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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Hotline Picks Up Lloydletta's Nooz Story on Michael Brodkorb

Thanks to MN GOP Watch for pointing this out.

From today’s Blogometer feature in National Journal’s Hotline:

Since 7/04, the anonymous Minnesota Democrats Exposed blogger "has been taking pot shots at the" MN DFL while claiming the blog "is not created, endorsed, sponsored, or authorized by any political party, candidate, or candidate's committee." However, center-ish Eva Young at Lloydletta's Nooz and Comments posts evidence that ex-MN GOP comm./research dir. Michael Brodkorb "is at least one of the authors behind" MDE. When posting one entry via e-mail, Brodkorb apparently left his e-mail signature in, which included his name and cell phone number. Although the error "was quickly corrected," but a reader checked Safari browser "downloads the RSS [feeds] as they come in"; Young posts a Flickr-hosted screen shot of Safari's RSS page for the site. Indeed it shows Brodkorb's name and telephone number. On Young's site, MDE is now linked under the name "Michael Brodkorb." Source: The Hotline, 10/25/05

Clearly this story has legs.


I added Michael Brodkorb to my blogroll a while back.

Blogger Bill

Congressman Mark Kennedy has gotten local bloggers to fall for his so-called "free speech for bloggers" bill. His bill had nothing to do with bloggers, except to exempt bloggers from disclosure requirements should they be hired guns by campaigns. MN Publius explains.

A lot of the local conners (conservative bloggers) have been doing all of Kennedy's leg work by suckling at the teat of this internet campaign finance amendment bill BS. Little do they realize that the wool has been pulled over their collective eyes by Mark Kennedy and his political machine (which is pretty embarrassing considering the incompetence that is Makeover Mark). Yes, Kennedy has been feeding them bedtime tales of the terrible laws predicating on their right to political speech and how he, and he alone, will lead them to the promise land. Too bad the bill is nothing more than a minor amendment to the proceedings of what can and can't be regulated in a campaign (hint: if you're not part of a campaign, none of it concerns you).

I've lost quite a bit of a respect for those bloggers who have fallen for Kennedy's lines about free speech protection when the bill has nothing to do with bloggers, free speech, or a free media but everything to do with unregulated internet campaigning. Sorry guys, I know you think you're constantly under attack but the bogeyman turns out not to be in the closet on this one.


I founded the Dump Michele Bachmann blog. If I started getting paid by a Bachmann opponent's campaign to do that blog, readers would have every right to be aware of that information. Gay conservative blogger North Dallas Thirty is also skeptical of this bill. It's good that people know that Mike UnHatched blog is put together by the Republican Party of Minnesota. That blog by the way is very disappointing. The Unhatched graphics are wonderful, but the content isn't worth reading.

As for my take.....I reluctantly support FEC regulation of blogs and online content.

The reason is simple; the blogosphere is completely out of control. I've done enough sleuthing and heard enough information to put together a very scary picture, which is that politicians are using blogs and bloggers, from John Aravosis to Jeff Gannon, as paid shills to do their dirty work. I'd had my suspicions for quite a while that people, particularly Democratic people, were shuffling money around the blogosphere....but Mike Rogers's snit fit over his exclusion from the cool kids' table really opened the floodgates of information, so to speak.


I think a good exhibit A of this sort of nonsense in Minnesota is Michael Brodkorb.

The "big boy" Lefty bloggers like Kos who make money on blogging were quite supportive of Kennedy's legislation. I've never understood why the internet should be exempt from regulation or taxes just because it's the internet. If the taxes are bad, they are bad for bricks and morter shops too. If the regulations are bad, they are bad for other more traditional media also.

Discussion on these topics often takes on a "Black Helicopters are circling" quality.

Francis Collins on IDiocy

Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project, and committed Christian says Intelligent Design creationism isn't science. The Panda's Thumb has more.

The Discovery Institute is bravely running away from the Dover case. Hat Tip: Pharyngula.

Mass Hysteria

The Daily Show had a hilarious segment with Ed Helms interviewing Massachusetts anti-gay activist Brian Caemaker. Robbie from the Malcontent has the footage.

I think this video ought to be used in the testimony for this years Bachmann amendment hearings.

North Dallas Thirty has a marketting plan for Ed Helms handy new device.



Can You Live Another Day Without This Product?
One of the neater features that Blog Ally Malcontent offers on his estimable cyberhome is video capture -- which of course, he only uses for informational purposes. (grin)

Yesterday, he posted a hilarious capture of a feature Comedy Central's The Daily Show did this week concerning the effects of gay marriage in Massachusetts -- and featuring (drum roll)..... The Homometer!

Being the clever and innovative (and greedy) fellow that I am, I saw this and thought....hey, what a marketing opportunity! This is truly a product that has widespread commercial appeal. Imagine the advertisements.......


Read the whole thing.

Hat Tip: Pam Spaulding, who knows what to do with a tip.

"Heathrow in Scotland"

by Ken Avidor

(posted on Ken's behalf - because blogger is acting up)

The Dean Zimmermann Campaign just released a flurry of position papers on their web site. There's an item called "TOP 10 REASONS TO VOTE FOR DEAN ZIMMERMANN". Reason number six may seem odd to many Greens:

"6.He doesn’t hate Republicans (or Democrats either)."

Zimmermann is not talking about moderate Republicans like Arnie Carlson. What the Zimmermann campaign is referring to is Zimmermann's close working relationship with extreme right-winger Mark Olson to fund a controversial PRT project. Michele Bachmann is another prominent right-wing supporter of PRT. Zimmermann gives right-wing PRT supporters cover by balancing the PRT plank. This is what Bachmann said to MPR in 2004:

"People on the right, people on the left, we have the common goal of moving people with transit, but doing it in the most cost-effective manner, in fact, in a manner that may end up costing no government subsidy, it may end up paying for itself."

Fellow Green Party office-holder Annie Young once voiced dismay over Dean's obsessive PRT collaboration with right-wing Republicans like Mark Olson:

"Zimmermann’s party, the Green Party, is however, apparently distancing itself from Zimmermann." Annie Young of the party said, “This is not a Green Party issue; this is Dean’s project. I’m concerned about his relationship to Taxi 2000, and about the time he’s spending on the project and whether he’s meeting the needs of the people in his ward. There are potentially some good things that could come from it, and I see what the point is but I’m not sure the timing is right. There are also a lot of questions about it, like why are the Republicans so interested in it? There are a lot of good alternatives that we should be working on, and there are so many transportation needs to be addressed. I’m just not sure this is the best one."

Zimmermann's eagerness to work with anti-transit, pro-highway, right-wingers confirms what some critics including myself have said that Zimmermann is anti-LRT, anti-transit and pro-highway himself. Zimmermann did not get the Sierra Club endorsement this year mainly because of his many anti-transit statements. Zimmermann's promotion of PRT has consumed a large share of his first term in office. Zimmermann has even traveled to suburbs to promote his PRT plan.

Unfortunately, the FBI raid on Zimmermann's house has dominated the 6th Ward campaign. Zimmermann has gotten a lot of sympathy from well-meaning people who feel that Zimmermann is being "persecuted". The investigation has allowed Zimmermann to avoid explaining his support for PRT and his anti-transit rhetoric. For much of his campaign, Zimmermann has been uncharacteristically quiet about PRT.

Dean Zimmermann's campaign has just released a position paper on transportation that repeats the standard anti-transit disinformation that PRT proponents repeat on their web sites and in their pamphlets:

"Light rail is great, but costly to build. And buses – well, as a friend of Dean’s says: “I believe in mass transit—until then I’ll take the bus.” We’ve done better in the past, the street car system was really good, but we need practical, lower-cost alternatives for the future."

"Council Member Dean Zimmermann advocates for PRT—Personal Rapid Transit. Like a car, it goes where you want, is available when you want it, and is as private as you want it to be. Unlike motor vehicles it doesn’t burn gas and it doesn’t add pollution to our urban air.

"And it’s not some pipe dream Council Member Dean Zimmermann cooked up. Just this month, Heathrow Airport in Scotland signed a contract to build a PRT system using a technology developed in Wales."


Besides misstating where Heathrow Airport is, the Zimmermann campaign states that there is a contract to build PRT at Heathrow. The British Airport Authority announced only a "agreement for the development" of the ATS "ULTra system "dependent on agreed milestones being achieved." This is hardly a "contract to
build."


There is a lot to suggest that ATS's Ultra is not PRT, but an Automated People-Mover (APM) similar to an existing system called FROG. FROG is far from being a technological breakthrough... it runs on batteries and has a top speed of 12.5 MPH. I have the details about PRT in Heathrow and Dubai on the PRT Skeptic Web site.

The media in the Twin Cities has let the electorate down by not investigating the role PRT has played in Minnesota politics. I hope there will be an investigation of PRT before next year's election when PRT's two most prominent Republican supporters, Michele Bachmann and Mark Olson face the voters.

The question that voters in the 6th Ward need to ask right now is whether they should elect a Green Party Minneapolis councilman on November 8th who will stand beside Mark Olson and Michele Bachmann in 2006.

Learn more about Dean Zimmermann, Mark Olson, and Michele Bachmann's PRT collaboration here.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Smoke and Mirrors in the Minneapolis Mayor's Race

As I write this it is shortly before 10 pm on Friday night. That means we're about 94 hours away from the polls closing on this year's city elections. It cannot come a moment too soon.

Tonight's 'Almanac' on Channel 2 devoted the first half of the show to the Minneapolis mayor's race. I watched with casual interest, listening to the same tired blather and parsing we've heard all year.

The most thrilling moment was when host Cathy Wurzer brought up the smoking ban. The Hennepin County board has been twisting in the wind ever since their version of the ban went into effect. Commissioner Mark Stenglein pushed for an economic impact study, and open forums at the commissioner meetings have been dominated by continuing testimony on the ban, both pro and con.

The board has scheduled another formal public hearing November 15th, and Commissioner Stenglein will be officially introducing an amendment to the original smoking ban, making it substantially the same as Ramsey County's.

Anyway, on Almanac, the mayor labeled McLaughlin's support of continued public hearings to consider changing the ban as 'waffling'. It was a clever move, because McLaughlin had a minor meltdown. He started spewing high-minded rhetoric about how Democrats needed to listen to people's stories about struggling businesses and lost jobs, and how could RT Ryback, as a Democrat, be so uncaring? The question that RT returned to is, do you want to maintain the current ban or not? I don't think the city of Minneapolis has ever looked back on their actions.

Anyway, this little exchange forced McLaughlin into a fairly uncomfortable contortion, and he resorted to invoking the name of Paul Wellstone.... 'how could you be so uncaring?' RT laughed that one off - it made McLaughlin look pathetic.

Peter - make up your mind. If you support the ban 'as is', you then deal with the consequences of what it does to the small business owners and their staff.

The escape valve for the urban collectivists, of course, is to proclaim support for a statewide ban. Unless we see a very dramatic turnover in the legislature with the 06 elections, don't count on it. Outstate folks have no interest, and hard-right conservatives in the exurban areas will invoke the property rights argument (with which I strongly concur).

Anyway, 94 hours and counting....

Another Anti-Brownback Website

There's another website that goes after the notoriously anti-gay Kansas Senator, Sam Brownback.

abb320w

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Time for a new Minneapolis Park Board!
Read the great story by Britt Robson at City Pages.

For a better slate of candidates, go to Minneapolis Park Watch

Eva adds: It boggles the mind that a body with taxing authority doesn't even keep good records of their meetings. I second Mark's recommendation. Check the Park Watch website for lots of good information about the Park Board candidates.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blog Dedicated to Retiring Sam Brownback

A worthy cause. He's been out there on the Federal Bachmann Amendment and banning embryonic stem cell research.

More on Alito

Steve Miller from Independent Gay Forum comments.

First take on Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court: he's no John Roberts, unfortunately. The Advocate says that in 2001 he authored a decision that declared unconstitutional a public school district policy that prohibited harassment against students because of their sexual orientation or other factors. If we must force students into these government/educrate mis-run, taxpayer-money down-the-rathole monstrosities (known as "public education"), you'd think that policies prohibiting the bullying of gay kids, even if mostly ineffectual, would be a small positive. But noooo.

This may provide a misleading picture, or it may be an accurate indicator of who Alito is. We'll see. Harriet Miers, you're looking better and better!

Update: Some informative comments. I'm not taking a position at this point, but I do note that some civil libertarians believe the harassment policy Alito struck down was overly broad. He wrote in Saxe v. State College Area School District:

There is no categorical 'harassment exception' to the First Amendment's free speech clause....When laws against harassment attempt to regulate oral or written expression on such topics, however detestable the views expressed may be, we cannot turn a blind eye to the First Amendment implications.

It's also been noted that in another case, Shore Regional High School Board of Education v. P.S., Alito helped reverse a district court in order to uphold the claim of a student regularly called names such as "faggot," "gay," and "homo" that he was not afforded appropriate protection from harassment.

I'm not sure what to think, but I'm not accepting the activists' charges without further evidence. So onward to the hearings!


Lloydletta contributors Mark and David weigh in:

15 hours after the announcement, he appears to be the nominee the social conservatives have been waiting for all these years.

I think it will force extremists on both sides to say who they really are, and show that they really do want 'activist judges' who will advocate for specific agendas, vs. interpreting the Constitution. It will be an interesting few months as this develops.
Mark

I think that he is a good nomination for a few reasons. 1) he is clearly qualified and the Liberals and Democrats can't dispute that 2) he is a Conservative which is what this President should have nominated in the first place 3) I believe he won't engage in judicial activism, this is pure speculation but it is the impression I get.

A man once said "the only judges who are activist judges are those who rule against you."
David


Commenters over on the Log Cabin chat list are cautiously optimistic that Alito might be more of a libertarian than a Scalia type theocrat. The hearings will say for sure.

Wingnut Texas Bachmann Amendment Flyer

It's got to be seen to be believed.

"Heterosexual men and women use marriage as a vehicle to raise children... Homos just raise goldfish, cats and dogs...."

WTF?

Hat Tip: Pam Spaulding. See also Dump Bachmann.

Police State?

The news in today's Wahington Post about the CIA prisons set up under its covert authority, or Black Sites, smacks of a police state. There are those who will say nay, because they were authorized under blanket authority given by the President after 9/11. However, I say that if something looks like a duck, acts like a duck and walks like a duck, it is more than likely a duck. In this case the CIA prisons are covert, everything they do there is covert, especially interrogations which could more than probably be called torture, and nobody knows anything about them. Sounds like a police state to me.

For all of you who are strict constructionists of the Constitution, this kind of activity is not even alluded to, nor is there the possibility that it could be assumed to be there. It seems to me that what the Revolution and the subsequent Constitution are about is to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

LET'S TALK ABOUT ETHICS

Ethics and morals are often confused with each other, but they shouldn't be because they are guides for how we behave. Distinctions between them can and should be reserved for an academic philosophical discussion. Regardless of what we call it, our behavior must match our behavioral guidelines (our morals and our ethics)and be alert to times when they do not match.

For example, Senator Norm Colman says he is "working to protect the rights of the unborn". Does that mean that he will make sure that the woman carrying the unborn fetus will get good prenatal care. So far, it has not seemed so.

Does Sen. Coleman also think that there is a strong connection between eriadicating mercury emissions, or at the very least, steadily reduce them and the toxic damage to brain development, especially in fetuses. It is unconscionable to pretend the connection is not there. By allowing coal fired power plants,some of the major producers of mercury emissions, more time to get around to eraticating them, we protect no one. We cannot afford to have over 600 thousand fetuses per year carried by women whose blood mercuy level exceeds the level that the EPA considers safe. I believe it is unethical and immoral not to do everything possible to eradicate or steadily reduce emissions, including voting that way.

The list of ehical and moral lapses goes on and on:

How about lead? we know it is dangerous, and we know it causes enormous and irreversible brain damage to children. We also know it iss costly to remove it. But the risk to brain development - which we know goes well beyond the age of 5 - maybe even into the teen years- is huge socially and I think economically. Lead is a It is common and preventable which takes much effort but includes common sense and alert behavior. It is immoral to behave otherwise. When I bought an iron a few weeks ago I (the buyer) was warned to "wash my hands after handling the cord because it contained lead". That is unethical: to produce a product that is dangerous to both children and adults but contains no warnings until the package is opened so the consumer cannot make decisions based on information and facts.

Or "No child Left Behind?" We all know it was never funded properly and that it is punative. But will it truly provide good educations for children I say hooray; but if it simply requires rigorous tests that will tell us if schools are failing I say we are better off without it. Is the answer in Early Childood Education? I think so; too many children arrive at Kindergarten
not ready to learn. Do we need programs? Yes. Programs aimed at different targets: helping and supporting parents as they help their children. I know that this sometimes means financial help. And programs that ensure good preschools. I know that the financial payoff is great. We have statistics that tell us that the cost of every "class" of dropouts costs us (as a nation) about $240 Billion; and the government receives about $70 billion less in tax revenues. It costs at least $22,000 per year to maintain a high school drop out in prison and it is estimated that 82% of all Americans in prison are high school dropouts. Do the math; it is unethical and immoral to short our children and ourselves. We cannot allow a program that pays no attention to the need for early learning in order to be truly successful in school to capture dollars and our attention in order to tell us if schools are failing.

How about Senator Frist .... denying that he knew nothing about a "blind" trust that manages his interests in his family's hospital company. Meanwhile, the managers of that trust say they regularly informed him when new shares or other assets were added. Seems odd, and immoral to me.

There are many of these examples of lapses. Perhaps many moral compasses are broken.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Any thoughts on Alito?

Bush nominated Sam Alito for Supreme Court.

Apparently Bush checked with the Concerned Women for America before announcing this nomination. It will be interesting to see whether the moderate republicans - especially Snowe, Collins and Chafee - end up supporting this one. This nomination will certainly help fundraising efforts on both sides of the abortion issue.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Dover Monkey Trial

There's an interesting internal squabble between the Discovery Institute and the Thomas More Law Center over tactics to use to get Intelligent Design Creationism taught in public school biology classes. This exchange is available on CSPAN for a few weeks. The transcript below is from Part III of American Enterprise Institute about ID starting at time 2:14.

MODERATOR (Jon Entine): I am curious about the Discovery Institute's involvement in the Dover case, where originally they were slated three people, affiliated with the institute were slated to give depositions, and then obviously pulled out. There was some kind of dispute about legal strategy, perhaps. And I want you to address that, because I think there is some belief, at least expressed in various newspaper articles, that there was a concern by the Discovery Institute that if this issue is decided on science, that intelligent design would be ruled as religion and therefore would fall under the Establishment Cause and therefore would be banned from being taught in science classes.

So, for fear of that almost inevitability happening, the Discovery Institute repositioned itself for tactical reasons, to be against, for teaching the controversy perhaps in nonscientific settings. I just wanted you to respond.

MARK RYLAND (DI): Sure, I'd be happy to respond. Let me back up first and say: The Discovery Institute never set out to have a school board, schools, get into this issue. We've never encouraged people to do it, we've never promoted it. We have, unfortunately, gotten sucked into it, because we have a lot of expertise in the issue, that people are interested in.

When asked for our opinion, we always tell people: don't teach intelligent design. There's no curriculum developed for it, you're teachers are likely to be hostile towards it, I mean there's just all these good reasons why you should not to go down that path. If you want to do anything, you should teach the evidence for and against Darwin's theory. Teach it dialectically.

And despite all the hoopla you've heard today, there is a great deal of -- many, many problems with Darwin's theory, in particular the power of NS and RV to do the astounding things that are attributed to them. The new demonology, as one philosopher calls it, the selfish gene can do anything.

So that's the background. And what's happened in the foreground was, when it came to the Dover school district, we advised them not to institute the policy they advised. In fact, I personally went and met with them, and actually Richard was there the same day, and they didn't listen to me, that's fine, they can do what they want, I have no power and control over them. But from the start we just disagreed that this was a good place, a good time and place to have this battle -- which is risky, in the sense that there's a potential for rulings that this is somehow unconstitutional.

That's basically from an institutional perspective what I can say and what I know. Now, individuals associated with the Discovery Institute were then, had got involved in, the possibility of becoming expert witnesses in the case. And I don't, as far as I know there was no institutional decision made one way or the other, but I think it was the case that those individuals felt they had somewhat different legal interests being -- it was often because they were both expert witnesses, but usually fact witnesses as well, about things like the history of the intelligent design movement. So they wanted to have their own lawyers involved with depositions, and I believe there was an argument, a disagreement about that. I think that was the reason why they decided not to participate.


This trial is backfiring badly on those wanting to put Intelligent Design Creationism into science classes.

Another 8th Ward Lawsuit

Sources tell me that Marie Hauser has filed a campaign violation lawsuit against opponent Elizabeth Glidden for using the term "DFL" on her literature.

Developing. . .

Peter LaBarbera Goes After Walgreens Over Gay Games Sponsorship

The Malcontent has the story.