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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Tarryl Clark Advising the Bush Administration

During the St Cloud Times Online Debate, Tarryl Clark claimed:

My training and my experience training others (as well as my work and volunteer experience), taught me the importance of working with all people, not just those who look or sound alike. My desire is to find solutions, not just engage in partisan bickering. That is why I have been able to be involved with the State DFL Party and, at the same time, be a policy advisor to the Bush Administration. We don't need loud voices trying to shout down their opponents with increasingly shocking (and usually untrue) statements. We need to work together to find and implement real solutions. That is what my education, training, and experience has prepared me to do as State Senator.

I contacted her campaign about this claim. After speaking with the Clark campaign, it turns out that Clark was on advisor on a Bush administration affordable housing initiative.

Chuck Muth on the Patriot Act Filibuster


While it's true that it's primarily Democrats who are filibustering renewal of the Patriot Act in the Senate, conservatives and Republicans (not necessarily the same thing) shouldn't be so quick to automatically assume that this filibuster is a bad thing. The fact of the matter is, a considerable number of highly-regarded and highly-influential conservative leaders have been actively opposing some of the same aspects of the Patriot Act which the Democrats are now citing as justification for their filibuster. They include bona-fide limited-government defenders of individual rights as former Rep. Bob Barr and American Conservative Union chief David Keene.

For Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to compare conservative opponents to certain aspects of the Patriot Act - including Republican New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu who yesterday repeated Ben Franklin's "Those that would give up essential liberty in pursuit of a little temporary security deserve neither" quote on the Senate floor - to those who "have called for a retreat and defeat strategy in Iraq" is simply outrageous, offensive and insulting.

You sure won't find folks such me, Barr and Keene siding with the Democrats and the ACLU very often. This is one of those exceptions which prove the rule.

I'd encourage people to write both Senators: Norm Coleman and Mark Dayton on this matter.

Andrew Stangl, President of the Society of Open Minded Atheists and Agnostics Defends Paul Mirecki

Andrew Stangl, the President of SOMA, the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics at Kansas University has an oped in student newspaper today strongly defending Paul Mirecki:

Opinion: Don't judge private e-mail
by Andrew Stangl Published: Thursday, December 1, 2005

As I watched the news coverage of the recent incident involving Professor Paul Mirecki's creationism and intelligent design course, it quickly became apparent that people needed to hear the entire story. The e-mail so many have quoted was sent to the Society of Open-Minded Atheists’ (SOMA) e-mail list serv, meant only for SOMA members.

Someone, most likely a Christian fundamentalist, joined the list serv with the sole intention of monitoring our e-mails and using them against SOMA members.

I'll come back to what this says about fundamentalist ethics and morality in a moment, but this entire situation occurred because a "mole" on our list serv unethically sent Dr. Mirecki's e-mail to some fundamentalist, intelligent design nut job in Kansas City, who started this whole thing.


It certainly doesn't do a lot of good for the argument that religion, specifically Christianity, inspires morality when people pull stunts like this. My opinion of Christianity only continues to drop every time I witness some clearly Christian person commit some sort of offense.

If a secularist committed some offense, we would all be hounded openly by every fundamentalist preacher in the country. It's hypocritical, it's wrong and it's horribly unethical to focus on Mirecki’s statements and then call him a bigot. How many preachers will claim on Sunday that all secularists are immoral, terrible people? How many qualified, aspiring politicians will lose elections because they are secularists?

And yet, Mirecki, a man most people have likely never met, is a bigot based upon an abstract of an e-mail he sent to a private list serv?

Last week after reading King's post about Paul Mirecki, I joined the kusoma yahoogroup to get a first hand sense of what this so-called "hate group" was all about. I also talked with Andrew Stangl a bit about the controversy.

Andrew was especially disappointed in the way that Robert Hemenway, Chancellor of Kansas University reacted to the controversy. Hemenway referred to Mirecki's email as "repugnant and vile". In Andrew's view, this sort of language was way out of proportion to the email Hemenway was referring to and was "responsible for throwing fuel on the fire". Andrew suggested that "immature" would be a better way to describe - and distance himself from Mirecki's email.

Bartholemew has more analysis on how the Kansas Chancellor has reacted here.

Weblog Awards

Pam Spaulding won in the Best GLBT blog category. Pam got 29% of over 11,000 votes. Pam got around twice the votes in her category as Powerline got in the Best Blog category which Daily Kos won. Jesus General won the Best Humor blog by about 2/1 over his closest competitor, the Dilbert blog.

I wish the weblog awards would add a Best Science blog category.

You can check out other nominees and winners here.

Sarah Janacek and Brian Lambert to Get Drive Time Talk Show Slot

From Politics in Minnesota:

PIM Publisher Sarah Janecek will host a new daily radio show with former Pioneer Press media critic and Senator Mark Dayton's Communications Director Brian Lambert from 5-7 p.m. on 100.3 FM beginning January 2, 2006.

How will NARNian King Banaian react? Or frequent Janacek critic Kennedy v the Machine?

Judge Rules Against Sue Ek in Residency Case

Now it goes to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Catholic League's Bill Donahue Having a Cow Over Bush's Christmas Card


O'BRIEN: It is the holiday season, and I say that h-word with some trepidation, because you say that these days and people get upset with you. That's how things are going in this season of concern about what's happening to Christmas. And enter into all that along with all the other concerns about Wal-Mart and whether they're say -- doing things to exclude Christmas, the White House -- I would say Christmas card, but holiday card, which is distinctly well, it's Old Testament, put it that way. Joining me now is Bill Donohue. He's president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. He got this card in the mail -- not very happy about it. Why not?

DONOHUE: Well, when I first got it, I wasn't too unhappy, quite frankly, cause I thought this -- this kind of generic Christmas card is probably something all presidents did. Then I found out later in the day -- I got a phone call from Alan Cooperman from The Washington Post and said I was wrong on that, that every president from FDR up until Bush one [President George H.W. Bush] had at least one Christmas card where they mention 'Merry Christmas.' It began under Clinton, they decided to neuter it. So I began to wonder, why is W not following his father' precedent, as opposed to Clinton's. That made me a little bit angry, and after all we went after Wal-Mart, I'm not gonna be a phony about this and say that a president whom I've met and that I like -- I'm not gonna be be a phony about it and give him a pass. So I think he should put out a Christmas card after all, is it too much to ask people to say "Merry Christmas" at Christmastime in a Christmas card?

I emailed WaPo reporter Alan Cooperman to thank him for calling out this loser.

Minnetonka IDiocy Hearing

PZ Myers gives his impressions of the hearing.

Hot Dogs for Homophobes

Check them out here.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mirecki Makes the Onion


I posted about Mirecki's beating on the Real Abortion Debate list - managed by the guy who got the Culture and Family Institute to write a hit piece on me that Swiftee likes to quote from).

Here's what I posted:

Since this occured, some anti-evolutionists have beaten him up.

(plus full text of the Kos post)

Anyway, here was the response from the manager of the list:

He should be beaten up. There isn't a shred of evidence providing proof for evolution while there is overwhelming evidence for intelligent design.

You want to debate the topic, step up to the plate.

Mitch Berg over at Whine in the Dark has another mean-spirited post about Mirecki, casting doubt about whether he was really beaten up.

I've interviewed Andrew Stangl from SOMA (the group that had the listserv where Mirecki posted his controversial email). Andrew told me Mirecki isn't doing interviews. I will be posting the interview with Stangl at Lloydletta this weekend.

I'm curious how Mitch will react should the his theory about Mirecki's beating be false. Will he appologise to Mirecki? Will Michelle Malkin appologise to Mirecki for her mean-spirited posts? Doesn't it seem a bit over the top for Malkin to call the hospital to ask for medical information about Mirecki?

Mitch Berg follows up with a pointless - and inaccurate - post about the word fundementalism. Clever Sponge puts Mitch in his place.

Over at Shot in the Dark, Mr. Berg is engaging in some particularily whiny (and, as we will shortly contend, wildly inaccurate) talk about the definition and meaning of "fundamentalism". The gist of the post is that the word "fundamentalist" is woefully misused as an insult by elitists (comically represented in the post by Hollywood) against good, God-fearing, conservative Christians. Throughout the course of complaining about the misuse of a term that describes something of such great importance, Mr. Berg clearly demonstrates that he has no real use for the term in anything other than a political sense...which is sort of what he is complaining about from the other "side".

Read the whole thing.

Reggie Edwards on the Bachmann Amendment

A few days back I mentioned that Rick Stafford - Chair of the GLBT DNC Caucus has endorsed the DFL Bachmann amendment supporter Rebecca Otto for State Auditor. I wrote to Otto's opponent for the DFL nomination, Reggie Edwards about the Bachmann amendment:


This isn't an auditor issue but:

If you were in the legislature, would you have voted for the Bachmann
amendment the way your opponent, Rebecca Otto did? Otto supported
this amendment - which bans gay marriage and legal equivalents in the
Minnesota constitution.

From: Reggie Edwards
To: Eva Young


My older brother Darryl Keith Edwards was gay and died of AIDS in 1993. I helped care for him as he withered away and died. My family and I made sure that his partner was treated like family at the hospital and later at the funeral home. My brother and I were close, and I gave my son Noah the same middle name as Darryl.

Under no circumstances would I vote for the Bachmann Amendment or any other such restriction of civil rights.


Reggie Edwards

It will be interesting to see what Stonewall DFL does on this race.

From their website:

December 12, 2005


Thank you for your continued help and support of the LGBT community! There is a lot to celebrate in Minnesota for the DFL and members of the LGBT community in 2005. It has been a great year to see how grass roots politics can indeed make a difference by getting individuals together to find their voice.

As we look ahead to 2006, we will continue our tradition of an early endorsement convention. This year we will offer Early Endorsement to those candidates who have previously been endorsed by our caucus for the same race. (Think of it as a renewal of a previous endorsement.) Details are still being finalized for this process, but should be available by week's end. Details of the Regular Endorsement should be available at the same time.

As our constitution stipulates, we will be sending a mailing to our current dues paying members. We will expand this list to include members from the previous year as well. This mailing will invite them to renew their membership, as well as provide Endorsement Convention Details. To facilitate candidate communications to our members, we are allowing candidates to provide lit pieces that we will include in the mailing. To have your literature included in the mailing, materials must be received by Saturday, December 17, 2005. This is very short notice. The details are below:

How many? Please provide 250 lit pieces
How big? Limited to 3 2/3 in x 8.5 in. (1/3 sheet), double sided, standard weight
How much? 10¢ / piece
Content limitations? You are welcome to list past Stonewall DFL endorsements, as long as they are accurately attributed
Send to? Please arrange to mail to or drop off with:

Matt Klaber
1600 Grand Ave St.Paul, MN 55105

Due by: Saturday, December 17, 2005

Given the time constraints, I'm willing to make arrangements to print lit pieces at FedEx Kinko's for you at cost. Please note this is not union printing. I can receive most any design file you send my way. Other arrangements can be made on a case-by-case basis. Candidates are also welcome to combine literature.

Once the mailing is complete, we will also be sending the same information via email to our list of over 700 supporters. You are also welcome to provide content for that mailing, though details will come soon.

Endorsement details will be available by week's end. If anyone would like to be brought up to speed, feel free to contact me.

If you are not interested in providing lit, but are still interested in the endorsement, please let me know your contact information or the contact information of the preferred contact on the campaign.

Matt Klaber
Political Support Committee Chair
Stonewall DFL
Cell: 507-327-4946

Now I wonder if Stonewall ever got around to endorsing Terri Bonoff or John Dietering - the two DFL candidates running for election in the recent special election, or whether Stonewall endorsed the St Cloud DFL candidates running for election.

It will be interesting to see if the Federal Bachmann Amendment supporting candidate for congress, Elwyn Tinklenberg plans on putting some of his literature into this mailing.

Best GLBT Blogs Weblog Awards

Pam Spaulding is leading in the Best GLBT blog category of the Weblog awards. For Gay Patriot this is about liberal vs conservative.

Meanwhile, the giggling trolls over at BlogActive and Democratic Underground have turned the Best LGBT Weblog Award contest into a GayPatriot vs. BratBoySchool "in-the-family" battle. It seems they are reading a lot into the unintended silence on this site about the contest and mushrooming it into some fantasy battle.

While any self-respecting competitor wants to win a contest he enters, I haven't been able to campaign they way I wanted to this year. Plus, a number of the nominees lined up behind Ethan @ BratBoySchool late last week.

Now that I finally have a 'almost-decent' Internet connection after five days, I’d like to join them and endorse BratBoySchool for Best LGBT Blog!!


The Gay Conservative Bloggers are united to defeat the forces of nuttiness on the Gay Left! Take that, Pam's House Blend!

I wonder if Gay Patriot has ever read Pam's House Blend.

Other conservatives blog contenders have made this about liberal vs conservative, misrepresenting Pam's House Blend in the process.

Gay conservative blogger North Dallas Thirty has a different view.

However, I am doing this in part to protest the sniping that has taken place concerning this award. I'm particularly hurt by some of the attacks on Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend, who, despite being someone who is diametrically different from me in every superficial respect, is a dear friend and someone whose opinion I value immensely. To see her called names or to see situations being set up to ensure that she loses cuts me to the core, and I can't be silent about it.

I do encourage each of my readers to read/review the nominated blogs and make your selections. I choose silence because I have my blog to let my feelings be known. I ask each of you to choose who you genuinely feel is the best of the best.

That's a class act from North Dallas Thirty.

Pam has responded to all of this back biting with alot of class.

I enjoy your feedback and ideas -- at least those of the sane ones among you -- and hope that the Blend has provided an outlet for laughter (and occasional critical thinking, of course) about the world we live in.

I'm sure that this is how things started out for most of my fellow nominees. Despite different interests, and certainly different political perspectives, each drew an audience that found a voice they could identify with. Folks clearly enjoy stopping by to engage with the proprietor(s) of each blog.

My only regret about this awards process is that I have seen surprising negativity tossed around about this blog (or about "me" in the abstract, since they really don't know me) by some of my fellow nominees (and their supporters) in the Best LGBT Blog category. That's truly sad, particularly in this community. I've taken the time to surf and visit the other blogs nominated, and, IMHO, they are each quite deserving of consideration -- and their fan bases -- regardless of whether I agree with their worldview.

People should vote for any of the blogs because they enjoy reading the content and the perspective of the blogger(s). At least for me, it's not about "beating" anyone to score points. The "points" that really count in the end are the visitors that find this little coffeehouse a welcoming place they want to return to time and again.

It's the last day of the weblog awards. I urge readers to go check out the nominees and vote for the best LGBT blog.

Ford Will Advertize All Brands in Gay Press

The PR Nightmare for Ford that resulted after they appeared to kowtow to the AFA is now over. John Aravosis from Americablog declares victory here.

Wall Street Journal coverage here (available for 1 week).

Ford Restores Ads
In Gay Publications
Following Criticism
December 15, 2005; Page D6

Ford Motor Co., which just two weeks ago had appeared to pull its Jaguar and Land Rover advertising from gay and lesbian magazines under pressure from a conservative Christian group, reversed course and said it would place corporate ads in these publications, including the Advocate and Out national magazines.

Ford met with leaders from seven gay and lesbian organizations Monday, and in a follow-up letter sent yesterday explained Jaguar and Land Rover had made independent business decisions about their media plans. "However, it is clear there is a misperception about our intent," wrote Joe W. Laymon, Ford's group vice president of corporate human resources. "As a result, we have decided to run corporate ads in these targeted publications that will include not only Jaguar/Land Rover, but all eight of Ford's vehicle brands."

Two weeks ago, the American Family Association in Mississippi, which earlier this year had been angered by the company's support of gay-rights organizations and its advertising in gay publications, said it was canceling a planned boycott of Ford products. "We feel that our concerns are being addressed in good faith and will continue to be addressed in the future," Donald Wildmon, the group's chairman, said at the time of the boycott cancellation.

At the same time, word spread that Ford had stopped advertising its Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles in gay publications.

Gay and lesbian groups last week called on Ford to disavow any agreement with AFA and requested the Monday meeting. Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, one of the oldest and largest gay-rights groups, said the meeting was "straightforward, direct, cordial."

Ford declined to comment beyond Mr. Laymon's letter. An AFA representative wasn't reachable yesterday evening.

AFA is now threatening another boycott. From the AFA Press Release:

For Immediate Release: 12/15/2005
AFA considering boycott of Ford Motor Company

(Tupelo, MS) - The American Family Association says that Ford Motor Company reneged on some agreements reached in discussions with the automobile giant, and the organization is considering its next move.

“We had an agreement with Ford, worked out in good faith. Unfortunately, some Ford Motor Company officials made the decision to violate the good faith agreement. We are now considering our response to the violation and expect to reach a decision very soon,” said Donald E. Wildmon, chairman of AFA.

AFA had called for a boycott of Ford last spring because of Ford’s support for the homosexual agenda and homosexual marriage but suspended the boycott for six months at the request of a group of Ford dealers. Wildmon said AFA and Ford officials hammered out an agreement in the interim that was accepted by both parties.

“All we wanted was for Ford to refrain from choosing sides in the cultural war, and supporting groups which promote same-sex marriage is not remaining neutral,” Wildmon stated.

He stated that because Ford broke the agreement, the option of a boycott is now very much alive.

No additional comments regarding Ford will be made at this time.

Business Week's blog said earlier today that it was expected that the AFA would resume their boycott.

From the blog:

But the AFA created the perception that Ford had given them what they wanted, which angered several Ford executives--notably CEO Bill Ford.

AFA official could not be reached at deadline. It's widely expected that the group will reinstate its boycott of Ford.

Bill Ford was right to be irked about this.

David Kiley at the Business Week blog also comments about the AFA now threatening to boycott again.

AFA had called for a boycott of Ford last spring because of Ford’s support for the homosexual agenda and homosexual marriage but suspended the boycott for six months at the request of a group of Ford dealers. Wildmon said AFA and Ford officials hammered out an agreement in the interim that was accepted by both parties.

“All we wanted was for Ford to refrain from choosing sides in the cultural war, and supporting groups which promote same-sex marriage is not remaining neutral,” Wildmon stated.

He stated that because Ford broke the agreement, the option of a boycott is now very much alive."

If the AFA doesn't boycott after all this, I'd say no advertiser has anything to fear from the group.

There is no reason to fear a boycott from the AFA. Companies should know better than to kowtow to them. I'd assume those southern dealers - especially Jerry Reynolds - aren't going to make the mistake they made before of attempting to broker meetings between the AFA and Ford.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Minnetonka, Evolution and ID...oh my!

At a recent Minnetonka School Board meeting, the science curriculum standards were being discussed and the merits of both evolution and ID were part of this topic. The school board contends they have no intention of including ID in the science standards, however, now is the time to quash any members' ideas of trying to include ID in any science based curriculum.

The Minnetonka School District believes an article published in the Star Tribune West regarding Minnetonka Science Standards misrepresented the intent of the Board's future action on science standards.

The proposal before the School Board regarding the Minnetonka Science Standards DOES NOT call for any CHANGE in the way evolution is taught in the classroom. Minnetonka Science Standards do not include any reference to Intelligent Design, a belief which is not accepted as a scientific theory, does not follow the scientific method, and is not taught in science classrooms in Minnetonka Schools.

The Board will discuss Science Standards at a Special Meeting on December 15. An opportunity for Community Comment is available at 7 pm; the science discussion and anticipated Board action will follow.

Source: Minnetonka School District Website, December 15, 2005

Upon a request from the Director of Graduate Studies in Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology at the UofM, several graduate students are writing letters to the Minnetonka School Board to offer expert opinions on this issue. Below is the text of my letter.


David Joseph De Grio
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Minnetonka School Board
Public School District 276

Dear Sirs and Madams:

My name is David J. De Grio, I am a graduate student of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota. My formal undergraduate training is in Biochemistry and Theology. I am writing today in regards to the debate over including intelligent design in the science curriculum and whether evolution should be taught as fact or theory. Please keep in mind; I am speaking from the viewpoint of someone who is trained in both biochemistry and theology. So I am well informed about both sides of this argument.

I think first, that we must distinguish between micro-evolution and macro-evolution. Science has PROVEN micro-evolution has occurred, does occur and leads to changes within an organism and that change can lead to either a dead-end, or to a passed on genetic trait. An example of the former is seen when fruit fly reproductive genes are mutated and they cannot procreate, while the later is demonstrated in antibiotic resistance. Macro-evolution, on the other hand, has never been proven and probably never will be. This is not because macro-evolution is non-existent, nor because it is a weak theory. It is because we simply cannot conduct a scientific study for that amount of time (millions to hundreds of millions of years). However, the differences between humans and our nearest ancestors, the chimpanzee, are mostly the result of micro-evolution.

Creationism/intelligent design is not a scientific theory. I thank the board for recognizing the truth in that statement, however, I wish more people would understand this. It cannot be tested and supported or refuted. The only way this can be done is by having irrefutable proof that there is a designer/God. Were this provable, we wouldn’t have people who study Theology and we would cease to have that which makes us human, the search for higher truth. Furthermore, people who believe in ID/creationism should hope that it is never possible to test this theological assertion. For were it possible to test the theory there is the possibility that ID/Creationism could be disproved by negating the existence of God. Wouldn’t that put us in a tough spot?

Furthermore, it must be realized that even within the Bible there are two different stories of creation, Gen 1:1 – 2:3 and Gen 2:4 – 2:24. These two accounts are even contradictory in the first God creates animals and then man and woman at the same time. In the second creation story, God creates Adam then all the animals of the Earth. When no animal serves as a compatible partner to man, God creates woman from man. If we teach ID/Creationism, which story do we teach?

So where does this leave us? It would be a bastardization of science to include mythological stories and theories of creation in science curriculum. Not only would you be teaching something which spans beyond the realm of science, you would threaten the integrity of the impartiality science. In science we allow for theories to be refuted or modified by new findings. This is not possible in ID/creationism because it is based off a fundamental belief that the Bible is static and unchangeable as it is based of the infallibility of God. Science should remain independent from religion and religion independent from science. Furthermore, to maintain the integrity of the scientific process evolution must be taught as theory, not as fact. It can be emphasized that it is a very good theory, almost flawless, but it is not scientific fact. There are many examples of theories we believe to be fact, but we cannot call them fact, at least not at this point.

A more proper solution would be to integrate comparative theology into the social studies curriculum of students. In this curriculum should be included the creation stories of the major religions: Judaism/Christianity, Islam and Hindu. These courses should be designed by religious scholars from the major religions and monitored by an independent advisory council which can guarantee that no religion is being forced upon students but that the classes offer increased understanding of other religions and hopefully will abrogate cultural misunderstanding.

Because the Minnetonka Schools serve as a high standard of excellence for other districts I encourage open and thoughtful discussion of this issue. I make myself available for any further questions you may have. May peace be with you as we enter into this joyous Christmas season!

Respectfully yours,

David Joseph De Grio

Updated: Added text of Minnetonka school district statement. It appears the district isn't happy about the unwelcome attention creationist school board member Dave Eaton is bringing to the Minnetonka School District.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Will Farheen Hakeem Run Against Neva Walker?

The Minneapolis Observer seems to think so:

12/13/05 Tuesday
We're told that former mayoral candidate Farheen Hakeem is being heavily recruited to run against Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, and she's also been encouraged to run for the School Board. Despite her teaching background, a School Board run does not seem imminent, nor does a race against a vulnerable (especially after his vote today to scale back the county’s smoking ban) McLaughlin seem likely. Our best guess: a November run against state Rep. Neva Walker.

Neva is more vulnerable than her voting totals show. She has a poor attendance record at committee meetings.

I don't see Neva's district being a green district.

Chair of Democratic National Committee GLBT Caucus Endorses Bachmann Amendment Supporter

Rick Stafford is a long time openly gay DFL activist. Rick served as DFL party chair a while back. He has now given his name as an endorsement to Rebecca Otto, a candidate for State Auditor. When Rebecca served in the Minnesota House of Representatives, she voted in favor of the Bachmann amendment.

Pam Spaulding has an excellent writeup on this. Pam is a progressive blogger, and she has had the gumption that few other gay progressive bloggers do - she will call democrats on it when they should be called on it.

St Cloud House Candidates on Bachmann Amendment

Source: St Cloud Times Online Debate.

What is your stand on the state constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman?

Larry Haws - Current Minnesota law does not allow marriage between same sex couples. We do not need to reinforce the law with a constitutional amendment—I believe that the language already codified in state law is strong enough.

Sue Ek
- I support the constitutional amendment and would vote YES to allow voters in Saint Cloud and Haven Township the opportunity to decide if THEY believe the state constitution should recognize marriage as a union between one man and one woman. This is a key difference between me and my opponent.

Actually another key difference seems to be that Haws lives in St Cloud and Ek lives in St Paul.

St Cloud Senate Candidates on the Bachmann Amendment

St Cloud Times

What is your stand on the state constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman?

Dan Becker
- I will vote in favor of this.

I do not support changing the definition of marriage between a man and a woman.

I think if the gay community had supported the civil union concept during the Clinton years, this would have been done.

Let me also say I do not like to amend the constitution often because it takes away from the integrity of it.

Tarryl Clark - It is currently against the law in Minnesota for gays to marry. As I stated in Q5, I’m opposed to amending the state constitution unless there’s a real need to. That standard applies here.

Much of the last two years have been wasted on legislative debate on this issue, mainly by politicians who hope to push voter turnout one way or another in the next election. That’s not the purpose of the constitutional amendment process. If it were the case that Minnesota’s law, which has been on the books for years, were overturned, then the question could be put to the voters.

Dan Ochsner
- I believe the sanctity of marriage is in jeopardy. I will fight the Senate DFL Majority’s position against the DOMA amendment and will work hard to allow Minnesotans the right to vote to permanently protect and define marriage.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Pawlenty Challenger from the Right?

From Residual Forces.

I’ve just caught wind that a person will be running for Governor as an independent from the right.

I cannot say who, but I can assure you that this person is on the right side of the political spectrum. The person is very upset with Pawlenty’s recent policy decisions, and has decided to challenge him for his job.

I hope that this person takes into consideration the conciquesnce of their decision. If this person manages to gather a meaningless 2% of the vote in the general election, that may be enough to cost Pawlenty, the Republicans, and yes even conservatives the Governor’s office. If they truly feel that they can get 25% of the vote, it is all over for the people on the right side of politics in Minnesota.

Developing. . .

Minnetonka Reviewing Science Standards on Thursday

PZ Myers will be coming to town to observe. Myers has a wrapup on the efforts by Dave Eaton, Minnetonka's creationist school board member to put IDiocy in the Minnetonka science curriculum.

Fleshing Out Professor Paul Mirecki

The Lawrence Journal-World has an excellent article about Paul Mirecki, the KU professor who was recently beaten up by anti-evolutionists.

Kansas University professor Paul Mirecki’s disparaging comments about conservative Christians and Catholics put him in a political hot seat, propelled him into national headlines and made him the victim of a reported roadside beating.

But as a boy, his parents wanted him to be a Roman Catholic priest. And as a young adult, he studied at a Protestant seminary and considered the ministry.

Ultimately, he chose academia and has dedicated his life to the study of religions.

“I just felt that that life wasn’t for me,” Mirecki said. “I wanted to be a professor.”

Among his most significant academic work was the discovery and deciphering of an ancient manuscript containing a lost gospel, a document that sheds new light on the origins of early Christianity.

Now, the 55-year-old KU associate professor of religious studies says he has been pushed from his post as department chairman, a job he held more than three years, and he is emotionally and physically battered.

The beating, he said, occurred Monday morning — a bitter consequence of the firestorm that began weeks ago when he announced he would teach a course on intelligent design as mythology, not the science its proponents claim it to be.
Paul Mirecki's life has revolved around religion — starting with his parents wanting him to become a Roman Catholic priest and his eventual career as a theology professor and researcher.

Photo by Sarah Smarsh

Paul Mirecki's life has revolved around religion — starting with his parents wanting him to become a Roman Catholic priest and his eventual career as a theology professor and researcher.

"I just want to get back to teaching and research," Mirecki said. "That's what I am, and that's what I do."

Mirecki is looking into suing the University of Kansas over the forced resignation from his chair position.

Mirecki's press release on this is available on the Lawrence Journal World website.

So the saga continues.

Detroit News Gay Columnist, Deb Price Says Michigan Gays Willing to Forgive Ford

John Aravosis wasn't invited to the meeting between Ford and Gays - so he's talking about notching it up with his campaign against Ford.

Deb Price from the Detroit newspaper has a different perspective.


So nowhere more than in the Motor City are gay folks stunned by the news that Ford, following talks with the anti-gay American Family Association about its boycott threats, announced the company will no longer advertise Jaguars and Land Rovers in the gay press.

Ford insists any suggestion it is retreating from its gay-friendly history "is just plain wrong." But it also says, "We don't intend -- directly or indirectly -- to take sides on controversial or emotionally charged social or moral issues." Hmmmm.

As we say in my business, "More will be revealed." But Ford's stumbling p.r. efforts have left Motor City gay folks feeling hurt or confused, yet eager to give an old friend the benefit of the doubt. As many put it, "I think Ford just made a blunder; I've made plenty."

Leslie Thompson, executive director of gay Affirmations, wants to believe Ford's decision not to advertise anything but Volvos in the gay press was "driven strictly by a business case." Ford, she notes, was the first of the Big Three to contribute $250,000 toward building Metro Detroit's $5.3 million gay community center, set to open next year. That $250,000 check was a record donation by a Fortune 500 firm.

"It's impossible to begin to explain how much the Big Three make a difference," says Thompson. "We create a safe space. You can walk down the hallway holding your partner's hand. Or just say 'I'm gay' out loud and not be afraid."

One big new gay fear is that Ford has lost its way. The cover of Between the Lines, Michigan's gay paper, captures that worry: A gay-pride rainbow bumper sticker on a Ford pickup has had "AFA" plastered over it. Where did the gay artist get the Ford pickup? She owns it.

The other new fear among those of us who're gay and prize the jobs Ford provides and the good it does is that gay national groups will lash out. Between the Lines wisely pleads that anyone mulling a gay boycott instead "come to Michigan. See the hard-won benefits and donations before you work to dismantle this valuable relationship."

As anti-gay rhetoric heated up in the 1990s, Ford did have a better idea -- reach out to gay workers and customers. Now, Ford's loyal gay friends are eager to forgive and forget. We just need to hear Ford say, without hedging, that it still values having a good relationship with us.

Let's see what happens at the meeting. Gay leaders from Michigan are being included.

St Cloud Times Questions for the SD 15 Candidates


Our view: Candidates will face questions of a unique sort
Times editorial board

The St. Cloud Times Editorial Board is scheduled to meet Wednesday with candidates for House District 15B and Senate District 15. These interviews, which the board will lean heavily on in deciding endorsements, are run similar to a forum or debate.

Usually the board asks only questions that all candidates can answer. What are your biggest priorities? How would you vote on this issue? Explain how you would address that challenge. Etc.

However, this Dec. 27 election is proving to be particularly special because each of the five candidates are facing some unique questions — questions that don't necessarily apply to their competitors, but that voters could find essential in casting their ballots.

Here is a brief look at questions board members will ask each candidate to answer individually.

House 15B

Sue Ek

Please explain clearly the discrepancy in official documents about your city of residence. Legal residency is of paramount importance in running for the Legislature. You signed an affidavit in St. Paul stating you were a resident there July 9. Yet you filed your candidacy papers in which you swore you had been a resident of St. Cloud since at least June 27, which meets the required six-month residency rule for District 15B.

Which is correct? How are voters not supposed to see these conflicting claims as dishonesty?

Larry Haws

A professional career working in the public sector coupled with your current role as a Stearns County commissioner leaves no doubt you are committed to public service. But public service doesn't come up for a lot of votes in the Legislature.

What specific issue is driving you to run for office?

Senate 15

Dan Becker

This is the fourth election you have entered since 2002. You just finished fourth in the St. Cloud City Council race. You filed and withdrew for council in 2003. And in 2002 you ran for the U.S. 6th District House seat held by Mark Kennedy.

In seeking city, federal and now state office, do you have a consistent message to deliver? Or has running four times in three different jurisdictions diluted that? Please explain.

Tarryl Clark

You already are heavily involved in the Legislature, most notably as a lobbyist. How will you overcome the perception that you may not be that much different than the incumbents and other Capitol insiders with whom voters already are frustrated?

Dan Ochsner

Prior to your candidacy, you were the host of a radio talk show that many people believe showed disrespect, even disdain, for efforts to promote multiculturalism and diversity. Given the struggles this community has had with those issues and the area's growing diversity, why should voters elect someone whose job involved minimizing those issues and the people they affect?

We look forward to their answers.

I'll be interested to hear the answers to these questions.

Comment thread here.

Dan Becker has said he'd support the Bachmann amendment:

6. What is your stand on the state constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman?
Dan Becker - I will vote in favor of this.

I do not support changing the definition of marriage between a man and a woman.

I think if the gay community had supported the civil union concept during the Clinton years, this would have been done.

Let me also say I do not like to amend the constitution often because it takes away from the integrity of it.

I wonder if he has read the amendment. It bans civil unions. There weren't any civil unions offered during the Clinton administration. Clinton brought us the Defense of Marriage Act.

Hillary Clinton Opposes the First Amendment

This is old news, but Hillary Clinton has decided to support the Flag Burning Amendment. It appears she misunderstands the First Amendment.

From the Winston-Salem News:

Monday, December 12, 2005
Stars, Stripes and Clinton

Winston-Salem Journal

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has never been as liberal as the political right likes to portray her. She voted to authorize the war in Iraq, remember, and remains a hawk on the issue to this day. She's won occasional praise in the Senate for working with Republicans to find middle ground with her more liberal colleagues.

Nonetheless, Clinton's co-sponsorship of a bill that would make it criminal to burn the American flag appears to be nothing short of pandering to the right. The bill demonstrates Clinton's willingness to trade away a piece of the right to free speech to better position herself for her 2008 run for the White House.

No one in this country supports flag burning. Old Glory is a beautiful symbol of American patriotism. But a greater indicator of American freedom is the right that we all hold to express our personal, political positions. If Congress were to outlaw the burning of the flag, it would take from American citizens one small piece of their rights to free expression.

Clinton's sponsorship of the legislation is particularly galling considering that flag burning is pretty much out of style as a form of protest. During the Vietnam War, protestors made a grievous error by burning flags and thereby presenting themselves as anti-American. A more likely scenario by protestors upset with government policy today - for example, Cindy Sheehan of the anti-Iraq-war movement - is to wrap oneself in the flag.

What will happen next, when Clinton and her allies on the political right find that a ban on burning the flag doesn't keep a new generation of war protestors from using the flag? Will they then propose a law banning people from wrapping themselves in the flag? While such an idea might have some merit for cheap politicians who pre-empt our national symbol for their own personal advancement, it is clearly not a workable solution.

Clinton's proposal is politically gratuitous, in one way, and especially dangerous in another. In 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that flag burning is constitutionally protected free speech. So, lower courts would almost assuredly delay its enforcement and the Clinton bill would appear to be an exercise in futility.

With the high court moving further to the right with President Bush's appointments, a new anti-flag burning law might eventually be upheld. And with such a ruling, thanks to the New York senator, a piece of American liberty would disappear.

I have always thought the people who support Flag Burning amendments trivialize the what the American Flag stands for. Libertarian conservatives oppose the Flag Burning amendment. The Cato Institute testified against the flag burning amendment in 1997. The Cato Institute explains here why Flag Burning Amendments are dumb ideas. I'd disagree that the Supreme Court would find Hillary's law constitutional. The much reviled Clarence Thomas is a strong libertarian and understands the first amendment.

The St Petersburg Times finds this pathetic:

Hillary's pathetic ploy
A Times Editorial
Published December 12, 2005

Sen. Hillary Clinton's decision to co-sponsor a bill to make it a crime to burn the American flag amounts to political pandering of the worst kind. She was against outlawing flag-burning before she was for it.

The New York Democrat says she opposes a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning but has signed on to a bill that would ostensibly accomplish the same thing by federal statute. Her position is unprincipled. Clinton may think this is a middle-ground position with broad political appeal, but most people will see it for what it is.

Voters who approve of making flag-burning a crime are seeking a constitutional amendment, not a statute that is likely to be struck down by the federal courts as unconstitutional. And those voters who understand that this country's cherished freedom of speech is undermined by limits on offensive messages, including flag-burning, don't want any legal proscriptions. There is no middle ground.

The measure she has co-sponsored along with Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, is the Flag Protection Act of 2005. One provision would make it a crime punishable by up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine, to burn an American flag of "any size" if a person knows that it is "likely to produce imminent violence or a breach of the peace."

The crime is not the act of burning the flag (since old and tattered flags are burned regularly by veteran groups) but to burn a flag in criticism of the American government when someone is nearby who cannot control his impulses. This gives remarkable power to those in our society who resort to violence in response to disturbing speech and messages.

The Democratic Party doesn't need another candidate who lacks the backbone to take a clear, principled stand, and it certainly doesn't need a candidate who doesn't believe in the First Amendment.

Hillary deserves this derision.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

St Cloud Times Sponsoring Online Debate for Special Election

You can submit questions for Senate candidates Dan Becker (I), Tarryl Clark (DFL), and Dan Ochner (R) here. You can submit questions for House candidates Sue Ek and Larry Haws here.

Here's the rules:

The St. Cloud Times is hosting an online debate between District 15B House candidates Sue Ek and Larry Haws. Readers are invited to submit questions starting Sunday, December 12, through the end of the debate via the form below. Candidates are eligible to respond to questions and to each other when questions are first posted at 8 a.m. on Monday, December 12. Questions and candidate responses will be accepted until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13, the end of the debate.

From the St Cloud Times:

Hopefuls to debate in online forum
By Lawrence Schumacher


Candidates in a special legislative election set for Dec. 27 will answer questions from St. Cloud Times readers Monday and Tuesday in an online debate.

Starting today, readers can submit questions for Senate District 15 candidates Dan Becker, Tarryl Clark and Dan "Ox" Ochsner, and for House District 15B candidates Sue Ek and Larry Haws by visiting

Times staff will begin posting the questions at that address Monday morning, and candidates can respond through 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Questions should focus on issues relevant to the Legislature and state government. They should be specific to each race and answerable by all the candidates in that race.

Staff will moderate and may choose to edit or reject questions deemed too long, redundant, malicious or off-topic.

The candidates will be able to respond to each other’s comments and ask each other follow-up questions about any topic.

Those comments can be seen at through the Dec. 27 election.

Senate District 15 includes the cities of Rockville, St. Augusta, St. Cloud, Waite Park and Haven Township.

House District 15B includes the core neighborhoods of St. Cloud on both sides of the Mississippi River and Haven Township.

This should be interesting.

Governor Candidates on GLBT Issues

Tim Pawlenty: Supported 1993 human rights act amendment to include gays. When he ran for governor in 2002, he stated publicly that's the vote he regreted most in his political career. Tim Pawlenty supports the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and "legal equivalents", which could mean civil unions and domestic partner benefits (Bachmann amendment).

Mike Hatch: In 1994, attacked primary opponent John Marty for supporting domestic partner benefits. He has no position on the Bachmann amendment. Recently in the Pioneer Press he said Tim Pawlenty and he had identical positions on gay marriage.

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

St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
November 14, 2005
Author: Bill Salisbury, Pioneer Press

Steve Kelley:

On DOMA and the Bachmann amendment according to Kelley communications director, Jessica Null:

Sen. Kelley did vote against DOMA in 1997 and is against the Bachmann amendment. He will lead the fight to keep the amendment off the ballot in 2006.

If the legislature were to repeal DOMA, he would sign the bill should it come to his desk as governor.

This is a human rights issue; a society is not truly free if people are oppressed. He believes hard-working Minnesotans deserve every opportunity for happiness. That includes gay people. We must distinguish the civic aspect from the sacred aspect of marrige. He does not want to interfere with what religion does; he's talking about the civic issues. Gays should have all the civic rights and responsibilities that go with marriage.

Steve Kelley has a 100% voting record with OutFront Minnesota.

Becky Lourey: Becky opposes the Bachmann amendment and the Defense of Marriage Act legislation. When I talked with her at a recent Minnesota Women's Political Caucus event she wanted me to understand that she has a long history of supporting the gay community from a rural district. Becky Lourey has a 100% voting record with OutFront Minnesota.

Kelly Doran:

I do not support same-sex marriage, and I also do not believe our government should be involved in changing what I consider the holy and religious sacrament of marriage between one man and one woman.

Because we already have existing state and federal laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman, neither of which has been challenged in any court of law, I see no need for further legislation or constitutional amendments.

I do, however, support allowing Americans in committed same-sex relationships to have the same private protections, rights and responsibilities. Some examples of those rights are dependent health care coverage and decision making rights, inheritance rights, hospital visitation rights, workers compensation rights, and survivor pension benefits rights.

Many of the major private employers in our state already provide these same rights to their employees who are part of a committed same sex relationship. I see no reason why a democratic society based upon freedom should not do the same thing.

We are all in this together, and our campaign is about uniting not dividing.

Kudos to Kelly Doran for putting his position on this issue on his website.

Peter Hutchinson has no information on his website at the present time.

Email Sent to Jerry Reynolds, Dallas area Ford Dealer Who Brokered AFA Meeting with Ford Executives

This is the text of the Email I had sent to Jerry Reynolds:

From: "Eva Young" []
To: []
Cc: Log Cabin List; [];
[]; [];
[]; []
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 11:43 PM
Subject: [usaqueers] Ford Does More Self Inflicted Damage (Email to Jerry
Reynolds, Dealer who brokered Ford's deal with the anti-gay AFA)

Hi Jerry:

I find this really amazing that you were dumb enough to broker this nonsense. Dallas, Texas has a HUGE gay community, and so why you are encouraging Ford to kowtow to the anti-gay wackos at the AFA, I don't know.

But if you don't want gay money coming to your dealerships in Dallas, I'd be glad to help you get that message out.

You can thank yourself for this.

I hope the Dallas Voice (the Gay newspaper in Dallas) will contact you about this one. I have cced them on this, so they can do a story on this.

Eva Young
Lloydletta's Nooz

I then appended the full text of this Lloydletta's Nooz post.

Reynold's responded.

It's natural to make situations like this personal, but truly it was not about any group of 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.

In subsequent correspondance Jerry told me that he had never heard of the AFA until he got 25 calls from customers - some of them long time customers, telling him they were not going to purchase from him because of what they read in the AFA alert. Jerry also mentioned that he has advertized in the Dallas Voice in the past, and that he has donated cars to the Dallas Gay Pride (and got called by the Leviticus Crowd types over that one).

Jerry has not been replying to other emails on the topic. Perhaps he has been advised against it by Ford.

Marty Grimes has some interesting analysis on the Ford/AFA situation.