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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Will the Experienced Campaign Manager Resuscitate the Free-Falling Franken Campaign?

The Strib reports on Franken's new campaign manager.

Stephanie Schriock helped defeat a GOP incumbent in Montana two years ago.

Last update: May 15, 2008 - 10:17 PM

DFL U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken said Thursday he hired as his campaign manager a top congressional aide who helped oust a GOP Senate incumbent two years ago.

Stephanie Schriock, a Mankato native, will begin her job in early June. Franken, who is seeking the DFL endorsement to challenge Sen. Norm Coleman, to date has been without an official campaign manager. Top campaign duties have been shared by David Benson and Andy Barr, who also serves as a spokesman.

Schriock is currently chief of staff for Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., for whom she was campaign manager when he defeated Conrad Burns in 2006.

"I am honored to join Franken's campaign for change -- working with all Minnesotans to send another great progressive senator we can be proud of to Washington this November," Schriock said in a statement.

In response to a question, DFL executive director Andy O'Leary said he thought it was a little unusual for a campaign to wait to this point to name an official director, "but I don't think they've been without senior management. I would say there's been a steady hand or two on the rudder."


Was that an ironic statement by O'Leary? Franken's campaign will only change if this new campaign manager speaks up, and is able to get Franken to listen. The campaign clearly will need to invest in opposition research on Franken to make sure they are aware of issues like the tax situation, so they don't become huge stories.

Franken's campaign will also have to aggressively go after Coleman about his DCI contributions. That issue could have legs if used effectively.

Sweetie?



Hat Tip: Salon.

Obama left a message with the reporter to apologize:

Hi Peggy. This is Barack Obama. I'm calling to apologize on two fronts. One was you didn't get your question answered and I apologize. I thought that we had set up interviews with all the local stations. I guess we got it with your station but you weren't the reporter that got the interview. And so, I broke my word. I apologize for that and I will make up for it.

Second apology is for using the word 'sweetie.' That's a bad habit of mine. I do it sometimes with all kinds of people. I mean no disrespect and so I am duly chastened on that front. Feel free to call me back. I expect that my press team will be happy to try to make it up to you whenever we are in Detroit next.


The reporter talks about the apology here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Kudos to Sen. Linda Higgins and Rep. Jim Davne - Municipal Benefits Bill Passed Minnesota House

Earlier this year it passed 43-22 in the Senate. Geoff Michel (who is in a district that would favor this legislation) voted no. Both house members in the district - Ron Erhardt and Neil Peterson, voted yes. The vote in the Senate is one vote short of being able to override a Governor's veto. Geoff Michel said at a public forum I was at, when I and others challenged him on his support for the Bachmann amendment. He said he supported Civil Unions, just not gay marriage. So his vote is contrary to what he said in a public forum. In the house, it's 7 votes short of overriding the governor. (90 votes needed to do that). I assume this is ready to go to the Governor. I just called his office (651-296-3391), and left a message asking him to sign the bill.

It will be interesting to see if the DFL puts out a press release pointing out that Erik Paulsen is out of touch on this issue, the way they did for Stem Cell research and comprehensive sex ed. Or is something that openly promotes a gay issue something the DFL state party is unwilling to do when promoting one of their congressional candidates?

Here's the bill status summary:

Here's where you can view the house vote:

The question was taken on the passage of the bill and the roll was called. There were 83 yeas and 50 nays as follows:

Those who voted in the affirmative were:

Anzelc
Atkins
Benson
Berns
Bigham
Bly
Brown
Brynaert
Bunn
Carlson
Clark
Davnie
Dill
Dittrich
Dominguez
Eken
Erhardt
Faust
Fritz
Gardner
Greiling
Hansen
Hausman
Haws
Hilstrom
Hilty
Hornstein
Hortman
Hosch
Huntley
Jaros
Johnson
Juhnke
Kahn
Kalin
Knuth
Kranz
Laine
Lenczewski
Lesch
Liebling
Lieder
Lillie
Loeffler
Madore
Mahoney
Mariani
Marquart
Masin
Moe
Morgan
Morrow
Mullery
Murphy, E.
Murphy, M.
Nelson
Norton
Paymar
Pelowski
Peterson, A.
Peterson, N.
Peterson, S.
Poppe
Rukavina
Ruud
Sailer
Scalze
Sertich
Simon
Slawik
Slocum
Solberg
Swails
Thao
Thissen
Tillberry
Tschumper
Wagenius
Walker
Welti
Winkler
Wollschlager
Spk. Kelliher


Those who voted in the negative were:

Abeler
Anderson, S.
Beard
Brod
Buesgens
Cornish
Dean
DeLaForest
Demmer
Dettmer
Doty
Drazkowski
Eastlund
Emmer
Erickson
Finstad
Garofalo
Gottwalt
Gunther
Hackbarth
Hamilton
Heidgerken
Holberg
Hoppe
Howes
Koenen
Kohls
Lanning
Magnus
McFarlane
McNamara
Nornes
Olin
Olson
Otremba
Ozment
Paulsen
Peppin
Ruth
Seifert
Severson
Shimanski
Simpson
Smith
Tingelstad
Urdahl
Ward
Wardlow
Westrom
Zellers

The bill was passed and its title agreed to.

A number of legislators who had voted for the Bachmann amendment voted for this. These include Denise Dittrich (who voted FOR a creationism amendment earlier this year), Bev Scalze, Al Junhke, Neil Peterson (who is facing a Republican endorsed opponent in the primary) and Patti Fritz.

Call the Governor at 651-291-3391 and ask him to SIGN this bill. The state has no business micromanaging HR in municipal governments.

Also, Kudos to OutFront Minnesota. I was expecting that this bill would get lost in the shuffle. From OutFront Minnesota:



Date: Thu, May 15, 2008 at 2:21 PM
Subject: HOUSE PASSES LOCAL GOVERNMENT HEALTH BENEFITS BILL
To:
May 15th, 2008
Contact:
Jo Marsicano, Communications Director
612-822-0127 ext. 106
Minnesota House Passes Local Government Benefits Bill

Legislation Would Enable Local Governments to Offer Domestic Partner Benefits

(St. Paul) The Minnesota House today passed the local government benefits bill (SF 960) which would allow local governments to offer domestic partner benefits to their employees' families. The bill's language does not reference domestic partners specifically but allows local units of government such as cities, counties, and school boards to offer whatever benefits they choose to their employees. If the bill were to become law, it would enable local governments to decide whether to incorporate domestic partner benefits, as well as other types of benefits, into their employee benefits packages.

Currently, due to a 1995 Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling, local governments cannot offer benefits outside of those provided to employees, spouses, and children. This bill would remedy that restriction.

"This bill is a common-sense and fair solution to helping provide Minnesota families with the security of health care," according to Public Policy Director Monica Meyer. "At the same time, it allows local governments to make the best decisions for their own communities." The legislation allows – but does not require – local governments to expand the types of benefits they offer employees' families. Domestic partner benefits are offered by more than 300 companies doing business in Minnesota. This legislation would allow local governments to follow the lead of what business is already doing.

The bill passed the Senate in April. It now goes to the governor.

###

California Ruled to To Overturn Ban On Gay Marriages

The usual suspects are howling and yowling. Peter LaBarbera crowed about deep sixing Mitt Romney's campaign, because Romney wasn't pure enough for him. Now he gets John McCain as the nominee, who unlike Mitt Romney, opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment.

A California Supreme Court decision clearing the way for gay marriages in the state injects an element of uncertainty into a presidential race in which the Iraq war and the sputtering economy have largely overshadowed social issues.

John McCain, the GOP nominee-in-waiting whose position on the issue rankles the Republican Party's conservative base, sought to strike a delicate balance to the Thursday ruling.

He "supports the right of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution sanctioning the union between a man and a woman, just as he did in his home state of Arizona," his campaign said in response. "John McCain doesn't believe judges should be making these decisions."

McCain rejected the will of the state's high court even as he tried to maintain his long-held stance that the issue should be left to the states. He suggested that he backs an effort by California's religious conservatives to put a constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman on the November ballot.

The Arizona senator opposes gay marriage but, in a break with the GOP's right flank, he also opposes a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions on grounds that states traditionally have decided the issue. McCain did work to ban gay marriage in Arizona, campaigning for a ballot measure there in 2006. The measure failed.

This year, there are indications that the GOP's conservative base is not nearly as energized as the Democrats' liberal base. If true, a California ballot initiative — and others in Arizona and Florida — could help mobilize dispirited conservatives to turn out in the fall there and elsewhere, and, perhaps, boost McCain's prospects.

Complicating McCain's position, his top ally in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said in a statement that he respected the court's decision and would uphold the ruling. But he also said: "I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling."

Like McCain, Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton say the marriage issue should be left to the states, and they, too, seemed to tread carefully.

"Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president. He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage," the Illinois senator's campaign said.

Clinton's campaign said she "believes that gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships should have the same rights and responsibilities as all Americans and believes that civil unions are the best way to achieve this goal. As president, Hillary Clinton will work to ensure same-sex couples have access to these rights and responsibilities at the federal level. She has said and continues to believe that the issue of marriage should be left to the states."

In a victory for gay-rights advocates, the California court narrowly overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage and said domestic partnerships are not a substitute for marriage.

Some Democrats and gay-rights advocates rejoiced. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the ruling "a significant milestone."

In turn, some Republicans and gay-marriage opponents vowed to press forward with their ballot initiative effort. Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, said, "It's outrageous that the court has overturned not only the historic definition of marriage, but the clear will of the people of California."

California's secretary of state is expected to rule by the end of June whether the sponsors have gathered enough signatures to put the anti-gay-marriage question on the ballot. If approved, it would trump the court's decision.

In 2004 and 2006, voters in more than 20 states approved similar measures, and conservative groups were extraordinarily active in mobilizing their rank-and-file to go to the polls to support the initiatives. Some analysts have suggested that such turnout activity helped lift President Bush to re-election over Democrat John Kerry four years ago. Others dispute the notion.

Given the Iraq war and the economy, social issues such as gay marriage have seemed to matter little so far in the 2008 presidential race. (Source: AP)

Bill OReilly Flips Out ReMix



Go see original remix here:

Bill O'Reilly Flips Out: Dance Party Megamix

It's only been a day but, thanks to the speed of the Internet community, we can already party down to Bill O'Reilly's epic tirade. The phat beats behind this track ensure this jam will be bumping off night club speakers post haste. Good job, Internet. You rule.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Subsidy Isn't Enough for Mall Owners Who Want to Feed at a Larger Public Trough

Strib:

The Mall of America issued a line-in-the-sand response Tuesday to a revised subsidy package for the complex's $2 billion expansion, saying the project "has no chance of being built" unless changes are made.

In a letter to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Raphael Ghermezian of Triple Five Corp., the mall's owner, increased the uncertainty for a project that promises to create 14,000 jobs and has been the subject of high-stakes negotiations as state legislators face a scheduled adjournment in just five days. Ghermezian's pointed statement came one day after legislators seemed cautiously optimistic that they had forged a subsidy plan that would pass the Legislature.

Though critics said the mall was likely bluffing in an attempt to get more public money, Ghermezian said the proposal to build 5.6 million square feet of hotels, office, stores and a water park would not occur unless a "final workable solution" was found.

Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung acknowledged that Ghermezian's comments indicated that "from the mall's perspective, [it] seems to spell an end" to the latest attempt to satisfy both the mall and those opposed to large-scale public subsidies for the project.

"While others may claim that [the new plan] provides the resources and bonding authority to build the project, I must respectfully disagree," Ghermezian said.

"The bonding authority is so fraught with conditions and obstacles that I wouldn't ask my team to spend any time trying to place either public or private financing based on it," said Ghermezian, whose flamboyant family had the original vision for the Mall of America, which opened in 1992 as the largest indoor mall in the country.

Sen. Dan Larson, DFL-Bloomington, and others were skeptical. "You don't know what to believe when you're dealing with these folks," said Larson, who said he would vote against a 279-page omnibus tax bill because it included subsidies for the mall. "They've sort of perfected the art of the 'over ask.'"


Hopefully this kills it. However these things, like Stadium subsidies, like vampires seem to have the habit of rising from the dead.

Anti-Gay, Anti-Science MFC Opposes Prevention of Bullying of Gay Kids in Minneapolis Schools

It's not too surprising.

I'm appending the latest Minnesota Family Council Action alert, which is having a cow over some anti-bullying curriculum that includes trying to prevent the bullying of gay kids.

I'd encourage you to take the time to write the Minneapolis Superintendent (mpssup@mpls.k12.mn.us), School Board Chair Lydia Lee (lydia.lee@mpls.k12.mn.us) and Hale Principal Bob Bracale (bob.brancale@mpls.k12.mn.us) - especially if you live in Minneapolis.

The anti-gay Minnesota Family Council should not deep six important efforts to prevent bullying of gay kids in Minneapolis Public Schools. Will the school board, superindentent and principal kowtow to the MFC's and Katherine Kersten's bigotry?

Why do I call the MFC anti-science in my subject line? The answer is here:

For many this is an arcane, obscure, philosophical debate which occasionally hits the mainstream media in disputes between parents and school officials over the teaching of evolution in the schools.

However, what's at stake is much deeper and more earthshaking than that. Darwin provided a scientific justification for the scientific materialist philosophical perspective that the material is all that exists. There is no overarching meaning and purpose to the universe. There is no God. The implications are felt in all areas of life including ethics, morality, education, and law among others. The impact of evolutionary thinking on morality is nothing is fixed and knowable. It's all personal preference at best. If there is a moral standard, it's evolving. (How often have I heard that the family, marriage is an evolving social construct rather than rooted in the mind of God and our human nature.)

When Darwin's theory is fully discredited it will have wide ranging implications -- the rest of the super structure will fall.


Translated, this means the MFC is opposed to the use of the
scientific method, and relying for natural explanations for observations. (If you accept supernatural explanations, what you are doing is no longer in the realm of science). This goes beyond undermining the teaching of evolution, to teaching any empirically based science or social science. What's sad is that the MFC and others like them are telling kids who are interested in science that you have to choose between your interest in science and your faith. That's appalling in my view.

Bill Green, Lydia Lee and the School Principal at Hale will get phone calls, and emails from MFC supporters from all over the state and out of state. Minneapolis residents and taxpayers should call and tell them to stand firm, and not to listen to the MFC. Their candidates don't get elected in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Family Council emailed out the following alert:

Minnesota Family Council Action Alert

Minneapolis Elementary Schools targeted
to force approval of homosexual behavior and
reject parental authority.

Contact:

* Minneapolis School District Superintendent Willam Green
* Schoolboard Chair Lydia Lee
* Hale Elementary School Principal Bob Brancale

And tell them to cancel the "Welcoming Schools" curriculum.

Three elementary schools (Hale Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, and Park View Elementary) in the Minneapolis School District have been targeted to pilot the Human Rights Campaign's pro-gay curriculum entitled "Welcoming Schools." The Human Rights Campaign is the nations largest and most powerful gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender (GLBT) lobbying group in the nation.

The Minnesota Family Council and the Minnesota Family Institute stands opposed to all forms of bullying and name-calling, however this K-5 curriculum:

* Begins social reengineering in kindergarten by teaching and enforcing pro-gay themes in lessons supposed to address the family, bullying, gender roles and name-calling.
* Presents a teaching that is hostile to families with a traditional-values position of human sexuality and violates sincerely held religious beliefs.
* Confuses children's and sets up conflict in their minds over gender roles, parental authority, and their personal values and beliefs.
* Children are challenged in their "ideas of what is appropriate for girls and boys" understanding that "for some children, identifying as a boy or girl in order to participate in an activity creates internal dissonance."
* Are challenged in their "ideas of what is appropriate for each sex."
* Instructed to "create some families with adults of the same gender" using packets of photographs – and told there are "no right answers."
* Watch recommended videos including "It's Elementary" which shows an eight-year-old girl say that she thinks that those who believe what the Bible says about homosexuality are "stupid." The girl receives lavish praise from her teacher.
* Manipulates the thinking of children by continually assessing them on how well they have rejected family and parental values. Kids are required to answer, "I used to think, but now I know…"
* Uses a wide range of pro-homosexual picture books and puppets (with lots of smiles and fun activities) to redefine the family, and indoctrinate children to approve of homosexuality and same-sex couples raising children before they are old enough to understand the unhealthy implications of homosexual behavior.

[The email includes email clickable links to email Superintendent Green, School Board Chair Lydia Lee and the Hale School Principal, and then included a link to Kersten's Strib column.]

CLICK HERE to read Steve Date's story in MinnPost.

Attempt to smear Obama as homosexual

I received a phone call today from an associate who directed me to switch off MPR and listen to Sean Hannity who had Pastor James David Manning, from ATLAH World Ministries on as a guest. In the past, Manning has referred to Obama's mother as "trash" and claimed Obama's father "whored around" and slept with a white woman.

On 10May2008, a video was released by Manning stating that Barack Obama, Reverend Wright and Oprah Winfrey are all part of the "Trinity of Hell" (a play on the name of their common church) and claims to have incontrovertible proof that they are all "closet homosexuals" and that Wright and Obama engaged in a homosexual relationship.

On the Hannity show Manning repeated his claims and says he has evidence that he will release in due time. To Hannity's defense (sort of); Hannity chided the pastor for trying to smear Obama based upon personal relationships of this sort. However, I question the sincerity of that statement because Hannity shouldn't have allowed someone to come on his show and make the claims without showing evidence upfront. It's a tacit way of getting the anti-gay slur out, while seemingly condemning the tactic.

On the otherhand, I don't think that this kind of statement should necessarily be seen as a slur. If we say it is a slur to claim that someone is gay, we imply that there is something wrong with being gay and thus give support to the anti-gay crowd.

The real reason I detest this slur is because this crackpot Manning attempted to use Obama's alleged sexuality as a slur. I call upon all media outlets to have a complete blackout on this issue until the evidence has been fully disclosed and verified. If they broadcast this story prior to those conditions, they are only endorsing the idea that being gay is bad.

If the evidence comes out and is credible, we then can question the integrity of a candidate based upon infidelity and deception rather than sexuality.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Peter LaBarbera Goes Over the Edge

He's pushing for his readers to write the Illinois State Attorney to drop hate crime charges against a student Brett VanAsdlen.

LaBarbera misses this part of Tim Kincade's initial piece:

Now it may be that the truth is different than what Velasquez has reported. In fact, a trial might find that he was the instigater and at fault. That’s what the jurisprudence system is set up to do.

But I do know that some - David Duke, Ted Pike, Peter LaBarbera, and those who share their views - have decided that Vanasdlen should not have to account for his actions that night. They believe that good Christian “strapping, clean-cut, All-American looking young man” should be able to send a gay kid with a name like Valasquez to the hospital without question.

I think that attitude is evil.


LaBarbera reacts by having a cow.

I sent homosexual activist blogger Tim Kincaid this note after reading his latest fulmination on the pages of Box Turtle Bulletin (the first paragraph of which we’ve reprinted below):

“[T]hanks for your nasty little piece on [Box Turtle Bulletin], Tim. Par for the course. The issue isn’t David Duke (whose website I only saw for the first time Friday) or Ted Pike (no, I wouldn’t use the phrase “Jewish media” [as Pike does]) but whether this kid, [Brett VanAsdlen], is being railroaded. If you called me a “breeder” and then we got in an argument ending in you pushing me down (perhaps after I aggressively got in your face after you hurled your insult), NO, I definitely would not want you to face a felony “hate crimes” charge. It’s ridiculous — especially if accounts are true that the prosecution has already dropped the aggravated battery charge [against VanAsdlen].”

I cited Ted Pike in my original article on this case because, as one who has crusaded against “hate crimes” laws, Pike was the first to bring the VanAsdlen story to national attention (in a mass email) — not because I agree with the thrust of his website (or Duke’s). Like most evangelicals, I abhor anti-Semitism and in fact am quite the hawk on defending Israel. I also decry racism and, of course, white nationalism, “white pride,” etc.

In their continuing effort to steal the legacy of the real civil rights movement, homosexual activists and their allies posit an analogy between racism and “homophobia” — their smear term of choice to denigrate traditionalists. It is a deeply flawed comparison: what does unchangeable skin color and ethnicity have to do with aberrant, immoral and changeable sexual behavior?

Nothing, unless you can produce an ex-African American.

Moreover, the homosexualists are in the uncomfortable position of making actual descendants of slaves — like Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church and ex-lesbian Janet Boynes (pictured at right) — the target of their opprobrium. Men and women of color (like Crystal Dixon, a Black woman who recently was suspended from the University of Toledo after publicly making points similar to these) are mere “religious anti-gay bigots,” according to the homo-fundamentalists’ warped formulations.

And even as the Box Turtle Boys rail against “hate,” they evince their own special brand of prejudice and animus against religious people — blacks, whites, Christians, Jews and Muslims who agree with God on sexual sin — giving the lie to the “gays’” self-righteous mantra of “tolerance.”


Kincade responds:

Pete doesn’t rebuke his allies David Duke and Ted Pike for their racism and anti-Semitism. He doesn’t admit that he is fearful of the story that might come out in court if VanAdslen is prosecuted. He doesn’t allow that “the homosexual”, the witnesses, and the police just might be telling the truth. He doesn’t acknowledge that his language contrasting Velasquez with the “strapping, clean-cut, All-American looking young man” lends itself to racism.

Ah, but if he did any of that, he wouldn’t be Peter LaBarbera.

No, instead Pete identifies me as “the Left”, accuses me of hate, and calls me an anti-Christian bigot like Barney Frank (I don’t know why he brings up Barney Frank, but I’m guessing it’s because he’s Jewish and we know what Pete’s allies think about those radical homosexual Jews).

Oh, and to prove that LaBarbera is not a racist he posts a picture of a Black ex-lesbian (yes, he capitalizes “black”). If it wasn’t so tragic it would be funny.

OK. Sure I question the theology of exclusion and condemnation. Yeah I point out when conservatives twist Scripture, logic, and truth to fit their anti-gay agenda.

But “the Left”?

Anti-Christian?

Now that’s what I call irony.

So we have a challenge for LaBarbera: Hey, Pete, give us an example of how our writings here at Box Turtle Bulletin show that we hate Christians. Provide us an example of the anti-Christian bigotry that you think is so prevalent on this site.


A commenter notes:

Scott
May 13th, 2008 | LINK
Pete has such pathetic delusions of grandeur that he believes saying anything anti “Peter LaBarbera” is saying something anti all Christians.

I’ve got news for you, Pete. You don’t speak for all Christians, most regular people think you’re a joke.

If God wanted an official spokesperson, I’d think he’d aim higher than a leather obsessed busybody with low web traffic.

He is the almighty after all.


Peter has now discovered Michele Bachmann's African American Ex-Lesbian Janet Boynes, who is now a prop for his arguments.

Anti-gay Democrat Sam Nunn Mentioned as VP Possibility for Barack Obama

If Nunn is the choice, it gives gays every reason to be skeptical of Obama. Sam Nunn was the one who played a leading role in stopping Bill Clinton from allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

Nunn is mentioned as a positive because of his "national security credentials". Does that include booting people out, not for qualifications, but due to sexual orientation?

Linda Higgins on Mall of America Project

The conference committee has changed this provision to eliminate the subsidy from fiscal disparities and instead require the Phase II property to contribute to the fiscal disparities pool. It also allows the city of Bloomington to increase its lodging tax up to 1% more citywide, create a special taxing authority within the mall area and impose a sales tax of up to one percent there, also allows the Bloomington city council to create a tax district that must include the mall and any other parts of the city as designated and impose a food/beverage tax of up to 3% and an admissions and recreation tax of up to 1% in that area.

So no more subsidy. I'm much more comfortable with this provision, since the expansion will be subsidized by the shoppers at the MOA and some as-yet-unspecified surrounding area.

For more info, see today's Strib story.


This is still a subsidy. It is a better bill than before because it does not use fiscal disparities to fund this. However the bill is basically a screw Bloomington bill, since it allows other legislators to vote to increase Bloomington's taxes and make the same argument they made about the Twins Stadium. The Bloomington City Council will have to decide whether they want to go through with this subsidy on their own.

The lodging tax will affect people who travel to Bloomington, not voters.

It is nice to hear that Linda Higgins had some problems with the fiscal disparities aspect of the bill. I wonder how she would have voted if the bill had continued to contain the fiscal disparities language.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Katherine Kersten Upset About Anti-Bullying Program

She's bleating about it over at the Strib here. Kersten would rather have gay kids bullied, that have programs that address the issue. It reminds me of Michele Bachmann's objections to anti-bullying programs on the basis that they would "turn boys into girls."

I don't generally read Kersten's bigoted rantings. She usually either bleats about the muslims or the homos. I guess she's back on the homos now.

She is an embarrassment to conservatives.

Will This Kill the Mall Boondoggle?

Strib:

Restaurants, stores and bars in Bloomington would foot the bill to help subsidize the Mall of America's second phase under a new plan that won praise Monday from subsidy critics but drew a tepid response from the mall and officials in the city.

After a series of late-night weekend meetings, legislative opponents stripped away a proposal to subsidize the $2.1 billion project by diverting money from the state fiscal disparities pool to help create a $370 million subsidy package.

Opponents had argued that using fiscal disparities money would put many cities across Minnesota in the position of losing state money in order to help finance the mall's 5.6 million-square-foot expansion.

The new approach, part of a huge tax bill tentatively set to go to the House floor late Monday, still amounts to a hefty public subsidy for a project that would include hotels, offices, stores, a water park and an 8,000-space parking ramp.

As the Legislature began its final week and pressure to OK the project grew, mall officials said its one-of-a-kind economic bonanza and promise of 14,000 jobs outweighed concerns about any public subsidy.

But narrowing the public subsidy burden to Bloomington -- rather than spreading it across the region and state -- led to conflicting reactions as some officials predicted the project would now be approved and others struggled to grasp what it would mean to those eating and shopping in the Twin Cities' largest suburb.

"I don't think that's going to sell well in Bloomington," City Council Member Vern Wilcox said of the revised proposal. "I think it's going to be hard to come back to our people, our taxpayers, and say you guys are going to assume the risk, you're going to bear the expense but the benefits go to the state."

****snip*****
In another noteworthy change, the state finance commissioner would sign a development agreement with the city and the mall, be able to inspect the mall's financial records, and also determine whether the project met a so-called "but-for" test, meaning the project could not proceed without a public subsidy.

"I've been saying for a long time, no one has required these guys to open the books. So this makes you open the books," said Rep. Ann Lenczewski, the House Taxes Committee chair who represents Bloomington but has opposed public subsidies for the project.

"It's a way tighter, harder, more accountable process," she said of the new proposal, but, "I still don't think it's government's role."

*****snip******
Though the mall had for more than a year pushed a plan to divert money from the state fiscal disparities pool, the proposal had drawn a wide range of criticism. Since the mid-1970s, fiscal disparities has been a financing tool through which 40 percent of the growth in commercial-industrial tax base in the Twin Cities metro area is shared among cities in an attempt balance "have" and "have-not" cities in terms of tax base.

But legislative analysts, in an attempt to show the impact of the mall's plan, released studies showing that the proposal would have a financial ripple effect that would cost many cities across Minnesota. For Minneapolis, according to state forecasts, the loss would have been $284,862 annually once the project is fully built. For St. Louis Park, the loss would have been $19,934 a year. Even for Oronoco, a city with just two full-time employees and less than a thousand residents in southern Minnesota, the loss from the mall's plan would be $261 annually.

Mall officials argued that the studies were flawed because they did not take into account the large amounts of state revenue the project would produce.


The pressure to ok the project is coming from construction unions, and the Mall lobbyists. Taxpayers aren't happy with the idea. Threads on both the Minneapolis and St Paul Issues lists are strongly opposed.

This means $284,862 more for the property tax payers in Minneapolis to pick up. Why did Larry Pogemiller ever support this boondoggle? He used to chair the tax committee. He understood the effect on Minneapolis. The same question applies for Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

Peter LaBarbera Unhappy With My Post

He was especially unhappy that I cited Burroway who said that Peter "collects gay porn". I was always under the impression that Peter had such a collection, considering his breathless reporting of stuff I'd never heard of. However, I will take Peter at his word, that he does NOT have a gay porn collection.

Peter is checking into how Ted Pike's stories are getting published on David Duke's website. Peter asked me why I thought Pike posted the story. Part of the reason I thought this, was the stories were posted under Pike's byline. Duke's material is under Duke's byline. Pike also has numerous stories on Duke's site, not just the story about the hate crime in Illinois. Pike's stories are clearly anti-semetic. LaBarbera says he despised David Duke, and also despises anti-semetism. It will be interesting to see whether he disavows the Rev Ted Pike.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gary Gross Upset that AP Exposed the "Strict Constructionist" Code Words

Let Freedom Ring:

Tuesday afternoon, John McCain took Barack Obama to task on the subject of judges. Libby Quaid’s AP article showed how biased they are. Here’s where her bias really showed:

McCain, the eventual GOP nominee, promised to appoint judges in the mold of Roberts and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, saying they would interpret the law strictly to curb the scope of their rulings. While McCain didn’t mention abortion, the far right understands that such nominees would be likely to limit or perhaps overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

It’s interesting that Ms. Quaid immediately assumed that conservatives, aka “the far right”, only want strict constructionist justices like Alito and Roberts so we can finally get rid of Roe v. Wade. I’d love hearing Ms. Quaid explain why someone with a pro choice record like Rudy Giuliani wants strict constructionist judges, too.


Giulianni was pandering to the theocrats when he said that. The so-called "strict constructionists" such as Scalia really are interested in having a theocracy. Scalia has said that Government derives its legitimacy from God. That's not what the constitution says and it's interesting how these characters have claimed to be "strict constructionists." In the Lawrence v Texas decision (overturning sodomy laws), Scalia wrote a scathing dissent.

State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers’ validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today’s decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding.


Why is Gary so concerned about having a national debate over overturning Roe V Wade? The effect of this would mean there would be a hodge-podge of state abortion laws. Why is it "media bias" to expose code words used by theocrats? In my opinion, the media doesn't do enough of this.

Is this because Gary wants to be able to use this issue to mobilize the anti-abortion activists (those who want abortion to be criminal), but not to let the mainstream onto this?