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Saturday, March 24, 2007

HRC Redux

A couple days ago I commented on the Blogger v HRC catfight.

Commenter Tim adds:

being in DC this weekend I paged through the blade on the metro. Its hardly a "fair and balanced" (whatever that means) article as it conveniently doesn't address one key point - that the HRC is an organization that rated poorly among charities for its use of its resources. I used to give enough to qualify for "federal club" membership until they decided to purchase the building in DC (one that I'll not be visiting this weekend). I don't believe giving to HRC is an effective use of anyone's money because of partisanship, lack of any real leadership, and boondoggles like the building.

I have never been a federal club member of HRC. I have given them $50 or $100 from time to time, and have never attended one of their dinners. I'm not about to pay $175.00 for a political dinner if there aren't substantive political speakers.

Queerty covers HRC's response to Sullivan on the charity point. The Blade blog defends HRC on the building issue.

Charity navigator gives HRC a poor score.

If Charity navigator is correct on this point, this is a problem.

Opt-out: We have determined that this charity has a privacy policy which requires you to tell the charity to remove your name and contact information from mailing lists it sells, trades or shares. Opt-out terms and conditions vary from one charity to the next, but all require the donor to initiate the act.

Gay organizations used to be fairly protective of the privacy of their members and donors.

The Where most needed blog critiques the Charity Navigator report.

That was followed up with criticism of salaries "that would make corporate America blush." The salary claim is quite true but not in the way that's implied: no corporate CEO of a $33 million advocacy outfit would be caught dead earning $247,077 in salary and $32,100 in benefits earned by Cheryl Jacques of HRC. For comparison, Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (EIN 52-1243457 Form 990) pulled down $633,000 in salary and $258,000 in benefits in the most recent year available (and four other officers are listed with salaries ranging from $321,000 to $390,000). Grover Norquist makes $167,000 a year for his half-time job at Americans for Tax Reform (EIN 52-1403587 Form 990), which is roughly a tenth the size of HRC.

And then things degenerated. A follow-up post (Judging HRC) called attention to a Charity Navigator rating that gave HRC zero stars for efficiency. Trouble is, Charity Navigator doesn't rate 501(c)(4) lobbying organizations. You won't find the NRA on Charity Navigator. What you find instead is this:

We don't evaluate National Rifle Association.
Why not? We don't evaluate 501(c)(4) organizations because they are allowed to spend a substantial portion of their revenue on lobbying our government and not every donation to them is tax-deductible.

So what Charity Navigator lists (and the subject of its damning rating) is the HRC Foundation, which only accounts for about 20% of the organization's overall spending. If you were to combine the 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4), as we have done on the right (click to open), HRC would earn two stars on fundraising efficiency. Not as good as the NRA, but darn good for an organization advancing an unpopular cause. And it's all just pointless abuse: people don't decide whether to support an advocacy organization on the basis of its financial ratios.

Bilerico discusses HRC's poor record with Charity Navigator. A commenter adds:

I have long suspected that HRC is an inefficient org --- however, there are two problems when one complains: (1) insiders accuse you of "eating your children" (i.e. attacking your friends and allies) and "pissing on the trees" (i.e. encouraging political turf wars) instead of "focusing on the real enemy," and (2) as bad as HRC is, it is the best organization of its type that the nationwide GLBT population segment has produced to date --- or at least, in recent decades.

I have problems when organizations that claim to represent the GLBT community, expect that members of the community just shut up, and not speak up for ourselves.

NARNian Nonsense

The NARNians are now ranting about the flying imam story. They are also talking about the cab drivers refusing to take passengers who have bottles of liquor in their luggage, and the cashiers who don't want to scan pork. It goes without saying they failed to mention the pharmacists who want to refuse to dispense prescriptions they don't approve of.

It's nonsense that cab drivers should be able to refuse to take passengers who have bottles of liquor in their luggage, and cashiers are able to refuse to scan pork products for religious reasons. This is similar to the nonsense of pharmacists refusing to fill contraceptive and emergency contraceptive prescriptions.

It's interesting how the anti-muslim crowd are pushing their outrage from the stories about the cab drivers, the flying imams and the cashiers to push the "all muslims are terrorists" meme. The same crowd didn't have any outrage about the pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception who claim their religion tells them not to do it. I don't know how it's "christian" to refuse to fill a prescription for emergency contraception for a rape victim.

On the pharmacist issue, I think attitudes will change should pharmacists start refusing to fill viagra prescriptions for moral reasons.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Blade Blog on the Blogger v HRC Catfight

There's a balanced and thoughtful report about the piling on HRC by many bloggers over at the Blade blog. I'll agree to a point. I think what's unforgivable, is HRC deepsixed support for those fighting anti-gay amendments in the states in favor of giving invisible support to various democrats running in congressional and senate races.

The gay blogosphere has received much attention in recent weeks following a barrage of criticism that the Human Rights Campaign is ineffective, its executives overpaid and that it is beholden to the Democratic Party.

To drive home just how frivolous HRC has become, blogger Andrew Sullivan and others posted images of some of the merchandise the gay group sells to promote itself, including pink stuffed animals.

Sullivan and Co. conveniently ignore the fact that all non-profits sell such silly items. You can buy an “NRA infant bib,” a Second Amendment wall clock or lovely logo earrings from the National Rifle Association, for example. Selling branded merchandise is not diverting HRC resources from loftier pursuits.

What is noteworthy about all the recent fuss is that HRC is taking it from all sides — Sullivan on the right (though he cannot be fairly described as a partisan Republican) and Michael Petrelis and Pam Spaulding on the left. Some of their criticisms are valid, while others seem shrill and gratuitous, like the attacks on HRC’s cuddly stuffed animals. The truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle.

Go read the whole thing.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

John Kline Finally Will Meet With Constituents

It sounds like it will be quite the circus.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Stadium Boondoggle Update

Check out the Strib for more.

Bell says things are going well, Mike Opat isn't so sure:

"We believe there's a process in place that will allow the condemnation process to move forward," Bell said after his TV and radio appearances. "To be honest, I would not be here [in Florida] if I wasn't comfortable that things are going well."

Bell added that the unveiling of designs for the $522 million, 40,000-seat ballpark, which was postponed in February because of a much-publicized impasse over the land sale, has been rescheduled for April 5.

But Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, the lead stadium negotiator for the county board, said late Tuesday that it would be premature to say a deal to move forward with the ballpark's construction had been reached.

"I'm more confident than I've been, but we're not done," Opat said, adding that negotiations were continuing.

The Strib also has an online poll on the topic. Seems like the Twins have gotten their people to vote in the poll.

Gay Related Bills Move Through Minnesota Legislature

Andy at Eleventh Avenue South and Minnesota Monitor has a good wrapup.

Latest DFL Income Tax Increase for High Incomes

The latest version starts at over 200K for singles. That's quite a bit different than starting at $70,000 that Mindy Greiling was proposing.

There are also tons of proposals for various tax credits and deductions. I appreciate that Tax Chair Ann Lenczewski is cool to those ideas.

The one idea that will help Minneapolis more than restoring local government aid, is to make sure municipalities are exempt from the sales tax. Right now they aren't. As I understand it, Minneapolis and Hennepin County pay more into the State through sales tax, than we get back through LGA.

The current system is great for politicians who like to pass the buck and blame other units of government for problems.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

City Pages on Cragan & Shields; "Are Their Numbers Reliable?

Mike Mosedale has the story at the City Pages.

Lloydletta broke this story and concluded HERE and HERE that Cragan & Shields were without any evidence that Mayor Rybak was investigated by the FBI.

Former US Attorney Tom Heffelfinger has this comment:

"Rybak should be pissed off," Heffelfinger says. "That's irresponsible for someone to publish something like that."

I agree... 'nuff said.

Hospital Visitation and State DP Bills Move Through Legislature

Outfront Minnesota:

Monica Meyer, Public Policy Director, 612-822-0127 ext. 115
C. Scott Cooper, Legislative Lobbyist, 651-260-9950
Jo Marsicano, Communications Director, 612-822-0127 ext. 106

************FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**********


Monica Meyer, Public Policy Director, 612-822-0127 ext. 115

C. Scott Cooper, Legislative Lobbyist, 651-260-9950

Jo Marsicano, Communications Director, 612-822-0127 ext. 106

March 20th, 2007

Hospital Visitation Bill Moves Ahead

(St. Paul) A bill to allow same-sex couples to freely visit each other in the hospital is headed to a vote in the Minnesota House of Representatives. On Monday, March 19th, the House Health and Human Services Committee voted 10 to 5 to approve the bill HF 1589 (SF 1398).

Compelling testimony was given by J. Lindsay Flint, whose partner was denied access to the emergency room where Lindsay was with their two-year-old son as he was suffering from pneumonia. “I am scared because I know my son is very ill and not able to breathe. The last thing I want to be doing is justifying why we both had the right to be in this room. The last thing I was thinking about was needing to prove our relationship to our son,” she told lawmakers.

“This is basic human mercy and common sense,” said committee member Representative Paul Thissen. “We want to provide a mechanism for people at a terrible time to visit their domestic partner. I think that’s something that resonates with most Minnesotans.”

Fortunately, the committee rejected efforts by conservatives to remove the words “domestic partner” from the legislation, and passed the bill as it was originally written.

The bill awaits a hearing in the Senate.

It was Rep. Tom Emmer who tried to amend the bill. I'm not suprised.

March 20th, 2007

Hospital Visitation and State Employee Domestic Partner Benefits Bills To Be Heard at Capitol Wednesday March 21st

What: Hospital Visitation Bill SF 1398 / HF 1589

Where: Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee, Room 15 State Capitol

When: 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 21st

Bill would: Allow hospitalized persons to designate a domestic partner as next of kin for purposes of hospital visitation and assistance with medical decision making.

Why the bill is needed: To protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Minnesotans from being barred from their loved ones during the time and place where they are needed most.

What: State Domestic Partnership Bill HF 1618 / SF 1369

Where: House Health and Human Services Committee, Room 200 State Office Building

When: 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 21st

Bill would: Restore domestic partner benefits for state employees which were withdrawn by the legislature in 2003.

Why the bill is needed: To reinstate benefits parity among state employees.

OutFront Minnesota is an advocacy, direct services, and public policy organization for the GLBT and allied community.

Leading Minnesota Toward GLBT Equality. Celebrating Our 20th Year.

McCain Going Off the Deep End

New York Times Caucus Blogs:

Reporter: “Should U.S. taxpayer money go to places like Africa to fund contraception to prevent AIDS?”

Mr. McCain: “Well I think it’s a combination. The guy I really respect on this is Dr. Coburn. He believes – and I was just reading the thing he wrote– that you should do what you can to encourage abstinence where there is going to be sexual activity. Where that doesn’t succeed, than he thinks that we should employ contraceptives as well. But I agree with him that the first priority is on abstinence. I look to people like Dr. Coburn. I’m not very wise on it.”

(Mr. McCain turns to take a question on Iraq, but a moment later looks back to the reporter who asked him about AIDS.)

Mr. McCain: “I haven’t thought about it. Before I give you an answer, let me think about. Let me think about it a little bit because I never got a question about it before. I don’t know if I would use taxpayers’ money for it.”

Q: “What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”

Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”

Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”

Mr. McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it.”

Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”

Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”

I'm sure he'll get more questions on these issues.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bigotry or Satire?

Garrison Keillor in Salon waxes eloquent about the good old days.

Dan Savage says bigotry here.

Keillor really didn’t come to praise heterosexual marriage and monogamy. He came to bury gay couples—particularly gay couples with children.

And now gay marriage will produce a whole new string of hyphenated relatives. In addition to the ex-stepson and ex-in-laws and your wife’s first husband’s second wife, there now will be Bruce and Kevin’s in-laws and Bruce’s ex, Mark, and Mark’s current partner, and I suppose we’ll get used to it.

The country has come to accept stereotypical gay men—sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers and go in for flamboyance now and then themselves. If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control. Parents are supposed to stand in back and not wear chartreuse pants and black polka-dot shirts. That’s for the kids. It’s their show.

Oh. My. God.

Where to start? How about that one sentence that somehow manages to pack in six flaming stereotypes about gay men—fussy hair, small dogs, over-decorated apartments, and on and on. Yes, Garrison, all of us gay men—particularly us gay parents!—are decadent, flamboyant creatures. Sure, having kids means puke on your chartreuse trousers and candy ground into your expensive sofa—but, hey, those are small prices to pay if it means getting to show off your chartreuse pants at PTA meetings!

What an asshole. Asshole, asshole, asshole. What Keillor wrote today on Salon is every bit as offensive as Ann Coulter’s “faggot” joke about John Edwards and relies on the same set of cultural prejudices.

I know a lot of gay couples with children—some of which, as I type these words, are losing their health insurance in Michigan because of an anti-gay marriage amendment passed in that state by hateful motherfuckers who, like Keillor, hate, fear and know nothing about gay couples. None of the gay couples with kids I know go in for chartreuse pants and polka-dot shirts or striped (?) sofas.

Most of the gay male parents I know adopted children that men and women in “opposite-sex marriages” weren’t interested in—children with HIV, older children, mixed-race children, children with developmental disabilities, children abused, neglected and abandoned by their heterosexual parents. Every year I go to Michigan for Gay Family Week in Saugatuck and I’m staggered by the love, patience, and compassion demonstrated by these men. These couples deserve our gratitude and support. What they don’t deserve is a rich, old hypocrite insinuating that they’re more interested in their fussy hairdos and over-decorated apartments than they are in raising their kids.

And Garrison? Ultimately gay parents aren’t interested in being “accepted as couples and daddies” by withered old adulterers. We exist irrespective of your “acceptance.” And if I seem angry, you fucking motherfucker, it’s because I am. Angered and shocked. I’m used to being attacked by right-wingers obsessed with gay sex and fixated on anti-gay stereotypes. It’s a new and different sensation to be attacked so crudely by a man of the left—particularly when that man’s fat ass squats in a large glass house.

Letter writers to Salon suggest this was satire. If satire, it is satire of the Al Franken type.

If it is satire...then he has failed

I don't think it is entirely satire b/c of his penchant for glorifying "down-homeness." If it were meant to be, he is rubbing to close to stereotypes that his whole schtick has been built upon and thus he fails.

Admittedly, Keillor is too smart to be entirely serious about this commentary, but there is enough of a kernel of truth in it (the fact that it resonates with me on some level, for instance) that it crosses the line from satire's fantasy realm (ala Swift) and becomes didactic rather than ironic.

So, if it is meant to be purely is not very good.

-- blueturtle

Get Your Rage On!

Far be it from me to get personal or judgemental about other letter writers, but please re-read the article. I see nearly everyone raging at how Mr. Keillor hates gays, or believes the world has gone to hell because it isn't like the good old days. It ain't there, people.

Mr. Keillor contrasts the way it was when he grew up "before pizza!" and I remember those days myself. I grew up in the same neighborhood as Lake Woebegon. His description sounds superficially like the same good old days that the wingnuts are obsessed by - but read more closely. Mr. Keillor is not worshipping those days, like the mouth breathers do. He's satirizing them. Obviously, not "everyone" had the house with garage and yard, one mommy and daddy back then. He knows that, and assumes you do, too. Similarly, when he talks about the multi-ethnic classroom, he's not condemning it - like the freepers - he sounds amazed and thrilled by the radical change from the near-monoculture of his youth.

And when he pokes fun at the complexities of serial monogamist marriages - hey, he's entitled. He's been there himself. It's not hypocrisy, it's experience. By extending the relative nomenclature analogy to GLBT marriages, why do you assume he's opposed to them? Read it again. Figure it out.

Mr. Keillor isn't condemning the way the US has changed, he's embracing it, in his own dryly humorous way.

It's too bad so many of you just use his columns to get your mad on. Go read an article that talks about Israel, and flame about it, for a change.

-- Zandru

Ann Coulter's defense of her remark was also a satire defense.

The Black Helicopters are Circling....

DFL Communications Director, Jess McIntosh got a new gig working for Al Franken. Now the Black Helicopters are circling over at the Drama Queen's pad.

Progressive Phoenix Woman Gives MN Publius Credit for Exposing Brodkorb's Identity

Over at FiredogLake:

Phoenix Woman says:
March 17th, 2007 at 8:39 am

Balrog @ 2

PW, you should add to the list.

Thanks, ‘rog. I was trying to keep the post relatively short — we’re on a word diet and I’ve been one of the worst offenders!
Quote This Comment
Phoenix Woman says:
March 17th, 2007 at 8:41 am

puppethead @ 4

I’m in Minnesota as well, so I’d like to also recommend MN Publius.

Yup — IIRC, Pub was the blog that broke the news that Brodkorb (a paid GOP operative) was behind Minnesota Democrats Exposed.

Lloydletta's Nooz broke this story several months before Blois Olson went to court over this.