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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Chris Crain at Washington Blade Rips Hillary Clinton

A few weeks back Empire State Pride Agenda Ed Alan Van Capelle sent an email to his board of directors stating that he was not planning to sell tickets to a Hillary Clinton fundraiser. This email was leaked to the New York Observer.

Supporting an LGBT fundraiser for Hillary Clinton will actually hurt our community. It will send a message to other elected officials that you can be working against us during this critical time and not suffer a negative pushback from the gay community. We have become a community that throws money at politicians and we demand nothing in return. And that's what we get -- nothing. It's the wrong message to send.

It's the message that Democrats like Minnesota's Attorney General Candidate - and house minority leader Matt Entenza expect from Minnesota's gay community. Now Chris Crain at the Washington Blade piles on:

Rightfully so.

Clinton's haughtiness on marriage is particularly galling given her own rocky experience with the institution. She did vote against an unprecedented amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would ban gays from marrying, but to do otherwise would have been unthinkable for her politically.

In her speech on the Senate floor, she said, "I believe marriage is not just a bond but a sacred bond between a man and a woman." Another reality check: She's known for decades that in her own case the institution was never so limited and in fact was a not-so-sacred bond between a man and several women, including his wife and untold Gennifers, Monicas and others.

Hillary opposes allowing gays to marry in New York, and she backed the Defense of Marriage Act, signed by philandering Bill, which not only deprives married gay couples of federal legal recognition, it allows states to ignore marriage licenses issued to gay couples in Massachusetts or elsewhere.

With that kind of track record, Van Capelle rightly argued that there's no good reason for New York gays to throw good money after bad support.

'It will send a message to other elected officials that you can be working against us during this critical time and not suffer a negative pushback from the gay community,' he said in the e-mail. 'We have become a community that throws money at politicians, and we demand nothing in return. And that's what we get: nothing. It's the wrong message to send.'

Van Capelle's point is a needed reality check for active gay politicos, especially in blue states like New York where marriage is no longer the untouchable third rail of politics.

"This year Eliot Spitzer, David Patterson, Alan Hevesi, Andrew Cuomo, Mark Green, Sean Maloney and others are running for statewide office and are in favor of marriage equality for gays and lesbians," Van Capelle points out.

Every time Hillary Clinton raises the issue of the sanctity of marriage, it's fair game to ask her how her marriage exemplifies those values.

Hat Tip: Pam Spaulding.

Has Lavender Dropped Michael Krause's column?

This is the second issue in a row where Michael Krause's the "Gay Agenda" hasn't appeared. Lavender has not replaced that with other political coverage. Maybe Lavender has ceded that to Andy from Eleventh Avenue South.

Anti-Strib Upset by Strib Letter Calling the Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage A Hate Group


We know someone's going to come in here and talk about what this post is absolutely not about.

This post is not about so called gay marriage, civil unions, civil rights (clearly not), or so called hate groups (mo' definately not).

If I have to explain it, I'll need a large vodka. (Hmm... large vodka, huh?)

Please drink your large vodka and explain badda-blogger.

Gary Eichten Asks the wrong question

During Mark Kennedy's appearance on MPR last week, Gary Eichten asked him "on abortion, are you pro-life?" That actually is a very poor question. The real question should be, "do you support criminalizing abortion?" That is what the issue is, not whether you personally believe abortion is right or wrong. Eichten missed a chance to follow up with this: would Kennedy support federalizing the law passed by the South Dakota legislature?

On Almanac, Elwyn Tinklenberg went on record to state he opposes criminalizing abortion and said he supports the proposals by the Democrats for Life to reduce the numbers of abortions. Tinklenberg didn't talk about specifics.

It appears as if South Dakota is going to have the Thomas More Law Firm represent them in court. This is the firm that represented the school board in the Kitzmiller case in Dover, Pennsylvania. Even the IDiocy supporting Discovery Institute has distanced itself from the Thomas More Law Center.

John McDonald, a democratic strategist is urging democrats to ignore the South Dakota extreme legislation.

Democratic forces might be better off ignoring the Dakota legislation and the looming Supreme Court battle for the time being. The best strategy to ensure the rights, privacy and health of women is instead to make sure that we elect a Democratic Congress and President.

To achieve those goals, Democrats must make clear that the incompetence and corruption of the Bush administration and their colleagues in the Republican Congress have undermined the safety and well being of Americans. We are less safe, and we are worse off. And we need to offer a vision of how we would do better.

The bottom line is if the election is about the foreign policy failures and domestic disasters of the Republican administration, if Democrats can make it clear that the Republicans have put the interests of the wealthy and powerful ahead of the needs and security of the American people, they can win. But if Democrats let the Republicans distract voters by defining the election as being about "moral values" they risk losing. So before spending millions on narrow battles over abortion and the battle for the Supreme Court, let's focus the resources, talents and energy of Democrats on winning the upcoming elections.

And, let's remember one thing. If John Kerry had won in Ohio, he would be President.

I wonder how Emily's List feels about this one.

Kate Michelman might run as an Independent for the Pennsylvania Senate seat. The Democrats pushed aside a woman who supports legalized abortion to make room for Bob Casey, who supports criminalizing abortion.

UPDATE: Commenter JCB disagrees -

okay eva, i have to comment on this one. barbara hafer-the woman who was pushed aside was a MUCH weaker candidate than bobby casey. many-including myself-urged hafer to run against rep. tim murphy (also "pro life") in the 18th district but she said no citing her new business and i believe health problems with her husband or someone close to her.
rick santorum would have ripped hafer to shreds and eaten her for dinner. i dont think u understand PA politics-this is NOT minn.-voters are VERY different here.

i wouldve voted for casey in a primary against hafer-i am however pro-choice, meaning that i think that abortion should be a legal medical procedure as it is now.

i dont agree w/ casey on this but to me there are MUCH bigger issues and im w/ him on them.

Lloydletta Mentioned in Bloghouse in the Strib


But that hate was just fine

Lloydletta (7) pointed out that the outrage of some GOP state leaders over the hateful message brought to the funeral of Cpl. Andrew Kemple by the rabid antigay followers of the Rev. Fred Phelps was not expressed in 2004, when some just-as-hateful messages were evident at a 2004 rally for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex and civil unions (below). "Governor Pawlenty spoke at this 2004 Bachmann amendment rally, as did Rep. Dan Severson. Governor Pawlenty, Speaker Sviggum and Dan Severson never publicly condemned these signs."

The print edition included the touching photo I posted from the 2004 Bachmann amendment rally.

Strib caption: "There were no complaints from state Republican leaders over the signs carried at a 2004 rally against same-sex and civil unions."

The strib was referring to this post.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Legislative Reaction to Fred Phelps

Paul Koering (R, Fort Ripley) has introduced a bill to ban protests at military funerals.

Koering said in a phone interview Monday from St. Paul that Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who attended Kemple's funeral, has expressed support for this type of legislation. Koering will introduce the bill along with Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, and Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie.

"I have always been and always will be supportive of our soldiers who put their lives on the line every day to protect the freedoms that we have," said Koering. "For somebody to have that much disrespect for the family of a fallen soldier to be right at their church or where they're having the funeral is just too much for me to take. I just feel it's important to have this legislation to keep these people away and let the families mourn in peace."

Under the proposed law, protesters would be prohibited from disrupting a funeral service from within 1,000 feet of the facility, obstructing any vehicle connected to the funeral or memorial service or intentionally blocking access to the funeral facility. The bill also applies to the home or homes of the deceased family or family members as well. The proposed law suggests a first time violation would be a gross misdemeanor and additional offenses would be a felony-level offense.

Koering said he has learned that the followers of Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church and who also is widely known for picketing the funerals of AIDS victims and the funeral of Matthew Shepherd, the Wyoming college student killed in 1998 by two men he met in a bar, have also protested at funerals of government employees. Koering said the proposed law may be expanded to include the funerals of firefighters, police officers and other public employees.

Koering said at Monday's news conference that if Phelps and his followers hate America so much as their Web site,, states, that he will personally buy their one-way tickets out of this country if they promise to never come back.

When asked if he is concerned that he, as a Republican senator who came out last year as a gay man, could become a target for this hate group, Koering didn't hesitate.

"Bring it on," Koering said. "Bring it on. Maybe that'll take the focus off of them going to some of these soldiers' funerals."

I personally find the Phelps klan demonstrations repugnant, but I think there are first amendment problems with these sorts of laws.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Anti-gay Activists Piss Off Gang of 12 Senators

Andy from Eleventh Avenue South pulls together greater Minnesota coverage of the fallout from the anti-gay ads.

DFLer Leo Foley deserves kudos with his comment to the Hometown Source:

Sen. Leo Foley, DFL-Coon Rapids, feels proud to be in The Gang of Twelve -- he's in distinguished company, he quipped.

Good for Sen. Foley!

Republican Paul Koering is quoted as saying he will support an amendment if it includes a civil union provision.

Although making light of his gang membership, Foley also expressed exasperation. "This is the same old crap they took out to tie up the last session," he said, saying lawmakers should be addressing other more pressing issues.

Koering indicated that he could support a marriage amendment if it included a civil union provision.

"I feel I was elected to protect everybody's rights," he said. "I think it's unfortunate they (MCDM) feel they need to come in after me in my district," said Koering.

Betzold believes the proposed marriage amendment has less support than some polls suggest -- it all depends on how the questions are phrased, he explained.

In four of his recent town meetings, the proposed amendment was mentioned once, said Betzold. "If you're over here trying to worry about taking a position on a controversial issue, you shouldn't be here," said Betzold.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the proposed marriage amendment this session, explained Betzold, but he offered no date.

Republican Paul Koering should be applauded for taking a principled stand.

Katherine Kersten Flogs the Gay Marriage Horse

Minnesota's worst writer does her part parroting the Minnesotans for Marriage party line again. MN Politics Guru does the honors with fisking it, as does Andy.

Did Chuck Darrell ghost write this column?


A Lloydletta reader notes this item in the Republican Party of Minnesota Platform:

Protecting personal privacy by prohibiting the use of social security numbers for any purpose other than social security identification and prohibiting the collection or release of any personal financial, medical, or other private information by anyone without the express consent of the person involved.

Excellent Counterpoint in the Strib on Stadium Boondoggle


Kenneth Zapp from Metro State hits a home run with the oped:

Kenneth Zapp: Rethink stadium numbers - and let voters decide
Having people who benefit from a new Twins ballpark pay for it would be good economics.
Kenneth Zapp

Published: March 01, 2006

Kenneth Zapp: Rethink stadium numbers - and let voters decide

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer: This fall, consider the peace platform
One reason the public is so adamantly against public funding for new Twins and Vikings stadiums is that their boosters, with unfettered access to the media, continually mis-state the facts for their own purposes. At least the Star Tribune is consistent here (editorial, Feb. 19).

The Star Tribune's calculation of the public's share of the proposed Twins stadium (65 percent) omits key factors such as $84 million for land and site development, $34 million for bonding-related costs, possible cost overruns for environmental cleanup and other land-related issues, and at least $1.4 million a year in capital improvements.

Most public funding data on the Star Tribune's list include land, site development, and other costs. Therefore, the public's portion of the total project would be at least 75 percent.

But the story is even worse. The Star Tribune does not discuss what the team's owners would be getting for their "contribution" of $125 million. The team would control naming rights, concession contracts, personal seat license fees, luxury box and club seating premiums, advertising revenue, and other event revenue. As Britt Robson detailed in City Pages last year, the total of these revenues far transcends the contribution.

Having people who benefit from the stadium pay for it would be good public policy (and good economics). This could be done by a range of user fees. The Hennepin County proposal, however, even excludes Twins tickets from the new sales tax. Why? Because the Twins want to keep all the new stadium revenue for themselves.

The Star Tribune falsely suggests that the public is being unfair to a well-run operation. It is instructive to look at the situation in St. Louis, a market that most closely resembles ours. The team there (Cardinals) has averaged more than 3 million in attendance each year. Why are the Twins drawing so many fewer here? Who is to blame -- the team or the fans?

When the Cardinals announced plans for their new stadium, they offered to pay between 75 and 85 percent of the stadium costs themselves, with the public paying the minority share. Why should the public here pay the majority share when the fans in St. Louis, whose team seems better operated, pay so much less?

The law in our state requires that a referendum be held in order for a local jurisdiction to impose a higher sales tax on itself. This is called direct democracy. The projects listed in the Star Tribune editorial did not require this referendum; there was no exemption given for them.

Curiously, boosters such as the Star Tribune seem confident that their perspective is correct. Why, therefore, do they not trust the public to see the wisdom of their arguments?

Kenneth Zapp is professor and director of graduate programs in the College of Management at Metropolitan State University.

Even the Twins have backed down on the economic development arguments for the stadium.

Citizens for a Stadium Tax Refendum organizer Laura Lehmann sent a counterpoint into the Strib. They did not publish hers. I will be getting a copy of that and will post it here in the next few days.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Blog for the Wisconsin "Marriage Defenders"

They seem more unhinged than Michele Bachmann if that's possible. Here's their Christmas Eve Post: Why Fight Homosexual Marriage? They also post the lyrics for a song - Ovedahl is Coming To Town:

Wisconsin Marriage Defenders has arranged to team up with Pastor Ralph Ovadal to do a literature distribution and picket on 12-17-05. Doing this in the dead of winter will certainly catch the militant homosexuals asleep and unable to mount a counter attack. Dick Ives was the coordinator. We expect a group of about a dozen with Ralph, and hopefully that many from WMD.

Since it is almost Christmas, here is a popular tune to announce Bro. Ovadal's arrival:

You'd better watch out,
You're going to cry,
Get ready to pout,
I'm telling you why,
Ovadal is coming to town.

He hears your lisp,
He knows of your vice,
He knows that you've been naughty, not nice,
Ovadal is coming to town.

He sees with whom you're sleeping,
He knows of your mistake,
He knows that you've been bad or worse,
So get saved for Jesus' sake.

Oh, you'd better watch out,
You're going to cry,
Get ready to pout,
I'm telling you why,
Ovadal is coming to town.

The gay boys in the bathhouse fear,
The Ovadal mystique,
And now they fear another foe,
Called WMD (double-you em dee),

Oh, you'd better watch out,
You're going to cry,
Get ready to pout,
I'm telling you why,
Ovadal is coming,
Ovadal is coming,
Ovadal is coming,
To town!

The lyrics don't quite work if you try to sing this to the tune of Santa Clause is Coming to Town.

Hat Tip: Eleventh Avenue South.

Minnesota Republican Party Data Mining CD

The blogosphere is abuzz with the story Bob Collins at Minnesota Public Radio broke on his blog. The Drama Queen is in overdrive spinning and spinning the Republican Party of Minnesota Damage Control with trademark ad hominem attacks.

Bob Collins commented on the Drama Queen's post:

Michael. I've actually already said this is several of the postings. This appears to be the tack the spin is going to take and as I told Mark Drake, it would be a mistake since the blogosphere is pretty tech savvy and they'll take you apart.

You have to understand what a Flash program is. The beauty and versatility of Flash is its interactvity. So when you answer a question in Flash, it can reasonably be expected to lead you to a different part of the presentation. You don't know.

The CD isn't being mailed to just Republicans so, theoretically, once you revealed yourself to be, for example, a STRONG Democrat, you could get a different presentation that approaches the issue differently. THAT's the beauty of Flash.

So, no, it's not really a reasonable expectation to say if you click something in Flash, you should know where the information goes.

And the folks who wrote the privacy laws in Minnesota know that too. The problem is, this stuff didn't exist when the laws were the laws pertain only to what ISPs doing.

The guy who co-wrote that law, by the way, was Tim Pawlenty. So you may take issue with what I think about the privacy of personal data...but you might want to take it up with him too.

Bob Collins has followed up on the story today.

Think Progress picked up on this right away. The Think Progress link was posted on Slashdot.

David Ruth, Communications Director for the DFL puts a wrapup of this on the DFL blog. DFL Chair, Brian Melendez issued a statement condemning the Republican Party for this.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Compare and Contrast Tim Pawlenty and Fred Phelps

Death Penalty for Homosexuals Sign carried at the 2004 Bachmann Amendment Rally

Demonstrators at the 2004 Bachmann Amendment Rally at the Minnesota Constitution Express themselves. Governor Tim Pawlenty and Speaker Steve Sviggum spoke at this Rally. They have yet to make a public statement condemning the anti-gay signs at the rally.

Welcome Pharyngula readers! PZ Myers agrees with me.

Eva makes a very good point: the Republican leadership in this state seems to share Fred Phelps' values. She has photos of a rally at the capitol in support of Michele Bachmann's anti-gay amendment, a rally that was approvingly attended by our Republican governor. Those signs aren't being carried by crazed Kansans, but by people of our state with good ol' "Minnesota values".

A Pharyngula commenter notes:

You know, he's just a few punctuation marks away from an accurate placard:

"Intolerance of,
Discrimination against,
Death penalty for,

As it stands he's using such a mangle of double-negatives and unknowingly ironic statements that the universe must surely be about to implode.

These people aren't the brightest bulbs....

Another commenter notes:

Of course these disgusting protests at military funerals enrage me, but I can only imagine how much righteous indignation Gov. Pawlenty would cough up if Phelps and his minions were protesting at the funerals of peace activists instead.

Another adds:

As PZ hinted, this is really about taking a popular political stand in defense of the troops. Notice that no one had proposed this kind of legislation when Phelps and his group were protesting at the funerals of gay people.

Kelly Doran, a Democratic Candidate for Governor has a letter about this:


Time for action

When six individuals who believe God is killing American soldiers because they fight for a country that tolerates homosexuals protest at the funeral of a Minnesota soldier killed in Iraq, it is time to do something drastic:

  • Our state and nation should move away from the kind of politics that help to create an environment of fear and intolerance.
  • We should quickly pass a law that would restrain or eliminate the ability to protest at funerals.
Other Strib letter writers come to similar conclusions:
Enabling hate So Gov. Tim Pawlenty attended a funeral and "was appalled by the behavior and message and insensitivity of the protesters" (Star Tribune, Feb. 24), yet he sees no connection between his support for the constitutional amendment to ban marriage or civil unions for gay couples and the division and hatred it promotes -- such as the antigay picketers at the soldier's funeral last week in Anoka. Maybe if we called it a fee rather than a marriage or a union, he'd support it. TROY TEPLEY, MINNEAPOLIS Sharing a message Outside a military funeral, they chant "God hates America." We easily recognize the hate in the actions of this antigay group from a Kansas church. Jesus weeps. Those wanting the gay-marriage-ban amendment are more subtle in their approach. Though our law already prohibits gay marriage, they tear apart churches over this amendment issue, all the while claiming not to hate gays. Jesus weeps. NANCY LEWIS, BLAINE This is nothing new I applaud the state governments that are taking steps to outlaw or limit distasteful funeral protests. However, I would like to point out that the Westboro Baptist Church has been protesting funerals for more than a decade and has visited Minnesota before. Families that have lost a gay son or daughter have had to deal with this group's demeaning tactics while they said goodbye to their loved ones. Unfortunately, it took the picketing of military funerals before any legislative action was considered. Everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, should be afforded the right to pay their final respects to the people they love in peace. RYAN BOLIN, MINNEAPOLIS
I happen to disagree with the idea of legislation for this. While I oppose what Fred Phelps and his band of lunatics says, I think a better way to respond to him is to ignore him. Phelps wants bills passed so he can challenge them on first amendment grounds. Average Gay Joe over at Gay Patriot says it well.
This may not be a popular position to take, but this bill seems to be an unconstitutional abridgement of free speech. I will admit to having probably the most unChristian view of Phelps and his coterie of nut-jobs and I also despise their protests of military funerals. These wackos offend me greatly given that I am Catholic, gay, and former military, all of which they seem to have problems with (as if I cared). I sympathize and agree with Delegate Mary-Dulany James, who sponsored the bill, that "We shouldn't have to subject any family to this. I'm stunned anybody would do that when people are grieving." These people are heartless, cruel bastards and hardly paragons of Christian morality. Yet, I do not have to like these clowns in order to stand for protecting free speech nor is it the job of government to regulate what is acceptable speech at a protest (save in very extreme cases such as incitement to violence). The First Amendment gives no guarantees that one will like what another has to say, only that they have the right to say it regardless. The provision to prohibit "obstruct[ing] mourners from funerals or burials" should pass constitutional muster and is one I could support, but not the portion to "ban protests at funerals within an hour before they start". That will be tossed out in court as it should be. It pains me to say this, but Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of the 'Rev.' Fred Phelps, is right when she says, "They're going to give away rights that they claim these soldiers have died for? They're going to spit in their graves - for what? Some words?'. Of course when she also adds that this proposal is "spitting in the face of God", I have to laugh. She and her group have done this so many times with their anti-Christian behavior it makes one sick.

DFL Press Release Reacting to Radio Ads

UPDATE: You can listen to the ads here. They are being paid for by the Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage. They are targetting 10 democrats (Dean Johnson and 9 others), Republican Paul Koering and Independent Sheila Kiscaden.

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2006

Contact: David Ruth
(651) 251-6314

Jess McIntosh
(651) 251-6315


Statement of Minnesota DFL Chair Brian Melendez

ST. PAUL (2/28/06) - "By threatening yet again to hijack the legislative session and hold it hostage if they don't get their way, the proponents of this redundant constitutional amendment against gay marriage are destroying the civility and goodwill that legislators in both parties have fostered in recent weeks and months.

"Their divisive, angry tactics highlight the intellectual poverty of the radicals pushing the anti-gay agenda. These extremists can't attack Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson on his record as a solid, pro-active representative for central Minnesota, so instead they’ve turned to election - year fearmongering meant to distract voters from the Republican Party's failure to address the issues that matter the most to Minnesotans: education, health care, jobs, transportation and clean air and water.

"There is already a law against gay marriage on the books. Our state faces real challenges, and we deserve better than the divisive games that Governor Pawlenty and the hard-right wing of his party are playing. The DFL Party and its leaders will not be sidetracked by an issue that Minnesota has already resolved. We will be focusing on improving our schools, our economy and our health - care system. We must teach these values to our children, and leave them a better, cleaner, safer world -- a world where politics is about helping people, not dividing people."


Are these radio ads also available on a website to listen to?

One of Dean Johnson's Republican opponents is saying to the Willmar paper that this isn't his priority issue.

Gimse said on Monday that he supports placing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage on this fall's election ballot, but he doesn't think it's the most important issue facing the Legislature.

"I think probably the most important issue is the gridlock and political bickering and stonewalling that's going on," he said.

Gimse pointed to a state government shutdown last year as an example of the problems in St. Paul. There's plenty of blame to go around, including to Johnson as leader of the Senate majority, he said.

He would try to remedy the problems "by being there as a spokesman for working across party lines," he said. "Good men and women can agree to disagree and find common ground, to make good things happen."

He's also not going to sign the no new taxes pledge:

In his business, he added, he works well with many different types of people.

Many people, including Democrats, have encouraged him to run against Johnson again, he said.

Gimse said he would not sign a pledge not to raise taxes, because state government needs flexibility to deal with issues as they arise.

Other issues he hopes to address in the campaign are eminent domain and property tax reform.

Does anyone know whether Gimse was at the 2004 Bachmann amendment rally? Was he at the marriage amendment rally where Steve Sviggum came to speak?

UPDATE: A commenter notes -

Joe Gimse was on the program at the Willmar rally and spoke for the Bishop of New Ulm, reading a letter from the Bishop to the crowd.

Gimse was also part of the Kandiyohi County GOP party leadership that censured Dean Johnson for voting for the Human Rights bill.

Wouldn't call him the lesser evil compared to Diane Vlach, the other Johnson challenger--neither is at all friendly to GLBT people and their allies.

Interesting..... Then Joe Gimse is being disingenuous. To the general public he's concerned about overall state issues and to the Republican party base, he's an anti-gay activist.

I would be very interesting in getting an account of that meeting of the Kandiyohi Party when Dean Johnson was censured by people who were there. I'd also be interested in press clippings from that time. Contact me at, or leave a comment if you have more information.

Madison, Wisconsin's former Mayor, Paul Soglin has a blog

He's got a post about the Wisconsin marriage amendment here.

Pioneer Press Rips on Sviggum Over the Bachmann Amendment

Thanks to Schoolsout for the tip:

From a Pioneer press Editorial: Tue, Feb. 28, 2006

'Right to the point'

Marriage is of great and enduring value. And House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, couldn't have made the case for a marriage amendment to the Minnesota Constitution any more clearly than he did in a news article in Sunday's Pioneer Press. Referring to the Senate majority leader, a DFLer, Sviggum said: "I want Dean Johnson to have to come to Kenyon and say, 'I voted against the marriage amendment.'"

Sviggum gets a perfect 10 for honesty.

And a perfect zero for his willingness to distinguish between issues that matter and those that don't.

Unlike marriage itself, a marriage amendment to the Minnesota Constitution is of no value, beyond its potential for partisan distraction, as Sviggum articulated. It's redundant with what's already the law of the land, solves no problem, and is contrary to conservative principle.

It also does nothing to reduce divorces or out of wedlock births - problems marriage amendment supporters cite when they talk about marriage being under fire.

Spyware on the Anti-gay Republican DVD

Bob Collins at MPR got a bit suspicious when the Republican Party of Minnesota DVD had an access code and asked for "votes" on issues. So he's been digging and digging.


Log Cabin Republicans Archives Go to the Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota

Excellent news!

News Release
For Immediate Release
March 1, 2006

Contact: James Dozier
Log Cabin Republicans-Washington, DC Office
(202) 347-5306
or (202) 297-5026

Christopher James
University of Minnesota
Phone: (612) 625-9148

Log Cabin Will House Its Archival Material at the University of Minnesota's Tretter Collection

Tretter Collection Among Top GLBT Historical Archives

(Minneapolis, MN) – Log Cabin Republicans will house its historical archives in the Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

"We're excited to announce this agreement with the Tretter Collection," said Log Cabin President Patrick Guerriero who visited the Tretter Collection last summer. "This is an important step in safeguarding material related to Log Cabin's history so future historians will have a clear picture about the role of gay conservatives in the fight for equality."

"Log Cabin's Board of Directors decided on the Tretter Collection after a search process that included several other institutions around the country. This is the best facility to house Log Cabin's historical material," said Log Cabin Board Chairman Tim Schoeffler. "We're grateful for the opportunity to have our work preserved for generations to come."

The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies houses over 30,000 items in a wide variety of media related to GLBT communities and the fight for equality. The international collection has items that go back as far as 4,000 years. The collection also maintains recent materials, including current editions of GLBT periodicals. While books are the core of the collection, the archives also include historical papers, letters, memoirs, photos, and other items.

"It's important we create a historical legacy to pass along to future generations," said Tretter Collection historian and archiver Jean Tretter. "We're happy the work of Log Cabin will be a part of the legacy of the GLBT movement,"

"With some of Log Cabin's founders and early leaders passing on, it was critical for us to find a place capable of preserving the documents that tell our story," said Leonard Olds of Laguna Beach, CA, a longtime member and leader of Log Cabin. "Our history was in danger of being lost. Now I'm happy to say it will be preserved so that when the history books are written about the GLBT movement, gay conservatives can be included in that story."

"This discussion about preserving Log Cabin's history drives home the fact that everything we do is much bigger than us," added Guerriero. "When we stand up as conservatives for basic fairness and equality for gay Americans, we aren't just seeking our own equality. We’re seeking to secure equality for future generations of gay and lesbian Americans so that they don't have to endure the struggles that we and, to a much greater extent, those generations that went before us, have had to endure. This is a proud day for Log Cabin Republicans."

Log Cabin leaders and chapter organizers around the country will send items to the Tretter Collection archives. These items and all others in the collection are available for viewing at the Tretter Collection facilities at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus.


Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest organization of Republicans who support fairness, freedom, and equality for gay and lesbian Americans. Log Cabin has state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time Washington office and a federal political action committee.

The University of Minnesota Libraries is one of the university's and the state's greatest intellectual and capital assets. Housed in 14 facilities on three Twin Cities campuses, the University Libraries' collections contain 6.2 million print volumes, making it the 15th largest research library collection in North America.

The GOP Video

I heard an MPR story on the video the GOP is releasing re: the Bachmann amendment.

The Governor, the Speaker, the State Auditor, and the Secretary of State all appear on the video, and there is a fundraising pitch.

Senator Keith Langseth (D-Glyndon) is quoted in the story, saying he won't vote for the amendment. He believes the current DOMA statute is adequate, and there is no imminent threat of lawsuits to overturn the law.

Senator Paul Koering (R- Ft Ripley) is also quoted. He didn't know the video was going out until this week. He goes on record saying that the bill should go through the standard committee process, and he will not support putting the bill on the floor without committee hearings and votes.

From the tone of the story and the quotes from GOP chair Ron Carey, it sounds like the party is really working the populist theme. It's interesting, because the only people really worried about overturning DOMA in this state are GOP social conservative politicos. They've been telling the public they need to get all worked up on this issue for the past 3 years, they are able to produce poll results suggesting their message has been heard, and now they say they're just doing what the people want (unlike stadium votes....).

In the meantime, special elections for Senate seats previously held by Republicans are won by Democrats who specifically state they won't vote for the amendment. And in case you haven't noticed..... life goes on in the Commonweath of Massachusetts. They have one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Dean Johnson: "I do not wish to have this state Capitol become downtown Baghdad on the gay marriage issue."

This comment was originally reported in the West Central Tribune in Willmar. You can view the clip of Dean Johnson making this comment on Almanac.

Mike Hatch Skips Another Governor Debate

Hat Tip: Broken Nails

The UDFL blog announces:

Governor's Debate Clarification

There has been some confusion about the specifics behind the Governor's Debate that's going on Tuesday night. Here are the final details:

* Gubernatorial Debate with Steve Kelley, Kelly Doran, and Becky Lourey
* Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2006
* 7-9pm
* Coffman Memorial Union Great Hall
* contact for more info: Noah Seligman

What is Mike Hatch afraid of?

Upper St Clair School Board Members Bear False Witness

Not surprising for Edwatch supporters. Spork in the Drawer has a roundup of today's news coverage of this farce.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that School Board member, Mark Trombetta, who had endorsed the Edwatch slate of candidates wrote an email that claimed the slate of candidates had no intention of dismanteling the IB program.

With three days left in a general election campaign filled with what he called unmatched political rhetoric, Upper St. Clair school board member Mark Trombetta sent an e-mail to an unknown number of "friends and neighbors."

In that e-mail Nov. 5, Dr. Trombetta accused some school board candidates of "spreading misinformation and outright lies" and said he hoped to correct some of those "mistruths." First on his list: rebutting a rumor that the school district's International Baccalaureate program was slated to be axed.

"There is NO TRUTH to that rumor," Dr. Trombetta wrote in underlined, bold-faced capital letters. The program was up for review by administrators and board members, "as all programs in the district are re-evaluated. Any rumor to the contrary is a mistruth."

Three months later, Dr. Trombetta and four other board members who ran last fall on a slate he supported voted to eliminate the program that, in November, he'd called "a distinguishing characteristic of our district which enhances our mission of education."

That vote, taken Monday night before an emotional crowd of about 1,000 people, most of them IB supporters, came after a week of hastily mobilized protests by students and residents who support the intensive course of instruction available to students in elementary, middle and high school.

Trombetta is so busted.

Pawlenty of Bigotry: Minnesota Republican Party Produces Anti-Gay Video

sign carried at 2004 Marriage Amendment Rally

Senate candidate Mark Kennedy's recent fundraising letter said that Kennedy's highest priority - above national security was getting the Federal Marriage Amendment passed. One would think the war on terror would be a higher priority.

Now the Drama Queen reprints the Republican Party of Minnesota Press Release announcing this video. I'd like a copy of this puppy. I'd like to challenge Republican Party Chair Ron Carey, Governor Tim Pawlenty and Speaker Steve Sviggum to explicitly condemn these hateful signs carried at the 2004 Bachmann Amendment Rally.

2004 Bachmann Amendment Rally

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey today unveiled a new video encouraging Minnesotans to contact their legislators and ask for an up-or-down vote on the marriage amendment. The video will be mailed to thousands of Minnesotans later in the week.

"Having an up-or-down vote on the marriage amendment enjoys broad bipartisan support in our state. This new video encourages citizens to get involved and ask their senators for an up-or-down vote on the marriage amendment," Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey said.

"It's time for the politicians in St. Paul to allow for up-or-down vote on whether to have a marriage amendment to our constitution. We hope Minnesotans who support an up-or-down vote on the marriage amendment will call their senators and have their voices heard," Carey added.

Now what's the difference between the type of signs displayed at the 2004 Bachmann amendment rally and the signs carried at Andrew Kemple's funeral?

It seems that the Republican Party of Minnesota has given up on being the party of lower taxes and limited government.

Kelley Campaign on the Straw Poll Results

Press Release from the Steve Kelley for Governor Campaign.

In the first test of gubernatorial campaign strength, Senator Steve Kelley emerged with a substantial victory. The St. Paul DFL held a straw poll for party activists last Saturday night and 36% supported Senator Kelley, giving him the victory. With just 10 days remaining before precinct caucuses, Kelley’s victory demonstrates the growing appeal of his campaign.

“We’ve been working very hard to build a grassroots organization across the state and this is evidence that our hard work is paying off,” Kelley said. “Our message of uniting the party around a progressive vision is resonating with people.”

Becky Lourey came in second with 29% of the votes; Mike Hatch received 17%; Kelly Doran received 9% and 8% were undecided. Russ Koch received 1% of the vote. There were 397 total votes cast.

It is also notable that 83% of the attendees supported someone other than reputed front-runner Mike Hatch. Hatch's weakness, combined with Kelley's victory, suggests that the DFL is ready to unify early behind a candidate who can defeat Governor Pawlenty, rather than simply support the best known candidate.

Now, on to the caucuses!

As the Drama Queen noted, Kelley took a shot at the scrambling Mike Hatch Campaign with this press release.

Farheen Hakeem vs McLaughlin (again?)

From a reader:

"At an ACLU forum today at MCTC's downtown campus, the Green Party's Farheen Hakeem announced that she will run for Hennepin County Commissioner."

Pollytick's Comments on Matt Entenza's Lack of Leadership on the Bachmann Amendment.

A commenter over at Pollytick seems to agree with Polly:

Anonymous said...

Entenza's ambition has clouded his ability to lead on everything for the past several years since he has lusted after the governor's office and AG's office. The only leadership he's ever been interested in is whatever leads Matt Entenza to a higher office. That the House DFL picked up 13 seats in 2004 was dumb luck and due to the quality of DFL candidates vs. GOP candidates. It had nothing to do with Entenza.

Entenza has admitted to letting his caucus "vote their district" on this issue rather than their conscience or DFL core principles. Look where it got Rebecca Otto. That's not leadership--that's political pandering to a vocal minority.

If Matt Entenza is the future of the DFL, the DFL is in serious trouble. Entenza is the best reason for supporting "Anybody But Hatch" for governor--to keep Hatch in the AG office and squeeze Entenza out of that race AND be rid of him as House minority "leader."
2/24/2006 03:41:57 PM

Stop the Eva Agenda (a Democratic partisan for both Mike Hatch and Matt Entenza) left the same comment over on Pollytick in Minnesota that s/he left here:

Anonymous said...

This would be great...and if only cows could fly too...

There are a number of DFLers who are, simply put, pro-life. They will not vote against this bill no matter who was leader.

In addition, the thing is, the Democratic Party is a big tent. That means that we allow in people of all beliefs. To force a vote on such a hot button issue would do nothing more then force out members of the party, who feel that they are not wanted. That will make us no different then the GOP.

10 - 15 members of the House are probably pro-life. Forcing a vote on them to push a caucus position will do nothing to fix the problem of the bill being pushed to the floor, and they will STILL vote for it. They only answer is to change control of the House to the DFL.

In the end, this is just more of your agenda against Entenza. Awfully convenient to blame the MINORITY leader for action of the Speaker.

You seriously need to get over it.
2/25/2006 09:53:16 AM

Polly brings it back to the topic at hand:

Pollytick said...

Editors Comment: Thanks for the thoughtful dialog on this sensitive subject. We would like to make one correction....the article is referencing the gay-marriage amendment and not the abortion issue.

Also, we feel that the DFL members (conservative and liberal)in the Senate have been hung out to dry on this (for many years) and it is high time the leadership in the House participate, also.

Peaceful Days to All!

2/25/2006 10:54:45 AM

Another anonocommenter defends Entenza...

Anonymous said...

First I am not a Democrat, but a Republican, and I do not support an amendment to ban gay marriage, however, your logic and complete failure to understand the legislative process confounds me. I am also not a fan of Entenza's however; your criticism of him is off base.

1) You assume that Entenza could somehow insist that all 66 Democrats vote against any bill to ban gay marriage. Assuming all 66 House Democrats oppose a gay marriage ban, which they don't, Entenza is the democratically elected leaders of the Caucus, not a dictator, in fact he had opponents for the position of minority leader, why would they blindly follow him in opposing a ban, especially if they supported it in the first place. At best Entenza can dictate to about 65% of his caucus to vote a certain way, hardly a large number. Incidentally, that is probably close to the same percentage Steve Sviggum has.

2) There is no filibuster in the House, what you are talking about is when Rep. Karen Clark simply refused to quit speaking, a legislator can do this, however eventually they will tire, at that point a motion to call a question is in order. In fact, I believe that is what happened with Rep. Clark, from what I remember the image of the "left over hippie windbag" unable to continue her diatribe was one of the more humorous events to occur on the floor of the house that year, from what I remember it gave quite a few GOP'ers a good chuckle.

As for procedural motions to delay, or stop passage in the house, there really are not any-the simple reason it has not passed in the Senate is because Johnson has refused to bring up the issue-if you are truly against a ban on gay marriage, insist that your leaders stop the legislative gamesmanship and pass a constitutional amendment and then defeat it at the polls. I plan to vote against it, educate others why voting against is the right thing to do, don't make a mockery of the legislative process simply over this issue.
2/25/2006 02:07:19 PM

If Entenza would use his leadership to persuade legislators - so that he keeps it to less than 2 defections, this amendment could be defeated in the house. Matt Entenza could also be out in the media explaining why this amendment is a bad idea. Pollytick lets Entenza have it.

Pollytick said...

Editors Note:

FILIBUSTER: The use of obstructionist tactics, especially prolonged speechmaking, for the purpose of delaying legislative action.

Yes, you can indeed filibuster in the House. Karen Clark did it a few years ago. She actually handed off to other Dems while she held the floor. As referenced above, it could also include the use of obstructionist tactics. For example, Entenza could come to the House floor with 100 amendment to the bill. His caucus could offer and debate them one-by-one. This could literally expand the session for hours or days. At some point the author or Speaker may choose to pull the bill from consideration.

To say this couldn't happen shows a lack of knowledge about the legislative process.

Happy days ahead!!

2/26/2006 12:49:58 PM

Exactly. Entenza has no interest in putting political capitol into this issue. That much is very clear. He's left Dean Johnson and the Senate hanging out to dry. What a team player!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Matt Entenza..... a strong advocate for ...... Matt Entenza

In January of 06 Britt Robson from City Pages did a pretty good job on Mr. Entenza.

As a gay person who doesn't believe the formula of DFL = Good and Republican = Bad, I have always found it puzzling that the DFL continually taps the GLBT community for money, supports the Stonewall DFL as an official caucus of the party, takes lots of money from the Human Rights Campaign, and yet doesn't hold itself accountable to supporting GLBT interests during the tough votes.

The reason that the keeper of this blog, Michael Krause in Lavender, and many others have expressed concern about Matt Entenza is that while politicians of his stripe will gladly give lip service to being a friend of the GLBT votes and money, they will not risk their own political ambitions to stand on principle (or the party platform).

You can parse out statements and track all kinds of quotes and comments around the blogosphere, but it comes down to this - Matt Entenza is a poster child for the DFL treating GLBT people like a cheap date (who gets dropped off early).

Is Mike Hatch's Campaign Becoming Scrambled?

Money quote from First Ringer:

The DOA CW on the AG
Has the Attorney General's gubernatorial campaign simply not hatched or is it already scrambled?

When I saw Mary Lahammer at the University of Minnesota's shindig announcing their legislative bonding agenda, she mentioned that Mike Hatch's press conference to announce his campaign for governor went poorly.

Scott Benson Running for Legislature

Scott Benson is one of the three openly gay candidates who won election to the Minneapolis City Council in 2001. Benson has now thrown his hat into the ring for state legislator in Senate District 62 which is in south Minneapolis. Unlike other DFL state legislative candidates, Scott clearly seems interested in the office for which he is running. Scott's website includes his position on a variety of issues that will be coming before the legislature. It appears from Scott's website, that his greatest interests are transportation, the environment and treating all Minnesotans fairly.

Scott told me he opposes using public funds to pay for professional sports stadiums.

The 62nd District DFL Convention is coming up on April 1. There are 6 candidates in this race now that Wes Skoglund has announced his retirement.

UPDATE: A commenter notes -

I attended the Senate District 62 Candidate Forum and there are other candidates that are "clearly" interested in the office for which they are running.

Alex Eaton, Matt Gladue, Patricia Torres Ray, Tina Sanz and Earl Netwal all seem not only clearly interested in the office they are seeking, but for a few of them I strongly feel they are much more interested in the seat than Benson is.
Aaron Landry

So noted. When I referred to "other DFL state legislative candidates", I linked to Andrew Borene's website. Andrew Borene seems much more interested in national issues than the state legislature.

Mike Hatch's Weakness Shown in Straw Poll Results

Checks and Balances:

DFL U.S. Senate

Amy Klobuchar 264
Ford Bell 109
Undecided 34

DFL Governor

Steve Kelley 144
Becky Lourey 117
Mike Hatch 67
Kelly Doran 36
Russ Koch 2
Undecided 33

Attorney General

There was a result, but since Matt Entenza is the only announced candidate the results were not read.

Secretary of State

Mark Ritchie 175
Christian Sande 131
Undecided 95

State Auditor
Rebecca Otto 190
Reggie Edwards 109
Undecided 98

The "800 pound gorilla" Governor Candidate Mike Hatch did very poorly. Steve Kelley organizing early has paid off. The question is whether if Hatch wasn't able to get his people out to this, will he be able to get his people out to the precinct caucuses? Hatch has union endorsements, but union endorsements are often not listened to by the rank and file. Union endorsements are good for money, but they are less effective at grass roots organizing - which for caucuses is key.

The results also make this claim from Hatch's campaign extremely questionable:

We also exceed our goals on the endorsement process. A very high percentage of state delegates have prior experience as either a state delegate or alternate. We surveyed 7,000 of those likely state delegates and found that 45% support Mike, 15% support Senator Lourey, 5% support Senator Kelley, and 2% Mr. Doran. There are over 30% that are undecided. The problem is that we don't know which people will show up to precinct caucuses on March 7, 2006, or if they do, whether they will run to be a state delegate. Mike has said he will be a candidate regardless of the endorsement as long as he has good support.

The results from this St Paul survey should be different, if the Hatch campaign reported numbers are correct.

It seems like they should have put a Hatch/Entenza matchup in the AG race.

Broken Nails comment from Prognosis Progress:

Comment from: S Q
Is it true Klobuchar bought tickets for over a hundred people? I heard it yesterday but haven't confirmed with another "supporter".

Take those away and her huge staff and its a dead-heat. Regardless, stacking the event and only getting 65%?
02/26/06 @ 01:12

At least Amy Klobuchar had supporters to buy tickets for. What about Mike Hatch? Was that part of the reason the organizers said towards the end that the event was free?

I think Klobuchar's poor showing (though she wins handily) was from a week of bad press over the trouble with her union local. Prognosis Progressive, a lefty blog has trouble with Sarah Janecek's column defending Klobuchar.

And remember kids - cronyism is okay!

Hey ladies! Fight for your right to be a power-mongering, syncophant-rewarding asshole too!

Sarah Janacek seems to raise the hackles of knee-jerk reactionaries like few others. So her column about female candidates, particularly Amy Klobuchar, not being judged by some ridiculous double standard blew people's minds.

But before joining other feminists in applause because she's seen the light, let's take a moment for a Prog Prog annecdote;

  • Have you ever tried to give a dog a pill? Shoving a small tablet into a puppy's throat can be a frustating experience. So what you should do is wrap it in something they like - watch them gobble it up!

Under the guise of feminism, Janacek slips in her poison. Since, "the supposed sin of hiring people who support their ambitions," is good enough for, "Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Norm Coleman or Klobuchar's likely GOP opponent, U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy," then gosh darn it, hiring people who support Klobuchar's ambitions is okay too.

  • FYI: Hiring people who support ambitions = cronyism.

Why didn't she throw President Bush into that GOP lineup? Has Klobuchar ever said, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of job" to one of her appointees? If she has, well according to Janacek, you must be an anti-feminist to even to call this into question.

Here's the point Janacek - The message to Klobuchar is: "DON'T USE YOUR OFFICE FOR POLITICAL GAIN AND CRONYISM! Janacek implies that somehow it is okay for Pawlenty, Coleman and Kennedy to give their toadies political appointments- it's not- and that to deny Klobuchar the same ambititous "right" is somehow wrong. Really? I thought doing so would be striking a blow for clean and transparent government.

There's a distinction between qualified and unqualified political hack appointments. The problem is there are getting to be way too many unqualified political hack appointments to important positions. The Bush administration appointment of Brownie to the FEMA director position is the most prominent of these. Tim Pawlenty's appointment of a big GOP contributor to the state Chief Information Officer position is a fairly recent, and appalling example.

There are a number of examples of Mark Kennedy using his current office in an inappropriate way to campaign for Senate. I'm still interested in finding out whether Kennedy's campaign or taxpayers paid the bill for his appearance at the Willmar Bachmann amendment rally. So when this comes Amy Klobuchar vs Mark Kennedy, this issue will be a wash.

UPDATE: Commenter MNObserver sez -

Prognosis Progressive won't accept comments from the riffraff, so Eva, I'm posting my reaction to their post here. Were I able to post over there, this is what I'd say:

Boy, did you miss the point of the Janecek column. Her problem is with those people who judge women by one standard that insists that they cannot be too ambitious or too successful, while applauding those same characteristics in male candidates. It's that same "He's a strong leader, she's a ball-busting bitch" that Janecek was speaking to, not whether Klobuchar did anything wrong.

And that is the double standard that every commenter seems to be missing. It's not seeking to have people go light on female candidates, it's about judging them all by the same standards, even ones that clash with traditional notions of how women are supposed to behave.

Oink, Oink, Pork: Locally and Federally

Chuck Muth's latest Muth's Truths has some home truths. Arlen Specter isn't the only one who does this sort of thing. Locally look at Brian Rice, who is the major funder of the Park Board campaigns and gets very good return on investment with his lawyer/lobbying contract with the Minneapolis Park Board.

Muth's Truths
February 26, 2006


Hey, boys and girls. It's that time of year again when Uncle Sam dons the red-suit-and-beard and hangs pork ornaments on the "Emergency Spending" tree. If you're not quite familiar with this annual congressional festival, let me share with you just one example from last year's taxpayer-funded earmark orgy.

It all started when the president requested "emergency funding" to fight the War on Terror. Now, you may be thinking to yourself that this war has been going on for five years now and, therefore, the cost of fighting it should already be known and funded in the regular defense budget. You silly goose.

In Washington, if you don't declare an "emergency" of some sort each year, you don't have an additional opportunity to lard up an additional spending bill with earmarks and pork. Geez. You really don't know how things work in Washington, do you? Here, let me help you understand this better.

Last year, the president asked Congress for billions in "emergency" funding for the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, used this "emergency" spending request as an opportunity to insert a provision into the "emergency" bill which directed that a $40 million grant to the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority "be used solely for the purpose of construction, by and for a Philadelphia-based company."

Stick with me here; the story is about to take some wild turns.

Here's how Sen. Specter explained the earmark to his colleagues on the Senate floor last April: "This money is being allocated to develop the port facilities in Philadelphia to accommodate a very new kind of ship which will compete with air travel and which has very substantial military as well as commercial purposes."

Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Well, maybe. Until pork-buster Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, took to the floor and blew the whistle.

McCain informed the Senate that he had been in a meeting with the Secretary of the Navy, along with Sen. Specter, to discuss this matter. He noted that he was very proud of the Navy chief "because unequivocally the Secretary of the Navy said: No, we do not want this money, we do not have the technology, we do not have the design for this, this is not one of our requirements, and we do not want to spend $40 million in this fashion." McCain added, "It was as strong a statement as I have ever heard from the Secretary of the Navy. This is basically a $40 million giveaway of the taxpayers' dollars to a private corporation that has nothing to do with the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has nothing to do with it."

Yowza. But like Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman," McCain was just getting warmed up.

"There is no design today for a high-speed military sealift," McCain noted. "I wish there were. It is affordable. But the fact is that there is not. The fact is the Navy unequivocally said they do not want taxpayers' dollars, defense dollars, spent on this port in the city of Philadelphia." McCain again reiterated that "This has nothing to do with Afghanistan, it has nothing to do with the tsunami, it has nothing to do with Iraq, and it has nothing to do with the Navy's requirements for a high-speed military sealift capability."

Sen. Specter then rose to the floor to defend his pet earmark. But McCain remained unconvinced, and brought up yet another aspect of the project: That the $40 million contract was being restricted to a Philadelphia-based entity, a requirement McCain found "astonishing."

"In other words," the Arizona senator pointed out, "a company in Seattle or a company in Charleston or a company in Oklahoma, they couldn't compete for this (contract). It has to be a Philadelphia-based company. What is it about Philadelphia-based companies that warrants them receiving a $40 million contract without competition from anybody else?" McCain added, "We should not be designating certain cities as a base for any company to compete for any contract of any kind. . . . In these times of burgeoning fiscal deficits, for us to designate money to be spent by a local-based company is just the wrong way to designate, and I think most Americans would agree."

Yep. Most Americans would. But not most of Sen. McCain's colleagues.

Fellow pork-buster, Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, offered an amendment to this "emergency" spending bill which would have stripped out this $40 million Philly-only earmark. The amendment was resoundingly rejected on a voice vote.

But that's still not the end of this sordid story.

Not only was this $40 million earmark restricted to a Philadelphia-based company, but it turns out that there was only one Philadelphia company which would have qualified for the contract to build a port for a ship that doesn't exist and which the Navy had no interest in. That Philadelphia company is FastShip Inc. And Business Week reports that FastShip executives "doled out $8,500 to help reelect Republican Senator Arlen Specter" in 2004.

But it gets better...or worse, depending on how you look at it. According to The Center for Public Integrity, Sen. Specter also "received $24,500 from lobbyists working for Blank Rome LLP. So what's that have to do with anything? Well, "One of Blank Rome's largest clients is FastShip Inc."

Ah, that tangled web of pork. But what a sweet deal, huh? Thirty-three grand in campaign contributions in return for 40 million? I'd take that deal any day of the week and twice on Sunday. And Washington politicians wonder why taxpayers are (a) so damned cynical, and (b) so damned mad?

This is exactly why it's useful to peruse the FEC reports on candidates you are considering voting for.

Entenza Supporter Unhappy with Lloydletta's Entenza Coverage

Note: Title of this post changed. "Stop the Eva Agenda" claims he's no Entenza flunkie.

Entenza has a supporter stopping by Lloydletta using the name "Stop the Eva Agenda."

Get over yourself.

You need a new hobby.

Entenza is the right person to be AG, Hatch is running for Governor and will win.

How come Hatch did so poorly in the Straw poll in St Paul yesterday? If he can't get his people out to that straw poll, how is he going to get his people out to the Precinct caucuses? Why is Hatch avoiding candidate debates? Is he afraid to debate others in his party?

You hate Entenza cause he won't do exactly what you want, well guess what, no politician does.

I don't hate Entenza. I do think that his record deserves scrutiny.

Or is it cause he didn't force his members to vote the way you want them too. What is this? Stalinist Russia?

The question is whether Matt Entenza said publicly he opposed the Bachmann amendment, but privately advised members in both 2004 and 2005 to "vote their district." It would be good to get Rebecca Otto on the record about what Matt Entenza's advice to her was about that vote.

The question is also whether Matt Entenza is leaving Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson hanging out to dry on this issue. This criticism was initially leveled by a rural democratic blog - NOT Eva Young the Republican. The rural democrat Pollytick says it well.

The question is, why isn't Entenza taking some of the heat off of Johnson on this issue? If there is a vote, will he lead his caucus against the bill?

Consider this for a moment...if all 66 Democrats in the MN House voted no to the bill, it is unlikely that it would pass. Moderate Republicans like Ron Erhardt (R-Edina) and Ron Abrams (R-Minnetonka) are unlikely to vote with the rest of their caucus and the bill would be dead. Will Entenza insist this happens?

A second notion would be for the House Dems to filibuster the bill to death (as we saw Rep. Karen Clark try to do a couple of years ago) or move a number of procedural motions until the bill was pulled from consideration. Will Entenza lead in this direction?

Either way, with strong leadership, the House DFL could send a signal to Minnesota citizens that this type of hate filled legislation will not take the forefront in the upcoming session.

But alas, Matt Entenza has been surprisingly silent on this issue. Sure, he talks about his 'personal' views and how he is against the bill. However, as the House leader he needs to go much further. He needs to be out front in the media (as Dean Johnson has been) and explain over and over the reason this is not needed. He also needs to lead his House troops in the right direction.

Entenza's person STEA continues:

Did he vote for the ban on Gay Marriages?

Is he an author of the bill?

If he is so bad, why is he backed by the GLBT community minus a small minded voice like yours?

If Entenza were popular in the gay community, why did the partisan DFL columnist, Michael Krause say this?

The House vote shows what might have happened if everyone, not just most
DFLers and a few Republicans, had stood up for principle.

House DFL leader Matt Entenza said that the DFL Caucus had no position on
the antigay constitutional amendment, and that members were free to vote
their conscience.

Why didn't the DFL Caucus take a position on an issue that clearly has been
part of the DFL Party Constitution?

With the help of three House Republicans, a caucus that stood together
would have had the votes to defend GLBT Minnesotans from Sviggum's attacks.

STEA continues:

There is so solid proof he is a bad employer, just the ramblings of a pissed off person who got fired by Entenza because he sucked at his job.

If he is such a bad employer, why is he not in trouble with the state? Why is there no one else claiming he did them wrong?

That's cause there is nothing there. It is just convenient for you so you can tear down a good man working hard for us.

You go after him for no reason. Go back to the Log Cabin Republicans where you belong

It wasn't just one former employee I heard from on this topic. I've talked personally to two former house DFL employees. This was not one disgruntled employee, it was a pattern. In the case of the Amy Klobuchar disputes, the employees were salaried employees making more than $100 K who were represented by AFSCME. With the DFL house caucus, these are employees who have no union representation.