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Saturday, July 01, 2006

More Dumb Federal Legislation

Ed Brayton on HR 2679.

The House Judiciary Committee held hearings yesterday on HR 2679, the "Public Expression of Religion Act of 2005." This bill is being pushed heavily by the religious right because it would prohibit the awarding of legal fees to successful plaintiffs in establishment clause cases. Currently, if you sue the government for a constitutional violation and are successful - if the court agrees that the government has acted unconstitutionally - the judge, at his or her discretion, may order the agency that violated the constitution to pay reasonable legal fees for the other side. This is mandated in Federal law under 42 U.S.C. § 1988. HR 2679 would leave that in place, but exempt only one type of lawsuit from that rule - lawsuits based on establishment clause grounds.

Naturally, the religious right wants this bill to pass very badly because it would make it far more difficult for plaintiffs to bring suits against the government. And remember, they can only be awarded legal fees if they win the suit. What that means, in essence, is that the religious right is trying to rig the game. They lose such cases often in court and that frustrates them. So rather than develop better arguments to compete on a fair playing field, they want to rig the rules of the game to make it more expensive for the other side to play the game. But in the process, they are damaging key constitutional rights.

It's not by accident that the very first clause of the first amendment forbids the establishment of religion, nor is it by accident that among the first rights mentioned is the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. When the government acts in an unconstitutional manner, it is absurd to expect the individual citizen who petitions the court to bring that unconstitutional action to an end to have to pay the cost of bringing the suit. The religious right, of course, knows this; that's why they aren't challenging the award of legal fees in general but only in the case of establishment clause cases - the ones they keep losing.

Read the whole thing.

Do Gays Cause Earthquakes?

Christopher OBrien responds to an idiotic column which made the claims that gays cause earthquakes.

Bill Ashmore's piece (Times 21 June 2006 - Signs of the Times, Judgment of America) suggests that America is a doomed nation in the 21st century. According to Ashmore the apparent increase of earthquakes and hurricanes is best explained by a God who has his knickers in a twist over Gay Pride Day. I suspect Ashmore is giving us better insight on the thought processes of 12th century clerics than offering a predictive model of volcanism, so I did what anyone with a modicum of intellectual acuity would do: I checked the data. Ashmore claims major earthquakes are on the rise since Roe v Wade and the exercise of First Amendment rights by the gay community. Turns out the correlation between years since 1970 and earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 or greater is almost zero (and by the way, we experience an average of seven major quakes per year). If God is indeed causing earthquakes He is doing so, contrary to Einstein's dictum, on the basis of dice rolls. While God did hit home with an earthquake on Gay Pride Day in 1992 as Ashmore suggests, He has been AWOL delivering a major rumbler every last Sunday in June since (or any before). You would also think that if God wanted to make a point about abortion, He'd at least try to strike on the anniversary of Roe V Wade every once in a while. However, since 1973 no quake stronger than magnitude 5.0 has ever occurred on that day in the United States (however, God did apparently strike Mexico on that particular anniversary in 1978; so I guess He tried, but...missed?). When you limit your sample to only those data that fit your idea, it's pretty easy to demonstrate "correlation".

Apparently the source material for the idiotic column comes from John McTernan's book, God's Final Warning to America.

The earthquake sequence begins on April 23, 1992, and the United States Supreme Court hearing the Planned Parenthood v Casey case. This case had tremendous national implications as it was thought it could be used by the Court to overturn the Roe v Wade case of 1973. On this very day the Joshua Tree quake occurred.

The Joshua Tree quake was alarming to seismologists. This quake tore a 15-mile gash in the earth and was felt from San Diego to Las Vegas to Phoenix. It caused over 6,000 aftershocks. This quake was very close in proximity to the San Andreas Fault line. This earthquake caused a San Andreas Hazard B warning to be declared. This warning meant there was a 5 to 25% chance of an earthquake occurring on the San Andreas Fault within three days. The quake on the San Andreas did not happen, but the powerful Landers quake occurred two months later. The pressure the Joshua Tree earthquake was believed by the scientists to have triggered the Landers quake.

The last Sunday in June is always Gay Pride Day. In 1992, it fell on June 28. The next day, June 29, the Supreme Court issued the ruling for the Planned Parenthood v Casey case. The Court failed to use the Casey case to overturn Roe v Wade. The Court upheld that abortion was legal. June 28 was a huge homosexual event and June 29 was a huge pro-abortion victory.

In the early morning hours just before the Gay Pride Day parade in Los Angeles, the Landers and Big Bear quakes struck. Landers was one of the most powerful earthquakes in the twentieth century. It was the second most powerful since the San Francisco quake of 1906. Landers quake tore a 53-mile long gash in the earth! The power was so great that it was felt 800 miles away and set off earthquakes all over the western part of the nation. The Big Bear quake occurred three hours later and was reported by the scientists to be directly connected to the Landers quake. The faults of the two earthquakes were very close, only 20 miles away.

This sounds like Science: Michele Bachmann style.

Bad Blood Between Mike Hatch and the Gay Community

DFL Governor candidate Mike Hatch was part of the Stonewall DFL Pride parade contingent in Loring Park, and Stonewall DFL had a sign up promoting him at their booth. I talked to one Stonewall source who was present at a recent Hatch requested meeting between Hatch and Stonewall DFL, who told me that Hatch had now gotten an acceptable rating from Stonewall DFL - and that Stonewall was split over endorsing Hatch. I talked to another Stonewall BOD member who told me that Hatch had never gotten Stonewall's endorsement, and nor was he found acceptable. Stonewall's endorsements are listed here. The Stonewall board member I talked to told me that Stonewall's screenings are public, and Hatch has not screened with Stonewall - so therefore, Hatch cannot get endorsed, nor can he get an acceptable rating.

Becky Lourey is still listed as acceptable on Stonewall's website. Lourey had a separate booth at Pride - because Stonewall DFL does not endorse or help candidates who are running against endorsed DFL candidates.

Congressional candidate, Mike Erlandson wanted to march with Stonewall's contingent at Pride - and was told he could not because he was running against the DFL endorsed candidate, Keith Ellison.

Has any Minneapolis DFL openly gay elected official besides Rod Krueger endorsed Rebecca Otto? What about Mike Hatch? The only Gay DFL activist I know who has endorsed Mike Hatch is Rick Stafford. Stafford has never been interested in promoting Gay issues within the DFL, but rather has been interested in marketting the DFL to the gay community.

More on Stonewall DFL and Mike Hatch:

Stonewall DFL Split on Whether to Endorse Hatch and Otto

Mike Hatch Avoids Stonewall DFL Caucus Like the Plague

The U of M and Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)

The PRT proponents in Minnesota, mostly extreme right-wingers like Michele Bachmann, Mark Olson, Ray Vandeveer and a few holdouts in the Green Party never fail to mention the University of Minnesota's connection to the PRT concept as in this 2004 Southwest Journal article about former 6th Ward Councilman Dean Zimmermann's PRT plan for Minneapolis:

The technology has been in the works for over 30 years. Professor Ed Anderson of the University of Minnesota (which owns the patent) developed it.

That was then, this is now:

"The technology was always more of a gadget than something that serves much in the way of practical transportation. In The Transportation Experience we called it a technology in search of a market.

Assuming it works technically, does it work economically. I.e. under what conditions does it move people more cost effectively than they can move now. Establishing this niche is essential for any technology. Clearly the market does not yet believe such a niche exists.

There are always complaints about subsidy for the competition. But that is weak, if the economics for PRT were really strong, that subsidy would not matter."

Read more at The Transportation Experience. David Levinson is an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota.

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Cross Breeding the Flag Desecration ban and Gay Marriage Bans Amendments

Borowitz Report here.

Hat Tip: Craig Westover.

Keith Ellison, TC Pride and the Drama Queen - Oh My!

The Drama Queen recently suggested that Keith Ellison appologise to the gay community for his association with Farrakan:

Andy from the GLBT blog, Eleventh Avenue South is quite critical:

Republican Operative Defending Gays?

Local Republican operative, Michael Brodkorb, who blogs at Minnesota Democrats Exposed is spending a lot of time trying to paint 5th Congressional District Candidate, Keith Ellison, as anti-gay because of ties to Louis Farrakahn. MDE goes so far as to ask "when does he [Ellison] apologize to the gay community and other victims of Louis Farrakahn's hate?"

Keith Ellison has had a great record on gay issues in Minnesota. I heard him on AM 950 around the time he announced his candidacy and he talked eloquently on GLBT issues. He even went so far as to connect some of the increase in anti-gay violence over the past few years on the extreme renewed focus on gays by the religious right, and amendment pushes by legislators like Michele Bachmann (he actually mentioned her by name). These battles against gay rights put a target on the backs of GLBT people as religious-political fanatics like Bachmann compare us to Satan.

Keith Ellison has made tough choices to support the GLBT community. He is both African American and Muslin, two communities that at times tend to be less tolerant of GLBT people. Yet, he is an ally.

Note to MDE: we don't need or want your help "protecting" us from anti-gay Democrats. You should look in your own backyard and the rampant anti-gay activities of your GOP. Don't use our issues to bash Democrats, unless you're willing to take Republicans to task as well.
Posted by Andy at June 29, 2006 05:36 PM

I happen to believe that Keith Ellison's record in the legislature is good on GLBT issues. I will be interviewing Keith next week about the race and about what his stands are on federal issues related to the gay community. That being said, I'm happy that Republican blogger Michael Brodkorb is calling attention to anti-gay democrats.

Mike Hatch and Rebecca Otto both have troubling records on issues of concern to the gay community. Those records need exposure. Rebecca Otto voted in favor of the anti-gay Bachmann amendment. Mike Hatch has said there is no difference between he and Governor Tim Pawlenty on the issue of gay marriage. This was the comment I left on Michael Brodkorb's blog:

I live in Keith Ellison's district and his record in the legislature on gay issues has been very good - and better than most democrats, who don't speak up on these issues. It's also not the first year he has gone to Pride. Keith also wrote a column in support of gay rights and in opposition to the Bachmann amendment in the black press. He was criticized by some of the anti-gay members of the black community for that.

There are other issues in Keith's legislative record that I have concerns about - his vote in favor of creationism is the vote I have the most problems with.

I'd have more problems with Keith Ellison with the Farrakhan issue if he was still involved with the NOI - and if he was organizing for the Millions More March.

There are many DFL politicians who deserve lots of criticism for the way the way they treat the gay community as an ATM and nothing else. Mike Hatch, Rebecca Otto, Matt Entenza, and Al Juhnke all deserve that rap.

Keith took a tough vote on behalf of the gay community, when he voted against the state contracts because the bill had taken the negotiated domestic partner benefits out of the contract. Most democrats voted for this bill.

Comment by Eva Young — June 27, 2006

"People on the Left, People on the Right..."

"People on the right, people on the left, we have the common goal of moving people with transit, but doing it in the most cost-effective manner, in fact, in a manner that may end up costing no government subsidy, it may end up paying for itself,"

-Michele Bachmann referring to herself and fellow PRT promoter Dean Zimmerman in a 2004 MPR interview.

The Met Council approved the Central Corridor LRT project on Wednesday.

The LRT foes who once held the dominant role in the roads vs. rails debate have been pushed to the right and left of the political spectrum. The moderate majority, both Democrats and Republicans now support LRT.

It's easy to see why... The Hiawatha LRT is a popular success and if there's no issue moderate politicians like better to put their arms around, it's a popular success story. The fringe politicians, however like to stake out a contrary position to appeal to their know-nothing base. Since they offer no credible alternative, these fringe politicians are just grandstanding. Helping to build the framework for the anti-LRT grandstand are Ed Felein on the fringe left and on the fringe right, Craig Westover.

On the fringe left we have the Green Party's Ed Felein who warned in this week's PULSE article that LRT will "kill people". Felein got fisked point-by-point on the Mpls Issues forum.

Ed Felein is likely helping fellow Green Party member Farheen Hakeem attack Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin on McLaughlin's most popular transportation project. (Felein ran against McLaughlin in 2002).

Farheen Hakeem's web site has a page on transportation that only mentions LRT. The Hiawatha LRT is something Peter McLaughlin is proud of and rightly so. McLaughlin has supported some terrible transportation projects such as the Lake Street reconstruction and the Access Project. So why pick on LRT? The Minneapolis Green Party elected officials didn't do much to oppose those projects. Zimmermann actually stated his position on the Access Project as "neutral" and "ambivalent". His panacea for transportation was "Personal Rapid Transit". This attraction to nutty fringe issues has helped to kick the Green Party into the political basement. Only 87 Green Party members showed up at their recent state convention.

Way over on the right-wing fringe is Bachmann-supporter Craig Westover who bellyaches in a vague way about the Central Corridor LRT. His only specific complaint of the project is the $840 million price tag.

The sad fact is, if the anti-transit, pro-highway forces hadn't blocked the Metropolitan Transit Commission from planning and building an LRT line on University Avenue in the early 1970's, there would have been a lot less sticker shock. I've been told that the 1990 DEIS for LRT on University projected a $292 million cost for the project. Had we built it in the early 70s as the MTC recommended we could have gotten 90% federal financing.

And among those geniuses who opposed LRT back in the 1970's was J. E. Anderson, the supposed "guiding light" of the PRT movement that Zimmermann in the Green Party and and Bachmann in the far-right Republican Party have championed.

A little history lesson:

A book appeared in 2000 called "The Transportation Renaissance". It was written by a PRT fan called Edmund Rydell. He describes how Anderson and his pals got legislation passed in the early 1970's that prevented the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) from planning for rail transit:

"...Ed and others got legislation that took away from the [Metropolitan Transit] Commission its planning function. Over 20 years later, the Twin Cities still lacks an effective transit strategy."

Here are actual pages quoted:

Free Image Hosting at

Free Image Hosting at

Does Bachmann still think PRT is a better alternative to LRT? Maybe Craig Westover should ask her.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Focus on the Family: Darwinist Evolution Causes Youth Violence

Agape Press:

...A Christian pro-family advocate is linking youth violence to a godless, Darwinist worldview. Focus on the Family vice president Bill Maier says atheistic beliefs have led to an alarming increase in youth violence. Young people are more aggressive than ever, he asserts, with many participating in fight clubs and posting violent videos on the Internet. But that is what you get from Darwinist evolution, the Focus on the Family official contends. "If we have a prevailing worldview that teaches that, basically, human beings evolved from the slime and we have no intrinsic worth or value or meaning," he explains, "then naturally we are going to see individuals begin to gravitate toward behavior such as this. It's basically Darwin's 'survival of the fittest' concept carried to its logical conclusion." Maier says parents need to help kids learn to distinguish between necessary defense and excessive violence and can do this, in part, by limiting their children's exposure to media violence. [Natalie Harris]

International Baccalaureate Plank in the GOP Platform

I posted earlier about the Republican Party of Minnesota Platform Plank on the International Baccalaureate Program.

Regular commenter J Ewing:

Surely you are not suggesting that IB actively promotes the homosexual lifestyle, are you? Because that would be an excellent reason to oppose it, even in the very sloppily-worded and near-heretical version that inkled its way into the platform. I voted against it, by the way.
J. Ewing 06.28.06 - 3:09 pm | #

Here's the official IB website.

Edwatch is an anti-gay organization, but that isn't the only issue they focus on. They also promote creationism, and they oppose any discussion of responsible environmental stewardship in the public schools. Here's from their latest criticism of IB:

International Baccalaureate (IB) expansion defeated
The $7.3 million expansion of the un-American IB curriculum was defeated. Instead, a one-time appropriation for expanding and increasing student participation in Advanced Placement alone passed. This is good for Minnesota students and good for Minnesota. Parents and constituents weighed in to oppose expanding IB to their legislators. This year, the Minnesota GOP platform for the first time includes opposition to federal and state funding and district implementation of International Baccalaureate. Schools that teach IB are agreeing to promote the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Earth Charter.

The UDHR promotes the United Nations, its actions, and its treaties (Article 26, paragraph 2), even when these actions and treaties have not been approved by, or ratified by, the United States, such as the Biodiversity Treaty, the Treaty on the Rights of the Child, Agenda 21, the Kyoto Treaty and the Treaty establishing the United Nations International Criminal Court. IB teaches students that they are "world" citizens with higher allegiance to world governance. The Earth Charter promotes world governance, radical social policies, and an earth worship environmentalism.

1994 and 1998 Failed Governor Candidate Alan Quist has another article on Edwatch's site ranting about IB.

Ed Felein's Central Corridor LRT Article

Ed Felein, the editor and publisher of PULSE (where my comic appeared between 1999 and 2003) sounds like David Strom and Phil Krinkie in this PULSE article.... not to mention Michele Bachmann, Ray Vandeveer, and Mark Olson who are running against progressive Democrats who support rail transit (Ed's a big help).... It's ironic that after the Hiawatha Line's phenomenal success, the only people remaining who say LRT is a bad idea on University Avenue are extreme right-wingers and the few people who haven't left the Green Party..... (more at Dump Mark Olson Blog)

Over at the Minneapolis form, David Greene fisks Felein's article.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Barack Obama Fails to Understand the First Amendment

In a recent speech Obama said:

"Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation. Context matters...It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase 'under God,'" he said. "Having voluntary student prayer groups using school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats."

...Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square."

Actually, the kids not paying any attention to the words of the pledge, but just reciting it blindly aren't going to care. But kids who question the existance of God, and who do recite the pledge with understanding and meaning are going to feel put into a pickle.

Faith in God should not be a requirement to pledge allegiance to the flag - and to the republic for which it stands. Atheists and Agnostics as well as believers are Americans.

Give Me A Break


Speaker Hastert Statement on the House Republican American Values Agenda

6/27/2006 5:19:00 PM

To: National Desk

Contact: Ron Bonjean or Lisa C. Miller, 202-225-2800

WASHINGTON, June 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) today issued the following statement regarding the release of the House Republican American Values Agenda:

"The American Values Agenda will defend America's founding principles. Through this agenda, we will work to protect the faith of our people, the sanctity of life and freedoms outlined by our founding fathers. Radical courts have attempted to gut our religious freedom and redefine the value system on which America was built. We hope to restore some of those basic values through passing this legislative agenda and renewing our country's commitment to faith, freedom and life."

Following is a list of the American Values Agenda legislative package:

The American Values Agenda

Pledge Protection Act (HR 2389; Akin)

Summary: Protects the Pledge of Allegiance from attacks by activist federal judges seeking to rule it unconstitutional.

Freedom to Display the American Flag Act (HR 42; Bartlett)

Summary: Ensures an individual has the right to display the U.S. flag on residential property.

The Public Expression of Religion Act (HR 2679; Hostettler)

Summary: Ensures local officials and communities do not face financial ruin to defend their rights to free speech under the Constitution (provides that when state or local officials are sued over public expressions of religion, no monetary damages, costs, or attorney's fees may be awarded).

Marriage Amendment (HJRes 88; Musgrave)

Summary: Constitutional amendment declaring marriage to be between a man and a woman

Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (HR 356; C. Smith)

Summary: Requires that those performing late-term abortions inform the woman seeking an abortion of the medical evidence that the unborn child feels pain, and ensure that if she chooses to continue with the abortion procedure, she has the option of choosing anesthesia for the child, so that the unborn child's pain is less severe.

Human Cloning Prohibition Act (HR 1357; D. Weldon)

Summary: Bans human cloning and the importation of products derived from a cloned human embryo (e.g. stem cells).

BATFE Reform (HR 5092; Coble)

Summary: Reforms the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE) to protect citizens' rights.

Internet Gambling Prohibition (Leach/Goodlatte):

Summary: Addresses the issue of illegal internet gambling by making gambling laws apply equally to the internet.

Permanent Tax Relief for Families

Summary: Likely series of votes on the child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, tax incentives for adoption, and other priorities for American citizens.

Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act (HR 5013; Jindal)

Summary: Prohibits governments from using federal funds to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens during emergencies.


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Isn't that just ducky?

Ex-Gay Activist, and Michele Bachmann Side-kick, Janet Boynes to have Booth at NEA Convention

Wayne Besen has the scoop:

Ex-Gay leader Janet Boynes will be staffing the first ever "ex-gay" exhibit at the National Education Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Florida THIS WEEK. She will even have a brainwashing booth to fool educators into thinking kids can pray away the gay.

This is part of an orchestrated effort on the part of the ex-gay ministries to target children. As a community, we have a clear choice to make: We can either sit on the sidelines and let the right wing mentally abuse kids or we can choose to take a stand and put a stop to this madness.

Will Janet be giving her 85-90% of Lesbians are lesbians because they've been raped statistic?

Janet Boynes mentor, Michele Bachmann said in a speech to the anti-gay Edwatch:

It's profoundly sad to recognize that almost all, if not all, individuals who have gone into the lifestyle have been abused at one time in their life, either by a male or by a female. There's been profound hurt and profound things that have happened in almost all of their lives. And this gives us great compassion. So this is not about gay bashing. Do we understand that? This is not what this is about.

As I've said before, to Michele Bachmann, the only good gay is the Ex-gay.

Black Leaders Confront Anti-gay Activism in the Black Church


(Dallas, Texas) Prominent black leaders said they will work to combat Christian conservatives they say have used gay marriage and abortion to distract from larger moral issues such as the war, voting rights, affirmative action and poverty.

The Revs. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Joseph Lowery and hundreds of black leaders from around the country are focusing on mobilizing black voters for the fall elections. They kicked off a three-day black clergy conference Monday in Dallas.

"There are no gay people coming to our churches asking to get married," Sharpton said. "But there are plenty of people coming with problems voting or their sons in jail."

Sharpton said tours are planned of swing states starting in July to bring out black voters and push Democrats to take a tougher stand on social justice issues.

Jackson said the mid-term elections, which will determine hundreds of congressional seats and many governorships, are a "fight for America's soul."

If Democrats fail to address social concerns, Sharpton said he has not ruled out a run for president in 2008.

A spokesman for evangelical conservatives accused Sharpton of stereotyping Christian conservatives, many of whom agree with black churchgoers on key issues.

Pam Spaulding comments:

You see what's going on here, right? Sharpton knows better, but he's using the same Dem dodge -- he's not making a case for why the homobigotry is wrong, only that gay issues are a smokescreen distracting the average black voter from "more important" matters.

I don't have a problem with leveraging the failure of this Administration into votes (it's provided a mile-long list of outrages), but it's clear, based on the level of homophobia, that voters can and do need leadership and framing on this issue to combat the bible-beating right wing. A significant portion of voters do need to hear from leadership that state amendments and measures to restrict gay adoption/fostering rights, for example, play upon the fears and worst aspects of people -- they are wrong -- and it's the conservative evangelical movement that has lead the way in fear-mongering.

We, as individual out gays and lesbians make a difference in changing hearts and minds by living our lives, but when religious leadership continually deflects the issue away from why the position of the evangelical right on gay civil equality is morally wrong, it's a lost opportunity and a clear signal to the bigots that support on the center-left for LGBT citizens is wavering at best.

Lowery and Sharpton have, to date, been quite supportive of civil equality. It's no surprise that media hogging, self-aggrandizing Jackson, however, would punt on the issue. In 2004 supported "equal protection under the law" for gay couples, but does not support SSM -- he believes "In my culture, marriage is a man-woman relationship."

Jesse Jackson doesn't have much moral authority to talk about the "sanctity of marriage".

I expect this kind of dodge of the issue from Democrats (though in the end, I don't think it's effective. Look what happened with the Kerry campaign). What I have heard is that the black churches here in Minnesota are getting tired of outsiders trying to whip up division within the church about the gay marriage issue. Currently the outsiders who are doing that are Minnesotans for Marriage and groups like that.

What bothers me is when the Gay Advocacy organization, the Human Rights Campaign uses that language when discussing the issue in the mainstream media. Joe Salmonese has a rare opportunity to be quoted widely by the national media, and he blows it by parroting the Democratic Talking points. That's why I am not donating to the Human Rights Campaign right now. It will be interesting to see what Salmonese does when the house takes up the vote on the matter later this summer.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Winners and Losers at the IP Convention

Rew wraps it up at Powerliberal.

Minnesota Republican Party Platform Opposes International Baccalaureate


Section 3, item W:
"Prohibiting state and federal support of International Baccalaureate (IB)
and the adoption of IB by local school districts."

This move by the state party is bad news for candidate Judy Johnson in Senate District 43. In fact it's bad news for all Minnetonka Republican candidates. The IB issue catalysed the formation of Tonka Focus.

Dave Eaton, the former creationist member of the Minnetonka School Board is now on the board of Southwest Christian High School in Chaska, which is a more appropriate place to push his theocratic agenda than the public schools.

The anti-gay fringe education group, Edwatch is successful in getting it's political poison into the Minnesota Republican Platform with this plank.

Walz Challenges Gutnecht on Stem Cell Research

Press release from the Tim Walz campaign:

June 26, 2006
Contact: Meredith Salsbery, 507-351-7730


According to a study released last week, scientists at Johns Hopkins University successfully reversed partial paralysis in rats by injecting them with stem cells taken from mouse embryos. Scientists used embryonic stem cells and a mixture of "nerve-friendly" chemicals to bridge a spinal cord injury and regenerate the necessary nerve connections to muscles, allowing the partially paralyzed rats to walk again.

DFL congressional candidate Tim Walz applauded the achievement saying, "When elected I will fight to repeal the laws that are inhibiting American researchers. I?m thrilled to see that despite federal interference, scientists at Johns Hopkins were able to achieve such a major breakthrough and I know that if we want to see more breakthroughs the American public must start investing heavily in this research."

"I struggle to understand why my opponent refuses to fight for stem cell research," said Walz. "Stem cells hold the key to improving the lives of millions of Americans. I believe that the Representative from the 1st District should be an advocate for those who would benefit from stem cell technology as well as for the Mayo Clinic where that research is being conducted."

Despite this and other recent breakthroughs, Walz opponent Representative Gil Gutknecht continues to oppose using federal funds to back further research. Gutknecht voted in May of 2005 against expanding Federal funding of stem cell research, a vote that crippled the hopes of Minnesotans with debilitating diseases. [HR 810, Vote #204, 5/24/2005]

Dr. Elias Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the Johns Hopkins study told that, "This work is a remarkable advance that can help us understand how stem cells might be used to treat injuries and disease and begin to fulfill their great promise." [link]

Since gaining control of the Congress in 1994, Rep. Gutknecht and his Republican colleagues have successfully enacted laws preventing the use of federal funds to create or work with all but a few batches of human embryonic stem cells. Researchers have repeatedly stated that the number of stem cell lines and federal funding dollars need to be increased in order for groundbreaking research to continue. Republicans continue to deny their requests.


I'm not surprised Walz is using this issue. This district includes the Mayo Clinic.

Green Party Auditor Candidate Dave Berger Announces Petition to Run


Dave Berger
(612) 338-3630


Dave Berger Endorsed by Green Party of Minnesota

At the special Endorsing Meeting on Sunday, June 25, 2006, Dave Berger was nominated and endorsed by the Green Party of Minnesota to run for State Auditor! This day was chosen to endorse Dave since it was the day of the Pride Parade in Minneapolis.

Both the Republican (Pat Anderson) and the Democrat (Rebecca Otto) running for State Auditor have publicly supported the Bachmann Amendment (the anti-gay/lesbian marriage amendment). "The State Auditor must be objective," states Dave. "How can you be an effective auditor if you don't believe that everyone should be treated the same?"

At the meeting, there were 48 absentee ballots counted, and 24 ballots cast by Green Party members that attended. The tally was near unanimous for endorsement with 71 votes to endorse Dave, and 1 vote for NOTA (None of the above).

Thanks to all of the delegates that participated in promoting grassroots democracy.

In an email sent out to supporters dated June 21, 2006, the Otto campaign stated "Rebecca's greener than the green candidate - and possibly greener than any candidate ever to run in Minnesota!" The evidence provided included having a passive solar home and driving a hybrid car. "Being Green is more than having a house that faces South and the type of car you drive." Dave stated at the meeting. "It also means defending equal rights for everyone." "If being Green is how Ms. Otto measures it, than George Bush is Green because his Crawford ranch uses alternative energy technology!"

"I am flattered, however," stated Dave, "that the Otto campaign mentions me in their email broadcasts." "They must consider me a real threat to them!"

Our next hurdle is Ballot Access! Beginning July 4th we need to collect 2,000 signatures to insure that Dave is on the ballot. Petitions can be picked up from the GPMN office, will be available for download from the web site (, or, we can mail them to you! Call Dave Page at (651) 450-8540 and he can mail you some petitions and instructions. You can also volunteer to collect signatures at upcoming events including the July 4th parade in Edina and the Taste of Minnesota.

For more information:

Dave Berger for Minnesota State Auditor www.daveberger.org_

For more information on the Green Party of Minnesota:
www.mngreens.org_ (

Monday, June 26, 2006

Peter "Leatherboy" Labarbera "Investigates" Chicago Gay Pride

Pam Spaulding has the scoop.

They are especially upset about the Republican Governor candidate, Judy Topinka having a float at Pride.

Candidate Topinka's Float Just Nine Spots Down from Chicago Sex Club in Today's Immoral 'Gay Pride' Parade Says IFI's LaBarbera

6/25/2006 10:48:00 AM

To: City Desk

Contact: Peter LaBarbera, 630-546-4439, or Matt Barber, 847-867-7554, both of Illinois Family Institute

CHICAGO, June 25 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka's float in today's Chicago "Gay Pride" parade is scheduled to be just nine spots ahead of a float sponsored by the homosexual bathhouse called Steamworks, said Illinois Family Institute Executive Director Peter LaBarbera.

LaBarbera and Matt Barber of the group Americans for Truth will be attending the homosexual "pride" parade today as critical observers, to document the goings-on for future use. (Past parades have featured public nudity and other illegal and obscene behavior, tolerated by the watching police.) The two men will be available for media comment, "for those reporters who still recognize that there are two sides to controversial moral issues," LaBarbera said.

"The media is treating this like any other parade, but what other parade would feature a float for a 'gym' (Steamworks) that doubles as a 24/7 sex club, where gay men go for anonymous sexual hook-ups with other men?" LaBarbera said. (Steamworks is also an official sponsor of the upcoming "Gay Games" in Chicago, as is another homosexual sex club, Man's Country.)

The Steamworks bathhouse is located at 3246 North Halsted Street in the heart of Chicago's "Boystown" neighborhood demarcating the city's homosexual community.

"No matter how many people attend today's 'gay pride' parade, or how many corporations support it, homosexual practice always will be wrong," LaBarbera said. Several major media companies such as WGN and the Chicago TV affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS are fielding floats in the 'Pride' parade again this year. (NBC has also signed on as an official sponsor of the "Gay Games.")

Barber said: "It is surreal and Orwellian that cultural elites would embrace this pagan tribute to a sexual sin, and that the media, who are supposed to be impartial observers on divisive social issues, would join along in the celebration."

Illinois Family Institute defends marriage, family and the sanctity of life in the Land of Lincoln. Web: Phone: 630-790-8370.

When LaBarbera worked for the Culture and Family Institute of the Concerned Women for America (a group that has endorsed Michele Bachmann and donated to Mark Kennedy), he was paid to travel around the country to Gay Pride festivals and Disney Gay Days for "research". Now he continues doing the same thing at the Illinois Family Institute.

Mark Kennedy's Website Gets a Makeover

MN Publius has the story.

It seems that Makeover Mark has decided to remove the blue eyeshadow of President Bush from his congressional website. The reference that remains has an interesting addition as well. You might call it some desperate political concealer. I'm not certain what concealer is or looks like, but I can guess its function...
Step 1) Trade Bush for some children [they are less of a political liability with this war going on...]

Step 2) Bills that were once signed into law by President Bush now simply 'become law'.

"An important provision from the first bill he introduced as a member of Congress, providing grant money for rural ambulance services, was signed into law by President Bush." Now compare that to the new version, which reads, "In fact, a grant program for rural ambulance services in the first bill he introduced in Congress became law."

Step 3) Revise the record:
Kennedy's record page to include:

Supported the President's Plan to create jobs and boost the economy, including accelerating the phase-in of the 2001 tax relief and ending the unfair double-taxation of dividends.

But, now he's actually against the President, instead of supporting him...

Successfully worked to repeal the Bush Administration's steel tariffs, which killed jobs and hurt local manufacturers.

Screenshots of the scrubbing are available at MN Publius.

Stonewall DFL Split on Whether to Endorse Hatch and Otto

Stonewall DFL is in a pickle. Before and during the DFL convention, Mike Hatch avoided Stonewall DFL like the plague. Since Mike Hatch got endorsed by the DFL, they do not have the option of endorsing Becky Lourey for the primary. Their board is divided over what to do about endorsing Mike Hatch. Mike Hatch has met with the Stonewall screening committee. A source who was present at the meeting, said Hatch wants the Stonewall endorsement, but is not interested in doing anything to earn that endorsement. Hatch said that he thought his statements to the Pioneer Press were misunderstood. Recall that Hatch said this:

"As far as I know, we have identical positions on gay marriage. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman".

Source: Bill Salisbury, All Bets are on Political Clash of Titans; No Love Lost Between Pawlenty, Likely Foe Hatch, St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
November 14, 2005

Now that is pretty clear to me. Hatch says that as far as he knows, Pawlenty and Hatch have identical positions on gay marriage. If he was misquoted by the Pioneer Press, then Hatch has the obligation to request a correction. As far as I know he has not done so.

Stonewall is in a similar predicament with Rebecca Otto. Otto apparently came to a Stonewall caucus meeting and cried, and said she was sorry for her vote in favor of the Bachmann amendment. Wellstone did a similar thing a few years back, and Stonewall accepted it. It will be interesting to see if they accept this from Rebecca Otto.

Both Otto and Hatch got acceptable ratings and so were able to ride in the Pride Parade.

As I said, Stonewall DFL is in a pickle. Do they be team players for the DFL, and be a DFL organization, that has no responsibility to the gay community to distinguish between the wheat and the chaffe - or do they stand on principle, and be called disloyal or worse?

Personally, I think Stonewall should ask the Hatch and Otto campaigns help come up with ways for them to defend their endorsements to the gay people who give them grief for the endorsement.

This reminds me of the very divisive internal deliberations within Log Cabin Republicans in 2000 about endorsing Bush.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Twin Cities Gay Pride

I volunteered at the Log Cabin Republicans of Minnesota booth at Twin Cities Gay Pride. I also walked around a bit and stopped by some of the different booths. Stonewall Democrats had a Mike Hatch sign up, but they have not endorsed Mike Hatch or Rebecca Otto, but they have found both candidates acceptable. Mike Hatch apparently had a contingent at the Pride parade. Hatch also met with Stonewall Democrats. I have heard some different stories about that meeting.

Gail Dorfman Requests Retraction from Strib on Stadium Story

Some of you may have been shocked to read in the Star Tribune today that I voted in favor of $5 million in funding for the new Twins Stadium. I was too, especially since I made the motion to separate out the funding piece as its own resolution so that I could vote against it. I've called the Star Tribune to demand a retraction and also sent out the press release that follows. I want to assure list members and my constituents that I remain opposed to public funding for the stadium package and that I intend to vote against the imposition of a county-wide tax.

Gail Dorfman
Hennepin County Commissioner


Gail Dorfman 612-348-7883 (office)
612-998-5214 (cell)

Commissioner Gail Dorfman continued her consistent opposition to public funding for a new Twins stadium by voting against a resolution authorizing $5 million in Hennepin County funds for stadium-related activities.

The Hennepin County Board voted 4 -3 to authorize this funding after Commissioner Dorfman moved to separate public funding language from the remainder of the resolution on stadium activities. Voting in favor of the $5 million expenditure were Commissioners Opat, Stenglein, McLaughlin and Johnson. Dorfman was joined in her opposition by Commissioners Koblick and Steele.

Commissioner Dorfman also voted to delete language from the resolution giving County staff broad authority to take whatever actions necessary to construct a ballpark on the Rapid Park site. Dorfman opposed this language because it would include imposing a Hennepin County sales tax to fund the new stadium.

"I believe that the public has been clear and consistent in their opposition to public funding for a new Twins stadium. As a Twins season ticket holder, I'm a huge fan but I cannot support a stadium funding package that asks taxpayers to pick up the tab. I am saddened that opposition to public funding is the minority view on the County Board and at the State Legislature because it's very clear to me that it's the majority view of Hennepin County residents", said Dorfman.

Dorfman also supported an amendment sponsored by Commissioner Koblick reducing the contract authority of the County Administrator for stadium-related contracts from $150,000 to the standard $50,000. This amendment failed on a 4-3 vote.

After a majority of the County Board voted to authorize the $5 million expenditure, the Board considered resolution language that included funding for youth sports and expanded library hours, should a county-wide tax go forward.

This resolution also appointed members to the Ballpark Authority as required by the Legislature, mandated a public sector project labor agreement, minority contractor participation and the use of environmentally friendly materials and practices in stadium construction and included a connection to the Cedar Lake Trail in stadium development plans. Commissioner Dorfman voted in favor of this resolution saying, "I will continue to oppose this public financing package, but if a majority of this Board continues to move the stadium forward, we owe it to the public to make sure that it's done right."


Hopefully the strib will honor Dorfman's request for the retraction.