counter statistics

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

MDE (Most Despicable Entertainer) Awards Over at DU


Since Michele Bachmann seems to be running away with every "biggest" or "worst" award being handed out at the end of the year, I thought we should start a Minnesota DU award for Most Despicable Entertainer (MDE--named after the most despicable Minnesota website). Taking a cue from Keith Olbermann's nickname for Rush Limbaugh, I've classified the asshats below as "entertainers" since they certainly can't be considered legitimate news or media people by any stretch of the imagination, and their surreality-based yapping can only be construed as some sort of primitive attempt at entertainment.

So without further adieu, here are the 2008 nominees. Their reputations speak for themselves and thus no explanation is needed for their nomination. Cast your vote--and your reasons why--in the comments. Happy New Year!

* MICHAEL BRODKORB, owner of the laughable Minnesota Democrats Exposed website.

* JASON LEWIS, Number One Thug at KTLK Thug Radio

* CHRIS BAKER, Number Two Thug at KTLK Thug Radio

* KATHERINE KERSTEN, soon-to-be-exiled house wingnut at the Star-Tribune

I wonder how Brodkorb feels about being classified in the same category as Chris Baker.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Widget on Lloydletta's Nooz

I added the Astronomy picture of the day widget to Lloydletta's Nooz. I hope people will enjoy it. I was going to add the periodic table gadget, but that gadget doesn't work.

I hope people are having a good holiday season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peter LaBarbera Comments on Warrengate

I asked Peter LaBarbera what he thought of Rick Warren scrubbing the Saddleback Church website of anti-gay language. LaBarbera responded:

If true, I think it would be tragic, and a foolish capitulation to homosexual activist and liberal pressure. The gay lobby is not going to shower love on Pastor Warren if he suddenly self-censors or alters a few pages on the Saddleback website. They oppose him for his Biblical beliefs on homosexuality and marriage, and I doubt those have changed (at least I hope not).

Pastor Warren should not back down a bit. Neither he nor Saddleback Church officials should ever be ashamed of the Bible's clear teachings on homosexuality. If President-elect Obama wants to disinvite Rick Warren, so be it, but it would be a mistake of monumental proportions if Warren or Saddleback were to attempt to appease homosexual activists by distancing the church in any way from orthodox evangelical Christian teachings.

Peter LaBarbera, Pres., Americans For Truth

Rick Warren Defends Himself on the Saddleback Church Website

He states he never said that gay relationships were comparable to incest and pedophilia. Well it's on tape. He kind of reminds me of Michele Bachmann that way.

Very Entertaining Reading from Rick Warren's Website

From google cache:

What about dinosaurs?
Question: How do they fit in with the idea that God created the world rather than the world evolving on it’s own? Why doesn’t the Bible talk about dinosaurs?

Answer: The Bible tells in Genesis 1 that God made the world in seven days, and that he made all of the animals on the fifth day and the sixth day. All of the animals were created at the same time, so they all walked the earth at the same time. I know that the pictures we all grew up with in the movies were that dinosaurs roamed a lifeless, volcanic planet. Remember these are just pictures drawn by someone today! The Bible's picture is that dinosaurs and man lived together on the earth, an earth that was filled with vegetation and beauty.

What happened to the dinosaurs? The scientific record lets us know that they obviously became extinct through some kind of cataclysmic event on the earth. Many scientists theorize that this may have been an asteroid striking the earth, while many Christians wonder if this event could have been the worldwide flood in Noah's day. No one can know for certain what this event was.

Although it cannot be stated with certainty, it appears that dinosaurs may have actually been mentioned in the Bible. The Bible uses names like "behemoth" and "tannin." Behemoth means kingly, gigantic beasts. Tannin is a term that includes dragon-like animals and the great sea creatures such as whales, giant squid, and marine reptiles like the plesiosaurs that may have become extinct. The Bible's best description of a dinosaur-like animal is in Job chapter 40. We don't know for certain if these are actually dinosaurs or are some other large creatures that became extinct.

This should not sound so strange. After all, God tells us that he created all the land animals on the sixth day of creation, the same day that he created mankind. Man and dinosaurs lived at the same time. There was never a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth. From the very beginning of creation, God gave man dominion over all that was made, even over the dinosaurs.

"For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day." Exodus 20:11

"All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made." John 1:3

"Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feed on grass like an ox. What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like rods of iron. He ranks first among the works of God." Job 40:15-19 (NIV)
back to the top

Is evolution part of God's plan?
Question: Why is it not OK for evolution to be part of God’s plan? I don’t understand what the problem is: couldn’t God have used the process of evolution as the way that he created the earth?

Answer: When I was a new believer in Christ, I had some very strong feelings about the issue of evolution. Much as you have expressed, I believed that evolution and the account of the Bible about creation could exist along side of each other very well. I just didn't see what the big argument was all about. I had some friends who had been studying the Bible much longer than I had who saw it differently. But they didn't push me or argue with me, they simply challenged me to take some time to look into the facts and study the issues carefully. I'll always appreciate them for that, because this was an issue that I had to really think through. Eventually, I came to the conclusion, through my study of the Bible and science, that the two positions of evolution and creation just could not fit together. There are some real problems with the idea that God created through evolution.

I would encourage you to take some time to study this issue. I found that, although I'd understood the science side of the equation, I needed to take some more time to read what the Bible really had to say about this subject. Not having taken the time to really read the Bible, I was very ignorant about what it had to say. Let me give you one example. I discovered that the problem of sin, as addressed in the Bible, was much more serious than I had previously thought. When I realized that the world was clearly a perfect place as God created it, and that this perfection was ruined by the sinful choice of Adam and Eve, it really started me thinking. Did the Bible teach evolution or did it teach the creation of a first man and woman named Adam and Eve? If we evolved, which human being would have made the choice that brought sin into this world? If Adam and Eve were just allegorical pictures, why did the New Testament place some much importance upon them as responsible and real individuals? Since God clearly says that it is our sin that brought death into our world, how could there have been death for billions of years before the arrival of the first man who sinned on the earth? As I asked questions about this issue and studied what the Bible had to say, I found it to be one of the greatest times of learning in my life as a new believer. My prayer is that you will have this same experience!

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Gen. 1:1

"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." John 1:3

If you want to study this further...
Here's a web site that you might want to check out: (One article that is especially thought provoking discusses "Darwin's Black Box").

As I said before, what a nut.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Saddleback Church Scrub a Dub Dub

The language discussing banning "unrepentant homosexuals" from Church membership has been scrubbed from the website. I wonder what Peter LaBarbera thinks of that.

Mike Rogers was on Hardball claiming this to be a huge victory.

This appears to be a regular story on cable news - and it divides Democrats. So I think in the end this was a boneheaded move by Barack Obama. The last thing he needs is open discussion and fighting within the Democratic party over social issues.

Update: John Aravosis asks a good question, and links to the google cache of the page.

So does Rick Warren now welcome gays, all gays, as members of his church? Or is he simply embarrassed of his views - embarrassed of God's views, per Warren's own admission? And if Warren is embarrassed of God's views, then what is he doing as a public spokesman on religion?

And whose idea was it to remove the anti-gay language? Warren's, or Obama's?

Update - an Americablog commenter adds:

Marie Burns 3 hours ago
I was pretty surprised by the news Warren has also taken down the dinosaur stuff. He still has links to his wife's teachings about how the theory of evolution denegrates God's love, or some such thing -- I couldn't listen to much of it -- it was really awful.

The revulsion to Obama's choice of Rick Warren has, probably rightly, concentrated on his unconscionable anti-gay remarks, but I find his anti-science stance just as -- or more -- dangerous.

Why did Obama choose Rick Warren to give the invocation in the same week he announced his scientific team? One or the other has to be a joke. You can't be Fred Flintstone AND Steven Chu. To me, placing Rick Warren on a pedestal isn't just an insult to rational people; it sends the terrible message that creationism is a plausible scientific theory -- just as Kay Warren teaches. It says science is opinion, not even educated opinion. In fact, it's the WRONG opinion. What is the point of pouring my tax dollars into our educational system on the one hand if on the other, you place delusional nonsense on a podium and give it a big ol' mike?

Rick Warren's thinking is dangerous on many levels, but the dangers it poses for our future is debilitating. The nation will get over being anti-gay in the same way it's getting over being anti-minority and anti-feminist -- the old bigots are dying off. But it won't get over being dumb if we keep on teaching new generations that the charming Biblical myths of Genesis are scientific and historical fact.

Is Minnesota Teen Challenge Effective? #1

Posts criticizing Minnesota Teen Challenge on Dump Bachmann have gotten strong criticism from a Dump Bachmann contributor (Bill Prendergast) and a supporter of the mission of the blog (Jonerik). This is adapted from a post reponding to this critism. I'm moving this discussion over to Lloydletta's Nooz. Teen Challenge gets support from the usual suspects among the theocrats, but also Amy Klobuchar, Barack Obama, Keith Ellison and Linda Berglin. Recently an event sponsored by Minnesota Teen Challenge's "Know the Truth" program was cancelled at South High.

Comment on MnIndy:
Patrick G

Teen Challenge is a joke! The clients I have had there don’t make it. They are taught the bible will cure everything. I think most people who go there from the “system” think it will be easier than jail. I would never recommend this program. Its nothing more than a taxpayer parasite.
Avidor 12.19.08 - 4:53 pm | #

Ken, anyone can post anything. But I hope that isn't right about MN Teen Challenge being a joke. I've heard good things... but not for a while because I haven't been listening for it.

Holly Cairns 12.19.08 - 5:00 pm | #

Then anti-immigrant activist blames the immigrants and minorities for the mortgage crisis.


You haven't admitted that banks were forced to give mortgages to minorities and illegal aliens who couldn't afford them. What's up with that? 12.19.08 - 5:08 pm | #

Back to the topic:

Teen Challenge doesn't claim 100% of the people who commit themselves to their program and to Christ are cured of their addictions but the success rate is much higher than many other secular programs. The principles are like AA which requires turning yourself over to a higher power except that Teen Challenge identifies that higher power as Jesus Christ. Many, many afflicted people have found themselves saved from the curse of drug and alcohol addiction through this program. One would think this would be cause of celebration.
jonerik 12.20.08 - 11:39 am | #

Actually Teen Challenge is highly critical of AA. A City Pages article in the 90s discusses that. Teen Challenge is excellent at PR. I'd like to see peer reviewed studies, not their own inflated claims of their success rate.

I wish that *anyone* here who wants to write anything critical of *any* recovery or charity program would do some real, genuine homework--about the positive AND negative aspects of that program--before going into print.

The fact that crooks give money to a recovery/charity program doesn't make that recovery/charity program corrupt.

The fact that some people criticize a recovery/charity program doesn't mean that it's a "cult" or a "scam" or something like that.

What if you found that some of the *directors* of that recovery/charity program were involved in some unethical illegal activity? (And that's not the case with Teen Challenge, I'm making an extreme hypothetical.) Even if you found that some of the *directors* of that recovery/charity program were involved in some unethical illegal activity, even if you had hard evidence of that--that wouldn't justify an irresponsible, poorly researched shotgun style attack that hurt the entire organization.

At this writing, I still believe that Teen Challenge has done a lot to help kids and adults in desperate need of help, here in Minnesota--and I'll continue to believe that until someone shows me serious evidence to the contrary. I disagree deeply with their theology, they have some grubby associations with Bachmann and others--but I haven't been hearing horror stories about how they treat clients, I've been hearing how they *helped* clients, for years.

I don't think Sen. Klobuchar is interested in backing a "scam" or a "cult." I don't think it enhances the credibility of this blog to disparage Teen Challenge without turning in some serious evidence proving it's a bad thing. Go after Petters, Vennes, and Bachmann, sure--but just because they touch something doesn't mean that something becomes evil and worthy of attack.

The recent "get Teen Challenge" thing that's going on here on Dump Bachmann has nothing to do with me. And I'm not going to back it until it can be shown that Teen Challenge does more harm than good. We've got more than enough targets already, the evidence of the malignity of Teen Challenge is not in, and I'm not going to sign off on the kind of smear of the innocent that Bachmann does.
Bill Prendergast

Bill, Ken has carefully researched Teen Challenge, and has done some excellent reporting on the issue here on Dump Bachmann. His point hasn't been just that they are a problematic organization because of their connection to Vennes. He has also pointed to other sources about the organization. The mainstream papers - the Strib, Minnpost etc. are slacking on their jobs by failing to report on Teen Challenge.

My feeling is Teen Challenge should NOT be publicly funded by the taxpayers. Publicly funding this program is equivalent to state sponsored religion. When this has been challenged in the courts in other states, Teen Challenge has lost public funding.

I have real issues with "therapeutic" programs that promote Ex-gay ministries (as Teen Challenge does), and that fail to serve people who don't want to be forced to state they are "converted" to christianity in order to get help. I am equally skeptical of alternative medicine such as homeopathy.

Teen Challenge reminds me of the Discovery Institute (which promotes Intelligent Design Creationism). They are excellent at Public Relations and building relationships with politicians. They are less successful at showing real evidence based results.

Juan Cole Weighs in on Rick Warren

He has an interesting take.

Warren will read the invocation at President-Elect Barack Obama's inauguration, a choice that angered the gay community. Warren supported Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage (and forcibly divorced or 'de-married' 18,000 gay couples already married in California). Warren also has compared legalizing gay marriage to legalizing incest, pedophilia and polygamy.

I was told that Warren's friends among the MPAC Muslim community had urged him to call Melissa Etheridge Friday night in the run-up to their being (serially) on the same stage Saturday night, and that he did so and they talked for half an hour. During his address, Warren mentioned also seeing Etheridge backstage on Saturday.

Local television in Los Angeles showed a short clip of Etheridge after the event asking gay leaders to reach out to Warren, just as they wanted him to reach out to them.

This stance was big of her, since she and her partner had planned to marry but were prevented from doing so by the same Proposition 8 that Warren worked for, and she was so upset she suggested she would refuse to pay California taxes since she is obviously not considered a full citizen by her fellow Californians.

Warren also talked about the increasing rudeness and rancor of public life in the United States, and urged greater civility and willingness to work with people across the spectrum of opinion. He said, "We can disagree without being disagreeable." He also made a point of saying that al-Qaeda is no more representative of Islam than the KKK is of Christianity. Contrast that to the sorts of things Mike Huckabee or Rudi Giuliani said during the presidential campaign.

But just a gentle reminder to Warren that saying for Melissa Etheridge to be married to Tammy Lynn Michaels is equivalent to pedophilia or incest is not actually very civil or nice or humane.

Since I knew both of us would be at MPAC, I bought Warren's book, "The Purpose-Driven Life," and read it on the plane. I was a religion major, so I've read a lot of theology in various religions. It is mostly just standard evangelical talking points.

Warren's book does have some strengths. I was struck that Warren's section early in the book on the notion of "surrender" to God is the best explication I have seen in English of what Muslims mean by Islam. Since he was talking about Christianity, these passages are an unwitting argument for the unity of religions.

So imagine my surprise when I heard Warren talk at MPAC and found that he is a genuine, likeable man. And more than likeable, he seems admirable. A lot of pastors would tell the story of building their congregations and saving souls as the pinnacle of their lives. For Warren, that was only the beginning. He and his wife had an epiphany six years ago when she read an article about there being 12 million children in Africa who had been orphaned by AIDS. They started going to southern Africa, and Warren became devoted to helping those orphans.

But then he began thinking bigger. He has identified 5 major problems he wants to address:
Spiritual emptiness, corrupt leadership, disease pandemics, dire poverty, and illiteracy. He wants to do job creation and job training. He wants to wipe out malaria in the areas where it is still active. He is convinced that religious congregations are the only set of organizations on earth that can successfully combat these ills. And he is entirely willing actively and directly to cooperate with mosques to get the job done.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Good Debate Over Rick Warren on Newsweek

The debate is between Chris Crain and Leah McElrath Renna. Both are members of the gay community. Crain defends Obama's choice of Warren, and Renna opposes it.

Crain has a number of thought provoking posts about the kerkuffle over Rick Warren. If Obama decides to move on DADT because he alienated gays with this choice of Rick Warren to speak at the inauguration, in my opinion we've moved the ball forward.


Let me be clear. Warren's viewpoint about the nature of sexual orientation, at least of the homosexual variety, is cramped and mean-spirited. He has to "reign in" his desire to sleep with every beautiful woman he sees, and we have to "reign in" ever having at any point in our lives any romantic, loving, sexual relationship with the gender with which we are attracted to biologically. How apples and oranges. How unfair and how cruel.

Also, however, how typical. Warren's viewpoint is shared by the Roman Catholic faith and most mainline Protestants -- except for Southern Baptists who are worse, and Mormons who are even more worse. Don't even get me started on Islam, which rejects the whole idea of homosexuality as a Western perversion.

So faith leaders from all these traditions should be excluded from the inauguration on our behalf? The Constitution prohibits "a religious test" for public office, but we gays sure do want one for important public ceremonies! We're on the wrong side of this issue, folks.

On a lighter note, you gotta love the NBC edit on the video, specifically the look Ann Curry cuts Rick Warren when he claims it is his "natural inclination to sleep with every beautiful woman" he sees.


Diane Feinstein Washes Hands of Rick Warren Decision

Noted in Queerty comments quoting Salon:

Feinstein washes her hands of Warren decision, via from salon

Making matters worse, the Obama team evidently decided not to alert anyone who was likely to be upset about the pick ahead of time. News of Warren's involvement in the inauguration came out of the congressional committee working on the inauguration instead of from Obama's own inaugural committee, a wholly separate entity. At least initially, aides for Obama's inaugural committee said the decision had come from Congress, not Obama. In fact, that wasn't the case at all. "That was solely the choice of the president-elect," said Gil Duran, a spokesman for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the congressional committee. Obama's staff sent explicit orders for whom to include in the inaugural ceremony up to Capitol Hill, since Congress is, technically, in charge of that part of the day. "Sen. Feinstein obviously disagrees with the views of Rev. Warren on issues that affect the gay and lesbian community," Duran said. "However, Sen. Feinstein respects the president-elect's prerogative to select a cleric to deliver the invocation." (That one doesn't need any translation -- Feinstein's office was politely, respectfully, throwing Obama under the bus.)

A commenter on Queerty notes:

I do give Dianne Feinstein some credit of washing her hands of the decision of Warren. Pelosi would be wise to do the same.

Dianne Feinstein is running for governor of CA in 2010. She will need early support and money from the people opposing Prop 8.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rick Warren's Pray Away the Gay Church

Rick Warren's church doesn't allow gays to join. From the saddleback website:

What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
The Bible very clearly says that homosexuality is a sin.

"Homosexuality is absolutely forbidden, for it is an enormous sin." (Lev. 18:22 TLB)

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor 6:9-11 NIV)

While all sin is destructive, Romans 6 warns us of the great dangers in sexual sin when it says, "Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body." (1 Cor 6:18 NLT) This includes not only homosexuality, but all sexual immorality: adultery, sex without marriage, pornography. We must not act as if homosexuality is the only serious sexual sin, and we must not act as if homosexuality is not a serious sexual sin.

I've heard it asked, "Isn't being homosexual something that a person is physically born with?" First of all, there are absolutely no facts to support this claim. From time to time studies have been reported in the news that seemed to indicate this, but every one of these studies has proven to be wrong. Secondly, even if some physical difference were discovered, it would be no excuse for sin. We know that some people can develop a stronger physical addiction to alcohol than others, but that's obviously no excuse for living an alcoholic lifestyle.

Finally, a word about being judgmental. It's not judgmental to say that what the Bible calls a sin is a sin, that's just telling the truth. Not being willing to talk to someone caught up in sin, or not believing that they can be forgiven, or thinking that you are not just as much in need of Jesus as they are ... that's being judgmental.

Because membership in a church is an outgrowth of accepting the Lordship and leadership of Jesus in one’s life, someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted at a member at Saddleback Church. That does not mean they cannot attend church – we hope they do! God’s Word has the power to change our lives.

In equal desire to follow Jesus, we also would not accept a couple into membership at Saddleback who were not willing to repent of the sexual sin of living together before marriage. That does not mean this couple cannot attend church – we hope they do! God’s Word has the power to change our lives.

This guy is an extremist nut.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rick Warren: Creationist

Check it out here. The IDiot believes that evolutionary theory states that evolutionary changes are random events. They are not. Mutations are random, but beneficial mutations are selected (natural selection). This is not a random process. Breeders use a similar idea when they breed for various traits - in that case, it's not natural selection, but rather artificial selection.

Duluth Couple Joins Marry Me Minnesota Legal Challenge to DOMA

The Duluth News Tribune has an excellent article on this topic.

Outfront Promotes themselves as promoting Marriage Equality

Ofcourse this is AFTER they are getting some serious competition by the unfunded group Marriage Equality and Marry Me Minnesota. John Marty sent this oped into many local newspapers and reprinted on Eleventh Avenue South. Now the Strib has an article that Outfront Minnesota is taking the lead on this issue. That's interesting, because Jo Marsicano never disputed the claim that Outfront and Project 515 made calls to Senate leadership to put the kibbosh on the marriage equality legislation. From the comments to the Strib article:


Mr. Prichard's comment that "the state's interest in marriage is primarily the raising of children" intrigues me. First of all, I was unaware he spoke on behalf of the state. I am impressed, especially since I don't remember a recent election with his name anywhere on a ballot. I'm sure he has an equally valuable opinion on taxes, public transportation, health care, education or any number of issues that Minnesotans face daily. I think it's a good idea that only one person speak for the entire state. Thank God for Mr. Prichard. And God bless him for planting the seeds of the "Come on, I don't hate gay people, but we need to protect our kids from them!" argument that was made in California by the Yes on Prop 8 campaign. "Protect the institution of marriage!" Still, I'm curious as to the statistics of heterosexual marriages that have ended in divorce versus gay marriages that have ended in divorce. Is there not something like a 50% divorce rate? Given that gay people can only legally marry in, what is it? Two states? Where does this statistic fit into protecting marriage and protecting kids? If marriage is in such danger, and the gays, for the most part, can't do it... um, who is to blame? Well, I'm sure the gays messed it up somehow, but maybe a ban of divorce would serve to better protect marriage. That's probably too much work though. Yeah, let's stick with the ban. Prichard goes on to say "children need a mother and a father." Apparently, if they don't... well, it's mass hysteria. I'm paraphrasing a little there. I know in his well thought-out strategy, he has a fantastic plan for all of those children who live in single-parent households, right? They should be removed immediately. Children who have lost a parent -- maybe one has passed away, or maybe abandoned their family -- those kids will need new homes. What about the single-mom who, in today's economy, has to move in with her sister, or her mom, or her best friend to make ends meet and provide for her children? Oh no... TWO WOMEN RAISING THE CHILDREN! We can't have that. Oh wait, they're not GAY women, so it's OK, or... hang on... maybe the sister is gay, but... hmm... there seem to be a few missing pieces. So long as there's a mother and father, it's all good. Wait, if the mother and father are UNmarried, that's OK by Mr. Prichard too, right? I'm sure it would be. Let's not talk about that too much... that's probably a fly in the ointment to some extent, so we'll overlook that. So long as the gays can't get married, we're safe. Mr. Prichard's logic surpasses brilliance. He's so smart, I'm confident his thoughtful proposal will include contingencies for all of the children in these circumstances. Oh! And the children who watch their dad beat up their mom every night, they'll be fine. Or the children who have both a mother and father who don't feed, clothe or properly educate them -- those kids are in GREAT shape! Whew! Just DON'T LET THE GAYS MARRY, because it's to hell in a handbasket if they do. Mr. Prichard will protect us. God bless him.

Outfront Minnesota ED on Air America

I heard Amy Johnson getting interviewed on Air America. She said that Outfront Minnesota's top legislative priority was marriage equality. I find that interesting.

Shower Curtain Chronicles had an interesting comment:

This year, Outfront and Project 515 both worked behind the scenes to
prevent a bill that would grant full marriage rights to same-sex couples from being introduced in the 2008 legislative session. I know, because I was the one who brought the Marriage and Family Protection Act to the legislature.

A DFL lawmaker told me that both Outfront and Project 515 had contacted the Senate Majority Leader's office to try and stop the bill. The Majority Leader's office subsequently leaned on the bill's authors to drop the effort, but they courageously refused and the first marriage equality bill in Minnesota history was introduced…over
the objections of the state's largest "GAY RIGHTS ORGANIZATION."

I heard from a separate source who had talked to the Reitans, that "leadership" had put some pressure on bill authors after he introduced this bill. This is supporting evidence for this story.

I wrote to Outfront Minnesota and Project 515 requesting comment. Outfront responded:

This was simply a timing issue. OutFront Minnesota spoke with Senator
Marty about wanting to be sure the municipal government benefits bill was heard and voted on without being unintentionally held back by the introduction of Senator Marty's bill.

This year, Senator Marty's bill will be introduced earlier in the session. Linda Higgins has signed on again.

Barney Frank on Rick Warren's Invite

News release from Barney Frank
Congressman, 4th District, Massachusetts
2252 Rayburn Building * Washington, D.C. 20515 *
(202) 225-5931

Thursday, December 18, 2008


"I am very disappointed by President-elect Barack Obama's decision to honor Reverend Rick Warren with a prominent role in his inauguration. Religious leaders obviously have every right to speak out in opposition to anti-discrimination measures, even in the degrading terms that Rev. Warren has used with regard to same-sex marriage. But that does not confer upon them the right to a place of honor in the inauguration ceremony of a president whose stated commitment to LGBT rights won him the strong support of the great majority of those who support that cause.

"It is irrelevant that Rev. Warren invited Senator Obama to address his congregation, since he extended an equal invitation to Senator McCain. Furthermore, the President-Elect has not simply invited Rev. Warren to give a speech as part of a series in which various views are presented. The selection of a member of the clergy to occupy this uniquely elevated position has always been considered a mark of respect and approval by those who are being inaugurated."


Focus on the Family Happy with Obama

From Citizen Link:

Gay Activists Erupt as Obama Invites Rick Warren to Pray

President-elect Barack Obama has added fuel to the gay activists' fire by inviting the Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration.

Warren made headlines in August when he hosted Obama and Sen. John McCain at his Saddleback Church in California. He also endorsed California's marriage-protection amendment, which has fueled protests and violence from the gay community since its passage in November.

Joe Solmonese, president of the gay-activist Human Rights Campaign, said Obama has "tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table."

Tom Minnery, senior vice president of government and public policy at Focus on the Family Action, said: "It's nice to see a conservative evangelical pastor play such a prominent role in such an important event.

"It underscores the importance of evangelicalism in the country," he told The Associated Press.

— Jennifer Mesko

This is the focus on the family that prayed for rain during Obama's acceptance speech.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More on Rick Warren

Salon Letters:

Unfortunately, Obama was directly involved in Picking Warren

Mike lets Obama off the hook here (I hope through carelesness and not through intentionally withholding information). The JCCIC simply invited Warren. Obama, the JCCIC Chairman, and Biden actually selected Warren, according to the press release announcing the inaugural lineup:

"The program participants were invited by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and chosen by the Chairman, the Presidential-elect and the Vice President-elect."

I'm all for being pragmatic, triangulating, etc., to neutralize the Right. But Warren is an ant-gay, anti-choice zealot who says a Christian who votes for a pro-choice candidate is like a Jew who votes for a Holocaust denier. And a douchebag.

I supported Obama big time. I have no problem with his centrist choices for cabinet positions. But when he pulls crap like giving a prominent role to a guy like Warren, he needs to be called out on it.

Obama's Inaugeration Team Chooses Anti-Gay Rick Warren to Give Invocation

More here.

In another Donny McClurkin moment, magnified by the context of this historic inauguration, the Joint Inaugural Committee has chosen Prop 8 homophobe and noted religious nutcase Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church and Store™ to deliver the Benediction at his Inauguration.

Aretha Franklin and Dr. Rick Warren, an author and leader of the Saddleback Church, are among the select group of people who will participate in Barack Obama’s inaugural swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20.

Dr. Warren, of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Cal., will deliver the invocation, followed by musical selections by Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, who sang “Someday We’ll All Be Free” and “Respect” at a concert for Bill Clinton in 1993, but not at the inaugural ceremony.

This is a horrific insult to the thousands of LGBT Americans who worked to elect Barack Obama president and the millions of LGBT Americans who voted for him.

Warren sounds like another charlatan in the vane of Mac Hammond.

A commenter over at Americablog points out:

This isn't something that Obama should be entirely blamed for. Look at the program, after all. According to the program, "The program participants were invited by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and chosen by the Chairman, the Presidential-elect and the Vice President-elect. In addition to Senator Feinstein, the members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies include: Senator Bob Bennett, Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; and House Republican Leader John Boehner." Thus, while Obama is culpable for not objecting to the choice of Rick Warren, he's not alone in his guilt: the whole Democratic leadership is, too!

coolcatdaddy 35 minutes ago 1 point

Please login to rate.

Do you already have an account? Log in and claim this comment.
I've just sent a message to with my thoughts about the Warren mess and about how the Democratic Party, more generally, gives LGBTs the short stick.

I plan on Inauguration Day to change my registration from Democratic to Independent and plan to only vote in local elections until the Democrats do more than just give lip-service to LGBTs.

I can't participate in a process that doesn't represent me at all.

MNPundit 37 minutes ago 1 point

Please login to rate.

Do you already have an account? Log in and claim this comment.
A couple of points.

1) Rick Warren is Obama's friend. It's not a totally political stunt.

2) Gays went stronger for McCain this year, but about 10 points compared to Bush/Kerry. I believe they were the only group with a statistically significant drop in support for Obama compared to Kerry.

scioto 53 minutes ago 1 point

Please login to rate.

Do you already have an account? Log in and claim this comment.
Boycott the event Joe and how many people are going to notice or care?

However turn this into the biggest Prop 8 event and lots of people will probably notice. As I've posted on DKos, it might be a good idea to start a campaign to have people turn their backs when Warren speaks. Maybe hold signs too. The inauguration is going to have the world's attention, if we can get progressives to work together we could make a point about Warren and Prop H8 at the same time.

scottinsf 1 hour ago 1 point

Please login to rate.

Do you already have an account? Log in and claim this comment.
Let me preface by saying that I still have a lot of hope and confindence that Obama will be the best president in my lifetime and I am forever glad he won the election. Now, having said that....I'm so fucking let down by this. What an absolute slap in the face. It's obviously intentional and meant to send a message to all GLBT people. I suppose it's good that we see Obama's true colors and what he thinks of us early on. I thought he might be different than most democrats but it's now glaringly obvious that is not the case.

Shame on Obama and shame on anyone that tries making excuses for him.

Screw Rick Warren but 1 hour ago 1 point

Please login to rate.

Do you already have an account? Log in and claim this comment.
weren't you the same guys who were bitching just a couple of months ago about the McCain campaign's guilt-by-association tactics. If you believed then that sitting in Rev. Wright's church for 20 years or serving on the same board with William Ayers didn't make Obama an America hating terrorist; why now do you believe that Rick Warren saying a prayer at his inauguration makes Barack an anti-abortion, torture loving, Iran-invading homophobe? Fanaticism is just as ugly on the left as it is on the right. All I see here is a lot of heat and not a single ray of light. I thought we were smarter than the Redstate mob.

Screw Rick Warren but 32 minutes ago 1 point

Please login to rate.

Do you already have an account? Log in and claim this comment.
Lucky, you obviously haven't read everything else written here. Apparently according to the logic here not only is Barack a homophobe he's not even a progressive; forget the fact that he includes "gay" in every speech he makes where he talks about all Americans "black, white, gay, straight..." or that he's proposing 1 trillion dollars in stimulus spending. Which other candidate - not even president - before now has ever done that. I don't see anyone implying that he's now anti-abortion because of this but somehow he's anti-gay, even a homophobe. If the price that the gay community demands of its allies is that they agree with them 100% of the time and only hang out with people who only agree with them 100% of the time then you're going to be left with precious few allies and absolutely none than can help bridge divides and advance the cause of equality. At the risk of being stoned I'll quote Reagan, "My 90% friend is not my 10% enemy." This you're either with us or you're against us attitude didn't exactly work so well for George Bush, did it? Seems the only problem we have with tyranny is that we don't get to be the tyrant.

Mark 1 hour ago 1 point

Please login to rate.

Do you already have an account? Log in and claim this comment.
I disagree with pdxprobert's first half of the post about the far right. I don't think Obama is pandering to them as Rick Warren is not as popular among the core evangelicals as you might think. I also disagree with Gridlock's comment because having a prayer by a religious wacko is no reason to declare that the sky is falling. It isn't. Adults keep their wits about them and keep their eye on the real issues and a prayer by a homophobe isn't one of them. Repealing "Dont ask Dont tell" is one of them and marriage equality is another but you can't from A to Z without going through the rest of the letters first. We are much further along in our quest for equal rights than we think and trashing our allies (YES Obama is an ally) is not the way to get to B, C, D etc.

I agree with this. I'm more concerned about the policy that will come out of the Obama administration.

At the same time, John Aravosis has more. I do have a problem with giving a guy a platform and legitimacy who states that gays can be equated with incest perpetrators. I think the way to make this backfire, is to do a creative demonstration that will make Obama look bad for choosing this guy. So it can't be violent. Creative signs (without getting vulgar) - can make the point.

So I'm going back and forth on this one. What do you think?

Another commenter notes:

Update: Are you looking for someone to email to express your outrage? Well, a well-placed source just provided these email addresses: (Parag Mehta is Obama’s LGBT liaison in the transition team.)
You can also contact Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office. She chaired the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and made the announcement.

CCaitlyn 2 hours ago 1 point

Please login to rate.

Do you already have an account? Log in and claim this comment.
You guys remind me of the McCain campaign... all tactics and no strategy. If all you're ever doing is reacting then there's no way you're going to win. Protesting Rick Warren is about as dumb as a dumb move can be because you're playing right into their hands. The Religious Right want to make this a fight about religion. That's the only way they win, by arguing that gay rights is an infringement on their religious rights. The fact is the Bible categorically says homosexuality is a sin, and you arguing that people that believe that should somehow renounce those believes or not agitate in support of those beliefs, they will tell you, is no different than you complaining about them telling you to stop being gay. That argument gets either side nowhere but stasis suits the RR perfectly because they're already where they want to be. The Bible also clearly endorses slavery. The reason most churches even today are still either predominantly white or predominantly black is because MLK never asked white people who used the Bible to justify their bigotry to stop believing what they believed, he never protested a white racist church, he made his protest to the government because the rights he was seeking we're not religious rights based on the eye of the beholder but civil rights enshrined in the constitution. Once again, railing against the RR is exactly what they want because it obfuscates the line between the Bible and the Constitution. Dumb move. Step away from the window and get a strategy.

Outfront Minnesota Announces New ED

From Outfront Minnesota ENews:

Dear OutFront Minnesota Friends,

We are very pleased to announce that we have chosen attorney and long-time community advocate and leader Amy Johnson to become the new OutFront Minnesota Executive Director.

Amy brings extensive experience in public policy and advocacy, fundraising and management and has a demonstrated track record of commitment to GLBT equality. She has served as board chair or member of numerous GLBT organizations including PFund, where she helped endowment funds grow to more than $1 million, as well as District 202, the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association and the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association. An attorney for 20 years, she lobbied the American Bar Association to ensure passage of a national policy to prevent discrimination against same-sex couples in adoption cases. She has served on several political campaigns including for state legislature, city council, mayor, governor and Minnesota Supreme Court.

Johnson's selection concludes a five-month process that included eight community conversations about the future of OutFront Minnesota and its leadership needs; a search committee composed of community leaders and board members which interviewed and recommended candidates to the board for final selection.

Amy will provide OutFront Minnesota with the leadership and vision it needs as it embarks on an ambitious agenda that includes the pursuit of marriage equality and elimination of discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in Minnesota. She'll officially begin at OutFront Minnesota on January 5.

Our work to end GLBT discrimination has only been possible because of your enduring support. We hope you'll be as inspired and excited about this announcement as we are to continue the work to achieve full equality and that you'll work side-by-side with us to achieve that goal.

Tomorrow, look for the story in the media including the Minneapolis Star Tribune and other publications; and listen for interviews with Amy on Minnesota Public Radio's All Things Considered with Tom Crann (3-6:30pm); and The Mark Heaney program on KTNF 950 AM (Air America Minnesota) at 5:30 pm.

Watch for our future announcement about a community event in late January to welcome Amy.

We look forward to seeing and working with you in the New Year.

I hope Amy Johnson is a results oriented person when it comes to politics.

Facebook Numbers for Marry Me Minnesota, Minnesota Marriage Equality and Outfront Minnesota

It's interesting to compare these organizations on Facebook.

Marry Me Minnesota has 489 members on December 16, 2009 at 9:30 PM.

Marriage Equality Minnesota has 2,560 members on December 16, 2009 at 9:30 PM.

Outfront Minnesota has 424 members on December 16, 2009 at 9:30 PM.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another Defender of the Sanctity of Marriage

Pam's House Blend has the scoop.

Avidor on Jpods

Secrets of the City:

Looks like San Jose and Minneapolis is in a race to be the first to become JPOD cities. Watch Mpls City Council President Barb Johnson take a ride on Bill James' pod (with sporty, yellow "support the troops" sticker).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Teen Challenge's So Called Study

Maia Szalavitz takes apart Teen Challenge's claim that a study has shown them to be "74% effective."

When Minnesota Teen Challenge (MNTC) responded to my recent blog entry about their anti-drug program, they cited a "study" to back their claims of being an effective treatment for addiction.

What this paper actually shows is how easy it is produce good looking numbers. In that way, it's actually quite instructive for anyone who wants to understand addiction research--or wants to avoid being taken in by exaggerated outcome data.

Even more intriguingly, MNTC failed to mention that the success rate they proudly cited is for adults--but buried in their own study is a much more dismal picture for teenagers.

Their uncontrolled research includes the classic statistical ploys used by drug programs for decades to inflate success rates. At first glance, a claim of 74% of graduates abstinent without relapse for six months sounds pretty good. OK, it's only six months--but often, if you can make it six months at a time without relapsing, you are doing pretty well.

Let's look a little closer at that number and how it was generated, however. Start with the fact that MNTC participants are not just "addicts off the street." They are seeking treatment--either because they have to in order to avoid prison or because they have decided they want to stop using.

Most have been through a detox program to help with withdrawal--and many will have dropped out before completing that. MNTC participants have also consented to attend a highly religious rehab--or had their parents consent for them. This suggests that we have already eliminated many of the addicts who aren't motivated to recover before they even set foot in the door.

Because there is no control group, all of those facts already mean that any success in the program we see could be due to pre-existing motivation: not to anything special about the rehab. Only with a control group of similar people who get no treatment or attend a different rehab can we really tell what works and what doesn't.

Read the whole thing. If there is no control group in this study, then the "74% effectiveness rate" doesn't mean anything.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rich Stanek Promoting Teen Challenge

City Pages on Minnesota Teen Challenge

Excellent article from 1995 here:

Though the Minnesota branch's literature promises that "tours of the facilities are available by appointment," Scherber backed out of a scheduled visit from City Pages twice. He did, however, discuss the program on the phone, alternating between suspicion ("We don't need any turdy publicity") and enthusiasm. "We believe that there is a sin problem with humanity," he explains. "That your problem has a spiritual origin. There is a heavy emphasis on Bible memorization."

There are currently 50 students in Minnesota Teen Challenge, Scherber says: "29 adult males, 14 ladies, and seven teenagers," the latter in a Christian school run out of a nearby church. A list of things to bring for the minimum one-year stay begins with "dress clothes" for church. Would-be residents pay a $100 application fee (the rest of the program is free, though the literature asks residents to turn over 75 percent of any public-assistance payments) and fill out a sheet with questions such as "Have you ever been involved in a homosexual relationship or associated activities? If yes, please explain." Entrants sign a form allowing staff to search their person, their room, and their mail, promising to have communication "with immediate family members only," and to withdraw from drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and coffee beyond a cup a day "cold turkey, aided only by prayer." Finally, they vouch that "I Am Committing Myself To This (1) Year, Deeply Christian Based Program, Without Any Form Of Coercion."


But not everyone who's dealt with Teen Challenge is as sanguine. Julie Borlaug first heard about the program in a Bible study class at her church in Eagan; the instructor suggested that church members "go down and touch" the urban destitute. But when she called and mentioned her 16-year AA background, she says she was told she should get on her knees and repent. What followed was a series of phone conversations in which Borlaug says she merely demanded her due--a meeting, a tour, financial accountability from an organization her church donations were supporting. What she found, she says, made her concerned that she'd run into "some sort of a cult" that dealt with vulnerable people without public oversight. Scherber, for his part, has slapped a restraining order on Borlaug and her husband, claiming that their phone calls harassed him and his employees. "We have all the licenses we need," he insists. "I don't know where this woman is coming from."

As it turns out, both were partially right. Teen Challenge isn't licensed by the state or the city, and it's possible it doesn't need to be. Under Minnesota law, you can operate all sorts of "group residential facilities" without regulation, as long as you're not claiming to be providing health care services such as professional drug treatment. And while state law requires nonprofits to give the public financial information including tax returns, religious organizations are exempt.

Teen Challenge's only vulnerable point may be the fact that it recently began working with adolescents. Scherber says officials have told him he doesn't need a license for that. But following Borlaug's inquiries, the state Department of Human Services has begun looking into the matter: "We will probably want to talk to them," says Julie Reger, manager of the department's licensing division.

Rich Scherber now claims he is licensed by the state department of human services. Why was Scherber so unwilling to provide financial accountability to a church member in Eagan?

Rich Scherber: God Protected Teen Challenge from Results of the 35W Bridge Collapse

Read it here:

The Minnesota Teen Challenge program is thanking God on several fronts for His awesome protection during the bridge collapse on Interstate 35 yesterday. This bridge is located just ¼ mile from our main center and is traveled hundreds of times by many of our students and staff as the main route to the Northeast metro area. I have heard almost a dozen stories from employees and students who were on this bridge just minutes before it went down. I want to share three of the most powerful miracles.

First, Jessica our admissions supervisor told me in tears how at 6:00 last night she was ready to enter the I-35 Bridge over the Mississippi. The Holy Spirit spoke to her very abruptly to turn off the freeway and go a different way home. She obeyed the Holy Spirit arguing with him all the way. Since she takes this same route every day and her commute home takes almost an hour, detouring from the freeway and not crossing over the bridge didn't make sense. Shortly after she detoured from I-35, the bridge went down. Jessica most likely would have been on that bridge.

Where did Scherber get those pictures? The public was not allowed that close to the site the day after the collapse.

Only the police and the media could have taken those pictures.

Did God also bring Minnesota Teen Challenge to listen to Frank Vennes about investments?

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Hat Tip: Pharyngula.

Is Rahm Emanuel Implicated in the Blagojevich Scandal

Huffington Post quoting Fox Chicago:

President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had direct conversations with Gov. Rod Blagojevich about Obama's replacement in the US Senate, FOX News Chicago reports.

Citing "a source familiar with the investigation," Fox says that Emanuel had "multiple conversations" with Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris, who was also arrested Tuesday on federal corruption charges, about the seat and that they we're "likely recorded and in FBI possession."

Fox's source said that Emanuel gave the governor's office a list of "candidates that would be acceptable to President-elect Barack Obama" but no "quid pro quo" or "dealmaking" is suspected.

It will be a problem for Obama if Emanuel is involved.

My Fox Chicago report is here.

Boston Globe Editorial Opposes Jim Ramstad as Drug Czar

Read it here:

REPRESENTATIVE Jim Ramstad, a Republican from Minnesota, is said to be a candidate for drug czar in the Obama administration. This would take bipartisanship one step too far, at the expense of public health.

Ramstad, who is retiring after 18 years in office, gets high marks for working with a Democratic colleague, Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, to require insurers to cover mental health and addiction treatment (the two men are alcohol recovery partners). But Ramstad has also voted repeatedly against federal funding for needle exchange programs for drug users to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. Washington's paralysis on this issue goes back to when President Clinton let his drug czar, Barry McCaffrey, sabotage funding efforts by Donna Shalala, then secretary of Health and Human Services. McCaffrey hyperbolically called clean-needle programs "magnets for all social ills." In 2002, Clinton admitted that "I was wrong" not to lift the funding ban.

A study this fall in The Lancet found that only 1.5 percent of injecting drug users in Australia have HIV, compared with 16 percent in the United States. "That's largely because we acted very quickly in the 1980s to implement methadone programs and needle exchange programs when other countries like the US were dragging their heels," study author Bradley Mathers of Australia's National Drug and Alcohol Research Center told the Associated Press. Anthony Fauci, director for infectious disease at the National Institutes of Health, flatly says, "needle exchange programs work. There's no doubt about that."

The Centers for Disease Control says the national HIV infection rate is now 40 percent higher than previously thought. Injection drug use causes 12 percent of new infections. Obama, a supporter of needle exchange, has no time to thread the needle with his drug czar.

I've also read that Ramstad is more interested in other related positions within the Obama administration.

Friday, December 12, 2008

So Why Is OutFront Minnesota So Afraid of Expecting More Of Democratic Legislators Such as Kelliher

From Hometown source:

Asked about the party and social issues, several local Republicans opined that while abortion and same-sex marriage and other social issues have been and should remain important to Republicans, neither should they be the sole focus.

“I think our opposition has been fantastic (at depicting Republicans as driven by social issues) and frankly, a great number of our social conservatives have been more than willing to step into it,” said Emmer of a perceived idea that the party is a party of social issues.

Seifert has shied away from social issues in favor of a focus on jobs, cutting regulations, he explained.

“During my tenure as minority leader if you counted the number of times I’ve talked about gay rights or Indian gaming you could probably count them on one finger,” he said.

Has OutFront Minnesota ever made an appointment to talk with Marty Seifert? It might be a worthwhile effort.

Colin Powell: We Should Reevaluate Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Write your Senators and congress members. President Obama will sign repeal if the law is repealed by congress.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Obama Requested 200,000 for Teen Challenge

A commenter points out that Barack Obama also proposed funding for that group of charlatans also known as Teen Challenge.

Obama Requested $200,000 For The Teen Challenge Faith-Based Drug Abuse Treatment And Prevention Program In Illinois. In 2006, Obama requested $200,000 for the Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug abuse treatment and prevention program that operates statewide. After completion of the program, 72 percent of Teen Challenge graduates continue their education, 75 percent are employed, 87.5 percent do not require additional treatment for substance abuse, and 92 percent report good-to-excellent health. Vocational training is essential to successful drug abuse treatment, and this program produces graduates with job skills that allow them to become self-sufficient and return to their communities as productive members of society. To expand the scope of their work throughout Chicago, additional funding is requested to pay for the enrollment of an additional 30 individuals per month. [Obama Request Letter To Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Education, 4/5/06]

Why would Barack Obama promote funding a program that believes Harry Potter books and Pokemons are gateways into drug abuse?

Lead Sponsor of DADT Repeal Says It's Possible to Repeal This Ban This Year


WASHINGTON (CNN) – The lead sponsor of a bill to overturn the controversial Don't Ask, Don't Tell law said the law could conceivably be passed in the first year of President-elect Obama's administration.

President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to lift the ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military.

A transition office spokesman refused to comment for this story but two months ago, Obama signaled he would move cautiously, telling the Philadelphia Gay News newspaper he would first get the military on board:

"Although I have consistently said I would repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I believe that the way to do it is to make sure that we are working through processes, getting the Joint Chiefs of Staff clear in terms of what our priorities are going to be," he said.

They seem to be bravely running away from a campaign promise. Perhaps they are taking the advice of John Aravosis. As reported here earlier, John Aravosis was suggesting that Obama could appease gays and avoid repeal of DADT by appointing an open lesbian to Labor secretary. I hope gays will be smart enough to see through that nonsense.

It's nice that some of the sponsors in congress want to move forward in this area.

A bill to replace "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", with a policy of nondiscrimination, has 149 co-sponsors in the house, including California's Ellen Tauscher, a Democrat. Tauscher said with new administration, the timing is right to try and pass the bill.

"The key here is to get bills that pass the House and the Senate, that we can get to president-elect Obama to sign, and I think that we can do that, certainly the first year of the administration," Tauscher said in an interview with CNN.

Gay rights advocates say it's important for the new President to avoid the ham-fisted attempt President Clinton tried in 1993, when he naively promised to lift the ban by executive order.

That roiled the Pentagon brass — including then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell — and provoked a fierce backlash from conservatives in Congress.

As a result Congress stripped President Clinton of his power to change the policy and forced him to accept the Don't Ask Don't Tell compromise — a law that can only be repealed by Congress.

But after 15 years and four wars, attitudes in the Pentagon — and among the public — have changed dramatically.

A Washington Post-ABC news poll this summer found 75 percent of Americans support allowing gays to serve openly, compared to only 45 percent back in 1993.

More than 100 retired U.S. military leaders — including the former head of the Naval Academy — have signed a statement calling for an end to the military's "don't ask-don't tell" policy, according to a California-based think tank that supports the movement.

Retired Admiral Charles Larson, the former Naval Academy superintendent, tops the list of 104 retired general and admirals who want the government to repeal the policy, the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, announced Monday.

Comments expressed strongly held opinions on both sides:

Cynthia November 19th, 2008 9:07 am ET

Please stop comparing what African Americans went through in our history to the GLBT community. It is not on the same level at all!!!!!!!! GLBT folks have not been enslaved. They may have their own challenges right now, but it is not EVEN CLOSE TO BEING THE SAME!!!!!!!!
JohnTexas November 19th, 2008 3:43 am ET

Bob Dillian was right…. The times, the are a'changing. We need every capable soldier in the field for the fight on terror. Why refuse good hearted Americans who wish to serve their country? You think there is a better opportunity to find a boyfriend on the battlefield or someone who wants to protect our rights back home in the battlefield. I bless anyone who would stand in harms way for our country in a foreign land against those who'd wish to destroy our freedoms at home.
noahjigaboo November 19th, 2008 3:13 am ET

shiii,my brudas and sistas rather beeb collecting a welfare chex .let dem queers serve in da army.shiii, out in dem cold trenches a bruda might need toob git his snuggle on or maybe even need toob play hide da monkey.shiii dat don't mean heeb beeb gay just on da down low.
Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can break my heart. « Spreading the Word November 19th, 2008 1:30 am ET

[...] of Thumb, the slave codes, the black codes, the fifteenth amendment, Executive Order 9981, the ERA, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, [...]
rick November 19th, 2008 1:09 am ET

Serving in the military is about honor, integrity, loyalty and it has nothing to do with a lifestye. We give up our freedoms to service our country. Fighting men must trust there fellow soilder, he put his life in his hand and his fellow soldier does the same to him. We who call ourselve men ask that you do not dishonor us. November 19th, 2008 12:49 am ET

sorry, but gays should not be serving openly in the military. It makes people uncomfortable and they will face segregation.
Kurt November 19th, 2008 12:00 am ET

The main issue is that the LORD said that being gay is morally wrong and people will not fight their temptations so instead of doing what is right in the eyes of God they choose to fight to make their sins acceptable. It is only right in their mind, it is still morally wrong and a still a sin in the eyes of the LORD your God. Repent and be saved. Those who choose to make sin ok for society will still answer to the LORD and end up in the fires of Hell. Just because you choose to ignore God does not mean that you won't be judged for your sin and your punishment will still fit the sins that you have not acknowlaged and asked for forgiveness.
JCL November 18th, 2008 11:35 pm ET

If being a homosexual or a lesbian in the United States armed services wasn't a problem then WHY haven't they been allowed for over 200 years?funny we have fought many wars without open perversion among the ranks and have done great with most of them and we are still the strongest military power on earth,why would anyone (in their right mind)want to put that at risk?…or put it this way…if allowing homosexuals in the military or allowing them to be "open" whatever that is..if allowing them would put the slightest fraction of risk to the strength of the military or national security WHY would anyone even care about allowing their sexual decisions in life so important that they are willing to put the country at risk…no true American would do that…face it this is the truth.
DJ November 18th, 2008 11:34 pm ET

It is never a person's choice to be gay. God creates a person as gay. Those who would seek to ridicule or hurt those individuals are casting judgment on what God hath made, and that seems sinful to me. That does not give a gay person free license not to be responsible people or to force their orientation on others. I have known gays and lesbians in my lifetime that were outstanding people, who never forced their orientation on me. Some of these people were the best friends anyone could ask for, very loyal, honest, educated, good citizens, fine character, and some served or now serve with honor in the U.S. Military. So get over it - Iraq tested the waters shoring up with the Brits proving that sexual orientation does not make a difference. Again, to correct a prior post, being gay is not a choice, it is way the God created people. To imply otherwise, or to torture these people mentally or try to change them driving them to suicide in some cases - well, God help you who engage in such abuse. You may find yourself shaking on judgment day before your Maker.
Carson November 18th, 2008 11:25 pm ET

This will KILL enlistment. And it comes at time when we are fighting two wars and need all the troops we can get. Doin' a heckuva job, Obamie ! You're not even sworn in yet and you're already FUBAR. Straight young men who want to take part in the very macho environment of the military will not be willing to take showers or live in close quarters with openly gay men. Most of you supporting this (like the clueless Obama) have never spent a minute of your lives in uniform. Imagine if you came in to your civilian job one morning and you hear that you will be taking showers with openly gay men. How many of you would continue to work there? (Not many). The military is not a normal 9 to 5 job with cubicles. You are in very close quarters for much of your training and straight people would be forced into very uncomfortable circumstances with people attracted to the same sex. Men and women aren't forced to shower together in the military, so gays and straights shouldn't be either. If you want to live your gay lifestyle do it oustside the military.
UnitedFamily November 18th, 2008 11:22 pm ET

The end of "don't ask, don't tell" is the beginning of "never mention this again", thank you….
You say you won't serve with gays. Don't look now because I would almost guarantee you probably already do!! I am a spouse(wife) of a female active service member and to have the ban done away with would mean more than most could imagine!! It would mean to me that I would be the first one to be notified if something was to happen to her I would be called not someone in her family and then have them contact me….MichaelHsu How would your wife feel if someone else was to be notifed and they found everything out second hand??? How would everyones else wifes and or husbands feel? As far as holding hands in uniform it is not even that how about walking on the beach holding hands, in a shopping mall, movie theater and so on….can you say that doesn't happen with all of the heteosexuals…someone said as long as we (homosexuals) keep it in the privacy of our own homes what about all of the heteosexuals keeping it in the privacy of their own homes??? How about being able to go to all of the holiday parties, festivals, support groups, helping in the spouses organizations. How about being able to be the one to legally be able to make health decisions for each other and not have to side on the sidelines and watch someone else be the one to be making the important stuff….
Patrice November 18th, 2008 11:19 pm ET

It doesn't matter what a person's sexual preference is unless you are hoping to have sex with that person. Otherwise, it is irrelevant.
dave November 18th, 2008 11:16 pm ET

Sexuality doesn't change the path of a bullet
Disgruntled republican November 18th, 2008 11:08 pm ET

Anyone who is willing to risk their life to defend their country should be able to do so. These people risk their lives for people who don't want to see them serve their county. DADT needs to abolished. There have been gays in the military for years. God bless them and all the soldiers who faithfully serve OUR country.
Peter November 18th, 2008 11:05 pm ET

Gays serving openly in the military: Stupid idea then, stupid idea now. Don't ask, don't tell works. Why subvert military discipline by allowing disruptive behavior of any kind? Behavior is after all what's we're talking about - Everyone's entitled to his/her orientation. No reason that can't be kept private. People pushing for this just don't understand the military. The cohesion of the unit is paramount, not individuals' expressions. To diminish the morale of the military this way isn't change, it's insanity.
Former Marine November 18th, 2008 10:59 pm ET

It's rather odd how much of an interest evangelical Christians and others take in the private activity of others. During my service in the Marines, I met people from all wakes of life, some of whom were homosexual. Serving with these individuals was an honor, and I would challenge those whose religion forces them to a prejudical opinion to serve, go to a war zone, and tell me the difference between serving with a heterosexual or homosexual. It's time to wipe our hands clean of bigotry in the name of religion and treat people with some respect.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Amy Klobuchar Proposed a Cool Half Million Earmark for the Harry Potter/Pokemon Obscessed Minnesota Teen Challenge

Earlier this year, Dump Bachmann and City Pages covered Michele Bachmann's association with Minnesota Teen Challenge, and exposed some newsletters that revealed the group to be far out on the fringe.

Parents are supposed to watch for signs that there kids are interested in Harry Potter and Pokemon among other things. These are gateways to drug abuse according to Teen Challenge.

Minnnesota Teen Challenge Newsletter screen shot

Why did Amy Klobuchar propose to fund this group with an earmark to the tune of a cool half million of taxpayer money?

Know the Truth- Prevention Education Project Minnesota Teen Challenge. For the Minnesota Teen Challenge to expand their drug prevention education efforts for teenagers $500,000

Write Betty McCollum. She sits on the appropriations committee. Minnesota Teen Challenge should NOT be funded.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Log Cabin Republicans Illinois Calls for Governor to Resign

This is truly sad day for Illinois. Log Cabin Illinois strongly believes in one's presumption of innocence, but in light of a mass of federal corruption charges, Log Cabin Illinois ruefully calls for the immediate resignation of Governor Blagojevich.

If the Governor fails to do so, we urge the Illinois General Assembly to move expeditiously with impeachment proceedings.

Log Cabin Illinois believes that it is imperative that the United States Senate appointment be made by a new governor, by the Legislature, or special election, freeing that appointment from any improprieties.

Illinois faces a number of issues that require strong leadership in Springfield, and given the allegations that surround the Governor, we are asking our membership to contact their state representatives urging action on this important issue.

Pardongate, Tom Petters, and Jim Ramstad - Oh My!

From Ken Avidor's story in Dump Michele Bachmann.

Two articles today about Congressman Jim Ramstad's earmark for Michele Bachmann's favorite charity Teen Challenge.

Maia Szalavitz at the Huffington Post and another by Andy Birkey at the Minnesota Independent.

Karl Bremer left this comment on MnIndy:

Teen Challenge is also heavily wrapped up in the Tom Petters financial fraud scandal. The common link between the two is Frank Vennes, a convicted money launderer and former Teen Challenge board member who allegedly steered loads of Teen Challenge investments to Petters’ companies. Michele Bachmann and Norm Coleman wrote letters of recommendation for a presidential pardon for Vennes, who has not yet been charged in the Petters affair. Ramstad’s relationship to Teen Challenge should clearly be a part of any investigation of his qualifications for “drug czar.”

For 13 years, Tom Petters ran what is very likely the biggest individual Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. Some people have marveled about how long Petters ran the racket and how much he raked in. It begs the question; did Petters get any help from people in high places? Petters, Vennes and their associates and family gave a lot of money to politicians and political parties.

This is an ongoing Federal investigation and I won't comment publicly about any individual's guilt or innocence... but, I'll say this; when the shoes start dropping... and that may happen soon, public officials like Jim Ramstad, Michele Bachmann, Norm Coleman, Amy Klobuchar and others are going to have some explaining to do.

Commenters weigh in on Andy Birkey's story:

John Dennis
Comment posted December 9, 2008 @ 4:36 PM
Lots of reckless reporting and innuendo here. Teen Challenge is an incredibly successful faith-based program that saves peoples lives from addiction.

Teen Challenge also promotes Exodus - an ex-gay ministry.

Minnesota Teen Challenge has several locations in Minneapolis. Teen challenge is notorious for being abusive to their clients:

For some first hand accouts go to here and here.

Teen Challenge believes Halloween and Harry Potter is a gateway to drug abuse.

Finally check out the Teen Challenge "Men at War" God Tube video.

Teen Challenge is NOT successful. They manipulate their success rates by booting out unsuccessful clients.

They should NOT get ANY public funding. People should contact Amy Klobuchar about this. In the past she has been part of a Teen Challenge fundraiser. People should also write Obama's transition team with their concerns.

Blog Cabin at Minn Post

Minn Post has a new writer, Justin Piehowski, who has decided to start reviewing blogs. It sounds like he is going to try to avoid "harsh political blogs".

Harsh political blogs: Left or right, if you're more interested in bashing those you disagree with than producing thoughtful, original content, I am not interested.

I stopped by and left a comment:

A couple questions:

1. What is your definition of "harsh political blog?"

2. Why not just talk about "harsh blogs", rather than use the "political" descriptor? There are plenty of blogs on non-political topics that bash those that disagree with the blogger.

Your dismissal of political blogs bothers me. It suggests that politics is a dirty and dishonorable profession. There are many honorable people in politics who are interested in good public policy. Sports blogs, movie blogs, celebrity blogs, science blogs etc can all include posts that are scathing about their various targets. In the science blogosphere, read Orac on the "anti-vaccinationists" and PZ Myers about creationists.

If what you mean by a "nice blog" is a blog that avoids taking a strong stand on anything, then that sounds a bit boring to me. The more interesting blogs to me are the ones who write well reasoned opinions.

Justin adds more detail in the comments:

Next, I feel I owe it to readers to open some kind of conversation about best practices in blogging. Lots of people do it for lots of different reasons. I'd like to help the public decide what works and what doesn't.

Finally, I want to acknowledge those who are trying blogging simply because they can. Not because there's a huge money behind it or their boss mandates it, but because they feel they have something to share with the world. Blogs allow that like no other medium in history.

People talk all the time about 'people-powered media' and the 'democratization' of journalism. But, what does that mean? I don't know which experiments will survive and what won't, but it'll be fun to watch, won't it?

I wonder why Justin thinks he can be an expert on best practices in blogging. I do think it's nice that he will focus on the true citizen journalists, rather than the paid media bloggers who have their media outlet to promote them.

It is par for the course that Mitch Berg starts mitching:

"Harsh political blogs: Left or right, if you're more interested in bashing those you disagree with than producing thoughtful, original content, I am not interested."

But as the Strib's misbegotten "Blog House" has showed us, one person's thoughtful original content is the other person's "bashing" - and that decision usually depends entirely on agreeing about politics.

Should I expect much better here?
(#6) On December 9, 2008, Justin Piehowski says:
Hey Mitch,
Love the Blog House. I don't intend to be all focused on politics, in fact, I don't seeing it being a huge part of the column.

But, if there's substance to it, we may get into it.


I hope blog cabin covers a variety of issues in Minnesota - and includes coverage of politics.

Ollie Ox writes a scathing review of Blog Cabin.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Targetting People at Work for Political Differences

I have never liked this. Michael Brodkorb blogging under the cover of anonymity used to attempt to get campaign volunteers in trouble at work. Now some opponents of the anti-gay prop 8 are targetting businesses where employees contributed to Yes on 8. This is a strategy intended to intimidate, rather than a strategy to persuade and change minds.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Respected Gay Writer Paul Varnell Writes of the Uselessness of Democrats

Read his column at the Independent Gay Forum.

Although Barack Obama stated his opposition to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on open gays in the military, the Obama team has let it be known that it will not try to repeal the law during the next session of Congress.

And now there are reports that despite New York state Democrats' support for same-sex marriage, the state Senate will "probably" not take up the issue during the coming session.

Have gays been had? Maybe so.

A lot of gays contributed time and money to the Obama campaign, not only because Obama represented a welcome change from the dismal Bush administration, but because he espoused a number of gay-supportive positions, including repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

I can understand the Obama administration's desire not to make the same mistakes as the Clinton administration in 1993, when Clinton proceeded without taking account of the strong military opposition to the inclusion of gays such as Gen. Colin Powell's and congressional resistance as personified by Sen. Sam Nunn. You may remember Sen. Nunn's highly publicized visit to the "close quarters" of a submarine. The implication was obvious.

"I would not go so far as to say that the Democrats deliberately lie about their intentions on gay issues. But they certainly promise more than they can or know how to deliver."And I can even understand that there are more nationally pressing issues for Obama and the new Congress to deal with such as the state of the economy, the war in Iraq and the worsening situation in Afghanistan.

Then too, in 2006 and 2008 Rep. Rahm Emanuel helped create Democratic majorities by recruiting candidates who were "moderate" (and often socially conservative) Democrats to run in swing districts. He achieved his goal, but weakened the strength of Democratic support for gays.

But at some point, say within a year, I would want to see the administration form a working group or task force to develop a plan to gain military and congressional approval for repeal. It could include deployment of those 100-plus admirals and generals who recently signed a statement supporting gay inclusion, commissioning opinion polls on the issue in marginal districts, and targeting wavering members of Congress for serious lobbying and promises of pork. Without some real indication of administration intentions, I'd be inclined to think they aren't serious.

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Liberal Gay Blogger Aravosis Thinks Appointing Gay Labor Secretary Good Way to Shut the Gays Up about Repealing DADT


Appointing Maxwell is also a smart way for the Obama administration to circumvent rumblings in the gay community to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in the opening months of Obama's first term, a move some think might prove a bit too aggressive for a new administration that's supposed to be focusing on the economy. A gay Labor Secretary is not the equivalent of solving the gays in the military problem, but it is one hell of a step forward for civil rights and "change," and it's one hell of a comeback to anyone who tries to claim that Obama isn't coming through on his support for the entire civil rights community.

I don't expect Obama to put repealing DADT first on the list, but I do expect progress in this front, otherwise he will have lied to the gay community.

Conservative Writer Kathleen Parker Points Out the Theocratic Political Liability in the Republican Party


Three little letters, great big problem: G-O-D.

I'm bathing in holy water as I type.

To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth -- as long as we're setting ourselves free -- is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.

The choir has become absurdly off-key, and many Republicans know it.

But they need those votes!

So it has been for the Grand Old Party since the 1980s or so, as it has become increasingly beholden to an element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners.

Short break as writer ties blindfold and smokes her last cigarette.

Which is to say, the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows. In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle.

Here's the deal, 'pubbies: Howard Dean was right.

It isn't that culture doesn't matter. It does. But preaching to the choir produces no converts. And shifting demographics suggest that the Republican Party -- and conservatism with it -- eventually will die out unless religion is returned to the privacy of one's heart where it belongs.

Religious conservatives become defensive at any suggestion that they've had something to do with the GOP's erosion. And, though the recent Democratic sweep can be attributed in large part to a referendum on Bush and the failing economy, three long-term trends identified by Emory University's Alan Abramowitz have been devastating to the Republican Party: increasing racial diversity, declining marriage rates and changes in religious beliefs.

Suffice it to say, the Republican Party is largely comprised of white, married Christians. Anyone watching the two conventions last summer can't have missed the stark differences: One party was brimming with energy, youth and diversity; the other felt like an annual Depends sales meeting.

With the exception of Miss Alaska, of course.

Even Sarah Palin has blamed Bush policies for the GOP loss. She's not entirely wrong, but she's also part of the problem. Her recent conjecture about whether to run for president in 2012 (does anyone really doubt she will?) speaks for itself:

"I'm like, okay, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is.... And if there is an open door in (20)12 or four years later, and if it's something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door."

Let's do pray that God shows Alaska's governor the door.

Meanwhile, it isn't necessary to evict the Creator from the public square, surrender Judeo-Christian values or diminish the value of faith in America. Belief in something greater than oneself has much to recommend it, including most of the world's architectural treasures, our universities and even our founding documents.

But, like it or not, we are a diverse nation, no longer predominantly white and Christian. The change Barack Obama promised has already occurred, which is why he won.

James Dobson is having a hissy fit. He's also urging his cult following to write Kathleen Parker to let her know what they think. I encourage Lloydletta readers use his form to send her some "atta girl" comments. I just did.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

More Back and Forth on OutFront Minnesota

From the comments:

Markh said...
I'd concur with DavidD....

The DFL rolled over very quickly on the municipal domestic partners legislation... nothing new there.

At the mere mention of a veto, we're thrown under the bus, rally or no rally. Make some actual demands of the politicians who grin and wave at us during the Pride Parade... and take our money.

With a solid majority in the Senate, and a near veto-proof majority in the House, this is not a year to be shy or timid. Put the bills up for a vote, and see what happens.

10:58 PM

Mark made an excellent point. To their credit, OutFront Minnesota's communications director stopped by again to respond.

Jo Marsicano said...
OutFront Minnesota is the leader in our state in lobbying our lawmakers on GLBT issues. We are the only GLBT organization lobbying full time while the legislature is in session every year. We've worked with lawmakers and candidates in the DFL, Republican, Green, and Independence parties. These relationships resulted in forward-moving bills being introduced, receiving bipartisan support, getting committee hearings, passing the floor, and going to the governor’s desk in each of the last two years. Some of the bills were vetoed and others didn’t make it to the governor’s desk. Some in our community are dissatisfied with these results and the tactics used, and we understand those sentiments. However, it is simply untrue that the lawmakers you refer to are “do nothing.” The lobbyist we worked with to advance positive bills in 2007, C. Scott Cooper, did an outstanding job as did our legislative allies, working closely with us to be able to consider – for the first time in years – legislation that moves our community forward rather than having to beat back the attack of the constitutional amendment. The process at the state capitol can seem slow, inefficient and unfair and we appreciate those who want more and who want it faster. We will continue to work closely with our allies, building and expanding on these relationships so that when we have a fair-minded governor, the legislation can actually become law.

Outfront Minnesota is conspictuous by their absence when articles, like the one on Minn Post are infested with bigoted comments like these:

On November 24, 2008, Jeff Kline says:
Absolutely no hate here. But ain't no way I will stand for someone who comes in and wants to trash things here by removing the defense of marriage act. Not going to happen. I don't believe this is an "over time" thing either. It has to do with a definition rooted in scripture which is what this country was and still is based on. To remove this separator is to then remove the constitution and many of us will not stand for it.
(#6) On November 24, 2008, Thomas Swift says:
I'll be on-board with the notion that two guys playing house = marriage the day after the USDA announces that sand is a food group and publishes a minimum recommended daily allowance.
(#7) On November 24, 2008, Rachel Munoz says:
The tactics of those that support homosexual marriage to obfuscate the issue through emotion will not get them what they want (calling those that oppose the effort hateful among other things). It doesn't matter what they do to try to "normalize" their behavior and gain respect and acceptance. It is abnormal behavior. If every person on the planet supported GLBT efforts and said it was okay it still would not be.

Doug Benson and his cohorts have started a small non-profit, to challenge the DOMA statute, on the basis that it was passed linked to a non-related bill.

On November 25, 2008, Doug Benson says:
Jack Baker and James McConnell did the right thing nearly forty years ago when they challenged marriage discrimination in Minnesota by taking the state to court. The ten couples of Marry Me Minnesota are doing the right thing now by following their lead. Please help support us in this effort.

Going to the Marry Me Minnesota website, one finds a simple, heartfelt website with a clear goal. The site states:

One aspect of Marry Me Minnesota's lawsuit against the state will be to challenge the state's DOMA law, which was passed in 1997. This law, among other things, prohibits the state from recognizing same-gender marriages obtained in other jurisdictions. Overturning this law would make it possible to have our out-of-state marriages recognized as legal here in Minnesota.

And, the DOMA law has a problem. It was passed by the legislature in the same manner that the state's recent "concealed carry" gun law was passed. That law was overturned by the Minnesota Supreme Court because of the manner in which the bill was passed.

Our law firm, Mansfield, Tanick and Cohen, is the law firm that brought that case against the concealed carry gun law and won. They will take their experience and expertise in winning that lawsuit and apply it to our case against the state's DOMA law.

This law should be thrown out of court for that reason. If the legislature wants to pass the law again, they should pass it on an up or down vote. Overturning DOMA would not allow for gay marriage, since the Baker decision would still stand.

Doug Benson also was a one person lobbyist, who was able to persuade several legislators, including Sen John Marty and Sen Linda Higgins to introduce a marriage equality bill in the Senate. The bill won't pass this year, but the way to get these things passed is to start getting the issue discussed openly in committees. As Vince Lombardi the famous football coach has said "the best defense is a good offense." It appears that Outfront Minnesota doesn't understand this concept.

Outfront Minnesota also makes no effort to go on "Christian" talk radio to counter the lies propogated by the Minnesota Family Council. Not all that audience is closed to hearing a different point of view.

As for the term “grow a pair,” OutFront Minnesota takes the position that sexism and misogyny are as big a problem as homophobia, and this phrase expresses a sentiment disrespectful to women, including lesbians and transgender women. We strive for our political discourse to be rigorous but we avoid unnecessary and hurtful terms such as this.

Thanks to Lloydletta’s Nooz for this forum to debate and discuss these issues.

Jo Marsicano
Communications Director
OutFront Minnesota

12:37 PM

Funny, I've yet to see Outfront Minnesota put out a press release about Al Franken's many offensive misogynist and anti-gay "jokes". How did you feel about Franken and his Saturday Night Live team discussing a skit that would show the drugging and raping of journalist Leslie Stahl? Or what about his joke about the murder of a gay man? This was widely publicized. Betty McCollum spoke up loudly about these issues. Outfront Minnesota was curiously silent. It seems a little selective to go after the term "grow a pair".

Markh said...
Why don't these great 'allies' hold their ground when bills go to conference committee?

Why don't we insist that gay questions be part of stand-alone bills, so we can get a clean vote?

When gay-friendly language is buried in some big omnibus bill, and the battle to get it signed fires up, the gay language is the first thing that is deleted. The DFL majority doesn't want to be blamed for major programs not getting funded... we're an easily discarded bargaining chip.

It happens over and over again.

You can't blame it all on a popular governor... the DFL could be told to hold some ground when it comes to the homos.

3:40 PM


I just got a newsletter from Outfront Minnesota touting their email newsletter redesign. That seems like a waste of time and money. I'd rather see them focusing on their mission, than on endless branding and re-branding efforts. Marry Minnesota's website is simple, homemade, and no frills. I think they are a good investment.