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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Strib Does Puff Piece on Pawlenty Having Bloggers Over at the Governor's Mansion

Hat Tip Doug at Bogus Gold.

Money Quote from the article:

Money quote:

The cost of the event was less than $200, McClung said. After a reporter inquired about the event, McClung said Pawlenty decided to pay the tab out of his own pocket. McClung said the event turned out well for Pawlenty.


That's good that the taxpayers weren't paying for this event. It's good that Pawlenty is interested in New Media - but none of the bloggers that were invited do reporting. They post their opinions. It appears that the Taxpayers were going to be on the hook until a Reporter called to ask who paid for it.

What's unfortunate is that main stream media - including the strib and pioneer press do a fair amount of press release journalism.

More from the article:

McClung said those invited were culled from groups associated with the local conservative blog Powerline, which received acclaim for its role criticizing CBS' now-debunked report on memos related to President Bush's National Guard service. McClung said there was no intent to exclude local bloggers who might be critical of Pawlenty or have more left-leaning or progressive points of view.


Was their any discussion at the event of how Powerline won the City Pages Best Meltdown award?

If you are a connoisseur of the meltdown, Hinderaker's frothing, sputtered, red-faced response was a thing of beauty: "You dumb shit, he didn't get access using a fake name, he used his real name," he huffed in his e-mail. "You lefties' concern for White House security is really touching, but you know what, you stupid asshole, I think the Secret Service has it covered. Go crawl back into your hole, you stupid left-wing shithead. And don't bother us anymore. You have to have an IQ over 50 to correspond with us. You don't qualify, you stupid shit."


Brunswick missed how the Koolaid Report and Nihilist in Golf pants were unhappy with being left out in the cold. Koolaid Report talks about how Mitch Berg is trying to put KAR in their place.

My guess why they were left out:

Kool Aid Report's Testimonial from Nihilist: "I read you guys before Powerline...Hell, I don't even read Powerline anymore!"

Developing. . .

Friday, May 20, 2005

Craig Westover Interviews Dale Carpenter

He describes his first impressions here.

This was a very interesting interview, which I’ll try to transcribe and post in a couple days. Carpenter lays out a strong conservative argument for same-sex marriage as well as a methodology for achieving it. Taking into account many of the arguments made against same-sex marriage, his argument is based on benefit to society, not civil rights and not equality before the law, although both those concepts play a role.

What many will find surprising is that despite his support for same-sex marriage, Carpenter agrees with many of its critics on issues like judicial activism, agrees that tactics of some supporting gay marriage hurt the cause and agrees that religion can play a role in legislation without invalidating that legislation constitutionally. He does not agree with the Massachusetts Court decision on gay marriage.

Although he disagrees with the idea of a constitutional amendment defining marriage, and he takes exception to the contention that Minnesota’s proposed amendment intends only to apply to gay marriage, he provides wording for what would be a constitutionally valid amendment that would address fears of judicial actisism mandating gay marriage -- if that is really the concern.

As a gay man, he believes the worst thing that could happen to the gay marriage issue is a federal amendment effectively banning gay marriage. As a conservative gay man, he believes that the second worst thing that could befall gay marriage is that the Supreme Court mandated gay marriage in all states. He believes that gay marriage is a legislative issue, not an issue for the courts.

I found it a fascinating conversation. Carpenter presented a view that for both moral and political reasons conservatives will find challenging. Liberals? You might be surprised at how irrelevant (and perhaps damaging) to the cause your support for gay marriage is. If the battle isn’t won on conservative principles, it probably won’t be won at all.


The recent debates between Craig Westover, Peg Kaplan and Doug from Bogus Gold show that there's significant debate within conservative circles in Minnesota over this issue.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

No Communion for Rainbow Sash wearers

Simon Rosser has an articulate oped on the topic in the Strib.

Even from a conservative Catholic perspective, the edict is strange. The Vatican II Documents exhort all Catholics to receive communion frequently and especially when attending mass, except when in a state of mortal sin. While rainbow sashes may be an egregious fashion violation, I am hard-pressed to find anyone who would declare them mortally sinful. The explanation given for forbidding wearing of the rainbow sash -- a symbol of support for gay rights -- is that it has become politically divisive.


Rosser looses me when he makes the comparison to Nazi germany:

By all accounts, the new pope is a highly cultured, politically astute, intelligent and deliberate man, well aware of the power of symbolism. The last time homosexuals were ordered how to dress was by Adolf Hitler, who ordered them to wear a pink triangle prior to detention and, in many cases, death in concentration camps. Thus, this directive is particularly odious to a community that suffered under the Holocaust, even more so when coming from an ex-German soldier who served under Hitler. Last week, Benedict also ordered the editor of the Catholic magazine America to resign and to remain silent. The message is clear: The pope wants American Catholics to follow his conservative ideology.


I think it's unfortunate that Rosser made this comparison. His article was otherwise persuasive.

A second interpretation is that Benedict needs to divert U.S. Catholics' attention. Responding to America's outrage, the Vatican initially framed the clergy sex abuse scandal as a local scandal resulting from U.S. liberalism. But it is now clear that some in the church perpetrated the largest and first truly global child sex ring in history, a pandemic involving not just America but the most traditionalist Catholic countries, such as Ireland and Poland.

Who was the Vatican prelate directly in charge, who had to know the magnitude and scope of this tragedy and chose to remain silent? Who increased the obstacles to bishops accepting the resignations of sex-offending clergy? Who reassigned Cardinal Bernard Law to Rome, and who chose him to lead one of the masses during John Paul II's mourning period? These are disturbing questions.

As someone who studies sex for a living, I'm not sure that American Catholics will buy the Puritanism Benedict is selling. The New Catholic Catechism already condemns masturbation, fornication, prostitution, pornography, homosexuality, premarital sex, contraception, divorce, adultery and polygamy as gravely sinful, yet Catholic and non-Catholic practice in most of these matters appear close. Clearly, the prohibition approach isn't working.

The biggest challenge with the sash directive is how to fit it into Catholic teaching. Catholic means universal, or in modern speak, "diverse and for all." Popes are not free to narrow this. Papal authority has limits, and Benedict is required to follow the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

Complicating matters further, in 1986, he wrote, "It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action, and in law." Thus, even his own writings condemn this announcement.

So, how should Catholics respond? I suspect we Minnesotan Catholics don't particularly appreciate being told how to dress, having our media silenced, or being distracted from addressing the most serious problems in our church. Nor do we support prejudice. Some will want to protest, while others will give solemnity priority over politics. Wherever one falls on this issue, one thing is clear: On this Pentecost Sunday at St. Paul's Catholic Cathedral, midday mass should not be dull.


There will be no sanctions for the churches that do give communion to Rainbow Sash wearers.

They are discussing this over on the St Paul Issues Forum. Paul Skrbec writes:

As many of you know, I was a parishioner at the Cathedral for a number of years. I sat on the parish council there during much of the time that the dome was under construction. I was a volunteer for many ministries and one of the founders of the Pathways adult education committee. I coordinated the re-design of their web site and served as a Eucharistic Minister.

As an openly gay man, I have spent many years dealing with the difference between what the Vatican says and what individual priests say. For years I managed to find refuge and understanding in places like my alma mater St. John's, and communities like the Cathedral of Saint Paul.

Two weeks after my partner and I were married at All God's Children MCC in Minneapolis, I returned to the Cathedral fresh from my honeymoon in Orlando only to be told that I could no longer continue as a Eucharistic Minister. That same Sunday, the new rector Fr. Michael Skluzacek published in the parish bullitan his support for "Courage" a Catholic organization that preaches abstinence for all GLBT people as the only way to remain true to Christ.

Needless to say, I was more than a little pissed. I left the Cathedral and have only rarely attended Catholic Mass since this incident almost a year ago. This incident is the perfect example of what is wrong in the Catholic church and a good illustration of the division of values that we find in government today.

So many are just saying "Blame it all on the gays. They are immoral, sub-human and responsible for the deterioration of marriage and society." Now I ask you all to replace the word "gays" with "Jews" - doesn't that sound a lot like the 1930's? And to think it is happening right here, in Saint Paul.


Long time DFL Activist Chuck Repke writes:

Paul's points are interesting as is Dennis' response. Religion by its very nature is discriminatory, you are either one of "us" or you are not. You either hear "the word" or you don't. The interesting conflict that has been played out at the St. Paul Cathedral is Christianity's underlying hostility towards homosexuals and how it manifests itself in the Catholic church. This conflict that occurred here is but a small segment of the overall morality conflict that has been occurring throughout this country on religion, equal rights and what is/who has the moral high ground.

Those of us who believe that the basic fibers of the constitution are to provide equal rights and that over the past two hundred years we have been expanding the definition of who gets to be treated equal and therefore what discrimination is not allowed, looks at the incident that occurred and think, why is that kind of discriminatory practice rewarded by non-profit tax exempt status for those who discriminate? Those who enjoy discriminating against others or feel morally superior to others based on their being one of "us" and not one of "them," have figured out that if we continue to have this country embrace diversity and resist bigotry that at some point their gig is up. They have been doing a very good job of electing others who share their desire to impose their vision of moral superiority on others and are working hard to codify those prejudices.

It is almost impossible for humans to believe one thing and act in an entirely different direction (cognitive dissonence). So, to believe that a large segment of the population is your moral inferiors and beneath disdain and to at the same time be required by the government to not treat them as inferiors is almost impossible for those with those beliefs to do. One has to either change their belief or change how the government allows you to treat others.

So, this little chapter that we witnessed in Saint Paul is just another example of the ever increasing comfort of those of faith saying they have no problem being open in their prejudices.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Stillwater School Censors Author of Book About Evolution

From the Stillwater Gazette. A scan of the story is available here.

I'll be transcribing the story later.

So Called American Heritage Act

The Anti-gay, Creationist and "the US is a Christian nation" pushing Edwatch is alerting their following to write the education conference committee about the so-called American Heritage Act.

I wrote about this a while back on the Dump Michele Bachmann blog, when the brave lady Michele introduced this nonsense with a press release.

I urge other Lloydletta readers to write, and copy Lloydletta@yahoo.com on the email if you'd like - or post the email in the comments. Here are the addresses:

rep.barb.sykora@house.mn, rep.mark.buesgens@house.mn, rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn, rep.bud.heidgerken@house.mn, rep.denise.dittrich@house.mn, sen.leroy.stumpf@senate.mn, sen.steve.kelley@senate.mn, sen.daniel.sparks@senate.mn, sen.gen.olson@senate.mn, sen.linda.scheid@senate.mn

Here's my letter to the conference committee.

Dear Education Conference Committee Members:

I understand you are looking at Senator Bachmann's American Heritage Act. Part of the justification for this law is that supposedly a California School District banned the teaching of the Declaration of Independence in their schools. This was a total lie promoted by the Alliance Defense Fund which was suing the district. Parents in the district were very irritated about how the Alliance Defense Fund distorted the issues - and publically called on the ADF to retract their statements. From the parents' statement:

While you may not have directly contacted the many people who felt compelled to vent their hostility toward our principal and school, we believe your organization is nonetheless responsible. This reaction was the direct consequence of the incendiary headline that can still be found on your webpage, "Declaration of Independence Banned from Classroom." We therefore ask that you stop exposing our school and our children to more harm by continuing to state what is clearly false on your website. We request a withdrawal of your headline and a public retraction. Surely, in all good conscience, you cannot continue to falsely represent that our school has banned the Declaration of Independence from the classroom.

Your group states on its website that it supports and defends families and family values. Yet, it appears that since 2001 you have targeted schools and therefore the families that make up those schools in order to achieve what we believe is your political agenda. In a recent interview, one of your spokespersons said that you view schools as the "new battleground." Do you realize that your battleground is where we send our children? Is that the environment in which you want to fight a battle? How does learning take place in a school besieged by hate mail triggered by an incendiary and erroneous headline on your website? We wonder if your supporters realize that
your actions may be tearing the very fabric you purport to weave.

We have seen firsthand that truth has been a casualty in this case. But most of all it is disturbing to see how an organization that claims to defend the truth and Christian values spreads false information about our school, its principal and our local school board. These actions can only undermine the public's trust in your organization, and may cause even some of your supporters to question your actions and your judgment.


It's also worth noting that some of the teaching materials the teacher wanted to use in his classroom included fabricated quotes from many of the founding fathers. When teaching American History, it's important to teach about why the constitution has no references to God, but rather references "We the People."

More background on this including the web source of the Cupertino School District Parents statement is available at the Dump Bachmann website here and here.

Bottom line:

We don't need flat earth creationism taught in our public school biology classes, and we don't need fabricated quotes from the founding fathers about a "christian nation" being used in public school American history classes.

Bias in Teaching?

Failed St Paul School Board candidate, Tom Swift, aka Swiftee fisks an assignment from social studies teacher Mike Boucher.

English Teach from Left in the Heartland responds.

Swiftee's been going after Boucher since Boucher's oped criticizing Senator Michele Bachmann was published last week in the Star Tribune.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Eastview High Bloggers Unhappy with the Laramie Project Being Done at High School

The blogger is good friends with Hindrocket's son.

Here.

The culture war has gone nuclear in the United States over the last several months on the issue of gay marriage. A front in this war that I think has been forgotten by well-intentioned activists of the right is the public schools. The youth in the schools are flexible and have respect for what teachers tell them- even when the information is patently misleading. A force within my high school is taking advantage of the students youth and inexperience in the school. The Laramie Project, a play about the death of Matthew Shepard, is the feature play of the Spring for the school. It is not quite the Vagina Monologues, but it is close enough. The plays message: Any one who expresses any sort of opposition to the proliferation of homosexuality in society is guilty of some kind of hate crime. The stated hope of the play is to increase tolerance for homosexuality and those who live that kind of life. Students will not need to go out of their way to get to the play. English teachers are bringing their classes to an hour preview of the four hour piece of propaganda. I want it to be perfectly clear that I have nothing against the actors in the play. Many of the actors are my close friends and I respect their ability to perform. There is someone who left the play because they were so agitated at the direction that the production was headed. The Theatre Department hired a professional actor to fill the spot of this departing actor. I think this is an abrogation of the purpose of the EV Theatre Department. If you are going to push an agenda in the plays, at least let students do the acting. I am still trying to decide whether I will watch or boycott the performance. I am 99% sure that I will watch the full show just because I want to support the performers. The movement is not just isolated to the performance either. A Gay-Straight Alliance is being formed at the school. They are meeting and talking about an agenda for spreading the "message." They have workshops for Freshman to explain why all students should have respect for gays. These issues ought to be getting more attention.


I wonder if this is the type of story that's going to be sent to Senator Bachmann to put into her scrapbook.

From left in the heartland:

This year's Editor in Chief is James Hohmann, who has won several awards as a writer and is a national forensics champion. He's also a blogger.

He has also been featured in another local blog here and here, as he is the friend of John Hinderaker's son Eric (a National Merit finalist, BTW, kudos to him).


This is Governor Pawlenty's neck of the woods.