counter statistics

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Plymouth/Minnetonka Special Election Posts at Lloydletta (Judy Johnson v Terri Bonoff)

Candidate websites:

DFL - Terri Bonoff
Republican - Judy Johnson


Bonoff and Johnson at a glance.

Running Across Party Lines by Ben Steverman.

My Intelligent Design Position was Misstated by Judy Johnson.

Editor's note: The report to which Judy Johnson refers was based on her comments at a TwinWest Chamber of Commerce campaign forum Oct. 25, where she was asked about intelligent design and whether it should be taught in the public schools. She says her comments were taken out of context and that she intended to be clear at the forum that she doesn't support teaching intelligent design.

Lloydletta's Nooz Posts

Who is running and who is not

Sen Dean Johnson Drinks the Stadium Koolaid This post addresses rumors of who is running on the Republican side.

Plymouth Open Seat and the Stadium Tax.

Unpleasantness Among Senate District 43 Republicans.

Judy Johnson and Terri Bonoff throw their Hats into the Ring

More Names in the Plymouth Race

Senate District Convention Reports This describes the Republican convention that endorsed Judy Johnson with no opposition, and how Terri Bonoff defeats a DFL opponent in the DFL convention.

Date set for Special Election. Checks and Balances reports on who has filed for the seat.

Senate District 43 Race: Who is in and Who is Out.

Does Judy Johnson Support Intelligent Design Creationism in the Public Schools?

Account of the Chamber of Commerce Forum where this question came up. Matt Abe loses his MOB Teeshirt.

Intelligent Design Creationism Loses Big Time in Elections.

Judy Johnson Running Away from Intelligent Design Creationism.

Intelligent Design is Political Poison in the Plymouth/Minnetonka Special Election.

Listen to the tape and decide for yourself.

Judy Johnson's Answer on tape to Intelligent Design question at the Chamber of Commerce debate.

Account of the League of Minnesota Voters Debate between Terri Bonoff and Judy Johnson. Judy Johnson distances herself from her Chamber of Commerce remarks on Creationism. She claims that the Star Tribune made a mistake and they were going to issue a correction.

Neither Bonoff nor Johnson sign the Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage Pledge.

What will OutFront Minnesota Do about the Senate District 43 Special Election?

Bonoff and Johnson on the Stadium Boondoggle

Terri Bonoff is also unhappy with the Strib coverage of the Senate District 43 race. She has this letter on her website.

From the letter:

The summary section of Wednesday's article didn't address these issues (with the exception of the gas tax as it relates to the broader transportation issue). Instead, the summary focused on what has the highest probability of dividing District 43 - issues involving women's rights, rights of nontraditional couples and the stadium issue.

The summary section of the article dealt with the areas where the candidates differ.

I favor a Twins stadium. As I talk to the voters, I hear that many are opposed to public subsidy for a Twins stadium. I believe it's important to us and our children to keep the Twins in Minnesota, and building an outdoor stadium under the right plan would bring vitality and economic growth to Minneapolis. Other great cities have found creative ways to build stadiums and keep their teams while minimizing public subsidies and without windfalls to wealthy owners. Why can't we?

The bickering on the Twins stadium is yet another example of the pervasive gridlock in state politics today. I will carefully review the terms of the current proposal and approach this with the same tenacious negotiating style I used in business to get the best deal for the citizens of Minnesota, but keep the Twins.

Terri will not be the point person negotiating this. She will be a freshman legislator. The current solution being proposed exempts Hennepin County from the referendum requirements on this. Judy Johnson rightly pointed out during the League of Women Voters debate that municipalities are required to get voter approval to build fire stations and schools. Why should the stadium be exempt from this requirement?

Realistically I doubt there will be a stadium session this late in the year, though never say never. County Commissioner Mike Opat appears ready to throw in the towel on this issue, and he's telling people to blame it all on Tim Pawlenty.

The Twins stadium issue came up, and Opat minced no words. "We need a governor with a backbone," Opat declared. "He started a conversation and he didn't finish it."

The source of Opat's frustration has much to do with Tim Pawlenty's obvious handwringing over the prospect of a special session. Since the legislature wrapped business this summer, Pawlenty has hinted that he would convene lawmakers this fall to deal with three stadium proposals, one each for the Twins, Vikings and Gopher football team.

But Opat also hinted that he hasn't heard from the Governor at all on the issue, and that the Twins were likewise in the dark. Opat negotiated the current proposal with the Twins to build a stadium on a parking lot just north of the Target Center as far back as a year ago. Hennepin County bears most of the costs via a .15 percent sales tax; some figured Pawlenty would go ga-ga over the deal because it involves no state money.

"I believed his heart was in it," Opat said, adding that nobody is really talking seriously about the proposal now. "Maybe it's issue fatigue, I don't know.

"The disaster scenario is that they think we're going to be there next year with this proposal," Opat continued. "But I'm not going to sit across the table from the Twins this spring and tell them we don't have a deal yet. If this doesn't happen, there will have to be a proposal that uses state dollars."

So I think this issue is dead until spring.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Steve Kelley will be Blogging on MyDD Next Tuesday

First Amy Klobuchar blogs at Daily Kos. Now DFL governor candidate, Steve Kelley will be blogging at My DD. This came from Joe, who blogs at Minnesota Campaign Report. Joe advises the Kelley campaign on communications.

Hi all,

I wanted to let as many people as possible know that Steve Kelley will be starting a diary on Although from the outside it very well may appear the Senator's campaign is riding Amy Klobuchar's coattails on to the big national lefty blogs, the campaign has been developing a blog for for several weeks now, and hope to have it up and running within a couple weeks. I'm operating as an advisor on this communications area, and I hope I can entice you all to watch and join in when the diary gets posted. It'll be early next week, I just can't say exactly when it will be - but Steve himself will be in the driver's seat, answering as many questions as possible in the time he has.

This will be interesting. I appreciate candidates that are willing to post without using pseudonyms on blogs.

More details on this will be coming later. Stay tuned.

Bitchy Queens React to Planned Parenthood Hiring LCR's Chris Barron

Earlier this week Lloydletta contributor Mark H posted Log Cabin Republicans Press Release about Chris Barron getting hired by Planned Parenthood as a lobbyist. Mark commented that Planned Parenthood made a smart move here. One that I wish our local gay organization, OutFront Minnesota would emulate. Currently the contract lobbyist with OutFront Minnesota is also the Executive Director of the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action. That's going to make it tougher for him to lobby Republican legislators.

Bruce Carroll aka Gay Patriot posted the Log Cabin Republicans Press Release. The comments made me think of Boys in the Band.

This one is rather typical of what goes on there:

Good bye to a former Edwards for President volunteer - when Patrick is fired this organization may be able to get some traction in the GOP but it won’t happen with these two clowns - now one - running LCR - PG is next -

Patrick never saves email (even ones trashing his board) but someone else has and has delivered them to DC court - the good news is that some board members will soon find out what their golden boy REALLY thinks of them — Tom W, Andy H, Bob K, Bill B and others will want to read it quickly and maybe have a conference call WITHOUT their ed.

Commenter Jimmy has it right:


Is there one organization that doesn’t suffer the blog comments wrath of the armchair conservative homosexuals? Any, at all? Because sometimes it really seems like most of the talk on here could be occuring among that proverbial group of bitchy queens at the end of the gay bar: All bitching, all the time.

Oh, and by the way, I was adopted through Planned Parenthood, an organization that all involved–me, birthparents, parents–greatly appreciate. So I guess that makes me a rabid leftist that uses deceptive language. My birth parents made a choice and my parents made a choice; the former weren’t ready for parenthood, the latter planned for it.

Comment by jimmy — November 17, 2005 @ 12:55 pm - November 17, 2005

Now Bruce Carroll and Dan Blatt at Gay Patriot are giving some unsolicited advice for who Log Cabin Republicans should hire to replace Barron.

Senate District 19 and 43 Voter Guides from the Minnesota Family Council...


What we've all been anxiously waiting to see.

For SD 19, I didn't see the IP candidate, Del Haag, even listed. Doesn't the MFC read the Star Tribune? Mr. Haag got the newspaper's endorsement. The MFC probably doesn't know what to do with an Independence Party candidate, as it wouldn't fit their 'Democrat = Bad', 'Republican (usually) = Good' template.

Or maybe God didn't lead them to send the questions to Mr. Haag.... who knows?

Nominations Being Taken for Weblog Awards

The GLBT category is here.

This is who I nominated:

I second Pam's House Blend:

Moderate Republican:

Eleventh Avenue South:

North Dallas Thirty:

Two local, two out of town.

I also nominated Law Dork for best legal blog:

Tape of Judy Johnson's Answer to Intelligent Design Creationism question on Wendy Wilde's site

I would personally like to see the both Terri Bonoff and Judy Johnson on this issue.

Wendy Wilde has the tape and transcript on her website.

Full transcript

Transcript of Judy Johnson's entire reply to the question of teaching "Intelligent Design" in classrooms
Twin West Chamber of Commerce Debate

Q: Intelligent Design, where should it be taught, if at all and which school class and why?

JJ: For anybody out there who is not sure what that is I bet the people in the education community might know what it is but I will tell you I learned of this term a few weeks ago, so first of all Im going to define it and I hope Terri ????

Intelligent Design is I believe a movement where they are working on um putting in principles of creationism into the classroom um versus evolution. I just wanted to set that up for people who might not know what that is. Ah for me as a candidate and also me as a parent. Education of my children is very important. I have four children in the Wayzata school district and I can say and it (touches?) the curriculum greatly. I think the most important thing for me as a parent of children who are being taught scientific principles is that we give people the option of of learning all different points of view um I personally dont believe in evolution but Ive never been one to say that my children shouldnt be exposed to that in the school system. On the other hand I do believe in creationism and we do teach that at home and I want my children to in a classroom have those kinds of discussions about how did we get here where are we going um how is the world created what are the scientific principles behind it what are the (things?) we cant explain ah that go into ah science and our whole world so this is something I'm learning a lot about right now because I believe there are political attachments to all of this um for me its just something where I think we need to teach all points of view

To Judy's credit, she calls Intelligent Design what it is: "putting the principles of creationism into the classroom vs evolution." The Discovery Institute tries to deny that Intelligent Design is creationism. There are no scientific principles behind creationism. Judy shows a real lack of knowledge of science classes. It's not a "point of view" or belief that matters in science. It's what the evidence shows. The current scare about the Avian flu is an application of evolutionary theory. The fear is the Avian flu virus will mutate in a way so it can affect human hosts.

Terri's answer was something like this: "These discussions should occur at home, in a private religious schools. I do not believe we should be teaching religion in public schools."

In my opinion, neither candidate addressed the question about where creationism should be taught. Personally I think it's appropriate to discuss the political debate over this issue in a history class, or the current political debate in a civics class.

It is good that Judy is now backtracking on her answer, and stating clearly that she does not want Intelligent Design creationism added to science curriculum.

I hope Wendy will make Terri's answer available. Voters deserve to hear the answers from both candidates.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tape of Judy Johnson's answer to the Intelligent Design Question on Wendy Wilde's Show

The soap opera continues in the Senate District 43 Plymouth/Minnetonka state senate race.

Tomorrow morning on Wendy Wilde the tape of Judy Johnson answering the ID question at the Chamber of Commerce will be played. I hear they were playing promos on this all day today.

Matt Abe reports that this issue was used by the DFL in a mailer to voters in the district. This was done independently of Terri Bonoff's campaign.

I think the tape of both Terri Bonoff and Judy Johnson at this debate will settle the question once and for all.

What this flyer conveniently neglects to mention is that Johnson also said at that forum that she would leave this issue up to local school boards to decide. Anyone who has had a three-minute conversation in the hall with Johnson knows that she is new to the intelligent design debate. She believes what she believes, but she is far from an ideological boogeyman (boogeywoman?) to be feared by Darwin fundamentalists and secular extremists. She would rather talk about local government aid, public safety, and property taxes.

Johnson expresses her beliefs without "imposing" them on anyone. Regardless of her views, the question is moot: the state Academic Standards for Science have been written and approved by the Legislature. Hypothetical questions on hot-button topics such as intelligent design, "conceal carry" legislation (old news, already in statute), and abortion (federal law), can be hyped to distract voters from more relevant issues like proven leadership, knowledge, and experience in government.

Terri Bonoff doesn't need red herrings to win; voters are smarter than that anyway. To her credit, campaign lit published so far by Bonoff's campaign (as opposed to the DFL party) takes the high road by focusing on her strengths in the business world, and her legislative interests like education and health care reform.

Both Terri and Judy are talking to each other and trying to run an above the board campaign on the issues. The anti-gay Minnesota Family Council has sent a piece of literature out there. I'm hoping to get a copy of what they sent out.

Matt of NorthStar Liberty is incorrect about this being a non-issue in a state legislative race. Science Standards can come up again in legislative business. It's interesting that Judy Johnson's stand on abortion is working against her. Abortion issues regularly come before the state legislature. Roe v Wade could well be overturned. That would throw the issue back to the states - which is just what most state legislators don't want.

Another Matt from the liberal blog, MNPublius goes too far in demonizing Johnson.

Bonoff seems a pretty moderate Democrat but Johnson, boy howdy, this lady is a bit of a nut case. This is a really interesting race because the district has been traditionally Republican territory but is close to flipping and tracking puts this race as an almost dead-even 50-50 race right now.

My biggest beef with Judy Johnson? Well, besides the fact that she's been disaster for the balancing books in Plymouth during her time as mayor there, she is a staunch supporter kicking evolution out of public schools. I'm sorry, but if you think evolution should not be taught you are obviously too stupid to be a representative of the people. If you want to teach the theory of intelligent design in English class or maybe in philosophy class, that's great, but for science, we teach science here. The gap between us and our foreign competitors in sciences and math has gotten out of control and I'm not about to make it bigger by endorsing any pea-brained idiot who doesn't realize that the Theory of Evolution is established scientific fact. Even the Vatican has supported it as fact.

Judy never said she wants to kick evolution out of the public schools. She talked about personally believing in creationism, and that her kids religious beliefs should be respected. Judy's response to the question was problematic and she clearly has no memory of her science classes when she was in high school. She told me she had decided against Nursing because of the science involved (I believe it was chemistry that weeded her out). In science classes kids don't talk about religious beliefs. Scientific theories and evidence is taught. There's also lab work - that is very critical. Judy's "correction" in the Star Tribune on this topic parrots Discovery Institute talking points.

About three weeks ago, in the Twin West Chamber of Commerce candidate debate, Judy Johnson stated that she did not believe in evolution and thinks intelligent design or creationism should be taught in public schools (sorry about the 1st amendment Judy, bummer). The Star Tribune reported this in their candidate profile and Johnson tried to retract the statement (sorry, it's on tape).

I don't have problems with this paragraph. This meshes with my memory of the exchange.

Judy Johnson is no Leviticus Crowd wackjob like Michele Bachmann. The problem is that wingnuts like Michele Bachmann, Arlon Lindner (who no longer serves) and Dave Eaton, Minnetonka's creationist school board member is giving a bad name to republicans in the western suburbs.

Judy's support of the Bachmann amendment is also being used against her. The Bachmann amendment bans gay unions, not just gay marriage. Judy was concerned about how far the amendment went, but evidently decided to support it anyway. She would have corrected the Star Tribune on this point, if they were incorrect on this one.

Northstar Liberty Matt has got an excellent account of the League of Women Voters forum.

Matt has also turned on comment moderation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Intelligent Design Creationism is Political Poison in the Plymouth/Minnetonka Special Election

As it should be.

From the strib:

My 'intelligent design' position was misstated
My View Judy Johnson

In the Star Tribune West candidate profile for the Nov. 22 Senate District 43 race that was published last week, there was misinformation about an issue that I'd like to clarify and correct.

It stated that I am "open to the idea of teaching intelligent design" in public schools as an alternative to evolution. This statement is false.

I only became aware of this issue a few weeks ago in the campaign. My statements have not indicated that I support the teaching of intelligent design. As a mother of four in Wayzata schools, I have never supported this type of curriculum in our public school district. The reporter drew assumptions and conclusions on this issue without checking back with me.

When asked by voters during the campaign about this, I have made it clear that I do not support the Legislature mandating that intelligent design be taught in public schools.

There are many important issues that I will pursue if elected to the Senate, which include public safety, transportation, ending unfunded mandates, promoting transparency in taxation, improving education and accountability in schools, promoting job growth, supporting local control and working on behalf of critical environmental issues.

As mayor of Plymouth and as League of Minnesota Cities president, I have a strong reputation of leadership in bringing people together to work on the issues most Minnesotans care about. As a small business person, I know about watching the bottom line. As a fiscal conservative, I'vee worked hard to see that tax dollars are spent wisely.

This will continue to be my charge if elected.

Judy Johnson is mayor of Plymouth and the Republican candidate for state Senate in District 43.

I heard Judy's comments at the Twin West Chamber forum, and in my opinion, the Strib reported it correctly. I'm hoping that a tape of the comments will surface. A tape and transcript of the comments will allow the voters to decide for themselves. Judy's statement is similar to Discovery Institute Talking Points on this topic. The Discovery Institute advises candidates to support "teaching the controversy" about evolution rather than teaching intelligent design creationism. For example at a recent panel on Intelligent Design, Mark Ryland from the Discovery Institute said:

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.

The Star Tribune stands by their story.

Editor's note: The report to which Judy Johnson refers was based on her comments at a TwinWest Chamber of Commerce campaign forum Oct. 25, where she was asked about intelligent design and whether it should be taught in the public schools. She says her comments were taken out of context and that she intended to be clear at the forum that she doesn't support teaching intelligent design.

In this case they should stand by their story. I hope that a tape of the remarks surfaces. That will settle the question.

Great Political Strategy by Planned Parenthood

Speaking only for myself, I am completely neutral on questions of choice and reproductive freedoms. I have an understanding and empathy for both sides of the debate, and don't let the question influence my voting decisions.

With that disclaimer, it sounds like Planned Parenthood made a very savvy hire with Chris Barron, formerly with the Log Cabin Republicans. They found somebody who already has an established network of contacts in the Republican caucuses. Those are the lawmakers who need to be persuaded when it comes to setting policies on reproductive issues and key judical appointments.

From the LCR Press release:

Log Cabin Announces Departure of Political Director
Barron to Lead Republican Outreach Efforts for Planned Parenthood(Washington, DC) -

“Log Cabin Republicans thank Chris Barron for his loyal and professional service to this organization. He has been a huge asset to Log Cabin and we wish him the best in his new position. Chris has helped us achieve important progress in making the conservative case for gay and lesbian equality,” said Log Cabin President Patrick Guerriero.

Chris Barron joined Log Cabin as Political Director in February of 2004. He coordinated Log Cabin’s lobbying efforts to defeat the anti-family Federal Marriage Amendment. Barron also implemented a GOP lobby strategy for HIV/AIDS funding, hate crimes legislation, federal employment non-discrimination legislation, and legislation repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Early next month, Barron will join the Planned Parenthood Federation of America as the head of Republican outreach efforts.

“Over the past 2 years, Chris Barron was on the front lines fighting for an inclusive GOP, fueling Log Cabin’s unprecedented growth across America, and fighting to defend our families from attacks by the voices of intolerance,” said Guerriero.

Craig Westover: Same Sex Marriage Should be a Conservative Objective

The Pioneer Press has an excellent conservative columnist, Craig Westover. This is in marked contrast to the Star Tribune, who has a "conservative columnist" who writes predictable regurgitated talking point drivel easily reduced to Haiku. Kersten's recent column promoting the Pastor's Summit required a correction. A while back Kersten regurginated one of Michele Bachmann's accounts of Bathroomgate and the hiding in the bushes incident.

Craig's Pioneer Press column today dealt with same sex marriage (he has had three or four columns in the Pioneer Press previously on the topic). I'd encourage Dump Bachmann readers to write letters to the editor at Pioneer Press responding to this column. Craig has it absolutely right. Contrast Craig Westover with leading Democratic Governor candidate, Mike Hatch, who was recently quoted in the Pioneer Press saying "As far as I know, we have identical positions on gay marriage. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman" referring to Hatch and Pawlenty.

From the column:

One man and one woman embraced. Another woman wept rapturous tears. A man bowed his head, his lips moving in silent prayer. Others, with arms uplifted, swayed to processional piano music as 250 clergy members — men and women, black and white, Protestant, Catholic and Jew — filed forward pledging to protect God's definition of marriage with man's constitutional amendment — one man, one woman.

The closing tableau of last week's day-long Pastors' Summit at Grace Church in Eden Prairie symbolized the unifying strength of faith in a higher power. In that time, in that place, a rare bond existed among people diverse in race and religion. At such moments, America is at its best — and its most terrifying.

"When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies... be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee," was the afternoon session opening scripture.

Like a house built on sand, the pastors' combative view of same-sex marriage is built on a shifting foundation of fear and misconception. Fear begets abandonment of spirituality in favor of dogma. Absolute fear misconceives the nature of its enemies. Degrading marriage to legal formality destroys the very sacrament the summit pastors pledged to defend.

Governments do not ordain sacraments. In rejecting insertion of the name "Jesus Christ" into the Virginia Bill for Religious Liberty, James Madison argued not from disbelief, but that "better proof of reverence for the holy name would be not to profane it by making it a topic of legislative discussion." Ought marriage in His name be regarded less?

Mark H (who contributes to both DB and Lloydletta's Nooz) A commenter asks a good question.

One of the most interesting aspects of this whole 'debate' is the way in which the conservative voices position 'traditional marriage' (and by extension the Christian conservative movement) as the real victim. As far as I can tell, not one human or civil right belonging to conservatives is threatened by the possible legitimation of same-sex marriage. But numerous rights currently enjoyed by same-sex and different-sex couples ARE threatened in every state that enacts a constitutional ban with a 'no equivalency' clause, as has been the case in Ohio and is proposed for Minnesota. How can a movement which controls the legislative and executive branches of the most powerful nation on earth (and many of its state legislatures and administrations) claim to be an oppressed minority? Saying it makes it so, I guess.

This romanticizing victimization argument by the left has always bothered me. I find it ironic that the Leviticus Crowd has picked up on that argument.

CORRECTION: I attributed a comment on this blog to Mark H, which was not his. There is a post titled "Conservatives are an oppressed minority" on Prodigal Sheep blog that is similar to the comment.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Judy Johnson Running Away from Intelligent Design Creationism

I went to last night's debate between Minnetonka/Plymouth State Senate candidates, Judy Johnson and Terri Bonoff. During her opening statement Johnson mentioned that the strib story on the race got it wrong about Johnson supporting Intelligent Design creationism being taught in public schools. Johnson said she had never pushed for that. According to Johnson the strib will issue a correction on the story tomorrow. In my opinion, the strib has no need to correct the story. They were describing what Judy Johnson had said during the debate at the chamber of commerce. Johnson opened her mouth and inserted her foot in her answer to a question on Intelligent Design.

I'll post a more detailed summary of this debate later this week.

A Minnetonka School Board member is on edge because the group, Tonka Focus has been getting the word out for Minnetonka School Board races. He attacked Tonka Focus at a recent school board meeting. Tonka Focus has been exposing the Minnetonka candidates who support Intelligent Design Creationism. Other issues that Tonka Focus covers include the controversy over the International Baccalaureate program. The Edwatch types in Minnetonka are not happy over that program.

All of this shows that support for Intelligent Design Creationism is political poison.

Amy Klobuchar Guest Blogs on Daily Kos

Here. Will other Minnesota statewide DFL candidates follow suit?

Plan B and the FDA

A funny thing happened on the way to approval for an over-the- counter morning after pill. Two newspapers, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, have reported on the shennanigans at the FDA regarding the "morning after pill".

They both assert that ideology trumped science when the FDA refused to allow these sales. Its own investigators, three separate FDA offices and two panels of outside advisors recommended approval.

Both papers say that mid level managers were notified by "superiors" that easing access to Plan B "could not be approved". This from a beaucracy that prides itself on data driven decisions. Wonder what is next; or what has been approved that shouldn't have; or what else hasn't been approved that should have.

Aside from the fact that this is the Food and Drug Administration; its job is to make certain that what we are taking is safe. It's job is not to eliminate paper trails, as alleged by both papers. Routine deletion of e mails, non retention of memos and other documents is alleged to have happened. If an MD or a Lawyer did this licenses would be lifted and/or denied.

This is a lot more serious than making it impossible to have easy access to this drug.

This is control, in all its ugliness.

If Plan B is continued as a prescription only drug, pharmacists would continue to be able to act outside their licence, e.g. practise medicine, by refusing to fill a lawful prescription.

Once again, control over one's life would be grabbed by some one else, someone who knows nothing about you but wants to punush you because in their eyes you are evil.

Well, I have news for them. The evil ones are those who would control.

Laughter is good for the soul

I just read that a long time fund raiser for the Republican party asked Governor Pawlenty why the party did not soften its mean anti choice message and drop its opposition to same sex marriage (There is already a law on the books that prohibits it). He was certain more Republicans would be elected.

I am still laughing. How naive.

Cervical Cancer: Vacination or Death

Cervical Cancer kills. There is a type that primarily hits younger women, including teen age girls. There is a vacine against it.

Apprantly this presents some sort of dilemma for the righteous fundamentalists among us. If I understand correctly, they would deny this vaccine to teen age girls even though they are in the "at risk" group. Their worry is that somehow sex among teen age girls would increase because this protection is possible.

I guess that disqualifies them from being in favor of life. I have thought so all along, but this really tells me how crazy they are.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Big Trouble for Little Audrey?

Minneapolis school board member Audrey Johnson has accumulated $29,000 in debt for medical insurance premiums that should have been deducted from her district paycheck.

See the Strib coverage on this here.

Through the Minneapolis Issues list, I asked if the school district has an internal audit department or is subject to an external audit, from either the state or a private CPA firm. Steve Brandt, the reporter on the original Strib article, responded:

I do not believe that MPS has an internal auditor. The district does have internal controls, as many large organizations do. These are designed to provide a measure of internal check on uwarranted expenditures. But their effectiveness depends on the controls, how well the finance and budget departments are staffed, and whether higher-ups heed what these departments recommend. Outside auditors have told the district previously that it is understaffed in the finance area, and I believe there were some hires there earlier this year.

An internal audit is no substitute for an outside audit. The difficulty with outside auditing, as I understand it, is that it is an effort to check on typical transactions on a sample basis. The goal for an auditor is to be able to say whether these representatrive transactions indicate that the financial statements either fairly represent the finances of the organization, or that the auditor is not confident that they do. Auditors also suggest procedures that will strengthen financial controls or financial health. State and federal auditors also audit grants to the district.

Just like reporters, auditors also benefit from tips on things to look into. My strong impression is that previous outside audits didn't uncover this issue. I'm confident that Deloitte Touche, the district's outside auditor, is now aware of this issue. The internal memo that raised the issue about Audrey Johnson's health insurance premiums was written in May of this year. The audit for that fiscal year ended in June typically is presented in December or January. Often, related party transactions involving the officer or director of a private corporation are disclosed in SEC or other filings, and the same obligation is imposed on government agencies, according to accountants whom I consulted. However, the threshold for mandating the reporting of them is "materiality," which can be a slippery concept.

Those who want to view the district's most recent outside audit may do so here.

I also got some background information from another CPA who has many years of experience in government accounting/auditing and employee benefits. When this person worked for a major benefit provider with ties to the district, they realized the district staff was not properly reconciling the payroll deduction information. The vendor actually had to step in and convince the district to tighten the internal controls.

To me, the bottom line is this - as a member of the school board, Audrey Johnson has it in her power to fire any of the people involved with this mess. When an elected official is allowed, intentionally or not, to accumulate a $29,000 personal debt, we have a serious conflict of interest question. I'm less concerned about the original error happening, than the fact nobody took ownership of the problem and solved it. Now, it's yet another embarrasing mess for the school district, and it makes this accountant wonder what else is wrong over there.

Mike Hatch Using John Kerry's Line on Gay Marriage

From the Pie n Ear Press:

"As far as I know, we have identical positions on gay marriage. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman," he [Mike Hatch] said. But he declined to support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that Pawlenty backs.

If Hatch is the Democratic nominee, this quote would be a great ad for Lavender. Hatch will want to get different messages to different audiences on this one. Let's not forget that Hatch used an anti-gay campaign against John Marty when he opposed him in the DFL primary in 1994. In that campaign he attacked Marty for his public support of domestic partnership benefits.

Hat Tip: Michael Brodkorb.

Kennedy Getting Grief from Base on ANWR

King Banaian defends Kennedy and links to strong criticism from that pompous windbag Hugh Hewitt among others.

Kate Parry should ask the Strib IT Department for Help

My good friend Lloydletta sent feedback to the Reader's Rep at the Strib re: KK's column about Canada, and got the exact same response as me, only she got it sooner. I hadn't seen Kate's Sunday column before sending her helpful advice.

Note to Kate - find an IT geek who can compose an automated response to future e-mailers. It could save you a lot of time, since you seem to use the same 'pat on the head' language over and over.

From: "ReaderRep ReaderRep">
Subject: Re: Katherine Kersten - an embarassment to conversatives
in Minnesota
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 11:00:55 -0600

Thanks for taking the time to write to me about
the ideas in my column. Even
when a reader and I don't entirely agree, I enjoy
reading the debate and I represent them in my daily report to the editors at
the afternoon news meeting. That's what I'll be doing with your
thoughts today. Have a good

Kate Parry
Reader's Representative

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Santorum Reverses Himself on IDiocy


BEAVER FALLS - U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Saturday that he doesn't believe that intelligent design belongs in the science classroom.

Santorum's comments to The Times are a shift from his position of several years ago, when he wrote in a Washington Times editorial that intelligent design is a "legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in the classroom."

But on Saturday, the Republican said that, "Science leads you where it leads you."

Santorum was in Beaver Falls to present Geneva College President Kenneth A. Smith with a $1.345 million check from federal funds for renovations that include the straightening and relocation of Route 18 through campus.

Santorum's comments about intelligent design come at a time when the belief that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power, an alternative to the theory of evolution, has come under fire on several fronts.

A federal trial just wrapped up in which eight families sued Dover Area School District in eastern Pennsylvania. The district's school board members tried to introduce teaching intelligent design into the classroom, but the families said the policy violated the constitutional separation of church and state.

No ruling has been issued on the trial, but Tuesday, all eight Dover School Board members up for re-election were ousted by voters, leading to a fiery tirade by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson.

Robertson warned residents, "If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected him from your city."

Santorum said flatly Saturday, "I disagree. I don't believe God abandons people," and said he has not spoken to Robertson about his comments.

Though Santorum said he believes that intelligent design is "a legitimate issue," he doesn't believe it should be taught in the classroom, adding that he had concerns about some parts of the theory.

Earlier this summer, President Bush said he favored teaching intelligent design in the classroom.

With Santorum running for re-election next year, and with Bush and the Republican Party taking some significant hits in public confidence in recent months, Santorum insisted he is not trying to distance himself from Bush.

Santorum said he still supports President Bush, even though on Friday, he said in Philadelphia that mistakes had been made in the Iraq war, and that at least a portion of the blame lies with the White House.

Saturday, Santorum said of Bush, "I don't agree with everything he does," but said that overall, he considers Bush a good president and that he has "done a lot" for the country and for Santorum himself.

On the Iraq war, Santorum said he's talked to troops who have returned from overseas and that they've told him U.S. troops have had to change tactics based on what the enemy has done.

Santorum said that no matter how the war is going, the country should continue to support the troops.

Santorum's double digits behind his democratic opponent in the polls. He's trying to backtrack on all sorts of things.

Pastors Debate Bachmann Amendment on Almanac

It's a good debate. Pastor Tom Brock from Hope Lutheran Church, the Bachmann amendment supporter talks about polygamy, and incest discussing the issue. I suppose I should be happy he didn't mention "man on dog". I thought the pastor opposing the Bachmann amendment, Tom Donley from University Baptist Church did quite well. It really irritated the Bachmann amendment supporter that a pastor opposed this amendment. Later on the Almanac political panel, Sen. Geoff Michel is on the political panel giving support to the Bachmann amendment. The Democrats on the panel - Ember Reighgott Junge and Blois Olson tried to avoid the issue. Ember Reichgott Junge said she believes the amendment would pass. Blois Olson suggested that the amendment might fail, and argued that the amendment would be bad for business.

Spotty Parrys Parry


Step right up Kate . . .

Kate Parry that is. Parry makes her first appearance on the Cucking School today. Let’s give her a big stool of repentance welcome! Kate is the reader’s representative at the Star Tribune newspaper, and today she mounted a spirited but largely ineffective defense of Katie. Katie is of course Spot’s pet name for Katherine Kersten, which he is loathe to abandon, so between Kate and Katie, this might get complicated, gentle readers. Spotty recommends attentiveness.

By the way, if you were going to invent a character in a novel whose job it was to deflect reader complaints to a newspaper, you would name her Ms. Parry, wouldn't you? Sort of like Premiere Kisoff in Dr. Strangelove.

Spotty points out that he hasn't used software to detect Kersten's plagiarism.

Add lazy to incurious. Katie is willing to lift entire sections of a column from other sources, as Spotty demonstrated in his post Conservative Reverb. And by the way Katie, no Kate, if this is the post you are referring to when writing about putting Katie’s columns through plagiarism software, you are quite mistaken. Spot found those similarities the old fashioned way. It wasn’t that hard.

Read the whole thing. Spotty does a good job.

Strib Reader's Rep Misses the Point on Katherine Kersten

Lloydletta contributor Mark Hanson urged readers to sent email to the Star Tribune urging them to fire Kersten and hire a talented conservative voice to espouse the conservative take on issues for the twin cities/region section. After reading Kate Parry's pathetic defense of Katherine Kersten's latest drivel, I got motivated.

Here's what I emailed to Kate Parry (

Dear Ms Parry:

I like to see the various views published in the strib. I just would like to see a better representative of conservative thought than Katherine Kersten. Katherine Kersten doesn't get beyond the parroting of social conservative think tank talking points. I've yet to see a column of hers that has shown anything close to showing original thought. Craig Westover's columns in the Pioneer Press are clearly superior to Kersten's drivel in the strib in this regard. Westover takes on many liberal sacred cows, but unlike Kersten gives thoughtful, well researched, and original arguments. In addition, I'd like to see Kersten fact check her work, which she clearly didn't do in this latest instance, prompting the strib to issue a correction.

Kate Parry writes: Kersten believes the people who've contacted me in protest about her column would prefer her ideas "shouldn't see the light of day." Most Minnesotans, she said, agree with her on the topic (a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll in May showed 52 percent of adults in Minnesota opposed gay and lesbian legal unions. Thirty-eight percent approved).

Did you go to the original poll and review it before writing this column? It's worth fact checking Kersten on this poll - did the poll say that 52 percent of adults opposed legal protections for gay relationships, or did they oppose "gay marriage"? There is a difference. Which Strib/Minnesota Poll is being referred to - and what were the question asked? It's always a good idea to fact check things that come from Katherine Kersten as a source, rather than take what she says at face value. It's also perfectly acceptable to look for plagiarism in Kersten's columns. A previous column of hers on gay marriage was quite similar to a Maggie Gallagher column on the same topic.

My question for Katherine Kersten is why just talk about Canada to straw man arguments to use against gay marriage. The "hate speech" law in Canada that Kersten refers to would be unconstitutional in the US (Kersten is referred to the first amendment). Let's look east at Massachusetts where gays are allowed to marry - Massachusetts ranks 49th in divorce. Why not talk about the real challenges to marriage in this country, rather than trying to scapegoat gays?

Katherine Kersten's response to all this is whining and playing the victim card - which changes the subject. This is something that some in the left use regularly, and Kersten copies that tactic hook, line and sinker. You allow her to get away with that, rather than challenging Kersten to go on the record about the strib clarification of her recent column.

Mary Jane Knoll had written an email to the Reader's Representative complaining about Kersten's column being opinion. Ann DeGroot from OutFront Minnesota agreed. From OutFront Minnesota E News (republished on Lloydletta here).

I agree with what you have to say about this column being opinion, not news. The more people who let the Star Tribune know this, the better. We are coordinating additional responses to this article.

Both MJ and Ann miss the point on this. Katherine Kersten is an opinion columnist in the metro section. Doug Grow and Nick Coleman are both liberal opinion columnists for the same section. I don't have problems with Katherine Kersten's column being opinion. I do have a problem with Kersten making no effort to get local comment, and perspective for a metro column. Both Nick Coleman and Doug Grow interview local people for their metro columns, then use those interviews as a jumping off point to express their opinions.

Sun Nov 13 2005 09:17:22 ET

From the Drudge Report

Dem Chair Dean Ducks Last Second Joint MEET THE PRESS Appearance With GOP Chair Mehlman

The DRUDGE REPORT has learned from exclusive sources that Democrat Party Chair Howard Dean turned down Republican Party Chair Ken Mehlman’s last minute offer to appear together on NBC’s MEET THE PRESS this morning.

Moments before taping was to begin with host Tim Russert, Mehlman asked Dean outside the NBC studio’s green room: “There’s still time for us to go on together Governor.” Dean declined with a shrug of his shoulders and an uncomfortable cackle and then proceeded to walk away into the green room.

DRUDGE has learned MEET THE PRESS producers have been working to get a head to head Dean/Mehlman appearance on the program since Dean was named chair back in February. Dean and his handlers have repeatedly turned down the request. The former Vermont governor only agreed to do this week’s program if they appeared in back-to-back interviews.

Mehlman brought up Dean’s unwillingness to appear alongside him during the show: “I was hoping that Chairman Dean would be on sitting next to me this morning. Maybe we can do that on a future program. Look, he's somebody I've enjoyed getting to know. We meet in a lot of green rooms….”

Tim Russert: “We invited him -- do you have a question for him?”

Former Dem Party Chair Terry McAuliffe participated in regular head-to-head appearances with his Republican counterparts during his tenure from ‘01 to ‘05. McAuliffe went head-to-head with Republican chairmen at least five times on MEET THE PRESS alone, going up against past GOP chairs Ed Gillespie (twice), Marc Racicot (twice) and Jim Gilmore (once).

This weekend on ABC’s THIS WEEK the Democrat heads of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), Sen. Chuck Schumer, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Rep. Rahm Emanuel, both appeared head-to-head with their Republican committee counterparts Sen. Elizabeth Dole and Rep. Tom Reynolds.