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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Senate District 15 Races

There will be no primary election. From the St Cloud Times:

No need for area to stage primary
By Lawrence Schumacher

There wont be a primary before two St. Cloud-area legislative special elections set for Dec. 27.

Three candidates filed by the 5 p.m. Thursday deadline for the District 15 Senate seat being vacated by St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis: Independence Party candidate Dan Becker, DFL candidate Tarryl Clark and Republican candidate Dan Ox Ochsner.

Two candidates filed for the District 15B House seat that Rep. Joe Opatz is resigning: Republican candidate Sue Ek and DFL candidate Larry Haws.

Clark and Haws filed Thursday. Because neither of the races saw more than one candidate per party, a Dec. 13 primary will not be necessary.

Senate District 15 includes Rockville, St. Augusta,St. Cloud, Waite Park and Haven Township. House District 15B covers the urban core of St. Cloud on both sides of the Mississippi River and Haven Township.

Haws is a Stearns County commissioner who was first elected in 1998, and re-elected twice. He is a retired parks and recreation director for St. Cloud and a newcomer to DFL politics.

Ek is the executive director of St. Paul-based BOMA-USA, a natural family planning nonprofit organization. It is her first run for public office, but she has been involved in Republican Party politics in the past.

Ochsner is a radio talk-show host and programming director making his first run for public office.

He is the chairman of the St. Cloud Area Convention and Visitors Bureau advisory board.

Clark is the executive director of the Minnesota Community Action Association, a nonprofit that helps families with housing, employment and transportation.

She also is a lawyer, board member of the St. Cloud Housing and Redevelopment Authority and former associate chairwoman of the Minnesota DFL Party. She ran for state Senate in 2000 and 2002.

Becker is a state-licensed alcohol and chemical dependency counselor who runs group homes in the area. He ran for Congress in 2002 and for St. Cloud City Council in 2003 and this year.

Candidates who have filed for office can withdraw their candidacy with the Secretary of States office until 5 p.m. today.

I was wondering whether the Ox would be able to run and keep his radio show. From the KNSI Radio website:

"Hot Talk with the Ox" remains on the air, but just without the Ox!

With Ox's announcement of his candidacy for the Senate District 15 seat---OX will be off the air until after the December 27th election. KNSI has dug deep searching every corner of the globe looking for a suitable replacement. While there is no suitable replacement, this is the best we could do.

St. Cloud City Council member Steve Gottwalt and Pat Ebertz have graciously accepted to keep the seat warm for OX until he returns. As you have probably heard---they are doing more than just keeping the seat warm---it’s beginning to catch on fire!! Check them out Monday through Friday 6:00am until 9:00am.

Larry Haws
Tarryl Clark
Sue Ek
Dan Ochsner

KNSI to Broadcast First Live Debate Between 4 House & Senate Candidates

You'll be able to hear from the four candidates running for two open seats in the state legislature as they prepare for their first debate. KNSI will bring you live coverage of the first debate between the candidates.

Democrat Tarryl Clark and Republican candidate Dan "the Ox" Ochsner are running for the Senate District 15 seat vacated by Dave Kleis. Running for the House seat formerly held by Joe Opatz are Republican Sue Ek and Democrat Larry Haws.

The debate will happen on December 9, 2005 from 7:30 in the morning until nine o'clock. It's hosted by the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce and KNSI will carry the debate live.

This should be interesting. I wonder if there will be an Intelligent Design question at that debate.

Lloydletta's Nooz contributor, Mark H surveyed the candidates for this St Cloud race.

There will be a second forum on December 17 sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the St Cloud Times:

St. Cloud-area voters can learn about the candidates for seats in an upcoming legislative special election at a public forum Dec. 17.

The League of Women Voters of the St. Cloud area and the St. Cloud Times are sponsoring it. The forum will feature candidates for the District 15 Senate race at 9 a.m. and candidates for the District 15B House race at 10:30 a.m. in the council chambers at St. Cloud City Hall.

Senate District 15 includes Rockville, St. Augusta, St. Cloud, Waite Park and Haven Township. House District 15B covers the urban core of St. Cloud on both sides of the Mississippi River and Haven Township.

It will be broadcast live on cable channel 19.

Both of these will be interesting.

The Most Footly of Learnedness Is Angry


It seems that the Kool Aid Report has become an embarrassment to Mark Kennedy.

Ofcourse this was after MN Publius played a practical joke on the Dayton v Kennedy blog. The successor to Dayton v Kennedy, Kennedy v the Machine made this about "Klobuchar bloggers" when they blogged about this here and here. This fracas made the National Journal. Michael Brodkorb aka MDE and Republican Minnesota also made this about Amy Klobuchar.

Signs of American Decline in Science

PZ Myers points out an excellent strib editorial.

Fallout from the corruption of secular science by the Bush administration and its religious allies continues to pile up. The latest is a particularly harmful blow: Two of the world's best geneticists will leave the National Cancer Institute and move not to Stanford University, which had heavily recruited them, but to Singapore's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology. The reason is simple: They will face far fewer restrictions on their research, which involves stem cells.

Neal Copeland and Nancy Jenkins are a husband-wife research team. They are famous for developing methods that identify cancer-causing genes, work completed during their three decades at the Cancer Institute. Their ultimate goal is to develop drugs to block those genes; in effect, they seek a cure for cancer. They're leaving the institute because of restrictions on the use of stem cells imposed by the Bush administration. They had hoped to move to Stanford to take advantage of the $3 billion fund California voters approved for stem-cell research that circumvents the federal restrictions. Unfortunately, lawsuits by antiabortion groups have held up use of those funds. Thus the move to Singapore, where they will join geneticist Edison Liu, also formerly of the Cancer Institute.

The United States is accustomed to being the beneficiary of brain drains, but in the biological sciences that has now been reversed because of the unreasonable restrictions imposed on the use of embryonic stem cells for research. The irony in this is staggering: To prevent researchers from using surplus embryos from fertility clinics -- already slated for destruction -- opponents will forgo willingly the promise of cures for cancers and assorted other diseases that afflict millions of human beings. There are ethical considerations in this research, but they can easily be answered, if opponents were willing to engage in a dialogue. But they're not; despite their self-identification as "prolife," they'd rather see the stem cells in surplus embryos killed than kept alive and used in scientific research that might help heal people in the future.

The University of Minnesota will do embryonic stem cell research using private funds. There is a policy in place to make sure that there are ethical guidelines, and also to make sure that private funds are used.

In reaction to this, Tim Wilkin in Eagan, one of the worst legislators in the body introduced this nonsense.

1.9 An individual or entity conducting research using human
1.10 embryos or human embryonic stem cells is not eligible for state
1.11 funding of any kind and for any purpose. This restriction on
1.12 funding does not apply if an individual or entity conducts
1.13 research using human embryonic stem cell lines eligible for
1.14 federal research funding and listed on the Human Embryonic Stem
1.15 Cell Registry established by the National Institutes of Health,
1.16 and does not conduct research using human embryos or other human
1.17 embryonic stem cell lines.

This nonsensical bill attracted a number of authors:

Wilkin; Otremba; Howes; Holberg; Koenen; Dill; Abeler; Krinkie; Seifert; Finstad; Jacobson; Borrell; Klinzing; Gerlach; Vandeveer; Fuller; Olson, M.; Adolphson; Penas; Anderson, B.; Lindner; Powell; Hackbarth; Erickson; Johnson, J.; Cornish; Nornes; Severson; Smith; Kohls; Eastlund; DeLaForest; Westerberg; Soderstrom

Some of the authors, such as Duke Powell, Tom Hackbarth and attorney general candidate Jeff Johnson should know better. Others are predictable. For example the know nothing, outspoken creationist, Karen Klinzing is a co-author. The notorious and recently defeated Arlon Lindner is also listed.

It Goes Without Saying. . .

From Whine in the Dark:

Open Letter To "Inside Minnesota Politics"

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In protest against your specious attempt to file suit against Minnesota Democrats Exposed, I must insist that you put my name on your blogroll... that I can insist that you remove it immediately.

Your prompt attention to both of these matters will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance and further in advance,

Mitch Berg
One of a whole lot of your new detractors.

Perhaps the reason Inside Minnesota Politics never had Mitch's blog on his blogroll is because it's not a place to get political news and gossip. It's a great place to read parroted talking points, recycled spin, whining and the occasional meltdown. I read Mitch's pompous bloviatings when I want a good laugh.

Michael Brodkorb, Republican Minnesota, Kennedy v the Machine, First Ring, Residual Forces and North Star Liberty are good places to get insider Republican material, along with spin.

Then MNPublius, Minnesota GOP Watch, DFL Senate, DFL Blog, and Minnesota Campaign Report and new patriot are good places for democratic insider material, with the spin.

Unsubstantiated gossip from Edina.....

Liquor fueled scuttlebutt from western suburb DFL activists suggests that Geoff Michel is eyeing the 06 governor's race.

That only makes sense if Mark Kennedy steps out of the US Senate race, and Pawlenty gets into that fracas.

Otherwise, I don't see Geoff Michel wanting to upset the apple cart at this stage in his career.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Reader Response: Do Not Give Up on All MN Democrats

by Eileen Scallen

Do not give up on the Democrats. Really.

State Sen. Steve Kelley is also a candidate for the Democratic endorsement. He is a moderate Democrat who is adamantly opposed to the proposed state constitutional amendment. He is also the brother of Jim Kelley, who is the President of GLBT Pride/Twin Cities.

Sen. Kelley stood with GLBT Pride/Twin Cities (both physically and politically) at the press conference in December, 2004, when GLBT Pride/Twin Cities announced its civil rights complaint against the Mpls Star Tribune for refusing to publish an advertisement that contained a same-sex kiss, while publishing numerous advertisements with opposite sex kisses (the Star Tribune contends--with a "straight" face--that its policy is not to publish advertisements with people kissing, whether same sex or opposite sex). As far as I know, Sen. Kelley was the only candidate for governor in 2006 who attended this year's Human Rights Campaign dinner. (It is possible that other candidates were there, but I am positive that current Gov. Tim Pawlenty, my former U of M law school classmate, was not there).

Sen. Kelley has asked his very out gay brother Jim to serve as the head of a Kitchen Cabinet (on which I also serve) that will advise the Kelley Campaign on various issues of public policy, including GLBT issues.

On a personal note, some of my siblings (all straight), who identify as staunch Republicans (I identify as a moderate independent), are very attracted to Sen. Kelley's message of collaborative, nonpartisan, policy-making and moderation in fiscal and social policy. My brothers and sisters are tired of Tim Pawlenty's pandering to the bigoted religious right (although they are good Catholics themselves. As we know, not all religious folks are bigoted). My Republican brothers and sisters are joining me at an introductory fund-raiser for Sen. Kelley, to be held next Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Local restaurant in Minneapolis from 5-7 pm (suggested donation $50.00, which is reimbursable through the state's campaign finance law). It should be a great party, regardless of political issues.

I'll tell you folks what I told my straight brothers and sisters: Steve Kelley is a guy we can all get behind in 2006; geez, what a change! But Steve will need our help to get the DFL endorsement over Mike Hatch (and, being a guy of integrity, Steve has promised to abide by the endorsement process of his party) in the coming months. Frankly, I wish he had not made that pledge, but he has this old-fashioned Midwestern notion of loyalty and honesty. Go figure.

Personally I resist identifying as a Log Cabin Republican because the "R" word has become so difficult due to the dominance of the bigoted right in the party--I just can't do it. Yet I am also very distressed, as you have pointed out on numerous occasions Eva, that State Rep. Matt Entenza did not push his fellow House Democrats to vote the principled route, rather than "their districts," even though the DFLers would have been out-voted by House Republican majority no matter what. It is that ambivalence by some DFL leaders that makes it impossible for me to identify as a true DFLer. However, while I know a few Republicans who vote against the tide on GLBT issues (including Rep. Doug Meslow), I know many DFLers who do the right thing--including Sen. Kelley.

I firmly believe that there are politicians who are closer to the true values of the Log Cabin Republicans who may not travel under the "R" flag. Thus, I urge all MN Log Cabin Republicans to be less interested in strict party affiliation and more interested in policy positions. If that fits your description, please check out Steve Kelley's positions.

Eva, I do not belong to all the list-serves and groups that you post to (I just belong to Thus, I would appreciate it if you would cross-post this to the other MN lists to which you belong. I genuinely think we could all come together in a Steve Kelley administration.

And for the record, as a fellow law professor who has heard Prof. Dale Carpenter speak on MANY occasions and who reads his work religiously, I think Dale is an outstanding advocate on the issue of GLBT legal protections, including civil marriage.

Best regards--
Eileen Scallen
Professor of Law
William Mitchell College of Law

Who is Most Oppressed?

Yesterday's post on this issue drew some comments.

Mark from Prodigal Sheep writes:

I wanted to touch on your observation (which I share) that so-called "conservative christians" are pushing for a place on the "who is most oppressed" totem pool. I detect a newer but complementary strategy - conservative christians lkike Saddleback Church (and no doubt some of our own mega-churches here in Minnesota) adorning themselves with the garments of "AIDS Ministry". People who are not comfortable with outright condemnation of gays can maybe now find a comfortable place in the more sympathetic "outreach" ministries of Saddleback et al. I'm sure even a few evangelical gays may be feeling more attracted to these churches now that the rhetoric is being replaced with a more "compassionate" message. Problem is, it's the same hate-filled dogma underneath the compassionate wrapper. I blogged about this last night - Maybe I'm (too) paranoid but I believe this is a new strategy to increase the respectability of the anti-gay position. "We're not anti-gay, see, look how we care so much for AIDS victims, but we are BIBLICAL in our caring."

Lloydletta contributor, Mark H adds:

I agree. Acknowledging that GLBT people actually exist in the context of a sudden interest in AIDS ministry is incredibly demeaning. It paints us all as victims, and allows the Theocrats to still view us as the 'other', rather than just another neighbor, many of whom hold a deep rooted belief in the Gospel.

The first Mark also tracked back with a post from his blog that describes this saddleback ministries more. Information about the Saddleback ministries conference mentioned in the comments is available here. This nutjob was successful in getting ABC news to do a puff piece about his "ministry".

Excellent Analysis by Craig Westover on Biodiesel and Ethanol Boodoggles

. I'd expect this sort of thing from King Banaian.

MOB Party Coming Up

Mitch Berg has the scoop. I wonder if Learned Foot will reprise his performance at the last MOB party.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Anti-gay Black Ministers in Indiana Pray Against Gay Rights

Pam Spaulding has the story. Keith Boykin has a post discussing whether civil rights for African Americans and gay rights can be compared. Keith makes the standard argument to a leftist audience.

"Can you compare civil rights with gay rights?" That's the question a young student at Vassar College asked me Monday night after I spoke at the school. "Of course you can," I told her. "The problem is that when people hear 'compare' that think they hear 'equate' and black people are reluctant to equate the civil rights movement with the gay rights movement." But to compare simply means to look at the similarities and differences, and on that score, we absolutely can and should compare the civil rights movement with the gay rights movement.

One of the principal arguments raised against comparing black suffering with gay suffering is the red herring that gays did not have to sit in the back of the bus in the same way that gays did. Well, not exactly. Of course gays had to sit in the back of the bus because some gays were black. Bayard Rustin was a black gay man, and one of Dr. King's closest advisers, and he too was forced to sit in the back of the bus. The simplistic reductionist view that seeks to create a wedge between sexuality and race ignores the reality that some blacks are gay and some gays are black.

But there's a larger issue here too. Why does it matter if gays had to sit in the back of the bus? We don't tell Latinos or Native Americans or people with disabilities or women or any other oppressed group that they have to prove their suffering is identical to black suffering in order to be legitimate. Nor are we concerned with which group is worse off in the artificially constructed hierarchy of oppression when we talk about other minorities.

The point is it doesn't matter which group is most oppressed or which was first oppressed or whether they are identically oppressed. What matters is that no group of people should be oppressed. But the more we focus on the hierarchy of difference, the less we focus on the actual oppression.

Actually, people forget that many black civil rights leaders often opined against women's rights using many of the same arguments that are now used to argue against gay equality. I actually don't think the point is to "focus on the actual oppression," but rather to work against government sponsored discrimination. That's why I think the issue of marriage equality, and allowing gays to serve in the military are my top priority federal issues, rather than federal non-discrimination law (which exempts the government sponsored discrimination in the military) and hate crimes laws (which I oppose). I also find it totally ironic that so-called "conservative christians" are pushing for a place on the "who is most oppressed" totem pool. You also see this in the whining about "viewpoint discrimination" against conservatives on campuses. I have no sympathy for that nonsense.

Keith also has a post about the National Black Justice Coalition teaming up with Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan. Louis Farrakhan has a long history of making visciously anti-semetic, homophobic and misogynist comments. I agree with this commenter:

Keith, Please!
Will you have some respect for yourself and stop crying over Louis Farrakhan.
If he wanted you to have anything with the MMM movement, nothing would have stopped him, not even Willie Wilson. There is no love for gays in The Nation of Islam. Everybody knows that.

In 2004, Mr Farrakhan went to the Black Entertainment Television Source Awards. The Man was greeted by the infamous Suge Knight, head of Death Row Records. We know what type of person Suge Knight is and the criminal activity associated with Death Row Records . Farrakhan told the rappers that they were the future of the Black America, which is frightening considering that many of them have legal problems, not to mention the drug and moral issues they have. They also can't talk more than 20 seconds at a time without cursing either. Keith, why in the would would you want to be associated with that mess?

You are a classy guy and have a lot going for you. I don't always agree with you, especially politically, but I have much respect for you. I just wish that you had enough respect for yourself to associate with someone who actually wants to be around you instead of begging to be around someone who doesn't.

Yes, it's sad that Louis Farrakhan would rather stand on stage with murders and drug dealers turned rappers than a respectable gay man such as yourself, but that's the we he is.

Move on, you're better than that.
Posted by: Texas76132 at December 1, 2005 01:24 PM

Another commenter, cmoney agrees:

How unfortunate that you guys are still sucking up to Farrakhan and his ilk. I know the NBJC seeks to make coalitions with others in furtherance of its goals but sometimes you have to draw the line. How many times are you going to be screwed by Farrakhan before you figure out that he's unworthy of our "adoration"? It hasn't even been two months since the Millions More (dollars) Movement fiasco and here you go again. I wonder if the Nation of Islam is featuring this partnership with Black gays on their website. Put on your flea collars!
Posted by: cmoney at December 1, 2005 09:31 AM

Others disagreed:

It's good to know that wounds can heal when we are determined to work together. I just wonder if this will get as much press as unpleasant events that reinforce negative sterotypes. I am looking forward to seeing the outcomes of these forward-thinking partnerships. Please share what looks to be coming months of pleasant surprises with us!
Posted by: at November 30, 2005 11:35 PM

This reminds me of the internal debates in Log Cabin Republicans about how to deal with George Bush.

I find it ironic that Keith Boykin once wrote a very mean piece attacking Robert Traynham, a black gay man who is Rick Santorum's spokesperson. While I strongly oppose Rick Santorum, I was impressed that Santorum immediately defended Traynham, when he was outed.

But Traynham is not one of those black gay Republicans who is challenging his party on their racism and homophobia. No, instead he's defending the party and its most vocal bigots. The only reason we know of Traynham's sexual orientation is because he was outed.

Traynham reportedly acknowledged his homosexuality in a recent interview with and PageOneQ. Then, when asked whether he supported the Senator's stands on lesbian and gay issues, Traynham abruptly ended the phone call by saying "Senator Santorum is a family man. I have been with Senator Santorum for eight years and I am very proud to be with him," the websites reported. Traynham responded to subsequent questions by hanging up the phone on the reporter.

That's understandable. How could he, as a gay man, possibly defend the vicious anti-gay hatred from his own boss. "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery," Senator Santorum said in an interview two years ago. Later in the same interview, Santorum said marriage is a bond between a man and a woman. "That's not to pick on homosexuality," he said. "It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be."

Traynham seems to have learned well from his boss. Speaking at Harvard University two years ago, Traynham managed to defend the confederate flag and offend transgenders in one speech. "Those who are romantic about the Confederate flag, that's our base," the black Republican said. Traynham also compared his experience as a black Republican at a historically black college to the experience of some in the transgendered community. "I was looked at like I was a transsexual," he said in his remarks.

Like so many other confused black or gay conservatives I have met, Traynham tries to deny the importance of race or sexuality in his life. "The only time I think about being an African-American is when I get up in the morning to shave, when I look in the mirror," Traynham told the Harvard students.

Well, sorry Mr. Traynham, but look again. Are you sure you see a black man there at all?

After I read, Keith's post, I sent a supportive email to Traynham. I told him, I strongly opposed and was appalled by his boss, but didn't hold him responsible for his bosses positions. Traynham wrote me back, thanking me for my email.

Our Friends the Democrats

Go here to listen to Inside Minnesota Politics interview winning Democratic candidate, Terri Bonoff.

Terri talked about her campaign theme: uniting the middle. Her campaign was focused on issues where people agreed. Ironically, Judy Johnson and Terri Bonoff agreed on the issues of transportation and education (except for intelligent design creationism). They disagreed on the social issues (abortion, writing anti-gay discrimination into the constitution, teaching creationism in biology classes, and separation of church and state.) Terri Bonoff is stronger on separation of church and state than many Minneapolis democrats.

Hopefully Terri Bonoff will encourage other democrats to have a spine about the Bachmann amendment. Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak has publicly called on state DFLers to show more leadership on this issue.

After the interview, during the analysis of the interview, Peter Idusogie, the Inside Minnesota Politics host, suggested that there will be many people who will vote for the Bachmann amendment, but will also vote for Democrats for the legislature.

You have Mike Hatch, the leading democratic candidate for Governor saying there is no difference between him and Governor Pawlenty on the issue of gay marriage. This was Mike Hatch as quoted in a recent Pioneer Press story:

As far as I know, we have identical positions on gay marriage. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

When Mike Hatch ran against John Marty in the 1994 Democratic primary, he attacked John Marty for supporting domestic partner benefits.

DFL attorney general candidate Matt Entenza made sure there was no official caucus position opposing the Bachmann amendment. Veteran democratic representatives were advising new representatives to go back on their promises to supporters who helped get them elected, and "vote their district" on the Bachmann amendment.

Then there is the leading state auditor candidate, Rebecca Otto, who as a state representative voted FOR the Bachmann amendment.

At next week's Together Minnesota Meeting, I'm sure we'll hear alot of blame the Republicans rhetoric. Will OutFront Minnesota and their lobbyist, the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action's C Scott Cooper finally hold democrats such as minority leader Matt Entenza accountable?

Developing. . .

It's Together Minnesota Meeting December 8th

Come find out about efforts to defeat the Bachmann amendment.

It's About More than Marriage

December 8, 6:30 - 8:30pm Campaign Update Meeting

National HRC, Task Force, and National Center for Transgender Equality To Speak.

The second Community Meeting has been set:

Dr. Martin Luther King Center
270 Kent Street, St. Paul

What is the status of same-sex marriage in other states? What pitfalls can we avoid in our campaign that have been learned in other states? This and more about our progress will be discussed in the second TogetherMinnesota! update meeting on December 8th.

Our guests, Bo Shuff (national HRC staff - Washington, D.C), Mara Keisling, (Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality), and Dave Noble (Political Director of the Task Force - Washington D.C.), will join us to share their insights on the upcoming legislative battle, as well as other important information about what’s happening nationally regarding GLBT rights.

In addition, we will also give an overview of the Pastor’s Summit Protest Rally in Eden Prairie and the importance people of faith have in this campaign. Whether you intend on getting actively involved or want to know more information about what is happening, this is the time to attend and show your support!

I wish they'd have Dale Carpenter speak on this. He has an important message on this.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More political speakers scheduled for Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Senator Dean Johnson drew a good sized crowd on Wednesday evening, November 30th. Additional guests are scheduled for 6:30 - 7:45 forums at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapoolis.

December 7 The 2020 Group. Legislating For The Long Term and from the Middle of the Political Spectrum
Speaker: Geoff Michel, Senator, Edina

December 21 What is important to our elected leaders as we head into 2006 and how can Christians make a difference?
Speaker: Steve Sviggum, Speaker, MN House of Representatives

More on SD 43 Race

Matt Abe from North Star Liberty wraps it up here.

The effectiveness of the DFL ground game should not be ignored, meaning simply they got more people to actually vote for their gal. In a low turnout election (20%), every vote counts: in one Minnetonka precinct, where 48 persons voted, Bonoff won by four votes, 26 to 22! In a Plymouth precinct, where 642 persons voted, Bonoff won by 16 votes. Bonoff is well-known and well-liked in Minnetonka, which gained her more than a few friends-of-Terri loyalty votes in those precincts.

If the too-close-for-comfort win in 2004 by HD 43B Rep. Ron Abrams (R-Minnetonka) was a surprise, and John Kerry's win in the district was a disappointment, SD 43 Republicans should consider the Bonoff win a wake-up call. Although Senator-elect Bonoff's seat will be up for reelection next year, with HD 43A Rep. Jeff Johnson (R-Plymouth) running for Attorney General, there will be another open seat in the district. With Bonoff's sweep in Minnetonka, Abrams has to be considered vulnerable. To prevent this DFL win from turning into a district-wide sea change, the SD 43 organization will have to reconnect with its base and grow its ranks with new, committed activists. They should expect to be in the DFL crosshairs for the forseeable future; the question is will they respond aggressively or like a deer in headlights? How will the Republican Party of Minnesota respond to the DFL resources from outside the district?

One way would be to invest more resources into getting decent candidates to run in the Minneapolis districts. The problem with allowing Minneapolis incumbents to go without serious challenges, is it allows these incumbents to send their volunteers out to help with other campaigns.

Johnson thanked a roomful of her supporters at Woody's Grille last night, saying she trusts that despite disagreements on some issues, she knows that Terri Bonoff will represent the district well. Feeling exhilarated by the frantic fire-drill campaign, and obviously disappointed by the outcome, Johnson thanked her tireless and still-enthusiastic grassroots supporters. "You're young," observed Senate minority leader Dick Day (R-Owatonna), alluding to Johnson's future political prospects as he praised her candidacy.

That says something that Senator Dick Day took the time to come to Judy Johnson's party.

Freedom Dogs weighs in.

White House Using Taxpayer Money to Promote Mark Kennedy

Good work by the MN Publius blog.

Michael Brodkorb
is having a cow.

Race to the Right Bombthrower, Tony Garcia Lights Into Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer


It seems that the only way the Secretary of State's office will do something is NOT for service, but from requirement. Remember the childish tantrum that the Secretary's office threw when Jesse cut funding to the executive & legislative branches? They cut their hours of operation. That meant that for businesses needing to conduct business with the state of Minnesota's Secretary of State they had to do so within a very narrow time frame. (My memory is failing me as to what the reduced hours were...I think something like 9AM to 1PM.)

So, what I have learned over the years with this Secretary of State is that there is not the ability to conduct business efficiently and that there is not a drive in the office to SERVE Minnesotans but to provide only the "services" as required. The bare minimum...

...and the hell with the rest of the state.

Kiffmeyer lost the support of my wife a while ago (and she lobbies against Kiffmeyer strongly). Today Kiffmeyer permanently lost my support regardless of her office. I will vote for whomever runs against her in the primaries and likely her main opponent in the generals too. This piles on top of her no-showing for two confirmed interviews on our show.

Inefficiency, unprofessionalism and unreliability is all that comes to mind when I think of Mary Kiffmeyer's office.

Sorry, party people.

The comments thread is quite amusing.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Chuck Darrell Responds to Westover in Pioneer Press

Chuck Darrell from Minnesota for Marriage responds to Craig Westover's column suggesting that conservatives should support same sex marriage.

Craig Westover's Nov. 16 column, "Same-sex marriage should be a conservative objective," is beset with moral incoherence, ignores the social revolution in Canada and disregards the fundamental rights of children.

While marriage is both a civil and religious institution, we find it troubling that the author refused to acknowledge the biblical foundations of marriage while proselytizing a vague spiritual individualism. Perhaps by accident, the column posits its own hierarchy of beliefs by asserting that "fear begets abandonment of spirituality in favor of dogma."

"We don't defend marriage in a spirit of fear, but in loving obedience," says Pastor Gordon Larson of Grace Baptist Church in Austin.

Westover's spiritual individualism colors his logic. He argues that same-sex couples should be considered "allies" of marriage because not all same-sex couples wish to destroy marriage. Perhaps. However the experience of our neighbors to the north exposes the devastating effect of such alliances. Speaking at the Pastors' Summit, Catholic Bishop Frederick Henry of Calgary, Alberta, told how Canada legalized same-sex marriages "without the benefit of social science research, without adequate democratic deliberation." Consequently, "People who disagree with same-sex marriage risk charges of hate speech," he added.

Darrell is mixing up Canada's law about same sex marriage with a law banning hate speech. A hate speech law would be unconstitutional in the US because it would violate the first amendment.

Craig responds to Chuck's points on his blog.

Persistent Kennedy Rumors

From Checks and Balances:

Persistent Kennedy Rumors

The polling results on head to head match-ups for 6th District Congressman Mark Kennedy have not been good. In one on one races against Amy Klobuchar (D) and Patty Wetterling (R) Kennedy trails and he barely outperforms Ford Bell (D). His decision last week to be the deciding vote on the Budget Bill will not place him in a favorable light statewide. This coupled with his support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) doesn't do a lot to boost his support.

Kennedy is having a fundraiser with President George W. Bush (R) in Minneapolis on December 9th and though Bush is a good fundraiser, his popularity is at an all-time low and he doesn't produce much political benefit other than campaign cash. With this said, it gives some credibility to the persistent rumor regularly coming our way that Republicans are actively seeking an alternative to Kennedy for 2006. The problem with this idea is that Kennedy's train has already left the station and it will be hard to get it back the roundhouse.

Names that keep cropping up are: Glen Taylor wealthy owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Entrepreneur and Republican Party National Committeeman Brian Sullivan.

The Glen Taylor rumor is an interesting thought. Taylor is a moderate. For that reason, I'd doubt he would get party endorsement from the Leviticus crowd and We don't Want No Choo Choo Trains activists that dominate Republicans caucuses.

We understand a bid by Sullivan would be problematic because in order for the Republican National Committee to participate in Kennedy's effort the Republican Party and it officers needed to sign something called Rule 11 that clear the table of any supposed viable challengers to Kennedy. We understand that Sullivan signed this document and we have spoken to him directly and he said, he will not be seeking the Senate in 2006. Another interesting idea is for Governor Tim Pawlenty to forgo reelection and to take a run at the Senate, we don't put much stake in the idea, but since we are discussing rumors we might as well incorporate this one.

Kennedy has close association with Bush and it should continue to reward him financially, but as St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly found out, Bush is far more of a liability than an asset.

This Pawlenty will run for the Senate rumor is swirling around the capitol. I heard it from a friend of mine who got it from a capitol lobbyist.

Mark "I always voted my party's call and I never thought of thinking for myself at all" Kennedy is a pathetic candidate.

Anti-gay Brainerd Republican Party Chair Resigns

From the Brainerd Dispatch, October 4, 2005. (Register, and search on "Brian Lehman" to get the story).

Nisswa woman to lead Crow Wing GOP
Republican chair Brian Lehman resigns position
Associate Editor
Crow Wing County Republicans have elected Kay Gunnarson of Nisswa as their county chair, replacing Brian Lehman.

Gunnarson said Lehman resigned last week, citing his intent to spend more time working with the Salvation Army Board and the Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center.

Lehman declined to comment Monday on his resignation.

Gunnarson, a Nisswa resident, had been deputy chair. She said her selection by the county's executive committee was unanimous. Dale Walz, a former state lawmaker and member of the executive committee, also said Lehman's resignation was voluntary. The meeting was conducted at the Sawmill Inn in Brainerd.

There were behind the scenes manoeverings here.

In April, Lehman criticized Sen. Paul Koering's failure to vote with other GOP lawmakers on a procedural vote related to the Defense of Marriage Act. His comments came after Koering, a Republican from Fort Ripley, announced he was gay. Lehman went on to predict that Koering's sexual orientation could result in political problems if it causes him to "vote the wrong way."

Gunnarson said Lehman's resignation had nothing to do with his earlier criticism of Koering.

And I have a bridge to sell you....

Rep. Paul Gazelka, R-Brainerd, contacted Monday, said he had not yet heard that a new chair had been elected. He said he had been out of town for his father's funeral.

My guess is Gazelka wasn't too happy. Apparently he is one of the looniest anti-gay nutjobs over at the legislature.

Koering, who was at the executive committee meeting, said he appreciated Lehman's service as chair and wished him well.

MIKE O'ROURKE can be reached at or 855-5860.

Sen. Paul Koering is to be congratulated on this one. This is a good sign for the Republican party. Some of the most viscious anti-gay nuts in the GOP are in the Kandiyohi County party. That Kandiyohi Republican committee is very much responsible for Senator Dean Johnson leaving the Republican party. He's a huge loss to the Republican party. He irritated the nutcases by voting for, and giving an articulate speech in favor of the 1993 human rights act including gays.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

More on District 19

Mark Hanson's post about a bad night for Suburban theocrats drew a fair amount of comment. Susan Rego, a DFL activist gave us more background on the District 19 race:

The IP candidate insisted that marriage is between a man and a woman, whenever he was asked about the amendment. The DFL candidate, John Deitering, said that he has been married 40 years, and his marriage has never been threatened by the idea of gay marriage. When asked if he supports the amendment, he said, "No."

The interesting thing about this election is that 48% of the voters (13% turnout) did not vote for an MCCL-backed pro-life candidate.
Susan Rego

Interesting.... Lori Sturdevant says that Haag disagrees with much of the Republican social agenda. Did he say he supported the Bachmann amendment?

Lori Sturdevant from the strib comments in her weekly column:

The other trembles after Tuesday's election had to be felt in the Independence Party. For the little third party that Jesse Ventura rode into the governor's office seven years ago, the results in exurban District 19 had to be dispiriting.

Del Haag was the IP's super-qualified candidate -- former League of Minnesota Cities president, National League of Cities board member, 17-year Buffalo City Council member, Montrose Public Works director. He came in third, with not quite 17 percent of the vote.

The Republican winner, Buffalo businesswoman Amy Koch, garnered a solid 52 percent. It cannot be claimed that the presence of a third-party candidate altered the outcome.

Yet it's worth wondering what might have happened if Haag had said yes a few weeks back, when the DFL Party called and asked him to be its candidate.

Haag then would have had the resources of a real party -- voter lists, volunteers, special interest friends, fundraisers -- that the Independence Party lacks. More voters would have heard about his impressive résumé and thoughtful views.

Haag's answer to the DFL was no, he related, but not because he disagrees with much that moderate DFLers like Senate leader Dean Johnson say. The GOP's inflexibilty on social issues has got Haag leaning toward the D side.

Rather, Haag said, he went with the IP because the DFL label hasn't been worn by a winner in Wright County for many years. And because, after 17 years in nonpartisan office, he didn't feel right about plunging into the DFL water. And because the chance to be part of building something new "sort of gives you a tingle."

He said that a few days before the election. He's likely felt something a little different since.

My personal take on this: it's a two party system, and it's a waste of time getting involved in the Independence Party.

Vatican Clips Condom Campaigner from Christmas Concert Lineup

ROME, Italy (AP) -- A Brazilian singer who promoted the use of condoms in an anti-AIDS campaign has been dropped from the lineup of next month's Christmas concert at the Vatican, organizers said Friday.

Daniela Mercury was dropped after Vatican authorities read statements by her in the Brazilian press that went "against the moral doctrine of the church," said Eligio Ermeti, a spokesman for the agency organizing the event.

"Everything was settled, even the songs she was to sing," said Ermeti of the Prime Time Promotions agency. "Then we received a letter from the Jesuits asking us to remove her from the cast."

This year's concert will raise money for the foreign missions of the Jesuit order.


Officials in Brazil rose to the singer's defense.

"The Vatican may not want Daniela Mercury in one of its shows, but we want her to continue her effort and her campaign to fight HIV transmission in our country," said Nilcea Freire, Brazil's minister of state for women's affairs.

"We lament that the Vatican and the pope will not have an opportunity to listen to her," said Pedro Chequer, who heads Brazil's anti-AIDS program. "It's the pope's loss."

Bellucci said the appearance was canceled for fear that Mercury would publicly promote condom use while at the Vatican.

Critics of the Vatican's stance against condoms have long claimed that the policy contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

In 2003, U.S. singer Lauryn Hill used her performance at the annual concert to attack priests who abuse children, criticizing the church and its leaders in an unscheduled tirade read before top clergymen attending the event.

Read more.

There's an online poll over at the CNN post of the AP story on this about whether people think the Vatican did the right thing. 77% say no.

DFL Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson - November 30th

Senator Johnson will be speaking at Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, November 30th. He's appearing as part of their 'Putting Your Faith Into Action' series. The church is located at 4100 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis.

The subject of his presentation is a preview of the 2006 legislative session and political season, and how Lutherans can make a difference in that process.

I'm a member of Bethlehem, and I'm encouraged that a group that might be defined as the 'religious left of center' has organized themselves, and they're getting educated on political issues. I'm also glad that Senator Johnson is finding these opportunities to speak to other Christans. It is so important that people of faith not be totally represented in the public eye by nut-job Theocrats like Bachman, Reiter, Mark Olson, Severson, et al.

As I'm already in the building on Wednesday night for other activities, I plan to stop in for at least part of Senator Johnson's presentation.