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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hakuna Matata

It means no worries....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

GOPProud Sponsors CPAC.... Peter LaBarbera Has a Cow

GOP Proud is a Gay Republican group. They have sponsored CPAC - and the theocrats, led by Peter LaBarbera are having a cow. Will CPAC kowtow to this caterwauling?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Minnesota Teen Challenge Called Out on Their Lies

Andy Birkey at Minnesota Independent has the story.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Maureen Reed Pledges to Take Race to Primary

This means that should Tarryl Clark win the DFL nomination, she will still face Maureen Reed in the DFL primary. The St Cloud Times has more.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Memory (Cats)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stonewall DFL, Constituency Caucus Screenings Closed to Press and Bloggers

From the Stonewall DFL Chair:

Subject: Dec 12, 2009 Candidate Screenings for Governor

Dear Stonewall DFL Friends,

The 2009 election results are in and SDFL had an 89% success rate on getting our endorsed candidates elected into public office!

Next up for our caucus is the candidate screenings for the 2010 Gubernatorial races Dec 12 at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis 8a-6p. Candidates have already been sent our new 2010 State Questionnaire. Each candidate screening is approx 30 minutes. Nine candidates have confirmed for this event!

This year it is a joint event with the other DFL Constituency Caucuses. ***This is a closed event to Constituency Caucus members only.*** Guests, press, bloggers, laptops, and cameras are not permitted at this event.

If you are not a member already please complete a membership form and send it in with your dues. It must be post marked 7 days before the event ( Dec 5) in order to participate. We are not able to process new memberships the day of the big event on Dec 12 per our Constitution and Bylaws. Memberships run a calendar year, but if you become a paid member in December you are considered a member for all of 2010.

Dues are used to help get pro-LGBT candidates elected all across Minnesota. 2010 dues also include a membership in National Stonewall DFL which has funded campaign field staff in the 3rd and 6th CD's in 2008 and is expected to assist our state again in 2010.

Our next board meeting is on Dec 13 where we expect to discuss and endorse a candidate for Governor of Minnesota! The process is moved up this cycle because of the early caucus and DFL Convention dates. The remaining candidates for 2010 office will be screened in January where possible.

If you have questions or comments about anything please let me know via email at Please visit our website; for other details.

With DFL Pride,


Del D. Jenkins
Chair, Stonewall DFL

I wrote Del Jenkins to ask why press, bloggers and cameras were not going to be allowed at this event. Here is his response:

Hello Eva,

It is good to hear from you.

I am certain no one is trying to hide anything. Candidate debates and forums are considered public much like the large event in Hopkins last night. Candidate screenings are typically private and thus closed to the press and non-members. The results are usually later announced in a press release.

Stonewall DFL has had both open and closed screenings in the past with recent years tending towards keeping it open to everyone to the point where we allowed a republican tracker at our 08 screenings who then later used the footage negatively and out of context. Unless in executive session our board meetings are always open as are conventions.

The processes for the rest of the 2010 screenings has not been formally finalized yet. I expect we will not allow trackers at any of our other internal screenings. It remains to be decided if we will allow non-members and some press. An answer to that is due by mid-December. If someone wants to participate in our screenings, all they have to do is become a member as defined in our caucus charter/constitution. It is quite simple to do. In fact, an updated form will be on the "Join" page of our website within a day or 2.

I hope this helps answer your questions. If you have any more, please let me know.

With DFL Pride,


Del Jenkins,
Chair, Stonewall DFL

Stonewall DFL screenings in the past have allowed for public observation. Other organizations that screen candidates (labor for example) holds private screenings.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why did Tom Emmer Fail to Talk About His Appearance at the You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Fundraiser

From Emmer's Email to Supporters:

Last Week's Highlights

November 11: Toured Ralco, an agriculture feed manufacturer, in Marshall and attended the Lyon County Forum.

November 12: Participated in the UMD College Republican Candidate Forum and won the straw poll with nearly 50% of the votes.

November 12: Participated in the College Republican Forum in Mankato.

November 13: Met with Rockford High School Students about "Jobs for America's Graduates" and discussed activism with home school students in Maple Grove.

Bradlee Dean mentions that Tom Emmer was among the attendees at his hatefest:

Here's Dean talking about the recent passage of Hate Crimes legislation:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Spot on Editorial in Strib

Read it here.

Editorial: A troubling pattern of misconduct at U

Athletes need to face real consequences for misdeeds.

No Minnesotan should be surprised by the off-the-field screw-ups that have made this an especially embarrassing period for the University of Minnesota's Athletic Department. Deeply disappointed, yes, but not surprised. As long as the university's coaches take chances recruiting at-risk student-athletes in an effort to win at almost any cost, police and lawyers will make frequent visits to campus.

And if the athletes most likely to offend in the future see that the most serious punishment handed out in these cases amounts to a few missed games and extra wind sprints, the out-of-control culture will flourish. Unfortunately, the initial disciplinary response to the latest batch of troubles does not inspire confidence that coaches and Athletic Department officials will come down hard enough on troublemakers to get the attention of the rest of their players.

"It seems to snowball,'' Athletic Director Joel Maturi told the Star Tribune last week. "When you have so many instances at one time, you wonder, what's going on at the asylum?'' That's the right question, but it's one the athletic director and his multimillion-dollar coaches should be answering, not asking.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Peter LaBarbera and Matt Barber Claim Credit for Yes on One

LaBarbara and Barber also are not happy with this Yes on One ad:

Here's LaBarbara's and Barber's bleatings:

Dear Readers,

I agree with my good friend Matt Barber, who is also a Board Member of Americans For Truth in addition to his important work at Liberty Counsel. It is not ethical nor good strategy for the “pro-family” movement to promote one evil and public-policy disaster (changeable and sinful behavior as a government-backed “civil right”) to fight another (homosexual “marriage”). Yet that is precisely what the Yes on 1 campaign’s pro-domestic partnership ad called “It’s Possible” did. [Click HERE for AFTAH's election story.] Here again is the text of that misguided Yes on 1 ad used in Maine:

‘Abandoning traditional marriage entails real consequences, yet we want to be tolerant of gays. Maine’s Domestic Partnership laws provide substantial legal protection for gay couples. Any problems remaining can be addressed without dismantling traditional marriage. It’s possible to support the civil rights of all citizens and protect traditional marriage at the same time.’

We who claim to follow God are lacking in integrity if we promote the normalization of homosexuality as part of some (perhaps well-intentioned) utilitarian plan to ostensibly “save” traditional marriage. Indeed, the irony of the ad text above is that progressive concessions on “domestic partnership” and “civil unions” legislation will, in fact, dismantle traditional marriage. Yes on 1 PR consultant Frank Schubert’s compromising spin will pave the way for disaster in the pro-family movement, as it undermines our greatest strength: our commitment to the truth. It’s time to reject Political Correctness and get back to basics in the pro-family movement. — Peter LaBarbera,; e-mail:

P.S. Young people won’t buy this political spin anyway: looking for hypocrisy, they will merely say that if “gay domestic partners” truly are worthy of state recognition in the name of civil rights, then why NOT allow them to marry (and why NOT teach children “gay”-affirming lessons in school)? The debate will only turn around when we succeed in re-explaining to Americans — both young and old — why homosexual behavior is wrong and is NOT anything like a “civil right,” and about how newfangled homosexual “rights” negate our precious First Amendment freedoms.

Read Matt’s statement below and then his additional remarks that follow it:



Counterfeit Marriage Rejected in Maine

Lynchburg, VA – Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with both Liberty Counsel and Liberty Alliance Action, issued the following statement on news that the voters of Maine have rejected counterfeit “same-sex marriage” by 53% – 47%:

“There’s good news and bad news here,” said Barber. “The good news is that even in one of the most liberal States in the Union, Maine, the people have once again rejected the ridiculous and oxymoronic notion of ‘same sex marriage.’ The momentum has again shifted –– hopefully for good this time –– in favor of protecting legitimate marriage. A counterfeit is a counterfeit. An orange is an orange no matter how much you want it to be a turnip. This isn’t about ‘marriage.’ It’s about hurting and broken people desperately seeking affirmation of an objectively deviant lifestyle. One that, even in their heart of hearts, they know to be a dead end. As for the militant ‘No on 1’ homosexual activists? I’m reminded of spoiled children dressing up and playing house, refusing to come in when mom calls for dinner.

“Here’s the bad news. The margin of victory could have been greater. Many behind the ‘Yes on 1’ campaign, rather than simply telling the truth, chose the Neville Chamberlain approach. They merely circled the wagons around the word ‘marriage,’ even suggesting that ‘domestic partnerships’ (‘gay marriages’ by another name) are acceptable. This makes no sense. If that’s a viable compromise, then why not simply allow ‘gay’ duos the word ‘marriage’? It’s an incongruity that demands an explanation. This is an historic battle for the minds and souls of our children –– for our very culture. The mealy-mouthed approach must end. This is not just about ‘marriage.’ It has everything to do with forced affirmation of homosexuality – under penalty of law. Indeed everyone who fought hard to defend marriage in Maine is to be congratulated, but if it weren’t for a brave group of truth tellers – Paul Madore, Peter LaBarbera and Brian Camenker –– who came to Maine in the final hour to hold a press conference and address the pink elephant in the room –– homosexual deviancy and the radical ‘gay’ agenda –– counterfeit marriage might have prevailed.”


Added comments by Barber for Americans For Truth:

“Here’s is a mere sampling of what God – the sovereign creator of the universe – has to say about deviant homosexual conduct which He calls ‘abominable’:

‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.’ Leviticus 18:22

‘Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.’ - Romans 1:26-27

“By contrast, here’s what the organized “Yes on 1” campaign had to say about the same topic in an ad they ran up to yesterdays vote:

‘Abandoning traditional marriage entails real consequences, yet we want to be tolerant of gays. Maine’s Domestic Partnership laws provide substantial legal protection for gay couples. Any problems remaining can be addressed without dismantling traditional marriage. It’s possible to support the civil rights of all citizens and protect traditional marriage at the same time.’‘

“It’s simply impossible to reconcile the two. If the Pro-Family movement wishes to survive, we must stop listening to political focus groups and PR , and start listening to the inerrant word of God.”

They should be happy they narrowly won this referendum. Over time, the margin of victory for these referendums on marriage equality are moving.

Rep. Tim Walz Raises Money Off Notariety of Opponent Allen Quist

From the Walz campaign:

Dear Friend,

While we are working hard this week, day and night, to get a health care bill that improves the lives of Minnesotans – just as we promised last November – my opponent, Allen Quist, is in Washington working the right-wing into a frenzy.

Quist and Michele Bachmann are two peas in a pod – they have been teammates for more than ten years.

He launched his campaign this week by asking people to join him and Rep. Michele Bachmann at a rally in Washington, DC. Their first goal: preventing Congress from reforming America’s broken health care system.

Allen Quist, a former GOP endorsed candidate for Governor in Minnesota, first began working with Rep. Bachmann in 1998 – two years before she ran for office in Minnesota. It’s clear from their extreme right-wing ideology that they are kindred political spirits. Indeed, he got her elected to the State Senate, the first political office she held.

Now, my opponent is actively receiving the support of the extreme right-wing money machine. He’s building an attack fund and it will not be long before he fills our airwaves with negative ads.

We’ve seen this before!

Quist is committed to the notion that America’s best days are behind us, that the only way to move forward is by turning back the clock. Today, he led a delegation from Minnesota to Rep. Bachmann’s Tea Party Protest where they are pushing solutions that are nothing more than failed policy from the past.

I need your help today.

You know that First District voters support effective leadership, not extreme right-wing offensive agendas, but we cannot let the big money of the extreme right-wing shout down common sense.

Please contribute $25, $50, $100 or more today to ensure we show voters they have a clear choice!

Because of his fierce allegiance – and arguable founding of the extreme right-wing in Minnesota, Quist has quickly earned the backing of Michele Bachmann.

As Allen Quist stands with Rep. Bachmann today in an effort to prevent health care reform for millions of hard working families… I need you to stand with me.

I need your help – today – to ensure voters know they have a choice. A very clear choice.


Congressman Tim Walz

Walz ought to look up the ads that Arne Carlson used against Allen Quist in 1994. Quist used an ad that showed two men dancing - and the song was "Clinton and Carlson..... go together on all of the issues." Arne Carlson's reaction to the ad: "I'm a better dancer than that."

Marriage Equality Rally in DC Calls Out Maggie Gallagher and National Organization for Marriage's Lies

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Allen Quist to Run for CD 1 Seat

For those Lloydletta readers who don't know who Allen Quist is, watch this report on a Pittsburgh, PA station.

Update: Quist is running in Minnesota's CD 1 - against Tim Walz.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Excellent Youtube Channel

There are a number of videos here, that address Evolution and Creationism.

Monday, November 02, 2009

North Carolina's Michele Bachmann

That's Virginia Foxx. She gives Bachmann a good run for her money.

Virginia Foxx

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Cosmic Latte

It's the average color of the Universe.

Christian Science Monitor Writeup of the Maine and Washington State Referendums on Marriage Equality and Domestic Partnership Laws

Read it here. As some of you may have noticed, I haven't been blogging here much lately. If you want to read more coverage of the Maine and Washington Referendums, surf on over to Pam's House Blend, which has been offering day to day coverage of these.

Minnesotans Against Michele Bachmann Facebook Group

Check it out and join here.

Instant Runnoff Voting

The city of Minneapolis is doing its first election by Instant Runoff Voting. MPR has a story that describes what a pain this will be in terms of counting the votes.

There's a vote on the issue in St Paul. This arcane issue has brought out lots of heated discussion on the St Paul Issues list. He also penned some commentary on the MPR website on this.

Advocates claim IRV would save money by eliminating primary elections. This is not true. In St. Paul, the School Board will still hold a costly primary election, though the turnout for that primary will be hurt by the absence of mayoral and council races.

IRV advocates claim the system is "democracy of the future," "as simple as one, two, three." In the last two years, seven cities or counties in the United States have used it, and three of them have either repealed IRV or have IRV up for repeal this year. Cities are suffering buyer's remorse:

Tacoma, Wash. Pierce County spent $1.6 million on a voter education campaign for IRV in 2008, yet 66 percent of 90,000 voters polled said it was confusing, frustrating and a waste of time. It is on the ballot this year for repeal.

Cary, N.C. After the IRV election in 2007, 30 percent of voters polled found it confusing and 22 percent said they "did not understand IRV at all." Cary has stopped using IRV.

Aspen, Colo. The results of an IRV election revealed that one losing candidate for City Council would have won the election if 75 of his supporters had voted for him as their second instead of as their first choice. The complicated IRV counting system cost him the election. The repeal of IRV is on the ballot this year.

Advocates claim that IRV will increase turnout. This is not true. In San Francisco's first mayor's race with IRV, voter turnout was 40 percent less than in its last traditional election.

This year the IRV-format election in Minneapolis may hit record low turnouts. With 11 candidates running, there has been almost no media coverage of the mayor's race, and the incumbent has agreed to debate only one of his opponents.

In St. Paul, meanwhile, Eva Ng came in second in the primary and has moved on to the general election. Her primary showing enhanced her credibility and has given her access to media coverage as the alternative candidate for mayor.

Advocates claim that IRV makes sure that the winner "always has a majority vote." This is not true.

In Burlington, Vt., the mayor was re-elected with only a majority of those ballots still being counted in the final round. Seventeen percent of ballots cast for candidates in the first round were eliminated during the IRV counting.

In San Francisco, in 10 of 11 elections for which IRV has been used, the winner received less than the 50 percent plus one that would constitute a majority.

Advocates claim that IRV increases minority participation and thereby helps minority candidates. This is untrue. Using IRV, Takoma Park, Md., with close to 40 percent minority population, elected an all-white City Council.

There is no evidence that IRV helps minority candidates. In the highest-minority and lowest-income precincts of San Francisco, 20 percent of the voters do not fill in a second choice on their ballot.

Free, fair elections are the hallmark of any democracy, and every voter deserves to be treated equally. Voters need to know that their votes count, and that voting for the candidates they want can only help them, not hurt them. Instant runoff voting is far too likely to confuse, frustrate and inhibit voters.

Comment: I hadn't followed this too closely when I had an opportunity to vote on this in 2006, but at this point, I think IRV is a bad idea, and St Paul voters would be well-served to send it back to the drawing board. I like having primaries weed out the weaker candidates, and then have debates between the stronger candidates during debates before the general election.

I anticipate historically low turnout in this Minneapolis election, and that's unfortunate. It is extremely unfortunate that no vigorous challenger to Mayor RT Rybak was found.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Monster Mash

Good video for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Barb Anderson from the MFC, Gloats About Shutting Down Sex Ed/AIDS Education on Bradlee Dean's Show

Listen here. She gives a number of examples of how she has been successful in the Anoka-Hennepin School District in shutting down sex education classes and AIDS education classes.

Here's her report about the Minnesota School Health Education Conference. She claims that after she wrote the report, the University of St Thomas withdrew their sponsorship of the conference.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

For Those Who Worry that Liberals Rule....

I beg to differ

From The Associated Press

Panel Votes to Restore Abstinence Education Money
Filed at 11:32 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Senate committee voted Tuesday night to restore $50 million a year in federal funding for abstinence-only education that President Barack Obama has pushed to eliminate.

The 12-11 vote by the Senate Finance Committee came over objections from its chairman, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana.

Two Democrats -- Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas -- joined all 10 committee Republicans in voting ''yes'' on the measure by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

The measure would still have to pass the full House and Senate. Hatch said abstinence education had been shown to work, though Baucus disagreed. Obama had proposed in his 2010 budget to direct money spent on abstinence-only education to broader teen pregnancy-reduction programs.

An alternate measure offered by Baucus also passed. Baucus' measure, which passed 14-9, would make money available for education on contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, among other things, in addition to abstinence. Lawmakers will have to reconcile the two measures, both approved during debate on a sweeping health overhaul bill, as the legislation moves forward.

This is insanity, especially since this prudishness has not proven to be effective.

Exhibit A: Bristol Palin

A Farcical Plot for a Soap

Daytime Confidential:

Who knew the "L" in the L Word really stood for Lord? Look for Dorian (Robin Strasser) to pull out all the stops in her efforts to win the Llanview mayoral race against Viki (Erika Slezak). According to TV Guide Magazine , the Mistress of La Boulaie will pretend to be a lesbian and marry a woman to snag Llanview's same sex vote!

TV Guide has an interview with the head writer.

For those Pirates Fans: I am a Pirate King with Kevin Kline

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Marty Seifert is the Eddie Haskell of the Governor's Race

From MPR

Gov. candidates bill taxpayers $23,000 in expenses (feature audio)

Gov. candidates bill taxpayers $23,000 in expenses
by Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
September 29, 2009

Lawmakers are allowed to claim expenses when the Legislature isn't in session, but even some of the candidates say they're concerned about appearances.

Minnesota Public Radio didn't come up with the idea of examining the expense reports of every state lawmaker who is running for governor; it was one of the candidates, Republican Rep. Marty Seifert of Marshall.

Seifert raised the issue last week at a St. Paul news conference. He said he was concerned that some candidates may have used their legislative leadership positions to schedule visits around the state to gain publicity.

"I'm just throwing it out there as something that needs attention from people to get ahead of the curve, if you will," Seifert said.

So MPR News checked, and it turns out it was Marty Seifert who claimed more money for expenses over the last four months than any other House member running for governor. The only candidate for governor in the Legislature who claimed more than Seifert was DFL Sen. Tom Bakk.

Expense reports show that Seifert took $6,081 for travel, lodging and daily expense payments. There's nothing illegal about state lawmakers filing expense reports, but they could run the political risk of appearing to campaign on the public dime.

When asked about the figures, Seifert said the issue isn't that candidates for governor are taking expense payments, but that some in power have the right to call hearings and meetings and then claim expenses. Seifert stepped down from his position as House Minority Leader when he announced his campaign for governor.

"I live the farthest from the Capitol of a lot of these folks, but I don't have the ability to at will travel to Crookston, visit a college and do other things and sign a slip for myself," Seifert said.

Seifert singled out three DFL lawmakers over expense reports: House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee Chair Tom Rukavina, and House Health and Human Service Policy Committee Chair Paul Thissen.

Marty, haven't you heard the rule of courtroom attorneys - never ask a question for which you don't already know the answer?

His talking points are usually a smear or conspiracy theory. Not a lot of positive leadership.

Kudos to MPR for taking Rep. Seifert's suggestion.

Next up, we'll check out the rumor that Rep. Seifert rode light rail without paying. We need to stay ahead of these questions.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pirates of Penzance: When the Foeman Bears His Steel

It's captioned, so you can follow the words of the song.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Teen Challenge Gets Over 2 Million in State Funding

Andy Birkey at Minnesota Independent has the story. This is the best work I've seen Andy Birkey do.

A former crack user says she kicked her addiction because she found Jesus at Minnesota Teen Challenge. A man says that God healed his liver after a prayer service at the Christian drug treatment facility. While its clients sing its praises — some claiming it saved their lives — should such an overtly religious program be receiving taxpayer funding? According to state records, MNTC has gotten more than $2 million from the state of Minnesota in order to run its faith-based chemical dependency treatment centers.

The overtly evangelical nature of the program raises questions about the constitutionality of the large amount of state money flowing into the program. Teen Challenge has received $2,388,947 in state funding since 2007, mainly from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, according to the state’s new Transparency and Accountability Project website.

Michele Bachmann appologist, columnist Craig Westover, comments:

This article appears to be a tit for tat counter to all the bad press ACORN is getting, rather than a effort to look at the issue of separation of Church and State. So be it, but let’s look at the larger issue.

Do we really have a separation fo Church and State when the state has the authority to determine how a rehabilitation center accomplishes its goal? That is not a separation, it is the state deciding what constitutes religion and what doesn’t. The state’s interest in this is whether or not the program is meeting rehabilitation objectives. Period.

Unless Teen Challenge is forcing people into their program against their will, seems to me that we ought to be more concerned about their results than whether or not their method is based on religion. Same for TIZA — if they provide kids with the education they need to be productive citizens, should it matter if they are also trying to preserve Islamic tradition along with American instilling values in their students? And in either case should it be the state that decides the matter?

Personally, I’d rather the money went to patients and students and in turn they decided where it would be spent, but short of that, it seems like at both ends of the political spectrum we have a lot of vindictive people out to make political points who really don’t give a damn about whether people’s lives are made better or not.

Birkey responds:

Craig Westover: “This article appears to be a tit for tat counter to all the bad press ACORN is getting, rather than a effort to look at the issue of separation of Church and State. So be it, but let’s look at the larger issue.”

In what possible way did you get to that conclusion? I’ve been writing about separation of church and state since I began writing 6 years ago. The program calls itself a ministry and receives state funding. The government cannot support the promotion of religion, and the leaders of Teen Challenge aren’t shy about promoting their program as a discipleship.

And as with the case of TIZA, if religious instruction is the goal or even a large component, why not ask parishioners, congregations and denominations to chip in and support it? Or ask God for the money? Why ask taxpayers to pay for other people’s religious conversion? Or their study of their personal, private faith?

And the state does have the authority. They are paying the bills and by extension, so are we. So it should matter. Teen Challenge is state funded but is not open to all people, except for those that accept Jesus Christ as their religious leader.

Other commenters suggest the success rate isn't what it's cooked up to be:

Rob Levine
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

Teen Challenge is a favored recipient of Conservative Philanthropy money. About those “studies” that showed TC success: They only counted people who *finished* the program – not those who dropped out along the way. Sophistry.

Stunning Steve
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 6:19 pm

MN Teen Challenge does NOT have the highest success rate of any treatment center. They manipulate their data, and lie about it. In fact, their “success rate” is quite poor, and I think state investigator Jim Nobles ought to look into this, and the bookkeeping practices at Teen Challenge, since they’re receiving so many taxpayer dollars.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Third Place in a Lunatic Competition

Congratulations, Governor Pawlenty. You made a big effort to make crazy people like you, and you partially succeeded. Keep it up!

Pawlenty third in straw poll of GOP presidential contenders
By Eric Roper, Star Tribune

September 19, 2009

WASHINGTON – Gov. Tim Pawlenty finished third in a straw poll of potential GOP presidential contenders at a conservative conference in Washington Saturday, receiving only one vote less than second place finisher Mitt Romney.

The poll was one of the first tests of Pawlenty’s impact nationally as he continues to spread his message ahead of a possible presidential run in 2012. He received 73 – or 12 percent – of the 597 votes cast at the Values Voters Summit, hosted by the conservative Family Research Council.

Mike Huckabee was the overwhelming winner with 170 votes.

Pawlenty placed behind Romney, who had 74 votes, and just ahead of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with 72 and Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., with 71.

“What this tells me is that those candidates that are articulating the values that are represented in this room here are still jockeying for position,” said Tony Perkins, president of the FRC.

When he spoke to the conference on Friday night, Pawlenty brought a room of about 2,000 people to its feet with applause several times in a speech packed with socially conservative rhetoric and criticism of the Obama administration.

Earlier in the day, however, about a dozen people interviewed leaving the straw poll all said Pawlenty was not their top choice. Many said he has name recognition but hasn’t adequately conveyed his views and platform.

Eben Conner from Maryland, a supporter of Mike Huckabee, said as he left the poll that Pawlenty could be his No. 2 choice because the governor supports limited government and opposes abortion and gay marriage.

“I’ve heard some of him, but not enough,” Conner said.

Other finishers included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (40), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (28), former Senator Rick Santorum (15) and Rep. Ron Paul (13).

Any poll that gives a big win to Mike Huckbee for serious elected office is not grounded in any sort of reality.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pardon for Ca$$$h?

What’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s relationship with convicted money launderer and Tom Petters associate Frank Vennes Jr.—and why did he want him pardoned?
By Karl Bremer

If Tim Pawlenty decides to run for President of the United States, at some point he’s going to have to explain his relationship with campaign contributor, Tom Petters associate and convicted money-launderer/cocaine-and-gun runner Frank Vennes Jr.

This relationship is especially relevant in light of Pawlenty’s recent donation of nearly $86,000 from his defunct gubernatorial campaign fund to Minnesota Teen Challenge (MnTC), a controversial Christian chemical dependency program that was once closely affiliated with Vennes and allegedly lost millions on account of that affiliation.

Like his Republican cohorts Norm Coleman and Michele Bachmann, Pawlenty’s connections to Vennes are intertwined in several ways: campaign con tributions, a request for a presidential pardon for Vennes’ federal crimes, and now, MnTC, where Vennes and Pawlenty’s wife, Mary, served on the board of directors together.

Read the whole thing at Liberal in the Land of Conservatives:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

MFC on Anoka-Hennepin Teacher Harrassment of Students

I called the MFC for comment. Neither Tom Prichard or Chuck Darrell would talk with me, but they indicated through their receptionist, that the issue was covered on their blog.

Harassment of students by teachers unacceptable.
There's been quite a bit of media attention drawn to the recent harassing incident in the Anoka-Hennepin School District. In this instance, it involved harassment of student for being gay, though the student actually wasn't homosexual. Any and all forms of harassment of students, for being gay or anything else, is wrong and should be dealt with strongly.
Posted by Tom Prichard at Friday, August 21, 2009

There was noone at the school board meeting who spoke up to take the Teacher's side on this.

Now Dianne Cleveland, one of the teachers involved is disputing the district's investigation through her attorney.

Urban Sketchers at the State Fair

Check it out here.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Anoka Hennepin School Board Meeting

Andy Birkey covers the meeting in more detail at the Minnesota Independent.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Anoka Hennepin School Board Meeting

I went to listen to the public comment portion of the Anoka Hennepin School Board Meeting. Around 15 people commented (including two district students, one teacher and one parent) about the case where a student who was perceived to be gay, was harrassed and tormented by two teachers.

I saw Andy Birkey at this meeting. He took video, and said he'll post the video unedited. It's worth watching.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Facebook Group on Anoka-Hennepin School District

Tell Anoka Hennepin School District to Fire Anti-Gay Teachers. There are 696 members of this group.

Outfront Minnesota on the Anoka Hennepin School District Lawsuit

Anoka-Hennepin School District Harassment Settlement Sparks Uproar
After reports surfaced on August 13th that the Anoka-Hennepin school district, the state's largest, had approved a $25,000 payout in a complaint brought by a student who had been harassed because two of his teachers had thought he was gay, OutFront Minnesota has been swamped with inquiries from people across the state expressing outrage about the incident, the district's response, and what will happen to assure that a similar incident will not happen again.

OutFront Minnesota has been involved with the Anoka-Hennepin school district for years, unsuccessfully opposing its 1995 "health curriculum policy," which prohibited staff from suggesting that homosexuality was a "normal or valid lifestyle," but successfully helping replace this policy with better language in February.

With respect to this incident, the student involved has reached a settlement with the district to resolve his complaint, and OutFront Minnesota wishes him well in moving on from this episode. We believe that in order for the Anoka-Hennepin school district to restore faith in its ability to provide a safe, respectful learning environment for all, it needs to do (at least) three things: provide training to its staff about its new "sexual orientation policy" and anti-harassment policies in general; provide training to its staff about GLBT-related issues students face; and assure that its student-services staff are specifically tasked with assisting GLBT students in need.

An August 17th statement issued by the Anoka-Hennepin school board suggests they've heard the complaints and agree the district must do better. But the response cannot be just words - there must be actions. Please encourage the board and superintendent to take concrete steps to learn from this incident. Contact information for the board and Superintendent Dennis Carlson may be found on the Anoka-Hennepin school district's website.

The Strib editorializes about the subject:

Bigotry, bullying shouldn't be tolerated in any Minnesota school.

Last update: August 18, 2009 - 11:38 AM

Grounds for immediate dismissal of teachers include physical abuse of a student, criminal conduct such as theft, viewing pornography on school premises or discharging a weapon on school grounds. Anoka-Hennepin officials said Monday that Cleveland and Filson's behavior didn't rise to that level, and the policy is to give them a chance to correct the problem behavior.

Were there any adults in the classroom with Alex Merritt that awful fall term two years ago at Anoka-Hennepin's Secondary Technical Education Program?

Anyone reading a recent Minnesota Department of Human Rights report quickly comes to this conclusion: No. Merritt, now 18, wasn't left unsupervised with other students during the first part of the 2007-2008 school year. Instead, he had two teachers -- Diane Cleveland and Walter Filson -- who acted more like teenaged bullies than educators who had previously received "outstanding performance" awards.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District settled last month with Merritt's family for $25,000, while still denying it violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act. In the dry language of bureaucrats, the Department of Human Rights concluded there was probable cause the two teachers harassed Merritt because of perceived sexual orientation.

Allow us to put it in real-world terms: Cleveland and Filson made Merritt's life a living hell simply because they thought he was gay.

Merritt actually is straight. But according to the report, the two teachers -- trusted by parents and the community with the lives of hundreds of teenagers -- repeatedly heaped verbal abuse on him, encouraging students to pile on as well. "Cleveland singled [Merritt] out on a nearly daily basis by making jokes, comments and innuendos ... that he was gay,'' the report stated.

Among other moronic comments, Cleveland, 39, joked about Merritt having a "thing for older men," that his "fence swings both ways,'' and compared him to former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, who was busted in a Minneapolis airport men's room for trying to pick up a male police officer.

The report suggests that Filson, 56, may have been even worse, saying that Merritt liked to wear women's clothes and making juvenile jokes about Merritt's car, a Ford Probe. He even laughed and agreed with students, who after hearing about a man who molested a deer, said it sounded like something Merritt would do.

Is it any wonder Merritt endured death threats and was so miserable he transferred to another school? What makes the teachers' reported behavior even more reprehensible is that both should have been aware of this information: Teens are particularly susceptible to self-injurious behavior, and suicide is a leading cause of death in this age group.

Cleveland taught social studies; Filson, law enforcement. But students in their classrooms allegedly got up-close instruction in bigotry, a despicable educational legacy. Cleveland and Filson violated the community's trust and tarnished Minnesota's education system. Why should they ever be allowed again to teach?

Filson declined comment on Monday, saying he'd been advised not to by legal counsel. Cleveland hasn't returned the newspaper's calls. Anoka-Hennepin and Education Minnesota officials provided few additional details Monday. So far, Cleveland got an unpaid two-day suspension and a curriculum development assignment that was the teacher's equivalent of writing "I'm sorry I was mean" 50 times on the chalkboard. Filson was disciplined, Anoka-Hennepin officials said Monday, but wouldn't say how.

Merritt's willingness to speak out publicly about his ordeal contrasts with the teachers, the district and the union -- all parties hiding behind policy and lawyers. After graduating in another suburb, Merritt wants to know why Cleveland and Filson still have jobs. He deserves a better answer than he's gotten.

The featured comment states:

How can you say "if it happened"? There was a full investigation done by the MN Dept of Human Rights - I found the case within a minute on … read more their website. I only read a synopsis of the report, but it very clearly states that yes, what the student said happened, did in fact happen. Therefore, I think it's pretty clear that it's not just rumors anymore about this case. All teachers in that district are not bad, but how the whole situation was handled seems poorly done. If the district allows this behavior to occur with minimal punishment, then what else will happen there?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Interview with Tarryl Clark

I interviewed one of Michele Bachmann's opponents, Tarryl Clark today. Sen. Clark indicated that she is willing to sit down with me for a more in depth video interview. You can listen to the audio of the interview here.

After I shut off the recorder, Sen. Clark went on to talk about the anti-bullying bill. She supported the bill which included gay students in protections from bullying in the public schools. In previous years, Michele Bachmann had opposed such legislation because, as she said in the hearing: "it would turn boys into girls." Clark was unaware of the "Death Penalty for Homosexuals" sign carried by one of the participants in the 2004 Bachmann amendment rally.

Death Penalty for Homosexuals

Friday, August 14, 2009

Report of Meeting in Support of Matt Entenza's Campaign at a NonProfit

Independent Business News Network:

Will non-profit facilities be used to ask community members to support politicians you support? (July 26, 2009 – Minneapolis Urban League-Southside Office, meeting in support of Matt Entenza for Governor – yes I was there, so were Mr. Bill English and Rev. Randy Staten)
Not only is this a heinous action, you put organizations at risk of losing their tax-exempt status.

Keith Ellison has always been sloppy about these sorts of things.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

CD 6 Race Makes the New York Times

New York Times:

Minnesota 2010 Democrats are, of course, coming up with their own 2010 hitlist and Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann might as well have a bull's-eye on her forehead, especially now that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is supposedly out of the picture, writes Politico. The Democratic Party is doubling efforts to oust her in the upcoming election, backing state Senator Tarryl Clark, a potential gubernatorial candidate "widely regarded as a political heavy-hitter."

Hat Tip: Hal Kimball

RT Rybak Shows Up to 6th CD Garden Party

A commenter on my facebook page noted that Mayor Rybak was at the 6th CD Garden Party yesterday. Despite the emailings and phone calls, he must figure he's got the election in the bag.

Empirical Evidence: McCain-Palin/Anderson Votes Common in the 6th CD

Regular commenter on Dump Bachmann writes:

"Could this be the year where a Ross Perot actually hurts the conservative candidate instead of the liberal?"


Anderson helped Tinklenberg . . . more votes were siphoned from Bachmann to Anderson than from Tinklenberg.

A conservative and vocal IP candidate (socially conservative, libertarian leaning) would be a positive for the DFL candidate in the 2010 race.

How do I know that Anderson took more votes from Bachmann than Tinklenberg?

Let's just say that the Franken/Coleman recount was illuminating in more ways than one. It allowed the Dem ballot recount observers to see exactly how the votes were split. The Dems sent in a lot of VERY bright observers -- many with near photographic or photographic memories (such as myself), and ability to count just more than the Franken votes as they scanned each ballot. Hey, the majority of people with IQs above 160 are Democrats (they don't suck down the Republican lies), and that becomes a huge advantage when it comes to things like observing a recount.

Anderson took many more votes from Bachmann than he took from Tinklenberg. There were a HEAP of ballots that voted McCain/Palin and Anderson . . . they split because they couldn't hold their noses and vote for Bachmann after her Hardball gaffe. That's why he got 10% without spending any money or running a real campaign.

Clark needs to use EVERY embarrassing Bachmann "macaca" moment (and there are literally dozens of them), put them into TV ads and youtube (most are already there) and run them over and over and over. Tinklenberg didn't do that; he didn't run an aggressive campaign, and it cost him. A conservative (Christian fundamentalist, please) independent candidate would be GREAT!

Theme of the Clark campaign: "Let's put an honest, sane person into the seat -- one who works for the people of CD 6".

People who don't think before they speak are amusing to watch, but they shouldn't be our political leadership.

Taxpaying Liberal does the analysis:

To view the real effect of the IP vote you should look at the results of the up ticket candidates.

In the 2008 race this means looking at Obama and Tinklenberg compared to McCain- Bachmann.

I did have time to go to the SOS website so I may be off a little on the totals but Tinkleberg received more votes than Obama by a couple of percentage points. Bachmann underperformed McCain by about 7% Anderson underperformed Barkley by almost 10%.

What does this mean? It means that El got the entire base and almost no vote defected to Bachmann and 7% of the Republican vote defected from McCain to IP.

If IP had received 3% more vote it is likely we would be Bachmann free.

Bachmann knows this. That may be why you see her courting the “Ron Paul” vote.

Now I know that some will look at this and say that if Anderson wasn’t in the race then those McCain drop offs would have moved to El and maybe you’re right, but they would have had to vote over 2 to 1 in that direction and that is unlikely to have occurred.

And if Bachmann had received 54 to 55% of the vote instead of the 50.04% her seat would be considered safe or safer this election and far less likely to be as much of a target has it clearly will be this election.

For those of you who think that it was an IP voter that voted for Anderson let me once again go to the up ticket and compare Anderson to Barkley. Barkley received almost double (once again I didn’t look up the exact number for this post) the votes for Anderson. Here again is an example of major ticket splitting.

There are a lot of factors involved and its fun to run the numbers and speculate about them.
But the biggest factor is as Amy proved the candidate that is the most important factor. Bachmann can be beat and running a good race against her and being for something are going to be the biggest reason we win or lose.
taxpaying liberal

Saturday, August 08, 2009

RT Rybak Feigns Concern About Reelection

Mark H wrote earlier about getting a fundraising call from Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak. Now this comes in my inbox.

Dear Eva -

Last week I filed papers to run for Mayor of Minneapolis. With so many focused on elections a year or more from now, I am writing to tell you about the critical importance of the election this November in Minneapolis.

You’ve seen what we have done together: making major reductions in crime, putting thousand of people to work, leading major improvements in transportation, and giving thousands of young people hope through the Minneapolis Promise. (See more for yourself at

Every one of these accomplishments has significant impact on people throughout this region, and much work lies ahead to keep progress moving on these important fronts. But right now, we facing two serious, specific challenges to our work:

First, every one of these results we’ve achieved is challenged by the Bush recession and the Pawlenty budget cuts. I’m about to deliver a city budget for next year that continues our top priorities of public safety and creating jobs, but we are making very hard choices with serious consequences to make up for the cuts we are forced to take as a result of the broken state budget.

The second concern for my re-election campaign is that this fall’s election is uncharted territory for all of us – as one of the first major city elections in American history to use instant run-off voting (IRV). IRV means that voters will not simply select one candidate to vote for, but instead rank the candidates in preference order.

How will this new process affect the election? The truth is, we don’t know. With IRV and 11 other candidates on the ballot, each with at least some constituency, we can’t just coast through this election. We’re going to need to run as hard as possible to rise above any complications that occur as voters figure out IRV.

For all this, I need your help.

In a close-knit city like Minneapolis, personal contacts are vital. We need every friend of the campaign to knock on doors, call their neighbors, e-mail their friends, and generally help us spread the word about what’s at stake. Simply put, we need the grassroots out in force. And that means you.

I hope you’ll visit or give us a call at 612-227-9180 to join this vital grassroots campaign. Thanks so much for your support.


R.T. Rybak

P.S. My Mayoral re-election isn’t the only important thing I’m working on, but it is really important – especially with the tough choices we’re making, and with the uncertainty of a new election system. I’m campaigning hard for my re-election, and I hope I can count on your help.

Give me a break.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Michele Bachmann to Have an In Person Town Meeting August 27

Did Michael Brodkorb shame her into it?

MN Progressive Project:

Breaking News: Bachmann Town Hall Scheduled for August 27th!
by: TwoPuttTommy
Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 12:29:32 PM CDT

Breaking news! I just got off the phone with Rep. Michele Bachmann's Woodbury office; the Town Hall is scheduled for August 27th!

I was told while the location and place were not confirmed, the date is, and to keep checking Bachmann's website for details, or call the office - which is 651-731-5400.

Hat-tip to both Mark Brunswick at the Strib and Dusty Trice.

Stay tuned!

From the Strib:

While Ellison and McCollum have already held health care town meetings, each member of the Minnesota delegation plans to make health care a topic of discussion over the recess. But only one member, Sixth District Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has committed to holding a traditional town hall meeting. McCollum said she expects to have more later this month.

Dusty Trice reports on Bachmann's offices giving conflicting information:

People are getting conflicting information from Congresswoman Bachmann’s office. Some have been told to call the DC office, some are being told that they aren’t aware of any upcoming town hall forums and some are being told that there is a forum tentatively set for August 27th? Keep calling 202-225-2331 or 651-731-5400 or 320-253-5931 until you get a solid answer.

I happen to disagree with Bill Prendergast's proposal for an online town meeting. Nothing replaces the face to face interaction - and online meetings can't be manipulated in the same way that teletown halls can. Since Michele Bachmann is evidently planning on a town meeting on August 27, I encourage readers to put this on your calendar, and go - even if you have to take time off work in order to do so.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

RT Rybak Rattles the Tin Cup

In the latest episode of 'How to Render a Fundraiser Speechless', I answered my phone earlier this evening, and listened to a spiel from somebody wanting me to contribute $75 to Mayor Rybak's re-election bid.

I let the caller finish their prepared speech, and then asked, 'who is the mayor running against?'

There was no answer to that question (3 months before election day). I suggested that perhaps the mayor is actually running for governor, and ended the call. He doesn't need my donation for the mayor's race.

It's a gutsy move, to make fundraising calls for a non-existent campaign.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Start of a Proposal for Tax Reform in Minnesota

Those of us who live in Minneapolis understand the problems with our taxation system and know that ultimately needs to be reformed. Minneapolis is a net economic producer, yet we continue to have our tax revenues siphoned away. I am trying to come up with some coherent ideas to propose to our Gubernatorial candidates.

I want to throw out an idea on taxes in Minnesota. I operate under these two indisputable premises (I believe them to be true and don't want/need the discussion to focus upon a debate of these two things, I want the debate to focus upon the proposal.)

Premise #1. The people of Minnesota want a high caliber public education system (K thru college), a moderated level of government services and a booming economy and most of us don't mind paying for that.

Premise #2. We already have failrly high levels of taxation on businesses and high levels of taxation lead to decreased business expansion. Furthermore, if a business sees the opportunity to leave Minnesota and go to a state where there is less cost-of-business, they will eventually do that. Business are not and never will be altruistic.

David DeGrio's Pro-Growth Tax Reform Strategy

1. If you are an employee of the State or any local municipality, you must live in and pay taxes in Minnesota. Let's stop exporting our economic vitality to Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas.

2. Eliminate tax reciprocity agreements with all other States and make non-residents who earn money here, pay taxes here. If you work in Minnesota, every dollar you are paid should be taxed by the Minnesota Income Tax.

3. Eliminate the income tax on hourly overtime. Most people who work overtime are rarely doing it because they want to spend more time away from their families, most do it because they require the additional income to support their families. By eliminating the income tax on overtime work we can reduce the amount of time mothers and/or fathers have to spend away from their children. By doing this, we provide an opportunity to strengthen the family relationship, give kids the opportunity to have their parents help them with school work and have bonding time.

4. Eliminate the income tax on tips earned by people in the service sector. People don't work jobs in the service sector (like being a bartender, waitstaff, valet driver, etc.) to become rich, they work those jobs because they provide a means to support themselves and oftentimes their families. No one who worked as a server at Olive Garden, Applebee's or Perkin's for 10 years or more is rolling in dough.

5. Now, here's the biggie. Eliminate the Minnesota Corporate Income Tax and allow small businesses to make up to $1,000,000 (or some other appropriate number) per year without paying income tax. Since a small business owner pays herself or himself a wage, they would be taxed under the income tax, but any of the extra profits should not be taxed. This policy would create a climate in which businesses and companies would want to establish operations in Minnesota because they could continue to invest profits into expanding the company, hiring new employees and giving grants to their surrounding communities. Keep reading, those of you who are liberal/progressive are probably yelling at me right now.

6. Create another tax bracket, or two, in Minnesota at the highest income levels (see now the conservatives are yelling at me too.) Say we create a bracket for people who earn up to $500,000 and another for those who make over $1,000,000 (or some other appropriate income levels.) As the number of companies and businesses in Minnesota grows, there will be more senior level or executive level jobs in our state so revenue collections will continue to grow as that tax-paying sector grows. Furthermore, since we have eliminated the reciprocity agreements and are ensuring that non-resident income earners are paying income tax, people won't be able to evade paying income taxes by setting up residence in other states (like Florida.)

Now, I understand that this proposal flies in the face of the traditional views of both the Republican and the Democrat/DFL tax philosophy; however, we need serious tax reform in Minnesota otherwise we are going to continue down the destructive path of Tax-borrow-spend, or cut taxes-still borrow-still spend that has plagued our State (and Country) for too long. Please keep comments respectful, thought-provoking and civil. Thanks!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Vanity Fair Article on Sarah Palin

It's been talked about alot and is must reading.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Peggy Noonan Names the Problem

From the Wall Street Journal

A Farewell to Harms
Palin was bad for the Republicans—and the republic.

Sarah Palin's resignation gives Republicans a new opportunity to see her plain—to review the bidding, see her strengths, acknowledge her limits, and let go of her drama. It is an opportunity they should take. They mean to rebuild a great party. They need to do it on solid ground.

Her history does not need to be rehearsed at any length. Ten months ago she was embraced with friendliness by her party. The left and the media immediately overplayed their hand, with attacks on her children. The party rallied round, as a party should. She went on the trail a sensation but demonstrated in the ensuing months that she was not ready to go national and in fact never would be. She was hungry, loved politics, had charm and energy, loved walking onto the stage, waving and doing the stump speech. All good. But she was not thoughtful. She was a gifted retail politician who displayed the disadvantages of being born into a point of view (in her case a form of conservatism; elsewhere and in other circumstances, it could have been a form of liberalism) and swallowing it whole: She never learned how the other sides think, or why.

In television interviews she was out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn't say what she read because she didn't read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn't thoughtful enough to know she wasn't thoughtful enough. Her presentation up to the end has been scattered, illogical, manipulative and self-referential to the point of self-reverence. "I'm not wired that way," "I'm not a quitter," "I'm standing up for our values." I'm, I'm, I'm.

In another age it might not have been terrible, but here and now it was actually rather horrifying.

McCain-Palin lost. Mrs. Palin has now stepped down, but she continues to poll high among some members of the Republican base, some of whom have taken to telling themselves Palin myths.

To wit, "I love her because she's so working-class." This is a favorite of some party intellectuals. She is not working class, never was, and even she, avid claimer of advantage that she is, never claimed to be and just lets others say it. Her father was a teacher and school track coach, her mother the school secretary. They were middle-class figures of respect, stability and local status. I think intellectuals call her working-class because they see the makeup, the hair, the heels and the sleds and think they're working class "tropes." Because, you know, that's what they teach in "Ways of the Working Class" at Yale and Dartmouth.

What she is, is a seemingly very nice middle-class girl with ambition, appetite and no sense of personal limits.

"She's not Ivy League, that's why her rise has been thwarted! She represented the democratic ideal that you don't have to go to Harvard or Brown to prosper, and her fall represents a failure of egalitarianism." This comes from intellectuals too. They need to be told something. Ronald Reagan went to Eureka College. Richard Nixon went to Whittier College, Joe Biden to the University of Delaware. Sarah Palin graduated in the end from the University of Idaho, a school that happily notes on its Web site that it's included in U.S. News & World Report's top national schools survey. They need to be told, too, that the first Republican president was named "Abe," and he went to Princeton and got a Fulbright. Oh wait, he was an impoverished backwoods autodidact!

America doesn't need Sarah Palin to prove it was, and is, a nation of unprecedented fluidity. Her rise and seeming fall do nothing to prove or refute this.

"The elites hate her." The elites made her. It was the elites of the party, the McCain campaign and the conservative media that picked her and pushed her. The base barely knew who she was. It was the elites, from party operatives to public intellectuals, who advanced her and attacked those who said she lacked heft. She is a complete elite confection. She might as well have been a bonbon.

"She makes the Republican Party look inclusive." She makes the party look stupid, a party of the easily manipulated.

"She shows our ingenuous interest in all classes." She shows your cynicism.

"Now she can prepare herself for higher office by studying up, reading in, boning up on the issues." Mrs. Palin's supporters have been ordering her to spend the next two years reflecting and pondering. But she is a ponder-free zone. She can memorize the names of the presidents of Pakistan, but she is not going to be able to know how to think about Pakistan. Why do her supporters not see this? Maybe they think "not thoughtful" is a working-class trope!

"The media did her in." Her lack of any appropriate modesty did her in. Actually, it's arguable that membership in the self-esteem generation harmed her. For 30 years the self-esteem movement told the young they're perfect in every way. It's yielding something new in history: an entire generation with no proper sense of inadequacy.

"Turning to others means the media won!" No, it means they lose. What the mainstream media wants is not to kill her but to keep her story going forever. She hurts, as they say, the Republican brand, with her mess and her rhetorical jabberwocky and her careless causing of division. Really, she is the most careless sower of discord since George W. Bush, who fractured the party and the movement that made him. Why wouldn't the media want to keep that going?

Here's why all this matters. The world is a dangerous place. It has never been more so, or more complicated, more straining of the reasoning powers of those with actual genius and true judgment. This is a time for conservative leaders who know how to think.

Here are a few examples of what we may face in the next 10 years: a profound and prolonged American crash, with the admission of bankruptcy and the spread of deep social unrest; one or more American cities getting hit with weapons of mass destruction from an unknown source; faint glimmers of actual secessionist movements as Americans for various reasons and in various areas decide the burdens and assumptions of the federal government are no longer attractive or legitimate.

The era we face, that is soon upon us, will require a great deal from our leaders. They had better be sturdy. They will have to be gifted. There will be many who cannot, and should not, make the cut. Now is the time to look for those who can. And so the Republican Party should get serious, as serious as the age, because that is what a grown-up, responsible party—a party that deserves to lead—would do.

It's not a time to be frivolous, or to feel the temptation of resentment, or the temptation of thinking next year will be more or less like last year, and the assumptions of our childhoods will more or less reign in our future. It won't be that way.

We are going to need the best.

Thank you, Peggy Noonan

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Gail Collins on Bible Spice

From the NY Times:

Op-Ed ColumnistSarah’s Straight Talk By GAIL COLLINS
Truly, Sarah Palin has come a long way. When she ran for vice president, she frequently became disjointed and garbled when she departed from her prepared remarks. Now the prepared remarks are incoherent, too.

“And a problem in our country today is apathy,” she said on Friday as she announced that she would resign as governor of Alaska at the end of the month. “It would be apathetic to just hunker down and ‘go with the flow.’ Nah, only dead fish ‘go with the flow.’ No. Productive, fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to wisely utilize precious time ... to BUILD UP.”

Basically, the point was that Palin is quitting as governor because she’s not a quitter. Or a deceased salmon.

Sarah Barracuda made her big announcement Friday afternoon on the lawn of her home to an audience that appeared to include only Todd, the kids and the next-door neighbors. Smiling manically, she looked like a parody of the woman who knocked the Republicans dead at their convention. She babbled about her parents’ refrigerator magnet, which apparently had a lot of wise advice. And she recalled her visit with the troops in Kosovo, whose dedication and determination inspired her to ... resign.

“Life is about choices!” declared the nation’s most anti-choice politician.

People, what is going on with governors in this country? Are we doomed to see them go bonkers one by one, state by state?

The timing of Palin’s announcement was extremely peculiar. Not only did she interrupt the plans of TV newscasters to spend the entire weekend pointing out that Michael Jackson is still dead, she delivered her big news just as the nation was settling into Fourth of July celebrations. You’d have thought she didn’t want us to notice.

“I choose to work very hard on a path for fruitfulness and productivity,” she said in a fairly typical moment. “I choose not to tear down and waste precious time, but to build up this state and our country, and her industrious, generous, patriotic free people!”

Palin has a year and a half left to go in her term of office. The political world had been wondering whether she’d run for re-election. The answer is no. And furthermore, it turns out that Palin believes that the only way her administration can “continue without interruption” is for her to end it.

Anyhow, no point in wasting precious time.

One underlying theme in Palin’s remarks was that many ethics complaints have been filed against her on issues ranging from her alleged attempts to get her former brother-in-law fired from the state troopers to charging Alaska for her children’s travel expenses.

According to the about-to-be-ex governor, fighting all this negativity has cost the state “thousands of hours of your time” and $2 million “to respond to ‘opposition research.’ ” But now this is all water under the bridge. Every single unfair charge has been dismissed. (“We’ve won!”) And now that the battle is over and the time/money has been wasted, Palin is going to leave her job in the name of “efficiencies and effectiveness.”

“I cannot stand here as your governor and allow millions upon millions of our dollars go to waste just so I can hold the title of governor,” she said.

Perhaps there is some new and interesting scandal that Palin has yet to let us in on. (If so, I hope it involves a soul mate.) Otherwise, it would appear that this is all about her desire to start raising money and setting up operations for a presidential run in 2012. Her fans immediately interpreted the resignation as a canny move to get her back down to the lower 48, with as much time on her hands as Mitt Romney. (Mary Matalin called it “brilliant.”)

Palin was the subject of a devastating article in this month’s Vanity Fair by Todd Purdum, who wrote that McCain campaign aides found it almost impossible to get Palin to prepare for her disastrous interview with Katie Couric. And there is no sign, Purdum reported, that Palin has made any attempt to bone up on the issues so that next time around, she could run as a candidate who actually had some grasp of the intricacies of foreign and domestic policy.

So if she’s starting to run, it will be as the same reporter-avoiding, generalization-spouting underachiever that she was last time around.

Now we know she not only doesn’t have the concentration to read a policy paper, she can’t focus long enough to finish the job she was hired to do.

On Friday, Palin said that finishing out her term would be just too easy. “Many just accept that lame-duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck and ‘milk it.’ I’m not putting Alaska through that,” she said.

Apparently, she’s going to put the rest of us through it instead.

Friday, July 03, 2009

My Theory on Caribou Barbie's Resignation

Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) announced an abrupt resignation today, effective before the end of July.

Personally, I think it's a defensive move before some other scandal erupts. Get out while the going is (sort of) good.

Todd Purdum's story about her in the next issue of Vanity Fair sounds pretty ugly, by all accounts.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Nope, it's not Lugnut. It's AAARF.

There’s some dirty tricks under way in various GOP circles. I’m grabbing my industrial sized can opener, you grab yourself a nice TV dinner, an adult beverage, tuck the tots away, and we’ll meet back here on RF this evening for some AAA smack down and exposing.

So to those who think by hook or by crook is the way to win the Governor’s seat, I’m sorry, I cannot remain silent.

Ok, Mr. AAARF....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

New Cancer Approach

This sounds intriguing.

Criticism of John Aravosis's Take on the DOJ Brief

Law Dork

Bilerico Project

Box Turtle Bulletin

All of these strongly contest that the DOJ brief compares same sex marriages to incest and pedophilia. However Box Turtle Bulletin goes on to say the brief is "offensive none the less."

Offensive Nevertheless
Okay, so the brief doesn’t say same-sex marriage is equivalent to incest or pedophilia. Big deal. It’s still patently contemptuous of gays and lesbians even without that. For one, the DOJ lawyers seem to think that gay people, deep down, don’t really exist. How else can one explain this (page 27)?

Even viewing the right asserted here as the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry, DOMA does not directly or substantially interfere with the ability of anyone, including homosexuals, to marry the individual of his or her choice. …Hence, under DOMA, gay and lesbian couples suffer no greater interference with their ability to obtain recognition of their marriages, either in the States where they were wed, or elsewhere.

That could only be true under one condition: that homosexuals can “marry the individual of his or her choice” as long as that individual is of the opposite sex. In other words, just because I’m gay, it doesn’t mean I can’t settle down with a nice Catholic girl (or a nice religious Jewish niece if I lived in Rhode Island) and have that marriage go unchallenged virtually everywhere I go. That sort of argument is precisely the stuff we’ve heard from some of our more unhinged anti-gay opponents.

And then there’s this bit of creative “logic” on page 27-28:

…gay and lesbian individuals who unite in matrimony are denied no federal benefits to which they were entitled prior to their marriage; they remain eligible for every benefit they enjoyed beforehand. DOMA simply provides, in effect, that as a result of their same-sex marriage they will not become eligible for the set of benefits that Congress has reserved exclusively to those who are related by the bonds of heterosexual marriage.

Got that? We’re not denied anything, we’re just not allowed the extra stuff (and obligations) that heterosexual couples get when they’re married. In the eyes of the Justice Department, that’s not discrimination. Maybe women who are denied promotions aren’t discriminated against because they still have a job; they just don’t get the extra pay and perks the employer gave to a lesser-qualified man.

But even if it is discrimination, that’s okay too, according to the Department of Justice (page 2):

Thus, by defining “marriage” and “spouse” as the legal union of a man and a woman and affording federal benefits on that basis, Section 3 of DOMA simply maintained the status quo: it continues the longstanding federal policy of affording federal benefits and privileges on the basis of a centuries-old form of marriage, without committing the federal government to devote scarce resources to newer versions of the institution that any State may choose to recognize.

That’s right. Congress can choose to deny its “scarce resources” to a very tiny proportion of married couples just because it wants to. Never mind that those same married couples pay taxes just like everyone else.

It doesn’t end there. There’s so much more in this brief that’s risible, like the continual reference to a “new form of marriage,” a phrase that may as well place scare-quotes around the word “marriage” when referring to same-sex couples. And to add insult to injury, the brief then contrasts that “new form of marriage” to what it calls “traditional marriage,” which, inexplicably, is likely meant to preclude the traditional and biblical examples of brother-sister marriages, non-consensual marriages and plural marriages, although it doesn’t explicitly say so.

This brief’s contemptuous tone is breathtaking. LGBT advocates are right to denounce it and to encourage very direct and vigorous avenues of protest to make our anger known. I’m glad to see the LGBT community call Obama and the Democratic Party on the carpet for this, and I hope that many more join them.

It’s Important To Speak The Truth
I started this web site because I wanted to expose our opponents when they distort the written record. That is the driving force behind so much of what we do here at BTB. But if I see similar examples among our own advocates — including those advocates who do wonderful work otherwise — how can I remain silent?

This definitely isn’t the pathway to mega-blogger status. I’m probably going to be called self-loathing, an appeaser, an Uncle Tom or an Obama apologist — you name it. Or, just as likely, this post may be ignored. But that’s okay. I’d much rather speak the truth than repeat talking points intended solely to inflame. The "incest and pedophilia" meme is the latter, not the former, and it's been seriously bugging me all week. There are plenty of reasons to be outraged by this DOJ brief, but no matter how you slice it, it just doesn’t say what many of our leading advocates claim it does.

I like John Aravosis a lot. He has been unparalleled in covering the ongoing developments surrounding the Obama administration's reactions to the outrage this brief has generated. No one else has stayed on top of this story the way he has.

But it was Karl Rove who perfected the art of manufactured outrage, and it reflects poorly on us when we deploy the same tactic. If there's anything we should have learned from the Bush administration, it’s that such behavior will weaken our position, not strengthen it. It's time we gave it a rest and be outraged over what’s really there.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Marry Me Minnesota Gets 10,000 Challenge Grant

From Doug Benson of Marry Me Minnesota:

I met a middle-aged lesbian couple (they wish to remain anonymous) who came to protest at the Capitol late in the session. They are as fed up with the lack of action on marriage equality as we are and after learning of Marry Me Minnesota's intention to sue the state, decided to contribute to the effort.

After making an initial substantial contribution earlier this month, they offered a second, larger contribution to Marry Me Minnesota in the form of a $10,000 matching grant in the hope of encouraging broader investment from the community. They set a deadline of August 1 for the grant to be matched, so we are hoping that people will contribute as much as they can during this limited window of opportunity to have their donations matched, dollar for dollar.

To put this generous grant in perspective, Marry Me Minnesota has raised a total of $9000 since we started last fall. Upon signing the first retainer with our law firm, in December, we paid them $3000 to prepare the case. Our next step is to sign a new retainer covering the trial phase of the suit. The law firm is requiring $10,000 upon signing, at which point the suit will be filed in court. Ninety days after the signing, we're required to present them with another $10,000. You can see that this matching grant, when matched, will go a long way to paying for the case.

The amount being charged by the law firm sounds like a lot of money, but the thirty to sixty thousand dollars they have estimated it will take to cover the case represents about one tenth the going rate. I spoke with another local law firm that estimated they would charge about $300,000 for this case. So, we realize our law firm, Mansfield, Tanick and Cohen is taking our case, basically pro bono.

We have about $6000 on hand right now but we hope people who want to see Minnesota's discriminatory marriage laws challenged in court will take advantage of the matching grant to match their contributions, dollar for dollar, and get us beyond the filing threshold very soon. Once the suit is filed, the publicity should help in raising the remaining funds.

This month marks a year since we started. It's been a long slog, but we've kept moving forward and now we're near our goal of accessing the judicial branch to try to bring an end to official discrimination against our families.

Richard Rosendall: Gays Should Take a Page out of the NRA's Handbook

Independent Gay Forum:

Gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny was in the White House on June 17 to attend the signing of the Presidential Memorandum on benefits for the same-sex partners of federal employees. While he was waiting, he made some inquiries as to whether the President knew in advance about the now-notorious Department of Justice brief in the Smelt v. United States case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. The answer from a gay staffer was no — Obama was furious when he learned of the brief.

That does not get the President and his staff — including senior folk at DOJ — off the hook. Even conceding that the President has to defend the law on the books despite favoring its repeal, the DOJ brief goes beyond the call of duty with illogical and insulting arguments. There is a claim that DOMA is not discriminatory because a gay person can marry someone of the opposite sex, and a claim that federal neutrality on state law requires it not to recognize same-sex marriages, whereas in fact the federal practice is to recognize state choices.

Gay legal commentator Dale Carpenter writes, "Of most interest is what the DOJ has to say about the due process and equal protection claims, rejecting just about every single variation of an argument that gay-rights scholars and litigants have made over the past 30 years."

DOJ officials will reportedly meet this week with LGBT advocates to discuss the DOMA-related cases. That is fortunate, since DOJ is due in a few days to file a brief in Gill v. OPM, the lawsuit by Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. This is a challenge to DOMA Section 3, dealing with federal discrimination, and legal experts consider it stronger than the broader Smelt case. We will know by the administration’s brief in Gill whether it has learned any lessons.
"Obama’s leadership is needed, but he is not a magician and he needs our help. Hurling not just criticism but cries of betrayal after 150 days in office is foolish."

Reality-based activism requires a recognition that political friendships are never perfect, and we do not get everything we want at once. We must continue to press on multiple fronts, neither leaving the lobbying to a few people in Washington nor placing all of our hopes in litigation — especially considering the current makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court. The tide of history is with us, but we must be part of it, not wait for it to wash over us.

In my experience, politicians are more receptive when you give them credit, however small, in addition to criticism. As Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart noted, we cannot afford to be blinded by rage. To the question, "What has Obama done for me lately?" the answer is: in addition to the Presidential Memorandum, Obama last week called on Congress to repeal DOMA; endorsed the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act; and ordered the U.S. Census Bureau to release data on same-sex married couples in the 2010 census.

I'll second that one. Michelangelo Signorile interviewed Rep. Barney Frank about his introduction of the trans inclusive ENDA, plus Frank's reaction to the infamous DOMA brief. I thought Barney Frank's points made a lot of sense.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Oh What a Circus

The comments are especially amusing.

Americans United Requests that Feds Pull MN Teen Challenge Grants

Read all about it at Daily Kos and Minnesota Independent. Americans United's letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder, asked that several teen challenge earmarks, including the Minnesota Teen Challenge earmark, be terminated.

When I talked with Mayor RT Rybak about Minnesota Teen Challenge at the DFL City Convention earlier this spring, the normally loquatious Mayor was unwilling to give a video interview on the matter.

Colbert Report on Stonewalling

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Stonewalling
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMark Sanford

The Mark Sanford Song: Don't Cry for Me Right Wing Media

Watch Mark Sanford outside the Casa Rosada:

Here's another - the press conference mixed with Don't Cry for Me Argentina:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Minneapolis Ward 1 Blog

There is very little coverage of the Ward 1 Minneapolis City Council race, even by the Powerliberal. She covered quite a bit during the endorsement battle but hasn't posted much since. Nolan started a blog dedicated specifically to that race:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Barney Frank on the DOMA Brief


Congressman Frank Corrects Media Reports on his Response to DOMA Brief
June 17, 2009

Congressman Barney Frank issued the following statement in response to a newspaper story regarding his position on the brief by the Department of Justice about Smelt v. United States.

“When I was called by a newspaper reporter for reaction to the administration’s brief defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, I made the mistake of relying on other people’s oral descriptions to me of what had been in the brief, rather than reading it first. It is a lesson to me that I should not give in to press insistence that I comment before I have had a chance fully to inform myself on the subject at hand.”

“Now that I have read the brief, I believe that the administration made a conscientious and largely successful effort to avoid inappropriate rhetoric. There are some cases where I wish they had been more explicit in disavowing their view that certain arguments were correct, and to make it clear that they were talking not about their own views of these issues, but rather what was appropriate in a constitutional case with a rational basis standard – which is the one that now prevails in the federal courts, although I think it should be upgraded.”

“It was my position in that conversation with the reporter that the administration had no choice but to defend the constitutionality of the law. I think it is unwise for liberals like myself, who were consistently critical of President Bush’s refusal to abide by the law in cases where he disagreed with it to now object when President Obama refuses to follow the Bush example. It is the President’s job to try to change the law, but it is also his obligation to uphold and defend it when it has been enacted by appropriate processes. It would not be wise, in my judgment, for those of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, or who sympathize with the fight for our rights, to argue for a precedent that says that executives who disagreed politically with the purpose of the law should have the option of refusing to defend it in a constitutional case.”

“I strongly opposed DOMA when it was adopted and I will continue to fight for changes. I support very strongly the lawsuit brought by the people at Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) that make the cogent argument that DOMA’s provision denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages blatantly violates the equal protection clause. And I will work with the Obama administration as they have promised to do to enact laws protecting LGBT people from hate crimes, from job discrimination, and from discrimination in the military. I will also be critical when I think inappropriate language is used. But after rereading this brief, I do not think that the Obama administration should be subject to harsh criticism in this instance.”