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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Senate District 62: Patricia Torres Ray

Minneapolis Upside Down has some analysis of what happened with the SD 62 race, and why Scott Benson, a Minneapolis City Council member did so poorly at the DFL convention.

I had lunch with Patricia to discuss her campaign. Patricia came across as articulate, confident and interested in getting right to work at the legislature.

We talked a bit about my blog dedicated to Dump Michele Bachmann. Patricia said she thought it was embarrassing that a district in Minnesota had elected Michele Bachmann considering her fringe antics and views. Patricia strongly opposes Michele Bachmann's amendment to ban gay unions in the constitution. She talked about attending the Rainbow Families day at the capitol with some friends earlier this week.

On GLBT issues, Torres Ray's website says:

Equal rights

Growing up in Colombia in the midst of a civil war gave me a keen appreciation for Human Rights and the courage to fight for fairness with all my heart. I have worked all my adult life to protect individual’s rights, and to promote inclusivity and the acceptance of all people.

I am a person of faith. Religions should have the right and responsibility to decide their practices around marriage. The role of the state regarding this issue is to ensure that the civil and human rights that follow from marriage are not denied to GLBT people. Ensuring these rights for GLBT people and their children builds the common good.

I will fight policies that would foster discrimination or further division among people. I will support same sex unions and protect GLBT rights and the rights of their children.. I oppose the MN Marriage Amendment and ban on gay marriages and I support GLBT families in adopting children.


If/when elected, Patricia is interested in serving on the Education Finance and Health Finance committees.

Patricia took a personal risk to run for this seat. She had to take a leave of absence from her job at the state department of human services. Since the position is partially funded by the federal government, she is covered by the Hatch act. Since she is now the endorsed candidate for the seat, she has had to resign her position in order to run.

I came away with the impression that she will be a hardworking and serious member of the Minnesota legislature.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Over on Westover's Comment Thread on Gay Marriage

J Ewing waxes eloquent.

If you really believe that homosexual behavior is ordained at birth, then I suggest that we modify the push against abortion to allow it in the cases of rape, incest, life of the mother, gross fetal deformity (the usual exceptions), and homosexual orientation. While we are at it, we should also abort children who we know have the inborn traits of rape, pedophilia, bestiality, and polygamy-- all "preventable" crimes if we believe as you say.

Sorry for the extreme examples, but it is the logical conclusion, and not that big of a leap, of stating that homosexual behavior is inborn.

And I disagree with your disagreements. Gays that engage in artificial insemination or surrogate motherhood to create a "family" ARE preventing the natural process of forming a family through, well, the natural process, from taking place.

I will repeat, again, redundantly: Nothing in the proposed amendment is intended to change the status of existing gay couples, NOR does it alter the existing "rights" of gay couples to commit to one another in religious ceremony and/or contract law. What it DOES do is to prevent the courts from intervening and upsetting(in the most major way) this status quo situation.
J. Ewing | 04.13.06 - 9:11 am


Craig and Peg Kaplan both dissent strongly. Craig gives his take on the Bachmann amendment hearing in his pioneer press column this week.

Stadium Boondoggle Update

From the comments:

Dave St. Peter to twins employees

...I must caution you that the hearing could take a couple hours and there could be a lot of negative comments about the Twins, Pohald family and our new stadium proposal. Unfortunately, this is how the legislative process works...

Dave St Peter and Sid Hartman sure don't know how this game is played. If you want to cram something down the tax payers throats, make damn sure you never tell people thats your intent.
Can't post my name on this one


Lloydletta's Nooz obtained this email sent from Mary Capra, Mayor of Centerville, and went to several local mayors who oppose exempting Hennepin and Anoka Counties from the state statute requiring a referendum for local option sales tax increases:

I just wanted to update you all on the meeting with David Gaither - Governor Pawlenty's Chief of Staff.

On Wednesday, April 5th at 3:00 p.m. three mayors from Anoka County Mayor Wells - City of Spring Lake Park, Mayor Kireide - City of Ham Lake and Mayor Capra - City of Centerville met with David Gaither the governors chief of staff to discuss our concerns regarding the proposed local sales tax for funding of stadiums.

I had sent a letter requesting to meet with the governor representing Mayor's of six cities from Anoka and Hennepin County regarding the proposed local sales taxes to fund stadiums within the perspective counties. The governor declined to meet with the Mayors from Anoka and Hennepin Counties that passed Resolutions/letters requesting a referendum. According to the governor's staff, the governor stated he would allow us to meet with his chief of staff David Gaither who is the person handling issues regarding the stadium proposals. We had a 30 minute meeting with Mr. Gaither and two of his staff members.

The meeting was productive and I am glad we went. We affirmed the point that all six cities are not anti-stadium at all, but we are pro-referendum. The attached letter was drafted and signed by those Mayors attending the meeting and the additional information outside of the letters and resolutions were presented as coming from the three Mayors present at the meeting.

I baked homemade bread to take with us symbolic of the basic answer regarding the right to vote. Below is the basics of what Mayor's Wells, Kireide and Capra stated to David Gaither and we asked him to forward our bread and packet on to the governor.

"We wanted to give to you something symbolic to remind you of the basics of government. We wanted it to be simple, because no matter how complicated an issue might seem; generally everyone can recognize what the simple answer is."

For those Mayor's in Hennepin County the below information is regarding the Twins Tax Committee Hearing for the proponents and the opponents. If you or any of your residents would like to testify they should contact Craig Stone the committee administrator.

Respectfully,

Mary Capra
Mayor - Centerville

Taxes
Committee Meeting Schedule

WEDNESDAY, April 19, 2006
10:15 AM
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Representative Philip Krinkie
Agenda: Omnibus finance bill(s) to be announced

WEDNESDAY, April 19, 2006
3:00 PM
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Representative Philip Krinkie
Agenda: HF2480 (Finstad) Baseball stadium financing, construction, and
operation provided; Minnesota Ballpark Authority established; and Hennepin
County sales tax authorized.
Testimony from proponents

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

THURSDAY, April 20, 2006
6:00 PM
Room: Oak Grove Middle School, 1300 W. 106th St. * Bloomington
Chair: Representative Philip Krinkie
Agenda: HF2480 (Finstad) Baseball stadium financing, construction, and
operation provided; Minnesota Ballpark Authority established; and Hennepin
County sales tax authorized.
Testimony from opponents

====================
Craig A. Stone, JD, MPA
Committee Administrator
Tax Committee
Minnesota House of Representatives
363 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155
Office: (651) 296-5367
Fax: (651) 296-3869
Cell: (651) 336-6383
=====================


Here's the letter the Mayors gave to Gaither:

April 5 2006
Office of the Governor Tim Pawlenty
130 State Capitol
75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
S1 Paul MN 55155
Dear Governor Tim Pawlenty
We give you this bread to remind you that around the world since biblical times bread has been a basic essence and symbol of life Since the birth of this nation the basic essence and symbol of democracy has been the people s right to vote. Our citizens cannot understand how any government official in the State of Minnesota would feel it is their right to take away the citizen's right to vote on a local sales tax increase.

The majority of the Anoka and Hennepin County Commissioners believe they are functioning as Representative Government by imposing a sales tax to pay for stadiums However state law gives that right only to the voters. County Commissioners were not elected with the authority to increase sales taxes.

We understand the desire to want to do something for these two teams but if they are seeking funding through local sales taxes the teams need to ask the voters. It's that simple.

Whether one is elected to the local county state or federal levels of government we all need to review our decisions as to how they affect taxpayers and the public today in addition to how our decisions today affect future elected officials We are elected to be good stewards to the people's laws and tax dollars.

Anoka and Hennepin Counties are asking for a waiver on the referendum requirement to impose a local sales tax for the purpose of funding stadiums As elected officials you need to look beyond the purpose for this request and ask yourselves if there would ever be an instance when the requirement for a referendum should be waived What would be the priorities of granting those exemption requests.

By not upholding the current State law you leave the door open for other requests from counties and cities. More times than not as elected officials laws are put into place to protect us from ourselves they assist us in making sound decision by limiting our powers.

The only thing that remains to be seen is if the Governor and the Legislature will uphold the law and the people s basic right to vote on the proposed local sales tax for the funding of stadiums.

Thank you for your time and consideration

Respectfully
Mary Capra
Mayor
City of Centerville
Gary Kirkeide
Mayor
City of Ham Lake
Harley Wells
Mayor
Spring Lake Park


I'd encourage people to go to this hearing and testify in opposition to Finstad's bill.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Gail Dorfman on Stonewall DFL Endorsement

Gail's campaign made a point of sending me her press release.

Gail Dorfman wins Stonewall DFL Endorsement

For Immediate Release, For Further Information, Contact: Gail Dorfman 612-388-3949,
or Jack Harris 952-212-7287

St. Louis Park, Minn. April, 10th 2006, MN-5 Gail Dorfman wins Stonewall DFL Endorsement

Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman received the Stonewall DFL endorsement to replace Martin Sabo in the Fifth Congressional District yesterday afternoon. "After considering as many candidates as were willing to screen, it was the sense of our membership that Gail Dorfman most possessed the qualities required for endorsement" said newly elected chair Matt Klaber. State Senator Scott Dibble added "Gail has a long track record of using her voice and the power of her office to create significant policy changes on GLBT issues. She has worked to expand domestic partner benefits and housing for homeless youth, improve foster care practices, and support programs that reduce violence and intimidation in our schools. Gail supports full marriage equality. She will be a courageous and effective advocate in Washington, D.C."

"I'm delighted to receive this endorsement from Stonewall DFL” Dorfman said. “This endorsement means a lot to me. I have worked to move GLBT issues forward in Hennepin County and the community at large. I am deeply honored that the members of Stonewall have chosen to endorse me and I look forward to taking the fight for equality for all our citizens to Washington."

Stonewall DFL is the lesbian-gay-bisexual-trans-and friends caucus of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. This is the first endorsement by a DFL caucus in the Fifth Congressional District race. Dorfman had previously been endorsed by Stonewall DFL for her Hennepin County Commissioner seat.

Gail Dorfman has a track record of progressive leadership that brings people together to create real change. She led the fight to enact the county-wide smoking ban and is a recognized national leader on homelessness and housing. A strong advocate for healthcare and mental health parity, Gail plans to combine her ten years of Capitol Hill experience with her record of results as Mayor of St. Louis Park and on the Hennepin County Board to achieve real results for the Fifth Congressional District.

Dorfman has represented southwest Minneapolis and St. Louis Park on the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners since 1999 and previously served as Mayor of St. Louis Park and on the St. Louis Park City Council. She also has 10 years of Capitol Hill experience as a legislative aide to Congressman James Burke (D-MA) and as Director of Governor Michael Dukakis’ Washington D.C. State Office. She lives in St. Louis Park with Alan Ackerberg and their five children.

For more information about Gail Dorfman please visit www.gaildorfman.org.


I asked Gail what her stand was on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Gail opposes this policy and thinks gays should be able to serve openly.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Krinkie Bringing Twins Stadium Boondoggle Hearing to Hennepin County

The proponents will be testifying next Wednesday at the capitol. The opponents will be testifying in Bloomington on Thursday night.

I've asked Phil Krinkie to hold this hearing in Minneapolis. Bloomington is good too - it's in Hennepin County.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Molligator Apologises

Here.

Blue Ox had exposed that Molligator was a Steve Kelley staffer.

Another Sign at the 2006 Bachmann Amendment Rally



Nice huh?

National Review's on Republican Party Strategy for the Upcoming Elections

From Sonicfrog:

REPULSIVE REPUBLICANS [Ramesh Ponnuru]

1) Republicans are preparing to bring the Federal Marriage Amendment to a vote. So I guess the plan from now on is to do this in all even-numbered years, and then throw the idea aside in odd-numbered ones? I know a lot of people support the FMA for principled reasons, but a decisive number of Republicans are clearly just picking on gays for political profit.

2) Republicans are leading a charge to subject "527 groups" to onerous regulations. A minority of them, again, have sincere and above-board reasons for doing this. Most of them just want to shut down groups that are trying to beat them in elections. For a majority to restrict the freedom of others to try to boot them out is pretty much a textbook definition of the abuse of power, isn't it?


There's backlash on this. As the issue gets discussed, and more gays come out to friends and family, opinions change on the issue.

Rich Tafel Discusses Hollywood Hypocrisy on Gays

Here.

Just like Capitol Hill, I'm sure most people in Hollywood are pro gay, but when it comes to their fear of middle America's reaction they aren’t much different than politicians in Washington. Hollywood's "sin" those is compounded by their hypocrisy. If gay actors and studio owners don't feel safe coming out then Hollywood itself needs to work to improve the environment.

Hollywood loves to think it is brave and courageous as George Clooney pointed out, George Clooney seemed to think so with this pat on Hollywood's back when he said,

"We were the ones who talked about AIDS when it was being whispered. We talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular," he said.

Despite it's back slapping at the Oscar ceremony as our nation's leader on social issues, and despite the high profile political advocacy of Hollywood's liberals, when push came to shove they could be as uncourageous and hypocritical as the most conservative Republicans they scorn.

John Stewart might have bombed as Oscar's host, but he got something very right a week earlier on Larry King Live. When asked if Hollywood was pushing "blue" values into "red" America, he responded that Hollywood is "green" –they do what sells.

As he walked off stage away from the audience Clooney himself as much admitted, "We reflect society we don't really lead it."

The biggest hypocrite when it comes to homophobia? Envelope please. . .


I've heard similar stories from gay people who are in the acting business.

Immigration and Gay Rights

Pam Spaulding has an excellent post responding to Jasmyne Cannick's controversial "Gays first, then illegals" column in the Advocate. Jasmyne also has the column posted on her blog. The responses are interesting. Jasmyne's column is also posted on the Stonewall Democrats blog. They have a response written by Marta Donayre, a Stonewall member in Silicon valley.

Jasmyne is from California. Many Gays in California are well aware that immigrant precincts voted in disproportionate numbers for the anti-gay proposition 22. I've participated in the USQueers list for quite a while. On that list, there are some who strongly support Tom Tancredo's immigration policy. I've also participated the Conservative Think Tank list - and a hispanic member of that list used to argue that part of the reason to support Bush's immigration proposals is that many immigrants are socially conservative and would support Republicans for that reason. In my opinion, speculating how immigrants would vote - whether democratic or republican should not be the issue when dealing with the immigration issue.

Pam writes:

Our economy at present is dependent on the backs of this particular group of immigrants to a frightening degree now realized in full flower, and we have a president offering up a plan to ensure that these immigrants work in a defined second-class status, able to be exploited legally. This is not right.

Our elected officials have been mute about the matter until now, and have never been held accountable by voters to solve the problem because we too were participating in the don't ask/don't tell charade of supporting the underground economy grinding along on undocumented labor - gay, straight, all races, rich, poor and middle class.

While I support legal immigration and efforts to enforce the laws of the land, the reality is that we cannot simply round up all these people and send them to their homeland. Once the anti-immigrant folks finally get this through their heads, maybe we can have a sane discussion.

Does any of this rigamarole mean gay rights are any less important? No. But what if you are a gay U.S. citizen involved with an immigrant who could be deported at any time? That's the plight of many gay couples as well, how does this fit into Jasmyne's equation?

Kate and I were thinking about this issue we both noted that you could compare civil unions and Bush's guest worker BS as analogous. Both are simply poor, diluted offerings to the respective groups that cannot and will not provide the benefits of marriage/citizenship. What these mechanisms are intended to do is to placate the groups, and to institutionalize second-class status, making it infinitely harder to achieve full equality.

There are too many simply gray areas here to begin pitting one disenfranchised group against another when the stakes are so high for both.


Go read the whole thing.

As I've said before, the religious right is reaching out to Immigrant communities. Gay organizations need to do the same. When you go to the notoriously anti-gay Fred Phelps website, there is the option of viewing "God Hates Fags" en espanol. When you "enter" the site after looking at the spanish front page, the rest of the site is in English. So they only translated the rantings on the front page to espanol.

Andre Duque has some insightful comments about this issue and coverage of the Gay presence at the New York Immigrant Rights rally.

AFA Going After Ford in Shareholder's Meeting

This little nastygram from the AFA hit my email:

April 10, 2006

SEC refuses Ford's request to keep homosexual issue off their stockholders meeting agenda

Ford Sales Drop 5% in March

Dear Eva,

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has denied a request by Ford Motor Company to keep a shareholder resolution forbidding Ford to promote homosexual marriage off the agenda at their upcoming shareholders meeting.

One of the reasons cited by Ford in their request to omit the resolution was that they feared they would be boycotted by the homosexuals. Over 20 pro-family groups have called for a boycott of Ford because of Ford's support for homosexual marriage.

Ford reported that during the month of March their sales dropped 5% when compared to the same period last year. Ford did not mention the boycott when announcing the sales drop.

The resolution requests "that Ford Motor Company amend its written equal employment opportunity policy to exclude any reference to privacy issues related to sexual interests, activities or orientation." The resolution, which Ford strongly opposes, would force Ford to stop promotion of homosexual marriage and other homosexual activities. American Family Association asked Ford in January to remain neutral in the cultural battle involving homosexual marriage. Ford refused and sided with groups promoting homosexual marriage.

Ford told the SEC that removing its pro-homosexual policy would hurt recruitment efforts to hire more homosexuals. It was homosexual activists in high positions who forced Ford to renege on an agreement with AFA to stop promoting the homosexual lifestyle. Ford said that failing to specifically seek out more homosexuals would "have a material adverse impact on the marketing and sale of company products." (In other words, Ford fears a boycott by homosexuals.)

Ford's logic in asking the SEC to omit the resolution is interesting. Ford fears a boycott by angry homosexuals more than they fear a boycott by pro-family groups. Even though Ford fears the homosexual groups, they want to continue to support them. For more information on the Ford boycott, go to BoycottFord.com by clicking here.

The resolution was drafted by a stockholder in Illinois. It will be presented at the stockholders meeting in Wilmington, Delaware, on May 11.

Take Action

Send the email to the Securities and Exchange Commission asking that they provide observers at the Ford stockholders meeting May 11.

If you live near Wilmington, and own Ford stock, make plans to attend the meeting and help those who are working to stop Ford’s promotion of homosexual marriage. Stockholders should have received full information about when and where the May 11 meeting will be held.
Click Here to Email SEC Chairman Cox Now!

If you think our efforts are worthy, would you please support us with a small gift? Thank you for caring enough to get involved.

Sincerely,

Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

P.S. Please forward this e-mail message to your family and friends!


At their site, they have an email that you can enter your own text in. I sent an email suggesting that the SEC ignore the anti-gay bleating from the AFA.

The AFA also provided contact information for the SEC Chair.

Additional contact information:

Christopher Cox, Chairman
Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20549-021
Primary Phone: 202-551-3830
E-Mail: Christopher Cox, Securities and Exchange Commission


John Aravosis gave a huge amount of attention to the effort to Boycott Ford. After Ford met with gay groups, he called off the effort - but he hasn't done much to let people know that the AFA is continuing to attempt to meddle in Ford's operational business decisions. If you are a Ford Shareholder, make sure to vote AGAINST this nonsensical resolution. Also, efforts should be made to make sure the resolution is accurately worded. Ford has never taken a position on gay marriage.

Monday, April 10, 2006

If the Theocon Shoe Fits.....

From the Daily Bleatings of the Family Research Council:

Theocons?

Author Kevin Phillips is out with a new book--In God's Country. He warns--in the direst of terms--about a "takeover" of the GOP by religious conservatives. Phillips has made a career of being an "ex" Republican adviser, emphasizing the ex. And the label "theocon" is being thrown around, mostly as a term of abuse for conservatives who believe in God. What is so alarming about Americans who happen to be believers getting involved in the political process? What is so radical about opposing the heinous partial-birth abortion procedure? Or seeking legal protections for parents who don't want their minor daughters taken across state lines for secret abortions? We have tried to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. What's far out about that? We win in liberal as well as conservative states whenever the people are trusted to answer on that one. And we've opposed taking "Under God" out of the Pledge. How many Americans want this to be an officially atheist country? Phillips may be upset that his previously Mainline Protestant GOP has had to get used to millions of Evangelicals and Catholics, but it became a majority party by doing so. As Ross Douthat points out in a piece that was highlighted in the Washington Times today, with the Republican White House and Republican Congress disappointing so many fiscal conservatives, the only possible hope they have for retaining their majorities rests upon the social conservatives. The bad news is, as we reported before, polling data shows increasing disappointment with the GOP's failure to advance the "values" issues. The good news is Congress still has time to act on proven popular agenda items. Americans need to see that it makes a difference who runs Washington.


The Leviticus crowd is killing the Republican Party in Minnesota. Look what Michele Bachmann is doing to the party in the 6th District.

More on the Stadium Boondoggle

I heard on Lambert and Janacek that Don Betzold (DFL, Fridley) is proposing to put all three stadia in one mamoth bill. House speaker Steve Sviggum opposes this idea. Hopefully the speaker will hold his ground on this point.

The strib has a report on the current status of the negotiations. County commissioners that oppose public financing of the stadium have been kept in the dark until last Friday. That is par for the course for Mike Opat.

Strib on the Effects of the Bachmann Amendment

Here.

Pat Ferrian, an accountant at the University of Minnesota and her partner, Susan Herlofson, are among those who have watched the escalating debate with a sense of horror.

Together 17 years, the Columbia Heights couple say they are not looking to get married. They're too busy keeping Herlofson alive.

Herlofson, 52, is fighting stage 4 breast cancer. Without the insurance she gets through Ferrian's domestic partner benefits, Herlofson says, "I'd be dead already."

Said Ferrian, 42, of ban supporters: "They're playing with my partner's life."


I encourage people to write University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks to ask him to take a public stance in opposition to this mean-spirited amendment. He can be reached at upres@umn.edu.

Cheryl Barber's Letter in Edina Sun Current

Cheryl works in my building and is also involved with a group in Edina that has gone door to door to encourage district residents to oppose the Bachmann amendment.

After hearing about the Republican Party CD with spyware, she wrote a letter to the editor of the Edina Sun Current. They published the letter, but left out the key point:

As Mark Drake, with the Minnesota Republican Party stated in an e-mail he sent to Bob Collins, senior editor of Minnesota Public Radio "…it is our hope the CD will help us recruit more volunteers, provide valuable voter ID information and hopefully allow us to raise money…"

Stonewall DFL Endorses Gail Dorfman for 5th District

Backbone Minnesota has the scoop.

I wrote Matt Klaber, Stonewall Chair to ask him how things went:

Good morning Eva-
All-in-all the CD5 screenings went well. We had pretty good candidate turnout considering the short timeline.

Attempts were made to contact as many announced DFL candidates for CD5 as possible. The following submitted questionnaires and screened with us:

Jorge Saavedra
Ember Reichgott Junge
Paul Ostrow
Gary Schiff
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer
Keith Ellison
Gail Dorfman
Mike Erlandson

Anne Knapp expressed interest but ultimately couldn't meet the questionnaire deadline. I don't feel that she "stayed away."

The screening panel found all candidates to be acceptable, but did not feel they should recommend one candidate over another. Rather, they left the endorsement to the general membership. The general membership agreed that all 8 should receive Stonewall DFL's acceptable rating and, on the 4th ballot, voted to endorse Gail Dorfman.

The Wetterling campaign is elegible for "expedited endorsement" given her past endorsement in the race. (Think of it as a "renewal") They have been informed of such.


Matt Klaber is the new chair of Stonewall DFL. Congratulations to Matt. I've heard good things about Matt from people I respect.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hennepin County to Discuss Updated Stadium Negotiations

This was sent by Mike Opat to the commissioners:

TO : Commissioners

FROM : Commissioner Mike Opat

DATE : April 6, 2006

SUBJECT : Ballpark legislation


As you know, on April 3 the Senate’s State and Local Government Operations
Committee heard Senator Steve Kelley’s ballpark bill, Senate File 2297. The
legislation was recommended to pass and re-referred to the Senate Tax
Committee.

At the hearing, the Committee’s Chair, Senator Linda Higgins, requested that
Hennepin County and the Minnesota Twins renew negotiations and if
successful, put together a 2006 ballpark agreement in advance of the Tax
Committee hearing.

Consistent with County Board Resolution 06-2-98S4R1, County staff has been
directed to renew discussions with the Minnesota Twins to comply with this
legislative request. The County will utilize the same team of negotiators
that developed the 2005 agreement, including Jim Ufer, through a consulting
contract. Any costs associated with this activity will be covered through
existing budgets within the Office of Budget and Finance.

We are optimistic that by using last year’s proposal as the general
framework, a new agreement can be negotiated in time for the April 11
Committee Meetings, and a 2006 ballpark proposal can be considered at the
April 18 County Board meeting.


Cc: Sandra Vargas
David Lawless
David Hough


Contact your Hennepin County Commissioners!

'Gasp!'

Sodomites and children to roll around on the White House lawn....

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/04/09/news/letter.php

How's that for an attention-grabbing headline, huh?

Lloydletta adds: Democratic Strategist Bruce Reed writes: "I don't have an egg in this hunt."

He also cherry picks for the dumbest condemnations of Virginia Governor Kaine giving the Democratic Response to the State of the Union.

Other blogs have gone after Kaine for opposing same-sex marriage, lacking Jack Murtha's expertise on foreign policy, and being no match for Barack Obama as an orator.


Kaine doesn't just oppose same sex marriage. He signed an amendment bill that is the most far reaching in the country. As Pam Spaulding says:

What do you think the party is trying to tell gays and lesbians when its choice of Kaine is heralded because "the new governor can best deliver their 2006 message of inclusiveness?" The man's position on his own state's pending marriage amendment is that he's "not comfortable" with the bigoted language but he'll sign the amendment anyway. More here and here.

For those out there who thought this was no big deal in the bigger scheme of things, just an inconsequential matter, the evidence that the party at the national level has the intention of avoiding the "gay issue" is no loud and clear. Re-closeting gays instead of addressing the right wing with alternative, logical framing based on the core values of the party has been deemed a more meaningful (read: winning) strategy. Is Bob Shrum in the house?


To their credit, the DFL lately doesn't seem to be making that mistake. Brian Melendez - unlike his predecessor, congressional candidate Mike Erlandson who avoided the issue like the plague - has been articulate in opposing the anti-gay Bachmann amendment.

Dale Carpenter: Let Catholics Discriminate

But let everyone know what they are doing.

Chuck Muth Has Some Straight Talk for John McCain

Muth's Truths
April 9, 2006

This Reign of McCain Has Really Been a Pain

By all accounts, there are a herd of additional shoes yet to drop in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. The question is whether or not this public scrutiny will be limited to just the low-lying fruit, or if some serious investigations will take place - including an investigation of one of the chief investigators: St. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

When stories of Jack Abramoff taking various Indian tribes to the cleaners first hit the press, McCain - Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and author of the un-American, anti-free speech McCain-Feingold campaign censorship law - decided this would be an excellent opportunity to settle some old scores, help out some old pals, and do what Sen. McCain does best...get media attention for Sen. McCain.

But here's what's wrong with Sen. McCain using his position as chief of the Indian Affairs committee to pursue an "investigation" of the Indian lobbyist matter: First, this taxpayer-funded fishing expedition has dragged on for over two years now. Heck, the Paula Jones investigation AND the impeachment of Bill Clinton combined took less time. Secondly, McCain - or more specifically, his all-but-officially-declared presidential campaign - appears to have profited from this crusade more than truth, justice and the American way.

Before McCain's investigatory machine sprung into action, Jack Abramoff and another GOP lobbyist named Scott Reed were the two top lobbying dogs for Indian tribes. Yet McCain has used his committee to subject Abramoff's dealings to a veritable proctological exam while all but ignoring Reed. What's up with that?

Well, you see, Jack Abramoff had strong connections in conservative circles, and McCain has no love for conservative grassroots activists. Suffice it to say that movement conservatives, especially Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), had a LOT to do with derailing McCain's "Straight Talk Express" in the 2000 presidential primary. And McCain hasn't forgotten.

As for Reed, there's no love lost there with conservatives either. A philosophical liberal, Reed is perhaps best known for "titanic'ing" the disastrous 1996 Bob Dole presidential campaign. He subsequently transformed into a fat-cat lobbyist and "useful idiot" for Big Labor. Nevertheless, Reed still has deep ties into the GOP's moderate establishment wing dating back to his days with the Republican National Committee. He'd be an asset to anyone running for president in 2008. Like...well, John McCain.

Now, as McCain's pursuit of Abramoff and grassroots conservatives progressed, including subpoenas for emails and donor records from ATR, Norquist responded by, according to Ryan Lizza of The New Republic, charging "that McCain's entire investigation was actually an elaborate plot to help McCain's favored influence-peddlers score Abramoff's ex-clients." This was a clear reference to Reed. But not without cause.

As the Washington insider newspaper The Hill reported in March 2004, McCain wrote at least one letter on Senate letterhead praising Reed to one of Abramoff's clients, the Saginaw Chippewa. Five days later, Abramoff was fired and the Saginaw Chippewa tribe retained Reed. In addition, columnist Bob Novak reported last December that on the eve of the investigation's hearings, Reed handed some $200,000 in bundled contributions to McCain.

Does this smell, or what?

For his part, again according to Lizza, Reed confronted Norquist on the street in front of ATR's building and told the anti-tax conservative to, well, uh...do that sex thing to himself which Dick Cheney once suggested to Pat Leahy - if you get my drift and I think you do. Like I said...no love lost.

The thing is, this McCain "investigation" looks like a real scandal in and of itself. If there are/were actual crimes involved, that's what the Justice Department is for, not the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Instead, McCain appears to be using his committee and his position to (a) grandstand for his 2008 presidential campaign, (b) pay back conservatives who opposed him in 2000, and (c) scratch the back of a well-heeled lobbyist who is scratching right back.

This is not what congressional hearings are supposed to be about. This smacks of abuse of senatorial power. But will anyone in the fawning mainstream press, with whom McCain has had a long-standing love affair, take this "maverick" to task for his McCarthy-like behavior? Don't hold you breath waiting. The media won't do anything to jeopardize a potential John McCain vs. Hillary Clinton race in 2008. Between now and then, St. John could almost get away with murder.


John McCain will be a special guest at a fundraiser for Tim Pawlenty this week. Chuck's got a point about the way the media don't do due dilligence when it comes to John McCain.

Otto's Press Release

A while back the Drama Queen posted a response to a Rebecca Otto press release.

In the release, Otto claims she "was going over education revenue when I noticed the error." Right, Becky.

Otto's attempts to connect Anderson to this error is downright silly and potentially dishonest.

The public document Otto found on the website is NOT the information sent to the Legislative Auditor or State Auditor. In fact, the MN Dept of Education is well known for its accuracy when the budget forecasts are released in November and December.

Otto even questioned the size of the mistake in her own press release by saying "I don't think people need to be alarmed."

Rather than informing the Department of Education about this error, Otto sent out a press release attacking Anderson. Only through Otto's attacks, did the Department of Education become aware of the mistake.

It certainly benefited Otto's cause to attack Anderson and the Department of Education, rather than reporting the problem directly.

Otto was so busy planning her attack on Anderson, she didn't stop to think if Anderson's office was even provided with the numbers.


Brodkorb didn't post the press release or link to it. MN Publius later posted about Rebecca Otto saving the state tons of money. The original post didn't include the full text of the press release. I requested that they post the press release - and they did.

WHO'S WATCHING THE WATCHDOG? STATE AUDITOR CANDIDATE REBECCA OTTO DISCOVERS $12 MILLION ERROR IN LATEST MN DEPT OF EDUCATION REVENUE REPORT SAINT PAUL - A Minnesota Department of Education report that has been on Dept of Education servers since September 8 of 2005 contains a $12 million error, says State Auditor candidate Rebecca Otto (D-May Township). "$11,875,193.00, to be exact," she says. The report is available and it is the latest published statement of school district revenues throughout the state of Minnesota. "I was going over education revenue when I noticed the error," said Otto. "$12 million is a significant amount of money." The State Auditor serves to ensure financial integrity, accountability, and cost-effectiveness of Minnesota's local governmental entities, including school districts. Under State Auditor Patricia Anderson, the office has been working more closely with the MN Department of Education to report school district finances. Otto said she was "surprised" the error hadn’t been discovered by either the Department of Education or the State Auditor's office before now. "It's been posted on the state's servers for seven months," she said. The report is a classification of revenue data for all Minnesota public schools. It contains a mathematical error in each of 22 revenue categories that excludes the revenue from two school districts across the board. "When you add all the mistakes up it totals just short of $12 million in total school revenue," said Otto. Otto, a former State Representative, said that without analyzing the numbers being used in the State Auditor's office and the MN Department of Finance, she has "no idea" whether the error has been incorporated into other reports across state government. "If I was the State Auditor I'd be making a few phone calls," she said. Even if the error has been carried across to other state agencies that prepare financial reports and projections for the Governor and the State Legislature, Otto says it's not likely to have a significant impact. "I don't think people need to be alarmed," she said. "$12 million is not enough to skew state-wide figures very substantially, but on the other hand, we should be able to count on the integrity of the numbers that the state is reporting. That's why we have a State Auditor." The question now, says Otto, is "who's watching the watchdog?"


So this is both sides on this. What do you think?

Tinklenberg's Disingenuous Position on Abortion

Karl, a delegate at the SD 52 convention yesterday commented on my post about Janet Robert getting called out.

If Tinklenberg believes that simply not wanting to criminalize abortion makes him a pro-choice candidate--or one whom pro-choice voters shopuld support-- he's seriously deluded. He needs to be quizzed on the whole gamut of reproductive health issues: RU 486, emergency contraception, pharmacists who refuse to perform the job they're licensed to do, 24-hour waiting period nonsense, parental and/or spousal notification for abortions, unnecessary and burdensome requirements placed on abortion clinics to restrict access, public funding of abortions, real family planning in schools (not abstinence-only BS), public funding for pseudo-clinics for pregnant women. I think when you scratch beneath the "I'm not for criminalizing abortion" position of Tinklenberg, you'll find just another run-of-the-mill anti-choice idealogue like Janet Robert. And we've seen where she got us in the 6th CD.
Karl


The mainstream media - and MN Publius - spend most of their time in interviews with Elwyn Tinklenberg asking about "Patty breaking her promise".

It would be good to get some follow up questions to Tinklenberg when he gives his pat answers on both the abortion and Federal Marriage Amendment questions.

Ford Bell Coming Up on Race to the Right

He came to the Studio for the Interview.

You can listen live.

Amy Klobuchar never responded to their emails. I can sympathize. I sent an email question from Lloydletta's Nooz to Klobuchar's campaign several days ago - and never got a response.

Republican Senate Candidates Harold Shudlick and John Ulrich are coming up.

Ron Carey needs some new writers.....

Responding to Senator Barack Obama's weekend appearance in the Twin Cities, Minnesota Republican Party chairman Ron Carey on Friday called Obama "a rubber stamp for left-wing Washington special interests."

Mr. Carey, let's not forget the candidate that Senator Obama defeated to win a Senate seat - Alan Keyes. Obama carried 70% of the vote, to Mr. Keyes' 27%.

http://www.renewamerica.us/keyes/issues.htm

Mr. Carey, you are turning Minnesota's edition of the party of Lincoln into a rubber stamp for theocratic special interests. That strategy will, in the long term, make the Republican party smaller, not larger.