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Saturday, January 14, 2006

No Change of Mind

Over a week ago I posted a blog about Judge Alito. Basically, I was not impressed. Since listening to the hearings, I am even more unimpressed. I was chided in a response to my blog, that it all depended on whether I was a liberal or a conservative. I think not; I have common sense. This is a nominee for the Supreme Court who would not say that if there was irrefutable evidence that someone about to be executed was indeed innocent, that he/she (usually he) deserved not to be executed. In two cases he heard where errors were made by govenment lawyers or the lawyer for the plaintiff (who happened to be a large corporation) Judge Alito made allowances for this in his opinion, and filled in the missing argument. This is a Judge who allowed a strip search of a 10 year old girl. This is a Judge who said spouses should be notified before a woman has an abortion.(I do not know if this is before or after a decision by the woman is made). As I have said here before, I am personally anti abortion. However, I am adamantly pro choice. This means that a decision, whatever it is, about me is mine to make, and belongs to nobody else. Consult? Yes. Give it away? No.

Are we ever lucky that this man is going to be a member of the Supreme Court, for life. He has shown time and time again that he does not have the intellectul vigor to examine that facts before him and apply the law accordingly. I think it will be a total travesty to have him confirmed to sit on the Supreme Court.

Rebranding IDiocy

Intelligent Design Creationist Bill Dembski wants to re-brand IDiocy. In the process he admits that the Intelligent Design brand took a huge hit in Kitzmiller.

Evolve Yourself, Inc. — ID’s New Success and Motivation Institute

Evolve yourself intelligently to the new and more successful you. . . .**

For some time now I’ve been wanting to complement Darwinalia, Inc. (which will soon be in operation — I have three partners and we own www.darwinalia.com) with an ID-based success and motivation course (complete with infomercials). I had been thinking about something like "Designed for Success" or "Designed to Flourish." But the more I thought about it, especially with intelligent design taking the hits it has lately, it's time simply to co-opt the language of evolution and interpret it in an ID-friendly way (in this vein, recall my post about intelligent evolution on this blog some months back — go here). Yes, ID is itself evolving! I was able to procure www.evolveyourself.net (.com and .org were unfortunately taken) and expect to start another corporation once Darwinalia, Inc. is fully up and running.


What do you do when a brand takes a hit? Why you change the brand name ofcourse.

I therefore offer the following proposal if ID gets outlawed from our public schools: retitle it Intelligent Evolution (IE). The evolution here would be reconceived not as blind evolution but as technological evolution. Nor would it be committed to Darwin's idea of descent with modification. But, hey, it would still be evolution, and evolution can be taught in schools. In fact, I think I’ll title my next book Intelligent Evolution: The Mindful Deviation of Evolutionary Pathways. Perhaps this book has already been written.


Yup, Intelligent Design has everything to do with public relations and nothing to do with Science.

It appears that Dembski is trolling for investors:

William Dembski pleads:
"Hey, let's get this thread back on track, which is how to make some money with Evolve Yourself, Inc. I'm looking for investors."

Dr. Dembski,
As a Silicon Valley veteran, I can tell you that you’ll need a better "pitch" if you want to attract investors — sophisticated ones, anyway. Can we hear some more details on how intelligent design, couched in evolutionary terms, could be "sold" to the public as a self-improvement tool?

But it's a good idea to solicit ideas from the denizens of your blog.

My humble suggestion for a product targeted at your support base: An inflatable possum suit, worned at all times by an ID supporter when engaging in arguments with Darwinians. If the ID supporter begins to lose the argument, as frequently happens, he or she can deploy the possum suit and play dead until the Darwinian loses interest and moves on.

This is much cleaner than fighting it out to the inevitable end.

Comment by bradcliffe1 — January 14, 2006 @ 1:24 am


Hat Tip: Josh Rosenau and PZ Myers.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Craig Westover v Captain Ed

Captain Ed gives the standard slippery slope rant suggesting that gay marriage leads to polygamy, and suggesting current happenings in Canada back this up. Craig Westover responds to Captain Ed's points.

First and foremost the conservative approach definitively acknowledges that the authority to define marriage rests with the legislative branch of government, not the courts. The liberal/Canadian approach is to use the courts to mandate changes in marriage laws. Independent of same-sex marriage, the issue is one of separation of powers; arguing the issue based on one’s visceral reaction to same-sex relationships diminishes the importance of the separation of powers issue.

Second, focusing on same-sex marriage, same sex marriage requires no extension or change of marriage laws or benefits. Marriage is still between two people. No new privileges are required for same-sex couples that don’t already exist for opposite-sex couples. Other than eliminating the restriction on gender, there is no required change in marriage law.

To define a "polygamous marriage," definite changes must be made, as the Canadian study recommends. There must be an extension of benefits. The law must address and untangle multiple partner family relationships. There must be massive changes in marriage law. The prospects for civil litigation increase geometrically.

Moreover, the benefits to society of two-person committed relationships is a conservative reason for supporting marriage. Same-sex marriage extends that societal benefit. Discounting gay activists, who are out to destroy marriage because of their political philosophy not their sexual orientation, same-sex partners that seek the spiritual commitment that comes from "marriage" affirm, not deny marriage tradition.

Polygamy does none of that. It complicates the legal system. Unlike incorporating same-sex couples into the existing marriage construct, polygamous marriage forms a whole new construct. Recognizing that the legislature has the sole authority to define marriage, there is no obligation to recognize polygamous relationships simply because same-sex marriage might be recognized. They are disconnected issues.

Along the same lines, polygamous marriage can be debated right now irrespective of the status of same-sex marriage. It's a heterosexual activity, that produces lots of children -- something opponents of same-sex marriage argue such relationships cannot -- so maybe it's a good thing. I am being factious, but the point is valid -- same-sex marriage has more in common with traditional marriage than it does with polygamous marriage.


Read Craig's whole post. Dale Carpenter wrote a column addressing this issue which is available at the Independent Gay Forum.

Fisking Joe Soucheray on Nicollet Island-DeLaSalle Controversy

Posted here with author's permission:

Date: January 4, 2006 8:23:38 AM CST
Subject: PiPress Soucheray "correction" / what they should correct

The St. Paul Pioneer Press today chose not to print any of the letters it has received responding to Joe Soucheray's column on DeLaSalle and Nicollet Island, either in the letters section, the op-ed page, or the corrections section.

Instead it reprinted 72 words of Soucheray's column in order to add two that had been left out:

Corrections:
Pioneer Press, Jan. 4, 2005

Local news: Several words were omitted from a paragraph in Joe Soucheray's column on Sunday. The paragraph should have read: "And when the school got healthy again they could finally pursue that field, which they did, in 2004. Only to find that the same residents who had been welcomed by DeLaSalle students with petitions in 1983 now intended to block the development of the field. Not all island residents, but the ones with clout, the legislator and lawyers and other DFL insiders who have come to view the place as their own private idyll."

This is how the original sentence read in Sunday's paper: "Only to find that the same residents who had welcomed DeLaSalle students with petitions in 1983 now intended to block the development of the field."

SOUCHERAY:
DeLaSalle High School, located on Minneapolis'
Nicollet Island for 106 years, has been trying to build its own football field next to the school. The school has never had its own field and won't if Phyllis Kahn, who has lived on the island for about 20 years, has anything to say about it.

FACT:
The school has had its own field since 1984, after it successfully petitioned the City of Minneapolis to vacate 20 feet of public right-of-way along one block of Grove Street to create a regulation size football field.

SOUCHERAY:
DeLaSalle preceded any current resident of the island by at least 84 years.

FACT:
That is because no island resident is 106 years old. The neighborhood on Nicollet Island preceded any current high school, whose current campus was carved out of a dense residential area, by at least 34 years.

SOUCHERAY:
In 1983, in a document jointly agreed upon by the Minneapolis Park Board and the Minneapolis Community Development Agency, Nicollet Island would become parkland, with business to the south of the high school and residents to the north. That document included language that the park board, by any means deemed appropriate — meaning who might pay for it — was obligated to build a field adjacent to the school. Miraculously, the tumbledown old Victorian homes went to the likes of Kahn and others who were aides to council members, or aides to Mayor Don Fraser, or lawyers who represented various members of the club, a DFL club. You can look it up. They pay taxes on their homes, but not on the land. That is what is called a sweetheart deal.

FACT: Distribution of redevelopment rights was by public lottery. You can look it up. The "aides to Mayor Don Fraser" Soucheray refers to is in fact one person, who when she bought her house in the mid-1990s was no longer an aide to Mayor Don Fraser, just as Don Fraser was no longer mayor. She bought her house on the open real estate market, as anyone else buys a house, after another potential buyer walked away from the deal.

SOUCHERAY:
In 1983, the school was in no position to build the field they had permission to build.

FACT:
DeLaSalle did build a regulation football field on adjacent public land (the Grove Street right-of-way) in 1984.

And when the school got healthy again they could finally pursue that field, which they did, in 2004.

SOUCHERAY (as corrected in Jan. 4 newspaper):
And when the school got healthy again they could finally pursue that field, which they did, in 2004. Only to find that the same residents who had been welcomed by DeLaSalle students with petitions in 1983 now intended to block the development of the field. Not all island residents, but the ones with clout, the legislator and lawyers and other DFL insiders who have come to view the place as their own private idyll.

FACT:
Only one current island resident is on record supporting the DeLaSalle stadium. Others, including those living in a low-income housing co-operative, and many with no DFL ties whatsoever, have signed petitions (and even worked to gather more than 1400 petition signatures) asking the city not to close a public street and public parkland to a private institution.

SOUCHERAY: "If they passed one park board requirement, the next thing you know, they needed a citizens advisory committee."

FACT: A citizens advisory committee (CAC) is required by city ordinance for any project of a certain size requiring transfer of control of park land. The DeLaSalle stadium proposed to be built on public property was going to require a citizens advisory committee from the moment it was proposed. But even putting that aside, Soucheray's statement is wrong. The "one park board requirement" to which Soucheray refers (because it is the only requirement before creation of a CAC) is a public hearing, which is also required by ordinance. The public hearing for the DeLaSalle stadium proposal took place at the same Aug. 17 park board meeting at which the park board authorized a citizens advisory committee for the committee. And at that meeting, the public hearing took place AFTER the park board created the CAC, not before as Soucheray states.

SOUCHERAY: "When the citizens advisory committee found in favor, they needed a new environmental assessment worksheet."

FACT: First of all, the word "new" implies that there was an old environmental assessment worksheet; there was not. Secon, the need for an environmental assessment worksheet in reality came BEFORE the citizen's advisory committee. On Aug. 11 the state Environmental Quality Board ruled that a petition for an EAW was valid and the city immediately issued a stay on all permanent actions regarding the DeLaSalle stadium. On Sept. 2 the city council voted to require a mandatory EAW. Not until Oct. 4 did the MPRB citizens advisory committee decide in favor of the project, more than a month AFTER the need for an EAW was established (And in contrast to what Soucheray implies, DeLaSalle itself asked the city council on Sept. 2 to complete an envrionmental awareness worksheet.)

SOUCHERAY: Most recently, the permission to build the field was bounced from the City Council back to the park board. Nobody really knows why; it's Alice in Wonderland.

FACT: No, it's state law. Once an EAW process begins for a proposed project, governement agencies like the Minneapolis park board must delay permanent action until after the EAW is complete. Simple as that. In Minneapolis, St. Paul, or anyplace in the state of Minnesota.

SOUCHERAY: What the school needs to do is vacate a small stretch of Grove Street between East Island Avenue and Nicollet Street to have a field that runs north-south just north of the school. That would capture a scrubby little piece of earth, much of it on school property, that is bordered on the north by railroad tracks.

FACT: In order to have the field it proposes, the school needs not only to vacate a public city street, but also to be given control of more than an acre of public parkland that cost taxpayers $1.1 million and carries a restrictive deed covenant specifically prohibiting athletic fields. That is Soucheray's "scrubby little piece of earth" and none of it is on school property.

SOUCHERAY: You would think we were talking about ripping out Old Faithful. Oh, but there is a cry that such historic pavement on Grove Street should not be destroyed. Right. Those bricks were laid in 1996 when the park board built some tennis courts.

FACT: The park board did not build the tennis courts in 1996. They were built in 1999. It is also disingenous and willful misdirection to state only that "the park board built some tennis courts." The tennis courts were built at the specific request and for the specific use of DeLaSalle High School. The school does in fact have priority use of the courts and the park board has never put up a sign to show they are public courts.

SOUCHERAY: The entire claim of historical significance has been a disingenuous sham. That island was left to the city's forgotten souls. Only the school remained true to it, remained true through all the years.

FACT: Through good times and bad, a residential neighborhood has existed on Nicollet Island continuously since 1866. The statement that "only the school remained true" to the island is false. It is Soucheray who chooses to conveniently forget the souls who resided there before DeLaSalle was established and since.

SOUCHERAY:
The only historical significance on that island is the school.

FACT: Nicollet Island is part of the St. Anthony Falls Historic District, with both national and local designation. Most of its buildings are listed as contributed structures to the historic district.


The Soucheray column also made a bunch of attacks on Phyllis Kahn - and made it seem that this was just a Phyllis Kahn issue - rather than an issue for lot of Nicollet Island residents. Phyllis Kahn is an easy target for reporters.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ohio School Board Votes to Keep Creationism in Their Curriculum

I commented on this story earlier this week. RBH has the scoop on Panda's Thumb. PZ Myers smacks down the creationist board members.

Well this pretty much guarantees a monkey trial in Ohio.

Democratic Underground Regulars Unhappy with Matt Entenza

Minnesota Raindog starts the thread here.

City Pages examines the Entenzas millions

In the past seven years the Minnesota attorney general's office has earned a rep as one of the country's toughest HMO watchdogs. So does it matter that Matt Entenza, the DFL's heir apparent to the job, is married to one of the most powerful executives in the medical industry, United Health's Lois Quam?

More in this week's cover story.


DFL Princess comments:

I have problems with Entenza because of this.

Hatch can't go after United like he did Medica because it is a for profit company and does not (cannot) sell their HMO product in Minnesota. UHG does lobby every the legislature every year to change state law to allow for profit HMOs to operate here claiming that it would keep costs down by increasing competition (oh yeah, like we haven't heard that before).

I have an imformed source that tells me that at one of the state's major HMOs UHG is referred to as the "evil empire".


Another commenter defends Entenza:

DFLforever
Thu Jan-12-06 12:15 AM
4. I guess he'll have to fucking well divorce her if he wants to be AG

Will someone clue me as to when it became a crime for a rich man or woman to be a Democrat.

Minnesota Raindog Thu Jan-12-06 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Millionaire Matt wants to be more than just a Democrat


This lying asshole wants to be attorney general, not just a member of the party. His millions present a huge conflict of interest on one of the major issues facing an attorney general: health care reform. Entenza has run roughshod over the House DFL since he became minority "leader," and stacked its staff with his sycophants. The DFL would do well to not only throw him out of the leadership poisition, but find another attorney general candidate as well.

dflprincess Thu Jan-12-06 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. For me it's not someone having money,

Edited on Thu Jan-12-06 12:53 PM by dflprincess

it's where the money comes from. And I see a potential conflict of interest for Entenza.


Michael Brodkorb attributes this to Juhnke's campaign against Entenza. I happen to know Minnesota Raindog, and s/he doesn't think much of Rep. Al Juhnke either. Brodkorb should review the archives of the mn-politics-discuss list - when Entenza became minority leader, he fired many house dfl staff members and put his own cronies in their place. It's ironic that someone who treats employees the way Entenza does gets AFSCME endorsement.

Bleating from the FRC

Hat Tip: Pam Spaulding.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has sponsored a taxpayer-funded website that prominently features classic symbols of the pro-homosexual activist movement--an inverted triangle in rainbow colors with the word PRIDE above it.

The website, dedicated to preventing alcohol and drug abuse, includes the admission that "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are more likely to smoke, drink, and use other drugs than...non-lgbt peers." Rather than warning that homosexual conduct is itself a significant health risk, the website blames society for the "high-risk choices" that homosexuals make, citing "homophobia," "heterosexism," and "stigma, alienation, and discrimination."

The website also uses material from pro-homosexual activist groups such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), while ignoring groups with a different perspective, such as Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX). Let HHS know that you don't want this kind of propaganda being supported by your tax dollars. You can e-mail Nancy Kennedy of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at nkennedy@samhsa.gov


As Pam says:

Friends, you can certainly thank Dr. Kennedy, who has 30 years of professional and personal experience in mental health, substance abuse and sexual orientation, for promoting open, clear, honest and inclusive information to the LGBT community if you have the chance; I'm sure she's getting slammed by the FRC sheeple.

Nancy J. Kennedy, DrPH
Office of the Director
Center for Substance Abuse Prevention/SAMHSA/DHHS
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockwall II, Suite 920
Rockville, MD 20857
Phone Number: 301-443-9453
Fax Number: 301-443-1548
nkennedy@samhsa.gov


The website Tony Perkins is bleating about is here.

Sex Offender Caugt Impersonating British Royalty in Stillwater

Story from the Pioneer Press


They show this guys myspace and bolt.com profiles. I say kudos to the kids who discovered this, they may have stopped him from hurting someone. What I can't figure, though, is how the administration could have messed up this much. There ought to be an investigation into that.

Sadly I have seen and spoken to him online before. I am going to contact the Washington County Sheriff's dept and report the screenname and site upon which I have spoken with him... It's mostly 20-30 year olds on the site, but there are several younger people who chat on that site often and I fear they may have been the victims of his predation.

Dave Thompson Goes to Monday through Friday

I got this email from Dave Thompson yesterday.

The Dave Thompson Show

The Dave Thompson Show goes prime time. Starting Thursday, January 12, 2005, my show moves to Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. I greatly appreciate all the support I have received, and I am excited to get on the air Monday through Friday. Dave Thompson

"The Dave Thompson Show"
AM 1500 KSTP
dthompson@am1500.com


It will be interesting to see who they get for the weekend slot.

PZ Myers Has New Digs

He's moved over to Science blogs now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Juhnke Entenza

House minority leader Matt Entenza is in the news - not in the way he'd like to be. According to Michael Brodkorb, Rep. Al Juhnke sent this City Pages article out to a DFL activist list.

Entenza's embrace of other elements of campaign finance reform has not been so steadfast. At the onset of the 2005 legislative session, when he and Quam were under fire for their $600,000 in donations, Entenza asked Schultz to draft what Schultz would later refer to as "my dream bill." The professor responded with eight suggested changes to Minnesota campaign finance law, such as placing a $1,000 cap on contributions and creating a more rapid and transparent process for disclosing donations.

Then the gamesmanship began at the Capitol, but it was not Entenza leading the dealing. Staunch Republican Rep. Tom Emmer carried Schultz's dream bill and got it passed through the House Civil Law and Elections Committee—"the first time campaign finance reform has passed a [Minnesota] House or Senate committee in 10 years," Schultz claims. It so happens that the chair of that committee is Rep. Jeff Johnson (R-Plymouth), who is almost certain to be Entenza's opponent in the race for attorney general this November. But a campaign of opposition from the anti-abortion group Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life effectively killed it in the House. Nor was the DFL majority inclined to take it up in the Senate.

Schultz says that after the bill passed Johnson's committee, he went to Entenza and asked the minority leader if he could rally his caucus to support the legislation. "I said, 'This is essentially the bill you asked me to draft,'" Schultz recalls. "'It needs help. Could you get your caucus together and get the votes for it?' It was a quick, 10-minute conversation. He said he'd think about it and then he never got back to me. I thought there would be enough Republicans to pass the bill if the Democrats signed on and Matt put the pressure on to support it. [But] it seems to be the case that he ceased interest.

"I still think that, once you get beyond the leadership, there's a majority of legislators to support the bill. But because of the way soft money goes into the caucuses, it goes to the leadership, and they can spread it around. That gives them a tremendous amount of power. If you take away that soft money, you take away a lot of [Legislative leaders'] control. I think that is one of the reasons Matt didn't want to get back to me. I think the Republican leadership felt the same way."

"I am the minority leader, which means I am not in the majority," Entenza replies, with a hint of exasperation. "I never got a chance to vote on it in the House because the MCCL killed it. I have a zero percent voting record with the MCCL. My opponent, Jeff Johnson, is in the majority and is supported by the MCCL, so maybe he should be asked why the bill wasn't brought up for a vote." Regarding Schultz, Entenza added, "I am a supporter of what David does. I'm sure David and other advocates are frustrated by our inability to pass a good campaign reform bill. They should be frustrated."


Did Entenza cut a deal with the MCCL to keep this bill from seeing the light of day?

More IDiocy

This time in a school district in California.

The Discovery Institute doesn't know how to respond. The LA Times has a report about the lawsuit filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Much Better than Anonoblogging

Mark Kennedy's campaign has started posting their opposition research on their website. I think this is a healthy development - and much more honest than dumping it on anonoblogs.

UPDATE: DFL Senate reports that this Fact Check page has been up for two months.

The argument continues on Craig Westover's blog

Craig responds to Chuck Darrell:

Re: amendment

Then the question becomes why not an amendment that defines separation of powers and states to effect that "only the legislature shall have final authority to define marriage"? Why legislate through the constitution by passing an amendment that begs judicial involvement to determine what a "marriage-like" relationship is -- if reducing judicial activism is really the goal?

Chuck, I've defended the intent of the marriage amendment on liberal sites, believing that despite my disagreement with it, it would only prohibit same-sex marriage and not legally contracted agreements between same-sex partners. That was the original position of amendment supporters. Now it’s clear the overt intent is prohibit civil unions, which raises the question does the language prohibit an individual same-sex couple from contractually forming their own civil union?

You use the term “bait and switch” in regards to civil unions, but I don’t think there was ever any doubt that same-sex marriage is the end goal of the gay community. The difference between the “activists” you demonize (as would I) and people like Dale Carpenter is the former want same-sex marriage any way they can get it, the latter want same-sex marriage through legislation when society is ready to accept it.

I do not feel fooled by the gay community; however, I feel a “bait and switch” victim of those supporting the amendment. I fell for the rhetoric on the supporter side of this amendment that the amendment was only to prevent judicial activism. I’m trying real hard to see amendment supporters as “defending traditional marriage,” but the more pushback you (the royal “you”) get, the more your effort comes across as anti-homosexual, not a defense of marriage. For example, I found the tone of the Pastor’s Conference at least somewhat conciliatory; the CD included in the information packet was embarrassingly inflammatory and fear mongering.

Frankly, I am embarrassed to support a political party that as a matter of policy sees the same-sex marriage issue as necessary to bring out the voters supporting other conservative initiatives. If I believed in demonizing a group to achieve one’s ends, I’d be a liberal and demonize the rich to bring about social justice. If I believed the end justified the means, I’d be a Democrat and bring out the vote by scaring old people into thinking Republicans were going to take away their social security.

I agree with you, Chuck, that to avoid judicial activism on this issue a constitutional amendment perhaps is necessary. However, the amendment ought to be narrowly targeted at the separation of powers issue, and not a blanket condemnation and demonizing of a specific group. That is bad precedent more to be feared than the bogeymen unearthed on your CD.
craig westover


I'm very much looking forward to obtaining a copy of this CD.

Rich Stanek is running for Hennepin County Sheriff

I think this is a bad idea. This is the text of an article published in the Spokesman Recorder on March 3, 2003. The article is no longer available on the Spokesman website.

Star Minneapolis cop to lead state Public Safety
Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
Originally posted 3/5/2003

But should communities of color feel safer with this man at the helm?

By Abdel Shakur
Staff Writer

Incoming Public Safety Commissioner Richard Stanek has quite the personnel record after 17 years with the Minneapolis Police Department. His two-inch-thick file is filled with over 40 letters of commendation, awards, and specialized training.

Judging from his file, you would think that Captain Stanek has never done anything wrong. However, anyone familiar with police brutality in the Minneapolis police department will tell you different. Records detailing Stanek's history of brutal and racist behavior may have been erased from Minneapolis City Hall, but fortunately the courts and the Black community have a long memory.

In 1992, Black motorist Anthony Freeman was involved in a traffic accident with Stanek after allegedly running a red light. Freeman said that after the accident Stanek broke his window, dragged him out of his car, yelled racial epithets and beat him in the middle of the street.

Under oath, Stanek admitted to using the word "nigger" in the presence of his fellow officers on other occasions and to telling racist jokes. In denying Freeman's account, Stanek claimed that he wasn't even conscious that Freeman was a Black man until hours after the incident, when he had to fill out insurance forms. The City settled the case out of court.

A year after the incident with Freeman, Stanek was one of four officers named in another police brutality suit filed by Ronald Kennerly. In that case, Kennerly said that officers beat him, threatened him, and placed him under arrest without probable cause. A female neighbor who tried to intervene was beaten with a flashlight and also placed under arrest, according to the complaint.

Again, the City settled.

In 1996, Jerold Wahlin filed a suit against the City and a local club, claiming that Stanek, who was moonlighting as security, struck him twice in the head with a flashlight and smashed his head into the club floor a number of times. Stanek admitted to using the flashlight, but said he only did so to stop Wahlin from attacking an off-duty Drug Enforcement agent who was also working security. The City decided to settle this case as well. All tolled, allegations of brutality against Stanek have cost the City over $50,000.

These cases have done nothing to diminish Stanek's career prospects in the department, however. Stanek has the distinction of being the youngest person to hold the ranks of lieutenant, captain, and inspector in department history.

Stanek's rise on the force has only been surpassed by his meteoric political rise in the state legislature, to which he was elected in 1995. Stanek has kept his day job in Minneapolis while moonlighting as a highly influential representative for Maple Grove.

In 1999, against the objections of both Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton and Police Chief Robert Olson, Stanek passed legislation eliminating Minneapolis' residency requirement for police officers. Stanek was also instrumental in defeating a statewide racial profiling initiative sponsored by former DFL legislator Gregory Gray.

"Rich Stanek doesn't give a good rip about the civil rights of Black people and people of color," said Gray. "It's not so much racism as it is just not giving a damn."

Gray's bill, which called for mandatory data collection in police departments statewide, was undermined by a proposal from Stanek that departments instead receive state funding for camera equipment on patrol cars.

"I put a premium on honesty," said Gray. "Rich told me what he was going to do and he went ahead and did it. At least he stands by what he says."

Gray said he didn't expect Stanek's appointment to have a more negative impact than former commissioner Charlie Weaver, who Gray said was "not a man of his word."

However, Gray does not think Stanek's connection to the Minneapolis Police Department will help the city's crisis in police-community relations. "It would have been nice to have someone in the Department of Public Safety that could help to bridge some of those gaps between police and the community," he said.

Before leaving his legislative post to take his new job, Stanek passed a bill earlier this year that required driver's licenses to openly reflect the visa status of foreigners. Representative Keith Ellison, who sat on Stanek's Judiciary Policy/Financing Committee, said he supported a less conspicuous, encoded license proposal that would have allowed law enforcement access to some visa information, but not the general public.

Ellison called Stanek's proposal "ugly" and said it was an example of Minnesota putting its "weakest and most selfish foot forward."

With major cuts underway for schools, libraries and social services, Ellison said Stanek, and the police interests he represents, will become even more important to maintaining order in the state. "Stanek is their muscle, and he's the one willing to direct police to control the more vulnerable members of our society," he said. "He's even more dangerous than what they have had in the past because he is articulate and he can be smooth."

Ellison said he was concerned that Stanek's rise represents a shift in government into a literal "police state," where police both write and enforce laws.

"I wonder what his leadership will do to this state," said Ellison. "People have to realize that, in a democracy, civilian power is always supposed to trump police power."

Abdel Shakur welcomes reader responses to ashakur@spokesman-recorder.com


What is troubling to me here is that there were multiple cases of police brutality against Rich Stanek that were settled by the City of Minneapolis.

Atheist Scientist Richard Dawkins Attacked

Richard Dawkins Attacked

There is a Worldnet Daily article going after that atheist evilutionist Richard Dawkins. David Strom, responds to the article on his blog which claims to be a book review of Dawkins recent book.

I chose to pick up Dawkins first because of all the furor surrounding the "intelligent design" versus evolution debate. What is so fascinating to me about this debate is the tremendous vitriol that is being hurled at the intelligent design crowd by some evolutionists.

This is baffling to me, and I say this as a profoundly agnostic individual who grew up in an atheistic household. In fact, as you can see from the above list, my parents are still quite liberal and atheistic, and seem to believe that their scientific background (they are both astronomers) leads them to be so. Frankly, I find this belief bizarre.

There is certainly nothing inherent in the scientific pursuit that necessitates one be an atheist, and in fact it seems to me that our experience with science should lead us to be profoundly aware of the limits to our knowledge. And yet, it seems clear that there has developed a religion of science today that is profoundly hostile to any other kind of knowledge. In fact, Dawkins is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Far from embracing humility, this species of scientist seems to elevate himself above all creation.


The Index to Creationist Claims addresses the Evolution is atheistic claim.

PZ Myers posted a different perspective on Dawkins.

I do not think that we should marginalize the opinions of scientists who are also religious—far from it, I think it is a good idea to have them there to show that you can do good science while holding some unscientific ideas. However, I also think we ought to do a better job of similarly promoting atheist scientists, not instead of but as a complement to those more socially acceptable theists. Science should be seen as a muscular endeavor, and hiding our fiercest and most fearless advocates behind the scenes is a waste of potential and gives the impression that we're timid and ashamed of many of our best and brightest.

Case in point: Richard Dawkins. How often have you heard the phrase, "I love Dawkins' books, but…" followed by excuses that he's too arrogant, he's too hard on the religious, he's a militant atheist? Here in the US at least, you'll often see Ken Miller the Catholic biologist trotted out as the man to emulate, the unintimidating figure of a scientist with something in common with the ordinary guy on the street (unfairly, too, I think—he ought to be praised as a biologist, a lucid writer, a great speaker, not because of his one failing: he's religious), but you'll never see Dawkins brought up in the same way. He's "far too fierce", as if that were a shortcoming.

It's a strength. Creationists hate the guy because he doesn't just stand against one ludicrous symptom of their belief system, he goes straight to the root with scathing rhetoric against the whole monumental pile of rickety confabulations.


I have not read Dawkins. I have read Ken Miller's book, Finding Darwin's God by Ken Miller - an outspoken theistic evolutionist.

Intelligent Design Creationist William Dempski advocates putting Darwin in a vise. He then elaborates on his "vise strategy".

Thus, in regard to religion, for the RD Darwinists, the aim of the interrogation is to goad them into following the example of Rumpelstiltskin by publicly tearing themselves apart in their rage against religion. The prefect ending to such an interrogation would be for them to admit that they are Darwinists first and foremost because Darwinism is the most effective tool for destroying religion (this is the ideal — don’t expect to achieve it).

The ES and KM Darwinists, by contrast, need not so much to be antagonized or goaded as gently guided into an intellectually indefensible position regarding religious belief. Even so, the strategy for approaching these two types of Darwinists must be a bit different. The ES Darwinist wants to appear open minded and generous, assuring religious believers that Darwinism is compatible with their religious beliefs. For the ES Darwinists, the aim of the interrogation is to show that they are patronizing elitists who don’t have a religious bone in their bodies but who nonetheless presume to tell religious believers how they should make their peace with evolution.

Finally, the KM Darwinist actually does have a sincere religious faith, believing that God is the creator of the world and has acted miraculously in salvation history. For the KM Darwinists, the aim of the interrogation is to exploit the tension between their belief in divine creation and their vehement denials that they are not creationists (note that under creationism they invariably include ID). The KM Darwinist wants to be an orthodox Darwinian and an orthodox religious believer. But being an orthodox religious believer means having a view of divine action that is at odds with Darwinian naturalism/scientific materialism and at the same time is compatible with creationism. KM Darwinists need to be pressed into admitting that their theology requires that ID be kept as a live possibility.


The question is why did Bill Dempski bravely run away from a debate with Ken Miller? He could have tried out his vise strategy at Case Western.

Why We Need the Courts

President Bush just signed the "Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005". The title of this bill sounds excellent. There's a provision in this bill that clearly appears to violate the first amendment. From Declan McCullagh at CNET:

Buried deep in the new law is Sec. 113, an innocuously titled bit called "Preventing Cyberstalking." It rewrites existing telephone harassment law to prohibit anyone from using the Internet "without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy."

To grease the rails for this idea, Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, and the section's other sponsors slipped it into an unrelated, must-pass bill to fund the Department of Justice. The plan: to make it politically infeasible for politicians to oppose the measure.

The tactic worked. The bill cleared the House of Representatives by voice vote, and the Senate unanimously approved it Dec. 16.

There's an interesting side note. An earlier version that the House approved in September had radically different wording. It was reasonable by comparison, and criminalized only using an "interactive computer service" to cause someone "substantial emotional harm."

That kind of prohibition might make sense. But why should merely annoying someone be illegal?

There are perfectly legitimate reasons to set up a Web site or write something incendiary without telling everyone exactly who you are.

Think about it: A woman fired by a manager who demanded sexual favors wants to blog about it without divulging her full name. An aspiring pundit hopes to set up the next Suck.com. A frustrated citizen wants to send e-mail describing corruption in local government without worrying about reprisals.

In each of those three cases, someone's probably going to be annoyed. That's enough to make the action a crime. (The Justice Department won't file charges in every case, of course, but trusting prosecutorial discretion is hardly reassuring.)


In a response, posted to the CNET article, Dave Madden disputes McCullagh's interpretation of the law.

I believe you are misreading the law.
Reader post by: Dave Madden
Posted on: January 9, 2006, 3:43 PM PST
Story: Create an e-annoyance, go to jail

H.R.3402 Sec. 113 (a)(3)(C) in the case of subparagraph (C) of subsection (a)(1), includes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet (as such term is defined in section 1104 of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (47 U.S.C. 151 note)).

Therefore the new wording applies only to instances arising under subparagraph (C) of subsection (a)(1).

The subsection referred to by the amended text is:
"(C) makes a telephone call or utilizes a telecommunications device, whether or not conversation or communication ensues, without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person at the called number or who receives the communications;"

The presence of the phrase "Called number" pretty conclusively removed all internet communications such as blogs and message boards. This seems to be measure to close a loophole that existed for internet based phone call services like vonage, etc because there is clearly no called number with regard to blogs.


Dave Madden makes sense. If the provision works as McCullagh describes, this would be an excellent first amendment court case for those so-called "Activist Judges" to decide. This is the type of case the ACLU takes.

Matt from MN Publius swallows the CNET story without question. In the comments to the post, Matt concedes that he hates Mark Kennedy. Matt's language when he went after Judy Johnson, who was the Republican candidate running in the Plymouth/Minnetonka special election was over the top. I disagree with Judy about the marriage amendment - Judy told the strib she would vote for the Bachmann amendment if it reached the floor. Judy also had concerns that the amendment went too far with the legal equivalent language. The strib did not mention Judy's nuanced position on the amendment. When Judy wrote to the strib to get them to correct the record regarding her position on Intelligent Design creationism being taught in the public schools, she didn't mention that they had misrepresented her about the Bachmann amendment. Matt from MNPublius described the SD 43 race this way:

Basically the SD 43 race is a question of whether you want a moderate Democrat with years of experience in public advocacy and financial management or a right-wing loony who wants to erode our system of education into bible school. I think I know which one I support!


This is describes Michele Bachmann accurately. This does not describe Judy Johnson, who is a thoughtful candidate, who is interested in getting beyond talk show politics when it comes to the issues.

I stopped by and commented on this post:



I think you misrepresent Judy here. Her position on Intelligent Design Creationism is of legitimate concern. I heard what she said at the Chamber of Commerce Debate, and she blew that question.

She now has a letter to the editor in the strib saying that she does not support Intelligent Design Creationism in science classes.

Terri Bonoff is clearly a better candidate on the separation of church and state. Judy Johnson is a social conservative - and she doesn't try to hide that. It's not fair to call her a right wing loony.

I've got more coverage of this race on Lloydletta's Nooz.

Posted by: Eva Young | November 17, 2005 12:09 AM

It depends on how you take her initial statements in comparison to her retraction. I believe (and I think this makes more sense as well) that she realized how much of a liability what she said in the debate was and then tried to correct the damage after the fact. The StarTrib is standing by their story and you admit yourself that she blew the question. The real question now is what is most representative of her views: an on-the-spot remark to a question at a debate, or a prepared statement from her to a major newspaper. I put my money on the debate remark.

Posted by: Matt | November 17, 2005 01:32 PM

I am not defending Judy's answer to the question on Intelligent Design (I personally was appalled by that answer). I believe the strib had it correct.

I take issue with this: "but Johnson, boy howdy, this lady is a bit of a nut case," this: "I'm sorry, but if you think evolution should not be taught you are obviously too stupid to be a representative of the people." and this: "right-wing loony who wants to erode our system of education into bible school."

Michele Bachmann wants to do that. Judy Johnson is not interested in doing that.


MN Publius has good material on their site. They diminish their credibility when they say they "hate Mark Kennedy". I disagree with Mark Kennedy on his co-sponsorship of the Federal Bachmann Amendment and on his emphasis on social issues, but I don't hate him. I think the Republican Party made a big mistake in annointing him for the senate race. I happen to think Gil Gutnecht would have been the stronger and more serious candidate by far.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Forget the Cat Scan

Get a dog. Hat Tip: Peg Kaplan.

Minnesotans for Marriage Chuck Darrell Gets Called Out

Craig Westover posted a plug for a radio interview he and Mark Yost were doing with U of MN Law Professor, Dale Carpenter.

Craig isn't the only Minnesota conservative blogger who opposes the Bachmann amendment. Peg Kaplan is also. Peg responds to some of the usual suspects on Craig's blog:

Ask yourself whether couples stay together because of their legal status or because they have made a formal (usually religious) pledge to one another? There is nothing stopping gay couples from being "married" right now, in every sense except the strictly legal, and that they can do by mutual contract, for the most part. Ask yourself why that is not enough.
J. Ewing | 01.09.06 - 1:02 pm | #

Gravatar It is not enough for a few reasons.

First - gay partnerships cannot enjoy some of the benefits that married couples do. They cannot leave property to one another at death without tax consequences. They do not have Social Security protections that married couples have. They cannot file tax returns together.

Yes - they can contractually obtain some of the same benefits - but they need to expend extra time and money to get them when heterosexual couples can get these benefits immediately through a marriage license and saying "I do."

Finally, as long as the government does not allow gay couples the right to get established, legal relationships, in essence, society tells them that their partnerships are either not "good" or "worthwhile" or something on that order.

I understand that many believe that this is exactly the case! Still, some of my generation believe that our gay neighbors are similar to the rest of us in most respects, except regarding their same-sex attractions - and thus should be afforded the same rights and responsibilities as "normal" folk. And, it's my observation that more and more people younger than I am don't care at all about an individual's sexual orientation.

One day, a "married" gay couple will seem no more strange to most of us than a married interracial couple - or disparately yoked religious couple.

At least, I hope so.
Peg K


Chuck Darrell from Minnesotans for Marriage stops by to promote his Strib oped:

Read my column in today's Star Tribune regarding Brokeback, civil unions and Dale Carpenter.

I heard a portion of Saturday's show. The hosts have it right, the bill language makes no provision for civil unions or changing the definition of marriage via legislation. Civil unions are just marriage by another name.

Lastly, there is nothing "vague" about the language. Calling the language "vague" is just spin.

63% of Minnesotans want to vote on the marriage amendment. They want to avoid what is happening in Iowa where Lamda Legal is trying to score a quick win in the courts while the Iowa marriage amendment is bottled up in the committee.

Sound familiar?

Chuck Darrell
Director of Communications
Minnesota for Marriage
Charles H Darrell

Recent Evidence for Human/Chimp Common Ancestors

During his talk, Ken Miller discussed a recent paper in Nature which describes evidence that backs up the theory that humans and chimpanzees descended from a common ancestor.

Here.

Complete paper here (pdf).

This is from the Washington University in St Louis Med News:

Human chromosome 2, the second largest human chromosome, originated during the evolution of Homo sapiens by the merger of two chimpanzee chromosomes recently renamed chimp chromosomes 2a and 2b. Other scientists had previously identified the area where the two chromosomes fused together. The new analysis further highlights the remnants of that merger, including a region of about 2.6 million base pairs where the sequence is similar to that found around centromeres, central chromosome structures that are important for DNA replication.

"Inside that region is a tract of about 36,000 base pairs that features a repetitive sequence typical of the centromeres themselves, and we think that may be the remnant of the centromere of one of the two chimp chromosomes that merged to form human chromosome 2," says lead author LaDeana Hillier, senior research scientist at the GSC.

The new insight into chromosome 2's ancestry has senior author Rick Wilson, Ph.D., director of the GSC, interested in identifying other genomic relics of evolutionary change.

"These data raise the possibility of a new tool for studying genome evolution," Wilson says. "We may be able to find other chromosomes that have disappeared over the course of time by searching other mammals' DNA for similar patterns of duplication."

Scientists identified some of the human genome's largest gene deserts on chromosomes 2 and 4. These are large regions of DNA that contain very little in the way of protein-building instructions.

"For example, there are two regions of chromosome 2 that are each almost 10 million base pairs long each surrounding a single gene called protocadherin," Hillier says.


I first heard about this study when PZ Myers mentioned it when he talked to the Minnesota Atheists. I didn't realize - from PZ's talk - that this was such a recent study - and such a new technique. Ken Miller described this study during his talk at Case Western. I strongly recommend it. Ken Miller is an excellent and inspiring speaker - and he effectively rebuts the "teach the controversy" argument used by creationists.

Professor Bleen has an account of Miller's talk. Bleen fingered the ID advocate who was too chicken to debate as Bill Dembski:

Originally, Dr. Miller was scheduled to hold a debate against William Dembski of the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based ID "think tank." Dr. Patricia Princehouse of the Department of Biology at CWRU, host of the evening's presentation, wrote a letter to the editor of USA Today inviting any ID apologist to a debate at CWRU. This was in response to a column by right-wingers Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel in which they made a similar proposal, going so far as to wonder aloud "if [sic] the Darwinists would show up." In her letter Dr. Princehouse answered the challenge: "January. Cleveland. The 'science' of ID. Put up or shut up."

Dr. Dembski failed to appear, provoking speculation that he had, in fact, run with his tail between his legs. If he feared a hostile reception, he would have been correct. The crowd was overwhelmingly supportive and enthusiastic. If any creationists were in attendance (and it is reasonable to assume that a few creationist stooges were sprinkled about), they chose not to advertise themselves.

In the wake of the devastating Kitzmiller decision, the creationists had chosen to "shut up."


The Lawrence Journal World reports that Dempski will be speaking at Kansas University in Lawrence later this month. He's sponsored by the Campus Crusade for Christ. Several professors declined invitations to be part of this.

Leonard Krishtalka, director of KU's Biodiversity Institute, said he was one scientist who declined an invitation to debate Dembski.

"There is nothing to debate," Krishtalka said. "Intelligent design is religion thinly disguised as science and does not belong in the science classroom."

Krishtalka said debates are rarely about truth, but about winning.

"In order to win, one has to get down and dirty in these debates," Krishtalka said. "I refuse to make either science or religion into a circus or into cheap entertainment."

Jack Krebs, president of Kansas Citizens for Science, a group critical of intelligent design, said he volunteered to speak at the Campus Crusade event. Krebs said he told organizers he would not defend evolution at the event, but rather take a broad perspective and discuss, for example, his view that evolution need not conflict with religion. But Krebs said he was turned down.

"I think it's revealing that they want to 'teach the controversy,' but they only want to teach the controversy in the way that they see it," Krebs said.

Brown said he wanted professors to speak at the event. Krebs is not a KU professor. He teaches math at Oskaloosa High School, where he’s also technology director.

John Calvert, director of the Intelligent Design Network, which played a key role in the Kansas State Board of Education’s recent adoption of science standards critical of evolution, said he wasn’t surprised KU scientists declined invitations.

"That's consistent with the boycott of the Kansas hearings," he said.

Mainstream scientists refused to participate in the board’s hearings, saying they weren't really about science.

Calvert said scientists' refusal to compete with intelligent design proponents in a public forum made it difficult to know who is right.

"You can't know they're better unless they engage in a competition," he said.


Many scientists aren't especially effective speakers for this sort of thing. The MacLaurin Institute at the University of Minnesota told me that they weren't doing creationism this year, when I told them that PZ Myers would be willing to debate one of their creationists without charging a lecture fee. They suggested contacting KKMS since KKMS had planned a creationist conference last fall.

A commenter writes:

Should be interesting on Jan. 23rd. I'm wondering what they have to say. Then again, we already know that ID does not belong in a science classroom. The Supreme Court in Pennsylvania has also ruled against ID in science classes. Teaching christianity in classrooms is not something that the citizens of Kansas should tolerate. It should stay in churches.

And to those that say ID does not preach religion/christianity, look at who's funding this event: "The event is being paid for with private funds from churches and Campus Crusade for Christ...."


Exactly. . .

As the Stomach Turns Starring Michael Brodkorb Drama Queen

Sarah Janacek, Politics in Minnesota publisher is defending Blois Olson, who writes for the newsletter:

Another reason I care relates to Politics In Minnesota. Blois has continued the honest, rich and sometimes difficult tradition established by former PIM editors and political pundits D.J. Leary and Wy Spano. A tradition continued by this publication, the next generation of PIM. That tradition is that in our newsletter writing and political punditry, when an issue comes up that affects a client, we always disclose our connection. "Secretive spinning" is simply not allowed.

Our stories in PIM about Coleen Rowley's failing congressional bid were not retribution for Blois' New School Communications not getting hired because New School didn't apply. End of story.


It gets sent out, and the Drama Queen responds.....

And the soap opera continues.... Developing. . .

Anonoblogger's Rights

Gary Miller from Kennedy v the Machine writes:

With Olson's lawsuit against MDE, Janacek has chosen to cast her lot with co-publisher Blois Olson. That's what friends and colleagues are supposed to do. We would simply point out that Janacek and Olson need to get their story straight re: the right to blog anonymously.


He's mad about the Politics In Minnesota blog policy:

–News from the Blogs–

Last issue, we weighed in a bit on blogs and their news value. And, we announced our official (but a work in progress) PIM blog policy: We’re happy to reference a blog and new news–but only if we can attribute the blog to an identifiable person.

That's still our policy, but Gary M. Miller, who writes at Kennedy v. The Machine (mentioned elsewhere in this issue), countered with a great point. Writes Miller, "What happened to the rich tradition of 'Publius' and the pamphleteers of old? Your policy would prohibit publication of The Federalist Papers, today."

Touche.


That policy has nothing to do with the rights of anonymous bloggers. Anonobloggers can write whatever they want. They don't have the right to get published in newspapers or in Politics in Minnesota.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

DFL Feminist Caucus Screening of DFL Governor Candidates

Hat Tip: Michael Brodkorb

DFL CANDIDATE FORUM
The DFL Feminist Caucus is sponsoring a DFL governor candidate forum. The forum will be next Sunday, January 15, at 2 PM, at the Hennepin County Government Center, in the Auditorium on the Lower Level.

I don't know if it's open to the public, but I may attend.


Thanks for the tip, Michael. This should be interesting.

Michael also was the early bird to post a copy of the email that Sheila Kiscaden will be running for Leutenant Governor with Kelly Doran.

Sunday, January 08, 2006
MDE BREAKIING NEWS: KISACDEN EMAIL TRUMPS TOMORROW'S OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
I just received this email from a reader of Minnesota Democrats Exposed. 15 minutes earlier I received an email from Doran's campaign providing the details on tomorrow's announcement.

##

Dear DFL Friends,

Greetings and Happy New Year!

Thank you for your patience as you waited for my decision regarding the course of action I will pursue for the 2006 elections. Many of you have wondered if I will become a Democrat.

The answer is "yes."

This is an easy decision.

I grew up in a large extended family of trade unionists. My father and nearly all of my uncles were members of the building trade unions: painters, pipe fitters, bricklayers, and electricians. Being a democrat was as much a part of our family culture as being Catholic.

As an adult I became a Republican, but that was in the days that the Republican Party had an active moderate wing that believed strongly in the role of government in creating opportunity so all can prosper and in assuring social justice. The Republican Party has changed.

My views and values have not and, like the prodigal, I am returning to the Democratic Party where I have been warmly welcomed and made to feel at home. But, as I have been welcomed back to the Democratic Party, a more difficult decision faced me.

I care passionately about this state and believe that Minnesota needs to get back on track by focusing on effectiveness in government, investment in the common good and preparing for the challenges of our future.

The legislative gridlock of the past few years is the result of both zealous partisanship and a lack of statesmanship by leaders. I asked myself; how can I best put my experience, my knowledge, and my energies to work for our communities and for our state? What contribution can I make? What role should I play?

I intended to run for re-election to the State Senate and notified my supporters of that intent in a letter mailed at the end of October. But I continued to keep an eye on other options and to ask myself, where can I make the biggest difference? Ultimately, I decided I could have greater influence to create these changes in Minnesota by following a different pathway.

After urging by many different individuals and conversations with several candidates for Governor, I have decided to seek higher office.

It is fitting that you be among the first to know that I will be running for Lieutenant Governor with Kelly Doran, a successful businessman who, as you know, is running as a Democratic candidate for Governor.

I have gotten to know Kelly Doran over the past few weeks, and I like what I see. He represents a centrist, pro-growth approach that fits Minnesota. His deep concern about Minnesota's future motivated him to give up his business ventures and seek public office. He offers a fresh choice to Minnesota voters and is not bound by years of political partisanship and obligations.

Minnesota does need more principle and less politics. That reflects my own political philosophy, the way I have tried to serve in the Minnesota Legislature, and why I have agreed to accept this opportunity to be on the Doran team.

Having represented Senate District 30 for nearly 14 years, I also want to be sure that there be a strong, reliable, community- oriented candidate to stand for election for the Senate.

In recent days I have been encouraging Ann Lynch, one of Rochester's current elected officials serving on the non-partisan school board, to become a candidate for my Senate District 30 seat. Ann has the skills, experience and community focus to be an excellent Senator.

Please join me in encouraging her to run for the Minnesota Senate.

Serving you in the Minnesota Senate has been a challenging and rewarding chapter of my life. I am both honored and grateful to have had this rare experience. I sincerely thank you for that opportunity and for your support at the polls and in my election campaigns. I hope that over the years I have earned your trust and that you will continue to support me as I seek to serve as your Lieutenant Governor.

In the coming weeks, I will be inviting you to a gathering so that I may thank you in person and give you the opportunity to meet Kelly Doran. I believe that once you meet him, you will understand why I have chosen to seek higher office and why I believe Kelly Doran will be the best candidate for Governor.

Once again, I send my sincere thanks for giving me such a warm welcome back to the Democratic Party. I hope that I will have your support as I seek to continue to serve you and the state.

Best personal regards,

Sheila


This is the reason I read that blog. At it's best, is it's a great source of political gossip - on it's worst days, it's "hey look everybody at this campaign volunteer sending out email from their work computer" nonsense.

Write Michael Brodkorb at: michael@weberjohnsonpa.com. Tell him to continue to post real political news on his blog like this.

Back at You Flash

Flash writes the Centrisity blog. It is the only non-rightwing blog I've seen in the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers blogroll. Lloydletta's Nooz got booted of the MOB blogroll after a day.

Flash tracked back to my account of Michael Brodkorb's coming out party with his own perspective. Flash has relatives that comment on his blog. I have always wished my mother would comment on my blog - but she reads the blog in her email - and she has a slow connection to the web, so she just doesn't websurf. It's too frustrating.

I want to thank everyone who sent me sympathy cards, emails and comments about the loss of Kiddleewink my cat.

Ford Brand Damage Might Be Long Lasting

From Lavender Magazine:

Ford's Brand Damage May Be Long-lasting

A recently conducted nationwide on-line survey found that despite Ford’s recent reversal of its marketing stance toward the GLBT community, the damage already may be done.

When polled about what brands of automobiles were owned or leased by GLBT consumers, Ford came in number one at 15.78 percent, with Honda and Toyota trailing a close second at 14.31 percent. However, when the Ford owners then were asked if they would purchase or lease another Ford vehicle, 65.52 percent indicated they would not, based upon the perceived anti-GLBT policies by the company.


I think this is unfair to Ford. They made a mistake. They rectified it. The problem is there was a week of heavy duty media bashing Ford - pushed by John Aravosis at Americablog, then when Ford did the right thing, it was a one day story. Deb Price who is a gay columnist from Michigan has a good column on the issue. I posted some correspondance with Jerry Reynolds - the Dallas Area Dealer who started this mess and he has learned from this. Jerry isn't homophobic. He is just a dealer who made a huge mistake. People make mistakes - and so do companies.

When I buy a new car (and I'll be in the market for a new car in 2 years), I'll be looking for how reliable the car is. I am considering Ford when I look at my next car - but I want to know about reliability. I'd like to hear from readers who have Fords - and what they think about how reliable the cars are.

Dale Carpenter Pans Brokeback Mountain

Here.

There's much to admire in this film. Ennis and Jack bust stereotypes of gay men. They aren't effeminate. When they meet, they are modern "cowboys" who live on profanity, fighting, country music, beer, and hard work for low pay. Yet their masculinity is also not the posed hyper-masculinity of leather, Levi, and uniform fetish scenes.

There's no mention of Stonewall, Harvey Milk, or even San Francisco. It's a welcome corrective to the urban-centered study of gay life in America.

For the most part we do not see sensationalized homophobia. That would be too easy. Instead, we see the everyday contempt for gays that still suffuses life in much of the country. Disdain for homosexuals mostly comes to Ennis and Jack in the sneers of others and in their own shame.

Still, the film—or more precisely, the gay reaction to it — offers some support for the hoary notion that homosexuality is "taking oneself out of the tides of ordinary mortal existence." Critics have rushed to praise Brokeback Mountain as a universal love story. Perhaps that's true, but it's not the whole story.
Their affair is juxtaposed to the consequences of neglecting life's obligations.

It's almost never mentioned that their affair is juxtaposed to the consequences of neglecting life's obligations. The first time Ennis and Jack have sex they shirk their responsibility to watch the flock. That night, a sheep is killed by a wolf; the aftermath is graphically depicted. A large portion of the flock is ultimately lost while they frolic.

More importantly, in their occasional fishing retreats, Ennis and Jack leave behind families. They are adulterers. This doesn't seem so terrible in the case of Jack, whose cartoonish wife is obsessed with her career and her press-on nails. But in the case of Ennis the result is poignant. Rushing out of the house to meet Jack, Ennis bodily passes off his two daughters to his wife (Michelle Williams), who stoically bears the burden left by a homosexual fleeing his entrapment. Eventually they divorce.

The film speaks powerfully to the sense of lost love and opportunity every closeted gay person must feel. "Heartbreaking" is not too strong a word to describe the loss this film confronts us with. But it's difficult to buy the widespread idea that the love between Jack and Ennis is an unvarnished good thing made tragic only by a homophobic world.

Part of the reason is that the love story itself is a bit strained. Hollywood delights in acting of the stumbling-and-mumbling sort (think James Dean and Marlon Brando) because it is thought to convey authenticity. Ledger in particular nails this style. But the spare dialogue between Jack and Ennis puts a lot of interpretive pressure on the meaningful glances they exchange.

Their sexual intimacy seems contrived. The sex - full of wrestling and snorting—is the kind that a person who's neither gay nor a cowboy imagines gay cowboys must have.

But the deeper reason their love doesn't completely register is that every time they go off together one is left wondering, what about the kids? What Ennis and Jack experience as an exhilarating liberation from the mundane and the stifling is for their families an abandonment. Ennis at least talks about living up to his familial obligations, but in truth he's checked out of them almost from the start.

For these reasons, I couldn't quite join in the symphony of sniffles I heard in the theater at the undeniably sad end of the film.

Yes, the world around Ennis and Jack channeled them into unhappy heterosexual lives. All concerned - including their families - would have been better off if that hadn't happened. By itself, that's a powerful argument against homophobia.

I don't have good answers to the problems confronting Ennis and Jack in their time and circumstance. I only have more questions than are currently being asked. Once families have been formed, do the interests of those families count for anything at all? Do we think Ennis and Jack have no obligation except to fulfill their own deepest desires? Do we really believe that the only tragedy in the film is the thwarted love of these two men? Why is nobody in the gay community even considering the moral complexity Brokeback Mountain presents?


I have not seen the film. I agree with Dale Carpenter's critique. I wish Lavender Magazine would talk to Dale and see if he would publish his columns here in Minnesota.

Panda's Thumb Action Alert: Write Letters to the Ohio Board of Education.

The Panda's Thumb is urging people to write letters and call the Jim Petro campaign for Governor about the IDiotic lesson plans currently included in the Ohio Science Standards.

Ohio Citizens for Science will host two public information sessions Sunday and Monday evenings on Ohio’s creationist lesson plan and the history and impact of this insult to science and religion. Details here.

Things are heating up in Ohio post-Kitzmiller. The ID troops are spinning Kitzmiller as the aberration of an activist judge (a conservative Republican) who vastly over-stepped the acceptable boundaries of judicial behavior. Tim Sandefur eviscerated that argument here on the Thumb and on Positive Liberty.

Ohio Citizens for Science is issuing a call for action this weekend. We ask people — both in Ohio and elsewhere — to write/email/phone to urge the restoration of good science in Ohio’s schools. In particular, we urge contacting Jim Petro, current state Attorney General who is running for Governor. Let Petro know that it’s time for leadership, not political pandering. The main points to stress are below the fold in the recommended message. Both in-state and out of state people are encouraged to contact Petro. Please also contact members of the State Board of Education with your support for honest science education.

Ohio’s board of education will meet next Tuesday, Jan 10, in Columbus to decide whether to comply with the recent federal court ruling against intelligent-design creationism and its disingenuous “teach the controversy” ploy.

Please write or CALL TODAY to State Board members (as many as you can) and Attorney General Jim Petro.


Read the whole thing.

I called Attorney General Jim Petro's governor campaign, and left a message with one of his staff. You can call him at: 1-877-JIM-2006. It would be good to fill up those voice mail boxes of all his staff on this issue.

Here's my letter:

TO:email@jimpetro.com,
susan.zelman@ode.state.oh.us;
bob.bowers@ode.state.oh.us;
Eydie.Schilling@mail.ode.state.oh.us;
Donna.Nesbitt@ode.state.oh.us;
Virgil.Brown@ode.state.oh.us;
ota@ohiotownships.org;
Jim.Craig@ode.state.oh.us;
Colleen.Grady@ode.state.oh.us;
deb@uakron.edu;
Sam.Schloemer@ode.state.oh.us;
Jennifer.Sheets@ode.state.oh.us;
Jane.Sonenshein@ode.state.oh.us;
Jennifer.Stewart@ode.state.oh.us;

CC:pkeiper@cmnh.org,
patricia@case.edu

Dear Mr. Petro,

Please protect Ohio from the creationist folly of the Board of Education!

Ohio can afford neither the waste of millions of taxpayer dollars nor the national ridicule a Monkey Trial would bring upon your state.

It's worth noting that where Creationism gets out beyond the stealth issue, it loses in elections. The Dover School Board members all lost to Democrats who were running in a district with a strong Republican index. In Minnetonka, Minnesota the ID supporters lost a recent school board election. After this school board election, Plymouth Mayor Judy Johnson lost to a Democrat - again in a district with a strong republican index. The issue that took Johnson down? Intelligent Design creationism.

If we are going to teach the controversy in Science classes, why single out Evolution? Why not teach the controversy about gravity, or the doubts that the earth is round? Or why not teach Astrology in Astronomy classes?

Please counsel the Board to remove Ohio’s creationist benchmark and lesson plan immediately and restore the Ohio Academy of Science’s full definition of science.

Counsel the board to act immediately at their meeting next week. Advise them to avoid time-wasting charades that would produce more embarrassment in the long run. They have the facts; they need to act now.

The Ohio case is very clear. As in Dover, both the Board and the public recognized the issue at stake as inherently religious. Like Dover, evolutionary theory was singled out for special and unjustified criticism. As in Dover, the claims for a scientific basis for objecting to evolution were all drawn directly from scientifically-discredited creationist literature. And as in Dover, the board ignored the best advice of its own science experts as well as outside experts.

Of course, the creationists on the board claim there is no religious intent or content. But that’s what the defendants have said in all these creationist cases from Epperson to Edwards to Freiler to Dover. But when they go to court, the state loses every time.

As Judge John E Jones III said in the Dover decision:

“The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.”

Ohio needs your leadership at this crucial juncture. The board is nearly deadlocked with a few members still deciding. Leadership from the Attorney General on this important legal issue would make all the difference in the world.

Please protect our freedom of religion, protect our children’s understanding of science, and protect the integrity and reputation of the state of Ohio.

Stand up for Ohio, Mr. Petro!

Eva Young
Near North
Minneapolis
lloydletta@gmail.com

Lloydletta's Nooz
http://lloydletta.blogspot.com
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"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759,
US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)


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