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Saturday, April 23, 2005

"Teach the Controversy" Nonsense Debated in Strib

Evolution vs Creationism is being debated in the Strib. Dave Eaton does the honors for Intelligent Design Creationism. PZ Myers does the honors for evolution.


Intelligent design (ID) theory is an emerging scientific challenger to neo-Darwinian theory. ID holds that certain aspects of living things and the universe are best explained by an intelligent cause, rather than unintelligent causes alone.

(Examples include random mutation and natural selection.) While ID is an interesting and growing scientific topic, it is an emerging theory and should be allowed but not mandated by the state.

It is against the law for public schools to instruct students in creationism. Creationism depends on scripture; ID depends on science.

It's really pathetic that Eaton sits on the Minnetonka school board. Hopefully he will be defeated in the next election.


Intelligent design (ID) has failed to meet even the minimal standards of evidence and scholarship we should expect of the science we teach our children. Teaching it steals time from more vital subjects in which our kids should be grounded.

Science is a conservative process. Most college-level introductory textbooks contain only material that has stood the test of time and has been confirmed independently.

ID proponents have not only failed to provide any evidence for their thesis, they aren't even trying. There are no labs doing research on this subject; all the papers the Discovery Institute has tried to publish are exercises in spin, in which they try to distort biology researchers' work to fit their preconceptions.

With no established body of results, no current work and no promising prospects for future research, why should ID be supported? It's a dead end. It is absurd to propose that our kids learn about a subject that no legitimate scientists are pursuing and that has no utility.

With no track record to earn the respect of scientists and educators, ID is attempting to circumvent the accepted standards of testing and validation to sneak into our schoolrooms -- it's cheating.

It takes a great deal of hard work and persistence and time and evidence to establish a scientific idea, work that should not be shirked by taking the easy route and asking the government to legislate a concept into the schoolrooms.

Yet this is exactly the strategy ID proponents are following: spreading propaganda to persuade school boards and state education departments to insert the ideological dogma of ID into classrooms.

Contrast ID with how legitimate scientific work gets into the curriculum. There is an active ferment of new ideas, new experiments, and new evidence constantly bubbling up in the scientific literature. Many controversies work themselves out in the pages of Nature or Science or other journals, and prompt hypothesis testing and the gathering of new evidence.

If an idea is well-supported by the evidence, it gains wider currency within the scientific community, and eventually works its way into the science textbooks. Biology books are written by biologists, not by the hodge-podge of lawyers, philosophers, theologians, rhetoricians and rare scientists willing to abandon scientific principles found in the ID movement.

Textbook content should accurately reflect the general opinion of the scientists who do real work in a field.

Read more of Paul Myers at his blog, Pharyngula.

Anti-gay Rally Comments

Mike Triggs tongue in cheek comment which I posted here has gotten a fair amount of comment. Andrew Gettis:

Guilt by association? Is that the best y'all got on the rally? If that's the case, we're doing quite well.

First of all, Mike DOESN'T make a good point, because two of those events (#3 and #4) don't have anything to do with Hitler, nor are they even on that same date. One of them is an anti-tax event (whose organizer's website features a very thorough non-discrimination policy front and center); the other is a bunch of fine people sharing an unusual perspective on the bombing. They aren't harming anyone!

Second, your "Hitler's birthday" argument is downright absurd. I'm sure a gay rights group has NEVER had an event on the founder of NAMBLA's birthday. You know, there are only 365 days in a year. If we allowed a negative event in history to shut us down for a day, we'd run out of days pretty quickly.

Third, and I clearly recall having this same discussion with you last year, I'm not seeing an iota of hatred in your pictures of the demonstrators. In fact, one of the speakers – Rev. Bohline of Lakeville (my fair city) – was quoted in the Pioneer Press as saying, "Let there not be one scintilla of hatred or anger … among us." The paper reported signs saying, "Though we love all people, we support traditional marriage." I'm pleased that those on our side are so committed to preventing hatred in our movement; it makes me all the happier to be a part of it.

At this point, your unrelenting obsession with Sen. Bachmann seems far more threatening than the traditional marriage movement.

Mitch Berg also seems rather irritated by it.

For the record, I never thought that the organizers of this event seriously planned to have the event on Hitler's birthday. My comment was about the irony of the event being held on Hitler's birthday.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Pope Ratzinger

Marty Andrade asked me if I had any comments about the new pope. I think that Steve Miller from the Independent Gay Forum and Andrew Sullivan put it well.

Craig Westover on Gay Marriage

Conservative St Paul Pioneer Press columnist, Craig Westover covered the Bachmann amendment in his recent column, and follows up on his blog, and in Dump Bachmann comments.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bay Windows on Koering's Coming Out

Excellent article. It features blog allies Jeff from North Dallas Thirty and Carson who helps with the Dump Michele Bachmann blog and also has his own blog at Minnesota Liberal.

Mike Rogers from the Outing blog, and North Dallas Thirty are having quite the cat fight. Rogers from Blogactive, the Outing blog has been going after Log Cabin Republicans all week. It's getting old. He had a point that Log Cabin could have released a statement supporting Koering coming out. However he's beating this to death.

I commented over there:

Mike - you know, this reminds me of the GayPatriot blog after Bush was reelected. GP was VERY critical of Log Cabin because they didn't put out a press release right after the election.

As I've said before here, in Minnesota we did meet with Koering several times.

I think gays often are our own worst enemies - rather than fighting our real enemies - the leviticus crowd, we go after each other. This is nonsense.

Anti-gay Activists Go to St Paul

On Hitler's Birthday. Slideshow here.

2005 Bachmann Amendment Rally

Mike Triggs comments:

Well it appears Michelle and her group aren't the only Wing Nuts planning events for Hitler's Birthday

  • National Knights of the KKK will celebrate the birthdays of both Hitler and Klan leader Ray Larsen with an April 16 event in Osceola, Indiana.
  • The Northern Hammerskins will hold its annual hate music concert in Detroit, on April 23, dubbed the "6th Annual Adolf Hitler Birthday Bash."
  • A variety of Oklahoma City bombing conspiracy theorists will be holding a two-day event, "OKC Bombing: A Day of Truth 10 Years Later," in Oklahoma City on April 19 – 20.
  • Anti government extremists, including the Michigan Militia, have plans to hold events surrounding tax day on April 15.
  • Additional events for white supremacists are in the planning stages in New Jersey and Florida.

Good point.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Anti-gay Activist Rally Wednesday

11:30 to 1 at the State Capitol. Starring everybody's favorite wingnut, Senator Michele Bachmann. Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council and Governor Tim Pawlenty will play supporting roles.

Who will be lurking in the bushes to watch the rally?

Developing. . .

Hate Groups

Marty Andrade commented on my latest post about Students for Family Values:

By your definition, aren't you also a member of a hate group, the GOP?

That is, if you think that being against gay marriage is hateful, which is the assumption I'm making.

The Republican party is NOT a hate group. Neither are the Democrats. Mainstream politicians in both parties say they oppose gay marriage. John Kerry said during the debates that fundementally Bush and Kerry agreed on the issue of gay marriage.

I hung around on the SFV forums long enough to get a taste of the stuff posted over there. There was a fair amount about sodomites this, sodomites that, yada yada. It seemed as if there was definitely an ignorance and hostility towards gays over on those forums.

I don't think the answer is to suppress the speech though. I've always opposed campus "hate speech" codes because they are way too broad. I've also thought that diversity training is often ineffective, because the people who need it, resent it, so aren't open to really exploring and talking about their attitudes at diversity workshops. I think the best answer to all this is for people to have to work together with people who come from different backgrounds. Don't take a class - just work together on stuff - and that ultimately is the best prejudice buster around.

Lisa McDonald vs. Mayor McCheese

Excellent City Pages article about the 13th Ward race.

Lisa McDonald's Stonewall DFL questionaire is available on the right nav bar of this blog.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Students for Family Values Gets Consolation Prize

They get $5000.

Bruce Harpel - not a U student, comments:

$5000 doesn't even keep the lights on. Many, many other secular, non-Christian groups receive much, much more funding. It is hard to find any support for the traditional viewpoint. And opposition borders on violence in the every day affairs of the university.

$5000.00 is enough money to make their presence known on campus. I'm not a student at the U - but have no problems with SFV getting money. It seems that the Southwork decision that mentions "viewpoint neutrality" opens the door for hate groups getting student fees funding. SFV's main focus seems to be anti-gay.

There's more here.

The "malicious" and "cancer" quotes (paragraph 2 above) are even more outrageous when you learn the context.

WSAC filed a frivolous complaint that was later dismissed by SAO. But the frivolous complaint served its purpose, because a copy was sent to the fees committee. The SAO dismissal of the complaint meant nothing to the fees committee.

One of the wild allegations was that SFV wanted to "take over" WSAC. Now this claim is untrue, but there have been fights over leadership of some groups over the years (MPIRG and Maranatha come to mind). Despite the untruth of this particular allegation, why would one student group want to take over another? Because the University grants more support to certain favored ideological groups.

In a system where resources are allocated fairly, there is no fight over control of student groups. Don't like the leadership of Group X? Go form Group Y. But such a fair allocation of resources does not exist at the U.

Finally, isn't it funny that the group that files a frivolous complaint gets full funding, while the victim of the slander is called "malicious." Quite an irony for feminists to engage in "blaming the victim."

I checked the SFV yahoogroup archives, and there was no evidence of this WSAC altercation there. There was in the campus republicans archives. The SFV forums have been taken down, so I was unable to search the forums for discussion of this issue.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Profile in Courage - Mike Paymar.... Profile in Cowardice - Matt Entenza

There is an excellent oped in the St Paul Pioneer Press by Michael Paymar, a DFL representative from St Paul.

Discrimination should have no place in state constitution


It was a sad day when the House of Representatives took the extraordinary move to ask the voters whether they want to amend the Minnesota Constitution to discriminate against a group of people and potentially deny benefits to people in committed, loving relationships.

How do I explain to my gay and lesbian friends and family members that the House is willing to deny people fundamental rights simply because of their sexual orientation? How do I tell a gay constituent who was almost beaten to death in a gay-bashing incident that he might lose his domestic partner benefits for himself and his partner of 10 years? And how do I explain to the GLBT community what was in the hearts and minds of my colleagues?

Our national and state constitutions were written with the intent of protecting against discrimination by protecting the rights of the minority from the will of the majority. Amendments were enacted to enfranchise not disfranchise. Our state constitution, Article 1 of the Bill of Rights, Section 1 states: Government is instituted for the security, benefit and protection of the people.

History informs us how misguided groups of people join together to persecute and oppress. In order to persecute, you have to justify or rationalize your actions ­ you have to be convinced the group of people being persecuted are "less than," deviant, inferior or a threat to society.

Every country has its dark sides, and America is not immune. There was a time in recent history when interracial marriage was illegal. There were days when slavery and subsequently segregation was considered acceptable public policy. There was a day when wives could be legally beaten by their husbands, and a time when women couldn't vote. There was a day when American Indians were forced to assimilate and relinquish their religion. There was a day when loyal Japanese-Americans were interned in concentration camps during World War II.

These events were some of the dark clouds in American history. But I would submit, if you had put these events to a popular vote of the people, at the period of history when they occurred, the majority of the voters would have approved of them. Why? Because the majority would have argued they were preserving morality, saving the state, or acting on behalf of God. Today, most of us believe these policies were morally wrong, even morally abhorrent. This is the crux of the problem with allowing a vote on denying rights to a group of people.

I know there were many House members who believed they were doing the right thing when they voted to allow the public to vote on this constitutional amendment. But I also know some members voted for the bill not out of conviction or because they thought it was the right thing to do, but because of politics and how this might get used against them in the next election. I understand that part of politics, but I'm deeply saddened by what happened. I can only hope the Senate, where the amendment question is being debated now, has enough courage to say no to intolerance. There are times to put issues to the citizenry for a vote; there are times to amend the constitution, but we should never amend the constitution to promote discrimination.

Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, represents District 64B in the Minnesota House.

It's worth adding that votes on issues that targetted other minorities also passed. Notably, an anti-immigration referendum opposed by the Chamber of Commerce, Labor, and mainstream politicians in both parties passed handily in Arizona (56% in favor). Alabama failed to remove segration language from their state constitution. Whenever an unpopular minority is put to a vote, the unpopular minority will lose.

House DFL Leader, Matt Entenza shows no leadership, when he states there is "no caucus position" on the Bachmann-Severson hate amendment. I actually think some of these legislators did not take this vote because of bigotry, but because they got no guidance from the house DFL leadership about how to defend a vote against this amendment. The vote is a defensible vote - because the amendment goes way beyond gay marriage - and would prohibit civil unions, domestic partner benefits - and could even overturn private contracts such as power of attorney and wills - on the basis of being a "legal equivalent" to marriage.

Contrast Matt Entenza's cowardly actions with Senator Dick Day - who has said he has known and fully supports Paul Koering, because he does a good job representing his district.

More on Entenza's cowardice here.

Entenza: "No caucus position" on gay marriage[]

If anyone thinks the House DFL is a friend of gays--indeed, a friend of civil rights--think again. The spineless leader of the House DFL, Matt Entenza, can't even muster a caucus position on the most basic of civil rights. Entenza defended the 13 members of his own caucus who voted FOR the bigoted constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage AND all legal equivalents: "There's no caucus position. Everybody votes their own district," said Entenza, defending the 13 bigots.

It passed 77-56. Had these 13 DFLers voted against this reprehensible measure, it would have failed in the House. Do the math. You can thank Matt Entenza and the Homophobe 13 for this going on the ballot if it passes the Senate--and you can be sure the voters will be bamboozled into voting for it if given a chance..

Matt Entenza wants to be Speaker of the House some day. Or attorney general. Or governor. Or whatever his megalomania tells him to pursue. This should be a clear signal to Minnesota Democrats and progressives what kind of "leader" Entenza really is. Entenza should be dumped--along with the Homophobe 13 in the caucus.

The Homophobe 13 in the House DFL Caucus are:

David Dill, Kent Eken, Tom Emmer, Patti Fritz, Larry Hosch, Al Juhnke, Lyle Koenen, Bernie Lieder, Paul Marquart, Mary Ellen Otremba, Gene Pelowski, Aaron Peterson, Bev Scalze, Denise Dieterich.

EY: I've heard from legislative sources that the DFL house DFLers are talking to DFL senators about how they have to bottle up this amendment. Well why didn't Entenza have an official house position on this. Perhaps Entenza should be invited to speak at the upcoming Bachmann amendment rally. His lack of courage seems to fit right in.

This bill doesn't just stop "gay marriage", but also intentionally - is an attempt to overturn Domestic partner benefits at the University of Minnesota, and could overturn wills, powers of attorney and other efforts that gay couples use to attempt to protect their relationships. This is generally not an issue when a gay person has a supportive family. It becomes a problem when the partner and biological family are at odds.

Mike Krause, a columnist at Lavender Magazine, who frequently is an apologist for Democrats is not happy with Entenza this time:

The House vote shows what might have happened if everyone, not just most DFLers and a few Republicans, had stood up for principle.

House DFL leader Matt Entenza said that the DFL Caucus had no position on the antigay constitutional amendment, and that members were free to “vote their conscience.”

Why didn’t the DFL Caucus take a position on an issue that clearly has been part of the DFL Party Constitution?

With the help of three House Republicans, a caucus that stood together would have had the votes to defend GLBT Minnesotans from Sviggum’s attacks.

Read the whole thing.

Dennis Sanders Fisks Tony Perkins, Frist and "Justice Sunday"


District Reaction to Koering Coming Out

Here. Hat Tip: Carson at Minnesota Liberal.

Member # 208

Icon 4 posted 04-14-2005 01:39 AM Profile for Balrog

It really wasn't much of a secret, but I suspected he might come out after that vote.

He would have fit in nicely in Barry Goldwater's vision of a Republican Party- too bad the party has been hijacked by the wingnuts.

But let's ask Crow Wing County Republican Party chair Brian Lehman what he thinks:


Brian Lehman, Crow Wing County Republican Party chair, said many residents in his county are "very unhappy" that Koering voted against sending the gay marriage ban to a floor vote.

"If his personal preference for the homosexual lifestyle sways his vote incorrectly and against the Republican Party platform, then I would take issue with that," Lehman said.

Voting "incorrectly"-sounds a bit Stalinist, don't you think?

Koering is being more than a little idealistic when he describes the Republican Party as a "big tent." He's in for a pretty rough time, I'm afraid. He has a lot more guts than a lot of other people in his party, though.

The irony here, of course, is that there are plenty of DFL representatives in greater Minnesota who are anti-abortion and pro-gun. I suspect they would greet Koering with open arms.

Another comments:

The poll question says, "Will State Senator Paul Koering's announcement that he is gay have an effect on his representation of the constituency of Senate District 12?"

Is this truly the question? How sad for our community if we say "Yes" to this.

The Brainerd Dispatch interviews local residents about Koering's announcement.

The Republican senator from St. Mathias Township, who publicly announced he was gay Wednesday, arrived home Friday from the state Capitol, admittedly a bit nervous about what his constituents would say to him on his return.

At a Little Falls meeting on tourism Friday, Koering's first venture into his Senate district since his announcement, people greeted him warmly.

One woman gave Koering a hug, telling him she hoped he would continue to be her senator.


Koering said since Wednesday he has received nothing but positive e-mails and phone calls from his constituents and from people throughout the country, even throughout the world. E-mails have come into his Senate office from as far away as Brazil and Canada. A police detective from New Jersey called Koering at his home Friday, telling him he was proud of him for coming out.

"I think it's kind of strange. I didn't think it was that big of a deal," said Koering. "But when people in Brazil and Canada know about it, I'm just kind of like, 'Wow.'" I don't understand it. I feel a sense of relief and like I've said over and over again, I'm not an activist and I don't plan on being an activist. I plan to get back working on education and making sure we have adequate funding for school districts in my area and on my health care initiatives ..."

They also got Koering's comment about the bigoted Crow Wing County Republican Chair, Brian Lehman.

Koering said he was shocked by Crow Wing County Republican chairman Brian Lehman's remarks last week. Lehman called Koering's vote against the gay marriage ban last week "political suicide." Lehman told the Dispatch that if Koering's "personal preference for the homosexual lifestyle sways his vote incorrectly and against the Republican Party platform," it could cause political problems for Koering.

"A lot of my fellow senators were shocked by his remarks," said Koering. "I talked to a number of delegates and I have their support. If he (Lehman) has an ax to grind with me, I just don't understand it. How can he say that I just committed political suicide or that I'm not going to be endorsed? I'll wait until a year from now and see where the delegates are at. ... I am not switching parties. I'm going to ask for their endorsement. If someone else wants to challenge me for their endorsement, well, that's how the political process works. I'm a fighter. I'm not going to give up what took me seven years to get."

Good for Paul Koering. He is doing the right thing, calling delegates directly. Hopefully the delegates in the BPOU will get together and oust Brian Lehman.

Koering said his political opponents can criticize what votes he takes or how he stands on specific issues, but can't attack him personally anymore because he decided to go public with the fact that he is gay.

Exactly. Good for Paul Koering for staying in Brainerd. His being honest about who he is will make a huge difference for other gay people in Brainerd.