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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Obama Wins South Carolina

New York Times:

If the results buoyed the Obama team, it left the campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton facing a new set of questions. Her advisers’ steady attacks on Mr. Obama appeared to prove fruitless, if not counterproductive, and the attack-dog role of former President Bill Clinton seemed to have backfired.

Indeed, surveys of voters leaving the polls showed that many Democrats who believed Mr. Clinton’s role was important ended up voting for Mr. Obama.

Last week, Clinton advisers believed Mr. Clinton was rattling Mr. Obama and drawing his focus away from his message. The results on Saturday indicated, instead, that voters were impressed with Mr. Obama’s mettle and agreed with him that the Clintons ran an excessively negative campaign here.

“The criticism of Obama ended up really helping him going forward, I think,” said Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, an influential black Democrat who remained neutral in the primary. “If he ends up winning the nomination, he will definitely face an onslaught of attacks this fall, and he may look back on South Carolina as the place that toughened him up.”

Mrs. Clinton may have won the last two nominating contests, in New Hampshire and Nevada, but she is now left to decide whether she needs to reassess her strategy as the race shifts from a state by state battle to a national scale.

South Carolina voters showed little taste for the Clintons’ political approach. They said in exit polls that their main concern was the economy; during an all-out campaign blitz on behalf of his wife here, Mr. Clinton spent the last week highlighting Mr. Obama’s record on Iraq and his recent statements about the transformational nature of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Mrs. Clinton’s advisers were minimizing the importance of South Carolina even before polls closed, saying the primaries in Florida on Tuesday and in a swath of states on Feb. 5 were of more importance. But she will have to reckon with the rejection of her candidacy by black voters and the mixed support she received from white Democrats and younger voters here — two groups she must have by her side in order to build a cross-section of support in the coming contests.

“The Clintons will now have to deal with a perception of hollowness about her strategy, that she is leaving it to her husband to take care of things and allowing him to overshadow her political message,” said Blease Graham, a professor of political science at the University of South Carolina.

Mrs. Clinton also had trouble competing here with Senator John Edwards, the third Democratic candidate, who decisively won among white men.


It appears this was a clear rejection of Bill Clinton. Kudos to the South Carolina voters.

Prior Lake Paper Calls on Controversial School Board Member Chris Lind to Resign

Lind sounds like Michele Bachmann. Prior Lake American:

Back in our Nov. 17 issue, we criticized residents calling for Chris Lind’s resignation as a Prior Lake-Savage Area School Board member-elect. We did so because Lind, no matter how people feel about him, won a seat on the board fair and square in a public election.

But that was before Lind threatened to sue the school district for his June 18, 2007 termination as a district employee. The news came last week that Lind’s attorney, David Thompson, had served the district with a notice-of-claim letter demanding a monetary settlement for damages.

We seriously question whether Lind can be an effective leader on the School Board in a district he plans to sue.

As we wrote in that Nov. 17 editorial, Lind will become an elected official when he takes the oath of office at the Monday, Jan. 14 board meeting. Since his election, this newspaper’s staff and many others in the community have called on Lind to reach out in an open, direct manner, explaining the circumstances of his firing. He has not done so, and now, with news of his planned lawsuit against the district, he presumably cannot.

As a result, Lind won’t be able to serve both himself and the school district. Therefore, we urge Lind to reconsider his plans to take office.

By all appearances, Lind has not broken the law and is simply doing what he has the legal right to do. However, he has given the impression that he’s content to allow speculation about his circumstances to divide this community – not exactly what most people would expect from an elected official.

We wonder how Lind could sit quietly in his seat Monday night when the School Board discusses, in open forum, his request for a monetary settlement. But that’s what he’ll have to do.

The irony of Lind’s situation – as attorneys have made clear – is that if he chooses to file an official suit against the district, his personnel file and any school district documents regarding Lind’s termination will become public.

The further irony is that, whether the circumstances of Lind’s firing are made public or forever shielded from the community’s view, Lind will find it very difficult to do what he claims to have set out to do by running for School Board.

As Lind said in our Oct. 27 candidate Q & A, “I believe in being open, honest and specific so you know what I believe.”

We hope he abides by that promise.


It sounds like he doesn't. Comments are quite heated.

One of his defenders posted this:

Frogsong posts: KRaM A good journalist will...
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KRaM
A good journalist will include the "who, what, where, when, why and how" in the lead of a story, so "why, why, why, why, why" doesn't cut it with me.

Why? Why is Mr. Chris Lind being wrongly persecuted to the point that he is unable to support his wife and four children?

Why? Why have misinformation, half truths, distorted "facts", out-right lies and emotional responses to these things been so emphasized in our local newspapers and those of our neighboring school districts, as well as Minneapolis and St.Paul?

Why? Why do people believe only one side of a story without getting down to the truth?

Why? Why do people believe outrageous rumors about what Mr. Lind has been accused rather than search out the truth?

Why? Why do people not understand that the school district has treated Mr. Lind not only unfairly, but illegally?

One cable network calls its news "Fair and Balanced" but in my opinion it is not fair nor balanced. I had hoped that the newspapers in our communities would be fair and balanced but in my opinion they often have been neither. Some examples are below.

FALSEHOOD: Mr. Lind refused to be on the finance committe of the school board even though he campaigned partially on finances.
TRUTH: Mr. Lind accepted the position on the finance committee and also asked to be on the curriculum and building committees.
FALSEHOOD: Mr. Lind was accused of several inappropriate actions that led to his dismissal.
TRUTH: Mr. Lind was accused of three incidents.
FALSEHOOD:According to many, Dr. Westerhaus stated the main reason he resigned is because Mr. Lind was elected and caused the levy and referendum to fail.
TRUTH: Mr. Lind was elected with over 3000 votes and was 4th in a list of 8 candidates.
The levy and referendum failed because local issues are the only way people can protest high taxes and wasteful spending, or not being satisfied with something. Dr. Westerhaus unfortunately was not of the same mentality as Minnesota's (and South Dakota's) Hubert Horatio Humphey "who did not turn away after defeat". (Quote from the Opinion Exchange section of the "Minneapolis Star Tribune" on Sunday January 13.) Our school district has a history of many levies and referenda being defeated up to three times before being passed. In addition to this, Mr. Lind has only 1 of 7 votes on the school board and Dr. Westerhaus, who has been such a successful superintendent, evidentally felt that was a threat to him and his record. How unfortunate for our district!
FALSEHOOD: Our local newspapers are unbiased.
TRUTH: If so, why was the letter supporting Mr. Lind from a girl who is on the student council at Prior Lake High School published but not put online like letters of those who have opposed and in many instances, slandered Mr. Lind?
FALSEHOOD: Mr. Lind ridiculed a girl by telling her it was "National Pick On Lesbian Day".
TRUTH: The girl has written a noterized letter stating that she was not rediculed as was a part of the "joke". It may have been a foolish thing for Mr. Lind to say but in light of the student involved it was not serious. It became "serious" when someone supposedly heard Mr. Lind's part of the conversation,and supposedly reported it to Mr. Massura and Mr. Massura recorded this heresay information.
FALSEHOOD: Mr. Lind spoke of celibacy with a child.
TRUTH: When approached by a young man who had graduated two years previously and who asked Mr. Lind about Biblical perspectives on celebicy, Mr. Lind spoke of St. Paul's gift from God to be able to be celibate if one wanted to, or was expected to be so.
FALSEHOOD: Mr. Lind spoke of bi-sexuality with a child.
TRUTH: The child was an upper-classman who asked what to do because his girl friend was bi-sexual. The conversation was limited because Mr. Lind evidentally was told by the boy that he was going to break up with his girl friend any way, so Mr. Lind did not even have to answer the question.
FALSEHOOD: Mr. Lind has threatened to sue the school district for a six figure amount.
TRUTH: No amount was stated in the letter asking for mediation. Mr. Lind is only trying to clear his name so he can support his family.
FALSEHOOD: Parents are informed about their children's activities and classes in our schools.
TRUTH: Those young people who are in need of council because of sexual concerns can be a part of the GLTB(Q) group, which I heard is called a "class" without their parents knowledge or permission. Girls who become pregnant have been counseled and even had arrangements made by school employees for their abortions without parental knowledge.
FALSEHOOD: Mr. Lind is inappropriate in his relationships with students and other young people.
TRUTH: Mr. Lind tells those who come to him and ask his opinion about Biblical perspective on issues of sexuality responds to them in love and Biblical passages, which many of us believe are the infallible TRUTH of God. Therefore young people are given a choice of what to believe. Similar questions may be about the theory of evolution and the theory of Intelligent Design and so students are given choices to consider. I thought "choice" was very important in our society!

The battle in our community today is not only about Mr. Lind, Dr. Westerhaus and Mr. Massurus and those of differing opinions. It is a battle of truth versus lies, rumors and distorted facts. Perhaps, I dare say, it is even a battle between Love and Hatred. If God is Love, as His Word states, who is Hatred? A law of physics says that for every reality their is an opposite.

The misinformed, gullible and ignorant people are not Hatred. They are perhaps deceived. It remains to be judged which camp I am in. In which are you?

Frogsong, From your post,...
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Frogsong,

From your post, you obviously have access to sources that are beyond what is available to the general public. I have yet to see the exact specifics for which Mr. Lind was disiplined - which is at the start of this entire controversy. If you don't, then your statements are as much conjecture as the rest of the statements that have been made in the public discourse and therefore simply add to the ongoing controversy.

Until Mr. Lind files a lawsuit (and the records become available to the public) or Mr. Lind voluntarily releases his records, conjecture is all that can occur.

Mr. Lind - search your heart and come to a decision. End this controversy one way or the other. Either file and get on with the lawsuit, or release the records so the truth can come out. If you were truly wronged, then you deserve compensation for damages. If not, then consider how this controversy is affecting the children and the school district for whom you have just sworn to serve in the best interest.


Another Chris Lind supporter disagrees:


Well stated frogsong! Chris Lind has remained silent as not to have any statements taken out of context by our media who thrive on creating controversy and slanting a story to fit their agenda. What is taking place in Prior Lake is a form of "Bullying or Mobbing", which the school district forbids but is guilty of by Westerhaus and Massaros.

A group of the Stand by Me committee have continued to degrade Mr. Lind in the newspapers and media. Their agenda was to publically degrade Mr Lind and force him to quit. They then would be able to have Westerhaus stay. Is Westerhaus a part of this plan? Mr Lind is not a quitter like Westerhaus and has not allowed the media and special interest groups to manipulate him. The real truth may come out in the courtroom with witnesses and not a con-******ed report from an HR person and his attorney sidekick. Both of those administrators should be fired by the board for poor decisions which may cost this district plenty! I hope Mr Lind and his attorney takes them to court!

Here is the website about "Bullying and Mobbing". Think about all the the degrading articles, emails, phone calls, and public humiliation this group and newspaper has put Mr.Lind through.

http://www.peu1.org/media/documents/emotionalabuse.pdf

The word "mobbing" denotes a behavior by coworkers, superiors or subordinates, who attack a colleague's dignity, integrity, and competence, repeatedly, over a number of weeks, months, or even years. A person is being subjected to emotional abuse, subtly or bluntly, often falsely accused of wrongdoing, and is persistently humiliated. Dr. Heinz Leymann, a psychologist and medical scientist, pioneered the research about this workplace issue in Sweden in the early 80s. He identified the behavior as mobbing and described it as "psychological terror" involving "hostile and unethical communication directed in a systematic way by one or a few individuals mainly towards one individual." Mobbing is emotional abuse committed directly or indirectly by one or a group of co-workers directed at anybody. People who have been affected by mobbing are suffering immensely. The social and economic impact of the mobbing syndrome has yet to be measured in quantitative terms. Mobbing can only persist as long as it is allowed to persist. Organizational leadership plays the most important part in its prevention. By enforcing decency, civility, and high ethical standards in the workplace and by creating a nourishing environment, bullying and mobbing will not surface.

I do believe after this is all said and done this community will owe Mr. Lind a public apology!

Submitted by PLsince1976 on January 14, 2008 - 7:12pm.


The Prior Lake American makes it clear they have regularly contacted Lind for comment:

For the record, the Prior Lake American has repeatedly attempted to get Chris Lind to speak with us for the stories we've published. He has refused, and continues to refuse, to do so.

Submitted by Lori Carlson on January 14, 2008 - 7:44pm.


Take home message. Chris Lind is an embarrassment to Prior Lake.

Former President Clinton Rewrites History About Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Log Cabin Republicans call him on it:

News Release
For Immediate Release
January 18, 2008

President Bill Clinton Tries to Re-Write History of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

(Washington, DC) – Log Cabin Republicans sharply criticize former President Bill Clinton for his latest attempt at re-writing history—this time offering a new explanation for his failed 1993 "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law. "President Clinton should be embarrassed," said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon. "Bill Clinton's political games are insulting to voters. He needs to take responsibility for the legislation he signed, instead of trying to blame others. What will he do next—blame 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' on a 'vast right wing conspiracy'?"

On the campaign trail Thursday for his wife, presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), former President Clinton said, "'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' as articulated as I worked it out with Colin Powell, who was then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meant literally that...that people would be free to live their lives as long as they didn't go march in gay rights parades or go to gay bars in uniform...in uniform...and talk about it on duty, they would be all right. Now, as soon as he [Colin Powell] left, the anti-gay forces in the military started using it as an excuse to kick people out." Watch a video clip of Clinton's comments.

"President Clinton's latest attempt to re-write history and deny the reality of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is an insult to the thousands of gay and lesbian service members who have been kicked out of the military because of the failed law he signed in 1993," said Sammon.

"President Clinton either didn't understand the legislation he signed or he's lying," said Sammon. "If he actually thought the military wasn't correctly implementing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' why didn't he do anything about it for the seven years he served as President after signing the legislation? Clinton apparently forgets he was Commander-in-Chief," said Sammon.

A 1993 Department of Defense release announcing the new policy explicitly stated that one of the reasons for separation from the armed forces would be "statements by an individual that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual."

"From the very beginning of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' there was no doubt what the law meant—gay and lesbian Americans could only serve if they lied about their sexual orientation or kept it a secret," said Sammon.

"This is another example of the Clintonian excuses and re-writing history that we've come to expect from this president—a man who gladly took support and money from gays and lesbians and then delivered 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act,'" said Sammon. "And in 2004, he encouraged then presidential candidate John Kerry to support anti-gay state constitutional amendments. President Clinton's record illustrates how important it is in this election year for LGBT Americans to hold both parties accountable when it comes to fundamental issues of basic fairness."

###

Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest organization of Republicans who support fairness, freedom, and equality for gay and lesbian Americans. Log Cabin has state and local chapters nationwide, full-time offices in Washington, DC and Sacramento, CA, a federal political action committee and state political action committees. www.logcabin.org


Here's the tape.



Pam Spaulding's post on this was cross posted to Alternet. There were clearly some comment astroturf on that site.

I haven't looked this up, folks, but do you remember anything about gay folks being able to go out and be out when off duty in civilian clothing when he was selling this policy? I'm certain the homophobes on the Hill would have had none of that. If Clinton wants to say his hands were tied and he was "forced" to accept DADT as compromise with a hostile Congress (the prior excusarama), that we've heard before, but it seems disingenuous to try to spin it today as he didn't think the witchhunts and discharges would be the end result of such a bone-headed policy.

As you might recall, it was Bill Clinton who told John Kerry to toss gays under the bus and support the various state marriage amendments on the ballot in 2004 in order to rope in swing voters uneasy with the thought of gays and lesbians daring to ask for the same civil rights in their relationships as those enjoyed by opposite-sex couples.

The long legacy of triangulation and the Clintons is too familiar not to make this new statement sound like another bit of Bill revisionist history going on; he says the firewall protecting the private lives of gay and lesbian service members was Colin Powell, and that when he left office, it was a bum rush to investigate and bounce homos.


Chris Crain wrote to SLDN for comment. They were curiously silent on this matter. He got a response.

As you point out, there were, indeed, some factual inaccuracies in President Clinton’s statement about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Indeed, regardless of the intention behind the law, the reality is that it has not served the best interests of service members, our country or our national security. Since its implementation, nearly 12,000 men and women have been dismissed under the law. Since 2001, that number has declined significantly, as it historically does during a time of war. During the years 1994-2000, a total of 6741 service personnel were dismissed under the law. Between 2001 and 2006, that total declined to 4988. Still, an average of two people are fired under the law every day… which is two too many.

President Clinton’s comments also miss a key part of serving under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Military members cannot be out to anyone, at anytime, while serving under the law. Statements to friends, family members or anyone else are grounds for dismissal from the armed forces, as they have been since day one. The law, indeed, practically prevents any gay American, who is out in anyway, from serving in the military. And, as Senator Clinton and the other Democratic presidential candidates have said, the law does not work, and should be repealed. Our next commander-in-chief should work with Congress to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

SLDN has, of course, made all of the candidates aware of our views on the law, and the reality of serving under it. In this particular case, we have made sure that Senator Clinton’s campaign is aware of our concerns regarding the president’s remarks. And, as always, we are committed to making sure that the facts about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the very compelling reasons to support its repeal, are at the forefront of our elected officials’ minds.


Chris Crain comments:

If anything, I would hit Clinton even harder. His recollection of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has things completely bassackwards. In fact, the policy makes a point of saying that service members can go to a gay bar or march in a Gay Pride parade without violating the policy. What they cannot do is acknowledge that they are gay or, as Clinton put it, "live their lives." Because if they had a same-sex boyfriend or girlfriend -- even kept in private -- then they violated the policy.

Why? Because Clinton and Defense Department lawyers led by Jamie Gorelick portrayed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" as a "homosexual conduct" policy. A soldier or sailor who acknowledges they are gay is in violation not because they are gay -- that's not prohibited under the policy -- but because by publicly acknowledging as much, they are presumed to be engaging in "homosexual conduct" -- i.e., sodomy, same-sex kissing and other gay yucky stuff (protected by the U.S. Constitution).

This fig leaf rationale was employed to hide the real reason for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell": the Pentagon brass knows gays can serve honorably but was worried about the effect on "combat readiness" if bigoted heterosexual soldiers became aware of gays with whom they served. So rather than acknowledge and deal with anti-gay bigotry, Bill Clinton and Colin Powell gave it the effect of law (another constitutional violation), and punished the gays for it.

Not surprising, then, that Clinton is misremembering reality today, as even his wife advocates the repeal of his policy -- albeit while defending its enactment as a necessary "transitional" measure.

This is what you get with the Clintons, folks. Why would we want a repeat?


Crain notes in a different post:

And there is no evidence to support Clinton's claim that Colin Powell's departure from the military in September 1993 had any impact on the way his policy was implemented. For one thing, Bill Clinton remained the commander in chief for the proceeding seven years, and groups like the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network painstakingly documented abuses in the policy, as well as its basic unfairness. The buck stopped with Bill, not simply the Pentagon, to stop the witchhunts. Instead, discharges increased annually until after Bill Clinton left office and the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. The Pentagon's "stop loss" policies allow gays to die during war, even as they would be discharged during other times.

Just so we're clear, I know of what I speak. One of the first things I did after coming out at the Washington, D.C., law firm of Covington & Burling in 1993 was to bring a constitutional test case representing Navy Lt. Paul Thomasson, a decorated pilot working then in the Pentagon for the Navy admiral in charge of enforcing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Even though the admiral testified at Paul's discharge hearing that he was a model lieutenant whose homosexuality didn't bother the admiral or any of Paul's coworkers, the panel ruled against Lt. Thomasson and his military career came to an abrupt end. The point of Thomasson's case was two-fold: that the policy was unconstitutional and that the Clinton Defense Department was irrational to conclude that merely stating, "I am gay" was presumptive evidence that a service member was violating policy by engaging in "homosexual acts."

I left Covington and Washington at the end of 1994, but the firm continued to represent Paul, whose case was the first gays in the military challenge to be rejected (without comment) by the U.S. Supreme Court.

It would be one thing for Bill Clinton to argue that he was sandbagged by the pushback he got on his promise to end the ban on gays in the military, so he agreed to a "compromise" that in retrospect was wrong and discriminatory. That would at least be closer to the truth, although it wouldn't capture just how little Clinton tried to defend himself and gay service members at the time.

But Bill Clinton under pressure is not a pretty sight. So like his shifting positions on Iraq (and those of his wife), he tries instead to weasel his way out of responsibility, rewriting history and, no doubt, doing some damage control on his own legacy.

It is incumbent on the media and gay rights groups, whatever their presidential candidate affiliation, to call Bill Clinton out on his misrepresentation of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and correct the record once and for all.


I agree. It is incumbent on the media to do so. The Obama campaign would be well served to push this story.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Excellent Spoof of the Drama Queen's Site

Warning: This is like the Onion. Don't take it literally.

AM 1500's Bob Davis: Dump Ron Carey

According to a Residual Forces reader:

He just said Ron Carey should be gotten rid of – like 4 times.


Applikowski adds:

I’ve received quite few calls and messages from some very powerful people regarding the Ron Carey-Mike Huckabee endorsement Chair - situation. Lots and lots of people who had stayed out of the last Chairman’s election, or were backing Carey are fed up and have offered their support for his removal.

******

Here’s one thing someone very powerful with in the MNGOP wanted to make sure I knew.

There is a regular State Central Meeting that will be taking place in May.

As you were.


Ron Carey did an idiotic thing when he endorsed Mike Huckabee. I don't personally see an upside to trying to dump him at a State Central Committee meeting if the party wants to focus on getting people elected next fall.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another Self Inflicted Wound by Al Franken

Why would he mock a Carleton Student who happens to be conservative? The story has hit the Drudge Report. The last Strib story that hit the Drudge Report was Eric Black's post about Michele Bachmann and her Bachmannistan remarks.

Video of the story here:

Ann DeGroot's Message to the GLBT Community

OutFront Minnesota Founder/Executive Director Ann DeGroot Moving On

Dear Friends:

It is with a great deal of sadness that I write to you today to let you know that I have decided to leave OutFront Minnesota. My last day of work will be February 8. I am going to take a break for a couple of months before deciding what I might want to do next. And, I am going to spend a lot of time with my partner, Rhonda and son, Andy.

I know that many of you are aware of the fact that my partner has been dealing with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer for the last two years. In order to head off any rumors about my leaving that might have to do with her illness, let me assure you that she is doing very well. In fact, she is back at work as a consultant full time writing grant proposals for non-profit organizations whose missions she believes in.

I am leaving OutFront Minnesota in the hands of a very capable and committed staff. I have had the opportunity to work with these folks for some time now and I am amazed and delighted every day by them. In everything that they do they hold you, the community they serve, as the centerpiece. Their commitment to the GLBT community in the context of creating the best world possible for everyone never waivers. I hold them dear and in the greatest esteem. I hope you realize the treasure that they are. They are indeed Leading Minnesota Toward GLBT Equality.

It has been a very good 21 years for me. I am one of the fortunate few people who have had the opportunity to spend a chunk of my professional life contributing to something that I care very deeply about. And I have been able to do that work in Minnesota where real progress is made.

At one of the first meetings of the Gay and Lesbian Community Action Council (the original name of OutFront Minnesota) Board of Directors, one of the members looked around and said, "I think this is the first time that men and women have come together in such a positive and productive way for our community." While we had worked together before as gay men and lesbians, we had not come together as effectively and with as much common understanding. All of the work of the past came together at the time to move us into the next stage.

In 1987, the term transgender was not in common usage. The Gay and Lesbian Community Action Council (OutFront Minnesota) was the first organization in the country that included the term transgender in our mission statement. And we meant it. So much so that in 1993, the organizers of the "It's Time Minnesota" Campaign including Senator Allan Spear and Representative Karen Clark would not have seriously considered eliminating transgender folks from the amendment to the Human Rights Act. Turns out, Minnesota was the first state in the country to include gender identity in the State Human Rights Amendment.

In the late 1980's and early 1990's a small group of librarians sued the City of Minneapolis in order to get Domestic Partner Benefit health coverage just like their married co-workers. These women were brave and tough. They were also ahead of their time. Until then, the words "Domestic Partners" were rarely used. The Gay and Lesbian Community Action Council/OutFront Minnesota formed a Domestic Partners Task Force and lobbied the Minneapolis City Council to enact an ordinance allowing Domestic Partner Health Coverage for its city employees. The ordinance passed but in 1994, a resident of Minneapolis questioned the authority of the city to do so. He won in court and Minneapolis was forced to pull the benefits from their employees.

But that fight was the springboard to opening the door for many private corporations to offer domestic partner benefits. At last count, over 200 Minnesota businesses offer domestic partner benefits. I would never have believed that could happen when I started working here in 1987.

And we haven't given up on opening the door to municipalities being able to offer those benefits to their employees. Another bill is being written and considered again this year. We haven't given up. Never give up.

And who would have thought in 1987 that we would seriously be talking about same sex marriage (albeit in a defensive posture now) at this moment in time? Not only are we talking about it but we have successfully kept an anti same-sex marriage constitutional amendment off of the ballot since 2004. And now, all kinds of people commonly ask - why not civil unions? Maybe marriage isn't going to fly but we ought to have some way to recognize same sex relationships - perhaps civil unions are a good step. Wow!!! What a switch.

So many things have changed since 1987 that I can't count them. And so many more will change in the years to come. I measure change by watching the unabashed coming out of more people for GLBT equality, by watching how GLBT people are portrayed in the media, by listening to how the talk about GLBT people is changing each year and in each generation, and by assessing the rhetoric and activity of our opposition. While there is a lot left to do, there is great hope for the future.

I think that the next frontier is for us to understand and commit to full equality for everyone. This is not a new idea for many people but we have not reached critical mass as a GLBT community on this yet and we haven't figured out as a group what this will really mean. But I believe that if anyone is left behind it is not good enough. While I am committed and have worked for years for GLBT equality, I am equally committed to ending poverty, supporting racial justice, promoting women's equality, and in short, making a world in which everyone can be free and unencumbered. If we GLBT people have to wait a few years for full marriage equality but we can see that children have health care, then we should see that the effort for children's health care is one path to GLBT equality. In turn, when we view ourselves as a part of a whole progressive movement for change, others see us as their allies and partners and commit themselves to GLBT equality.

Seeing the connections with ourselves and others and figuring out what makes us go and what holds us back and then, working together through thick and thin is the key to this broader vision. It is hard work, personal work and it can be very frightening. But we have done so much, we can do this too.

Early on in my time here at OutFront Minnesota I was asked by a reporter to tell him what the gay agenda was and why should GLBT people have an interest in voting in a municipal election in Minneapolis when the city is already GLBT supportive. I told him that we were as interested in the condition of schools, whether or not the garbage was picked up and the economic development of the city as anyone.

We are part of the rest of the community. And they, as many PFLAG parents tell me all the time, are part of us.

OutFront Minnesota has helped lead the movement for GLBT equality in this state and will continue to do so. I will always be an active and engaged member of the GLBT community, and I look forward to seeing you out and about.

Thanks to all of you. Thanks for all you have taught me. And never lose faith.

Ann

Marilyn the "Muskrat" Musgrave Gets a Makeover

Marilyn Musgrave is Colorado's Michele Bachmann. It appears she is now trying to downplay her anti-gay animus - just like Michele Bachmann. From Colorado Confidential:

Marilyn Musgrave
The turnaround of Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's political fortunes may go down as one of the most impressive image reinventions in the history of modern politics...or at least in Colorado. Musgrave has survived two hotly contentious elections, made all the worse by her often whacked-out social agenda pronouncements (see "Marriage is the most important issue facing America today").

It's widely known that after her costly 2006 victory, the RNCC and other national powerbrokers bluntly informed Musgrave that she was not worth the money it was costing to hold her seat. The response from Musgrave has been a superficial engagement of bipartisan causes like never before, culminating with an appearance at the Progressive Democrats of Colorado speaking on her opposition the Pinon Canyon expansion. Mark Udall appears with her smiling for the cameras. Musgrave spoons out soup to Fort Collins homeless. Musgrave pumps gas (seriously). Gay rights activists cry shame, and it's true that her actual voting record hasn't really changed much, but she's revolutionized her public persona to the point that CD-4 isn't the pickup opportunity that Democrats once thought it might be. That's remarkable.

Founder/Executive Director to Leave OutFront Minnesota

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

Founder/Executive Director to Leave OutFront Minnesota

Contact:
Jo Marsicano, Communications Director 612-822-0127 ext. 106 January 24th, 2008

(Minneapolis) Ann DeGroot, Executive Director and one of the founders of OutFront Minnesota, the state’s largest advocacy and public policy organization for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied community has announced her resignation from the organization.

DeGroot and other community leaders founded the Gay and Lesbian Community Action Council, predecessor to OutFront Minnesota, in 1987, to coordinate basic social and community services to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community including anti-violence prevention, education, legal advocacy, phone referral and other services.

“When we opened our doors, the level of social acceptance and legal protection we enjoy in Minnesota today was only a dream,” says DeGroot. “I am proud of the work our committed staff, volunteers and community members throughout Minnesota have done the past 21 years to achieve a just and equitable role in their workplaces, city halls, churches, communities and families.”

Whether frequenting state legislative halls or representing OutFront Minnesota at national conferences and meetings, DeGroot has been recognized as a leader in the state and national GLBT movement. Among her many achievements, Ann was instrumental in the organizing and lobbying that led to an amendment to the Minnesota Human Rights Act in 1993, which protects citizens from discrimination regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Under Ann’s leadership, OutFront Minnesota gathered people together from across religious, political and geographic boundaries to support equal rights for GLBT people,” said OutFront Minnesota Board Vice Chair Jane Eastwood. “As a result, Minnesota became the eighth state in the nation to amend its human rights act to include gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals and the first in the country to include transgender people. Ann’s commitment and perseverance have made Minnesota a better place to live for its GLBT citizens and all people.”

DeGroot cited personal reasons for leaving the organization at this time. A community celebration honoring her contributions and legacy is being planned.

She departs at a time when the political climate is expected to be less contentious than recent years. For three consecutive years (2004-2006), DeGroot led OutFront Minnesota’s efforts to prevent a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and its legal equivalent from appearing on the ballot. That campaign was an example of DeGroot’s leadership in helping to bring more people, including allies, into the effort to secure equal rights for GLBT Minnesotans.

DeGroot said, “I am proud to leave OutFront Minnesota secure in the knowledge that a vibrant and empowered community exists to continue our work.”

Since 1994, Ann has served on the board of the National Association of LGBT Community Centers, most recently serving as its co-chair. She is a founding member of the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action and served on the board of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Girl Scouts.

OutFront Minnesota is the largest organization in the state offering legal advocacy, public policy, education, anti-violence prevention and other services on behalf of GLBT people. Its mission is to make Minnesota a place where GLBT Minnesotans have the freedom, power and confidence to make the best choices for their own lives. Celebrating its 21st year.

###


Interesting. I wonder what process they will use to choose a new ED.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Slick One's Got a Point Here

Bill Clinton rebukes the media. The media tends to cover the most trivial pieces of the campaigns.

Will Romney's Establishment Cred Overcome the Huckster's Theocrat Appeal?

From Minnesotans for Romney:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2008

CONTACT: Romney Press Shop
(857) 288-6390

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY ANNOUNCES MINNESOTA STATEWIDE STEERING COMMITTEE CO-CHAIRS

Boston, MA – Today, Governor Mitt Romney announced 45 members of his Minnesota Statewide Steering Committee, led by previously announced State Co-Chairs Jack Meeks, Brian Sullivan, Evie Axdahl and Tony Sutton.

The Minnesota Statewide Steering Committee will play an instrumental role in building upon Governor Romney's grassroots campaign leading up to the February 5 caucuses.

"These Republican leaders from across Minnesota agree we need real conservative change in Washington," said Governor Romney. "Together, we will work to ensure our economy is strong and jobs are available for hard working families in Minnesota and across the country. I look forward to fighting in Washington to keep taxes low, cut wasteful government spending and keeping our nation a leader in the world."

Minnesota Romney for President Co-Chair Brian Sullivan said, "Governor Romney is the candidate with the experience and background to bring real change to Washington. Minnesota voters are looking for a candidate with the determination and the optimistic vision to grow job opportunities, keep us safe from terrorism and strengthen families here and across the nation. Governor Romney has accomplished this in the private sector, at the Winter Olympics and as a governor – now we need to send him to Washington."

Romney For President Minnesota Statewide Steering Committee:

* Evie Axdahl – Co-Chair, Maplewood, Minnesota Republican National Committeewoman
* Jack Meeks – Co-Chair, Minneapolis, Former Minnesota Republican National Committeeman
* Brian Sullivan – Co-Chair, Maple Grove, Minnesota Republican National Committeeman
* Tony Sutton – Co-Chair, Inver Grove Heights, Secretary/Treasurer Republican Party of Minnesota
* Jim Anderson – Shoreview, Former Republican Party State Central Committee Member
* Amy Anderson – Waconia, Carver County Republican Party Chair
* Warren Anderson – Saint Paul, Minnesota Republican Party State Central Committee Member
* Tara Anderson – Eden Prairie, Former Executive Director, Minnesota College Republicans
* Bev Aplikowski – Arden Hills, Former Mayor, Arden Hills
* Dirk Bak – Minnetonka, Republican Activist
* Chris Barden – Edina, Republican Activist
* Kristin Beach – St. Paul, Republican Activist
* George Benda – Alpha, Minnesota Republican Party 1st Congressional District Officer
* Brad Biers – Blaine, Minnesota Republican Party State Executive Committee Member
* Neil Breitbarth - Fairmont - State Central Committee
* Matt Dean – Delwood, Minnesota State Legislator
* Georgia Dietz – St. Paul, Minnesota Republican Party BPOU Chair
* Peggy Fairbourne – Plymouth, Republican Activist
* John Frydenlund – Floodwood, Republican Activist
* Joey Gerdin – St. Paul, Minnesota House Republican Staff
* Jake Grassel – Eden Prairie, Former Chairman, Minnesota College Republicans
* David Haan – Eden Prairie, Minnesota State Senator
* David Hallman – Moorhead, Clay County Republican Party Chair
* Nevin Doran Hunter – Mankato, Republican Activist
* Pat Igo – St. Paul, Former Minnesota Republican Party 4th Congressional District Chair
* Mary Igo – St. Paul, Minnesota Republican Party 4th Congressional District Officer
* Chris Jacobson – Maplewood, Minnesota Republican Party State Executive Committee
* Pat Kaluza – Lakeville, Minnesota Republican Party BPOU Chair
* Paul Kohls – Victoria, Minnesota State Legislator
* John Kysylyczyn – Roseville, Former Mayor, Roseville
* Ted Lovdahl – Effie, Minnesota Republican Party 8th Congressional District Chair
* Annette Meeks – Minneapolis, Minnesota Republican Party Former 5th Congressional District Chair
* Corey Miltmore – Eden Prairie, Minnesota Republican Party Former Executive Director
* Jessica Mollman – Minneapolis, Republican Activist
* Ray Morris – Aitkin, Minnesota Republican Party State Central Committee Member
* Dan Nygaard – Big Lake, Minnesota Republican Party Former 6th Congressional District Chair
* Kristin Ostrander – Greenwood, Republican Activist
* Bill Poulos – St. Paul, Minnesota Republican Party State Central Committee Member
* Linda Runbeck - Circle Pines - Former State Senator
* Duane Qaum – Byron, Minnesota Republican Party 1st Congressional District Chair
* Chris Tiedeman – Eagan, Former Treasurer, College Republican National Committee and 7th Congressional District Vice-Chair
* Tony Trimble – Walker, Former Minnesota Republican Party State Party Chairman
* Andy Tulenchik – White Bear, Minnesota Republican Party State Central Committee Member
* Brent VanTassel – St. Paul, Minnesota Republican Party BPOU Chair
* Bill Walsh – White Bear Lake, Former Executive Director, Minnesota Republican Party
* Joe Weber – Eagan, Republican Activist
* Jeff Williams – Maplewood, Minnesota Republican Party BPOU Chair
* Leslie Wilcox – St. Paul, Minnesota Republican Party BPOU Chair
* Jon Wood – Shoreview, Former National Republican Committee Advisor
* Wells Wright – Minneapolis, Republican Activist
* Luke Yurczyk – Sartell, Minnesota Republican Party BPOU Chair


Andy Aplikowski's mother is on this list. Michael Brodkorb isn't listed.

Andy Aplikowski from Residual Forces Getting Courted By Other Presidential Campaigns

His favorite, Fred Thompson has dropped out of the race.

Frankly, I can’t support McCain out of principle. He’s abandoned us too much in the past. I don’t trust him one bit.

Huckabee is also in that book for me. No Hucking way, as I say. Once a liberal always a liberal.

Who else is there? Ron Paul? He’s absolutely nuts and his foreign policy is crazy. Looking at the MNGOP provded straw poll ballot we also seem to have a choice of John Cox and Alan Keyes. Um, NO!

Romney? Well, it may have to either hold your nose or hold out hope that he isn’t just paying us conservatives lipservice to get the endorsement, only to later stick his finger in our eye and tell us to shut up like McCain would. And he isn’t trying to redefine conservatism like Huckabee is.

There may be no other choice. Is Romney all we true conservatives (big C conservatives, as in the movement) have left to get behind?

#

By J. Ewing on Jan 22, 2008 | Reply

What concerns me is how quickly, before 90% of us even get to offer an opinion, we’ve gone from an embarrassment of riches, candidate-wise, to a few stale onions in the bottom of the bin. If they would drop off from the bottom of the most-desirable list, that would be one thing, but Thompson was at the top of mine. Romney was second, followed by Huckabee (yuck), Giuliani (yuck-yuck), and McCain dead last. Hunter would have been better than any of them, position-wise, in my mind, and he’s out. The only one I would pick behind McCain would be Ron Paul, and then, I think, only because McCain is right on the most important issue– the GWOT– and Paul is wrong.

So who will be the next one to fall? We’ve an awful long time to live with buyer’s remorse if we pick Romney and then discover something we con’t like, especially when we already KNOW things we don’t like– BIG things– about the others. It’s time for worrying.
#

By the Lady Logician on Jan 22, 2008 | Reply

I have to concur JE….At this point it’s a matter of how hard I need to hold my nose when pulling the lever……

LL


In a later post, Andy reports on an email from a friend of his:

I agreed 100% on your analysis of messieurs huckleberry, mccan’t, and the nut case (ron paul for those who can’t figure it out).

Also am hoping that Romney is not a say whatever they want to hear guy!!

Was interesting that you made no mention of Guiliani … you got something against people whose name ends in a vowel!!


Mitt Romney is clearly a say whatever you want to hear type of guy. That's what has gotten him into so much trouble.

Then he posts another email that promotes Giuliani. He also says:

It is down to a 2 man race now in the GOP as far as I am concerned.


mittsmirk

rudytrump

Well, er, ah ….. it’s down to 2 now.


Isn't that just ducky?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Chris Crain Puts It Well on HRC's Elizabeth Birch

Here:

The debate in 2006 over the federal marriage amendment is a classic example of how these two misjudgments crippled the movement's effectiveness. Facing a vote that everyone involved knew we would win, HRC's Hillary Rosen (Elizabeth's then-partner) bought into the Democrats' partisan strategy of avoiding the gay marriage "hot button" in favor of attacking President Bush and the Republicans for pressing a "non-issue," which was only a distraction from "real issues" like Iraq and rising gas prices.

It was colossal missed opportunity for a gay rights group to agree to the Democratic Party's self-serving strategy of avoiding gay marriage linkage and instead calling the movement's signature issue a distraction -- thereby punting on the free-media opportunity to educate the public about why we want to marry in the first place.


OutFront Minnesota used the same message when lobbying against this bill. I expect that type of junk from the Democratic Party that does not share the same interests gays do. I expect more of organizations that supposedly "represent" gays.

I find it unforgivable that HRC focused on helping specific Democratic candidates over putting resources in some of the anti-gay marriage initiatives. HRC resources could have made a difference in Wisconsin and in South Dakota.

Terri Bonoff's Stonewall DFL Questionaire

Terri Bonoff for Congress: Stonewall DFL Questionnaire


Candidate’s Name: Terri Bonoff

Office you are seeking: Minnesota’s Third Congressional District

1. Do you plan on abiding by the DFL endorsement if there is one for your race.

I will abide by the DFL endorsement. It is important that we coalesce behind the nominee and begin the process of defeating our Republican opponent as quickly as possible.

2. If endorsed by Stonewall DFL, how will you display that endorsement in campaign materials?

I would be truly honored to earn the Stonewall endorsement. As such, I would be proud to prominently display that information in any endorsement list or other list of supporters, whether on my website, campaign literature or otherwise.

3. How is the LGBT community currently involved in your campaign?

My campaign actively engages all members of the 3rd district community. State Senator Scott Dibble sits on my finance committee, is a key advisor, and was first amongst my fellow legislators to voice support for my campaign. My brother, a member of the LGBT community, served as campaign chair for my most recent State Senate campaign and is active in my Congressional campaign. Many other prominent LGBT activists and community members are involved with the campaign in a variety of capacities. Milo Pinkerton, an active member of the LGBT, is a member of my finance committee as well.

4. How will you actively encourage LGBT constituents to contact or become involved in the political process?

The only way for Democrats to continue to lead this nation is to fully engage all constituent groups in the process. As open leaders and honest servants to our constituents we owe it to them to actively engage them in the process of governing. Through targeted contacts and community events, I will ensure that all of my constituents and all voters are involved in the process. Furthermore, it is important to make every effort to engage the LGBT community. Some people in the political process seek to undermine and disenfranchise any number of our citizens for their own political gain. When that happens, it is important to make every effort to ensure that this attempt does not succeed and that these groups are included in the political process. That is why I attend LGBT gatherings and community events on a regular basis. I feel that this helps to create the relationships necessary to keep an open door policy.

5. What experience do you have with LGBT issues and the LGBT community?

First and foremost, my victory in the 2005 special election was instrumental in keeping the “Defense of Marriage” amendment off the ballot. Also, having a member of the LGBT community in my immediate family has afforded me an intimate understanding of the needs and issues unique to this community, and my voting record on relevant issues clearly conveys my commitment to their needs.

6. LGBT men and women of color are often victims of multiple layers of discrimination. How would you use your office to identify and address these problems?

Leadership in our nation's capitol must make it clear that no level of discrimination or bigotry is acceptable. It is incumbent on any office holder to work with their community to address these issues. As a member of Congress I will do all that I can to engage both the LGBT community and communities of color. LGBT women and men of color face unique challenges. Generations of cultural biases cannot be overcome overnight. Only through real leadership in every segment of our society can we foster the understanding that we need to address the multiple levels of discrimination that LGBT people of color face.

7. Public awareness of Lesbians and Gays has increased in the last 20 years; however there remain some unique and misunderstood issues faced by Bisexual and Transgender communities. Please identify a specific issue(s) and how you would use your elected office to support these communities.

Even more systematically than lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people, transgendered people are routinely targeted for work place discrimination. The omission of transgendered people in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act sends the dangerous message that transgendered people do not need or deserve protection. As a member of Congress I will support the inclusion of transgendered people in ENDA.

8. What legal recognitions should be available to GLBT people in committed relationships and how would you use your office to advance these equality issues; specifically do you favor Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions, Marriage, or Other?

I believe that two people in a committed, loving relationship should be given all the rights and legal protections necessary to foster stability and ensure that our nation fulfills its promise to treat all of our citizens equally with the dignity and respect they deserve. This is a very personal issue for me. I am in a happy and fulfilling marriage and it is unconscionable that my brother can not experience the same thing. I certainly want him to have the same rights that I have enjoyed.

Every year Republicans try to use this as a wedge issue. I will state my views on it unequivocally, but I will not let them drag it out as a cudgel in this campaign. It is not the place of our government to legislate beliefs or morality to any person or institution. I have and will continue to work aggressively against any attempt to write bigotry and discrimination in to our constitution or laws at any level.

9. Alcoholism, crystal methamphetamine and other chemical abuse is a public health problem in the LGBT community, which correlates to increased rates of HIV transmission. If elected, how would you use your office to address these problems?

As you know, members of the LGBT community are at much greater risks for depression, addiction, and other mental health problems. As a member of Congress I will support aggressive outreach, education, and prevention programs to ensure that we help all of our citizens begin the road to recovery. Our health care, social service and support systems are often inadequate for addressing the unique issues faced by the LGBT community and it will take strong leadership in Congress to ensure that every American gets the care they deserve.


10. What policies would you support to provide equity for LGBT Minnesotans with respect to both public and private health care benefits and imputed tax implications?

As a member of the Minnesota State Senate I voted in favor of extending employment benefits to domestic partners of public employees. I will work tirelessly to export these Minnesotan ideals of fairness and equity to Washington.

11. The funding for programs such as the Ryan White Act was recently redistributed into rural, less populated (red) states and away from urban populated (blue) states where the majority of AIDS patients are located. What are your thoughts on this funding change?

The Bush administration, in an attempt to address a growing problem with ever decreasing resources, made a decision to shift funding away from the 51 hardest-hit cities within the framework of the Ryan White CARE Act. I feel this was a mistake. Instead of making arbitrary or political decisions about which populations to assist, the President's budget could easily have included additional discretionary spending for the CARE programs. Furthermore, the Bush Administration's prioritization of "core medical services" excludes many important urban functions of the program such as transportation assistance, housing assistance, and legal aid. As a member of Congress I will work to ensure that this vital health care program receives the resources that it needs to provide for all those that need it's assistance.

12. A recent study of urban homeless youth found that in some metropolitan areas over 40% identify as LGBT. A key finding of this study was that homeless LGBT youth are more vulnerable to sexual abuse, substance abuse and mental health struggles. What root causes of this complex issue can you identify and how would you use your office to address these problems?

Many complex factors contribute to the problem of homelessness amongst LGBT youth. LGBT youth most frequently experience homelessness because of family conflict. The problems mount from there though. All too often, young people in the LGBT community experience abuse in the shelter and social service systems. This abuse often leads to depression and drug abuse. LGBT youth are much more likely to be victims of violent crime as well.

Many of the steps necessary to combat this problem apply to all runaway and homeless youth but the need is exacerbated amongst the LGBT community. Homeless youth simply need the basic social services that all people experiencing homelessness deserve. That is why I will fight for key legislation to address youth runaways and homelessness including reauthorization and increased appropriations to the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. Additionally, I will make every effort to move funds away from those faith-based programs that deny treatment to LGBT youth based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Further, Congress must make every attempt to ensure that all children have access to basic medical services whether they are with a guardian or not.

13. What would you do, if elected, to ensure that lesbian and bisexual women have access to a diversity of reproductive health options, including birth control, in-vitro fertilization, and abortion?

I fully believe that we must ensure that every woman, regardless of sexual orientation or income level, has the right to safe, legal, confidential, and affordable family planning and reproductive health care. This includes opposing waiting periods and physician lectures, opposing restrictions on reproductive health care options within government health care programs, and opposing pharmacist refusal clauses. Further, I feel it is vital that all women have access to comprehensive sex education and affordable contraception.

14. What are your views on the US military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy?

I oppose the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy. We must end institutional discrimination in all of it's forms. This policy not only hurts gays and lesbians in the military, it hurts all of our troops. This policy disrupts our military readiness at a time when our armed forces are stretched dangerously thin. This is both a matter of national security and a matter of basic fairness. Service to our country should be based on basic qualification and talent, not arbitrary personal distinctions.

15. Which version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act do you support and why?

I support an Employment Non-Discrimination Act that is fully inclusive of the transgender persons (H.R. 2015). It is unconscionable that federal law would allow any discrimination in the workplace. By choosing to specifically omit certain provisions of the act, Congress is acquiescing to a certain amount of institutional and workplace discrimination. Fully inclusive non-discrimination provisions, including transgender men and women, have been a part of Minnesota state law since 1993.

Jim Hovland's Stonewall DFL Questionnaire

Candidate Name: Jim Hovland

Office you are seeking: U.S. Congress, Minnesota’s 3rd District

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

1) Do you plan on abiding by the DFL endorsement if there is one for your race? YES / NO

Yes

2) If endorsed by Stonewall DFL, how will you display that endorsement in campaign materials?

I consider your endorsement an honor and would list it on my campaign website and on outreach literature pieces.

3) How is the LGBT community currently involved in your campaign?

Two chief advisers (finance director and message development) are from the LGBT community. A staff member was part of the speakers’ bureau through the LGBT group on her college campus in the 1980s. Another serves on the board of the National Association to Prevent the Sexual Abuse of Children, which runs the national child protection training center. One of the principle reasons I am a Democrat is to support equal rights for everyone. This specifically was referenced in the Star Tribune article on 1/8/08, announcing my candidacy for Congress.

4) How will you actively encourage LGBT constituents to contact or become involved in the political process?

We already have contacted GLBT groups like OutFront to engage their membership and for their staff to act as counsel in campaign matters related to GLBT issues.

5) What experience do you have with LGBT issues and the LGBT community?

I have watched over the years as family members and friends have struggled to have their relationships recognized and respected, both culturally and legally. While I believe the environment is improving, there is a lot of work to do to achieve equality.

6) LGBT men and women of color are often victims of multiple layers of discrimination. How would you use your office to identify and address these problems?

The best way to attack discrimination of all types is to ensure equal protection under the law and to strengthen penalties when our laws are violated. In Congress I will be a strong voice and a vote for passage of the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Act and ENDA in its original form.

7) Public awareness of Lesbians and Gays has increased in the last 20 years; however there remain some unique and misunderstood issues faced by Bisexual and Transgender communities. Please identify a specific issue(s) and how you would use your elected office to support these communities.

Lawmakers have four primary ways of reducing discrimination: keep the Constitution free of discrimination; ensure equal protection under the law; strengthen penalties for violation of those laws; and provide funding for social spending that promotes the health and well-being of all citizens. I also support ENDA in its original form, and I believe this specifically would assist the Bisexual and Transgendered communities.

8) What legal recognitions should be available to GLBT people in committed relationships and how would you use your office to advance these equality issues; specifically do you favor Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions, Marriage, or Other?

I completely support full recognition and full legal rights for GLBT couples. Equal rights must be extended to everyone and therefore equal legal and economic rights are essential for gay couples.

9) Alcoholism, crystal methamphetamine and other chemical abuse is a public health problem in the LGBT community, which correlates to increased rates of HIV transmission. If elected, how would you use your office to address these problems?

This is an issue upon which all of us, Republicans and Democrats, should be able to work together. Passage of the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act will be a priority for me in Congress. We need to ensure appropriate funding for drug-abuse programs, certainly, but we also must back education and support groups like the MN AIDS Project and OutFront so people can find resources within their communities. In addition to federal research grants, we must provide public monies to support community-based work.

10) What policies would you support to provide equity for LGBT Minnesotans with respect to both public and private health care benefits and imputed tax implications?

I support full benefits for domestic partners and equal treatment under the law.

11) The funding for programs such as the Ryan White Act was recently redistributed into rural, less populated (red) states and away from urban populated (blue) states where the majority of AIDS patients are located. What are your thoughts on this funding change?

It should be fully funded and Congress should work to assure equal distribution of funding under the Ryan White Act. This act is designed to help all AIDS victims, gay or straight—and everyone affected should get proper assistance.

12) A recent study of urban homeless youth found that in some metropolitan areas over 40% identify as LGBT. A key finding of this study was that homeless LGBT youth are more vulnerable to sexual abuse, substance abuse and mental health struggles. What root causes of this complex issue can you identify and how would you use your office to address these problems?

The Naming Project and other like projects are so critical to these types of issues. We need to promote their work nationwide so youth can grow up feeling like they understand themselves and their place in the world. And then we can’t let them down as adults. We must strengthen our laws guaranteeing equal protections under the law and stiffen penalties for breaches against them. We should endorse the federal effort to eliminate homelessness within the next 10 years, as that will have a profound benefit for our urban homeless youth and our veterans. Support also should be provided for safe harbor products like District 202.

13) What would you do, if elected, to ensure that lesbian and bisexual women have access to a diversity of reproductive health options, including birth control, in-vitro fertilization, and abortion?

Lesbians and bisexual women should have equal access to the universe of reproductive health options as well as the privacy protections necessary to make decisions concerning pregnancy. Equal access to healthcare should be a legally protected right.

14) What are your views on the US military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy?
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell needs to be scrapped due to its discriminatory nature.

15) Which version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act do you support and why?

I support ENDA in its original form.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Radio Gossip

A little bird tells me that Sue Jeffers will be getting her own show on KTLK FM. The show will compete with part of NARN on AM 1280 the Patriot. I understand the time slot is 9-12 on Saturday mornings.

Elwyn Tinklenberg's Stonewall DFL Questionnaire

Candidate Name: Elwyn G. Tinklenberg

Office you are seeking: US House, MN 06

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1) Do you plan on abiding by the DFL endorsement if there is one for your race? YES / NO

YES

2) If endorsed by Stonewall DFL, how will you display that endorsement in campaign materials?

I would be honored to say I have the support of the LGBT community in Minnesota and I would display Stonewall DFL’s endorsement proudly along with my other endorsements.

3) How is the LGBT community currently involved in your campaign?

I have sought out people from the LGBT community to advise me about issues of importance and to communicate with me on a regular basis.

Also, a large part of my message is about justice and fairness, two things which go to the heart of ending discrimination and promoting equal rights.

4. How will you actively encourage LGBT constituents to contact or become involved in the political process?

My opponent is Michele Bachmann; she is quite possibly the most anti-gay rights politician Minnesota has ever had. I will be encouraging many groups with agendas that run contrary to her own extreme, intolerant agenda, to come out and work with us to defeat her.

5. What experience do you have with LGBT issues and the LGBT community?

The issues I have worked on, from battered women’s issues to housing, transportation to employment, have been issues that have affected the broad spectrum of our society, including members of the LGBT community. I also participated in United Methodist congregations that identified themselves as Welcoming (or Reconciling) Congregations and the accepting attitude of the United Methodists is one of the things that drew me to it.

6. LGBT men and women of color are often victims of multiple layers of discrimination. How would you use your office to identify and address these problems?

One thing I will promise is visual advocacy of equal rights and justice. The other promise I make is to support legislation that strengthens and enforces laws against hate or discriminatorily motivated crimes.

7. Public awareness of Lesbians and Gays has increased in the last 20 years; however there remain some unique and misunderstood issues faced by Bisexual and Transgender communities. Please identify a specific issue(s) and how you would use your elected office to support these communities.

Everyone has a right to feel entirely comfortable and secure in who they are. I will support legislation that protects equal treatment and benefits, including provisions for operations and procedures that while voluntary, are part of ensuring complete health for transgender persons.

8. What legal recognitions should be available to GLBT people in committed relationships and how would you use your office to advance these equality issues; specifically do you favor Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions, Marriage, or Other?

I support full legal status for heterosexual and homosexual couples. Whatever the terminology, it is an equal rights issue. We should never be using our tax laws or any other laws, to discriminate.

9. Alcoholism, crystal methamphetamine and other chemical abuse is a public health problem in the LGBT community, which correlates to increased rates of HIV transmission. If elected, how would you use your office to address these problems?

Issues of substance abuse and the fast-growing prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases are common in many factions of society. I think that one of the best ways to combat these in all communities is through better access to medical care which includes support for mental health and treatment programs.

10. What policies would you support to provide equity for LGBT Minnesotans with respect to both public and private health care benefits and imputed tax implications?

Domestic partnerships and civil unions should be treated in the same way “marriages” are under access to medical benefits and in our tax laws.

11. The funding for programs such as the Ryan White Act was recently redistributed into rural, less populated (red) states and away from urban populated (blue) states where the majority of AIDS patients are located. What are your thoughts on this funding change?

The Ryan White Act was designed to provide HIV treatment for low-income persons in need. Ryan White was from Indiana and it’s possible that the HHS used his profile as an opportunity to move that funding to places where there might not be other programs or assistance in place (red states). I support Universal Healthcare because it would provide assistance for ALL Americans with HIV or AIDS, who were in need, regardless of geography.

12. A recent study of urban homeless youth found that in some metropolitan areas over 40% identify as LGBT. A key finding of this study was that homeless LGBT youth are more vulnerable to sexual abuse, substance abuse and mental health struggles. What root causes of this complex issue can you identify and how would you use your office to address these problems?

Homelessness, sexual abuse vulnerability and substance abuse are all products of trying to hide the issues faced by young LGBT individuals. It is important that our schools and our communities provide support groups and counseling early in our children’s lives to ensure they are not disenfranchised and left vulnerable.

13. What would you do, if elected, to ensure that lesbian and bisexual women have access to a diversity of reproductive health options, including birth control, in-vitro fertilization, and abortion?

Access to reproductive health options is a threat to all women, regardless of sexual orientation. I believe that Roe v. Wade should be upheld and that any universal health care plan should include full access to responsible reproductive options and choices.

14. What are your views on the US military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy?

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a ridiculous idea that has never worked. We have valuable people of all sexual orientations who are willing to serve our country and to deny them that opportunity is wrong. I believe sexual orientation should not be a factor in the military or any other occupation.


15. Which version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act do you support and why?

I support H.R. 2015 (April of 2007) because it mirrors Minnesota’s own policies prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Cross posted at Dump Michele Bachmann.

Bob Olson's Stonewall DFL Questionnaire

Candidate Name: Robert A Olson
Office you are seeking: U.S. Congress, 6th district, Minnesota, 2008

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1) Do you plan on abiding by the DFL endorsement if there is one for your race? YES

I have committed to abiding by the DFL endorsement.

2) If endorsed by Stonewall DFL, how will you display that endorsement in campaign materials?

With pride! Stonewall will be listed on any of our campaign material that lists endorsements. We will list Stonewall's endorsement on our website.

3) How is the LGBT community currently involved in your campaign?

Of the 5 key members of my campaign staff, 3 are active in the LGBT movement.

3. How will you actively encourage LGBT constituents to contact or become involved in the political process?

Throughout the history of this country, we have experienced prejudice and inequality and we have struggled to make this a better place for all people. There is only one group of Americans that still suffer legally sanctioned discrimination: LGBT people. I am public, vocal and proud in my support for LGBT rights. I believe the best way to activate the LGBT community is to champion their causes and I intend to do that.

We are running against Michele Bachmann and we intend to tell the whole community who this woman is and what she stands for. This is an opportunity to remind the LGBT community that we still have a lot of work to do.

We already have strong support from LGBT people because I am the only candidate in this race who is unambiguous on these issues. I oppose a constitutional marriage amendment. I support civil unions with full kinship rights and responsibilities. I support the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, and I know it's time to come up with a better military policy than 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.

This is a fight to oust Michele Bachmann. She used fear and bigotry to propel her to victory. You have no bigger enemy in congress. She is strong, tough and a great campaigner. To defeat her we will need all of us working together. I ask not just for your endorsement. I ask for your active and visible participation.

Stonewall and HRC were treated poorly by both DFL candidates in this race last election. Far too often a candidate wants the money from the LGBT community but is unwilling to be associated with it. These actions are insulting and counterproductive.

The idea that a candidate must play up to the prejudices of the voters instead of challenging them only advances the cause of our foes. I intend to win with you standing by me.

4. What experience do you have with LGBT issues and the LGBT community?

I have the same experience that most people have – close friends, family and loved ones who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. I am a friend and ally. I have attended and participated in HRC events, and marched in the TC Pride parade.

5. LGBT men and women of color are often victims of multiple layers of discrimination. How would you use your office to identify and address these problems?

First of all, I understand and recognize that this is true. I don't have all the answers and I'm smart enough to seek out those that have more experience. I will follow the lead of civil and human rights activists, such as Barney Frank, Maxine Waters and Tammy Baldwin, and I hope Stonewall will offer guidance on these difficult issues.

I will provide dedicated constituent service in my District, as this has been an issue, even recently, at St. Cloud State University. There are several people active in our campaign who are personally committed to this.

6. Public awareness of Lesbians and Gays has increased in the last 20 years; however there remain some unique and misunderstood issues faced by Bisexual and Transgender communities. Please identify a specific issue(s) and how you would use your elected office to support these communities.

The best I can offer is my commitment to being openly and strongly supportive of this entire community. I support ENDA and hate crimes legislation. I issued a press release after the hate crime bill stalled which stated my support and also questioned the Democratic leadership for their clumsy handling of this bill.

7. What legal recognitions should be available to GLBT people in committed relationships and how would you use your office to advance these equality issues; specifically do you favor Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions, Marriage, or Other?

I support civil unions (or domestic partnerships) with full kinship rights and responsibilities like taxes, medical decision making, property, Social Security and other benefits sharing, inheritance, and portability between states.

8. Alcoholism, crystal methamphetamine and other chemical abuse is a public health problem in the LGBT community, which correlates to increased rates of HIV transmission. If elected, how would you use your office to address these problems?

We have to recognize that this is a public health issue, not just a law enforcement issue. First we must improve access to good affordable health care. We must increase funding for outreach programs that promote HIV and AIDS awareness and prevention. And we must end, once and for all, the stigma and discrimination that is the root cause of disproportional rates of depression and suicide in the LGBT community, especially youth.

9. What policies would you support to provide equity for LGBT Minnesotans with respect to both public and private health care benefits and imputed tax implications?

I support legal recognition of civil unions with full kinship rights and responsibilities, including benefits and taxes. I support same-sex benefits for public employees. We offer same-sex benefits to our employees at St. Stephen State Bank, and it makes good business sense for other private companies to do the same.

10. The funding for programs such as the Ryan White Act was recently redistributed into rural, less populated (red) states and away from urban populated (blue) states where the majority of AIDS patients are located. What are your thoughts on this funding change?

The real problem is that this country has never adequately funded HIV and AIDS prevention or cures. If we can afford to spend a trillion dollars in Iraq then we can afford to address the health care problems in this country.

11. A recent study of urban homeless youth found that in some metropolitan areas over 40% identify as LGBT. A key finding of this study was that homeless LGBT youth are more vulnerable to sexual abuse, substance abuse and mental health struggles. What root causes of this complex issue can you identify and how would you use your office to address these problems?

There are many causes for this problem. Ignorance, bigotry and religious intolerance all combine to create a hostile home environment for too many of our children. Schools do not have the resources to deal with these problems.

Another issue is the way we treat mental illness in this country. Currently employers are allowed to opt out of mental health care coverage, and insurance companies are allowed to offer mental health care and substance abuse coverage at reduced lifetime expenditures and higher deductible rates. Treatment facilities are inadequate to keep up with the increasing demand and are out of reach for many middle and poorer working families.

I will advocate against discrimination, and I will support legislation that provides universal access to healthcare, including mental health coverage.

12. What would you do, if elected, to ensure that lesbian and bisexual women have access to a diversity of reproductive health options, including birth control, in-vitro fertilization, and abortion?

Once again the problem is the way we deliver health care coverage. Wealthy or insured lesbian and bisexual women have access to these services. It's the working poor and middle class without health insurance that are experiencing these inequities.

A woman's right to choose is being challenged every day. The problem is even greater in rural areas in this country. I am committed to preserving a woman's right to reproductive freedom.

13. What are your views on the US military "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy?

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a detrimental policy that is harmful to individuals and counterproductive to the military that should be replaced immediately.

14. Which version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act do you support and why?

I support the inclusive version because it's the right thing to do.

Cross posted at Dump Michele Bachmann.

Arbitron Ratings

I was asked to be part of the current Arbitron radio ratings. I've never been a participant of such ratings in the past. This should be interesting.

Ashwin Madia's Stonewall DFL Questionaire

As I mentioned earlier, I have contacted all the 3rd and 6th District Congressional campaigns requesting copies of their questionnaires. Once I get all the 3rd District and 6th District questionnaires, I will put the information together in a comparative format.

1) Do you plan on abiding by the DFL endorsement if there is one for your race? YES /NO

I will abide by the DFL’s endorsement. Two other candidates have publicly announced
they are seeking the DFL endorsement: State Senator Terri Bonoff and Edina Mayor Jim
Hovland. While I respect the public service of both candidates, I feel I am the candidate who is most likely to show leadership in Congress on the priorities that matter to the LGBT community in Minnesota. In addition, my unique status as a veteran of the war in Iraq gives me credibility and expertise on crucial foreign policy issues in this race, making me a strong contender for the general election.

2)If endorsed by Stonewall DFL, how will you display that endorsement in campaign
materials?

If endorsed, I will proudly display the Stonewall DFL endorsement on my website. I will call upon Stonewall DFL members and leaders to help me win the DFL nomination and to take back the 3rd Congressional District in November 2008.

3) How is the LGBT community currently involved in your campaign?

My brother is openly gay and actively involved in my campaign. A number of prominent
LGBT activists in the Twin Cities, such as John Sullivan, Phil and Randi Reitan, and
Charlie Rounds, are all strong supporters of mine.

4)How will you actively encourage LGBT constituents to contact or become involved in the political process?

I would encourage all constituents who have a desire to see change in Washington to
contact me and to get involved in the political process. I pledge to meet regularly with grass roots LGBT organizations, once elected, and to do all that I can to encourage greater involvement by their members.

5)What experience do you have with LGBT issues and the LGBT community?
As a Marine Corps lawyer, I defended a gay Marine against the military's bigoted and
shameful "don't ask, don't tell" policy. I am proud to have given my unconditional
support for my brother in our struggle for full equality under the law. I have been
reaching out to members of the LGBT community in Minnesota since the first day of my
campaign for Congress because I strongly believe in full equal rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.

6)LGBT men and women of color are often victims of multiple layers of discrimination.
How would you use your office to identify and address these problems?

I would support passage of Hate Crimes Prevention legislation to offer stronger
protections for victims of crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Additionally, as a person of color myself, I would be a strong advocate on behalf of men and women of color to eliminate all forms of discrimination in our society, whether it be employment-based, or otherwise.

7)Public awareness of Lesbians and Gays has increased in the last 20 years; however
there remain some unique and misunderstood issues faced by Bisexual and
Transgender communities. Please identify a specific issue(s) and how you would use
your elected office to support these communities.

I strongly believe in full equal rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. I was disheartened to hear that Democrats in Congress weakened the legislation to prohibit LGBT employment discrimination by removing provisions that prohibited discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

8) What legal recognitions should be available to GLBT people in committed relationships and how would you use your office to advance these equality issues; specifically do you favor Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions, Marriage, or Other?

Yes, I strongly support same-sex marriage and full equality under the law. Civil unions fall short. Civil unions seem to be a way for politicians to avoid recognizing the LGBT community as equal with the rest of our society. In the future, we will look back and be embarrassed that we are even having this discussion, just as today we are embarrassed about our nation’s history of civil rights violations.

9)Alcoholism, crystal methamphetamine and other chemical abuse is a public health
problem in the LGBT community, which correlates to increased rates of HIV
transmission. If elected, how would you use your office to address these problems?

I support better investments in our public health system and rehabilitation options for people with chemical dependency. For too long, our politicians have neglected the root causes of chemical dependency and have been all too eager to simply lock people up.

10) What policies would you support to provide equity for LGBT Minnesotans with respect to both public and private health care benefits and imputed tax implications?
The federal government should never discriminate against same-sex couples regardless of whether a state grants legal recognition to such couples and families. Public and private health care benefits and tax laws should be changed to eliminate discrimination.

11) The funding for programs such as the Ryan White Act was recently redistributed into rural, less populated (red) states and away from urban populated (blue) states where the majority of AIDS patients are located. What are your thoughts on this funding change?

I support expanding funding for HIV/AIDS treatment through the Ryan White CARE Act
or similar legislation. This legislation provides approximately $10 billion over the next five years in grants and services for people with HIV or AIDS.

12) A recent study of urban homeless youth found that in some metropolitan areas over
40% identify as LGBT. A key finding of this study was that homeless LGBT youth are
more vulnerable to sexual abuse, substance abuse and mental health struggles. What
root causes of this complex issue can you identify and how would you use your office to address these problems?

The incidence of homeless youth among the LGBT community is a reflection of our
society’s intolerance. This can be combated by giving full equality to the LGBT
community in every facet possible. Our public officials must take the lead in addressing this issue.

13) What would you do, if elected, to ensure that lesbian and bisexual women have access to a diversity of reproductive health options, including birth control, in-vitro fertilization, and abortion?

The next Congressperson from the Third Congressional District needs to be both a strong advocate for pro-choice legislation as well as someone who will recognize and take a firm stand against future “stealth” efforts to undermine a woman’s right to choose. I pledge to be that kind of Congressperson if I am fortunate enough to earn your support in this race.

14) What are your views on the US military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy?
As a U.S. Marine Corps lawyer, I was one of first attorneys to successfully defend a gay Marine against the military's bigoted and shameful "don't ask, don't tell" policy. I would be proud to serve alongside anyone brave enough to put on the uniform.

15) Which version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act do you support and why?
I strongly believe in a fully inclusive ENDA. This includes equal rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. I will support a version of ENDA that achieves this and does not allow continued discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

It is unacceptable that we allow a form of discrimination in the workplace based on a
characteristic that is just as inherent as sex, race, or disability.

The Fix on the Republicans Fix

Republicans didn't turn out to vote in South Carolina. The Fix:

South Carolina Republicans: More than 573,000 South Carolinians turned out in 2000 to vote in the Republican primary between George W. Bush and McCain. With nearly 90 percent of precincts reporting, less than 400,000 votes had been cast. Contrast that with a surge in Democratic turnout in each of the first three primary/caucus states -- Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada -- and Republicans have reason to worry about November 2008.


The vote total from the South Carolina Secretary of State's Office is 418073. I am not sure how much percent reporting which agrees with some press reports of 95% of precincts reporting. It will be interesting to the vote turnout for the South Carolina Democratic primary.

Another Perspective on the Al Franken Ad

Over at MDE:

# Gary Gross Says:
January 18th, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Michael B. Brodkorb Says:
This ad is brutal - very effective.

It’s also uninspiring. Al Franken this. Al Franken that. We get the picture. It’s time for Sen. Coleman to start telling us what we’re working & voting for. If he doesn’t start soon, he’ll lose this November.


Gary Gross has a good point.

J Ewing follows up:

# J. Ewing Says:
January 19th, 2008 at 6:23 am

One of the axioms of modern political life is to “go negative early.” This is a great start. The real test will be to see if Norm can switch, at the “right time” to a POSITIVE message. I’m highly concerned that he may not have one. You don’t drive people to the polls with negative campaigns.