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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Selective Anti-Gay Court Stripping Bill Introduced in the House of Representatives

David Strand from Marriage Equality, posted the following to a number of Gay Lists:

The Marriage Protection Act of 2007 was introduced on January 30th, 2007 in the U.S. House by Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana. The summary of the bill's purpose reads "to amend title 28, United States Code, to limit Federal court jurisdiction over questions under the Defense of Marriage Act". In other words, the purpose is to disallow court challenges in the federal courts challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act in an attempt to keep same sex couples from suing for rights denied by the Defense of Marriage Act in federal courts.

This truly hateful and peculiar law seems to simultaneously admit that it will sometime be likely in the future that the courts would overturn the law so the remedy is to deny people access to the courts which is in itself a denial of due process and a violation of equal rights under the constitution.

Rep. John Kline is the only Minnesota congressman to cosponsor this legislation. Let Rep. John Kline know that you disapprove of his cosponsorship of this bill particularly if you live, reside, or work in his district. Kline represents the 2nd congressional district. Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District spans the width of the entire southern metro area and contains all of Carver, Scott, Le Sueur, Goodhue and Rice Counties. It contains almost all of Dakota County, except the northern tip. South Washington County is the north eastern district line and contains the cities of Cottage Grove and the southern part of Woodbury. Only one precinct in the district is in Hennepin County. Most of the population of the district resides in the northern three counties, with Burnsville and Eagan as the largest cities in the district.

You can call his local office or call or write his national office:

District Office Office:
101 W. Burnsville Pkwy #201
Burnsville, MN 55337
Main: 952-808-1213
Fax: 952-808-1261

Washington, D.C. Office:
1429 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Main: 202-225-2271
Fax: 202-225-2595

to email Rep. John Kline use the email form feature on his website at
http://kline.house.gov/

Note, not even infamous Rep. Michelle Bachmann [sic], noted prior to her election for pushing for an amendment to the Minnesota constitution to ban same sex marriage or it's "legal equvalents" has cosponsored this bill which may give you an idea of exactly how extreme this legislation is.

Thanks,

David Strand
Marriage Equality Minnesota


When democrat Teresa Daly ran for Kline's seat, she supported this piece of legislation. Sources from within her campaign, told me the DCCC had advised her to support this bill. Many democrats, including FMA supporting Stephanie Herseth supported this when it came up for a vote before. It goes without saying that Colin "no gays live in my district" Peterson, voted in favor of this legislation.

Kline should be asked whether he believes that Marbury v Madison was wrongly decided. That's the case where the Supreme Court started using the power to rule statutes unconstitutional.

It's interesting that as of now, Michele Bachmann hasn't signed on.

Here's my question: if you want to court strip, why not court strip on everything? Why selectively court strip on a specific statute?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Council Member Samuels On North High School: Burn It Down

Minneapolis St Paul Magazine
:

Though he's earned headlines for calling on his own community to see its role in its problems, he will also slaughter white sacred cows if he thinks their failures hurt black kids. To Minneapolis liberals with a near-religious belief in public education, the man who as a single father raised his son by his first wife says, "My children will not darken the door of a Minneapolis public school in this city at this time under these conditions. I've said burn North High School down! I can't be paying as a taxpayer for the education of my neighbors and 72 percent of them are failing—meaning black boys. Something worse than vouchers could come along. If it works, if it sacrifices the entire school system, fine! Get rid of the damn thing! It hasn't worked!"


This is the same guy who sued MTN because they didn't do enough to stop overheated rhetoric - including the infamous incident Booker T Hodges saying "we've got to kill the house nigger" - referring to Samuels. Samuels claimed this show made him feel unsafe.

Nick Coleman has an excellent column on this topic.

Samuels, whose ward includes North High, is profiled by David Brauer in this month's Mpls.-St. Paul Magazine. Watch you don't get your eyebrows singed off by this:

"I've said burn North High School down! I can't be paying as a taxpayer for the education of my neighbors and 72 percent of them are failing -- meaning the black boys."

Samuels says he read that 72 percent figure somewhere. I can't find it. As far as I can tell, North is not the worst high school in the city. In fact, it has some good things going for it, including a dynamic principal who is making changes. In my mind, public schools need help from public officials. They don't need a kick in the teeth.

North High Principal Mike Favor, a 1984 North High grad, says Samuels' flame-throwing is not aiding efforts to bring improvements to the school of 1,000 students (68 percent are black).

The school has been an anchor of the African-American community for decades.

"It's damaging," said Favor, who plans to meet with Samuels early this morning, before Samuels meets with the school's faculty to try to explain himself. "To hear something like that is offensive. I feel like I have to apologize to every North High graduate and to anyone who sends their kid here. It's disheartening."

By the way, Samuels is a close ally of Mayor R.T. Rybak. I called Rybak's office to ask where he stands on his friend's proposal to burn down a high school. I didn't get an answer.


I'm not surprised that Mayor pass the buck was hard to reach.

Samuels went to North High to confront angry parents and students.

This is the second email I've sent to Samuels in the last few months letting him know that I'm embarrassed to have voted for him.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Humphrey Institute Soap Opera

Christopher Mitchell, a student at the Humphrey Institute wrote a letter to the editor to the Strib disputing Dane Smith's coverage of the issue.

E-MAIL CONTROVERSY

Strib sinks to blog's level

The Star Tribune's Jan. 24 coverage of the e-mail seeking policy students from the Humphrey Institute to work with Al Franken was below the Star Tribune's standards. It was biased and misleading.

Its most outrageous claim is that Professor Sally Kenney was using "a taxpayer funded tool not available to competing campaigns. ... It crossed the line into clear advocacy." Not only are we, the students, tools available to competing campaigns, we welcome any relevant opportunities to do policy work regardless of partisan affiliation. If you have such an opportunity, contact Career Services in the Graduate Programs Office.

Additionally, the e-mail did not even approach "the line into clear advocacy."

From what I can tell, the Star Tribune essentially republished an existing story on a blog known for biased and shoddy reporting. If it attempted to gather actual facts related to the story, it failed.

As a blogger myself, I'm sorry to see the worst of print and online journalism combined in this manner.

CHRISTOPHER MITCHELL, ST. PAUL;
HUMPHREY INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS


Christopher also blogged about the issue on his personal blog, Shadow Eyes. I met with Christopher on Monday at lunch to talk with him about the situation.

Graham Lampa and Chris Mitchell comment over on the Drama Queen's post about the HHH listserv soap opera here.

According to Graham Lampa, the Dean of the Humphrey Institute claims he was misquoted by Dane Smith:

Dean Atwood of the Institute has assured me in a meeting I had with him today that Sally Kenney did not do anything wrong and that he was misquoted in the Star Tribune article–he was not upset with her actions but rather with *yours* (that he had to respond to this kind of baseless attack at all in the first place).


There's a Minnesota Daily article about all this also.

Sally Kenney was quoted:

Kenney identified herself as a "very modest supporter" of Franken but would not speak further at the request of Franken's campaign. An unnamed official announced Wednesday evening Franken's intention to run for U.S. Senate in 2008.

According to the Humphrey Institute's computing policy, the unmoderated personal listserv is "where you send For Sale, opinion e-mails or other personal items."

Kenney likened the listserv to a notice board.

"We don't censor for content and there has not been a policy that electoral politics is forbidden," she said, calling herself a "conduit for that kind of information."


It's interesting that the Franken campaign asked her not to comment in detail.

I'm quoted in the article also. I had subscribed to the list after I read the Strib and AP coverage to see what the listserv was about. A list manager had called me the next day to ask me why I wanted to get on the list, and I said it was because I had read about a message posted on the list from the AP and Strib story, and wanted to check things out for myself.

Governor Pawlenty to Appear at Legislative Luncheon with Minnesota Family Council

This
should be interesting:

Register today for Legislative Insights Luncheon with Governor Tim Pawlenty

Coming up on February 5th, 2007

With a new state legislature, the challenges to conservative principles and pro-family issues have increased. What's in store for the family? Please join Governor Tim Pawlenty and the Minnesota Family Council for our annual Legislative Insights Luncheon and get insights on several social and moral issues likely to come up in this legislative session:

*
Marriage and civil unions
*
Expansion of school choice opportunities
*
Promotion of a radical sexual agenda in schools
*
Early Childhood and Mental Health Screening
*
Embryonic Stem Cell Research
*
Parental Oversight of Children’s Medical Treatment

You can make a difference! Join us with the Governor and hear the latest on these issues, voice your opinions, and ask questions. Also, network with others to find out how you can get involved and find key resources to help.

Legislative Insights Luncheon with Governor Pawlenty:

Date / Time: Monday, February 5, 2007 from 12:00 -- 1:30 pm

Location:
Embassy Suites Hotel -- Saint Paul
1710 East 10th Street, Saint Paul, MN, 5510
Click Here for directions to the Embassy Suite

Menu: Club croissant, pasta salad, beverage, dessert
Tickets: $25 general admission; $15 for clergy
Deadline: January 29, 2007

To register, call Cheryl at 612-789-8811 ext. 202,

or e-mail Cheryl@mfc.org

Rep. Mark Olson at the Legislature Today

If legislators thought Rep. Mark Olson would keep quiet after his arrest for domestic assault, they were wrong... Olson isn't going quietly.

From Lawrence Schumacher's blog:

On the House floor Thursday, debating HF 110/ SF 38, which would ratify the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact:

Rep. Mark Olson, R-Big Lake, is arguing against the bill, saying he agrees with its goals -- preserving, conserving, restoring, improving and managing the waters of the Great Lakes -- but doesn't think it's legal.

The governors of every U.S. state and Canadian province bordering the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River signed the compact and their Legislatures are being asked to ratify them now.

"This bill is so serious. We are yielding jurisdiction of this state over to international courts," Olson said. "I've got so many red flags, I don't know what to do."


Olson tied up the Legislature for nearly 2 hours.

Rep. Ron Ehrhardt had something to say:

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Log Cabin Republicans of Minnesota Meeting Tomorrow

Monica Meyer from Outfront Minnesota will be the special guest. The scoop:

6:30 PM
Wilde Roaste Cafe
5th and E Hennepin
Thursday, February 1, 2007

Molly Ivins Dies of Cancer at 62


AP
:

Ivins died at her home while in hospice care, said David Pasztor, managing editor of the Texas Observer, where Ivins had once been co-editor.

Ivins made a living poking fun at politicians, whether they were in her home state of Texas or the White House. She revealed in early 2006 that she was being treated for breast cancer for the third time.

More than 400 newspapers subscribed to her nationally syndicated column, which combined strong liberal views and populist humor. Ivins' illness did not appear to hurt her ability to deliver biting one-liners.

"I'm sorry to say (cancer) can kill you, but it doesn't make you a better person," she said in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News in September, the same month cancer claimed her friend former Gov. Ann Richards.

To Ivins, "liberal" wasn't an insult term. "Even I felt sorry for
Richard Nixon when he left; there's nothing you can do about being born liberal — fish gotta swim and hearts gotta bleed," she wrote in a column included in her 1998 collection, "You Got to Dance With Them What Brung You."


I always enjoyed reading Ivins columns. She was an excellent writer.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Excellent Blog Worth a Regular Read

St Cloud Times reporter, Larry Schumacher has a blog and a podcast. It's worth making it a regular read.

Brian Lambert on Katherine Kertsten and the Strib

The Rake: I don't think she repre

During that race, Power Line and Kersten engaged in a symbiotic dance of predation, attacking DFL nominee Keith Ellison for everything short of selling crack to preschoolers. Follow Power Line regularly and you can't help but be struck by how often Johnson plugs the next day's Kersten column, usually as soon as it appears on the Star Tribune website. Johnson and Kersten have been friends for twenty years, and he usually refers to her as "Kathy" or "our good friend, Kathy." Nor can you miss how often Kersten's column echoes something recently posted on Power Line.

Conservative "pillow talk" is rampant. By my unofficial count as of early December 2006, Kersten had written approximately 135 columns and Power Line had lauded seventy-five of them. There has been no criticism. This coziness of both choice of topic and point of view lends itself to suspicion of a kind of mentor - pupil relationship - a notion that prompts a playful question from Johnson: "And so, which is which?" He goes on to say that "it is true that Kathy has written a number of columns off things she has read on Power Line. But no, there is no 'mentor-pupil' relationship. I don't direct her. I mention her column as often as I do only because I believe what she has written is of interest to a national audience."


I generally don't read Kersten. She reinforces the idea that conservative is synonymous with anti-gay.

Peter "Leatherboy" LaBarbera's Travel Guide


Here
.

Public Homosexual Sex–In a Location Near You?
Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Men are having perverted 'sex' with other men all over America–in parks, public restrooms (at places like department stores) and highway rest stops–i.e., in your community "backyard." There is a well-organized Internet networks that guides men on where to engage in their anonymous, sodomitic acts. Many of these men are not publicly "gay," or do not identify as homosexual, so they put their unkowing wives or girlfriends in danger of contracting sexually-transmitted diseases.

We'll tell you where these homosexual "public sex" spots are in your state, and what you can do about it.


I'm sure Peter will be sending a fundraising appeal to help him do his "research" on this.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Senate Democrats Block Vote on Gay Rights Legislation

Gay Patriot has the story.

What universe did we just get transported to? The one where a Republican Senator offers common sense, pro-gay legislation and where the Democrats stand in the way? The same universe that has seen gay people offer time and treasure to the Democrat Party for decades yet has gotten nothing in return except a Democrat President who signed off on two of the most anti-gay policies in our lifetime? Oh yeah…. we’ve been living in that universe already… silly me.

Bravo to new Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon for taking on the Democrats and standing with Senator Smith. Unfortunately (yet not surprisingly), the two self-important big national gay rights groups are silent on the issue.

The Hypocrite Rights Campaign is too busy wading into the “Grey’s Anatomy” scandal as well as advertising their XM Radio program. Interestingly, the HRC was all too vocal about the legislation last year when Smith and US Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced it to a Republican-controlled Senate. Now that the Democrats have the power, will HRC be satisfied? Probably.


I encourage people to contact both Amy Klobuchar and Mark Dayton about this one.

Mark Gisleson on Al Franken

Here.

Despite my initial enthusiasm at the prospect of having a Senatorial candidate who could shred Republican opponents in campaign debates, Al Franken has given me little reason thus far to excited about his inevitable candidacy. The anti-gay jokes from his Harvard years aren't helping, and Andy Birkey has the backstory.

Not a pleasant tale, and one that Franken should respond to very carefully. He was who he was, and it's hardly surprising that a former prep wrestler and comedy writer of that era would say such things. Amateur wrestlers, because of the enormously homoerotic nature of their sport, tend, in this country, to be incredible homophobes. If there is one thing they refuse to associate wrestling with, it's gay sex. [Note: I should have made it clear that I was speaking to MY experience with wrestling which covered the Dan Gable era from start to finish. I've since had some folks tell me that their experience was different. And I certainly have no clue what prep wrestling has been like since Gable, but Franken's wrestling career was decidedly during the early Gable era.]

Add to that the homophobic nature of the early '70s. It's hard to find a guy my age who wasn't thoroughly schooled in homophobic taunts. The question is whether you outgrow that cruel idiocy, or if you cling to the beliefs of your youth. Hardly a single politician of the WWII generation could credibly claim to having never said the n-word, but that doesn't mean that many of them didn't work heroically to put an end to institutionalized racism.

Franken needs to respond to these allegations, and he would serve himself well if he did so openly and candidly, and in front of a GLBT audience. It would behoove him to speak well of Knight, and to show real regret over his previous insensivity. And then, he needs to issue a statement affirming gay rights.

And that's just to remain viable. If he wants to be the frontrunner, he has a very long way to go because I'm just not hearing much good news about him from friends who encounter him at DFL and related functions. Right now, in a head to head with Amy Klobuchar, I think I might support Klobuchar. I'm not looking to run an assclown against Coleman, and it's about time Franken started proving that there's more to him than jokes and talk radio invective.


The Drama Queen makes the astute comparison to the Twinkie Defense. His commenters don't seem to get what the Twinkie defense was about.

While I think Andy Birkey is giving Franken too much slack, I do agree with him on this:

We can learn from this, however. Whether homosexuality agrees with you or not (the complex religious and social issues attached to the topic are intense), the issue of ending violence against people because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is one that most people agree with. I challenge those who are angered and blogging furiously about this joke to start debating how we end violence based on sexual orientation.


I'll disagree on this:

I expect the silence from conservatives and GOP operatives to be deafening.


If Andy would substitute "leviticus crowd theocrats" for "conservatives and GOP operatives", I would agree with him. For the record, from what I've seen, GOP party chair, Ron Carey falls into the theocrat category.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Linda Higgins to introduce bill to allow municipalities to offer Domestic Partner Benefits

I saw Senator Linda Higgins yesterday at the North Regional Library opening. She told me she had a bill drafted, and is looking for co-authors. I encourage Lloydletta readers to call their state senators and ask them to talk to Senator Higgins about signing on as a co-author to this bill.

I can't resist Kitten Videos

Library Board Member Responds to Council Member Samuels Claims

Lloydletta's Nooz posted an email from Council Member Don Samuels discussing his position on the libraries. From Library Board Trustee Laura Watterman Wittstock:

So when the library board, equally affected by cuts, came to us to be baled (sic) out, having not done its dirty work the way we did, having spared the public lashings and union discord we endured for our deep cuts to the public's safety.

I'm not precisely sure what is meant by not having done our "dirty work", but I am sure in saying that over 70 library staff, mostly union workers, were laid off in 2004 as a result of the LGA cuts, and in the ensuing period, the library board has had a very large number of members of the public who have come forward and spoken loudly on that outcome of insufficient money to run the library system. No other city system or parks system sustained the level of cuts the library system did. This shortage has continued to the present day, exacerbated by the fact that the city council renewed its policy to set a limit on the amount of revenue the library board could levy to run the library system. This limit imposed an artificial ceiling that did not take into account true costs.

Because the public voted for the referendum pre LGA cuts, the library board post LGA cuts was accused of being too debt ridden and too operating dollars poor. The Hobson's choice proffered was the forced closing of three libraries in the most needy sections of town in exchange for some reduction in the debt. This is tantamount to burning the furniture to keep warm.

Further, after imposing the limit on new revenues for the library system, the city placed a fee on the library's budget for city services. Presumably, the limit included such fees, but no, they were imposed on top of the limit. We thus not only had less revenue, what we had was being charged additionally out of the remaining money.

CM Samuels needs to be aware of this history, aware of city council policy, and aware of the tremendous value the library system has to the well being, quality of life, and public safety of the city.

If the city loses its library system in a consolidation with Hennepin County, it won't be long before other services go on the block. Localism, as we know, is under siege all around the country. At the very least, the city should know what it is doing in these circumstances. Ignorance would be inexcusable.