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Thursday, August 09, 2007

McCain Grasping at any straws to remain "viable"

After falling out of grace with conservative Republicans over immigration this summer, Senator John McCain has fallen in the polls, has seen decreased donations and has very little cash on hand. His campaign is barely even that anymore. In an effort to shore up some conservative support reports that:

Gay troops pose "an intolerable risk" to national security, U.S. senator and Republican presidential hopeful John McCain wrote last month to a gay rights group seeking to move his position on "don't ask, don't tell."

McCain concluded that "I remain opposed to the open expression of homosexuality in the U.S. military."

Is he really that desperate?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hillary Clinton's Dance Around DOMA

Pam Spaulding has Clinton's complete statement on DOMA at Yearly Kos:

Secondly, DOMA, I believe that DOMA served a very important purpose. I was one of the architects in the strategy against the Marriage Amendment to the constitution, and DOMA gave us a bright line to be able to hold back the votes that were building up to do what I consider to be absolutely abominable and that would be to amend the constitution to enshrine discrimination. I believe marriage should be left to the states. I support civil unions as I've said many times with full equality of benefits and so I think that DOMA appropriately put the responsibility in the states where it has historically belonged and I think you're beginning to see states take action. I think it's, I think part three of DOMA needs to be repealed because part three stands in the way of the full extension of federal benefits and I support that. So that's the first.

I sent Pam an email, some of which she published:

Subject: Hillary's Claim About DOMA is an Absolute Lie

The FMA was NOT an issue when DOMA was an issue. The FMA was proposed in 2002.

She should NOT be allowed to rewrite history. She should also be asked whether she agreed with the Clinton campaign's decision to advertise his support of DOMA on christian radio.

What really occurred is gay groups like HRC did NOT fight this - instead, they were focused on ENDA and Hate Crimes - and gave dems a pass on this one.

HRC Presidential Forum Party

From Outfront ENews:

Watch the First-Ever GLBT Presidential Forum with OutFront Minnesota and the Human Rights Campaign

Tomorrow, August 9th, for the first time in history, leading presidential candidates will participate in a televised forum on issues of importance to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Co-presented by Logo and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the 90-minute event will be broadcast live, without commercial interruption, exclusively on Logo's cable television channel as well as through live streaming video at

Confirmed candidates scheduled to appear are, in alphabetical order: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.; Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.; former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.; Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio; and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. The candidates will appear sequentially and engage in conversation with co-panelists Melissa Etheridge, performer and advocate, and Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. The panelists plan to cover a range of issues including: relationship recognition, marriage equality, workplace fairness, the military, hate crimes, HIV/AIDS and other important issues.

OutFront Minnesota is co-hosting an event with the Twin Cities Human Rights Campaign to watch this historic forum. Join your friends in the local GLBT and allied community to learn more about the candidates' positions on issues of importance to the GLBT community.

GLBT Presidential Candidate Forum Watch Party

Thursday, August 9th - Forum begins at 8pm

Pi Bar and Restaurant, 2532 25th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN

Hosted by OutFront Minnesota and the Twin Cities Human Rights Campaign

This event is free of charge!

Actually, HRC had a Presidential Candidate forum 4 years ago, so this wasn't the first one.

OutFront Minnesota also posted a press release:

**********PRESS ADVISORY**********

Contacts: Monica Meyer, Public Policy Director 612-822-0127 ext. 115
Ann DeGroot, Executive Director 612-822-0127 ext. 107
Jo Marsicano, Communications Director 612-822-0127 ext. 106
August 7th, 2007
What: Historic Presidential Debate on GLBT Issues - Local Viewing Party
Date: Thursday, August 9th
Location: Pi Bar and Restaurant; 2532 25th Avenue South, Minneapolis
Time: 8pm

Sponsors: OutFront Minnesota and Twin Cities Human Rights Campaign

Background: The first-ever presidential debate focused exclusively on GLBT issues will air live August 9th, presented by the Logo cable network and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Several major candidates are scheduled to appear including (in alphabetical order) Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.; Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.; former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.; Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio; and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

The local viewing party will allow members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community and their allies to watch and comment on the historic debate. A large turnout is expected.

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

Human Rights Campaign is a national organization working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equal Rights.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Draz Wins Special Election

Lloydletta's Nooz calls the 28B election for Steve Drazkowski.

With 50/58 precincts reporting:

18 writeins
3335 Draz
3020 Pfeilsticker

Big E's got photos of Pfeilsticker's election night party.

A New Argentina from Evita

This is from the original Broadway cast.

And this is from the Movie with Madonna.

Y-O-U-Tube Video (Apologies YMCA)


Right-Wing Bloggers Attempt to Blame Oberstar & Bicycling for 35W Bridge Collapse

After saying he was "impressed with how the Federal level Democrats are putting politics aside" in this post, Andy Aplikowski explores ways to pin the blame for the 35W bridge collapse on Rep. Oberstar, former Congressman Martin Sabo and his successor Keith Ellison.

Andy Aplikowski links to Robert Bluey's blog:

There’s no way of knowing whether extra money for the bridge would have prevented its collapse. But it’s certainly worth asking if House Transportation Chairman Jim Oberstar of Minnesota should have been less concerned about taking care of bicyclists and put a higher priority on the state’s other transportation needs.

Red State echoes Rob Bluey's attack on Oberstar's support for bicycling.

One of the first people on the scene of the bridge collapse was a bicyclist. Listen to him tell how he rescued victims.

Will the Human Rights Campaign Ask Hillary Clinton to Explain This?

The Fix:

Clinton defended DOMA ("it served a very important purpose") and welfare reform ("the positives far outweigh the negatives"), passed to former Vice President Al Gore on telecommunications ("Al was very involved in designing and pushing that through") and acknowledged that NAFTA wasn't ideal ("it did not realize the benefits it was promised.")

I sent HRC the following:

I hope HRC follows up with Hillary Clinton about what was the "important purpose" DOMA served - especially since it conflicts with her stated stand that she supports civil unions with all benefits - DOMA prohibits that at the federal level.

Their field person wrote me to thank me for the question. We'll see if the question gets used. I'd encourage others to send a similar question to

Monday, August 06, 2007

Drama Queen vs Dump Michele Bachmann, Dump John Kline and the St Cloud Times

Check it out on Brodkorb's blog here and Dump Michele Bachmann. Dump Bachmann posted about a St Cloud Times story that talked about Michele Bachmann's vote to adjourn prior to the Bridge funding vote.

The House unanimously approved legislation Friday to authorize $250 million in aid. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Speaking in support of the measure on the House floor, Rep. Michele Bachmann told colleagues, "I want to assure the residents of Minnesota that we will have help until the job is done."

Earlier in the day, Bachmann and Republican Rep. John Kline had voted to adjourn the House before it approved the federal aid.

Republican Rep. Jim Ramstad and Democratic Reps. Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson and Oberstar voted against adjournment that failed 180-237.

Bachmann's office did not respond to e-mails or a call for a comment.

Larry Schumacher of the St Cloud Times responds to Brodkorb's criticism:

My friend King objects that Brogan's story left out important context, such as why the Republicans wanted to adjorn and the fact that the adjornment vote came before the bridge bill was introduced.

Fair enough, but a couple things in response: First, there are contextual details that get left out all the time, for better or worse. One of those in Brogan's story was noting the fact that Ramstad, a Republican, did not side with Bachmann and Kline. So it cuts both ways.

Second, this was perhaps Minnesota's most important day in Congress in at least a decade, and everybody knew the bridge bill was coming up for a vote later. In fact, after the motion to adjorn was defeated, Bachmann still voted against H Res. 600, which was the vehicle enabling the bridge bill to come up in the first place.

What does that say about Bachmann's motivations for voting the way she did? I don't know. But it seems to me that a vote to indefinitely delay action on $250 million in bridge funding for Minnesota is newsworthy, and I'm glad it was part of the story, both as a reporter and a reader.

There's more analysis of these votes on Dump John Kline.

Seattle PRT Promoter Makes Fun of Mpls Bridge Collapse

David Gow (Mr_Grant) is the Seattle contact for the Twin Cities based Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit. When he isn't maintaining his various "hegemony" of PRT websites, Gow spends a great deal of time on the web attacking me for exposing the Personal Rapid Transit boondoggle. I have asked Gow whether he is paid to design and maintain PRT websites.. he won't say. Gow also moderates a PRT forum in Seattle that is really just a stalking horse to attack the LRT line under construction in Seattle.

Gow has a peculiar sense of humor. In a recent post on his attack blog, Gow uses the collapse of the 35W bridge in an attempt to poke fun at me.

My eldest daughter crossed the 35W bridge on her way to and from school. She crossed that bridge the very day it collapsed.

Very classy, Mr. Gow.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Signs of Some Things Going Back to Normal

From the University of Minnesota Bridge collapse information:

West Bank Office Building Open for Normal Operations on Monday, Aug. 6

The University's West Bank Office Building (WBOB) and its parking ramp will be open for normal operations on Monday. Because of continued congestion in the WBOB area due to the recovery efforts, students, faculty and staff are asked to plan for additional travel time. Also, please have your University ID with you and be prepared to show it. Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this challenging time.

The parking ramp was closed Thursday and Friday, and the building closed Friday.