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Saturday, May 05, 2007


Residual Forces:

I’ve been contacted by another blog (of sorts) to give my input on all things Minnesota politics with a GOP focus.

I’m just working on the final spit polish on my answers for the ‘rent a’ blogger.

It was quite fun putting this together, and I bet it will make a real big splash.

In the mean time, have sugar daddy make the Check out to ‘triple_a’

More later...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dale Carpenter Reacts to Bush's Planned Veto of Hate Crimes Bill

Carpenter always provides interesting analysis.

Bush to veto expanded hate-crimes law:

The bill passed the House today, 237-180. It goes on to the Senate. A statement released by the administration says that Bush's senior advisors will recommend a veto. That's not quite the same as saying he will veto it, but it's pretty close. If he does, it would be the third of his presidency, after stem cells and a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. The text of the bill is here.

The administration's given reasons are that the law is unnecessary, an intrusion on federalism, and constitutionally questionable as an exercise of federal power. I expressed similar reservations in a post here about the bill two months ago. To its credit, the administration is avoiding the common and I think mistaken complaint that the bill would punish speech and thought. Anti-gay organizations, like Concerned Women for America, will certainly be happy about this. But their glee is insufficient reason to support the bill.

Andrew Sullivan, who like me opposes hate crimes laws as a general matter, complains that Bush's veto of this bill represents a double-standard under which gays are just about the only commonly victimized group left out of the special protection federal law already provides. That might in fact be the sort of pandering to anti-gay bigotry that's going on here and, if so, the administration deserves to be criticized not for the veto but for the malign motive behind it.

The problem with this criticism, however, is that the bill does much more than simply add "sexual orientation" to the existing federal law on hate crimes passed in 1968. It's a whole new statute. Protecting gays is only one element, though the most publicized. The bill considerably expands federal jurisdiction over hate crimes in general, for all categories, by eliminating the current requirement that the crime occur while the victim is engaged in a federally protected activity. That jurisdictional limitation has kept federal involvement very limited in an area where state authority has traditionally reigned. The new law also calls for more federal resources to be expended on all classes of hate crimes. The veto of an amendment merely adding sexual orientation to existing federal law would pretty clearly reflect an anti-gay double-standard. A veto of this much more comprehensive bill does not.

Carpenter gets into the nub of the issue on the motivations behind groups like HRC's advocacy of this bill.

More analysis by Carpenter here.

No doubt national gay-rights groups are looking for some kind of win early in the new Congress to show long-suffering donors they can be effective. Winning on hate crimes may also reassure members of Congress that they can vote for a pro-gay bill without serious repercussion. Other important issues — like a federal employment protection bill and repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" — are on the horizon. An "anti-crime" measure is the easiest first step to take and may actually get President Bush's signature, leading to more progress later.

But I am concerned that passing this seemingly symbolic bill may instead give the new Congress a "pass" — freeing it to avoid the harder and far more consequential questions of employment, military service, and protecting gay families in the law. These are all issues about which Congress really can do something of practical value.

Tommy Thompson Retracts Debate Statement

This is what he said at the debate:

He now says that he believes employers should not be allowed to fire people based on sexual orientation. Americablog:

Tommy Thompson says employers shouldn't be permitted to fire gays, compares homophobia to racism
by John Aravosis (DC) · 5/04/2007 12:47:00 PM ET
Discuss this post here: Comments (79) · digg it · reddit · FARK · · Link

Good for him. It'll probably be the kiss of death for his primary race, but GOP presidential primary challenger Tommy Thompson deserves our praise for saying the right thing. You'll recall that there was some confusion after the debate last night when Thompson first said that it would be okay for an employer to fire an employee simply because they're gay, then after the debate he appeared to backtrack. Well, now Thompson has come clean and said that it is not okay for an employer to fire someone simply because they're gay, that Wisconsin (where he was governor) has a law on the books banning such employment discrimination, he supports the law, and then he went on to compare prejudice against gays to prejudice against blacks (Coretta Scott King agrees with him).

The question still remains whether, at the federal level, Thompson supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would ban discrimination against gays in the workplace. But either way, Thompson just signed his death warrant with the religious right. Not that that means he can't win the election. He's an underdog, to be sure, but I think Republicans are going to start realizing two things:

- First, the bigots running the religious right do not represent the majority of evangelical Christians (i.e., most Christians in America don't spend their days figuring out who next to hate); and

- Second, the religious right is quickly becoming the third-rail of American politics. Embrace them and die at the general elections. They're kind of nutty, and definitely mean - and people have had enough of nutty, mean leaders.

Here's Thompson's clarification to CNN this morning:

THOMPSON: I made a mistake. I misinterpreted the question. I thought that I answered it yes when I should have answered it no. I didn't hear, I didn't hear the question properly and I apologize. It's not my position. There should be no discrimination in the workplace and I have never believed that. And, in fact, Wisconsin has one of the first laws, which I supported.


THOMPSON: So, I just made a mistake and that's all I can say. I'm sorry and I misinterpreted the question and I answered yes, when it should have been no.... It's not my position, it never has been. I have always been against discrimination and prejudice. In fact if you would have listened to the debate, they asked me a question about racism and I said that the president of the United States, whoever he is, has to take the point and has to be the person that does not allow discrimination or racism in any degree, whatsoever.

Gay Republicans in Wisconsin were fans of Thompson when he was governor. Jason Lewis was ranting about this on his radio show tonight.

My Letter to Representative Kahn and Senator Pogemiller

Representative Kahn-

I am writing you and Senator Pogemiller today to express my sheer disappointment in you and your cauccus. You, and the DFL have claim to be on the side of Gay Rights. You have collected money from us and you have asked us to help get you elected. In fact, earlier this session you and I spoke over the phone regarding this bill and the hospital visitation and I was encouraged by your alleged commitment to GLBT rights. Now I read in today's paper that you and the DFL have capituated to the Governor's veto threat and removed domestic partner benefits from a spending bill.

Why in the hell would you do that? You and your cauccus need to get a backbone and stand up for what is RIGHT, not what is politically convenient. Why would to stand up to the Governor's veto threat over raising taxes but bend over when it comes to our rights? Is getting money and power more important than protecting a large portion of your constituency? I voted for you in 2006 because I thought that you would stand up for principle, not politics. You have disappointed me, but more than that you have lost my vote in the next election. In fact, should I continue to reside in your district you may even face a challenge by me for your seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives. I understand that you don't set the legislative agend for the cauccus, but that doesn't exempt you from the responsibilty to stand up and speak out against your party leaders. What is more important, the party or the people? The deafening silence by many DFLers shows that party is more important.

Why should we continue to support you and your party? I see no reason. The questions posed in this email are not rhetorical, I do look forward to hearing your response.

Respectfully disappointed-

David Joseph De Grio
SE Como

Outfront Minnesota on DP Benefits Action

I asked communications director Jo Marciano for Outfront's response.

OutFront Minnesota responded to the committee vote last night. We're disappointed in the vote of the conference committee. We understand the need of the conferees to agree on final language they believe will be more likely to solicit the governor's signature rather than a veto. We also are focused on the fact that domestic partner benefits opponents, not supporters, are the underlying threat. The department of employee relations has seriously inflated cost estimates, even when the bill was contained to same-sex partners only. During 2001-2003 the cost of providing domestic partner benefits to same-sex state employees was an estimated $200,000, something a former Ventura commissioner referred to as "budget dust."

Opponents indulged in windy arguments about threatening "marriage" and even "discriminating against married people" which had no real relevance to the issue.

Jo confirmed to me that the municipal domestic partner benefits are still in the bill.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

MN House DFL Sez: We Support GLBT Rights, Unless Somebody Objects

From Minnesota Public Radio's May 3rd Legislative Update:

Other signs of progress included a House-Senate deal on a $551.7 million bill for several state agencies and basic government operations. The price tag is about $30 million lower than the same category in the present two-year budget.

Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, said it's unclear whether the bill will get by Pawlenty.

"We answered or tried to answer every objection the governor has made," Kahn said. "I would be very pleased if he doesn't veto it. If he does veto it, I would hope he would be more specific about what he opposes."

In a major concession, majority Democrats backed off a plan to require health benefits for domestic partners of state employees, which got tangled in a fight over gay rights because same-sex partners would qualify.

Instead, the state would study the cost of insuring "significant individuals," which could include an employee's live-in sister or elderly parent. Kahn said lawmakers want the study by January so the issue can be revisited next session. The state government bill sets aside $750,000 to keep a proposed Capitol renovation alive. Another $4 million could be included in other legislation this year, Kahn said.

What the hell?

Rep. Phyllis Kahn, Speaker and Stadium Swindle Supporter Margaret Anderson Kelliher and the rest of the House DFL Caucus had better stop accepting endorsements, money, and volunteer help from the Stonewall DFL, Outfront, HRC, and another other homo-funded cash cow you'd like to name.

What on earth was the purpose of the Outfront rally at the Capitol? Why does the Stonewall DFL caucus exist?

Folks, if you're gay and donating money to support DFL candidates, just remember that you'll be abandoned (again) at the first hint of trouble.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Nick Coleman Says It Well


As Hatch was jumping out a window, I was sitting in the attorney general's reception room, waiting for Hatch or Swanson to talk to me and reading a copy of "Fun with Dick and Jane," which I found on the coffee table and which was not as exciting as when I read it the first time in 1957.

Mike and Lori did not talk. Mike and Lori were not having fun. But someone dropped a press release in my lap: Hatch, behaving like a gentleman after all these years, was quitting.

General Swanson (that's what Hatch called her in his letter of resignation) was handpicked by Hatch to run for his old job as he tried to move up to governor. But he lost after blowing his cool and calling a pesky reporter "a Republican whore" (the preferred slur is "jackal"). Then he called in his chits and set up shop again in the attorney general's office, as Special Assistant Svengali.

In normal times, such a dumb move would have drawn more criticism. But we are in a time of so many dumb moves that it took months for Swanson's decision to name her old boss to head the Rasputin Section of the AG's office to rise to the top of the Dumb List.

When it got there, it didn't stand up to scrutiny. At all.

Hatch's refusal to shut up and go away, which is the moral obligation of a defeated candidate for governor, was creepy. Swanson, who is 40, is a grown woman and won election all by her little ol' lonesome. Keeping the 58-year-old Mad Mike around was a prescription for trouble, obvious to everyone but the two people involved. Like letting your ex-husband stay in the basement for the sake of the kids. After a while, nobody wants a thing in the basement. Not even the kids.

Hatch's extended tour was a disaster for Swanson, who faces a staff in rebellion, is at odds with a public employees union that endorsed her campaign and is facing calls for a legislative investigation into how the public's law office has been managed, or mismanaged.

An investigation is warranted, and Hatch's belated resignation should not prevent one.

It was an icky resignation, by the way, with Swanson and Hatch blowing kisses at each other: "Your administration has been fantastic," Hatch oozed in his statement. "Mike Hatch was a fantastic attorney general," she said.

We are becoming fantastically nauseated.

Inside the Lexington Restaurant on Grand Avenue, where St. Paul insiders hobnob and Swanson and Hatch lunched together, you can get an idea of who is up and who is down in St. Paul by perusing the rogues' gallery of celebrities, politicians and personalities in the corridor by the men's room.

Yesterday, there was a photo of Swanson on one wall and one of Hatch on the other. Each said: "Attorney General."

There you have it: There were too many Generals in the attorney general's office.

Now that the cannons have done their work, it is time for Lori Swanson to show whether she can handle the job on her own. At the moment, the jury is out.

Hate Crimes Legislation

Both sides are using straw man arguments addressing their opponents on this bill.

I expect Norm Coleman will be voting in favor of this bill. He told me he supported such legislation when he met with me and one other representative from the local chapter of Log Cabin Republicans. I told him that while I personally opposed hate crimes legislation, that Log Cabin Republicans - like most of the mainstream gay organizations - supports hate crimes legislation.

The hysterical bleating by the theocrats that this bill bans "thought crimes" is nonsense.

The vote will be tomorrow. I just got an email from Peter LaBarbera asking people to call President Bush to make a high profile speech against this bill. I doubt Bush will do any such thing. Why should he? Where are LaBarbera et al going to go?

What Would the Speech Be About?


I would hope that no commencement speech, Catholic school or not, would discuss embryos and reproduction.

Catholic school won't let senator speak at daughter's graduation

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) - An invitation to Sen. Claire McCaskill to speak at her daughter's graduation from a Roman Catholic high school was withdrawn because of her positions on abortion and stem cell research.

Students at all-girls St. Joseph's Academy in the St. Louis suburb of Frontenac wanted to have McCaskill speak at their commencement this month, McCaskill spokeswoman Adrianne Marsh said Tuesday.

But the offer was rescinded last week. The president of St. Joseph's, Sister Michaela Zahner, said she reluctantly made the decision after receiving a call from the St. Louis Archdiocese.

McCaskill narrowly defeated Republican incumbent Sen. Jim Talent last November in a race in which embryonic stem cell research was a key issue. A McCaskill ad featuring actor Michael J. Fox - swaying noticeably from the effects of Parkinson's disease - drew nationwide attention.

Marsh said the senator, a Catholic, understands that her positions supporting abortion rights and stem cell research are different from those held by the church.

The senator was told by the school that the decision came from Archbishop Raymond Burke, Marsh said.

"I'm disappointed that the archbishop has made this decision,'' McCaskill said in a statement. "It does not diminish my respect and admiration for St. Joseph's Academy, their faculty, and students.''

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese, Anne Steffens, said the decision was not made by the archbishop. But Zahner said an archdiocese policy forbidding a public forum for speakers who diverge from church teaching clearly reflects Burke's position.

While St. Joseph's is a private, rather than an archdiocesan school, it receives its right to be identified as a Catholic institution through the archdiocese, Zahner said, adding that rescinding the invitation "was a very hard decision.''

If you don't expose yourself to people with differing views, they don't really exist, do they?

Is global warming a sin?

This article, written by Alexander Cockburn appeared in "The Nation" and "The Free Press". I found it rather interesting. As a scientist I have cautiously observed the fight over global warming. Right now I see two camps, the extreme left who say "it is a FACT that global warming is caused by human activity" and the extreme right who say "it is arrogant to think that we humans can have such a profound impact upon God's creation, global warming isn't happening, let alone the result of human activity. Look at this year, it's cooler than last year, hell today is the coldest day on record for this date." The funny part is that each side of the argument is completely clueless when it comes to science. The left lacks the understanding to know the difference between a scientific hypothesis, a scientific theory and a scientific law. The right lacks the ability to comprehend the difference between one data point and the trend over a series of data points.

Yes, the Earth is warming. We can show that. What is the cause? There are many credible scientists who disagree with the answer to that question, I find it interesting that the 'other side' is finally starting to creep its way into the realm of public discussion.

Now, the article.
In a couple of hundred years historians will be comparing the frenzies over our supposed human contribution to global warming to the tumults at the latter end of the Tenth Century as the Christian millennium approached. Then as now, the doomsters identified human sinfulness as the propulsive factor in the planet's rapid downward slide.

Then, as now, a buoyant market throve on fear. The Roman Catholic Church sold indulgences like checks. The sinners established a line of credit against bad behavior and could go on sinning. Today a world market in "carbon credits" is in formation. Those whose "carbon footprint" is small can sell their surplus carbon credits to others less virtuous than themselves.

The modern trade is as fantastical as the medieval one. There is still zero empirical evidence that anthropogenic production of carbon dioxide is making any measurable contribution to the world's present warming trend. The greenhouse fearmongers rely on unverified, crudely oversimplified models to finger mankind's sinful contribution -- and carbon trafficking, just like the old indulgences, is powered by guilt, credulity, cynicism and greed.

Now imagine two lines on a piece of graph paper. The first rises to a crest, then slopes sharply down, levels off and rises slowly once more. The other has no undulations. It rises in a smooth, slow arc. The first wavy line is the worldwide CO2 tonnage produced by humans burning coal, oil and natural gas. It starts in 1928, at 1.1 gigatons (i.e., 1.1 billion metric tons), and peaks in 1929 at 1.17 gigatons. The world, led by its mightiest power, plummets into the Great Depression and by 1932, human CO2 production has fallen to 0.88 gigatons a year, a 30 percent drop. Then, in 1933, the line climbs slowly again, up to 0.9 gigatons.

And the other line, the one ascending so evenly? That's the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, parts per million (ppm) by volume, moving in 1928 from just under 306, hitting 306 in 1929, 307 in 1932 and on up. Boom and bust, the line heads up steadily. These days it's at 380. The two lines on that graph proclaim that a whopping 30 percent cut in manmade CO2 emissions didn't even cause a 1 ppm drop in the atmosphere's CO2. It is thus impossible to assert that the increase in atmospheric CO2 stems from people burning fossil fuels.

I met Martin Hertzberg, Ph.D., the man who drew that graph and those conclusions, back in 2001. Hertzberg was a meteorologist for three years in the U.S. Navy, an occupation that gave him a lifelong mistrust of climate modeling. Trained in chemistry and physics, a combustion research scientist for most of his career, he's retired now in Copper Mountain, Colo., but still consults from time to time.

Not so long ago, Hertzberg sent me some of his recent papers on the global warming hypothesis, a thesis now accepted by many progressives as infallible as Papal dogma on matters of faith. Among them was the graph described above, so devastating to the hypothesis.

As Hertzberg readily acknowledges, the CO2 content of the atmosphere has increased about 21 percent in the past century. The world has also been getting just a little warmer. The not very reliable data on the world's average temperature (which omit data from most of the world's oceans and remote regions, while overrepresenting urban areas) show about a 0.5 degree Celsius increase between 1880 and 1980, and still rising. But is CO2, at 380 ppm in the atmosphere, playing a significant role in retaining the 94 percent of solar radiation that the atmosphere absorbs, as against water vapor, also a powerful heat absorber, whose content in a humid tropical atmosphere can be as high as 20,000 ppm? As Hertzberg says, water in the form of oceans, snow, ice cover, clouds and vapor "is overwhelming in the radiative and energy balance between the earth and the sun. … Carbon dioxide and the greenhouse gases are, by comparison, the equivalent of a few farts in a hurricane." And water is exactly that component of the earth's heat balance that the global warming computer models fail to account for.

It's a notorious inconvenience for the Greenhousers that data also show carbon dioxide concentrations from the Eocene period, 20 million years before Henry Ford trundled out his first model T, 300 to 400 percent higher than current concentrations. The Greenhousers deal with other difficulties like the medieval warming period's higher-than-today temperatures by straightforward chicanery, misrepresenting tree ring data (themselves an unreliable guide) and claiming the warming was a local European affair.

We're warmer now because today's world is in the thaw that follows the recent ice age. Ice ages correlate with changes in the solar heat we receive, all due to predictable changes in the earth's elliptic orbit around the sun and in the earth's tilt. As Hertzberg explains, the clinical heat effect of all of these variables was worked out in great detail between 1915 and 1940 by Milutin Milankovitch, a giant of Twentieth Century astrophysics. In past post-glacial cycles, as now, the earth's orbit and tilt give us more and longer summer days between the equinoxes.

Water covers 71 percent of the surface of the planet. As compared to the atmosphere, there's a hundred times more CO2 in the oceans, dissolved as carbonate. As the post-glacial thaw progresses, the oceans warm up, and some of the dissolved carbon emits into the atmosphere, like fizz from soda. "The greenhouse global warming theory has it a-- backwards," Hertzberg concludes. "It is the warming of the earth that is causing the increase of carbon dioxide and not the reverse." In vivid confirmation of that conclusion, several new papers show that for the last 750,000 years CO2 changes always lagged global temperatures by 800 to 2,600 years.

It looks like Poseidon should go hunting for carbon credits. The human carbon footprint is of zero consequence amid these huge forces and volumes, not to mention the role of the giant reactor beneath our feet: the earth's increasingly hot molten core.

Alexander Cockburn is coeditor with Jeffrey St. Clair of the muckraking newsletter CounterPunch. He is also co-author of the new book "Dime's Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils," available through To find out more about Alexander Cockburn and read features by other columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at COPYRIGHT 2007 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Norm Coleman Responds to Constituent Email

Amy Klobuchar has not responded to the same email.

Dear Ms. Young :

Thank you for taking the time to contact me concerning H.R. 1246, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2007.

As you may know, H.R. 1246 was introduced on February 28, 2007 by Representative Martin Meehan (D-MA) and was referred to the House Subcommittee on Military Personnel where it awaits further action. This bill would repeal the current Department of Defense policy of "don't ask, don't tell."

On November 30, 1993, President Clinton signed into law the fiscal year 1994 National Defense Authorization Act, which included the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. While supporters of "don't ask, don't tell" believe that openly homosexual men and women who participate in the armed services are a risk to unit cohesion, I am fully aware of concerns you raise, that the policy is wasteful and discriminatory.

Please know that I will take a close look at this legislation if it comes before the Senate for a vote and that I value your advice.

Thank you once again for contacting me. If I may be of further assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Norm Coleman
United States Senate

I'm unclear from this how Norm Coleman will vote. I encourage others to write Norm Coleman to encourage him to co-sponsor this legislation and do the same with Amy Klobuchar.

Welcome Pam's House Blend Readers

It's always nice to get a nod from Pam's House Blend.

U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) dropped into the 6th District last week (that's homo-hating Michele Bachmann's turf) to speak to local Republicans and pole-stroke. [Former Air America host Al Franken hopes to unseat Coleman in 2008].

Eva and Avidor from Lloydletta and Dump Michele Bachmann were there. Avidor couldn't tape, so he covered the event in the cartoon at left (click to enlarge).

Thanks for Nothing, Senator Dan Sparks

DFL Senator Dan Sparks (Austin) voted with the minority against hospital visitation rights.

State Senate approves health-care rights for domestic partners

Last update: April 30, 2007 – 9:46 PM

The Minnesota Senate approved hospital visitation rights for domestic partners on Monday, touching off debate over the definition of marriage.

The legislation, which passed 43 to 21, would give unmarried domestic partners the standing to visit and make health-care decisions for each other in the hospital. The bill defines domestic partners as adults in a "committed interdependent relationship" who live together.

Gay-marriage opponents painted the bill as a sneaky way of legalizing same-sex unions.

"The real purpose is to create some law that would form a basis for litigation over the constitutionality of our marriage law," said Sen. Tom Neuville, R-Northfield.

Backers characterized the legislation as a humane effort to help same-sex partners who have hit barriers during health emergencies.

An amendment that would have removed the term "domestic partners" from the bill failed 31 to 34.

A House version awaits a vote, but Neuville said Gov. Tim Pawlenty probably won't sign it.


The bill number is SF 1398

You can read the roll call vote in the 4/30/07 journal of the Senate.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Anti-gay Freak Show at the State Capitol Flops

Andy Birkey reports there were about 70 people who showed up.

I don't understand why Birkey refers to these characters as "social conservatives". A better description is "anti-gay activists".

Sunday, April 29, 2007

RNC Fundraising Email Signed by Bush

Eric Black at the Star Tribune's Big Question posted the full text.

Norm Coleman's Speech in Blaine 4/28/07

I wasn't permitted to videotape, so I jotted down a few quotes:

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