counter statistics

Saturday, March 12, 2005

How the Sodomy Plank Got Deleted from the Minnesota GOP Platform

I got involved in Republican Party politics in 1998, and recall being pleasantly surprised to find no platform planks supporting the Minnesota Sodomy law. It sounds like this was removed in 1996.

Margaret Martin from Ourhouse Blog gives the background:

Man oh Man. The legislative session ended without an agreement on major legislation, including the bonding bill. This was actually a victory for fiscal conservatives, since the no agreement also meant no new stadium, no expansion of gambling and no stupid Northstar choo-choo train to nowhere. But during his first two years in office, the Governor reversed his campaign stances on the Stadium and Northstar and became a supporter of both. So, he just couldn't let the session die without another shot at these prizes. In the past few days he opened up the possibility of a special session by suggesting through the media that he was willing to throw a gay marriage ban over the side, a measure sponsored by conservative republican state legislators Sen. Michelle Bachman and Rep. Mary Liz Holberg. I won't get into the merits or not of this piece of legislation but this was an EXTREMELY BONEHEADED political move by the Governor and his peeps, whoever they are. Here we are, about a week out from the state convention, when Pawlenty's only work there should have been to give a rousing speech and get a standing O. But he managed to stick a finger in the eye of the social conservative delegates and create the possibility of havoc at the convention. The media will be enchanted with this, especially after the lovefest (or maybe I should say hatefest) that was the DFL state convention a few weeks ago.

One thing I know from attending MN GOP conventions over the past few years is the absolute worst thing that can happen is a debate over homosexuality. There are serious differences between the social conservatives and the libertarians in the GOP. My first state convention, maybe 1996? I remember a platform discussion about keeping sodomy on the books as a crime. There was the most horrifying parade of emotionalism on display for that debate. The nadir was a letter passed around on the floor proportedly from some paralyzed veteran explaining that the only kind of marital relations he could have with his wife involved what presently constituted sodomy under Minnesota law. Tensions run high, people with more opinions than sense get up and start babbling endlessly and people start to leave. Then questions are raised about quorum, legitimacy of the proceedings. It's a mess. We are faced with a complex situation this year, our President is in the middle of a tough re-election fight. We have several more tough fights in the US house this year and there is the real prospect of losing state house seats. I just hope the delegates can keep their eyes on the prize.

But they would have a right to be angry at Pawlenty. After all, a lot of them were convinced by a lot of us to vote for him and not Sullivan at the endorsing convention. Sullivan was the social conservatives choice. It was only after convincing them that Pawlenty's one "bad" vote that had a pro gay rights interpretation was based on a kind of lawyerly bad judgment. What do we tell them now? It will also be interesting to see what Michelle Bachman does. She is definitely Joan of Arc to the social conservative delegates. I reckon she'll be getting a standing O. They aren't going to let her get burned at the stake. And she is not one to back down. She is even talked about as a possible candidate for Congress next time around.

This is why more gays need to participate in Republican Party caucuses and conventions. Having about a dozen delegates and a disciplined floor strategy could make a real difference at the state convention - when the media eyes are on the party.

Role of Blogs

Blogs have gotten a fair amount of coverage in the Strib and Pioneer Press this week. The Strib has been covering Hugh Hewitt's proposed anti-Strib "Blog Swarm" and both papers covered the Center for the American Experiment's dinner honoring the Powerline boys.

I think Atrios says it best:

Punditocracy Expanded

Regular readers know I've never engaged in serious (as opposed to tongue-in-cheek) blog triumphalism. And, while I haven't written about it all that much, I think the idea that bloggers will replace reporters is just a bunch of wankery.

But, I think it is true that bloggers, much like political talk radio, are a threat to the influence of the punditocracy. And, in the net that's a good thing. I don't endorse a system in which a few select individuals are granted license to pontificate authoritatively on an infinite number of subjects. Breaking the oligopoly by reducing entry barriers, even if doing so doesn't improve the average quality of commentary, has value in increasing diversity of commentators if nothing else.
-Atrios 6:54 AM

Matt Yglesias writes:

John Tierney's appointment as William Safire's replacement on The New York Times op-ed page seems as good a time as any to engage in a little speculative blogosphere triumphalism. Blogger versus traditional media conflict usually focuses on reporters because it's reporters' stories that bloggers tend to complain about. This usually strikes me as faintly ridiculous, however. Professional reporting simply can't be replaced by amateur blog-work for the simple reason that doing consistent reporting requires time and resources that an individual working on a part time basis simply can't muster no matter how clever he is. Beyond that, as someone who's been known to write a blog post or two but who also writes some long format journalism, it's clear to me that the latter has a role that can't be replaced by the hastier contrivances of the blogosphere.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Powerline Hypocrisy

Lloydletta posted about Hindrocket's foul-mouthed emails here.

After Powerline fisked the Strib coverage of the Center for the American Experiment dinner honoring the Powerline Bloggers, Rew noted a rather strange double standard:

Sound familiar?

In his eight-page statement responding to the report, the closest CBS President Les Moonves came to an apology was his statement that CBS "deeply regrets the disservice that this flawed 60 Minutes Wednesday report did to the American public..." Will CBS ever find the heart to say it's sorry to President Bush? Courage!

In a 6 paragraph statement, Hindrocket "acknowledge[s] that I made a mistake; I intend not to make the same mistake twice."

He "would have done the same with the "Minnesota Politics" guy if he had contacted me rather than posting my email--which obviously wasn't intended for publication--on his site."

Will Hindrocket ever find the heart to say he's sorry to Minnesota Politics? Courage!

Good point..... What's rather hilarious is the Powerline cult followers think Hindrocket was the victim in all of this.

Misplaced Focus by Gay Activists on Electing Kerry

My post on Kerry, Gay Marriage and Civil Unions drew lots of comments:

Thanks for the links. I guess my confusion came from the amendment allowing for civil unions.

The amendment being pushed here would prevent even civil unions, and I thought that had been a part of what was proposed in Massachusetts.

You said, "The difference between Kerry and Bush on the subject was Kerry supported constitutional amendments at the state level, while Bush supports the Federal Marriage Amendment."

I would argue the difference is that Kerry supports civil unions being allowed, and Bush supports amendments that would ban both gay marriage and any legal equivelant.
Carson | 03.11.05 - 1:10 am | #

The problem is, Carson, Massachusetts doesn't NEED civil unions -- they have gay marriage. Kerry, quite frankly, supports taking that right away and replacing it with "civil unions" -- a step which the Massachusetts Supreme Court deemed to be "maintain(ing) an unconstitutional, inferior, and discriminatory status for same-sex couples".

I've also blogged on this issue in further detail....
North Dallas Thirty | 03.11.05 - 1:16 am | #


Bush is exactly the same as Kerry was, even on civil unions; the only difference was in approach.

"New American" magazine quotes from an "Advocate" column written by a member of the Bush administration (at least I think his office is considered part of the administration; the quote is revealing regardless). Abner Mason, Chairman of the International Subcommittee for the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (worst job title ever), said: "By supporting civil unions for gay couples … President Bush has become a leading advocate for gay rights."

And later: "Only eight days before the election, Bush publicly embraced the Dean position, which was also Kerry's position. The previously controversial – and in Dean's case heroic – position of supporting civil unions was now that of a conservative president."

I know I'm speaking to a wall here, but this is exactly why the GOP is no longer deserving of conservative, pro-family support. The only thing the GOP seems to want to conserve is the liberalism of six months ago.
Andrew D. Gettis 03.11.05 - 2:37 am | #

Read Bush's federal amendment. You will notice that it would ban any legal equivelant of marriage.

He said he supported civil unions, but the amendment says otherwise. It is called politics. He said things that would enlist the support of the LCR's. But I have yet to see Bush openly support any civil union legislation.

And what the hell do you mean by "pro-family" support? Supporting gay marriage is somehow "anti-family"?
Carson 03.11.05 - 12:13 pm | #

North Dallas-
I don't like that Kerry would try to replace marriage with civil unions, and I would fight him to the death on that issue....
My personal view is that civil unions are unconstitutional according to Brown vs. Board of Education (seperate but equal is fundementally unequal).

But that is still not comparable to the amendment that Bush was pushing... which most definitely would have banned civil unions as well as marriage.

There is bad... and then there is really really bad.
Carson 03.11.05 - 12:18 pm | #

True, Carson, but the biggest problem with this campaign was that, instead of spending millions of dollars and effort in defeating the antigay state constitutional amendments, the gay community spent millions of dollars endorsing "bad".

Had we blocked antigay state constitutional amendments, it would have been the final nail in the coffin of the FMA.
North Dallas Thirty 03.11.05 - 1:54 pm | #

North Dallas-
I agree and disagree. As part of the gay community... I wished more effort had been put forth in defeating state constitutional amendments.

And as a gay Democrat... I felt it was important to see George W. Bush removed from office. And we had a good chance at accomplishing it. Not just because of his views on gay marriage, but because of his plans for privitization of social security, his foreign policy decision making, and his credit card deficit spending. And it didn't work out. But I don't regret investing time and money towards ousting Bush.

So do I think many in the gay community wasted their efforts on the presidential race, instead of state amendments? I don't know. I can't fault anyone for wanting Bush replaced by Kerry... because there are many other issues besides gay marriage to be taken into account.

We have many battles to fight... all at once, and they aren't always focused on issues of equal rights. And we do what we can. We weigh the issues we find important, and invest our energies accordingly.

I an the type of person that would normally only support Democrats that support gay rights. And I would rather support a Republican who supports gay marriage, than a Democrat who opposes it. But that said... in this previous election... nothing was that simple and it almost never will be.

Thankfully right now... that election is over and we can all focus on these issues without the distraction of Bush v. Kerry. I hope we can all agree it is time to move forward and deal with the plague on our state that is Bachmann/Minnesota Family Council. (Except you Andrew. Because you are "Pro-Family".)
Carson 03.11.05 - 3:22 pm | #

Oops, I just realized that North Dallas is probably not a Minnesotan. So let me say, I hope we can all agree that now is a good time to get your local politic groove on and kick some bigot butt.
Carson 03.11.05 - 3:26 pm | #

During the Domestic Issues debate, Candidate Kerry said something to the effect that President Bush's position was fundementally the same as Kerry's on Gay Marriage.

Andrew Gettis quotes a column by Abner Mason in the Advocate. I don't agree with Abner's spin on this. In my opinion, Abner has always been about being an appologist to the gay community for Bush. I recall when Abner spoke at a Log Cabin Republicans convention supporting the house version of an AIDS bill - which was riddled with support for abstinence only - condoms don't work sex education programs.

Andrew adds: "I know I'm speaking to a wall here, but this is exactly why the GOP is no longer deserving of conservative, pro-family support. The only thing the GOP seems to want to conserve is the liberalism of six months ago."

I would disagree with Andrew about the definition of "conservative, pro-family". I think that constitutional amendments that attack gay families are anything but "pro-family" and certainly aren't conservative in the limited government sense. Andrew is correct that the Bush campaign exploited the Leviticus Crowd in their campaign, and doesn't intend to really do anything of substance for them. When Peter LaBarbara from the Culture and Family Institute interviewed me a few years ago, we ended up agreeing on one thing: Bush and his campaign treated the loyal foot soldiers from the Leviticus Crowd the way Kerry and his campaign treated gays.

I actually think it would be telling to have Log Cabin Republicans and the Family Research Council to request a joint meeting with Bush. It would be interesting to see what he says then.

CFACT continued

Tony Garcia is still rather upset about my posts about CFACT:

Did you call the number? Call it and get his mailing address. Did it not occur to you that the information is not current?

Before "reporting" something to expose dark secrets perhaps you should check the story a little bit. A little work to save your credibility goes a long way. But that (worrying about your credibility) does not seem to be a trait in any of your "fact" finding posts.
Tony | 03.11.05 - 11:54 am | #

The number Bill lists is a cell phone number.
Marty #

I called Bill Gilles at the 703 number. He has lived in Maplewood, Minnesota for about a year. Before that he lived in Washington DC.

I gave my sources. I'd suggest that if Gilles wants to give the impression that he is a local guy, he get a local number listed with the Student Activities Office - and keep the mobile listing as a second phone number.

"Non-Partisan" Human Rights Campaign Chooses Partisan Democrat as ED

There's been a fair amount of comment about the Human Rights Campaign choosing Joe Salmonese, CEO of the partisan Emily's List (which promotes pro-choice democrats.) Emily's List supported anti-gay Democrats Inez Tannenbaum and Stephanie Herseth in their bids for congress.

Gay Orbit in HRC Fails to Surprise says:

They’ve selected a man dedicated to the cause of abortion to head up the organization. Abortion, I don’t really have a problem with - it’s that this has been Joe Solmonese’s main issue that I have a problem with. If the HRC is going to wish to have any access in Washington, then they’re darned well going to have to find someone more rounded than this. Republicans are not going to want to deal with a staunchly pro-choice Executive Director. Democrats are doing their best (or should be) to show that they’re not a party exclusively devoted to gay rights and abortion. So what makes HRC think that this person will be any more effective than Cheryl Jacques?

Solmonese is also a man dedicated to the election of Democrats.

EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest grassroots political network, is dedicated to taking back our country from the radical right wing by electing pro-choice Democratic women to federal, state, and local office.

Not Democrats and fair-minded Republicans. Just Democrats. Again, when our main roadblock is convincing conservatives to join our side on various issues, how is this going to help? Even if Solmonese is prepared to support conservatives, the perception will always be that he’s not. Why would they give HRC a place at their table? Anyone?

Finally, (in case that wasn’t enough) Emily’s List gave a bunch of money to a pro-Federal Marriage Amendment candidate, Democrat Inez Tenenbaum of South Carolina.

Hey HRC! Way to piss off everyone!

Emily's List also supported Stephanie Herseth - who also supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Gay Orbit in HRC Choice of Leader: A Foregone Conclusion adds:

A Southern Voice blog entry, via a commenter here:

Sources familiar with Solomnese confirm that he has a long-standing close relationship with several key players in HRC’s past and present, including: Basile, a former HRC executive director; Hilary Rosen, who as co-chair of HRC’s board has run the organization since Jacques’ departure; and Elizabeth Birch, Rosen’s domestic partner and the head of HRC for almost a decade until her resignation took effect in December 2003. In addition, Ellen Malcolm, the semi-closeted lesbian who founded EMILY’s List, is on the HRC board and is another longtime friend of Rosen and Birch.

Sounds like that "extensive candidate search" was nothing more than, as our commenter notes, a Cover-Your-Ass operation.

Steve Miller's Culture Watch:

The Human Rights Campaign's brief flirtation with relevancy has come to an end, or rather a screeching halt, with the official announcement that Democratic abortion-rights activist Joe Solmonese will be its new leader. Not a surprise, as the appointment was leaked last week.

HRC had been called on the carpet by its "allies" earlier this year for deviating, momentarily, from the leftist line of march when, after putting the hapless Cheryl Jacques out of her misery, then political director Winnie Stachelberg floated the idea that since private Social Security accounts could be bequeathed by gays to our partners (unlike current Social Security, which only spouses inherit), maybe it shouldn't be opposed at all costs, even if (gasp) Republicans were for it.

But never fear, the collective voice of the collectivist left rose up as one and threatened HRC with excommunication. In February, Stachelberg was "promoted" over to HRC's nonprofit foundation. And in further penitence, HRC is now embarked on a course to prove it's more left than the best (er, worst) of them.

In 2004, while taking in millions in donatations from gay Americans, HRC virtually ignored state ballot initiatives to ban gay marriage, in order to focus on electing John Kerry — a supporter of state ballot initiatives banning gay marriage. Where is the outrage?

I think it will be interesting to see if Salmonese is at all effective with Democrats in the House such as Stephanie Herseth and Harold Ford - both who supported the FMA.

It will also be interesting to see if he is at all effective with Republicans. I think Salmonese should attend Log Cabin Republicans upcoming convention in New Orleans. That will be a good first step to working together with Log Cabin Republicans. To her credit, Ann DeGroot from OutFront Minnesota has been attending Log Cabin Republicans of Minnesota meetings to discuss how we can work together to fight the anti-gay Bachmann amendment here.

Democratic "Marriage Protection" Supporters Shack Up

Both Stephanie Herseth (D, South Dakota) and Max Sandlin (D, Texas) were two of the Democrats who voted for the so called marriage protection act. However it seems that while they are both willing to blame gays for undermining the institution of marriage, in their own personal life, they are shacking up.

From Roll Call on Herseth's romance with Texas congressman

The Capitol Hill publication Roll Call has an item in today's edition headlined "Sitting in a Tree," regarding Stephanie Herseth's relationship with Rep. Max Sandlin, a Democrat from Texas:

Sorry, guys. The newest, most eligible bachelorette in Congress appears to be off the market.

Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D), who just won the special South Dakota election, had a boyfriend waiting for her on Capitol Hill when she arrived last week.

He's Democratic Rep. Max Sandlin, a four-term Texan.

The couple met during Herseth's failed 2002 election bid against then- Rep. Bill Janklow (R-S.D.), who recently was released from prison for his second-degree manslaughter conviction. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has its own version of a "big buddy" program, appointed Sandlin to be Herseth's mentor during that campaign.

Maybe the DCCC should have a match-making business on the side?

"Representative Herseth and Representative Sandlin met during the last election cycle. They remained friends after the 2002 election and have had a relationship for approximately a year," her spokesman, Russ Levsen, told HOH.

Sandlin, who is divorced with four children, also worked hard to campaign and raise money for his girlfriend during her winning campaign against GOP state Sen. Larry Diedrich in the June 1 special election.

He said having just arrived in Washington, the new Congresswoman has not found permanent housing yet. For now, he said, she's staying at the Capitol Suites.

But Herseth, 33, and Sandlin, 52, were seen Wednesday morning in front of Sandlin's apartment building near D and First streets Southeast.

Yup, Family Values..... Where's Mike Rogers when you need him? I thought that heterosexual hypocrites were going to be Outed also in this campaign. Rogers outs Republicans David Drier and Mark Foley - both who voted AGAINST the FMA (though Drier voted for a bill that would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction on DOMA related cases), while being silent on this rampant hypocrisy from the Democrats.

Wonkette: Sex and Power, South Dakota Style.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Tony Garcia on CFACT

Marty Andrade's comrade, Tony Garcia commented about my post about CFACT and Students for Family Values:

Again, you seem to make barking up the wrong tree an artform. You ought to do more research on your "scandals". Gillis actually lives in Minneapolis.

There is a scandal in CFACT but you have come nowhere close to it in any of your posts (beyond the fact that Gillis is involved). Judging by how far off you are on most of your facts regarding all things Republican I do not suspect you will ever crack the true horror in CFACT.

It is like someone is cooking steak and you report that someone is pie. That is how far off you are.

This was in response to me saying that a person from Virginia appeared to be advising CFACT. This is how Gilles was listed in the CFACT information page from the University of Minnesota Student Activities Office website:

Bill Gilles (703)283-0701

Now, 703 is a Northern Virginia area code. Perhaps Tony Garcia can explain why Gilles lists a Northern Virginia phone number. It is rather odd for a Minneapolis Resident to give a Virginia number.

Sviggum supports Civil Unions and Gay Adoption; Opposes Gay Marriage

From Tim Collins diary.

I had an appointment to meet with the second most powerful person in the state of Minnesota: Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum, a Republican.

Since I knew saying goodbye to Katy would be the toughest, I tried to delay that goodbye as much as possible, so I invited her to come with to the meeting. Katy and I are frightingly similar in just about detail (aside from physical attributes, mind you). Having someone who shares my political views come along with me to confront the man who could easily have us escorted away from the area would only help.

After she accepted my invitation to accompany me, we made our way to the Speaker's office, where we then sat down and got to work. I brought up gay marriage. He wavered for a little bit, saying that he would vote for the Defense of Marriage Act (which bans gay marriage) if it came to him, and then finally bringing up what I thought he'd bring up, moral values. He mentioned the Roman Empire, and how moral decay was responsible for that, and most other civilizations' downfalls. I asked how gay marriage had anything to do with moral decay, and he did exactly what he shouldn'tve: He brought up the Bible.

Now, Steve Sviggum is a nice guy. He took time out of his busy schedule to meet with Katy and me, and asked as many questions of us as we did of him. Quite often, he'll rush the State House of Representatives session along, or start it earlier, so he can get to his kids' sports games. He's very active in his church, and started teaching Sunday School as soon as he could. He's the kind of Christian you can't really dislike for the most part. But, from what I could tell, his bulk of knowledge of the Bible is skewed to the lovey-dovey stories. He tried to show me how the Bible specifically outlaws homosexuality, but he couldn't find his Bible at the time. He should be thankful for I, as the pathetic sacrilege I am, have the Bible verses memorized that I love using against conservatives.

He still went into the Bible, and how it speaks against homosexuality. He couldn't cite any specific verses, but since I have a good idea of how conservative Christians think, I could cite them for him. I cited the ones that they always cite. You know the ones: "If a man lies with a man..." (Leviticus 20:13); the story of Sodom and Gomorra (Genesis 19); plus the other passages that either don't make sense, or don't even outlaw homosexuality.

But then, I cited the ones that they never cite. I've mentioned them before: Disobedient children should be publicly stoned to death (Deuteronomy 21); selling your daugher into slavery is OK (Exodus 21:7); anyone working on the Sabbath should be put to death (Exodus 35:2); it is a shame for men to have long hair (Corinthians 11:14) (What about Jesus?); do not go near a woman who's on her period (Leviticus 15:19-24).

He wasn't aware of those. And while he was thinking about them, I used the line perfected by Penn Jillette:

If you believe it's your God, and your God is infallible, you can't throw out some of the rules just because you don't like them.

He paused to think, and then stated that discrimination against gay people is entirely wrong (ironic, since banning gay marriage is discrimination, and he supports the ban), that he supports civil unions and gay adoption, and he continued asking Katy and me about ourselves. He asked Katy whether she'd run for political office, and whether she'd run as a Democrat or Republican. She said, "Probably a Democrat," and he asked whether she was pro-abortion. She said she was, and he told her about how after she's had three kids, well, after she's had her first child, her views on abortion will change a little bit.

He asked me about my faith. I started out with saying that I was raised Lutheran, but I don't really go to church anymore, and I --

Then he cut in, saying that when I turned 25, I'd start going to church again. But soon, after all of his fortune-telling, he had to leave for another appointment.

If this is the case, Sviggum ought to be asked to support a civil unions bill.

Kerry and Gay Marriage

Last week I posted about my talk to College Republicans.

Most politicians from both parties are against Gay Marriage. The difference between Kerry and Bush on the subject was Kerry supported constitutional amendments at the state level, while Bush supports the Federal Marriage Amendment. There were other issues where the candidates differed, though Kerry made no real efforts to run on those issues during the campaign. For example, public opinion favors overturning the ban on gays serving in the military (the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy, which Clinton signed). Kerry didn't make any effort to address this issue in the debates when the issue of gays came up.

Carson commented:

Umm... Kerry may not have supported gay marriage... but I don't recall him ever voicing support for a state constitutional amendment against gay marriage. As far as I recall... his basic sentiment was always that marriage is between a man and a woman, but gays deserve some sort of legal equivalent (i.e. civil unions).

Bush, at the very end of his campaign, said he supported civil unions as well... but the constitutional amendment he was pushing for would have prevented an legal equivalent of marriage from being awarded to gay couples.

I see that as being quite a big difference. One allows for my partner and I to gain all the same legal protections offered to married straight couples. One makes it unconstitutional for that to ever happen.

Now I am the type of person who doesn't want a "seperate but equal" legal equivalent. I want gay marriage. But I will still support politicians that push for civil unions.

Kerry supported a constitutional amendment in Massachusetts that would have banned gay marriage but allowed for civil unions. After the Missouri constitutional amendment passed, Kerry and Edwards both praised the amendment.

I've covered this fairly extensively on Lloydletta. Here are some links:

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Fees Committee Deliberations on Students for Family Values

From a post by Brian Edstrom to the SFV list:

The link below is a recorded mp3 file of the fees committee final deliberations of SFV. An interesting comment is said at about the 7:30 mark. I apologize for the audio quality but it is the only recording we have.

Brian later adds:

The part I mentioned said that "It (SFV)is a malicious organization;
its a cancer, we should just cut it out." A clear demonstration that
the committee was not viewpoint neutral.

I listened to the tape and verified this statement. Some of the other deliberations talked about how well SFV used their funds. Joel Flake, a former Students for Family Values leader was lobbying the fees committee against funding the group.

I appologise to Andrew Gettis for mispelling his name in a previous post.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

This isn't an Anti-gay bill

Yeah right. MNDfler at DumpBachmann has a first hand account of the Bachmann Press conference reintroducing that Bachmann amendment.

City Pages Interviews Durenburger


Money Quote:

CP: There's a slew of Republican candidates and officeholders in Minnesota who put their religious beliefs front and center in their public life.

Durenberger: Yep. It's television. Televised evangelism. Do they all come from their own churches and such? Yes. But look. I have very strong feelings about faith as a motivator. You can have your faith, and you can't just check it at the door when you go to work, but there's got to be enough respect to keep it out of what you do. When you start to rely on The Book to set policy, I begin to have a problem with that. I can't handle that one, the business of legislating your faith.

CP: Isn't there political expediency involved for some of the people pushing a religious agenda in politics?

Durenberger: It's political necessity. I had a conversation with Randy Johnson, the chairman of the board of Hennepin County, eight or ten years ago. Remember in our sort of young Republican days, the power structure was MAC: The Minnesota Association of Commerce and Industry was aligned with Republicans. The AFL-CIO was aligned with Democrats. If you wanted to get elected on either side, you go to one of those, the MAC or the AFL-CIO. I said, "Where do you go today?" And he said, "You go to an evangelical church." The power structure has changed.

And there's the What Would Jesus Do platform.

CP: How durable is that as a political platform?

Durenberger: It's not. It won't last. It can't last. It's not foundational as far as America is concerned; it's not foundational as far as representative democracy is concerned. You can bring your faith to your life and your work, but that should also include respect for other people and respect for other opinions. You know, love your fellow man and all of that. But what you see [from religious conservatives in politics] are the dictates, and the things those same people are doing to people they consider to be their opponents.

I think the kind of evangelical politics we're talking about finds it much easier to raise money and define politicians on black-and-white issues. Other issues are a little more difficult. Health, education, welfare--you don't debate whether people should have access to health care. That debate is about how to get people there. Abortion, on the other hand, or the death penalty: very clear. You are either with us or against us. You're with What Would Jesus Do, or you're not.

Read the whole thing.. Durenburger was a good Senator.

Excellent Presentation on Dark Matter


Sean Carroll also has a blog that covers theoretical physics. If you are a fan of Brian Greene's books, you'll like the presentation and the blog.

Mike Rogers Absurd Outing Campaign

Rogers seems to have become unhinged.

North Dallas Thirty puts Rogers in his place.

Monday, March 07, 2005

You know your blog has arrived when....

It inspires a musical tribute.

This is based on Pharyngula.

Sponge Bob Upstages Focus on the Family Day at the Capitol

Great work:

Sponge Bob at the Colorado Capitol

SpongeBobs Upstage
Focus on the Family Day at the Capitol

Monday, March 7, 2005
CONTACT: Michelle Dally
(303) 356-2532

Denver: A group dressed up as SpongeBobs upstaged the Focus on the Family's Day at the State Capitol this morning. SpongeBobs' point: the state is in a budget crisis - why is Focus on the Family misusing donors' money attacking a cartoon character?

"With Colorado's colleges and universities going bankrupt we need Focus on the Family to focus on better schools," stated Tom Mestnik, a Metro State College student dressed as a SpongeBob at the Capitol. "That James Dobson misuses his donors' money on attacking a cartoon character shows how hateful Dobson is," Mestnick added.

Last Wednesday, March 2, 2005, in a "call to action"1[1] emailed to thousands of Focus on the Family members regarding SpongeBob, Dobson accused the media of referring to him as a "religious zealot."2[2]

"Colorado ranks 40th worst in per pupil funding in education,3[3] and dead last among the 50 states in funding childhood immunizations,"4[4] stated Michael Huttner, Executive Director of which organized the SpongeBobs. "Rather than focus on critical children's issues, why does Dobson misuse Focus on the Family donors' money attacking cartoon sea creatures?" he asked.

Dobson, in his e-mail, charges that there is "media distortion of the truth," however the facts show that on January 18, 2005 at a black-tie private political dinner in Washington, Dobson singled out SpongeBob for appearing in a video on tolerance, which Dobson misreported as a "pro-homosexual video."5[5]

Dobson's spokesman later defended Dobson's charges but admitted he wasn't sure whether Dobson had seen the video when he made the accusations but "he had been briefed on it."6[6]

Focus on the Family, through its state lobbying affiliate, the Rocky Mountain Family Council, held their "2nd Day at the Capitol" from 8:00-10:00 this morning with former Republican State Senate President John Andrews as their keynote speaker.

# # #

ProgressNow.Org [formerly the Rocky Mountain Progressive Network] is a nonpartisan, national grassroots organization whose mission is to be a strong credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

For more information, quotes or sources, please call Michelle Dally at 303-356-2532.

Comparing and Contrasting Dobson and Phelps

I wrote earlier:

Yes, Dobson, Michele Bachmann and the Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage are more subtile, than say Fred Phelps the God Hates Fags guy, but their message is similar, just less profanity laced.

Andrew Gettis comments:

Don't lump Dr. Dobson in with Phelps. Saying that we as a society shouldn't be forced to accept the sin of 2% of our neighbors is a far cry from "God hates fags." I'm sure if you browsed around Dobson's Focus on the Family site, you'd see that he understands that God loves "fags" and that he himself encourages love toward them, but we should love them enough to try to bring them up out of their sinful lifestyles.

Maybe you disagree with the notion that homosexuality is sin, but it is absurd to assume that anybody that disagrees with you hates you.

I occasionally have to shake my head at things Dr. Dobson does, so don't think I'm some Dobson devotee, but I am sure that his intentions are pure and NOT inspired by hatred.

Andrew D. Gettis

Carson responds:

Mr. Gettis,

Focus on the Family has engaged in all sorts of lying and deception regarding homosexuality... in order to convince people we are "recruiting" children. I don't malicously lie about people I want to show love.

His agenda is not to bring us "out of our sinful lifestyles." It is to scare everyone else into believing we are sinful and predatory.

Phelps and Dobson are different... but neither are friends of the gay community.

It's kind of funny, Bob Enyart who believes in the death penalty for sodomy also distances himself from Fred Phelps.

Dobson pushes Ex-Gay Ministries - and doesn't condemn the sexual and financial abuse that is frequently a part of those ministries.

Students for Family Values Catfight Continues

Andrew Gittis comments on Lloydletta's previous SFV post:

I think some issues revolving around SFV and YC have become a little inflated.

Brian Edstrom, although still a Republican, has not expressed any hostility toward our group. The fact that he signed his name to allow our group to form last October shows that he is supportive of a YC presence on campus, even if he still favors the GOP. (Who says Republicans refuse to work in a bipartisan manner?) As far as I know, Brian will remain on our board until our next elections, and we have no desire to boot him out.

I am indeed considering not running for the SFV board again for next year, but it is not because of any rift between myself and the other SFVers. I will be entering Pharmacy school next fall, and that, plus continuing to build the YCs, will keep me plenty busy. Although I am frequently in disagreement with other members of SFV, we maintain a very cordial relationship and I am certainly not leaving the group in the foreseeable future.

I would also like to reemphasize the point that Ben made that YC will refuse to accept a penny of money from mandatory student services fees. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, forcing one to pay money for the advancement of views with which he disagrees is immoral and tyrannical.

Finally, your headline for this post is extremely misleading. While the beliefs of SFV's members and leaders are split, the group itself is quite whole.

I hope that clears things up.

Soli deo gloria,
Andrew D. Gettis

When an officer (Joel Flake) resigns, and writes an email to all Student Services Fees committee members detailing the problems with how SFV has been using their funds, it's clear there's a split in the group.

It does sound as if the Constitution Party's Ben Powers misrepresented Andrew Gittis's position.

Brian Edstrom reports the Fees committee is now going to recommend no funding for Students for Family Values.

I have recently learned that SFV was cut to zero during the final fees deliberations. While the results would not be officially released until Tuesday, we need to plan our response. At the meeting on Monday at 5pm in Coffman 305, we will talk about our plan for the public hearings with Jerry the Vice Provost, press releases, letters to the editor, and possible legal action. Also, we will be discussing our Michelle Easton event.

Brian Edstrom
SFV President

I contacted Joel Flake for comment, and he said "what goes around, comes around".

Marty Andrade is keeping up with Lloydletta. He commented again:

What? I escape mention? There must be some mistake.

Ok, Ok, Marty, you've got your two minutes of fame.

Developing. . .

Still more on Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage (Truth Truck crowd) Donors

From a Lloydletta reader tip:

Date: Mon, 07 Mar 2005 10:12:52 -0500
Subject: Robert Cummins

He's a real heavy hitter for GOP candidates and causes. He's given over $100,000 to the Republican State leadership Council, 1000s to candidates. Also financed the reopening of Providence Academy, a private Catholic school in Plymouth, where Cummins' company, Primera Technology, is located. They make CD/DVD duplicators. There's one about 6 feet from my desk here at work.

Details are here.

Cummins was the $65,000 donor to MCDM.

More on MCDM here and here.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

MCDM Reprise

I posted about the Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage earlier today.

A Lloydletta reader followed the money a bit more.

Under the "Tools" section of the MN Citizens in Defense of Marriage website there's a link for "Letter to the editor." Click that on and it links to the Minnesota Family Council. So there's a connection between the MFC and that truck. What does MFC have to say about this connection?

Here's a little more on some of MCDM's founders:

Cummins, Robert

He has given $45,624 to state candidates since 1996--all Republicans.

Frauenshuh, David

He has given $4,675 since 1996, all to Republicans.

Frauenshuh, Sandra

She has given $2,375 since 1996, all to Republicans.

McMahon, Robert

He has given $4,450 since 1996, all to Republicans.

Verdoorn, Jeff

He has given $900 since 1996, all to Republicans.

Verdoorn, Julie

She has given $400 since 1996, all to Republicans.

Kopp, Terrence

He has given $1,250 since 1996, all to Republicans.

Students for Family Values Split

Welcome Students for Family Values Readers!

I remember these names from the Students for Family Values Forum (now shut down).

Ben Powers from the Constitution Party stopped by and commented on my post listing the small world with CFACT, SFV, SATF and Campus Republicans:

Just for the record. Joel Flake (YC VP) resigned his position in SFV back in November thus no ties to SFV and is in fact seeking to have SFV defunded from the Student Fees Process. Brian Edstrom (SFV Pres) is now very hostile to the YC and the Constitution Party in general and the YC will be electing a new Secretary soon. Andrew Gettis (YC Pres) is breaking his ties to SFV and will not be seeking another term as SFV Treasurer. I resent that you put the YC and the Constitution Party in cohoots w/ all of the Republican front groups at the U of MN. Everything else you point out, however, is correct and very telling about SFV and SATF being partisan groups. The YCs, as a point of principle, will not be seeking or accepting public funds of any sort.
Benjamin Powers

Ok Ben.... It speaks volumes that the Republicans and the Constitution Party people in Students for Family Values have split. Joel Flake sent me his email expressing his concerns about Students for Family Values.

Alex Newman comments on the post covering the Women's Student Activist Collective Grievance against Students for Family Values and Campus Republicans.

Just to let you know the grievance was dismissed, because it was determined that no policy was violated.
Alex Newman

Truth Truck Crowd Gets New Billboards

"Minnesota Democrats Exposed" reports on this.

State Senators Murphy, Sparks and Kiscaden are being targeted.

On About the Minnesota Citizens in defense of marriage it says:

Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage (MCDM) is a nonpartisan grassroots group of Minnesotans working to pass a State Constitutional Amendment bill defining marriage as "the union of one man and one woman, with no other relationship being recognized as marriage or its legal equivalent".

MCDM is not a homosexual hate group -- we subscribe to the belief that all individuals are entitled to the respect and acceptance they deserve as members of our society. However, this does not mean that we need to agree with those who would seek to redefine the institution of marriage.

Right - this group isn't a hate group.... Why are there things like: Homosexuals have shorter life spans posted on the site then? Or the link to this oh-so-thoughtful statement by James "Sponge-Bob is pushing the homosexual agenda" Dobson:

For more than 40 years, the homosexual activist movement has sought to implement a master plan that has had as its centerpiece the utter destruction of the family. The institution of marriage, along with an often weakened and impotent Church, is all that stands in the way of its achievement of every coveted aspiration. Those goals include universal acceptance of the gay lifestyle, discrediting of Scriptures that condemn homosexuality, muzzling of the clergy and Christian media, granting of special privileges and rights in the law, overturning laws prohibiting pedophilia, indoctrinating children and future generations through public education, and securing all the legal benefits of marriage for any two or more people who claim to have homosexual tendencies. These objectives that seemed unthinkable just a few years ago have largely been achieved or are now within reach. All that remains is for the movement and its friends in the media, the entertainment industry, the professions, the government and the military, to deliver the coup de grace to a beleaguered institution that was given to humanity by the Creator in the Garden of Eden. We in North America and Europe are not simply "slouching towards Gomorrah," as Judge Robert Bork warned in his best-selling book1; we are hurtling toward it.

Yes, Dobson, Michele Bachmann and the Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage are more subtile, than say Fred Phelps the God Hates Fags guy, but their message is similar, just less profanity laced.

Our message is simple -- the people of Minnesota should be allowed to vote on matters of constitutional importance. We need to elect state legislators who understand this basic premise of our democracy.

MCDM provides an outlet through which Minnesota citizens can publicly declaring their plans to financially support the campaigns of candidates who will challenge those Legislators who stand in opposition this Amendment.

MCDM is established as a Minnesota non-profit corporation, registered with Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board as a ballot question committee.

MCDM’s federal counterpart, the MCDM Federal PAC, is registered with the Federal Election Commission as a non-connected committee. MCDM and the MCDM Federal PAC are volunteer organizations; no officers or directors receive compensation. Donations are used exclusively to cover our operating expenses, including advertising, printing, postage, website maintenance, and other miscellaneous expenses.

MCDM does not engage in any campaign activity on behalf of candidates for office; it does not collect, deliver or otherwise facilitate campaign contributions to political candidates. MCDM is an issue-driven organization and is formed exclusively to encourage the general public to hold their elected officials accountable for supporting the Defense of Marriage Amendment bill.

Contact us at:

Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage
1730 New Brighton Blvd PMB233
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Fax: (501) 647-7108

They are hardly "non-partisan", since the only candidates they attack are Democrats and Independent candidate Sheila Kiscaden. The Truth Truck they drove around said "Want Gay Marriage? Vote Democratic". Jeff Davis, the founder of this group said on Joe Soucheray's show that Michele Bachmann inspired this group. I called him up to follow up on this, and he told me that though Bachmann had inspired the group, she didn't provide direct assistance with the site.

This group ultimately hurt Republican candidates this past election cycle. It seems like they've decided to tone down their message with this set of billboards. It seems to me if they really want to do something to defend marriage, they'd push for that constitutional amendment to make it more difficult to get divorced.

Here are the funders of this anti-gay hate group. They raised $100,000 this year. Anti-gay bigotry raises money, that's for sure.

Cummins, Robert

Davis, Jeff

Frauenshuh, David

Frauenshuh, Sandra

Geyer, Stan

Kopp, Debbie

Kopp, Terrence

McMahon, Robert

Mealey, Patrick

Mealey, Sarah

Naegele, Robert


Verdoorn, Jeff

Verdoorn, Julie

Filing Year 2004 Subtotal:

Developing. . .

Religion and Moral Values

Does a person need to be religious in order to have moral values?

PZ Meyers of Pharyngula fame is guest blogging on American Street. His first post on the Street is thought provoking and addresses this question.

But "moral values" is a term that does not belong to the tolerant, open-minded individuals who follow the egalitarian teachings of Jesus, even when they share them. Moral values are secular. Freethinkers have them too. I don't want to read "moral values" when what you're really referring to is piety and prayer and church attendance and missionary work, and I definitely don't want to see morality conflated with religion. While replacing the primitive fundamentalism of the right wing with the liberal theology of the left would be a distinct improvement, it doesn’t address the root cause of the problem: that human values should be founded on humanity, not faith in some unseen supernatural being.

The Democratic party should be the party of tolerance and diversity. We should welcome Christians and Moslems and Buddhists and Hindus and Deists and pagans and agnostics and atheists, and the only way all of them can be encompassed is by recognizing that moral values and Democratic values are wholly secular, independent of any particular faith. And one thing we need to get the media to communicate is that "secular" is not inferior to "religious", but is actually a higher kind of value, better because of its universality.

The Republican Party should be an inclusive party in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Elmer Andersen.