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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bring Back the Country Club Republicans

I've been watching some of today's (Saturday) coverage of the funeral and other solemn rituals for President Ford. I was in junior high during the Watergate years, and while I found it fascinating even at that age (yes, I watched televised Congressional hearings on warm summer afternoons.....), I'm sure that if I were an adult at that time, I might have a different perspective on the Ford presidency.

But seeing the reunion of recognizable faces from the Nixon/Ford era does make me wistful for a time when the GOP and the Democrats actually talked to each other and worked on legislation together, and when the values of the GOP were the values of mainstreet and the Chamber of Commerce, not the values of some Harold Hill-like evangelical fearmonger.

When Ronald Reagan was President, he and the Democratic Speaker of the US House, Tip O'Neill, used to meet for a highball late in the afternoon.... can you imagine Nancy Pelosi and Dubya getting together for a purely social reason???

Rest in peace, President Ford. Thank you for your humble service during troubled times. We need to be carefully pondering the lessons of your life.

Deb Price Interview with Gerald Ford

Deb Price interviewed Gerald Ford and published her interview in her Detroit news column on October 21, 2001. Page One Q reprints the column:

Former President Gerald Ford believes the federal government should treat
gay couples the same as married couples, including providing equal Social Security and tax benefits. Ford's views, expressed in an exclusive telephone interview, make him the highest-ranking Republican ever to endorse equal treatment for gay couples. "I think they ought to be treated equally. Period," Ford declared. Asked specifically whether gay couples should get the same Social Security, tax and other federal benefits as married couples, he replied, "I don't see why they shouldn't. I think that's a proper goal."

Now 88, Ford was a longtime Michigan congressman and Republican leader of the U.S. House before being appointed vice president and then rising to the presidency in 1974 after Richard Nixon's resignation. From his office in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Ford comfortably discussed a range of gay issues. He said he supports federal legislation to outlaw anti-gay job discrimination: "That is a step in the right direction. I have a longstanding record in favor of legislation to do away with discrimination."


President Ford also served on the Advisory Committee of the Republican Unity Coalition - an organization committed to making being gay a non-issue in Republican Politics.

Strib's Tim OBrien Gets Called Out By Drama Queen Commenter

Here.

OBrien clarifies that he wasn't calling for Kiffmeyer to give media access to her transition meetings:

I wasn’t pleading for media access to transition meetings. I was making the argument that, if Kiffmeyer truly were interested in ensuring that the meeting not be misrepresented by Ritchie, there were other ways to do it that inviting Mr. Brodkorb.

Comment by Tim O'Brien — December 26, 2006 @ 10:27 am


But go over to the Drama Queen's to read the exchange. It's quite entertaining.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Drama Queen Not the Only One Getting House Egged

Lloydletta contributor Ken Avidor writes about his experience on MN Buzz.

Earth Angel, probably a St Cloud Times commenter, has started a blog to Dump Avidor.

Why is Young Earth Creationism Being Sold at the Grand Canyon National Park?

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility:

HOW OLD IS THE GRAND CANYON? PARK SERVICE WON’T SAY — Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology

Washington, DC — Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

“In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is ‘no comment.’”

In a letter released today, PEER urged the new Director of the National Park Service (NPS), Mary Bomar, to end the stalling tactics, remove the book from sale at the park and allow park interpretive rangers to honestly answer questions from the public about the geologic age of the Grand Canyon. PEER is also asking Director Bomar to approve a pamphlet, suppressed since 2002 by Bush appointees, providing guidance for rangers and other interpretive staff in making distinctions between science and religion when speaking to park visitors about geologic issues.

In August 2003, Park Superintendent Joe Alston attempted to block the sale at park bookstores of Grand Canyon: A Different View by Tom Vail, a book claiming the Canyon developed on a biblical rather than an evolutionary time scale. NPS Headquarters, however, intervened and overruled Alston. To quiet the resulting furor, NPS Chief of Communications David Barna told reporters and members of Congress that there would be a high-level policy review of the issue.

According to a recent NPS response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by PEER, no such review was ever requested, let alone conducted or completed.


The Bush administration is known for allowing theocrats to push their science agenda. I believe that Gil Gutnecht's bizarre and unscientific views combined with his role on the house science committee were part of the reason he lost - in a highly educated district with the Mayo Clinic as a major employer.

Anti-Gay Activists Push Agenda in Minnesota Schools

Andy from Eleventh Avenue South has a post about the anti-gay Minnesota Family Institute spreading misinformation about gay people with their "SOS" program. Andy refers to the MFI as a "Judeo Christian, anti-gay" group. In my opinion the adjective "Judeo-Christian" does not belong as a descriptor for the MFI. "Anti-gay" is what describes the group - or theocratic. The MFI exploits christianity to promote their anti-gay agenda.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Drama Queen Wins Worst Person in Minnesota Award

From the Minnesota Network for Progressive Action.


#1 -- Michael Brodkorb: My 2006 worst person in Minnesota has redefined the Minnesota blog-o-sphere. Blogs used to be a genuine discussion of events and positions; they admittedly have slanted points of view, but that's usually not hidden from the reader-- they editorialize but don't pretend to be giving "hard" news....however, thanks to Brodkorb, blogs are rapidly becoming just another arm of political campaigns; operated by former campaign staffers and political hacks and working to influence or manipulate the mainstream media in any manner they can. It has gotten so out of hand, that Mary Kiffmeyer invites Brodkorb to a transition meeting with newly elected Mark Ritchie....for purposes only apparent to Kiffmeyer herself.... but we know Brodkorb's agenda is to simply "hatchet" another Democrat. To be fair, Brodkorb isn't the only one that has lowered the bar for political discourse. There are plenty on the left that are all too willing to take up the gauntlet. But Brodkorb envisions himself as some kind of "investigative" reporter.... with little or no regard for both sides of the issue and even less for factual content. He only looks for the negative... and only items that expose political "opponents". His news flashes are one-sided and distorted as much as possible. But given all that, Brodkorb might be simply ranting in obscurity if not for the local media's willing obsession to pick up the "negative" story, at the expense of examining issue content. Politics has been reduced to the lowest common denominator....thanks, partially, to Michael Brodkorb--- Minnesota's Worst Person in the State!


Brodkorb doesn't claim to be unbiased. He's got lots of media contacts, and reporters and political operatives read his site. Democrats have also been very willing to use Brodkorb to launder negative stories on democratic opponents. Elwyn Tinklenberg's campaign did this to Scotty Mortensen for example.

Brodkorb's blog doesn't work in isolation. He works hard at cultivating reporters and editors - and pitching them his stories.

I read MDE because it's a gossip site. I take stories on that site with a large grain of salt.

Picking out a New Kitten

My little niece and nephew got a kitten for Christmas. Their dad finally agreed to the kitten. Today my sister and I and nephew and niece went out to the local humane society to pick the kitten out.

We came home with a very cute 3 month old black female kitten. The kids named the kitten "Lily". She's quite an active little critter.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

FRC on Mary Cheney's Baby

From the December 8 Daily Bleating from the FRC

For the last three days, media outlets from across the country have flooded FRC with calls on our reaction to the news that Vice President Cheney's daughter, who has a lesbian partner, is expecting a child. We have purposefully declined to comment on the story, in order to maintain FRC's focus on policy discussions. However, whe an event such as this is used by some as a catalyst for advancing a political agenda or promoting public policy that attacks traditional marriage or parenting, I have no reservations about stepping forward and defending morality and the family - regardless of who is involved. Today's Washington Post features such an attempt by editorial columnist Ruth Marcus. With an air of noble tutelage, Marcus writes, "Whether she intends it or not, [Mary Cheney's] pregnancy will, I think, turn out to be a watershed in public understanding and acceptance of this phenomenon."

Unlike Marcus, authorities on child and family health do not use anecdotes as the basis for public policy. Their analysis is fact-driven, not emotion-driven. And those facts have seldom changed. Marcus writes that "To be a badly wanted child... in a home with two loving parents is no tragedy. If they're worried about 'emotional devastation,' they would do better to reserve their lamentations for children in poverty, those who are abused or neglected, or for children in families splintered by divorce." Children's needs, however, are more than the sum of the wants in the lives of the adults who reside with them. Study after study demonstrates that no amount of care or financial privilege can compensate for the missing physical and emotional benefits experienced by children who enjoy the lifelong love and presence of a married mother and father.

Comprehensive studies published in the peer-reviewed journals Archives of General Psychiatry, Interpersonal Violence, Social Service Research, Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Nursing Research, Developmental Psychology, Adolescence, and others too numerous to list here, all cite the devastating effects of domestic violence, increased substance abuse, mental health problems, sexual identity confusion, depression, and suicide associated with the homosexual lifestyle. A child fortunate enough to escape those realities still faces a distinct disadvantage throughout childhood--the irreplaceable influence of the missing biological parent. In rearing children, the complementary contributions of a mother and father are rooted in the innate differences of the two sexes, and can no more be arbitrarily replaced than can the very nature of male and female.

But besides dismissing science, Marcus misrepresents the reality of Virginia law. In her eagerness to exploit the circumstances, she asserts that the state's new marriage protection amendment "casts doubt on the ability of Cheney and Poe to write binding medical directives and wills." The law casts no doubt on the matter. It implicitly allows individuals to engage in private contracts. Here Marcus succeeds in personalizing her argument but not substantiating it. She concludes, "[This] high-profile pregnancy will help the Republican party come to grips with [the] facts of life. If not, [Mary Cheney] will have to explain to her child what mommy was doing trying to help a party that doesn't believe in fairness for families like theirs." What is at stake in these debates, however, is ultimately not the fate of political parties or the lateral "fairness" adults seek, but what is fair and favorable for children, all of whom have a stake in whether our nation stands by the ideal of homes embraced by, and embracing, a mother and father, a husband and a wife.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Trouble With Mary - The Saga Continues

The Drama Queen wasn't happy with Tim OBrien and the Blog House. The black helicopters are circling over at his blog.

Mary Kiffmeyer could learn alot from Judy Johnson - who ran in a hotly contested legislative race and barely lost. Judy conceded gracefully, and mentioned her opponent Terri Bonoff positively, during her retirement party recognising her service as Mayor of Plymouth.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Another Idiotic Statement by Don Samuels

Doug Grow reports on the city council meeting discussing the Bonnie Bleskachek situation.

At Friday's council meeting, Council Member Don Samuels suggested that the city might need to devise new rules of behavior surrounding gay and lesbian people.

Other council members quickly responded to Samuels' suggestion.

"Lesbianism has nothing to do with the egregious behavior in this case," said Council Member Ralph Remington.

Remington's right. Abuse is abuse, regardless of sexual orientation.

The behavior of the now-former chief might have even caused future mayors to pause before promoting someone within the ranks to a post such as fire or police chief.

Had Bleskachek been hired from outside the Minneapolis Fire Department, she would have been easier to get rid of. But when she was promoted, she took her civil service protections with her. Those protections mean she might ultimately have won the right to return to her old job.

Certainly, Bleskachek isn't the first person who has been dumped in a cubicle and sentenced to shuffling paper.


KARE 11 has video on this story here.

Bloghouse on Mary Kiffmeyer's Lack of Professionalism

Here
.

The first transition meeting was held Thursday. In attendance were Kiffmeyer; Ritchie; Beth Fraser, a Ritchie senior staffer and soon-to-be director of intergovernmental affairs, and, of course, rabidly partisan blogger Michael Brodkorb of Minnesota Democrats Exposed (1).

No, Kiffmeyer's not political at all.

For something important like a transition meeting, you'd think Kiffmeyer would invite an aide to attend, as Ritchie did.

"Mark brought one of his campaign people with him -- a very adversarial, political operative campaign person [Fraser]," Kiffmeyer said in an interview. "I kind of thought that might happen. And I wanted someone. I didn't want to involve my official staff or any of my campaign people ... [I wanted] someone who would be able to be an advocate for me."

No one better than Brodkorb for that role. When you're looking for Republican water to be carried, look no further than MDE.

And he came through. The brief meeting was in the early morning; Brodkorb had an anti-Ritchie post up by noon.

**********snip*************

Kiffmeyer said she was "shocked" that Brodkorb was posting about the meeting: "If I had known that, I would have told him not to." But she wouldn't commit to asking him to relent from future posts.


What a sore loser.

Sore Loser Mary Kiffmeyer

What a sore loser the recently unelected Secretary of State is. She recently invited the Drama Queen to observe a meeting between her, and her successor, Mark Ritchie. The question is did he write his posts about this before or after he observed this.

Holocaust Museum Board Rebukes Board Member Dennis Prager for "Intolerant" Comment


New York Times
:

In its resolution, the council’s executive committee criticized Mr. Prager's remarks as "antithetical to the mission of the museum as an institution promoting tolerance and respect for all peoples regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity."

Mr. Prager, one of 68 members of the board, known as the Holocaust Memorial Council, was appointed to the unpaid post by President Bush, and is serving a five-year term, which expires in 2011, said Andrew Hollinger, a spokesman for the council.

Mr. Hollinger said Mr. Bush had the sole power to remove Mr. Prager.


Prager really spins:

Mr. Prager said Muslim American groups and others had pressured the museum board. "Everybody knows there's no bigotry in what I said, but they felt they had to do it," he said in an interview.

"I completely respect Congressman-Elect Ellison's right to take an oath on the Koran, and regret any language that suggested otherwise," Mr. Prager added in a statement, emphasizing that he began reaching out to the Muslims 20 years ago. "My entire effort in the Keith Ellison matter has been to draw attention to the need to acknowledge the Bible as the basis of America's moral values. Judeo-Christian values are the greatest single protection against another Holocaust."


It's not just the muslim groups that are appalled by Dennis Prager's assanine comments. The New York Times also asks for comment from the White House:

In response to questions about Mr. Bush's reaction to Mr. Prager's remarks, Nicole M. Guillemard, a spokeswoman for the White House, said by e-mail that President Bush "respects religious freedom and the right to free speech."

Ms. Guillemard did not respond to questions about whether Mr. Bush believed that Mr. Prager should resign or be removed.


Prager's appointment to the board does reflect on President Bush.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ambulance Chasers Suing Over "Anti-Christian Discrimination" Again

This time this is because two employees preyed over the desk of a co-worker, and anointed the area with olive oil. The employer, the University of Texas - Arlington - is what is known as a "deep pocket".

If someone did that to my cube at work, I'd feel a little creeped out.

The spelling of "prey" was intentional.

Mac Hammond's Cult Following Unhappy with City Pages

They've written letters to the editor.

No Silk Purses from This Sow(#)

The truly pathetic thing about Pastor Mac Hammond is that he and his ilk (e.g., Pat Robertson and his alleged "law" of reciprocity) base this crock on their perversion of the "Parable of the Sower." In the parable, Christ is not talking about the sowing of cash, but rather, the word of God.

Mark Tarnowski
Minneapolis

Vengeful, and Maybe Yellow(#)

One definition of yellow journalism is "unethical or unprofessional practices by news media organizations or individual journalists." I would use this definition to describe CP writer Beth Hawkins, except that I don't know if she is a journalist.

Ms. Hawkins's recent story on Mac Hammond and Living Word church seems more like a revenge piece, because of the election of Michele Bachmann, than anything else. It's clear that she's never even met Mac Hammond when she describes him as "tall, broad-shouldered, and perpetually tan." Ms. Hawkins made no mention of the positive impact Mac Hammond and Living Word have had on the Twin Cities. Club 3 Degrees is a light in the midst of the strip clubs and bars in downtown Minneapolis. Compassion Center feeds, clothes, and provides a place of worship for the poor in the inner city.

Strangely enough, there is a quote by some obscure writer/critic insinuating that members of Living Word types of churches help themselves and not others. Nothing could be further from the truth. All studies and surveys demonstrate that evangelicals give more per capita to help the needy than any other segment of the population. Please ask Ms. Hawkins to do a follow-up story for which she does some honest in-depth research and actually interviews Mac Hammond.

Mark Johnson
Minneapolis


There are two more letters posted on CP's website. I hope other media outlets follow up with coverage of the scam otherwise known as Living Word Christian Center.

Comments on Westover's Column at Gay Blog Eleventh Avenue South and Minnesota Monitor

Craig Westover must have struck a nerve
And you didn't answer his points.

The 1993 human rights act was signed by Republican governor Arne Carlson - and was supported by Rep. Tim Pawlenty, and Sen Dean Johnson (who was a republican at the time).

The 93 human rights act was over 10 years old. Minnesota still has a sodomy law in the statutes (it's overturned in the courts) - but why can't the legislature repeal that nonsense. In my opinion, it's embarrassing that we still have that statute on our books.

The DFL treats gays like a cheap date - and as long as gays continue to act like a cheap date, we'll get treated like that - when it comes to getting legislation passed.

Posted by: Eva Young at December 20, 2006 10:57 PM

I'm definitely not giving the DFL a free pass. I'm pointing out that it's disingenious for Westover to be aligned with the GOP, a party that makes no qualms about it's anti-gay policies, to take the DFL to task for going to slow on progress. I'm sure the DFL would pick up the issues much faster if the GOP didn't pounce on every pro-gay statement made by a DFLer. The DFL should have more backbone, but the GOP and it's friends at the Family Council are the monkeywrench in the works.

If Westover feels strongly enough to pen a piece on the same-sex marriage issue, why doesn't he focus on the party that holds gays back: the GOP?

Posted by: Andy at December 20, 2006 11:23 PM

Pawlenty has since stated that he regrets having supported the '93 HR Act.

Posted by: Anonymous at December 21, 2006 07:54 AM

At least Westover has the balls to speak out within his party. Where are the DFLers who "support" us? They don't have the balls to criticize anyone in thier own party. I suppose, though, that they are legitimately scared with the way DFLers witchhunt people out of their party who disagree with or criticize the party leaders.

Posted by: DavidD at December 21, 2006 08:04 AM

It's disingenuous for the DFL to claim to be friends of the gay community, when in reality they deliver nothing - and Craig asks a reasonable question.

I'll agree that he should also be holding republicans accountable on this one - he did not call Michele Bachmann out for her rabid anti-gay bigotry on this one.

Posted by: Eva Young at December 21, 2006 08:24 PM

I just think that...
If Westover feels strongly enough to pen a piece on the same-sex marriage issue, why doesn't he focus on the party that holds gays back: the GOP?

Progress 10 years ago is progress. And Pawlenty has since regretted his vote. "Tim Pawlenty led the fight against domestic partnership benefits in 2002 when he was House Majority Leader. In 1993 he voted to include sexual orientation in the Minnesota Human Rights Act, but as a candidate for governor he said this vote was his biggest regret."
by: Andy Birkey @ Dec 20, 2006 -- 11:37 PM CST
[ Parent | Reply ]

*[new] Westover Has Penned Multiple Columns on Gay Marriage
He has challenged many conservatives to rethink the issue. In this column, he asked reasonable questions.

Under the IP's Jesse Ventura, state workers got domestic partner benefits. After Pawlenty won, the Dems willingly sold old gays (as did the labor unions) - and the negotiated contracts were ratified, with the negotiated language about domestic partner benefits removed.

Other states have had much more progress on gay issues.

Outfront raises money on the idea that they've got to be there to "keep the 93 human rights act intact". In fact, when Arlon Lindner introduced that bill to repeal the act, house republicans had no intention of bringing that one up for a hearing.
by: lloydletta @ Dec 21, 2006 -- 8:50 PM CST


More recently, they raised money to help keep from writing discrimination into the constitution. They chose a largely invisible strategy of helping DFL candidates - but doing under the radar field work, so candidates didn't have to deal with having to explain support from the gay community.

Is Dean Zimmermann Writing His Autobiography?

Funny thing I noticed... a former Green Party Minneapolis councilman is convicted in Federal Court on 3 counts of bribery... he admits to being a habitual marijuana smoker and what do the right-wing bloggers have to say about it? Nothing that I can see on Technorati or Google.

You have to go to the Minneapolis Issues for a variety of public opinion on the sentencing of Gary Dean Zimmermann.

Park Board Commissioner and Green Party member Annie Young writes:

And Dean has said he wants to write. And one of his best friends (Leah Rogne, a professor) wants to write his autobiography so therefore they already talked about how to get these past 64 years down on paper. He said"
Give him the questions, and he will write the answer". Quite a story it will turn out being. After all, what else will he have to do over the next 30 months??? :-)


Annie Young gives us this little bit of biographical information about Zimmermann from the early 1970's:

For those of us who are close to Dean honestly believe he will be just fine when all is said and done. After all, when he left Minneapolis the last time for an extended period was after the Co-op Wars when he was exiled to
Louisiana and North Dakota. He was very lonely and certainly missed everybody here but he survived, made the best of the situation and life went on. Just as it does for all of us. I am sure those 3+ years will be included in his book.


I would be very interested in reading that as well. Apart from Craig Cox's "Storefront Revolution", there is very little historical information about Zimmermann's activities when he was with the Coop Organization in the 1970's(CO later the "O") which was been described as a "political cult" in another book.

However, if all the information in this autobiography comes from Zimmermann, I doubt that the book will be an honest account. Zimmermann's trial revealed that he has a serious difficulty telling the truth... perhaps as a result of smoking marijuana every day for 30 years.

So, in the interest of balance, I've decided to write an unauthorized biography of the former Councilman. I invite readers to send me historical information. I am particularly interested in the following:

  • Zimmerman's activities during the 1970's. In particular his involvement in the "O" and his subsequent "exile" and his return.

  • A rumored incident that took place while Zimmermann was on the Park Board.

  • Zimmermann's collaboration with right-wing Republicans like Rep. Mark Olson and State Senator (now Congresswoman) Michele Bachmann.

  • Zimmermann's anti-LRT activites and his promotion of "Personal Rapid Transit".

    ..and anything else that belongs in Gary Dean Zimmermann's biography... send all tips and info to Ken Avidor at ken.avidor@gmail.com.

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  • Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    Wednesday Tiger Blogging

    Great Youtube video of Tigers.

    Wingnuttery

    Congresscritter Virgil Goode on Keith Ellison and the Quran. Read Goode's complete unhinged rant here.

    James Dobson and Michael Medved are concerned that the movie Happy Feet promotes homosexuality.

    Then an article in Worldnet Daily claims that soy makes kids gay.

    Will the DFL Provide Return on Investment to Gay Supporters?

    Craig Westover writes about it in this week's column.

    Given its druthers, the DFL-controlled Legislature would prefer to bury the debate along with the proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage, which the DFL buried in Senate committee last session. I oppose the amendment. But for the DFL to kill the debate without questioning the wisdom of the current Minnesota law banning same-sex marriage may be, for same-sex couples, "the unkindest cut of all."

    It was the DFL that decried an ambitious Republican for divisive rhetoric portending the downfall of Western civilization if Adam married Steve or Anna married Eve. The DFL criticized a "national-ambition-denyin' " governor for a rant that included criticism of "gay-marriage-supportin' " liberals. It criticized the ambition of a Republican Party that would exploit same-sex marriage as a get-out-the-vote wedge issue.

    It was the DFL that proclaimed it fought the good fight to keep the Minnesota Constitution free from what it alternately described as discrimination and homophobia. A ban on same-sex marriage, said the DFL, is embedded in Minnesota law, which protects us from same-sex couples. The DFL told us that, and as a Marc Antony might point out, the DFL is an honorable party.


    Read the whole thing.

    UPDATE: Craig Westover must have hit a nerve. Andy Birkey is very defensive over at Minnesota Monitor and Eleventh Avenue South.

    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Bleating from the FRC

    Help Us Fight for the Family in the New Congress

    Fight for the Family in the New Congress!
    December 19, 2006 |
    Dear Friend:

    Members of Congress have gone home for the Christmas break, but it's just "the calm before the storm." When the new Congress convenes here in just two weeks, we expect a growing assault on pro-family and pro-life values. We need your help -- and your financial support -- to meet this assault head-on.

    Over the past year, you've helped us have a tremendous impact on the national policy debates. Through your action - responding to alerts, contacting friends, voting on Election Day, offering prayers - and your generosity to FRC, you've kept our political leaders aware of the convictions of pro-family Americans.

    The people spoke on Election Day and put a liberal majority in power. We don't believe for a minute, however, that our fellow Americans were sending a message that they want things like higher taxes on families, publicly funded embryo-killing, the end of abstinence programs, national health care, and the weakening of man-woman marriage. Unfortunately, the new leaders in Congress and their radical allies may see it differently.

    Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer, Barney Frank and their friends are likely to use stealth tactics to advance every radical liberal cause imaginable. They'll be backed by well-funded groups, from Planned Parenthood to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

    FRC must be ready to fight back, to counter anti-family policies and activist judges, and to keep working to strengthen marriage and protect unborn children. That's why it's so important that FRC finish 2006 financially strong. Year-in and year-out, friends like you have helped us meet our budget and develop policy ideas like the Defense of Marriage Act, child online protection laws, and the $1,000-per-child tax credit.

    Now, new ideas and new strategies are needed. We ask your help in creating a war chest that will allow us to win the battles we must wage to protect the family and its rights in areas like medical care, sex education, and schooling. We have no illusion that our funds will match those of our opponents - but our intensity and our endurance can and will exceed theirs.

    Knowing you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us is a source of hope and encouragement as we prepare for 2007. Your support will ensure that FRC is equipped for every key battle. Your special year-end gift will be a true boost to our efforts. If it's not a financial hardship for you now, please consider including us among the nonprofits you support.

    If you've already sent a tax-deductible year-end gift, please accept my sincere thanks. But if you haven't yet had a chance, or if you can even give again, please consider doing so today. You can make a secure gift online right now by clicking here.

    Together, God willing, our hard work and determination will amaze the pundits, surprise our opponents, encourage our friends, and make 2007 a year of renewed progress for faith, family and freedom.

    Thank you for partnering with us, and may God bless you and your family this Christmas and in the New Year.


    The FRC lost big. There's no sugar coating that one.

    Patrick Sammon Named Log Cabin Republican President

    Malcontent comments:

    The Log Cabin Republicans national board today officially named its interim president, Patrick Sammon, to the permanent job, replacing the "other" Patrick, surname Guerriero. (Sammon's appointment comes just days after the rumor mill buzzed with speculation that Robert Traynham, aide to outgoing Sen. Rick Santorum, would land the gig.)

    I've known Sammon for a few years now. He's affable and steady, and his media background will make him especially effective, like his predecessor, as a communicator for Log Cabin's mission.

    Less well-known is his leadership style and where he intends to take the organization.

    Sammon comes to the helm just as several opposing forces are buffeting LCR. The group is reeling from revelations that its former chairman is a massive tax cheat, which can't exactly be good for fundraising calls.

    But the real tug-of-war is political. On the one hand, a sizeable number of gay conservatives and Republicans (personified by people like Bruce Carroll) still have a hefty chip on their shoulder over LCR's $1 million ad buy in 2004 against the Bush administration's efforts to add a ban on gay marriage to the Constitution. They argue that, as a nominally Republican group, LCR has not been conservative enough.

    On the other hand, there are those — myself included — who are so disgusted at Republicans' abdication of their foundational principles (freedom for all, states' rights, smaller government) that we blanch at membership in a group with the "R" word in its name.


    There's always been internal disagreement within Log Cabin Republican on this point. I anticipate this will continue.

    Dan Blatt over at Gay Patriot predictably, pans the choice.

    Zimmermann Sentenced to 2 1/2 Years

    The Strib:

    U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery, in handing down the sentence, said that Zimmermann, 64, can have his sentence reduced by seven months if he completes a drug treatment program. Montgomery said Zimmermann admitted to being a regular user of marijuana and drinking beer.

    She said Zimmermann must report for prison on Jan. 28 and that she will recommend that he serve his time at the federal facility in Yankton, S.D.


    Flashback to 2005:

    He requested to serve his time at the minimum-security facility in Yankton, South Dakota, and that he be allowed to undergo treatment for alcohol abuse.


    Who said that?

    Zimmermann's old pal Basim Sabri.

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    Senator Sam Brownback - Crazy as a bedbug, and proud of it...

    From the NY Times


    December 19, 2006
    Senator Removes His Block on Federal Court Nominee
    By NEIL A. LEWIS
    WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 — Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who blocked the confirmation of a woman to the federal bench because she attended a same-sex commitment ceremony for the daughter of her long-time neighbors, says he will now allow a vote on the nomination.

    Mr. Brownback, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, said in a recent interview that when the Senate returned in January, he would allow a vote on Janet Neff, a 61-year-old Michigan state judge, who was nominated to a Federal District Court seat.

    Mr. Brownback, who has been criticized for blocking the nomination, said he would also no longer press a proposed solution he offered on Dec. 8 that garnered even more criticism: that he would remove his block if Judge Neff agreed to recuse herself from all cases involving same-sex unions.

    In an interview last week, Mr. Brownback said that he still believed Judge Neff’s behavior raised serious questions about her impartiality and that he was likely to vote against her. But he said he did not realize his proposal — asking a nominee to agree in advance to remove herself from deciding a whole category of cases — was so unusual as to be possibly unprecedented. Legal scholars said it raised constitutional questions of separation of powers for a senator to demand that a judge commit to behavior on the bench in exchange for a vote.

    Mr. Brownback said that he believed Judge Neff’s attendance at the 2002 ceremony merited further investigation, but that he had not meant to set any precedent with his proposal. “It was the last day of the session and I was just trying to provide some accommodation to see if we could make this thing go forward,” he said.

    He said that “this is a big hot-button issue” and that Judge Neff had not made it clear that her presence at the ceremony did not mean she could not rule without bias in deciding cases involving same-sex unions. “I’d like to know more factually about what took place,” he said.

    On Oct. 12, Judge Neff answered a long list of written questions from Mr. Brownback. In her letter, she said she would decide any cases that came before her according to the law and the Constitution and would not be guided by her personal views. That is the same pledge that several conservative Republican judicial nominees made when asked whether their blunt personal statements opposing abortion rights and same-sex marriages would affect their performance on the bench.

    Mr. Brownback, a member of the Judiciary Committee who supported those other nominees, has tried to put himself forward as the Republican presidential contender who best represents the interests of the nation’s conservative religious community.

    In her letter, Judge Neff said she had attended the ceremony in Massachusetts as a guest, not as a presiding jurist. As the ceremony occurred before Massachusetts’s highest court approved same-sex unions, it did not have any legal validity.

    One of the women in the ceremony, Judge Neff wrote, was the daughter of a family who had lived next door for 26 years. She said the families were so close that the woman was, in effect, a part of her family and was like a big sister to her own daughters. She said that she had delivered a homily at the ceremony and that “it was no different than being asked by my own daughters to be part of an important event in their lives.”

    Charles Fried, a Harvard Law School professor and leading conservative scholar, said Mr. Brownback’s actions were improper. “First of all, people go to parties for all sorts of reasons,” Professor Fried said, and how one would rule on a case should not be inferred from that private activity.

    Further, he said, “It would be inappropriate for the judge to recuse herself from any such case because it is a judge’s duty to sit on cases” unless there is a clear conflict of interest. There would be a genuine conflict of interest, he said, if the judge had a financial interest in a case’s result or had been associated with one of the parties in the case.

    “For her to agree to any such restriction in this case would be wrong,” said Professor Fried, who has been both a judge and the solicitor general of the United States.

    Judge Neff’s nomination was included in a package of more than a dozen nominees whose confirmation had been agreed upon by both Democrats and Republicans. Mr. Brownback’s objections held up the whole roster of nominees.

    Mr. Brownback said that when Judge Neff was renominated in January, he would insist only that the nomination not be approved in a voice vote, but one in which each senator is obliged to record a personal vote.



    Would the Senator's logic also apply if a judicial nominee went to a religious gathering, and another Senator demanded that the nominee recuse themselves from any cases re: the establishment clause?

    I hope this guy makes a huge, well-funded run for President. It will provide lots of comedy material.

    Monday, December 18, 2006

    Mac Hammond to Living Word Employees: Tithe 10% Or Else!

    Minnesota Monitor has the story. City Pages reports on the scam otherwise known as Living Word Christian Center.

    Former Mpls Councilman Gary Dean Zimmermann to be Sentenced Tuesday

    From Zimmermann's message to his supporters in David Shove's Progressive Calendar,;

    A sentencing date has been set for 1:30 pm, Tuesday, December 19th. This will take place on the 13th Floor of the Mpls Federal Court House, the same building where the trial was held. I expect that I will have to report to a prison sometime around January 16th. Any appeals will be filed at time of sentencing. Right now we have not made any decisions about what appeals may be made or on what grounds.


    The e-mail goes on about a "Last Supper" to be held in his honor by his supporters.

    The same post in the Progressive Calendar has a message from 2005 Minneapolis City Council candidate Dave Bicking:

    Tomorrow, Tuesday, we find out what Dean's sentence will be on the three charges he was convicted of last August. Please join us at the sentencing:

    Tuesday, December 18, 1:30pm Sentencing of Dean Zimmermann in the courtroom of Judge Ann Montgomery, 13th floor of the Federal Building, 300 S. 4th St, in downtown Mpls.

    Dean and Jenny have appealed for supporters to come if they are able. They are heartened by the over 130 letters written to the judge supporting Dean and asking for leniency. Let's show our support publicly tomorrow!

    Here is Dean and Jenny's take on what to expect: "While there is no question that the many - over 100! - letters sent to Judge Montgomery will have a positive impact, there is no reason for us to believe that she will deviate a great deal from the Federal sentencing guidelines. These guidelines are 30-37 months imprisonment. The Federal Prosecutor's office is asking the judge to sentence Dean to 36-48 months. .... The likelihood that the Judge will sentence Dean solely to community service for a period of time is not high."

    [For comparison, Brian Herron received a one year sentence in 2002, lowered from a federal guideline of 2-1/2 years due to his cooperation in collecting evidence against the briber Basim Sabri - who received a 33 month sentence. Joe Biernat received a one year and nine month sentence in 2003 from the same judge who will be sentencing Dean. Biernat, however, was found not guilty on the bribery charge, and was sentenced for five lesser charges.]

    If he is sentenced to prison, Dean will be starting his sentence sometime in the second half of January, 2007.

    Though a sentence of probation or community service would be a huge relief, we should remember that any sentence at all is excessive and unwarranted, because Dean is clearly innocent of any criminal act. Bribery involves the intent to solicit or accept money in exchange for favors done. Those of us who know Dean well can safely say that Dean would never have that intent.

    In reality, this case has nothing to do with bribes, corruption, or even ethics or campaign financing. This is about Dean being set-up by the FBI due to his long history of political activism. The FBI has been watching and keeping files on Dean for at least 40 years. Dean is headed for federal prison because of what he has done RIGHT all his lifetime, not for anything he has done wrong.

    If Dean goes to prison, he will be a political prisoner by any definition I have ever heard. We should support him tomorrow, and we should continue to support him, as such.

    I hope to see as many of you as possible tomorrow, --Dave Bicking

    PS. Mark your calendars now: Saturday, January 6, 5pm Quaker meeting for worship, 6pm potluck dinner at the Friends Meeting House, 1725 Grand Ave., St. Paul. A going-away party, or as they are calling it, a "Last Supper" for Dean.


    Zimmermann... a...political prisoner!?! ... yeah, right. Political prisoners aren't treated as nicely as Zimmermann has... they let him spend the holidays with his family before sending him to jail. When Zimmmermann is shipped off to jail in January, he will likely be doing time at a minimum security prison with other white collar criminals.

    I was in the courtroom when the FBI videos were played and they were damning. For notes on those videos and everything else that happened during the 8 days of the Zimmermann trial go to the Minneapolis Confidential Blog.

    Not all the Greens are drinking the Kool-Aid::

    Dean is not going to prison for building a damned retaining wall.
    Not sure all the other accusations are accurate either,

    Get your facts straight, please.
    Annie Young


    It's too bad that there are still people who think that Zimmermann is innocent.... they're in for a shock when those videos are released.

    Zimmermann Wikipedia page HERE.

    Zimmermann at the 2006 Mayday Parade:

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    Dave Bicking was there too:

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    Sunday, December 17, 2006

    We Don't Want No Choo Choo Trains

    Over on Residual Forces.

    Saturday, December 16, 2006

    Pawlenty's Brian McClung Insists on Correction from City Pages

    For this from GR Anderson:

    2:53 a.m.: Pawlenty finally hits the stage, accompanied by chants of "E85, E85." "I'm going to ask for your help," the governor says. "It's a time to be humble. It's a time to be grateful. And it's a time for our nation and our state to come together." He concedes that "the country is divided" and that "we need to come together and we need to do our part by starting that here tonight.... The next four years is going to be different than the last four years. We got different leadership in Congress. We got different leadership in St. Paul. There are big challenges ahead of us."

    He then offers a "shout-out" to "my red-hot smokin' wife," before reading a Bible verse and concluding, "God has blessed me... Amen."


    From the print version of this week's CP:

    Brian McClung, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's communications director, took issue with G.R. Anderson Jr's summary of Pawlenty's election-night speech at GOP headquarters. City Pages wishes to clarify the following: The governor paraphrased but did not "read" a Bible verse near the end of his speech, and did not say "amen" after announcing that "God has blessed me" near the end of the speech. City Pages regrets the misstatement.


    It's interesting that the Governor's office took the time to insist on a correction on this one. It suggests that the Leviticus crowd may be beginning to be concidered more of a liability than an asset to Republicans - especially those with national aspirations.

    NARNians Mitch Berg and Captain Ed Don't Let Facts Get In the Way

    During their show today, they were discussing the New Jersey legislature passing a Civil Unions bill. Neither Berg or Captain Ed had a problem with that bill, which they described as allowing people to enter into contractual relationships. Then they made the claim that all the constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage passed with 70 or 80% of the vote. That's not the case. South Dakota's referendum passed narrowly (52%), and Arizona rejected the referendum.

    Friday, December 15, 2006

    Lloydletta in Bloghouse

    Here.

    Lloydletta (7) was peeved by Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels' insinuation that the city had a choice between libraries and law enforcement. "Libraries are a core part of government services. Putting money into libraries does not prohibit having police. Having libraries open helps keep young kids from getting into crime. I am embarrassed to be represented by someone who makes such an appalling statement."


    I've been meaning to write a letter to the editor, but it's getting less timely.

    The Science of Cuteness

    Jeanne Moos at CNN asks people to say which is cutest - a baby or a panda cub - and the panda wins hands down. Video here.

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Lloydletta from the Archives: Council Member Don Samuels Opposes the First Amendment



    Avidor took this movie and described this circus earlier this year here.

    Loosestrife transcribed Samuels statement at Minneapolis Upside Down.

    While I do value our freedoms. . . there are some of them that our community has not demonstrated the responsibility to bear. . . and. . .one, for me, would be certain freedoms within this new electronic category which has been as lethal as the guns that are pervasive on our streets. . . . I don't think that we have demonstrated the capability to deal with this freedom, neither by the ones who perpetrate it as weapons or by the ones of us who are called upon to oversee the responsible utilization of these media.

    Until that day comes, and until, personally speaking, I . . . cease to be a victim of the irresponsible use and incapacity to supervise the freedoms that are now brought to us by these incredible advances in technology, I will have to vote against--and again, again, and again--until we demonstrate responsibility and supervising capability for our new freedom.

    . . . All the advances we have have kind of gone to our head and our guts. . . . We forget that the freedoms that we have have worked, not because the freedoms themselves have virtue but because we ourselves as a nation have certain principles whether they be religious or spiritual or cultural--around fairness, hard work, honesty etc. that makes democracy work. . . .

    Freedom of speech, unbridled, and without supervision, can create more harm than good. There's no doubt about that. If we, as a nation, continue to increase our freedoms while decreasing our responsibility both in terms of our laws and in terms of our responsibilities as citizens and as leaders to defend each other and protect each other from the abuses of people, then we do not deserve and will not maintain or sustain our democracy and our democratic principles. . . .

    . . . Have no doubt about it, democracy and freedom of speech are not virtues in and of their selves. They can only exist within the framework of civility.

    Do not delude ourselves that our freedoms are our highest goal or our highest value. No they are not. Our highest values are our cultural civility and fairness and kindness and generosity. And then freedom can come. . . . Unless we can find a way to turn the tide on this, then we will go down in a flame of freedom.

    Lloydletta Commenters Weigh In on Don Samuels

    Where did our tax money go?

    Billions go to the stadiums, and the next is the vikings givaway, again the city will cough up tens of millions for more stadiums. (infrastructure, street building, reroute of utilities, special tax deals, etc) Samuels is just carrying the loot from the taxpayers to Pohlad and the billionaires.

    His own ward is a mess and usually gets nothing from the bigtime deals.
    Not even a couple of books.
    Billions

    I found Samuels' comments completely ridiculous as well. Anyone seen the statistics on literacy and inmates? Samuels is more and more disappointing as time goes on.
    Molly C


    Strib LTE:

    INVEST IN LIBRARIES

    Produce better citizens

    The Minneapolis City Council recently decided not to provide additional ongoing funding for neighborhood libraries. City Council Member Don Samuels was reported to have said that public safety cannot be compromised and that in a situation of violence the only use for a book is to throw it or block a bullet with it.

    But Samuels looks at the problem only from a position of reacting to violence. If we address violence before it starts, by providing for the schools, libraries and parks that get education and programming into the hands of youth, perhaps we'll have less need for books as a defensive weapon.

    The police approach to crime may temporarily stop violence, but libraries and education can produce better citizens.

    KAREN WESTWOOD, MINNEAPOLIS

    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Olson Story Makes Pam's House Blend Again


    Here
    .

    Kudos to Avidor for wading into the swamp and covering this one.

    Don Samuels and His Throw the Book at Em Attitude Towards Public Libraries

    I understand that Don Samuels made the statement reported in the Strib when interviewed by reporter Terry Collins, and not at the council meeting as I wrote earlier.

    I posted about Don Samuels statement about the public libraries on the Minneapolis Issues list here.

    Don Samuels campaign manager, Megan Goodmundson writes:

    I can't help but to notice that those list members that are expressing such disappointment in the budget approval meeting seem to be list members that are from more affluent parts of town, or at least parts of the city that don't see the same amounts of street level crime that has a death grip hold on the neighborhood (of course there is crime everywhere).

    Eva Young is from the Near North side, but not exactly from an area that has gang bangers and drug dealers standing on the corners. Eva lives in a small development that is isolated from other residential areas, and Eva probably does not know the Northside that I know - in fact I was on the wrong end of a gun about 9 months ago, and I didn't have a library book to block a bullet or throw at the gang-bangers. I am curious as to how these same people would react if they lived where I live.


    So rather than addressing my points, Megan mentions I am isolated from the real issues in the ward - and talks about where I live. For some reason, I have never thought of using library books to throw at people. I do know the importance of libraries to people who are trying to raise kids in the city. When I was distributing literature about the stadium boondoggle, I ran into a person who told me they had left Minneapolis after their local library had closed.

    Is the idea for crime fighting just trying to fight the gang bangers, or is it trying to prevent kids from getting into gangs? If prevention is part of things, libraries are a good investment - because libraries help create a literate population.

    It's especially important in poorer neighborhoods to have good libraries - because this helps brings more people who are willing to buy homes in the area.

    I think we have too much money that goes into police brutality settlements - and often those settlements for the same people, over and over again. Where is the accountability there? What is the plan to try to make measurable progress towards reducing those liabilities. Continuing to have the same problems over and over, indicates bad management - at high levels. We also have the on-going soap opera in the Fire Department - and yet more lawsuit settlements.

    Megan continues and appears to be happy to have someone who says the only use for a book is to throw it at a criminal.

    I am glad I have a council member that isn't afraid to say it like it is, books are great - vital to healthy intellectual growth - I happen to know that Don Samuels has cases and cases and cases upon more cases of books in his own house. Does his quote mean that he isn't an advocate of reading - No. Does his quote mean that he doesn't support libraries - No.


    Then Don Samuels needs to correct the record by writing a letter to the editor to the Star Tribune.

    Here's my thing with the budget and this whole library issue.

    1) It's not like public safety is way over spent. The 43 cops that are proposed in the new budget are not "extra" - the force is severely severely understaffed. And the other money gear toward techincal [sic] upgrades, improvements, crime fighting tools - that is severely needed to save people's lives.


    I don't think anyone was proposing taking the money out of the public safety budget.

    1/5 of the money (around $50,000 per year) could come out of that ridiculous "car allowance" for City Council members.

    Others were proposing taking the money out of the additional liquor license inspectors proposed by the Mayor.

    Megan continues:
    2) It's not like the Mayor and City Council voted to give the libraries zero dollars. To read posts on this list, it seems as if every single library is being boarded up tomorrow.


    The Mayor and City Council made it quite likely that the library board will close the three libraries.

    3) Are there other things in the budget that could probablly be trimmed, frozen, knixxed or whatever - I am sure there probably are those savings oppurtunities - so why didn't ANY council members vote NO against the budget?

    At my property management job, if I want to spend more money in one category I have 2 options - cut expenses some where else - OR raise more revenue - so what can the libraries do to raise more revenue?

    -Megan G.


    The City Council and Mayor made this decision. The Mayor is running away from it, and trying to blame Patty Anderson (the former State Auditor), Tim Pawlenty - and everyone else besides who is really responsible - he and the Minneapolis City Council. The buck stops with the City Council on this one.

    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Mayor Judy Johnson's Farewell Party

    I went to the farewell party for Mayor Judy Johnson in Plymouth tonight. I've always had a high degree of respect for Johnson and the way she has run the city of Plymouth in a professional way. When I've gone to functions in Plymouth, I keep on thinking, why can't local government run so well in Minneapolis.

    Many people spoke very highly of Judy during the ceremony - Congressman Jim Ramstad, Minnetonka Mayor Karen Anderson, the Plymouth Mayor-elect, Kathleen Murdoch, who just got elected to Plymouth City Council, Phil Johnson, Judy's husband, and so many more. DFLer Sen. Terri Bonoff (who Judy ran against for State Senator) was in attendance, as was DFLer Sen. Ann Rest.

    Judy represents the best sort of politician. She works to listen to people and to solve problems. We need more like her.

    Appalling City Council Action on Libraries

    I was especially appalled by the statements by Samuels, Ostrow and
    Rybak at the City Council meeting.

    From the Strib:


    Samuels said he understands the growing concerns of the libraries, "but at the same time, when you are a person at the other end of gun, tip of a knife, and in the middle of a threatening crowd, the only use for a book is to throw it at them, or block a bullet with it. We have to remember that. We cannot compromise public safety."


    Libraries are a core part of government services. Putting money into libraries does not prohibit having police. Having libraries open helps keep young kids from getting into crime.

    I am embarrassed to be represented by someone who makes such an appalling statement.

    There are lots of comments on the Minneapolis Issues list:

    There's plenty of blame to pass around, but when are our local elected officials going to take some responsibility for their own actions? There are tax loopholes that could be closed, there are administrator salaries that could be curtailed, how about those councilmember provided auto perks? The lost LGA is such a tired tune at this point. It's the excuse for lack of funding for NRP, cops, park staff, schools, firefighers, for freezing rain on the roadways--you name it LGA is the sole blame.

    Justin Eibenholzl

    It's all about priorities...with a budget of $1.3 billion, there's plenty of money available. Apparently our mayor would rather give it away as "subsidies" rather than use it to address the basic social infrastructure of the city such as law enforcement, libraries, and SO much more. I seriously doubt RT Rybak would be mayor if he'd have had serious competition in the last election.
    (county officials perceived as arrogant and corrupt do not count as serious competition)

    David Piehl

    A false choice was presented of police v. libraries.
    Even if you run with that fallacy...

    43 new police officer positions are to be added.
    Libraries sought $250k/year. Will 4 police officers
    (est tot $280k/yr) provide greater net public safety
    than open libraries? Aren't libraries part of the
    crime fighting arsenal?

    Jason Stone
    Diamond Lake


    Rybak tries to play defense:

    Knowing that you care about our city's libraries, I wanted to report on
    action the City took this week to support our libraries and what you can expect to see over the coming months on this issue:


    • Yesterday the City of Minneapolis approved $24 million for our city libraries, along with an additional $1.2 million of one-time bridge funding to help keep more city libraries open for longer hours than they are today. This additional funding responded to the Library Board's request for $100,000 more than my initial $1.1 million proposal requested.

    • Our decision to provide an additional $1.2 million of city money gives the Library Board more resources along with more flexibility to make good decisions. Along with additional funding, we eliminated budget language that presumed libraries must be closed and we removed restrictions on how funding could be spent, leaving that to the discretion of the Library Board.


    The additional funding the City provided to libraries is part of a series of actions we will take to address the deep challenges facing our library system. As Mayor, I will continue to play a large role to keep us focused on real, long-term solutions for our libraries and I will lead whatever discussions are necessary to make sure our libraries are strong and stable far into the future.

    The libraries need money right now and we are giving it to them, but we must not abandon our commitment to finding a long-term solution for our libraries. We need to be honest about library finances and continue to ask the tough questions because there is no simple solution to the deep, structural challenges facing our libraries.

    In the next few months we will be taking a number of actions:


    • Lobbying the legislature to restore the cuts in local government aid that are at the core of this problem.
    • Working with the Library Board's Advisory Committee addressing long-term solutions.
    • Working with the Hennepin County task force examining the role Hennepin County can play in funding and governing city libraries.
    • Exploring structural library governance issues, including whether the libraries should become a city department.


    The library votes taken yesterday were part of our annual city budget. With our budget we focused on public safety, our largest challenge, and we took significant steps to help our libraries. We can aggressively address both of these challenges without playing them off each other as long as we continue to set clear goals and long-term priorities.

    Libraries are critical to our community and provide an essential service to Minneapolis residents and visitors. The current situation - with some libraries open only three days a week - is not worthy of a great city. We need to fix this and we will.

    Again, thank you for your continued interest in our libraries. I am actively working on the many facets of this issue and I welcome your ongoing participation as we move forward. I look forward to your thoughts on each of those points and strongly urge you to help us convince legislators of the need for restored local government aid. Together, we can and we will build the world-class library system that Minneapolis deserves.

    R.T. Rybak


    The Mayor is passing the buck. The point is the libraries need to be less dependent on LGA.

    Mark Olson, Mary Kiffmeyer Differ on Mark Foley Scandal's Impact on GOP

    ECM's TW Budig has an article about the possibility that Rep. Mark Olson may be expelled if found guilty:

    Olson doesn’t believe his problem reflects on the Republican House caucus.

    People make distinctions between individuals and parties — lumping them together is something the media does, Olson recently argued. “It’s not their (the House caucus’) mistake,” Olson said.

    Indeed, Olson dismisses the idea that Republican Congressman Mark Foley — a focus in the recent U.S House page scandal — negatively impacted Minnesota Republican candidates last election. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” he said of the scandal’s influence.


    Mary Kiffmeyer has a different opinion:

    Kiffmeyer explained her campaign polling had her with a double-digit lead prior to the Congressional House page scandal.

    After the Foley scandal broke, her polling showed her lead halved, she said.

    Additionally, Kiffmeyer argues that Minnesota voter turnout suggests people, Republicans, stayed home.

    “Without (Congressman) Mark Foley, maybe I could have withstood that,” she said.


    More at the Dump Mark Olson Blog

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Mark Olson Pleads Not Guilty

    Mark Brunswick of the Strib reports:

    Rep Mark Olson pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges that he assaulted his wife during a domestic dispute Nov. 12. In a court appearance that lasted less than one minute, a pre-trial hearing was set for Jan. 19, and Olson left the courtoroom quickly refusing to comment.



    Update: The Saint Cloud Times also has the story... from the comments:

    I almost think that Olson wants to drag this out as long as possible. Maybe he is hoping that by the time this is all over we won't care anymore.


    More at the Dump Mark Olson Blog>

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Freedom of Information Act Request

    Recall that the Minneapolis Police Department had hired a reparative therapy promoting "psychologist" to do pre-employment psychological screenings? Since Campion's record was exposed, the usual suspects among the anti-gay activist groups have been screaming about "anti-christian" discrimination.

    We received your e-mail message concerning the above subject and have
    forwarded it to the appropriate Police Department unit to respond to
    your inquiry.

    Thank you for contacting us.

    John Gaffner
    Business Technology Unit
    Minneapolis Police Department

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Eva Young [mailto:lloydletta@gmail.com]
    Sent: Friday, December 08, 2006 11:15 PM
    To: Police
    Subject: Fwd: Freedom of Information Act Request

    I have gotten confirmation that you received this, but never have gotten more. I am interested in getting more information about the MPD contract with Michael Campion's company, Campion, Barrow & Associates.

    Eva Young

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Eva Young
    Date: Sep 14, 2006 5:17 AM
    Subject: Freedom of Information Act Request
    To: police@ci.minneapolis.mn.us

    Hi:

    This is Eva Young from Lloydletta's Nooz. I talked to you a few weeks ago about the Campion matter.

    I would like to review a copy of the contract with Campion. Is the contract available online, or is it available at the city to review.

    Specifically, I'd like to know start and end dates, plus services expected, plus escape clauses.

    Eva Young
    Lloydletta's Nooz

    to Police
    date Dec 11, 2006 10:51 AM
    subject Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

    Can you please give me a timeline - and who you sent this to - so I can follow up directly with the unit? I'd like a name, position, email and phone number.

    I am a city of Minneapolis Taxpayer.

    Eva Young

    From: Police
    to Eva Young
    date Dec 11, 2006 10:54 AM
    subject RE: Freedom of Information Act Request
    mailed-by ci.minneapolis.mn.us

    I forwarded your email to Assistant Chief Sharon Lubinski. Her email is sharon.lubinski@ci.minneapolis.mn.us and phone is 612-673-3553.

    John Gaffner
    Business Technology Unit
    Minneapolis Police Department


    I have emailed Sharon Lubinski for the details of Michael Campion's contract with the City. I also hope to find out more about the RFP for the new group that will handle this.

    It appears that Michael Campion is now suing the city of Springfield, Illinois for terminating their contractual relationship with him.

    Developing. . .

    Sunday, December 10, 2006

    Too Much Information from the Drama Queen

    Here.

    A MESSAGE FROM MDE TO THE MANAGEMENT OF THE NATIONAL SPORTS CENTER

    Change the food in the vending machine. At around 3:30 today, I ate a Snackwell Cookie Creme Sandwich and for the next hour I paid the price.

    I drank a Full Throttle two hours earlier, but I think it was the Snackwell.
    posted by Michael B. Brodkorb at 7:45 pm


    Andy Aplikowski suggested:



    What would have been even better is if the Party popped for some food. They do serve food there. Maybe a lunch break? There are a lot of restaurants around the place, maybe an hour break?

    Don’t blame the venue on you not getting fed.

    Comment by triple_a — December 9, 2006


    For some reason the Drama Queen deleted some snarky comments.

    Saturday, December 09, 2006

    LTE on Prager

    Prager and the oath (Strib)

    He's not fit for council

    As an individual, Dennis Prager should be able to make any stupid comment he likes about oath-taking for members of Congress. However, as a presidential appointee to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, his recent statements about Keith Ellison seem to negate one of the purposes of this museum and memory space, which is: "to encourage its visitors to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by the events of the Holocaust as well as their own responsibilities as citizens of a democracy."

    Clearly Prager should resign and stick to radio.

    STEPHEN FEINSTEIN, director,
    Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies,
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

    Ed Koch Calls for Prager's Ouster from Holocaust Museum Board


    Here
    .

    Koch Calls for Pundit's Ouster from Shoah Council

    Jennifer Siegel Fri. Dec 08, 2006
    The Jewish Daily Forward

    Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch has called for Dennis Prager to resign or be removed from United States Holocaust Memorial Council, in response to the pundit's recent insistence that a Muslim congressman should not be sworn in using a Quran.

    "There is no question that Dennis Prager is a bigot who ought to be repudiated even by his closest supporters," Koch said this morning in an interview with the Forward. "His statements are a disgrace ... and I will be down there calling for the council to condemn him, and, if we have the power, to remove him."

    ***snip***

    Koch, like Prager, serves on the 55-member memorial council, which oversees the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. He said he plans to take up the issue at a December 18 meeting of the advisory panel in Washington, if Prager does not resign. A second committee member, who did not want to be named publicly, also said she was disturbed by Prager's comments, and would likely support action support calling for his withdrawal.


    I'm sure Prager will ask more of his listeners to write the Holocaust Musueum to support him.

    Republican State Central Committee Report

    Andy from Residual Forces has waxed eloquent in several posts. He put together a few pieces of literature. This piece I think says it well.

    Ron Carey's speech talked about the take home message from the election was to run more candidates like Michele Bachmann. That's going to be poison for the party in the western suburbs.

    Drama Queen Goes Out on the Limb

    I saw Michael Brodkorb at the State Central Committee meeting. I asked him on the record what he thought of the Mark Olson affair. He said that Mark Olson should resign.

    Vikings Plan to Lobby City of Minneapolis for Subsidy Rather than Hennepin County

    I've heard this from a reliable source. Developing...

    Strib Had Target Tax Abatement Story Before Election: Chose to Hold It

    I got this from a Hennepin County Commissioner. This is appalling.

    Friday, December 08, 2006

    Foley Report In - Gets Top Coverage

    NPR.

    Will Hatch Work for Swanson?

    Here.

    Attorney General Mike Hatch will vacate his big office in the west wing of the State Capitol when his term ends in early January, but there's a chance he'll stay on as a staff member under Attorney General-elect Lori Swanson, who has been his long-time top deputy and confidante as solicitor general.

    The arrangement would be unusual and potentially controversial, say some observers, creating a perception that Hatch is still in charge of an office that he held for two terms and often has described as his life's passion.

    Swanson said Thursday that she has asked fellow DFLer Hatch to consider serving as a regular assistant attorney in the office.

    Perhaps he would have special responsibilities for assembling a team of lawyers who handle particularly complex litigation, she said.

    Hatch is an "incredibly talented" and "phenomenal" attorney, Swanson said, "and when you have a team, you look for all the talent you can find."

    Hatch said that he has not decided whether to take the offer and that if he does, he probably will stay no more than a few weeks, or however long it takes to get the complex-litigation team going. Swanson said she viewed the offer as "not necessarily indefinite. "There are lots of offers that I'm looking at," Hatch said, from law firms, companies and other institutions. "If I accept [the Swanson offer] it would be for a short period."

    David Schultz, a Hamline University law professor and expert in ethics, said that Hatch going to work for his former subordinate appears to be legal, but that it would make some citizens wonder "if the tail is wagging the dog. Would he be seen as the de facto attorney general? It raises all kinds of questions about who's running things, given the close relationship they've always had."

    Schultz added, "Voters also have to be wondering whether Mike Hatch was running for two positions, governor and attorney general, this fall. It will be hard for him to go from top banana to second fiddle, and you don't ever see this kind of dynamic work. The smartest thing when a leader leaves is to really leave."

    House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, said Hatch working for Swanson would look "odd, like kind of a switcheroo. It kind of reminds you of when Governor George Wallace [of Alabama] had his wife run for governor, and everybody knew who the real governor was."


    Ouch! Direct hit from Seifert.

    This is bad press for Lori Swanson. This was her response:

    Calling the shots

    Swanson said such perceptions are off base.

    "I will be the attorney general, and I'm going to call the shots as I see them," Swanson said. "I'm passionate about the work of the office, I believe in the work of the office, and it's the reason I jumped into this race."

    When the DFL Party's endorsed candidate for attorney general, former House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, dropped out of the race last summer, Hatch made it clear that Swanson was by far his favorite choice to replace Entenza on the ticket.

    Swanson won the primary and general election with Hatch's advice and support, and Hatch has described Swanson as one of the top advisers and strategists for his gubernatorial race.

    He said Swanson, who worked for Hatch's law firm before he was elected in 1998, was one of the strongest personalities in his office and not the kind of person who is seeking or who would take orders from her former boss.

    The job offer was a "noble offer," Hatch said, and Swanson eventually will be remembered as "the most impressive attorney general we've ever had."

    In other personnel decisions Swanson appears to be essentially keeping the top layer of officials that Hatch had in place. Swanson said Kris Eiden will stay on as a chief deputy, and Al Gilbert, another top Hatch deputy, will take Swanson's position as solicitor general.

    Hatch already is in the process of moving out of his office and is working part of the time from Swanson's office in downtown St. Paul, Swanson said.


    When the Strib's Syl Jones wrote a devastating column attacking Mike Hatch, Swanson wrote a counterpoint defending Hatch.

    Minnesota Republicans Cut Ties With Mark Olson.

    KSTP Eyewitness News reports:

    Minnesota House Republicans are breaking off ties with a fellow GOP legislator facing domestic abuse charges.

    Republicans voted Thursday to oust seven-term Representative Mark Olson of Big Lake from the caucus. In short, they won't supply him with staff support or other services. Caucus spokeswoman Jodi Boyne says the move means -- quote -- "Basically, he's on his own."


    Olson says he'll hang in there.

    More at the Dump Mark Olson Blog

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Robin Marty Interviews Arianna Huffington

    Here.

    According to the New York Times, you are going to be adding original reporting to the Huffington Post. Are there any other changes in the works for the HuffPo? What is your view on the state of the media currently, and where do you see both the MSM and blogs heading in the upcoming few years?

    For the HuffPost, it will be more video, more investigative pieces, more viral/satiric content -- more, more, more.

    We don't need to choose sides… Are you into TV or YouTube? Yahoo News or the New York Times? Blogs or Newsweek? As these are either/or distinctions. The more I hear this kind of talk, the more I realize that it has about as much real world relevance as "tastes great" vs "less filling". It's as outdated as the old Ginger vs Mary Ann barroom argument. Why do we have to choose? This is 2006 -- why not just have a three-way. After all, polyamory is very hot right now. We have polygamy on HBO, we can have polygamedia in our consumption habits.

    So give me blogs… and my hard copy newspaper. Let me watch stuff on TiVo, DVD, YouTube, on an iPod… and on cable TV. That is the biggest change: consumers who want what they want, when they want it… and in a variety of media.


    Huffington will speak at the annual luncheon for the Minnesota Women's Political Caucus.

    When Will We Stop Trying to Grow "The Roses of Success"?

    "Every bursted bubble has a glory!
    Each abysmal failure makes a point!
    Every glowing path that goes astray,
    Shows you how to find a better way.
    So every time you stumble never grumble.
    Next time you'll bumble even less!
    For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!"


    Star Tribune editor Doug Tice dropped in recently on Eric Black's "Big Question" blog to wring his hands over the lack of optimism in the last election... particularly among Democratic voters:

    Optimism about America’s future declined sharply among Democratic voters between 2000 and 2006. Fewer than half as many Democrats told pollsters they thought life will improve for the next generation of Americans on November 7 than had thought so on Election Day 2000. Republicans were a bit more pessimistic, too, but only a bit.

    It’s hard to doubt that the darkening Democratic mood over recent years is (like so much else?) Bush’s fault.

    The dreariness among Democrats would seem to reflect the distress, anger and frustration so many liberals have felt and expressed about the Bush presidency, the war in Iraq and the general conservative direction of public policy in recent years.
    There has long been something mysterious and hard to comprehend about the apocalyptic depths of this anti-Bush feeling, at least for those who don’t fully share it. But the Pew numbers are further evidence that it is for real.

    But is there more than that in these numbers? Is optimism an inherently Republican attitude? Are Democrats pessimists at heart?


    William Prendergast of the Stillwater Tribune and the Dump Bachmann blog comments:

    I laughed when I read that, too. It’s still “mysterious” to people like Doug why the anti-Bush feeling runs so deep.

    Amazing, that anyone could still be puzzled about why anti-Bush feeling runs so deep. A recent article quotes five respected historians–they compare his presidency with previous ones and four out of five of them list GWB as among the worst presidents ever. (The fifth dissenting historian, who disagrees, is a former Bush speech writer. He points out that Bush passed NCLB and a prescription drug bill–which small- government consevatives despise.)

    Doug–it’s no mystery why so many people despise Bush. It’s his awful leadership. Read the guy’s autobiography, “A Charge to Keep”–it’s the story of a nothing man, promoted into power through his personal charisma and his family’s heavy connections. The biggest thing he ever achieved personally, all by himself, was to stop drinking in order to save his marriage. That’s not a qualification for leadership of the United States of America.

    And then you have his record as President–the loss of the WTC and the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon, campaigning to actively promote the election of the Republicans for Congress, a Congress that the voters just dismissed en masse for corruption and conservative hypocrisy at the highest levels–and the war in Iraq, a cynical con job selling it to America, and an absolute disaster in its execution.

    And you’re still puzzled by the depth of this anti-Bush feeling?

    Amazing.


    Bill Prendergast is obviously a pessimist or more accurately, a realist. Realists are shunned in our society which in large part is based on the notion that no task is impossible and the nearly impossible tasks are the ones to accomplish first... like building space colonies on the moon or a war to "free Iraq".

    I recently discovered on You Tube a video produced by British animator and blogger Tim Ireland that parodies the overblown optimism of the folks who brought us the Iraq War:



    The tune "Roses of Success" comes from the movie version of Ian Fleming's story "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". The song was written by the Sherman Brothers who wrote many songs for Walt Disney in the golden age of optimism that followed the Second World War. Among their familiar tunes are "Spoonful of Sugar" from "Mary Poppins" and that hopeful theme park classic "It's a Small World". In this You Tube video, you can hear "The Roses of Success" being sung by the wacky, but ever-optimistic inventors in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang:



    I don't think optimism is the problem, I think that optimism has been hijacked by some folks to make a buck... and the major media is mostly to blame. If the major media had been skeptical about the reasons we went to war, it is possible the disaster could have been avoided. But, nothing sells newspapers like a war.

    And it's not just war. The media hypes all kinds of boondoggles that either go belly-up or end up costing gazillions of dollars. For instance here in Minneapolis, we're building stadiums while closing libraries... and that product of misguided optimism is a bipartisan effort.

    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    Nick Coleman on Mayor Rybak and City Council Priorities

    Here.

    As it considers a plan to close libraries in three parts of town that lack well-heeled political clout, Minneapolis somehow has found the money for new programs designed to make politicians look good.

    This is part of the prettifying of a city that continues to let basic services shrivel while raising taxes. This is known as putting lipstick on a pig.

    Here are a few examples of new programs funded with new money while the $300,000 or $400,000 it would take to keep the three community libraries open cannot be found.

    • $100,000 from the general fund (the first time it has happened) to a nonprofit tree-planting group. This is how tree huggers get a bad name.

    • $50,000 to add an aide to the office of Mayor R.T. Rybak. This aide will specialize in education policy. Education apparently does not include keeping libraries open.

    • $150,000 to hire liquor-license inspectors so bar owners can get licenses faster, while libraries that somehow stayed open during the Depression close in the middle of a city building boom. Maybe we need whiskey in the libraries.

    • Hundreds of thousands of dollars more to speed city permits and hire an environmental champion to begin the Mill City's fight against global warming. Hooray! Al Gore's call to save the planet has been heard in City Hall! Too bad Al didn't say anything about saving libraries.

    • And $35,000 to hire a person to sit in the City Hall corridor along 5th Street and help visitors who are lost. It is not visitors who have lost their compass. It is the politicians.

    Astonishing. Appalling.

    The mayor and the council are proposing a 2007 budget that includes about a million for new positions and programs (not counting public safety) while closing libraries.

    Although the Library Board finally seems to be retreating in the face of public anger and today plans to discuss options aimed at keeping at least the Southeast and Webber Park libraries open, there seems to be no hope in store for the Roosevelt library, which is just as deserving as the other two. The City Council is scheduled to make a final budget decision on the three libraries at 5 p.m. on Monday.

    The library mess represents a giant dereliction of duty and abdication of responsibility shared by an ineffective Library Board, a blame-shifting mayor and a City Council that has too many dim bulbs on it.

    There are noble exceptions on the council side, and they have paid a price for being outspoken.

    When Council Member Gary Schiff tried to shift the money to fight global warming to the libraries, he was publicly chewed out by Rybak, who practically wept tears of outrage as he accused Schiff of ignoring Al Gore's commandments. And Council Member Diane Hofstede, a former president and long-time member of the Library Board, was slapped down when she moved to postpone new (non-public safety) city hires for six months.

    That delay would have saved the city half a million dollars, more than enough to keep the three jeopardized libraries open.

    "Closing libraries will be a scar on the heart of the city," Hofstede said Tuesday. "There is a big lack of leadership in this city. How can you claim to care about families and children when you are closing neighborhood libraries?"

    Schiff is more emphatic: "Taxes are going up, and services are being cut," he said. "We're not covering the basics. Our priorities are awry."

    Hofstede and Schiff are among the stalwart few still fighting for the libraries. That decision will come Monday, when the council takes up final passage of the 2007 budget. Your vote might still make the difference.


    Here are the numbers to call:

    Mayor R.T. Rybak: (612) 673-2100

    City Council: (612) 673-2200