as if he's an "unsold columnist, syndicating to the ethers.''

Eva Young of Minneapolis, author of the Dump Bachmann blog, hopes to change the minds of those opposing gay and lesbian rights by posting her opinion pieces on discussion sites where she also refers to her blogs to generate readership.

"I tend to go to lists where people don't agree with me," like Catholics for Bush, with whom she disagrees on abortion and gay-rights issues. "I go to sharpen my argument and to know what the other side is saying," Young said.

Patrick Timmons, a 17-year-old Shoreview resident, started MN Republican Watch after reading something on the Minnesota Republican site that he considered misleading. Concerned that readers would just accept what they read as fact, he felt compelled to set the record straight in a blog he started "just to show what's wrong with the
Minnesota Republican Party."

While traditional reporters have to "couch what they say," bloggers "want to get their point across. It really is anything goes," Erickson said. (However, bloggers can be sued for libel if they publish something they knew to be false or acted in reckless disregard to whether it was true or false.)

One posting, which criticizes state officials' handling of the budget shortfall by removing inflation, reflects what it would be like if we could all use accounting gimmicks: "I could just call up Visa and say, 'Hey, buddy, that $1,400 I'm carrying on the plastic? Well, this is Tim Pawlenty's Minnesota pal, and I get to call it $700.' "

Randy Wanke, communications director for the Republican Party of Minnesota, said he treats blogs like other news media by sending them press releases about the party's activities and its criticism of Democrats. Blogs have, like talk radio, loyal audiences prone to act on what they hear. The party has links to right-leaning blogs on its Web site.

"It's becoming more and more part of the (political) process," Wanke said. "There's nothing wrong with preaching to the choir. The election showed us that. It's important to reach your base."

Featherly said some partisan blogs will have an impact on public discourse, but many will fail and deserve to.

"If you're not credible, if you're not talented … you might be able to maintain a small community of like-minded thinkers, but you're not going to have an impact."

Johnson of "Rathergate" fame said blogs' power derives from their immediate interaction with a knowledgeable audience. He said the CBS documents were deemed fake not through anything Power Line bloggers knew, but from what their readers knew. The greatest impact blogs have is not so much on politics, but on traditional journalism.

"They have had a continuing and sobering effect on the mainstream media's coverage of the political scene. They know there are knowledgeable people looking over their shoulders," Johnson said.


Toni Coleman did pretty well. Though she chose drivel that was posted on blogs to give a sense of what is typically posted on a blog. I gave her the tip about Dennis Sanders.

Republican National Committee Panders to Bigotry

Here....

Reid Opposes Federal Marriage Amendment:

Reid Received 100 percent Rating From Human Rights Campaign (HRC) For 107th Congress. (Human Rights Campaign, "Presidential Candidates," Human Rights Campaign Website, http://www.hrc.org, Accessed 12/2/04)

-- HRC Endorsed Reid During 2004 Election Calling Him "A Leader We Can Count On." (Human Rights Campaign, "Candidate Profile: Harry Reid," Human Rights Campaign Website, www.hrc.org, Accessed 12/2/04)

-- "The Human Rights Campaign, The Largest National Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual And Transgender Advocacy Organization, Envisions An America Where GLBT People Are Ensured Of Their Basic Equal Rights, And Can Be Open, Honest And Safe At Home, At Work And In The Community." (Human Rights Campaign Website, www.hrc.org/, Accessed 1/31/05)

Reid Said Marriage Should Be Between A Man And Woman. "So marriage should be between a man and a woman, OK? I agree. But why do we need to have to amend the Constitution when we have the Defense of Marriage Act federally? We have the state Constitution, which has it in it." (Dave Berns, "Candidates See Religion's Role In Diverse Light," Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/28/04)

-- But Reid Voted Against Federal Marriage Amendment. (S.J. Res. 40, CQ Vote No. 155: Motion Rejected 48-50: R 45-6; D 3-43; I 0-1, 7/14/04, Reid Voted Nay)


People should call the RNC:

202-863-8614

More RNC phone numbers
Ken's office: 202-863-8700
Other RNC phone numbers: 202.863.8500, 202-863-8747, 202-863-8743

Developing. . .

Chuck Muth: DOMA, the FMA and Natural Law

Chuck Muth has some interesting analysis of the recent New York decision. This is available on here and is from the Citizen Outreach.

The Beginning of the End of DOMA

Forget Massachusetts.

The court decision gay marriage opponents - and supporters - ought to REALLY be worried about is the one handed down in New York last week declaring gay marriage legal, a decision which surely will end up before the New York Supreme Court on appeal. That decision, more so than the one in Massachusetts, is likely to pave the way for overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) - which states that one state need not recognize the gay marriages of another - and will present an arguably legitimate reason to pursue a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

And if folks can get beyond the moralistic gay-phobia arguments, a fascinating constitutional clash for the ages will then take place encompassing federalism, the practice of following Supreme Court precedent and the separation of powers. Although I've generally been hoping this issue would just go away - we really DO have bigger fish to fry - I'm now looking forward to it blowing up.

DISCLAIMER: I am neither an attorney nor a constitutional historian, so the following opinions are based on the observations of an amateur, everyday citizen...not an "expert." OK, with that out of the way here's why I think Manhattan Judge Doris Ling-Cohan's decision is more significant than the Massachusetts decision.

FIRST: Since the day the original decision legalizing gay marriage was handed down in Massachusetts, opponents have bemoaned the fact that a bunch of "unelected" judges "imposed" it on the people. Judge Ling-Cohan, however, was ELECTED to the bench by the people. She wasn't appointed. That eliminates a hugely effective PR argument from the anti-gay marriage side.

SECOND: The reasoning put forward by Judge Ling-Cohan plants the seeds for declaring DOMA unconstitutional. "It was only less than 40 years ago that the U.S. Supreme Court held that anti-miscegenation statutes, adopted to prevent marriages between persons solely on the basis of racial classification, violate the Constitution because they infringed on the freedom to marry a person of one's choice," she wrote.

Boy, does THAT ever open a can of constitutional worms. Consider...

First there's the conflict between state sovereignty vs. the federal government. Generally speaking, the Founders intended that the states be free to decide whatever they wanted in areas not specifically reserved to the federal government. But that changed significantly over the issue of whether or not some states could allow slavery while others were allowed to ban it.

Putting it simplistically, the Constitution was changed with the adoption of the 14th Amendment to allow the feds to overrule state laws which violated what were considered the natural rights of all citizens of the United States. All U.S. citizens were deemed to have a right to be free; therefore, state laws allowing slavery were null and void. Therefore, if marriage ends up being interpreted by the United States Supreme Court as a natural right due to all citizens of the United States, then state laws and constitutions banning gay marriage will be overturned and gay marriage will become the law of the land.

And that's why Judge Ling-Cohan's reference to miscegenation laws is so significant.

This reference dates back to the 1967 Supreme Court decision in Loving vs. Virginia. The Lovings were an interracial Virginia couple who wanted to get married. But Virginia law banned blacks from marrying whites. So the Lovings went to Washington, DC, to tie the knot.

After getting a legal marriage in Washington, the couple returned to Virginia and were promptly indicted for violating the state's ban on interracial marriages. The trial judge found them guilty and sentenced them to one year in jail. He suspended the sentence; however, provided the couple leave Virginia and not return for 25 years.

In his opinion, the judge wrote: "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

You can't help but notice how similar that wording is to what is often heard from many gay marriage opponents today.

Anyway, to make a long story short, the Lovings appealed the decision all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately overturned the conviction declaring: "The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival."

So you see, the Supreme Court has already ruled that marriage is a "civil right," the sort of right in which the feds can overrule the states. And once one Supreme Court rules one way it's rare for a later Supreme Court to reverse it. It's been done, yes. But it's rare. However, there are two distinctions between inter-racial marriages and same-sex marriages which *might* still allow the Supreme Court, despite the Loving precedent, to uphold DOMA.

The first is that the Lovings faced prison time for their action. While gays who get married in Massachusetts might not have their marriage recognized when they move back home to, say, Arkansas, at least Arkansas isn't threatening to throw them behind bars for doing so. In short, their physical liberty isn't imperiled.


Ofcourse that's assuming Arkinsas would be smart enough to avoid trying to imprison the gay couple.

Second, the court could possibly make a distinction between race and sexual preference. The court could rule that folks have no choice when it comes to what race they are born to, but that sexual preference IS a choice and, therefore, not subject to the same civil rights protections. I wouldn't bet the farm on it, but it's possible.


Except civil rights protections ARE available to religion - which is clearly a choice.

In any event, the New York decision based upon the Loving decision could well be the basis of a case which ultimately ends up before the Supremes over the constitutionality of DOMA. And when it does, my money is on the Court striking down DOMA based on the Loving precedent and the 14th Amendment.

Which brings us to the Federal Marriage Amendment (or whatever focus-grouped name they're now calling it).


The focus-grouped name is the "Marriage Protection Amendment"......

If DOMA does get struck down, that will further inflame a large and vocal segment of the public and fuel congressional efforts to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. Unlike today, such an amendment, post-DOMA, could well garner the 2/3 vote needed in both houses of Congress to send the ban to the states. And just by looking at the number of states which passed gay marriage bans last November, there's a good shot that such an amendment could get the 3/5ths ratification needed to approve it.


Considering that most Democrats were using "state's rights" arguments to oppose the FMA, I think this will be the case. It will be interesting to see what Bob Barr will do should this happen.

Which brings up a potentially explosive conflict between the various powers of our government.

Let's say for a minute, just for argument's sake, that a constitutional amendment overturning the prohibition on slavery was passed out of Congress this year and subsequently ratified by the states despite a Supreme Court ruling that slavery was unconstitutional. Who wins? Do we re-impose slavery because the majority voted to do so via the constitutionally-proscribed amendment process? Along those same lines, if marriage is indeed deemed a natural right by the Supremes, can a majority of the people use their majority numbers to deny it to gays?

Which brings us to another potential constitutional quagmire being suggested by some in Congress: Court-stripping.

The idea here is for Congress to pass a law which strips the federal judiciary from even hearing a case on the constitutionality of DOMA under the power granted to Congress by Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution. This gets to the heart of the separation of powers aspect of the government established by our Founders. The court is a CO-EQUAL branch of government, not a superior one. And some constitutional interpretations justifiably suggest that Congress does, in fact, have the power to limit what the federal courts can rule on.

But again, what if the issue is over what the Supreme Court considers a basic civil or natural right? Who would resolve such a stand-off between the judicial and legislative branches. What a lesson in constitutional government!

And that's why I'm now rooting for this issue to move forward. If the nation can look beyond the gay-bashing rhetoric from some quarters - granted, a big *if* - this issue poses serious constitutional questions which get at the heart of our system of government, as well as the whole matter of "natural rights" which the Founders were so passionate about. It's the kind of conversation our country, and especially our high school and college kids, SHOULD be having, as opposed to the trivial flapdoodle our elected representatives usually babble on about.

That being said, if DOMA is eventually struck down, should "state's rights" supporters then back a constitutional marriage amendment? I still don't think so for at least two reasons.

First, the passionate opposition to gay marriage today is not unlike the passionate opposition to interracial marriage in 1967. Yet today, less than 40 years later, the vast majority of Americans couldn't give a whip if a black marries a white. Live and let live, most would say.

In much the same way, future generations of Americans won't give a whip about two gays getting married. Although it REALLY grates on a lot of today's over-40 crowd, it's just not an issue for the younger generation. And as Founding Father Thomas Paine warned, one generation shouldn't try to rule another generation from the grave. Putting a permanent ban on gay marriage into the Constitution is an effort to do just that.

Equally important, I think, is a sentiment expressed by the author of our Declaration of Independence and unabashed champion of individual liberty, Thomas Jefferson. "The legitimate powers of government," Jefferson wrote, "extends to such acts only as are injurious to others." Until someone can demonstrate to me how two gay adult Americans voluntarily getting married somehow injures me or anyone else, I'll remain in opposition to a federal ban on gay marriage.


Chuck raises many points worth considering.

UPDATE: Steve Miller has a different take on Chuck's analysis. Dale Carpenter told me it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will address including Gays in the institution of marriage any time soon.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

New York City Judge Rules to allow Gays to Marry

The best analysis I've seen is here.

Unpleasantness at the Students for Family Values Club

The Catfight continues:

SFV President Brian Edstrom responds on his blog here.

(Reposted here - paragraphing is mine)

As some of you know I am the president of a student group at the University of Minnesota, Students for Family Values. SFV has been recently attacked by Ben Powers and Joel Flake. This could not have happened at worse time for myself. SFV is currently in the middle of the student fees process, dealing with an unfounded grievance from the Women's Student Activist Collective (WSAC), and I am also very busy with school work this semester.


I wonder what the WSAC grievance was about....

So anyways, Joel was an officer in SFV until he resigned in early November. He resigned primarily because he could not work with individuals who were heretics. The heretics were former SFV presidents whom were Catholic. That's right, Joel hates the Catholics. And for your information I am not Catholic but Lutheran but that does not really matter.

Joel had at the time started consorting with Ben Powers. Ben is a Constitution Party member, and an alumnus of the University of Minnesota. Ben also seems to hate the Catholics as well as some other minorities. It is fine if Joel and Ben do not like certain persons or ideas, that is their right. However, the manner in which these individuals expressed themselves has made me mad.

I am getting ahead of myself. SFV, at Joel's request, had installed a forum on the SFV website. A forum is not necessary a bad thing, but once Joel, Ben, and some others started getting into a flame war it turned ugly. There were many personal attacks made, and I felt that it had gone too far. I had shut down the forum. I think Joel and Ben were a tad bit ticked off about that because they lost a place as to where they could bash people. They may claim that their freedom of speech was violated, but guess what the website was owned by SFV. It was not a public zone to begin with, so boo to them.

Getting back to why Joel and Ben have angered me; they have sent emails with false accusations out to everyone that they could. What really ticks me off is that Ben had requested to join the SFV mailing list, and I had let him on only to find out that he only joined to get the emails of our members to spam them with his bullshit. Ben had also sent his bullshit along to everyone that he could, including members of the fees committee and the Minnesota Daily. And then once I remove Ben from the list, which is private, Joel decides to spam the same emails with his bullshit. Joel even admitted within his own email that he accessed personal messages from the SFV forum without permission from SFV nor from the sender and receiver of the messages. WTF are these guys thinking? Do they despise Catholics and other "unbelievers" so much they have to wage their own personal jihads against me and SFV? I guess so. I do not need this all of this crap from these guys with nothing better to do. Joel should be focusing on his school work, and Ben should get back to his job and quit bugging college students. I pray to God that these individuals see the error in their ways and that find forgiveness with the heavenly Lord.


Brian avoids some of the issues that Joel brought up: namely that the web forum included some acknowledgements by SFV officers that some of the Fall events were partisan and inappropriate.

As I recall, the debate on the SFV forums over Bush vs Peroutka was very similar to debates between Democrats and Greens over whether voting for Nader was a wasted vote or not.

Is Mary Cheney going to be writing a book?

Interesting footnote in Frank Rich's latest column:

No one had told her that some stories are no longer welcome. You have to wonder if anyone has told Mary Cheney: Focus on the Family could not have been pleased to read last week's New York Post report that she has hired Bill Clinton's high-powered literary dealmaker to peddle her own story as a book.


A google news search on "Mary Cheney" with New York Post as the news source came up empty.

Developing. . .