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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bring Back the Country Club Republicans

I've been watching some of today's (Saturday) coverage of the funeral and other solemn rituals for President Ford. I was in junior high during the Watergate years, and while I found it fascinating even at that age (yes, I watched televised Congressional hearings on warm summer afternoons.....), I'm sure that if I were an adult at that time, I might have a different perspective on the Ford presidency.

But seeing the reunion of recognizable faces from the Nixon/Ford era does make me wistful for a time when the GOP and the Democrats actually talked to each other and worked on legislation together, and when the values of the GOP were the values of mainstreet and the Chamber of Commerce, not the values of some Harold Hill-like evangelical fearmonger.

When Ronald Reagan was President, he and the Democratic Speaker of the US House, Tip O'Neill, used to meet for a highball late in the afternoon.... can you imagine Nancy Pelosi and Dubya getting together for a purely social reason???

Rest in peace, President Ford. Thank you for your humble service during troubled times. We need to be carefully pondering the lessons of your life.

Deb Price Interview with Gerald Ford

Deb Price interviewed Gerald Ford and published her interview in her Detroit news column on October 21, 2001. Page One Q reprints the column:

Former President Gerald Ford believes the federal government should treat
gay couples the same as married couples, including providing equal Social Security and tax benefits. Ford's views, expressed in an exclusive telephone interview, make him the highest-ranking Republican ever to endorse equal treatment for gay couples. "I think they ought to be treated equally. Period," Ford declared. Asked specifically whether gay couples should get the same Social Security, tax and other federal benefits as married couples, he replied, "I don't see why they shouldn't. I think that's a proper goal."

Now 88, Ford was a longtime Michigan congressman and Republican leader of the U.S. House before being appointed vice president and then rising to the presidency in 1974 after Richard Nixon's resignation. From his office in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Ford comfortably discussed a range of gay issues. He said he supports federal legislation to outlaw anti-gay job discrimination: "That is a step in the right direction. I have a longstanding record in favor of legislation to do away with discrimination."

President Ford also served on the Advisory Committee of the Republican Unity Coalition - an organization committed to making being gay a non-issue in Republican Politics.

Strib's Tim OBrien Gets Called Out By Drama Queen Commenter


OBrien clarifies that he wasn't calling for Kiffmeyer to give media access to her transition meetings:

I wasn’t pleading for media access to transition meetings. I was making the argument that, if Kiffmeyer truly were interested in ensuring that the meeting not be misrepresented by Ritchie, there were other ways to do it that inviting Mr. Brodkorb.

Comment by Tim O'Brien — December 26, 2006 @ 10:27 am

But go over to the Drama Queen's to read the exchange. It's quite entertaining.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Drama Queen Not the Only One Getting House Egged

Lloydletta contributor Ken Avidor writes about his experience on MN Buzz.

Earth Angel, probably a St Cloud Times commenter, has started a blog to Dump Avidor.

Why is Young Earth Creationism Being Sold at the Grand Canyon National Park?

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility:

HOW OLD IS THE GRAND CANYON? PARK SERVICE WON’T SAY — Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology

Washington, DC — Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

“In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is ‘no comment.’”

In a letter released today, PEER urged the new Director of the National Park Service (NPS), Mary Bomar, to end the stalling tactics, remove the book from sale at the park and allow park interpretive rangers to honestly answer questions from the public about the geologic age of the Grand Canyon. PEER is also asking Director Bomar to approve a pamphlet, suppressed since 2002 by Bush appointees, providing guidance for rangers and other interpretive staff in making distinctions between science and religion when speaking to park visitors about geologic issues.

In August 2003, Park Superintendent Joe Alston attempted to block the sale at park bookstores of Grand Canyon: A Different View by Tom Vail, a book claiming the Canyon developed on a biblical rather than an evolutionary time scale. NPS Headquarters, however, intervened and overruled Alston. To quiet the resulting furor, NPS Chief of Communications David Barna told reporters and members of Congress that there would be a high-level policy review of the issue.

According to a recent NPS response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by PEER, no such review was ever requested, let alone conducted or completed.

The Bush administration is known for allowing theocrats to push their science agenda. I believe that Gil Gutnecht's bizarre and unscientific views combined with his role on the house science committee were part of the reason he lost - in a highly educated district with the Mayo Clinic as a major employer.

Anti-Gay Activists Push Agenda in Minnesota Schools

Andy from Eleventh Avenue South has a post about the anti-gay Minnesota Family Institute spreading misinformation about gay people with their "SOS" program. Andy refers to the MFI as a "Judeo Christian, anti-gay" group. In my opinion the adjective "Judeo-Christian" does not belong as a descriptor for the MFI. "Anti-gay" is what describes the group - or theocratic. The MFI exploits christianity to promote their anti-gay agenda.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Drama Queen Wins Worst Person in Minnesota Award

From the Minnesota Network for Progressive Action.

#1 -- Michael Brodkorb: My 2006 worst person in Minnesota has redefined the Minnesota blog-o-sphere. Blogs used to be a genuine discussion of events and positions; they admittedly have slanted points of view, but that's usually not hidden from the reader-- they editorialize but don't pretend to be giving "hard" news....however, thanks to Brodkorb, blogs are rapidly becoming just another arm of political campaigns; operated by former campaign staffers and political hacks and working to influence or manipulate the mainstream media in any manner they can. It has gotten so out of hand, that Mary Kiffmeyer invites Brodkorb to a transition meeting with newly elected Mark Ritchie....for purposes only apparent to Kiffmeyer herself.... but we know Brodkorb's agenda is to simply "hatchet" another Democrat. To be fair, Brodkorb isn't the only one that has lowered the bar for political discourse. There are plenty on the left that are all too willing to take up the gauntlet. But Brodkorb envisions himself as some kind of "investigative" reporter.... with little or no regard for both sides of the issue and even less for factual content. He only looks for the negative... and only items that expose political "opponents". His news flashes are one-sided and distorted as much as possible. But given all that, Brodkorb might be simply ranting in obscurity if not for the local media's willing obsession to pick up the "negative" story, at the expense of examining issue content. Politics has been reduced to the lowest common denominator....thanks, partially, to Michael Brodkorb--- Minnesota's Worst Person in the State!

Brodkorb doesn't claim to be unbiased. He's got lots of media contacts, and reporters and political operatives read his site. Democrats have also been very willing to use Brodkorb to launder negative stories on democratic opponents. Elwyn Tinklenberg's campaign did this to Scotty Mortensen for example.

Brodkorb's blog doesn't work in isolation. He works hard at cultivating reporters and editors - and pitching them his stories.

I read MDE because it's a gossip site. I take stories on that site with a large grain of salt.

Picking out a New Kitten

My little niece and nephew got a kitten for Christmas. Their dad finally agreed to the kitten. Today my sister and I and nephew and niece went out to the local humane society to pick the kitten out.

We came home with a very cute 3 month old black female kitten. The kids named the kitten "Lily". She's quite an active little critter.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

FRC on Mary Cheney's Baby

From the December 8 Daily Bleating from the FRC

For the last three days, media outlets from across the country have flooded FRC with calls on our reaction to the news that Vice President Cheney's daughter, who has a lesbian partner, is expecting a child. We have purposefully declined to comment on the story, in order to maintain FRC's focus on policy discussions. However, whe an event such as this is used by some as a catalyst for advancing a political agenda or promoting public policy that attacks traditional marriage or parenting, I have no reservations about stepping forward and defending morality and the family - regardless of who is involved. Today's Washington Post features such an attempt by editorial columnist Ruth Marcus. With an air of noble tutelage, Marcus writes, "Whether she intends it or not, [Mary Cheney's] pregnancy will, I think, turn out to be a watershed in public understanding and acceptance of this phenomenon."

Unlike Marcus, authorities on child and family health do not use anecdotes as the basis for public policy. Their analysis is fact-driven, not emotion-driven. And those facts have seldom changed. Marcus writes that "To be a badly wanted child... in a home with two loving parents is no tragedy. If they're worried about 'emotional devastation,' they would do better to reserve their lamentations for children in poverty, those who are abused or neglected, or for children in families splintered by divorce." Children's needs, however, are more than the sum of the wants in the lives of the adults who reside with them. Study after study demonstrates that no amount of care or financial privilege can compensate for the missing physical and emotional benefits experienced by children who enjoy the lifelong love and presence of a married mother and father.

Comprehensive studies published in the peer-reviewed journals Archives of General Psychiatry, Interpersonal Violence, Social Service Research, Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Nursing Research, Developmental Psychology, Adolescence, and others too numerous to list here, all cite the devastating effects of domestic violence, increased substance abuse, mental health problems, sexual identity confusion, depression, and suicide associated with the homosexual lifestyle. A child fortunate enough to escape those realities still faces a distinct disadvantage throughout childhood--the irreplaceable influence of the missing biological parent. In rearing children, the complementary contributions of a mother and father are rooted in the innate differences of the two sexes, and can no more be arbitrarily replaced than can the very nature of male and female.

But besides dismissing science, Marcus misrepresents the reality of Virginia law. In her eagerness to exploit the circumstances, she asserts that the state's new marriage protection amendment "casts doubt on the ability of Cheney and Poe to write binding medical directives and wills." The law casts no doubt on the matter. It implicitly allows individuals to engage in private contracts. Here Marcus succeeds in personalizing her argument but not substantiating it. She concludes, "[This] high-profile pregnancy will help the Republican party come to grips with [the] facts of life. If not, [Mary Cheney] will have to explain to her child what mommy was doing trying to help a party that doesn't believe in fairness for families like theirs." What is at stake in these debates, however, is ultimately not the fate of political parties or the lateral "fairness" adults seek, but what is fair and favorable for children, all of whom have a stake in whether our nation stands by the ideal of homes embraced by, and embracing, a mother and father, a husband and a wife.