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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Keith Ellison Interview

I interviewed Keith Ellison on July 3rd, 2006. During that interview I asked him about his position on GLBT issues and to explain his vote in favor of Intelligent Design Creationism when he was in the state house.

On Marriage:

Keith stated that people should be able to marry who they want. He mentioned the 1967 Loving v Virginia decision that struck down laws banning interracial marriage, and said that the Supreme Court should strike down laws that ban gay marriage.

He said Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a "failed policy" and that he would sign on to legislation that would repeal don't ask don't tell.

I asked Keith about his vote favoring Intelligent Design Creationism in the Minnesota state house. Keith stated this bill was written in an innocuous way. He said he said he wouldn't vote for such a bill again and added that Intelligent Design isn't science.

Keith also talked about his history with organizing the Millions Man March and Louis Farrakhan. He told me the same things he has told other reporters, so there's nothing new to report on that topic.

Bob Ney - Poster Child for the House Republicans

From the NY Times

Congressman Pleads Guilty but Won’t Resign for Now
WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 — Representative Bob Ney, the first member of Congress to confess to crimes in dealings with the lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty to corruption charges Friday but said he would not immediately resign.

Mr. Ney, Republican of Ohio, announced last month that he intended to plead guilty, admitting that in return for official acts, he had accepted tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts from Mr. Abramoff that included lavish trips, meals and tickets to concerts and sporting events. He faces a prison term of more than two years.

But what had not been expected at Friday’s court hearing was Mr. Ney’s disclosure that he intended to remain in Congress for now. The announcement appeared to surprise and infuriate House Republican leaders, who are trying to tamp down other scandals that are threatening to damage the party in next month’s Congressional elections.

After learning that Mr. Ney would not step down immediately and would continue to draw his $165,200-a-year salary, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and other Republican leaders said they would move to expel him as soon as Congress returns next month for a postelection session.

“Bob Ney must be punished for the criminal actions he has acknowledged,” they said in a statement. “He betrayed his oath of office and violated the trust of those he represented in the House. There is no place for him in this Congress.”

The White House joined in calling for Mr. Ney to resign immediately. “What Congressman Ney did is not a reflection of the Republican Party,” said Tony Snow, the White House spokesman. “It’s a reflection of Congressman Ney, and he ought to step down.”

Rep. Ney's arrogance and stupidity take away one of the GOP talking points re: the Foley scandal. They've stood on top of the chicken coop and crowed about the speed of his resignation (well, after at least 3 years of skeevy behavior, and only after ABC news showed up with the goods). That was contrasted with prior page scandals involving Barney Frank and Gerry Studds.

Sorry, Dennis Hastert. You can no longer claim any moral high ground.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Marilyn Musgrave - aka the Muskrat - in Trouble

Doogman's got the story with video over at Muskrat Hunt.

Patty Wetterling could learn from Angie Paccione who is an excellent debater.

Mark Stenglein, Barbara Johnson and the J-Pods

Bill James is man with a dream. He's one of those "personal rapid transit" (PRT) hobbyists who think they can create an entirely new transportation system in their garage out of metal tubing, plywood, carpet remnants and black duct tape (see photo of inventor Bill James' J-pod below).

Go to the Intelligent Transportation website and click on "leadership" from the sidebar menu. There are three letters you can click on and read. The first is from Hennepin County Commisioner Mark Stenglein. Here's an excerpt from Stenglein's letter to Bill James:

"Intelligent Transportation's approach to the energy and transportation needs of our community is one whose time is come. Computerized networks can automate repetitive centers, and commuters to and from work." -Mark Stenglein

Does Mark Stenglein really think that his constituents will agree to cut down half the trees on their block for a monorail with a clear view into their bedroom windows? But, Mark Stenglein isn't the only elected official who thinks J-Pods are a great idea. Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson also wrote a letter in praise of J-Pods:

"As a City Council Member in our state's largest city, I firmly believe that strong leadership in a public/private alliance can quickly implement break through technologies such as yours."- Barbara Johnson

Not content to make a fool of herself in a letter, the Minneapolis City Council President allows herself to be filmed by a Fox Television crew for a "news" feature on J-Pods.

Watch Barbara Johnson ride on a J-Pod in this hilarious Fox TV video.

Learn more about PRT at the PRT is a Joke web site.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Educating Brad Finstad's New Ulm constituents

Eva and I both had LTE's published in the New Ulm Journal

From Eva:

TO THE EDITOR: Jane Peichel’s letter to the editor discussed “protecting our area taxpayers from paying for stadiums.” Protecting New Ulm taxpayers is done at the expense of the Hennepin County Taxpayers. I called Brad Finstad last spring, and told him I take it personally when he wants to increase my taxes to pay for something he wants. I live in Minneapolis. Our local libraries are open three days a week. Many of our roads are in horrible shape. Traffic lights frequently don’t work. The schools are in crisis. We are known throughout the state for being high crime. These are all quality of life issues that should be bigger priorities than giving corporate welfare to a billionaire.

We have voted to increase our taxes for schools and libraries. We voted to increase our taxes for a new central library. We have voted to limit taxpayer funding for professional sports stadiums.

Rep. Brad Finstad pushed legislation for a 30 year, 1.1 billion dollar tax increase to pay for a stadium, and to stop Hennepin County residents (from)having a say in this through a referendum as required by state law. We will be paying the stadium tax longer than the stadium will last. Does anyone buy a car with a 30 year mortgage?

Brad Finstad’s sole priority during the last legislative session has been sticking Hennepin County Residents with the stadium tax. His leadership on that issue has been noticed, and many Hennepin County residents will take it personally should he be reelected. New Ulm is a popular tourist destination. Brad Finstad’s leadership and visibility on this issue has made New Ulm a visible boycott target for angry Hennepin County residents should Finstad get reelected. A Hennepin County resident boycott of New Ulm will be harmful to the economy of New Ulm.

Brad Finstad is making New Ulm known for being deadbeats. Deadbeats charge items to other people’s credit cards. That’s exactly what Brad Finstad’s stadium legislation did — it charged his project — the stadium — to the unwilling Hennepin County Taxpayer credit card (our sales tax). Finstad started an economic war with his single minded insistance that Hennepin County — and only Hennepin County — bear the costs of the Twins Stadium.

Please vote to defeat Brad Finstad on November 7.


And from me:

TO THE EDITOR: In his July 2006 press release announcing a run for re-election, Rep. Brad Finstad said the following: “My goal is to continue working hard on traditional family value issues while protecting the pocketbooks of state taxpayers.”

Well, I’m a state taxpayer and Rep. Finstad worked hard to make sure I was denied the right to vote on a local option sales tax in Hennepin County. One-fourth of the state’s population is facing a 30-year added tax burden to subsidize private investors. As it is a tax on purchases, it is highly regressive.

How cynical does a guy have to be to work on passing a bill that includes an exception to the referendum requirement? The only reason a referendum wasn’t part of the Twins stadium legislation is that the supporters knew very well that the voters would not approve it. Instead, “No New Taxes” Governor Pawlenty and a bunch of fake conservative out-state legislators endorsed the idea that four (out of seven) Hennepin County commissioners are much smarter than the voters. I can’t even totally boycott paying these taxes without moving, as it will apply to utility bills.

We all know what Rep. Finstad means when he refers to “traditional family values.” but how about asking our elected officials to demonstrate their high moral character in every vote they take? So far, Rep. Finstad appears to be a good imitator of the “I’ve got mine” ethic that has run rampant through the Tom DeLay-engineered US House of Representatives.

Kick this guy out of office. Situational ethics have no place in the Legislature. Your representative should work for the best interest of all Minnesotans. Vote for Bob Skillings on Nov. 7.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Senate District 43 Race

Matt Abe at North Star Liberty has been covering this race. If you don't read him regularly, go check him out. Matt reports on a recent debate between Bonoff and Johnson.

Terri Bonoff tries to associate Judy Johnson with Michele Bachmann during the Debate Minnesota debate:

Minnesota Defense Of Marriage Amendment (DOMA) — Johnson said that only one person has mentioned it in her door knocking. She has mixed feelings about the amendment, current law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman, yet we must have respect and equal rights for all. Bonoff said that the amendment is a "terrible thing," that it "writes hate into the constitution." She told the story of entering the Senate chamber through a gauntlet of protesters holding signs saying "NO GAY MARRIAGE." She told another story of participating in a forum with Sen. Michele Bachmann (R-Stillwater), in a church with over 2000 people in attendance. She said that the audience applauded a speaker who called for no gay marriage, and chanted "NO GAY MARRIAGE." It was unreal, said Bonoff incredulously. Some in the audience applauded loudly after Bonoff's statements opposing DOMA. Berg asked the audience, almost apologetically, to save their applause until the end. Some of those who applauded laughed. I missed the joke.

Johnson is no Michele Bachmann. Never the less, this is a sign that as Jim Knoblach says, Bachmann's political poison hurts Republicans up, down and across the ticket.

Brad Finstad - in the Hot Seat

From the New Ulm Journal

House District 21B Candidate Forum

Stadium bill draws questions for Finstad By KEVIN SWEENEY Journal Editor

NEW ULM — Rep. Brad Finstad’s authorship of the Twins stadium bill last session and his work to get it passed was the most contentious question in his debate with DFL challenger Bob Skillings in a League of Women Voters District 21B candidate forum Tuesday night.

Finstad was chief author of the bill that finally authorized the building of a Minnesota Twins ballpark in Minneapolis, and he shepherded it through the committee hearings in House and Senate.

Asked why he supported public funding of a Twins stadium, Finstad pointed out that no one in his district would pay a cent toward the ballpark, unless they spent money in Hennepin County, where a .015 percent sales tax is funding the project.

Finstad defended his work on the bill as an issue of importance to people of his district and across the state. “I think Bob and I agree that the Minnesota Twins are a huge asset to the state. ... I heard my first three years in the Legislature, weekly and door to door about the issue. I have here the names of over a thousand people in our district that have contacted me, my office or the Minnesota Twins about their support for this proposal that was passed.”

Finstad said the project was not his idea. Hennepin County commissioners had come to the state asking for authorization for a local sales tax to put a new ballpark in the county.

“Fifty-four percent of the season ticket holders are in Hennepin County, and 27 percent of that local option sales tax will be made up of people from outside Hennepin County, and you and I will have the opportunity to watch the Minnesota Twins for the next 30 years without having to pay for it. I was in no way pushing an issue that made us have to put state funds toward a professional team.”

Skillings said he wondered “if Hennepin County was so enthused about taking this on for the benefit of the whole state, why didn’t a Hennepin County legislator be the chief author?”

This scumbag is actually proud of his work.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Upcoming 5th Congressional District Debate

Sponsored by

Jewish Community Relations Council
Jewish Community Action
National Council of Jewish Women

When: Tuesday, 17Oct2006 7:00pm

Where: Beth El Synagogue, 5224 W 26th Street, St. Louis Park

Who: Tammy Lee (IP), Alan Fine (R) and Keith Ellison (D)

This is sure to be an interesting debate considering Keith Ellison's past and Alan Fine's more recent attacks. Who will rise above the partisan rhetoric? I know at least one candidate will.

Disclaimer: The Minnesota blogosphere has been particularly obsessed with disclaimers for bloggers who promote candidates, in particular wanting to know who does or doesn't get paid to blog. To all of you who spent tireless hours attacking both liberal and conservative bloggers here is my disclaimer: "I don't owe anyone any explanation as to why I do or do not promote candidates. If I wanted my private life to be scrutinized I would become a politician. Until then, get over your self-righteous indignation and accept the fact that I would be doing this regardless of any employment status which may or may not exist within any campaign, candidate or party. Don't like it? Tough."

Tammy Lee

Independence Party candidate

U.S. Congress

Sunday, October 15

12-4 pm

Lee’s Liquor Lounge

101 Glenwood Ave. N.


Featuring Top Local Female Vocalists:

Joanna James

2006 Minnesota Music Awards “Best Female Vocalist”

Molly Maher

Twin Cities’ Finest Roots & Blues Singer/Guitarist

Jessy Greene

Singer /Violinist – Has Performed with Soul Asylum & REM

Cost: $15 cover. Drink Specials.

Additional Contributions Welcomed!


Disclaimer: The Minnesota blogosphere has been particularly obsessed with disclaimers for bloggers who promote candidates, in particular wanting to know who does or doesn't get paid to blog. To all of you who spent tireless hours attacking both liberal and conservative bloggers here is my disclaimer: "I don't owe anyone any explanation as to why I do or do not promote candidates. If I wanted my private life to be scrutinized I would become a politician. Until then, get over your self-righteous indignation and accept the fact that I would be doing this regardless of any employment status which may or may not exist within any campaign, candidate or party. Don't like it? Tough."

MFC's Tom Prichard Rationalizes Primary Losses

Christian Chronicle here:

Prichard says stakes are high in upcoming elections

Minnesota Family Council President Tom Prichard recently shared his observations about the recent primary elections and what to expect in November.

MCC: How did pro-family causes/candidates do in the recent primary elections?

Prichard: The two key primary races that pro-marriage people were looking at were the Sen. Dean Johnson and Sen. Paul Koering primary races. In both cases, the incumbent candidates, who didn't support the Marriage Amendment won. But the challengers did well, and that sent a strong message.

Koering, a Republican, refused to publicly support the Marriage Amendment language, refused to vote on the issue of promotion of homosexuality in public schools, and eliminating state sponsored gambling.

If his positions on these issues had become clear earlier, the outcome might have been different.

It's very hard for a challenger to beat an incumbent endorsed candidate in a primary.

I'm personally disappointed in the outcome, but on the other hand, it sent a message that marriage and other family issues are important.

In other words, he had his ass handed to him.

Jeff Johnson, Are you Anti-Science?

Does 'Pro-family' equate to being against scientific research?

The candidates for AG debated on MPR this morning. Here's the story.

Stem cell issue fuels flare-up in attorney general race
by Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
October 10, 2006

St. Paul, Minn. — With only four weeks left before the election, the three major party candidates for attorney general have found a new, divisive issue to wrestle with. An MPR listener called in to ask where Republican Jeff Johnson, DFLer Lori Swanson and John James of the Independence Party stand on stem cell research.

Johnson, a three-term state representative, says he supports the approach of limiting the use of embryonic stem cells to existing lines. But he began his response by scolding Lori Swanson.

"It really doesn't have anything to do with the attorney general's race, although, Lori, I know you had a press conference yesterday because you think you found a wedge issue," he said.

"I did not have a press conference yesterday," Swanson replied.

"You talked to the press. They called me," Johnson said.

Johnson doesn't see the relevance of stem cell research to the attorney general's office, but Swanson does. As state solicitor general, Swanson says the issue came up just a year ago.

"In 2005 we were asked by some conservative members of the House of Representatives for a legal opinion on whether the University of Minnesota was violating the law because it conducted stem cell research using privately donated money," she said.

Swanson supports stem cell research, even the use of embryonic cells. She says Johnson backed legislation that would have penalized the University of Minnesota financially for conducting embryonic research.

Johnson says the bill was intended to start a conversation on the controversial issue. Swanson's boss, Mike Hatch, who's running for governor, raised the stem cell issue in a debate last week.

John James, the Independence Party candidate, supports a wide range of stem cell research. He's also calling for a broader role for the attorney general's office. James says the state is a lacking leadership in public safety.

"The attorney general is probably the most likely person in state government, at the executive level, to take the lead and get us focused on doing all we can to drive the crime rate down and do it in a way that doesn't waste money," he said.

James is the only one of the three major party candidates who flatly opposes the death penalty.

I would suggest that Johnson's support for withholding funds from the U of M because of stem cell research paranoia is a valid question for this election cycle. It demonstrates his willingness to impose a specific theological belief on public policy. If Lori Swanson brings up his legislative record, she isn't creating a wedge issue. He's the one who worked a wedge issue while in the Legislature, and now he doesn't want to talk about it.

I listened to most of the debate this morning. Lori Swanson cited the house file number, which stirred a round of applause in the studio audience.


How do we rescue the word 'Family'?

I'm getting tired of the evangelical theocrats using the word 'family' as a euphenism for their agenda.

Who are they to define 'family'? We all know what they mean when they say they're 'pro family', but why should they own that word?

The Gottis are a family.
Crack dealers are members of a family.
The Corleones were a family (fictional, but you get my drift).
Non-Christians form families every day.
Elizabeth Taylor has been a part of many families.
The Kennedys of Massachusetts are a family.
Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton are a family.
Mormon fundamentalists in bigamist marriages form families.

These people need to find a new word.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Writes off Mark Kennedy Campaign

Check it out

Monday, October 09, 2006

Democratic Strategist Bob Beckel Reacts to Foleygate: All Gay Men Molest Children


Well, we knew it was coming.

Ace tipped me off to last night's Hannity and Colmes where Democratic strategist Bob Beckel joined conservative talk show host Michael Reagan in explaining how homosexuals are to be especially suspected of sexual predation.

My favorite little remark is where gay people are compared to notorious criminals.

Beckel: If Willie Sutton is around someplace where a bank is robbed, you’re probably going to say, "Willie, stay away from that bank."

Yep. Gay men can't be trusted around children. The temptation to pillage them is too much with us.

What's that about our friends the democrats?

Bob Beckel has been vocal about supporting IDiocy being taught in public school science classes.

Bob Skillings Advertisement

Bob Skillings is running against Brad Finstad for state representative. He is using the Finstad's focus on the stadium at the expense of his district in his campaign.

Bob Skillings

Skillings has a campaign log. Here's what he says about the stadium issue:

That's Herb Schaper from New Ulm up on the Dome's Jumbotron. It was "Town Ball Day" at the dome and Herb was being honored for his outstanding media contributions to Minnesota amateur baseball. You can see his latest project on the subject at

Johan Santana pitched a gem today as the Twins crept closer to the top of the American League Central. I was fortunate to have been invited by good friend and confidante, Paul Bowar, to share a pair of tickets his generous son, Tony, had supplied.

The new Twins stadium is an issue in this campaign. My opponent, Brad Finstad, was the chief author of the Twins stadium bill which passed last session. While I am happy that the Twins will be getting a new stadium, I don't think Brad should have led the charge that has Hennepin County's sales tax going up to help pay for it. Hennepin County residents had no say in the matter. How would we feel if a Hennepin County legislator told us that our sales tax was going up whether we liked it or not. Bad policy in my mind.

If you want to support Bob Skillings (and defeat Brad Finstad), send a contribution to:

Robert Skillings Campaign Committee
36 Woodland Dr
New Ulm, MN 56073

Defeat Brad Finstad

Brad Finstad is the house sponsor and cheerleader for the Stadium Swindle. I wrote his opponent, Bob Skillings to ask his views on the matter. Here was his response:

I've gotten quite a bit of feedback from voters in my district that weren't pleased with Mr. Finstad's work on the Twins stadium.

In 1999, I was the lead person in trying to get a local sales tax passed in New Ulm. We were successful in asking the state legislature to allow us to put it on the ballot for local residents to vote on. It passed and we have some wonderful community centers as a result.

Citizens from all over Minnesota enjoy our pro sports teams and do not want to see them leave. I think it is an issue for the entire state and not just Hennepin County.

There is a perception in my district that the Metro area has forgotten or discounts Greater Minnesota because of the population imbalance. If elected, I would try to make sure that Greater Minnesota residents have the same opportunities and needs addressed as Metro area residents.

Mr. Finstad says that he chose to lead the stadium charge so that Greater Minnesota residents did not have to pay for it. To me, that seems to be the most divisive thing someone could do. In the long run, I would guess that it will hurt Greater Minnesota's cause rather than help. Minnesota's government needs to seek unity and consensus.

I've just written a letter to the editor that will get published in the New Ulm Paper. If you want to write letters to the editor, here are the addresses in this district:

The Journal (New Ulm) -
Springfield Advance Press -
Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch -

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Waite Park Neighborhood Festival

Folks from CCARL had a table at the Waite Park Neighborhood Festival. I went to this with photographer Michele McGaughey.

IMG_4339_1 adj

Commissioner Mark Stenglein (Right) in back of CCARL Table which calls for his defeat.

Stenglein's opponent, Greg Gray came to this with his wife Renee. Gray was working the crowd and had a table.


Fifth District Candidate Tammy Lee spoke:


Congressional candidate Keith Ellison came with a video crew.


Keith Ellison also spoke:

IMG_4325_1 adj

Minneapolis Issues regular Jeanne Massey was educating people about Instant Runoff Voting. This will be on the ballot in Minneapolis.


You can see a slide show of the festival here.

Other politicians in attendance included Larry Pogemiller, Sandy Burt (Pogemiller's opponent) and Rich Stanek running for Hennepin County Sheriff.

All photos were by Michele McGaughey. This festival was held October 2, 2006.