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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Ford to Meet with Gay Leaders

San Francisco Chronicle here.

Americablog has more.

In the comments, there are people saying that the Bush adminstration figures who now work for Ford who were part of the meetings with the AFA should be fired. In my opinion, that's beyond what the meeting should be about. I hope that the dealers such as Jerry Reynolds from Garland, Texas who arranged the meeting with Ford executives and the AFA will be at this meeting.

It's clear that Ford reacted to pressure from the AFA. They should admit that and move on. I'd be interested to know what the Ford employee group - GLOBE has to say about all this.

NorthDallasThirty has a different perspective on the Ford issue.

A Ford employee comments:

I'll start out with the disclosure that I'm a Ford employee, so anyone here can accept or dismiss my comments as they see fit.

First, I'm as ashamed of the company's behavior in all of this as I was proud of our receiving a 100 rating from HRC previously. It's possible dropping the ads was purely a reaction to continued losses at Jaguar and Land Rover and a lack of productivity of the ads for these brands in gay publications, but it sure doesn't look like it.

Second, it could have been a business decision in the sense that there was a calculation that the antigay boycott would have had the potential for trashing sales of pickups and SUV's. We're making less money on those models than we used to, but on a pre-unit basis I'm sure we make more on them than we make on sedans and sports cars. Pickups alone keep three (I believe) assembly plants running, and a successful boycott in the red states really would have the potential to bring the company down.

Third, lets look at the HRC ratings. We have DCX, Ford, and Toyota Sales at 100 (and an honest accounting after the dropping of some advertising would leave Ford at 86). GM, Subaru, Toyota Manufacturing, and VW are at 86. Then we have Nissan at 29. And that's it. Honda? No rating. BMW? No rating. Mitsubishi? No rating. The Korean manufacturers? No ratings. I'm going to assume the companies with no ratings (or at least the ones with U.S. manufacturing facilities -- meaning Honda and BMW at present) received the questionnaire and either trashed it because they thought it wasn't important or trashed it because they were ashamed of where they would end up. In either event, where is the boycott of Honda and BMW (and Nissan -- 29 is pretty poor, after all)? For that matter, where is the boycott of Exxon Mobil, with a rating of 14, and where a non-discrimination policy and partnership benefits previously offered by Mobil were rescinded after the merger? I've engaged in a personal boycott of ExxonMobil for a few years now, but I sure haven't heard of anything organized. Seems to me the lesson any rational management would glean from this is that the best course is to offer gays nothing because you'll never be called on it, whereas if you go to 100 on the HRC scale and have to backtrack for whatever reason, you'll have people screaming bloody murder. I'm not sure this is the impression we want to leave.

I'm guessing there are numerous Nissans, Infinitis, Hondas, Acuras, and BMWs in the driveways of those who are calling for a boycott of Ford (not necessarily anyone on this thread, so don't write a response just to tell me you have a Lexus or an Audi), and yes this is a fair point to bring up. Leftists in general (and this includes gay leftists) are quick to bitch about declining unionization and declining benefits, but slow to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to supporting union companies and companies offering good benefits.


Those are points worth thinking about.

Kansas Moderate Republicans Have Had It With School Board IDiots

They are starting a moderate republican organization, and will challenge the ID faction on the Kansas school board.

Wright said the group has no plans to challenge incumbent legislators, state office holders or congressmen and will not support Democrats for public office. But the group will take on Republican State Board of Education members.


Good for them.

House of Representatives Count Should the Democrat Win

68-66. The Pulse was claiming if the DFLer won, there would be a 67-67 split. That's not correct. Take it away, Wind Beneath the Right Wing.

Dan Ochner's Issues Page Doesn't Mention Marriage Amendment or Abortion

When the Tarryl Clark attack blog started, anonymous commented:

Seems like Ms. Clark has learned well from her politician friends.

She has nothing of substance on her website, all fluff.

Where does she stand on the important issues like protecting life and defending marriage?


I find it very interesting that Dan Ochsner says nothing on his issues page about the marriage amendment or abortion. I'd assume this means the marriage amendment isn't as helpful to Ochsner with the general public in St Cloud, or he would mention it on his website. Neither candidate mentions state funding for St Cloud State University on their web pages. From the issues page:

"Ox" on the Issues

Crime – These days it's far too difficult to put criminals behind bars and keep them there. I will strongly support tough on crime legislation that will reduce violent crimes, domestic violence, and property crimes that bring down the quality of life in our neighborhoods.


What type of legislation, Ox? Do you support the "lock 'em up and throw away the key", or do you want reabilitation, so after serving in prison, people can start contributing to society?

K-12 Education – Minnesota's success depends on having an education system that is second to none. I will pursue greater accountability for student achievement as well as state and local investments in our schools.


This is really unclear. Does Dan support vouchers as a way to increase accountability?

Jobs and Economic Development – I will pursue policies that encourage business success and the creation of good jobs in our area. St. Cloud must remain a vibrant regional center for Central Minnesota.


Does Dan support Pawlenty's tax free zone concept - which is basically a giveaway for specific businesses. This sounds nice - but doesn't give much specifics.

Property Rights – In light of this summer's Supreme Court decision regarding eminent domain, we must vigorously pursue new laws to protect Minnesotans’ property rights. I will be a strong advocate for reform to the state's eminent domain laws to protect those rights.


Which piece of legislation does Dan support on this one? There are at least two pieces of eminent domain legislation in the legislature. Tarryl Clark's issues page has no information about eminent domain. I hope this question comes up during the debates.

Taxes – Government must live within reasonable means, period! As your State Senator I will always work to hold the line on taxes and keep state spending in check.


Is Dan planning on signing the Taxpayer's League pledge? Did they even ask him to? I notice there is no push for TABOR.


Transportation – The money is there. We must pursue the full dedication of the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax to roads — not half to roads and half to the Minneapolis bus system.


It's interesting that neither candidate states their position on the Northstar corridor on their website.

UPDATE: Ox's website now mentions the Bachmann amendment and that Dan Ochsner is "pro-life".

Protecting the Unborn – I am firmly pro-life, and will be a vocal advocate for pro-life issues in the Minnesota Senate.

Marriage – I strongly believe we must protect the institution of traditional marriage. I will work to ensure the people of Minnesota have the chance to vote on the Defense of Marriage constitutional amendment in the next general election.

St Cloud Student Government Takes Public Stand Opposed to Bachmann Amendment

Here.

A newly-worded version of the student government resolution opposing amendments to the Minnesota Constitution prohibiting marriage or civil unions for same sex couples passed Thursday.

Campus Affairs 001-1 passed with 15 senators voting in favor, three voting against and five senators absent. After abstaining from voting on the former bill, both former president Joe Dolan and vice president Dana Kutcher voted in support of the resolution.

Several groups of students from both sides of the issue presented their points to the body.

Senator Nathan Scheiber and Senator Ryan Birkman coauthored the new resolution. Scheiber was the solo author of the former resolution. The new resolution had eight sponsoring senators and chairs.

Scheiber said the presence of GLBT support at the meeting showed the senators that the issue is of concern to SCSU students. GLBT students and supporters were absent when the former bill was voted down.

"The senators saw how it impacts GLBT students," Scheiber said. "For me, it speaks loudly that we shouldn't give more rights to some people than others."

Scheiber believes the new wording of the bill was an improvement on the old one. He said the main reason it was changed was to fill some gaps found by dissenters of the bill.

Senator Birkman said this version of the bill has stronger wording. He also said the almost unanimity of the vote sends a strong message to Minnesota legislators.

"I'm very happy that as a campus community, we were able to take a stand on the issue," Birkman said.

He said some issues were brought to the table that were left unconsidered last time. One of the new concerns was with faculty and student retention.

"I disagree with those who think this doesn't impact the university," Birkman said. "State universities have lost faculty when legislatures pass anti-human rights bills."

Several senators were on the fence when they arrived at the meeting, Birkman said.

"Senators noticed that people who were there to speak against the bill left before it was voted on," he said. "The people who were against also couldn't answer some of the questions such as, 'How will the bill affect you if it's passed?'"

It was perfectly legal to vote on a similar resolution, Birkman said to those who thought the repeat vote was flawed.

"We could try to pass the same resolution every week if we wanted to," he said.

With the majority of senators voting for the resolution, the body, including Chief Justice Breanna Wilczek, is relieved to see it pass.

"I'm glad it passed," she said. "We need acceptance for all students."


There are some St Cloud Students that are unhappy with the resolution.


The student government has far exceeded reasonable boundaries by proposing a resolution openly stating beliefs on same-sex marriage and equality issues.

This resolution will do little, if anything, to change laws. Instead, it only serves to label the campus and the students attending school here as holding a particular belief. The students who do not hold this belief cannot help but feel ashamed of their school.

Many professors make it clear to students that St. Cloud State University holds no particular set of views because, as they claim, there is no absolute truth; people are right, no matter what they believe. I disagree with that, myself, but it is extremely hypocritical for an allegedly relativistic campus to stand behind select opinions.

A public campus has no more right to support a gay agenda than it does to support a Christian one, a Muslim one, or a Buddhist one. This is because sexual orientation and marriage are in no way detached from religious views. Every religion has something to say about the issue. For example, the Christian Bible is quite clear on the topic in I Corinthians 6:9-10.

I understand that the intention of the resolution is to fight oppression, but taking a stand on such a sensitive issue is bound to oppress somebody.

Those of us who believe that marriage is created by God and intended for a man and a woman have been stared down by this resolution and told that our beliefs contradict the beliefs of the university.

The morals of individual students have been neglected and buried under a single document which speaks for us all without our consent.


If I understand correctly, the resolution put the student government in St Cloud on record opposing amending the constitution to ban gay marriage. This student is perfectly free to go to a church that doesn't recognise gay marriages.

King Banaian isn't happy about the students voting absentee in the upcoming special election. Both the Student Government and the Faculty are encouraging students to vote in their classes.

Politicians are very aware of who votes. In the Minneapolis Mayoral election, Peter McLaughlin paid attention to the 5th ward (where I live), but RT Rybak did not - since people don't vote in large numbers here.

Sue Ek's Residency to be Challenged

St Cloud Times here.

Absentee voting will continue for a Dec. 27 special election, even as the Minnesota Supreme Court prepares next week to decide whether one of the candidates should be removed from the ballot.

St. Paul attorney Alan Weinblatt filed a lawsuit Friday on behalf of St. Cloud resident and DFL volunteer Rick Studer.

The lawsuit alleges officials wrongfully included Sue Ek's name on the ballot as the Republican candidate for a House 15B seat, because Ek had not established residency in the district at least six months before the Dec. 27 election, as required by state law.

The lawsuit cites several pieces of information that indicate Ek, who listed her home address as 1402 Kilian Boulevard SE in St. Cloud on her affidavit of candidacy, actually resided at 1258 Niles Ave., St. Paul, as of the June 27 deadline.

"It shouldn't be an easy thing to take someone off the ballot," Weinblatt said. "But she can't have it both ways. She didn't do anything to change that residency until September of this year."

At a candidate forum Friday morning, Ek restated her contention that she has been a St. Cloud resident since 1968. But she said she had voted in recent years in St. Paul.

Ek did not return a call Friday afternoon seeking comment for this story.

The Supreme Court has ordered all the parties named in the case to respond to the petition by 4:30 p.m. Thursday, said Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, a Republican.

No hearing date was set, but the justices will want to decide the case as soon as possible, she said.

The court gave no order to stop absentee voting in the meantime, Kiffmeyer said.


Sue Ek was a vice chair of 4th District Republican Committee. Clever Sponge has a screen shot of the committee roster from google's cache as of November 2005. I have not been able to find this page independently in google's cache. I assume this will be part of the lawsuit. A lawsuit could get people both from the state party and the 4th District Republicans to testify under oath. It seems that the Republican Party of Minnesota should do a residency check in it's own database - and notify Republican committees of their findings, so people are aware of residency issues such as this at their district conventions. Large donors to the Republican party should take notice on this one. They aren't getting a good ROI on their investment when donating to the State Republican Party right now.

Story comments:


Concerned from St. Cloud
"Absentee voting will continue for a Dec. 27 special election, even as the Minnesota Supreme Court prepares next week to decide whether one of the candidates should be removed from the ballot."

Guess Joan's concern with the matter of absentee ballots looms large in the coming election. How many absentee ballots have been returned with Ek's name on them, and will these persons be around to change ballots should the Court find her not qualified?

"At a candidate forum Friday morning, Ek restated her contention that she has been a St. Cloud resident since 1968. But she said she had voted in recent years in St. Paul."

Seems Ms. Ek does not see the significance of declaring residency for voting purposes. Nor does she seem to understand the matter of signing affidavits of residency. Appears that signing two known affidavits, registering to vote, and agreement with the City of St. Paul, do not really mean what they say they mean.

"If that happens, the Republican Party of Minnesota would have seven days to nominate a new candidate,"

Seems the Local GOP Officials should be talking to Ms. Ek! The evidence does seem rather convincing, and from reading her statements to Local reporters one could well conclude that Ms. Ek did in fact change residency.

If they want a viable candidate in the election the best thing would be for Ms. Ek to drop out and for the Local GOP to replace her with a resident candidate. Seven days is not much time, so if they are seriousl about contesting the seat they should move quickly as they now have 17 days.

Ms. Ek, if you want to do the right thing consider whether you want to leave your replacement 7 or 17 days to field a campaign?

"This is a classic DFL diversion and a boilerplate DFL complaint,"

Seems the GOP spokesperson considers residency, and mounting evidence to be a minor thing. He is right that the voters will decide the election, but will, and should, she be part of the decision?


Dan Becker, Independent Candidate for SD 15 is a regular on the St Cloud Times chats.


Dan Becker from St. Cloud
As a candidate in a race scheduled for a vote on the same day as this one, I hope this doesn't impact the date. The reason is because what little money I have, $2,570.33, I've spent in the best way I could for the 27th date.

I have talked to Sue Ek on the phone and she is an outstanding person. Nobody wins in this situation.

I also have a legal question for the public subsidy part of what the GOP spent on Ek, Do they need to give that back to the public if she is not a candidate?


Concerned St Cloud (most probably the author of the Tarryl Clark attack blog) raises the concerns the Democrats had about what would happen to Wellstone absentee votes.

How many absentee ballots have been returned with Ek's name on them, and will these persons be around to change ballots should the Court find her not qualified?


King Banaian says this is the last straw, and Sue Ek should withdraw her candidacy.

I listened on the radio this morning to the debate between Ek and Larry Haws (or Larry Haw-Haw as I call him, as he sounds like a Lake Woebegon character.) Ek took her opening statement to address the Times article. She failed spectacularly, in my opinion, to say anything that contradicted the evidence Schumacher presented. Unless I had something substantial to say, I would not have said anything; if there's nothing to say to combat the claim, I can't imagine why I would not withdraw my candidacy.


Developing. . .

Duluth Sign Controversy at Steve Kelley's Campaign Office

The Duluth News Tribune has a story about a controversy over a sign placed in Steve Kelley's Duluth Campaign office. Michael Brodkorb/Minnesota Democrats Exposed is promoting the story.

Potential U.S. Army recruits face an unofficial and grim reminder of what joining the service could lead to at Duluth's downtown recruiting station.

In the window of the office next to the recruiting station, a sign lists the numbers of U.S. servicemen and women killed or wounded in the Iraq war.

"Iraq," the sign reads. "Remember the Fallen Heroes." Next to it are two green-and-white, "Steve Kelley for Governor" campaign signs.

The war sign was placed in the window by Scott Cameron, a campaign volunteer and disabled Vietnam War veteran. Cameron was wounded when he was shot in the back while riding in a helicopter above the Mekong Delta in 1969.

And despite a request from the nearby recruiting station commander, Army Staff Sgt. Gary Capan, to take the war sign down, it will stay up, a spokeswoman for Kelley's campaign said Wednesday.

Capan told the News Tribune the sign is troubling for some of his recruiters, including one who recently returned from Iraq.

"It kind of disturbed her and it is a little unsettling, especially for people wanting to join the military," Capan said. "It makes it so the troops are just a number."

Two recruiters working Wednesday said they didn't particularly like the sign but weren't letting it get to them.

There was no real way to measure whether the sign had any adverse effect on recruiting efforts, Capan said. "He told me it's not a political thing," Capan said of Cameron. "Then why is it in a political office? I'm thinking of putting up my own sign that says how many troops have come home safely."

Capan said his recruiters already endure the antiwar protesters who converge outside his office each Monday.

"I don't really want any qualms with the people next door," Capan said. "They seem really nice, but I just think it's ridiculous."

Cameron carries around a 1969 article from a Spokane, Wash., newspaper that features a quote from him. "I didn't want to be vocal with the antiwar thing because I didn't want to disrespect the troops," Cameron said. "We had a draft and things were different then, but I didn't say anything -- made that mistake and that war went on for another six years. I'm not going to make that mistake again."

An advocate for veterans, Cameron said he does support his armed service members and taking care of them when they come home.

And that's Kelley's stand, too, his spokeswoman Jessica Null said.

"He supports making sure everybody has accurate information," Null said. "He understands the people at the recruiting office are veterans, too, and he has a responsibility to them as well."

Kelley believes Minnesota should do better by its veterans when they return home, especially in the area of providing educational benefits, Null said.

The campaign office wasn't selected because it was next to the recruiting station and Kelley, a Democratic-Farmer-Labor state senator from Hopkins, is not pushing an antiwar campaign, Null said. "It was just a coincidence - the office location."


Earlier in the day there was a comment on Michael Brodkorb's blog that linked to the Duluth News Tribune poll on the topic. The link to the poll posted by "Erik" who is from the Duluth area and also has a blog was directly to a yes vote that said "yes, take the sign down". Hopefully the Duluth News Tribune will post about his effort to manipulate the poll in subsequent coverage of this issue. Now the comment has been removed from the Minnesota Democrats Exposed blog. Minnesota Campaign Report has more.

Erik is now gloating about having readers that went to the poll.

Hey, I do have readers!
Hey, I do have readers! Here's an exerpt from today's News-Tribune (emphasis mine):

Readers of the News Tribune, responding to an online survey that asked the question, "Do you think Steve Kelley's campaign office should take down the tally of Iraq dead next to the Army recruiting center?" indicated this region might not be as evenly divided as some might think. In an unusually large response, 60 percent of those responding (743) as of 5 p.m. Thursday indicated the sign should be removed while 40 percent said it should stay. While such surveys are unscientific, the response is something the Kelley campaign might want to take into account on the political level.


Actually Michael Brodkorb/MDE has readers - and I assume many went to the poll from Erik's comments on the MDE website, rather than from Erik's blog. I went to look at the poll - and noticed that without intending to vote, my vote had been registered a particular way. I did not go to the poll from Erik's blog.

At the top of Erik's blog is a number for his insurance agency. If Erik uses these sorts of sales tactics to sell insurance, then I would be wary of buying from him. I'd encourage Erik to come clean on his blog about linking to the specific vote, rather than linking to the poll if he wants to have credibility.

I contacted the Steve Kelley Campaign for comment. This is from Jessica Null, Kelley's communications director:

No, I don't think the war is an issue for the governor's race, and we're not making the war a campaign issue--only in respect to how we take care of the troops coming home (education, health care, jobs, etc). But as far as the attention that the sign has created, following is Sen. Kelley's personal response to an email he received:

I appreciate your message. It is important for me to hear from all points of view. As the media has, I hope, reported, a Vietnam veteran who does volunteer work for the campaign asked to put the sign up. He assured me that it would be accurate and I believe he has worked to make sure it is. It is an accident of timing and availability that my campaign office is next to the recruiting office.

For Scott, the sign is a tribute to the soldiers who are casualties in this war. For me, it is also an issue of protecting the freedom of speech that so many Americans have given their lives to defend. A free and democratic society should not be afraid of accurate information being displayed in a quiet way anywhere in our country.

I did not approve the posting of the sign for political purposes. I did it because to do otherwise would have conflicted with my principled belief in free speech and honest debate.


Developing. . .

Correction: The link Erik from Duluth posted was to a "yes" vote on the poll, as in "yes, take the sign down".

UPDATE: As of 4:27 PM on Saturday December 10,
Republican Minnesota links to the Duluth News Tribune poll with the yes option checked.

Anti-Gay, Gay Obsessed, Peter LaBarbera Writes Blogger Pam Spaulding

Pam has posted the letter, along with her response here.

it's par for the course for homosexual activists who use smear tactics rather than facts to discredit their opponents.

Interesting. This goes on by those on the Right all the time. The Ann Coulters, Michelle Malkins, Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world - they certainly don't have a problem doing this. It's their First Amendment right to say that BS, but it's my First Amendment right to call things as they see them in my space here. After all, how can I let a statement like this go unanswered...

"I have monitored the homosexual movement for 15 years, with special focus on its campaign to penetrate schools...Most parents, especially those living near big cities, simply have no clue as to the many ways that the 'sexual orientation' agenda works its way into their children's education."
(backing the Southern Baptist's call to investigate the influence of the homo agenda in public schools)
-- Peter LaBarbera


Come on, Peter. There is no Homosexual AgendaTM, any more than there is a "black agenda" or a "feminist agenda" to help children (and educable grownups) understand the changing world in which we live in and to tolerate and accept difference. Then, again, maybe you do believe there is a organized left-wing conspiracy to destroy our culture that includes gays, women and minorities. I just know that I have not received a special decoder ring, password or special orders telling me how to accomplish this goal of world domination/destruction. Yet.

The real problem here is that composition of today's American family has changed, and this fact has sent the Religious Right into a tizzy of denial and desire to wind the cultural clock back. It's the fear of what is now considered NORMAL.

Families have two mommies, two daddies, moms and dads of different races or religions; there are families that choose to be child-free. Families today don't look like the Cleavers any more and the Right cannot grasp this concept. Given that attitude, the kind of organized anti-gay efforts and support of legislation to stifle gay civil rights by organizations such as IFI is understandable.

If you were to discover a local KKK group, which you consider deviant and threatening activity-as I would-so you set out to expose it, even by going undercover, would it be fair to call you the "Klan loving Pam Spaulding"?

This makes no sense, though I'm not surprised that you would compare gay people to the Klan, an organized group with a mission to return the country to a culturally "pure" (read: white Protestant) state that terrorized and killed minorities after the darkest period in our country's history -- slavery.

I'll assume this was hyperbole.

A more apt comparison would be for me to infiltrate an organization like IFI and to report on its agenda to destroy the lives of tax-paying, law-abiding gays and lesbians -- many, incidentally, who belong to faith communities and share more values than not with many of the people you work with.


Read the whole thing. Pam does an excellent job.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Press conferences in empty hotel rooms.....

President Bush was in Minneapolis on Friday to raise $1 million for GOP Senate candidate Mark Kennedy. The event featured the obligatory protest on the sidewalk outside the hotel.

New Minnesota DFL party chair Brian Melendez is a very refreshing change from Mike Erlandson, and seems to be very comfortable on camera. I'm a Republican and don't agree with a lot of what he says, but he is an articulate and compelling spokesperson.

Here's the weird part of the media coverage - the DFL party rented a room in the same hotel as the Kennedy fundraiser, so that Mr. Melendez could do a press conference and get equal time on the evening news. All of that makes sense. What didn't make sense is that it looked like Mr. Melendez was alone. There were nobody standing next to him or behind him. He taped some DFL signs to the wall behind him, but live faces would have been better. Where were the DFL Senate candidates? Where were the DFL leaders from the Legislature, or the gubernatorial candidates? Melendez did a good job, but the visuals were very odd.

DFL and Republicans Organize to Help Their Candidates

From the GOP Newsline:

Special Elections December 27 in SD 15 and HD 15B

Please join us in helping to elect two great Republican candidates in Senate District 15 and House District 15B. Dan Ochsner has been endorsed to replace former Republican State Senator and now St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis. Sue Ek has been endorsed to replace resigning DFL State Reprentative Joe Opatz. With both the House and the Senate closely divided, these seats could make the difference for major legislation next year.

Over the next several weeks, the DFL and their liberal 527s will be pounding the pavement to promote their candidates. To compete with their efforts we have developed an aggressive strategy to get out the vote for our candidates, and we need your help to ensure Republican victory.

How to help:

Door-knocking Shifts:

Saturday, December 10: 10 a.m. -1 p.m., 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Sunday, December: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Saturday, December 17: 10 a.m. -1 p.m., 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Sunday, December 18: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Monday, December 26: 10 a.m. -1 p.m., 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Phone Calling at Republican Party of Minnesota Headquarters in St. Paul:

Monday, December 5: 4 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Monday, December 12: 4 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Monday, December 19: 4 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Monday, December 26: 10a.m. - 1 p.m., 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., 4 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Election Day:

All Day Door Knocking and Phone Calling

If you are available for any of these shifts, or would like more information about how you can help, please email Leslie Wilcox at lw@mngop.com or call Leslie at 651-842-0116.


From the Tarryl Clark Campaign Elist:

1. Help Us Elect Two News DFL Legislators for Central Minnesota: Special Election on Dec. 27
2. Absentee Ballots Available for Special Elections
3. Update: Tarryl Clark for State Senate
4. Update: Larry Haws for State House
5. Candidates Looking for Campaign Events/Opportunities
6. Write a Letter to the Editor in Support of Our Great Candidates!
7. Upcoming Events
8. Can You Help With Our DFL Office Holiday Wish List?
9. Sign Up for Online Discussion for the St. Cloud Area DFL
10. Meet the Candidates
11. Forward this E-News


1. HELP US ELECT TWO NEW DFL LEGISLATORS FOR CENTRAL MINNESOTA: SPECIAL ELECTIONS ON DECEMBER 27

Please join us in helping to elect two outstanding DFL candidates in Senate District 15 and House District 15B. State Senate District 15 includes St. Cloud, St. Augusta, Haven Township, Waite Park and Rockville. The local DFL has endorsed Tarryl Clark for the State Senate and Larry Haws for the State House. We have a real opportunity to pick up both seats and these elections are extremely important considering the closely divided legislature. Our candidates could make the difference in passing or defeating major legislation next year.

***Please join us for a city-wide door knock this Saturday, December 10, at 10:00 a.m. at the Central MN DFL Office, 904 W. St. Germain, downtown St. Cloud. To RSVP, please email stclouddfl@yahoo.com or call 320-229-3930***

We are keeping really busy up to the election with activities. Volunteers are needed to help with phoning and door knocking during the following dates/times:

Phone Calling at the Central MN DFL Office, 904 W. St. Germain, St. Cloud:
Monday, any shift between 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, any shift between 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, any shift between 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, any shift between 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, any shift between 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, any shift between 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, any shift between 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Door Knocking from the Central MN DFL Office, 904 W. St. Germain, St. Cloud:

Saturday, December 10: starts at 10:00 a.m.
Sunday, December: 11: starts at 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 14: starts at 10:00 a.m.
Thursday, December 15: starts at 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 17: starts at 10 a.m.
Sunday, December 18: starts at 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 21: starts at 10:00 a.m.
Thursday, December 22: starts at 4:00 p.m.

Pre-Election Day, Monday, December 26:
All Day Phoning, Visibility, and Door Knocking

Election Day, Tuesday, December 27:
All Day Phoning, Visibility, and Door Knocking
If you are available to help out with these important campaigns, please call 320-229-3930 or email stclouddfl@yahoo.com.

2. ABSENTEE BALLOTS AVAILABLE FOR SPECIAL ELECTIONS

On December 27th, a special election will be held in St. Cloud. We have two great candidates running to fill a open senate and house seat: Tarryl Clark and Larry Haws. If you are not going to be in your precinct the day of the election, please consider voting absentee. You are also eligible to vote absentee if you're ill or disabled, an election judge serving in a precinct other than your own, or are unable to go to the polling place due to a religious observance or belief. To get your copy a copy of the absentee ballot application, please visit the Minnesota Secretary of State's website at: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/home/index.asp?page=211

After completing the application, mail your completed absentee ballot application to 904 W Saint Germain Street, Saint Cloud, MN 56303. The County Auditor's office will then mail you an absentee ballot. The mailing addresses for the tri-county area are listed below. If you have questions about voting absentee, please call 320-229-3930.

Voters can also stop by their county auditor’s office to fill out an absentee ballot in person. The Stearns County auditor-treasurer's office is open from 10:00 to 3:00 p.m. during the week. Their office will be closed on Monday the 26th in observance of the Christmas Holiday. The county auditor’s offices are located at the following locations:
Benton County Auditor
531 Dewey Street
PO Box 129
Foley MN 56329-0129
320-968-5027
Sherburne County Auditor
Sherburne County Government Center
13880 Highway 10
Elk River, MN 55330-4601
763-241-2861

Stearns County Auditor
705 Courthouse Square
Room 148
St. Cloud, MN 56303-4701
320-656-3920

3. UPDATE: TARRYL CLARK FOR STATE SENATE

There is an incredible amount of energy and excitement in the air. Thanks to the help of so many volunteers, we are delivering Tarryl’s positive message of hope and progress for central Minnesota. The Clark for State Senate has sent out several targeted mass mailings. Over thirty volunteers knocked on doors last Saturday, December 3. Every day the office is full of volunteers busily phoning undecided voters about Tarryl’s record, experience, and vision for the area. Last week, for example, volunteers phoned over 3,500 potential voters—with an overwhelmingly positive response! On the financial front, thanks to our supporters, the Clark for Senate campaign has raised amazingly over 16,000 dollars in contributions—many are small donations from first time donors.

With the help of the SCSU College Democrats, Larry Haws and Tarryl have been door knocking the college dorms and student apartments. You are probably hearing Tarryl’s radio ads on various local stations and can see her television ads on cable stations. We have a great candidate in Tarryl Clark and she is working extremely hard. Besides attending various community events and gatherings, she has been spending at least eight hours on the phone each day. She is also very proud to have received the endorsements of several key organizations: AFL-CIO, Education Minnesota, and the local Sierra chapter. We can win this campaign, but we need your help to maintain this level of intensity. Please visit www.tarrylforsenate.com, call 320-229-3930, or email stclouddfl@yahoo.com to get involved today!

4. UPDATE: LARRY HAWS FOR STATE HOUSE

Commissioner Larry Haws just recently picked up the endorsements of Stearns County Sheriff, John Sanner; Education Minnesota; AFL-CIO, and the Minnesota League of Conservation Voters. Larry is scheduled for several additional endorsement screenings over the next two weeks, and has recently been screened by the Nurses Association, AFSCME and MAPE. He has been door knocking the dorms with Tarryl Clark and is committed to making sure that students know they can vote! Larry has raised a good sum of money and is making phone calls to undecided voters daily! The first major mass mailing is being sent today, so watch for it! Larry is excited to start participating in some debates—the first one is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce! To learn more about the Haws for State House campaign, visit http://www.larryhaws.com, call 320-229-3930, or email stclouddfl@yahoo.coom.

5. WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR IN SUPPORT OF OUR GREAT CANDIDATES!

Each of us has a story about why we support Tarryl Clark and Larry Haws. The larger community needs to hear why they should vote for our candidates and issues! Please take the time in the next few days to write a short letter to the editor (usually a paragraph or two) and send to the following newspapers:

St. Cloud Times
3000 North 7th Street
Saint Cloud, MN 56302
Letters to Editor: rkrebs@stcloudtimes.com

Waite Park Newsleader
32 First Ave. N.
PO Box 324
St. Joseph, MN 56374
Email: administrator@thenewsleaders.com

Cold Spring Record (Rockville Subscribers)
P.O. Box 456
Cold Spring, MN 56320-0456
Web: http://csrecord.net/email.htm

St. Cloud Visitor (Official paper for Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud)
P.O. Box 10768
St. Cloud, MN 56303
scvdesk@aol.com

6. CANDIDATES LOOKING FOR CAMPAIGN EVENTS/OPPORTUNITIES

Over the last few weeks, District 15 candidates Clark and Haws have been to numerous events—both large and small. They are looking forward to attending other activities in the coming weeks, but they need your help in finding campaign opportunities. Such opportunities vary, but could be any of the following: union meetings, community club gatherings, neighborhood organizational meetings, business get-togethers, coffee klatches, church events, athletic games and practices. If you have information about possible campaign opportunities, please email stclouddfl@yahoo.com or call 320-229-3930.

7. UPCOMING EVENTS

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE DEBATE—FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9

The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a candidate forum on Friday, December 9 from 7:30-9:00 a.m. at the Chamber office in downtown St. Cloud. Please turn out and support Commissioner Larry Haws at this forum. We encourage our chamber members to attend this important event. If you are not a member, but are interested in attending, please call 320-251-2940, ext. 126 by Wednesday, December 7. Reservations are necessary to attend.

LISTEN TO TARRYL CLARK IN RADIO DEBATE ON TUESDAY, DECEEMBER 13

An on-air candidates’ forum for the Senate District 15 race will be held on Tuesday, December 13 at 9:00 a.m. on 1240 AM (WJON Radio). Please tune in and support our DFL-endorsed candidate, Tarryl Clark! If you have questions for the candidates, you can call WJON’s studio line at 320-252-5852

ST. CLOUD AREA DFL MEETUP—TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13

DFLers meet each month to socialize and discuss various political news items and events. The next MeetUp is scheduled for Tuesday, December 13, at 7:00 p.m. at the new Central Minnesota DFL Office, 904 West St. Germain, downtown St. Cloud. The event is free, open to the public, and handicap accessible. To learn more, visit http://democrat.meetup.com or call 320-229-3930.

REP. LARRY HOSCH FOR STATE HOUSE FUNDRAISER--TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13

Please join Attorney General Mike Hatch and House DFL Leader Representative Matt Entenza for a fundraiser for Central Minnesota’s only Democratic representative: LARRY HOSCH! The event will take place on Tuesday, December 13, at 7:00 p.m. at the El Paso Bar and Grill in St. Joseph (200 NW 2nd Avenue. On Highway 75, St. Joseph).

LISTEN TO LARRY HAWS IN RADIO DEBATE ON WEDNESDAY, DECEEMBER 14
An on-air candidates’ forum for the House District 15B race will be held on Wednesday, December 14 at 9:00 a.m. on 1240 AM (WJON Radio). Please tune in and support our DFL-endorsed candidate, Larry Haws! If you have questions for the candidates, you can call WJON’s studio line at 320-252-5852.

More Senate District 15 Anonymous Blogs

A few days ago, I mentioned that someone started an attack blog to go after Tarryl Clark.

Well now the other side has started a blog in response to promote Tarryl Clark and go after Dan Ochsner (Ox):

HowardDean&TarrylClarkSupporter said...

Probably a good idea for everyone involved. Now we can talk about the issues. Thanks to you, Mr. "Concerned StCloud" I have started a blog too this evening.

It's called liberalisnotadirtyword.blogspot.com
I'll post on the Ox and some other things and talk about how labeling someone a liberal is not a bad thing. Hopefully we can change the way Republicas have labeled that word.

For those wanting both sides of this race, please do take a look.

My name: "howarddean&tarrylclarksupporter" was originally just gonna be to post comments on some of the things you have already posted on this site and what I expect you will post in the future. I supported Howard Dean and I'll support Tarryl and there is nothing wrong with that.

10:20 PM


It seems like this blog did what other blogs failed to do: call out Ox to put his website up. The Tarryl Clark supporting blog is being run by a St Cloud State student named Thomas.

The Ox's website is now up. Tarryl Clark's website has been up since I've been following this race.

Strib and St Cloud Times Cover Sue Ek Residency Story

Strib here. Hat Tip: commenter mn_liberal:

Hasn't Ek painted herself in a corner? In today's Star Tribune, she is quoted as saying "my home has always been St. Cloud." And she says that she "was recruited to vote in St. Paul."

This sets up two scenarios. Either she lives in St. Paul and is ineligible to run in St. Cloud, OR she lives in St. Cloud (which she maintains "has always been" her home) and violated Minnesota's election laws by voting in a district that she did not intend to be her residence. See Minn. Stat. 201.016 ("An eligible voter may vote only in the precinct in which the voter maintains residence."); Minn. Stat. 200.031 ("The residence of an individual is in the precinct where the individual's home is located, from which the individual has no present intention of moving, and to which, whenver the individual is absent, the individual intests to return.").
mn_liberal


St Cloud Times also covers the Sue Ek residency story. Hat Tip King Banaian.

Coming tomorrow: The DFL and Republican organization for this race.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

As the Stomach Turns (More on the Ford Soap Opera)

Christian Grantham reacts to my post on getting a comment from the Texas Ford Dealer, Jerry Reynolds.

There's a good article in DC's Metro Weekly on the issue. Kathleen deBold, executive director of the Mautner Project for Lesbian Health, has a perceptive comment:

"Corporations exist to make a profit, and the profit motive can make for fair-weather friends," she said. "This just shows why we have to be vigilant in watching what's going on behind this scenes."

Still, she said, Ford's actions don't necessarily make sense from the profit perspective.

"It's a very silly thing for a company to do, because if they want to make money, they should be selling to every consumer," she said, noting that studies have shown the gays and lesbians are well-educated consumers who remember things for a very long time.

"If Ford is worried about their bottom line, they'll reconsider this," said deBold, who then pointed to an earlier campaign by AFA's Wildmon. "Making any kind of a deal with someone who thinks Spongebob Squarepants is evil, that's not really Harvard Business School-type decision making."


Thanks to Dan at GayPatriot for referencing the coverage at Lloydletta in his post on the topic.

This topic has hit E Democracy's St Paul issues list.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Residency Questions for Sue Ek

The Republican candidate for the St Cloud representative, Sue Ek might not be a resident of St Cloud.

Checks and Balances posted about this earlier today. MN Publius and MN GOP Watch have been following the story.

The Republican Party under Ron Carey seems like the gang that can't shoot straight.

Sue Ek seems to have started a blog. There aren't any posts on it.

Dallas Ford Dealer Jerry Reynolds Responds

I reported earlier that it seemed that it was Garland, Texas Ford Dealer, Jerry Reynolds who brokered the deal between Ford and the anti-gay AFA. I wrote Jerry Reynolds asking him about this. Here is his response:

It's natural to make situations like this personal, but truly it was not about any group of people...it was just about business. I have many gay and lesbian friends and employees who I love and adore. My issue had nothing to do with gay versus straight any more than black versus white. On behalf of the Ford dealers who are having the worst year in over 20 years, what you don't need is a boycott. That was my only issue. In reality, nobody "won" but we did agree to open dialogue in the future, nothing more. In return for the dialogue, the boycott was canceled. No deal was made, no deal was brokered. Ford is cutting their advertising in ALL areas, especially when it comes to Jag and Rover, two divisions that continuously lose money. Volvo was a different deal...they are profitable and will continue to advertise in gay publications.

You can believe the press or you can believe me, whichever you choose. But there was NO DEAL made with the AFA, period. I was successful in convincing them to call off the boycott because it hurts the DEALERS, not Ford. Ford sells NOTHING to the public and therefore a boycott would not harm them, only us, and we have no control over where they spend their advertising dollars.

If you want to try to harm me for trying to protect my business and my employees, I understand. But make sure everyone has all the facts please, that all I ask.


You can mail Jerry Reynolds to express your opinions about Ford's decision to kowtow to the AFA at CARGUY413@aol.com.

Dan Blatt at Gay Patriot has a good post about the Ford story. The comments are iluminating.

More from Jerry Reynolds as quoted in Express Gay News:

The boycott suspension was declared soon after the owner of a Ford dealership in Dallas, Jerry Reynolds, was alerted to the boycott and grew concerned that it might impact his business. Reynolds said he contacted AFA Executive Director Tim Wildmon, arranged a meeting between the AFA and concerned dealers and struck a suspension deal.

"If I can get some top Ford executives to sit down with you and your group, would you suspend the boycott?" Reynolds said he asked Wildmon. The longtime conservative activists immediately agreed, Reynolds said.

Reynolds said the aim of the meeting with Ford is to "see what things most bother [the AFA] and what can be changed to make them happy," Reynolds said.
"If the AFA has input into the marketing content, it could have benefits to both Ford and the AFA," he said.

"I believe in family values, too. I'm a Christian, too," Reynolds added.

When the boycott was announced just a week earlier, Ford responded with a statement that it valued all people, including gay men and lesbians. Ford said, "We are glad to see that this spirit of inclusion is evident in the practices of other auto-makers that do business in this country as well."

An AFA representative confirmed suspension of the boycott in an e-mail but declined to explain why it was lifted.


Pam Spaulding and Good as You have been covering this also. Pam posted some email contacts for Ford people.

Professor Mirecki Resigns His Chair Position

There was a story yesterday in the Lawrence Journal World that cast some doubt on Mirecki's account of being beaten up.

Now he has resigned as Chair of the Religious Studies.

The embattled Kansas University religious studies professor who drew ire from Christian conservatives for his derisive remarks on an online discussion board has withdrawn from his post as chair of the department.

"Professor Mirecki said he thought it appropriate to step down and did so on the recommendation of his colleagues in the department and I have accepted his resignation," said Barbara Romzek, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "This allows the department to focus on what's most important - teaching, research and service - and to minimize the distractions of the last couple of weeks."

Mirecki, a tenured professor who had planned to teach a course on intelligent design, came under fire recently when his remarks about the course and other statements made on the Internet became public.


I feel bad for the students in the Kusoma group who Mirecki advised.

From the comment thread on this story:

Okay, seriously, have any of you ever taken a class with Mirecki? I have, and while I don't agree with the controversy his comment has provoked, let me tell you that I was as shocked as anyone--because in class, he is not biased. He is as fair and balanced as any professor at KU I've ever had. The idea that a personal correspondance, which was made public without his permission or intent, is being used to ruin this fine teacher's career, is very bothersome to me. Before you attempt to assassinate his character, why don't you meet the man? Take a class with him. Then you can rant and rail to your bloody little hearts' content.


I'd like to hear more first accounts from students.

Blog Set Up to Attack Tarryl Clark

Hat tip, King Banaian and Michael Brodkorb aka Minnesota Democrats Exposed.

Check it out here. From the comments:

Psycmeistr said...

Glad you're on top of things...

Welcome aboard, from another St. Cloud blogger..

BTW--are you the same "Concerned" that often inhabits the "story chats" at SC Times website?

Again--glad to have you!

5:15 PM
Psycmeistr said...

And BTW,

If Tarryl Clark were any further to the left, she would BE Howard Dean.

5:16 PM
Anonymous said...

If you knuckleheads didn't want Ms. Clark to represent you... you should have found someone better than the Ox to run against her.

Tarryl will be your next state senator. Do your homework next time.

5:27 PM
Psycmeistr said...

"Anonymous"... You obviously speak out of ignorance; which is probably why you're speaking in anonymity.

You obviously fail to recognize the following:

1. Ochsner is extremely educated on the issues..
2. Ochsner already has a working relationship with those in St. Paul.
3. Ochsner is right on the issues. Clark is a female Howard Dean.
4. Clark ran and lost two elections, so I would say she's the one who, by default, should be considered the unviable candidate.

6:20 PM
Anonymous said...

Clark is so out of touch withe the average Central Minnesotan, it's not even funny.


King also notes that Ox's website isn't up yet.

A blog has formed to keep track of SD 15 DFL candidate Tarryl Clark. A phone bank for Clark already hit our house tonight, so she's moving off her loyal list already. She is running against Dan Ochsner, whose campaign website is still "coming soon". Um Ox? You have less than three weeks.


I don't get why Tarryl Clark is asking the chamber of commerce to reschedule the debate. According to Psychmeistr, who attended the SD 15 endorsing convention, Ochner "expressed his support to change committee rules, so that all bills brought before the Minnesota senate would be given a due up-or-down vote, instead of being stonewalled by a powerful few." As I mentioned here earlier, that is a monumentally bad idea.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ford Does More Self Inflicted Damage

Over on Americablog comments, a Ford PR person commented anonymously.

Apparently it was Jerry Reynolds, an influencial dealer in Dallas who brokered the meeting between the AFA and Ford.

AFA Calls Off Ford Boycott

Posted Jun 7, 2005, 2:43 PM ET by Randall Halcomb
Related entries: Car Buying

Ford logoWow, what a short boycott! Less than a week ago, the conservative Christian group the American Family Association announced a boycott against Ford for their support of gay rights groups, their gay marketing, and their active recruiting of homosexuals. On Monday, they suspended their call for a boycott after a Texas dealer offered to mediate between Ford and the AFA. Jerry Reynolds, owner of Prestige Ford in Garland, Texas, wrote the AFA pleading to end the boycott because it would mostly hurt dealers and their employees. Reynolds and four other dealers met with AFA founder Donald Wildmon to discuss the matter in Dallas. Reynolds is going to get the ear of Ford executives, but they were able to iron out some issues at the Dallas meeting. On the AFA's boycott website, you would often see advertisements aimed at homosexuals. The only problem was, they were not American ads. Reynolds and his peers convinced Wildmon to only focus on North American advertisements. Reynolds was convinced the boycott would hurt sales in the Bible Belt, but we think Wildmon took advantage of the mediation because the boycott may have be ineffective.


Reynolds was quoted in the Detroit News coverage:

Jerry Reynolds, an influential Ford dealer in Garland, Texas, who joined company executives in the meeting with AFA officials last week, said many dealers were concerned about the boycott. In the end, he said Ford made the changes because of financial concerns.

"It had a lot more to do with pure business than anything else. They are cutting back everywhere," Reynolds said.


You can call Jerry Reynolds dealers at these numbers:

888-435-2503 (Prestige Ford - Jerry Reynolds, Dallas)

866-838-6192 (Prestige Masda, Mercury - Jerry Reynolds, Dallas)

Meanwhile there's a Ford PR person trying to do damage control on the Americablog comments:

Wake Up people. Please go read the extent to which Ford Motor Company supports GLBT employees in its policies and fosters all types of diversity.

THIS IS NOT A COMPANY THAT SHOULD BE BEAT UP FOR THIER POLICIES.

They are far above in supporting diversity initiatives of all types and have one of the best domestic partner benefit programs of any major company. They also have a significant amount of openly gay managers and executives who can back this up.

Unfortunately, they are also a business under tremendous competitive pressure. If this were in response to the bozos at AFA, they would have cut Volvo advertising in these same publications also (which they actually increased).
Wake Up | 12.06.05 - 7:05 pm


Another commenter was suspicious, and John Aravosis did an IP lookup which confirmed it. The post came from a Ford computer.

CNN did a story on this. The problem with their story is they gave John Aravosis credit for breaking this story. That's not correct. I read about this last week on Pam Spaulding's blog - and Pam has been following the AFA's efforts to go after Ford for quite a while. She doesn't have the readership of Americablog. Jesus General has done a mockup ad for the 2006 Ford Klansman.

I stopped by Ford's Investor Relations site and send this feedback:

I was appalled to read that Ford had decided to kowtow to the anti-gay
bleatings from American Family Association. Would you quite including black models in your advertising because the Klan complained? Would you quit advertising in black or jewish media because of complaints from the Klan.

I am especially disappointed in this action because my father had been the recipient of Ford Foundation grants when he was a Professor at the UW Madison - and our family grew up on Fords.

If, as your marketing department has indicated, you are no longer marketing your Jaguar or Rover brands in "advocacy" publications, there are a number of questions which investors might legitimately ask: Since AARP is an advocacy organization (for instance) and they explicity fight discrimination on the basis of lifestyle, can we expect that Ford will cease marketing to the AARP demographic as well, since AARP seems to take a contrary position to that of AFA? Can Ford publish a specific standard against which they will make future marketing decisions on the basis of "advocacy"? Since AFA is an advocacy group whose mission statement says, "The American Family Association exists to motivate and equip citizens to change the culture to reflect Biblical truth.", can Ford investors assume that the company will make product decisions going forward that are consistent with this advocacy group versus other advocacy groups? I look forward to seeing this addressed in this month's SEC filings.


Meanwhile Ford is looking for a bailout from Washington, but they don't want those words used.

They're also asking for one rhetorical favor: Please don't call the requests a bailout.

"I don't view it as a bailout," Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said.

"We're not looking for a bailout," agreed William C. Ford Jr., chairman of Ford Motor Co.


John Aravosis from Americablog hasn't called on his readers to write Carl Levin about this. Perhaps that's because Levin is a democrat. Aravosis has been making this about George Bush though.

The AFA has taken down their Ford Boycott pages. They are still available in google's cache.

King Banaian Falls For IDists Spin on Paul Mirecki

Over on SCSU Scholars, King Banaian parrots John Algevogt's spin on the Paul Mirecki case as "reported" in Worldnet Daily pieces here and here.

PZ Myers responded.

Mirecki is an outspoken critic of fundamentalist idiocy masquerading as science; somehow this makes him unqualified to teach a course that analyzes the bad philosophy of the IDists? That's the line we're hearing over and over. The equivalent action would be if we were to ban Christians from teaching science classes -- how the Right would howl over that. Yet somehow Mirecki has been hounded out of teaching a critical course, and no one sees that as an infringement of academic freedom. Religion goes unchallenged, again. We have a de facto religious dominion in our culture and our schools right now, and you don't even notice.
PZ Myers


King responded:

PZ, your gift for conflation and hyperbole continues unabated. At what point have I argued for "religious dominion over schools" -- I've in fact argued for the opposite. I'm not proposing to slap atheists in their big fat faces. I'm not supporting ID. I'm objecting to using a classroom as a means to a political end, which was Mirecki's purpose.
kb


Professor Mirecki apologised for that statement (which was NOT made publicly), but rather was made on the KUSOMA yahoogroup. Now I'm wondering if King has every made a comment on a blog, or on a conservative mailing list that he wouldn't want to be held against him with a different audience.

A Kusoma member comments on the Lawrence Journal site:

Posted by VoijaRisa (anonymous) on December 5, 2005 at 9:33 p.m.

---"Why is it okay for Mireki to be intolerant, rude, and insulting?"---
I don't think anyone has claimed this is a good thing. However, free speech is a constitutional right.

However, there's no laws that you're allowed to engage in physical violence against people that hurt your feeligns. In fact, there's laws against it. But I'm sure John Altevogt is having a party right now. After all, he's admitted to commiting such acts in his past.

Additionally, I have read every Email that has been published. In fact, I recieved them all long before they were publicized. However, I invite you to join the Yahoo! listserve and read the hundreds of moderate Emails there. Every once in awhile, someone blows off steam. Sure, but SOMA is not the religious hate group Altevogt tries to paint us as.

---Atheists are intolerant of believers, believers are intolerant of atheists. This is ridiculous. Enough with the conspiracy theories. Who ever these two men are, they don't reflect the attitudes or beliefs of fellow whatever they ares."---

Agreed. The zealots that would engage in such a beating do not characterize Christians anywhere. However, to brush it off as an isolated incident is foolhardy. To anyone that would like to believe such things never happen, perhaps you should all look up the story of Joann Bell, whose CHILDREN were attacked, and her house burned to the ground while the local fire department refused to help. This is not an isolated incident.


The Kusoma website has an archive of John Altevogt's emails. Comments posted to the Lawrence Journal World by Altevogt are available here.

There's more background at Seeing the Forest.

The Lawrence Journal-World has a report on the Mirecki beating.

One of Mirecki’s most vocal critics, conservative activist John Altevogt, said he couldn't imagine anyone he knows doing such a thing.

"This should be investigated thoroughly, and whoever did this should be punished to the full extent of the law. You don’t beat people for either their faith or their lack thereof," he said.

But Altevogt said he was skeptical about whether Mirecki’s report was legitimate.

"He (Mirecki) has very little credibility left," Altevogt said. "The one thing that could save his bacon is to become a martyr of sorts, or to elicit sympathy from being the victim rather than the persecutor."

When told that some people were questioning the truth of his report, Mirecki fired back.

"The right wing wants blood, period. They're not going to stop until they see blood. They're not into anything else," he said. "Whatever I do, whatever I say, they don’t believe anything because that's the way they are... I know what happened. I got the hell beat out of me. They can say what they want."

KU religious studies professor Tim Miller said he saw Mirecki on Monday and that he looked "scraped up."


The University of Kansas Chancellor has had no comment.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Anti-Evolutionists Beat Up Kansas Professor

Professor Paul Mirecki who has angered the IDists by his course about Intelligent Design and Mythology was beaten up this morning.

Douglas County sheriff’s deputies are investigating the reported beating of a Kansas University professor who gained recent notoriety for his Internet tirades against Christian fundamentalists.

Kansas University religious studies professor Paul Mirecki reported he was beaten by two men about 6:40 a.m. today on a roadside in rural Douglas County. In a series of interviews late this afternoon, Mirecki said the men who beat him were making references to the controversy that has propelled him into the headlines in recent weeks.

"I didn't know them, but I'm sure they knew me," he said.

Mirecki said he was driving to breakfast when he noticed the men tailgating him in a pickup truck.

"I just pulled over hoping they would pass, and then they pulled up real close behind," he said. "They got out, and I made the mistake of getting out."

He said the men beat him about the upper body with their fists, and he said he thinks they struck him with a metal object. He was treated and released at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.


Ironically Jon Altevogt, the guy who has been complaining about Mirecki's emails has also written some pretty incendiary posts. As Red State Rabble says, it's an example of the pot calling the kettle black. I hear he was on a Lawrence, Kansas TV station saying that he thought Mirecki was making this up.

From the AP:

Andrew Stangl, president of the Society for Open Minded Atheists and Agnostics at the university, described the attack as "bizarre and terrifying." He said Mirecki, who is the group's faculty adviser, was adamant that the beating was related to the recently canceled course.

"That absolutely shocked me," he said, "because people don't do that in a civilized society."

Sen. Kay O'Connor, a Mirecki critic, said there is no excuse for someone physically assaulting the professor - regardless of their politics.

"I have zero tolerance for thugs," she said. "There is never an excuse to behave in such a manner. This was just thugs. They used a flimsy excuse, if they had one, to behave as thugs. They can talk about the ID (intelligent design) course if they want to, but that's not an excuse."


At least the State Senator condemned the violence.

It seems like it's getting pretty nasty in Kansas. Read the comments over at the Lawrence paper coverage of this story.

St Cloud Races (Senate District 15)

Secretary of State Filing.

Dan Becker, the Independence Party Candidate has not registered a campaign committee with the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board.

Dan Ochsner, "Ox" (Republican)

Minnesota Campaign Finance Committee Registration

Website - URL from the campaign finance board. It's not available now. When I checked the address early this morning, the site said "coming soon".

Bio at KNSI Radio

From Psychmeistr:

Dan Ochsner was backed by Dave Kleis and Sue Ek. Kleis gave a resounding endorsement of Ochsner, saying that Ochsner has already developed working relationships with the movers and shakers in St. Paul by virtue of his morning talk show here in St. Cloud. Ochsner is also active in the local chamber, as well as with the Minnesota Office of Tourism. Ochsner knows and has a working relationship with the governor, as well as with many senators and congressman currently in St. Paul. Kleis characterized Ochsner as a candidate who could "hit the ground running" and could not only win in the special election (supposedly to be held on December 27), but could also hang on to the seat in the November 2006 elections. Sue Ek (endorsed GOP candidate for the seat of outgoing Minnesota 15B Representative Joe Opatz) also gave a sound endorsement of Ochsner, noting that he was MCCL endorsed, and emphasizing "The Ox's" consistent conservative views that he espouses day in and day out on his show.

The difference between the speaking styles of Ochsner and Johnson were night and day. Where Johnson was well-polished and professional, Ochsner presented himself as an "everyday Joe", with no spit and polish, no power point presentation, and plenty of lighthearted humor. With no podium on which to place his speech (which a reliable source states that he penned last night) "the Ox" opted to sit down at a table on the stage (which was rather refreshing in its own right). Ochsner was all business, however, in outlining the issues. He stressed his pro-life, pro marriage stance, and vowed that he would vote for anything that strengthens those issues, and vote against anything that would weaken those issues. He also expressed his support to change committee rules, so that all bills brought before the Minnesota senate would be given a due up-or-down vote, instead of being stonewalled by a powerful few. He also stated his intention to work toward tort reform in Minnesota.


I suppose by "pro-marriage", Ox means support of the Bachmann amendment. Has the Ox read the bills that are introduced in the legislature? He doesn't seem to understand the legislative process at all if he opposes all committee work. Most bills that are introduced don't deserve an up or down vote.

Tarryl Clark (DFL):

Campaign website.

From the website:

TARRYL is an experienced leader who brings people together and gets things done. This is just a small sampling of some of Tarryl's accomplishments:


  • School Levy Leader and Finance Study Group member Senate District 15
  • Commissioner, Housing and Redevelopment Authority of St. Cloud
  • Attorney General's Commission on Consumers in Health Care
  • Youth Minister, St. John’s Episcopal Church


TARRYL will push hard for local needs and get results:


  • Lower health care costs and insurance reform
  • Increased funding stability for local schools
  • Transportation solutions that keep Central Minnesota moving
  • Energy solutions to bring down the high cost of heating


TARRYL is a successful advocate for our community:


  • Increased wages for working families
  • Early childhood education’s first funding increase in years
  • More funding available to local governments
  • Promote economic growth by fostering small businesses


"As your State Senator, I will continue to work hard to address real
issues impacting real people in Central Minnesota."
-TARRYL CLARK


In other words, there isn't a government spending program Tarryl doesn't like. I wonder what her position is on the stadium.

Blogsearch for Tarryl Clark.

Dan Becker, Independent is speaking for himself over on the St Cloud Times forum.

Developing. . .

Sunday, December 04, 2005

New York Times Has Excellent Article on Intelligent Design Creationism

Here
.

The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research.

"They never came in," said Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, who said that while he was skeptical from the beginning, other foundation officials were initially intrigued and later grew disillusioned.

"From the point of view of rigor and intellectual seriousness, the intelligent design people don't come out very well in our world of scientific review," he said.

While intelligent design has hit obstacles among scientists, it has also failed to find a warm embrace at many evangelical Christian colleges. Even at conservative schools, scholars and theologians who were initially excited about intelligent design say they have come to find its arguments unconvincing. They, too, have been greatly swayed by the scientists at their own institutions and elsewhere who have examined intelligent design and found it insufficiently substantiated in comparison to evolution.

"It can function as one of those ambiguous signs in the world that point to an intelligent creator and help support the faith of the faithful, but it just doesn't have the compelling or explanatory power to have much of an impact on the academy," said Frank D. Macchia, a professor of Christian theology at Vanguard University, in Costa Mesa, Calif., which is affiliated with the Assemblies of God, the nation's largest Pentecostal denomination.


PZ Myers is gloating on Pharyngula. He cross-posted this over on the American Street. The Discovery Institute is fuming here, here and here.

The commenters are having fun:

Joel The Bowerbird — 12/04 at 07:23 PM
I have a fundamentalist brother and sister, and sending them this article really angered them. They said I was trying to "preach to them about my viewpoints". (It's a new article sillies!) It's easy to see why it angered them, and it is fantastic that ID seems to be in its death throes.


IDiocy isn't dead. Their PR machine will continue on - and they will continue to get people saying that the "Darwinist fundementalists" are so mean to the poor IDiots.

King Banain comments that in Kansas, the ID supporters have completely intimidated Paul Mirecki. King seems to believe this is good news.

And now the ID supporters are trying to say - it's not a religious thing because there are Muslim creationists too.

Senator Michele Bachmann makes sure there are Muslims coming to testify for her anti-gay amendment. There are always Muslims speaking at the Bachmann amendment rallies.

Hopefully this NY Times article will be reprinted in the Star Tribune.

MOB Blogs Defending Intelligent Design Creationism

Ourhouse blog for one.

I've gone over there and commented. It's going back and forth.

First Time I've Gotten Compared to Patton

North Star Liberty here.

Quick, what do Eva Young and George S. Patton, Jr. have in common?

They both have an insight into what it might take for west metro Republicans to start winning elections again. Said Eva:

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.

With the DFL targeting even more wins in 2006 Gold Coast legislative elections, Republicans shouldn't be interested in just "holding on" to this House seat or even winning back that Senate seat. Competitive campaigns in "safe" DFL districts, even when we don't win, could have short- and long-term benefits statewide.


Thank you Matt. I've never been compared to Patton before. I grew up in Wisconsin, and Vince Lombardi, the legendary Packers coach always said "the best defense is a good offense." I'm no football fan, but that strategy makes lots of sense in politics.

Run some moderate, pro-choice, Log Cabin endorsed stadium tax opponents in the districts of DFL stadium tax supporters. There's going to be an open seat in senate district 58. The problem is the party machinery in Senate District 58 is some of the nuttiest out there. (I live in that Senate District and so does David Strom).

Recruit David Dayhoff to run in South Minneapolis in his district - and put some resources into the race. Find a decent congressional candidate for the 5th district, not an embarrassment like the person who ran the last time.

Also spend some effort courting moderates like Mary Tambornino, Dave Durenberger, Gary Laidig, Sheila Kiscaden and Martha Robertson back to the Republican Party. Do I think this will happen? I doubt it. Ron Eibensteiner never had that sort of vision, and he lives in Minneapolis. Ron Carey certainly doesn't have that type of vision.

University of Minnesota President Kowtows to the American Family Association

From Sprucegoose and Shock and Blog:

U of MN employee sends hate mail to AFA; apologizes

Source (with vulgar language editted a bit more by me)

The following email from Greg Perrizo was received on our AFA mail server on October 25, 2005 in response to an article by AFA Special Projects Director Randy Sharp which appeared on Agape Press. Click here to see the article.

Mr. Perrizo wrote:

What a F------ A------!!! The stupidity and disgustingly ignorant comments of Randy Sharp and the AFA are appalling to say the least. You people are so obsessed with gay sex you can't think about anything else. And you call gays perverts....wow, the irony!


A response sent by AFA resulted in this:

There is no apology due to Randy Sharp. People that write such heinous, hateful, disturbing things deserve to be called on it. I know that your organization feeds on the sensationalism of distorting the truth. I am tired of the filthy lies being spread by people such as Randy Sharp and supported by organizations like the AFA. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. I will continue to speak out against ignorance and hate whenever I encounter it.


After an email campaign by AFA members, the university president responded and Perrizo apologized. From an update email:

Yesterday (November 2), we received the following response from President Bruininks:

"Thank you for your email voicing concern regarding a University employee's use of offensive language to describe his views in an email using his University account.

"The University promotes a culture of tolerance and mutual respect and does not condone this kind of language. Our Code of Conduct policy establishes the expectation that all University employees adhere to the highest ethical standards of professional conduct and integrity. We are addressing this matter internally, and I am sure you understand state law prohibits discussing personnel matters publicly.

"Our understanding is that the employee has apologized for the manner in which he articulated his opinion. We appreciate your taking the time to share your concerns and your interest in the University of Minnesota."

In addition, we received the following apology from the state employee:

"After serious reflection, I would like to apologize to Mr. Sharp for the comments I posted on your website on 25 October, 2005. I acted in anger and now in retrospect I regret the way in which I communicated and worded my comments. Please accept my apology and relay this message to Mr. Sharp. Thank you for your time."


This person is not a state employee. They are a University of Minnesota employee. The University of Minnesota gets state assistance, but they also get a fair chunk of their budget from tuition, and private donations. It's really appalling to me that President Bruininks would cowtow to the American Family Association.

When people send comments to the AFA, they would be wise to avoid using their email address. Here's the AFA privacy policy.

They do not disclose to people using their contact form, that their email, and name and employer might be republished in AFA alerts. They should make that explicit.

Sprucegoose turned down the opportunity to write a letter to the University President over this.

When the AFA complained to the president of the University of Minnesota they received no reply. This added fuel to the fire. So the AFA is asking everyone to write a rebuke letter to let the world know about how offensive it is that someone cussed in a email written during company time as a state employee in Minnesota.

No, I don't think I will. Thanks for asking. Actually I think the AFA should say they are sorry for their reactionary verbiage in the first place. The goal of Christian thought and opinion should be redemption not rejection. Leave this sort of verbiage to the secular right wing. As Christians I think we can do much better.

Then I think that the U of MN employee, Greg Perrizo, should apologize for his street language. Two offences do not make a right. Let's try to keep the debate a little more mature than playground name calling. Normally I support the AFA and am thankful for their work but not this time. And my thoughts about the secular agenda on the U of MN campus are that they are walking another road than the one I walk.


Sprucegoose deserves kudos. The original AFA article which caused all the fuss is available here.

Ford Motor Company Kowtows to the Anti-gay American Family Association

Ford is also asking for a Bailout by the Government. (Just don't call it a bailout)....

Via Pam Spaulding.

Really dumb.

Jaguar, Land Rover ads halted in gay media, Ford confirms

The antigay American Family Association claimed a cultural victory on Thursday and called off its threatened boycott of Ford Motor Co. On Friday, Ford spokesman Mike Moran confirmed to Advocate.com that the company will stop advertising its Jaguar and Land Rover brands in gay publications but insisted it was strictly a business decision.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker came under fire from the AFA in May for its longtime efforts to increase LGBT workplace diversity and support gay rights causes. Ford has long been a regular advertiser within gay media, including The Advocate, and has donated significant sums to LGBT causes and nonprofit groups such as the Human Rights Campaign.

Threatened with a boycott by the Mississippi-based AFA, Ford and some of its dealers agreed to negotiate, and the AFA announced in June that it would hold off on its planned action. On Thursday, AFA announced the boycott would be canceled altogether.

"They've heard our concerns; they are acting on our concerns. We are pleased with where we are," said Donald Wildmon, AFA’s chairman, in a statement. "Obviously there are still some small matters of difference, as people will always have, but generally speaking, we are pleased with the results—and therefore the boycott that had been suspended [is] now officially ended."

Specific terms of any formal agreement between the AFA and Ford—and whether any such agreement has in fact been reached—remain unclear.

When first contacted, Ford spokesman Moran referred Advocate.com to the AFA statement, suggesting that the company had no disagreement with Wildmon's assertions. In a second conversation he confirmed that the company would no longer advertise Jaguar and Land Rover products in the gay media, saying that the decision was strictly "business."

"In all cases, we review this issue from a business perspective in regards to advertising," Moran said. "Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury [brands] did not advertise in gay publications anyway. At this time, Jaguar and Land Rover will not do so going forward.” He added that Volvo will still advertise in gay publications because the company believes it's an effective strategy for that market.

Detroit carmakers are facing tough economic times across the board, Moran pointed out. On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Ford plans to shut five North American plants that employ 7,500 workers. On Thursday, the company said its total U.S. vehicle sales in November fell by 15%.

Moran would not give further details on any agreement between Ford and the AFA, nor would he confirm that such an agreement existed. “Some months ago we began a constructive dialogue with them, just as we do with all other customers and interest groups," he said. "While we don't agree on all issues, we expect the dialogue to continue so that we understand each other better."

According to a list of demands on AFA's Web site, the organization insisted that Ford and all of its brands stop donating cash, vehicles, and endorsements to gay social activities. This includes donations to pride celebrations and groups such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. AFA says those groups have received contributions from Ford in the past.

Whether such sponsorship deals—in which Ford brands are given visibility by nonprofit groups and at LGBT events in return for donations—will continue, Moran could not say.

Comment on Ford's announcement is expected soon from HRC, GLAAD, and the Task Force over the weekend or early next week, but none was prepared to make a statement by close of business on Friday.

The AFA has said it reserves the right to reinstate the boycott if it feels Ford has not met its expectations. (Advocate.com)


It's never a good idea to kowtow to the AFA.

Now Americablog's John Aravosis jumped on the bandwagon and has the phone numbers for some of the Ford PR people. He has a good question:

Some initial contact info for Ford's public relation's people. Let's fill their voice mail boxes over the weekend. Ask them if they'd pull all their advertising in black media or Jewish media if the Klan gave them a call:

Contact: Rosemary Mariniello, Jaguar Land Rover North America, (201) 818-8010
Contact: Jim Cain, Ford Division, (313) 248-6288
Contact: Sara Tatchio, Lincoln and Mercury, (313) 594-3744
Contact: Roger Ormisher, Volvo Cars of North America, Inc., (800) 970-0888
Contact: George Pipas, Ford Motor Company, (313) 323-9216
Contact: Dan Bedore, Ford Division, (313) 323-7045


I called all these people for comment. I'll let you know whether any of these people returns my call.

There's more information on Ford's Board of Directors here.

Hennepin County Ford Dealer Contacts are here.