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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Breaking Nooz! Amy Klobuchar Responds to Constituent Email

A friend of mine got a response on his letter about FISA:

Below is the Senator's response to my concerns about FISA. To say the least, I am disappointed. The fact that there is a sunset does not mitigate the
damage that has been done to our our rights by not confronting this administration.

Dear :

Thank you for contacting me concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

You should first know that the FISA bill which passed both the House and Senate a few weeks ago is a temporary measure -- an interim fix extending for the
next six months. I would have preferred the version offered by Senator Carl Levin, which I voted for. Unfortunately, that version did not pass, and I voted for the extension on a temporary basis only, because I couldn't allow there to be a gap in our intelligence gathering activity - our safety depends on our ability to continue tracking terrorist networks.

Please know that I will actively work during this temporary six month extension to ensure any permanent FISA extension strikes the right balance between protecting our safety and protecting our civil rights.

The resignation of Attorney General Gonzales is the first step in achieving that balance, and I hope that his departure lifts the cloud that has lingered over the Justice Department. He leaves a legacy of justice tarnished. I was among the first to call for his resignation, and I am hopeful that a new Attorney General will be a more independent voice for the people and uphold the principles of law and justice in this country.

Thank you again for your input, and please don't hesitate to contact me again regarding this or any other issue.

Sincerely,

Amy Klobuchar
United States Senator

Goodbye to Lloyd Alexander the Children's Author

Ken Avidor's post about the death of cartoonist Eric Lappegard reminded me that I had never noted the death of author Lloyd Alexander.

WaPo:

Lloyd Alexander, 83, a critically acclaimed fantasy and adventure writer whose coming-of-age novels use vivid action and elements of mythology to depict contemporary struggles between good and evil, died May 17 at his home in Drexel Hill, Pa. He had cancer.

Mr. Alexander wrote more than 40 books and is regarded as one of the best-known writers of juvenile fiction of the past several decades. He won over adult reviewers with cliff-hanging plots, stylish prose and believable characters that make his fanciful, long-ago settings seem plausible and relevant.

Essayist Laura Ingram, writing in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, said the books have "the special depth and insight provided by characters who not only act, but think, feel and struggle with the same kinds of problems that confuse and trouble people in the twentieth century."


Alexander's books were inspirational to me growing up. Part of what I loved about his books was his wonderful sense of humor.

My cat Lloyd (who died in 2003) was named after Lloyd Alexander, and so was the screen name Lloydletta that I later used for this blog.

Lloyd Alexander loved cats, and he had many wonderful feline characters in his books.

Other blog reaction here.

Friday, September 07, 2007

NAACP vs Anti-Gay Black Pastors in Fort Lauderdale Florida

Broward Times:

Fort Lauderdale NAACP President Marsha Ellison and a group of black pastors took opposing sides at Fort Lauderdale City Hall this week on the issue of gay rights.

The dueling press conferences are the latest fallout from Mayor Jim Naugle’s recent criticism of gay sex in parks, public bathrooms and other public places in the city.

“All races are affected by AIDS – the young, the old, and a true leader seeks real problems and real solutions,” Ellison said on Wednesday, flanked by gay activists.

“The NAACP says this is not about AIDS, it is about his hate for the gay community and that’s why we’re here today,” said Ellison, who stood under a silk umbrella emblazoned in the rainbow colors of the gay community while the speakers she introduced made their cases.

A day earlier, on Tuesday, a predominantly black coalition of pastors met with Naugle at city hall, and held their own press conference to denounce gay sex.

“Broward County is on a collision course with Satan,” said Mathes Guice, an elder at Koinonia Worship Center, a black church based in Pembroke Park. “Christian men and women are going to have a revival here in Broward County because we cannot let sin prevail. We wholeheartedly support the mayor.”

The black pastors supported Naugle’s position during a closed-door session with the mayor and the press conference that followed. They vowed to do whatever it takes to fend off the campaign waged by gay activists against Naugle.


My guess is several years ago, this NAACP chapter wouldn't be doing this. The National Black Justice Coalition is an organization working on behalf of the African American GLBT/same gender loving community. They have been doing alot of outreach with the NAACP.

Tribute to Cartoonist Eric Lappegard Saturday

From the Strib:

In late July, beloved Twin Cities cartoonist Eric Lappegard (aka Schmapples) died after complications from a car accident. Lappegard was an active member in the Cartoonist Conspiracy and a vocal supporter of bike riders and vegans. His friends and allies have put together a benefit for Lappegard's family Saturday at Altered Esthetics. It includes work by Lappegard and his friends, a silent auction, a vegan bake sale and the first chance to buy two books created for the benefit: a complete collection of Lappegard's hilarious online cartoon "Schmapples," which he worked on daily for the last six months of his life, and "Alley Cat," a 100-page anthology of comics dedicated to Lappegard, with work by local luminaries such as Ken Avidor and Zander Cannon and national superstars such as Anders Nilsen. The party will be preceded by a bike race around Northeast, starting at Behind Bars Bicycle Shop. For more information, go to: www.myspace.com/ericlappegardtribute. (5-10 p.m. Sat. Altered Esthetics, 1224 Quincy St. NE., Mpls.)


Here's a sketch I did of Eric in my journal earlier this year:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sam Brownback Booed When He States Support for Federal Marriage Amendment in "Live Free or Die" New Hampshire

HRC's Backstory:

During last night's debate with the Republican presidential candidates on FOX news, FOX reporter Carl Cameron asked a Dover, New Hampshire woman if there should be a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Her response: "Absolutely not. We're the state of 'live free, or die' and people should be able to marry the person they love." Seconds later, the audience responded to her answer with loud cheers of approval and applause. When the question was subsequently posed to Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), the audience boos his support for an anti-gay marriage amendment.


Go listen. Did anyone see how Mitt Romney responded to this one?

The Yanked Article from the Twin Cities Daily Planet

Avidor has been on the case pointing out that an investigative article on a proposal for a Phillips wood burning plant promoted by Michael Krause was pulled after Mayoral spokesperson Jeremy Hanson commented on it. Avidor linked to the google cache of the article. In case the cache goes away, I'm posting it here for historical purposes. I'm looking forward to the corrected article by the Daily Planet.

Green Burning or Greenwashing?

Leave a comment

By Dan Gordon , Special to the TC Daily Planet

A proposed biomass plant in Phillips heats up a discussion about the safety of “green” fuel sources

Phillips, with almost 20,000 residents, is one of the oldest and largest neighborhoods in Minneapolis. Historically, Phillips also has been a place scarred with toxins left by the corporations that made the neighborhood their home. Its soil holds the city’s highest concentration of arsenic, the legacy of a former pesticide manufacturing site that stood uncapped for 30 years. Given that history, when a company announces plans to invest in the neighborhood and create well- paying jobs for residents by supplying environmentally-friendly energy to local businesses, it sounds like a dream come true.

The project is an $83 million generator promoted by Michael Krause, former director of the Green Institute, a local non-profit promoting sustainable energy use and green design. In 2001 the Green Institute began a project to transform a garbage transfer station near Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue into a 22.5 megawatt generator fueled by the incineration of biomass composed of urban tree waste and agricultural residue. Partnered with them in the endeavor was Midtown Eco-Energy, an entity now managed by Kandiyohi Development, a for-profit consulting firm that Krause helped create.

The project partners, with unanimous support from the Minneapolis city council, went to Washington in 2003 to lobby Congressmember Martin Sabo and Senator Paul Wellstone. They walked away with a $1.9 million Department of Energy grant to study the feasibility of the project. The Green Institute got to work laying the groundwork for the project—setting up an engineering study, soil sampling and a financial model. And then things started to fall apart.

“We did the feasibility work and decided not to move forward with it,” says Carl Nelson, director of the Green Institute Community Energy Project. “There’s definitely a lot of wood chips out there, but when you look at the other markets for woodchips—mulch, animal bedding, and things like that, there’s not that much left. You might be able to get fuel for the next year, but when you look 20 years out, it’s just too risky. ”

Kandiyohi project director Kim Heavey says that the wood supply is sustainable, and, furthermore, that the generator will lower pollution by reducing the amount of methane-emitting wood waste in landfills. But others agree that high demand for wood waste keeps the majority from ever reaching these landfills.

Anders Rydaker is the director of District Energy, the operator of a biomass facility that provides heating to buildings in downtown St. Paul. “We already use 300,000 tons of municipal wood waste a year,” he says. “There isn’t enough wood in the area to fuel both generators.”

Undaunted, Kandiyohi continued to support the project. Around the same time Krause left the Green Institute to become director of Kandiyohi development. Allegiances at city hall also shifted in the same direction. Previously, according to Nelson, city hall staff had been authorized to negotiate exclusively with the Green Institute on the project. But in November of 2005, the Transportation and Public Works Committee did an about-face,-halting their negotiations and opening up the project to bidders. The only bidder, their former partner Kandiyohi, stepped in and gained control of the project last June.

Kandiyohi continues to plan for the project, despite the fact that as of yet no company has stepped forward to sign a power purchase agreement for the energy. The group assembled a cast of characters to pave the way, many of whom raise questions about conflicts of interest. For example, the city’s Community Planning and Economic Development committee has recommended that a $78 million Empowerment Zone bond be issued to the project, “one of the largest the city has ever issued,” according to Heavey. Heavey also happens to be the Empowerment Zone’s former director. More questions arise about the project’s legal counsel, the Smith Partners law firm. The firm was criticized by community groups for serving as project manager for the construction of the 35W access project. Although the firm has no transportation planning experience, they represent Abbot Northwestern, Allina, and other corporations that stand to profit from the proposed freeway construction on Lake Street. Kandiyohi plans to sell steam heat energy to these same corporations.

“None of the energy actually benefits the people living there,” says Carol Overland, a utilities attorney who spent 20 years living in the Phillips neighborhood. “They don’t get any access to cheaper power from the plant, they just get the emissions.”

Krause claims the project carries the overwhelming support of Phillips residents, as well as the Minneapolis Planning Commission (which Krause was a member of until last year) and environmental groups Clean Water Action (of which Krause was a former board member) and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). Dr. David Wallinga, Director of IATP's Food and Health Program. denies that the group supports the project. Kandiyohi is also in the process of negotiating “good neighbor agreements” with six local community groups. The agreements promise to create jobs for neighborhood residents and raise the possibility of creating a community benefits fund “at its sole discretion.”

Some community members, like Alan Pass of the East Phillips Neighborhood Improvement Coalition, were originally supportive of the project. Pass was active in the Green Institute when it directed the project, but admits he hasn’t kept up to date with new developments since the intellectual rights were sold over to Kandiyohi. Members of other groups claim they weren’t told the whole story when Kandiyohi made its presentation before their boards.

“They [Kandiyohi] made the presentation to our development committee, not the environment committee, so we found out about it afterwards. There were some concerns that arose after an analysis of their permit application,” says Carol Greenwood of the Seward Neighborhood Group, another organization Kandiyohi is negotiating with. “Alan Muller, who works as an advisor for Neighbors against the Burner in St. Paul, said the permit would allow them to emit up to a million tons of pollutants a year, and to burn up to 30% garbage, something we were not aware of.”

Muller leads an organization called Green Delaware that has fought its own struggles against incinerators. “Somehow we’ve been sold the idea that wood is a clean fuel,” he says. “It’s not. It produces a lot of fine particulates, at least equal to those of coal. The whole environmental regulation process hasn’t yet come to grips with these particles, and studies on their health effects have only begun in the last several years.”

Construction of the generator is slated to begin this September, assuming the air permit is approved. A public meeting on the issue was held August 9 at the Franklin Library for residents to voice their concerns. There was some confusion as to what exactly can be burned as “biomass,” a term defined differently by each state’s pollution control agency. Midtown Eco-Energy’s public presentation claims it will only be burning clean urban wood waste from trees and other woody plants. But their permit application allows for the burning of “wood products such as plywood, particle board, strand board, and other types of products bound by glues and resins.”

“We don’t plan on burning anything but tree waste,” Heavey reassures. “But we could burn some clean construction waste if we wanted to in the future.”

As of yet, no further public hearings are planned for this development. Public comments about the project can be submitted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency until August 27 by writing to paula.connell@pca.state.mn.us

Posted: Sun, 08/26/2007 - 23:05

FEC Won't Regulate Political Blogging

AP:

FEC Won't Regulate Political Blogging


Wednesday September 5, 2007 1:31 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) - DailyKos, an influential political Web site that serves as a virtual bulletin board for liberals, qualifies as a media entity exempt from federal campaign finance regulations, the Federal Election Commission said Tuesday.

The FEC said the Web site, operated by blogger Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, cannot be regulated as a political committee and can freely post blog entries that support candidates.

Conservative blogger John C.A. Bambenek had argued in a complaint last month that the site should comply with campaign finance laws because such entries amounted to ``a gift of free advertising and candidate media services.''

The FEC disagreed.

``While the complaint asserts that DailyKos advocates for the election of Democrats for federal office, the commission has repeatedly stated that an entity that would otherwise qualify for the media exemption does not lose its eligibility because it features news or commentary lacking objectivity or expressly advocates in its editorial the election or defeat of a federal candidate,'' the FEC said.


So at what point does a blog qualify for the media exemption?

Michael Krause and Kandiyohi Development to Devour Eat Street?

There's another weird twist in the Michael Krause/Kandiyohi Develoment saga... Kandiyohi is part of a team that wants to build a hotel on Eat Street:

From the Southwest Journal:

Hotel planned in Whittier

By Jake Weyer

WHITTIER — A four-story hotel, retail and office development is planned to go up at 2528–2550 Nicollet Ave. within the next couple years.  

The project, referred to as the Ace Hotel/Icehouse development, would include 70 hotel rooms, 18,000 square feet of retail space, 8,000 square feet of office space and three levels of underground parking. It would incorporate 16,000 square feet of “green” space in the form of an interior courtyard and green roofs and facades. 

Kandiyohi Development Partners, BKV Architects and Ace Hotels are teaming up on the project, which would retain the Azia Restaurant building and Icehouse Studio building on the site. The structures between them would be demolished and replaced with new construction.


... but, it seems popular restaurant may not survive the construction of the hotel:

Elizabeth Grzechoviak, executive director of Azia’s management company Phamous Group, said the restaurant would like to stay, but developers have not approached the restaurant about the feasibility of staying. If the restaurant has to close for even one week, the business would be in jeopardy, she said.


... in an even weirder twist to the story, the owner of Azia Thom Pham was jumped Tuesday night in the restaurant's parking lot by six to eight men and brutally beaten with sticks and bricks.

Michael Krause and Kandiyohi Development are Once Again in (and out) of the News

An article about former director of the Green Institute Michael Krause and his company Kandiyohi Development appeared in the Twin Cities Daily Planet written by Dan Gordon. Gordon's article "Green Burning or Greenwashing" was about Kandiyohi's plan to build an $83 million, 22.5 megawatt generator fueled by the burning "biomass" mainly "tree waste and agricultural residue" in the Phillips neighborhood.

The article received a few scathing comments:

----------------

submitted by Jeremy Hanson (not verified) on Tue, 08/28/2007 - 12:11.
 
I'm disappointed and surprised that such an inaccurate article is featured on the TC Daily Planet. Are there no quality controls here? The line between news and opinion is clearly blurred in this piece and readers are left with misinformation about an important and positive project that will be a good thing for our city.

----------------

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/28/2007 - 20:11.
 
This has to be a typo in one way or another:
The project partners, with unanimous support from the Minneapolis city council, went to Washington in 2003 to lobby Congressmember Martin Sabo and Senator Paul Wellstone.
 
As for this being an editorial, you don't really look at this as a legitimate news site, do you?

----------------


The first comment appears to be from Mayor Rybak's communication director Jeremy Hanson.

The Daily Planet yanked the article and replaced it with this comment:

CORRECTION: Green Burning or Greenwashing?

An article published on August 27, "Green burning or greenwashing?" contained several errors of fact. We regret the errors, and we have made substantial changes in our editing policy to ensure more careful review of articles written for the Daily Planet. We are in the process of reviewing the article, reverifying sources, interviewing new sources, and rewriting the article, which will appear next week as "CORRECTION: Green burning or greenwashing." The original article has been withdrawn from publication.

Posted: Thu, 08/30/2007 - 23:05


Google has a cache of the original article here.

This week's Southside Pride has an article on Kandiyohi's project. The City Pages also has an article on the burner this week.

Lloydletta has had posts on Kandiyohi and its potential conflicts of interest back in November 21st 2005 and December 19th 2005.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Copelands: Prosperity Gospel Scam Artists

Across the Great Divide:

Kenneth Copeland's ministry — like Mac Hammond's Living Word Christian Center and other churches but unlike other nonprofits — is not required by the IRS to disclose financials, spending or information about its governance. (At last check, Copeland's son serves on Hammond's board and Hammond serves on Copeland's. The interlocking boards among these evangelists provide the corporate veil that approves ministerial compensation.)

The SEC has been getting tougher on disclosure of compensation for corporate execs. But who's watching these guys?


Quimby points out some excellent investigative reporting by News 8 on how the Copelands use their "ministry" jet for personal use.



This story talks about Bonnie Parker - who died of cancer, who gave lots of money to the Copelands because she was desperate to get help for her cancer.

Leviticus Crowd Presidential Debate

Pam's got the scoop.

A cornucopia of well-known wingers and bible beaters will be gathered in Fort Lauderdale (whose mayor is the homo-obsessed $250K robopotty mayor Jim Naugle) to hold a "Values Voter Presidential Debate," moderated by WingNutDaily's Joseph Farah.

The is the forum that the Base has been looking forward to because it will be the one debate where candidates will surely get pinned down by the luminaries of the fringe-right movement on the party's hypocrisy and waffling on social issues.

Regarding the selection of WND's Farah, debate organizer Janet Folger said, "As long as I can remember I've been hearing complaints about the liberal media. I've heard about their power and undue influence. For too long the pundits have made their proclamations and people have fallen into lock step. But, not anymore."

Looking forward to the event, Farah said, "So often in presidential debates, questions are asked and answers don't address the questions. When that happens, I'm going to try to persuade the candidates to focus more precisely on what was asked."


Look at who will be coming up with the questions for the GOP candidates, it's going to be so much fun:

* Paul Weyrich, founder and president of the Free Congress Foundation
* Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of Eagle Forum
* Don Wildmon of the American Family Association
* Judge Roy Moore, columnist at WND and head of the Foundation for Moral Law
* Rick Scarborough of Vision America
* Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel.

Oh my, get the popcorn ready. So far, only the second/third tier candidates have accepted the invitation; Ron Paul, John Cox, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, Tom Tancredo, and Sam Brownback. They are still "working on" getting Rudy, Mitt, McCain and fantasy candidate Fred Thompson to appear. Let's see, which is worse for these guys -- appearing and choking on their hypocrisy, or not showing up, thumbing their noses at the Base?


It speaks volumes they haven't gotten the top tier candidates to agree to speak. This means that Romney, Giuliani and McCain are too embarrassed to be seen with these nuts.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Hillary Clinton to be on Ellen Sept 4

You can leave a question for Hillary Clinton to answer here and also leave your question on Visible Vote here.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday Cat Blogging

Kittens 020

Thistle at 11 weeks.

Kittens 015

Laurel at 11 weeks.

Anti-Gay Activist Group Uses Iowa Ruling to Raise Money

From the so-called "Minnesota Family Council":

On August 30, a county judge ruled Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional and ordered Polk County to issue marriage licenses for six gay couples.

Minnesota's DOMA law is vulnerable to the same kind of attack. The only way to protect the institution of marriage is to pass a constitutional amendment.

Please help pass a marriage amendment in the 2008 session with a generous gift of $15, $25, $50 or even more.

Click Here to make a donation to the Minnesota Family Council / Minnesota Family Institute.

Did you know that same-sex partnerships were almost passed in the 2007 Minnesota legislative session?

Four bills were introduced to legalize same-sex relationships. One bill attempted to establish same-sex domestic partnerships for hospital visitation. Yet our quick poll of six metro area hospitals revealed an open policy towards visitation by same-sex partners.

Do we really need to legalize same-sex partnerships to allow hospital visitations?

Thanks to a veto threat from Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the bills were never passed.

What if we didn't have a pro-family governor?

Did you know that out-of-state, anti-marriage money helped defeat Senator Mady Reiter, a co-sponsor of the Minnesota Marriage Amendment bill?

Her opponent, Senator Sandy Rummel received 44% of her itemized individual contributions from thirteen wealthy anti-marriage activists. Most of the thirteen contributors were members of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, one of the largest homosexual activist organizations in the country.

Did you know that a same-sex couple has filed a lawsuit in Rochester suing a fitness club to obtain a family membership? The club denied the family membership because Minnesota does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The same legislative majority (and their out-of-state money) that pushed for same-sex marriage will return with a vengeance in the 2008 session - and we need your financial help to be ready for them.

Please, Click Here to make a donation the the Minnesota Family Council/Institute.

Thank you for helping protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

August 31, 2007
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What is the Minnesota Family Council and how did they get started? The Minnesota Family Council started out as the Berean League in 1982. The Berean League started to stop efforts to repeal the Minnesota Sodomy Law. The law is currently on the books. This is a law that bans oral sex - even within the confines of marriage.

I have debated the MFC President - Tom Prichard - on this issue - and Prichard has said publicly that there should be an exemption in the Minnesota sodomy law to allow married couples to engage in oral sex.

If the Minnesota Family Council were really concerned about families, they would be focusing on divorce, rather than their prurient obsession with gays.