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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kay Hagan to Speak at HRC Dinner in Charlotte North Carolina

Charlotte Observer:

WASHINGTON When Sen. Kay Hagan takes the podium Saturday, in her first public address in Charlotte since taking office, she'll face a group that's become a key part of the Democratic constituency – gay rights advocates.

That hasn't always been a comfortable choice for politicians because of the potential backlash from folks who don't support gay rights.

“That's a gutsy thing to do, though I guess less so all the time,” said Ted Arrington, a political science professor at UNC Charlotte. “They've become a more important part of the Democratic coalition.”

The group, the Carolinas chapter of the Human Rights Campaign, a major gay rights advocacy group, said Hagan will be the first statewide elected federal official from North Carolina to address its annual fundraising dinner. Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., had declined invitations to speak, though he did host meetings with the group, said Joni Madison, a member of HRC's national board who lives in Hillsborough.

The group was famously dissed a few years ago when it moved its dinner to Charlotte and Mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican, refused to send the routine welcome note the city usually uses to greet conferees and other large gatherings.

“Senator Hagan has been very fair to our issues and very open minded,” Madison said. “She's really shown she's not willing to play old politics. She's going to have open, frank dialogues. It's really refreshing.”

Arrington said he thinks the speech by Hagan is important to mend any fences from her defeat of an openly gay candidate in the Democratic primary, investment banker Jim Neal. Hagan, who initially pulled out of the contest, got back in after heavy recruiting by national Democrats when Neal seemed like the most viable candidate on their ticket. Hagan, D-N.C., agrees with many of the gay community's issues – nondiscrimination against gays in the workplace and stricter penalties for people committing hate crimes against gays, among others, said Ian Palmquist, executive director of Equality North Carolina.

But she, like many of her Democratic counterparts including President Obama, is opposed to allowing marriage to be legalized for same-sex couples though she hasn't stated opposition to civil unions.

However, during her Senate campaign, Hagan was the subject of a N.C. Republican Party mailing attacking her for refusing to back a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The same ad also criticized her for attending a fundraiser hosted at the home of atheists, part of the “godless Americans” controversy that helped Hagan solidify her win over Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.

Federal Marriage Amendment supporters running as democrats failed to win. Kay Hagan won as an Federal Marriage Amendment opponent in a southern state.

Contrast Sen. Kay Hagan with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who dissed a gay conference at the University of Minnesota shortly after being elected.

Senator Koering Plays Hamlet

Fruit Fly has the story.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Minnesota Marriage Equality Update

Below is a message from David Strand, grassroots organizer for Marriage Equality Minnesota. This is the group doing the work Outfront refuses to do.


Before any more time passed I wanted to give a shout out of thanks to the Minneapolis city council for unanimously voting to add the Marriage and Family Protection Act to the city of Minneapolis lobbying agenda. Special thanks to Elizabeth Glidden for spearheading the effort as a member of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee and Betsy Hodges as chair of said committee.

I am particularly grateful personally as after making the proposal to Elizabeth Glidden and Betsy Hodges, I unexpectedly had to leave town for a family funeral and they walked it through the remainder of the process and had it done by the time I returned! The city council voted unanimously to add it to the city's lobbying agenda on Friday Feb. 6th.

I would also like to thank the Minnesota Student Association at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities for also endorsing the legislation on Feb. 3rd.

Thank you too to all the Minneapolitans who made it to the Freedom to Marry Day in the rotunda at the state capitol on Thurs. Feb. 12th.

The Senate bill is SF120 and is authored by Sen. John Marty and coauthored by Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, Sen. Linda Higgins, Sen. Scott Dibble and Sen. Mee Moua.

A duplicate Senate bill has been authored by Sen. Sandy Pappas and as of this writing is coauthored by Sen. Linda Berglin and Sen. Ellen Andersen.

The House bill is HF 893 and is authored by Rep. Phyllis Kahn and coauthored by Rep. David Bly, Rep. Karen Clark, Rep. Jim Davnie, Rep. Mindy Greiling, Rep. Alice Hausman, Rep. Jeff Hayden, Rep. Bill Hilty, Rep. Frank Hornstein, Rep. Thomas Huntley, Rep. Sheldon Johnson, Rep. Carolyn Laine, Rep. John Lesch, Rep. Tina Liebling, Rep. Dianne Loeffler, Rep. Carlos Mariani, Rep. Erin Murphy, Rep. Michael Paymar, Rep. Maria Ruud, Rep. Linda Slocum, Rep. Cy Thao, Rep. Tom Tillberry, Rep. Jean Wagenius, and Rep. Ryan Winkler.

Minneapolis is particularly important to the bill's prospects this session. While we have the votes to get the bill to the Governor's desk in both legislative chambers we need the support of the at least four key Minneapolitans who have not coauthored the house or senate versions of the bill.

We need the support of Rep. Joe Mullery, in his role as committee chair, to allow there to be hearing in the House Civil Justice Committee.

We need the support of Rep. Bobby Champion, as a member of the House Civil Justice Committee to vote to pass the bill out of committee.

We need the support of Rep. Margaret Anderson Kelliher to allow the bill to to to a vote on the House floor.

And, we need the support of Sen. Larry Pogemiller to allow the Senate hearing to proceed and allow the bill to go to a vote on the Senate floor.

Without the support of these four Minneapolis representatives and senator,it is difficult for the bill to even get a hearing in the either chamber let alone a vote in either chamber.

We believe it is crucial to the timely passage of civil marriage equality in Minnesota that the bill pass both houses and be sent to our current Governor this session.

The keys to whether this bill has opportunity to pass the legislature this session, which would be most historic, wholly lies in the hands of Minneapolis legislators at this point.

We are pleased that the DFL has added support for this bill to their legislative agenda and also added language to the state party platform supportive of this legislation. The Green Party and Libertarian Party of MN also support the legislation.

It is now up to Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Larry Pogemiller as well as Bobby Champion and Joe Mullery to allow the bills to move forward in both chambers this session.

If you live in these Represenatives or Senator Pogemiller's districts, please call upon them to support the Marriage and Family Protection Act moving forward.

David Strand
Plymouth, MN
Formerly Loring Park
Organizer wth Marriage Equality Minnesota
"Justice delayed, is justice denied." William Gladstone,
*British politician (1809 - 1898)*

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Janet Boynes Resurfaces

She's giving interviews:


Interview on 700 Club (23:30 minutes in after the Humana commercial):

A YouTube video uploaded a month ago:

Interestingly enough, her Facebook friends include the Bachmann kids, but not Michele Bachmann.

Unhinged IDiocy on the Minnesota Family Council Blog

This time they are comparing Darwin with Hitler.

Rock Hyrax

I saw some of these critters at the San Diego Zoo:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Unpleasantness in the Republican Party of Minnesota Deputy Chair's Race

Andy at Residual Forces has the story:

I got an email (along with scores of others, including someone in Utah) from MNGOP Deputy Chair candidate Michael Brodkorb last night. The point of this piece was to attack current Deputy Chair Dorothy Fleming for saying the party should not be focusing on redistricting right now at an event over the weekend. (email is below the fold)

I have been working on different versions of posts through out the day but they get too long and devolve into rants. So here’s a different take.

I think Dorothy Fleming is right. The most important thing for the next Chair, Deputy Chair, and other state level leaders is to win a ton of races in the 2010 elections. If we are going to worry more about what happens after that election, then we had better just tell all the volunteers and donors to just save their time and energy for the courtroom phase some time in mid to late 2010 and into 2011. We can’t be bogged down with Voter ID, issue advocacy, and electing Republicans, we need to be ready to argue with DFL lawyers in smoke filled rooms.

No seriously, is Brodkorb so confidant we’re going to lose the Governor’s race, fail to pick up any Constitutional offices, and fail to gain seats in the Legislature that he is running on his record of what he will do after November 2010?

I know Brodkorb is going to run on his resume of having worked in the last redistricting, but to me the most important parts of his resume are what he chooses to leave out of it. He has played a major role in some of the most divisive events in our party’s recent history. The 2006 convention, the 2008 convention, the 2007 Chair’s race, amongst numerous personal phone calls and other instances where he has left more than just me asking if he thought he owned this party or whether it was his duty to bar some from participating in it.

When it comes to his previous involvement with Redistricting, can I hold Brodkorb accountable for my District being so dang screwed up? 4 cities, 2 counties, 3 congressional districts. Ha ha.

From the comments:

J. Ewing Says:
February 16th, 2009 at 5:48 pm
Well, I am forced, against my better judgement to agree with you on this one. I have been saying that the MNGOP needs to focus like a laser on redistricting, but by electing a majority of the MN House and Senate, and a Republican Governor (and by gumption, I don’t care who these candidates are, just so they’re Republicans!) We won’t have to worry about fairness and court fights if we control the process, and there’s a whole lot of other good reasons for us to want to do that, defeating spendaholics and liberal do-gooders being only the most obvious. I’m not convinced that Dorothy is the right person either, but on this point, she’s ahead.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Waste of Taxpayer Dollars

The National Institution of Health (NIH) is an excellent use of taxpayer dollars, and it is heartening to know that Arlen Specter bargained single handedly for a healthy increase in their budget in the Stimulous bill. However the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, better known by its abbrevation NCCAM is a huge boondoggle. Orac explains.

What this letter encapsulates to me is the attitude of CAM advocates towards NCCAM. They don't want truly rigorous scientific studies to determine if these therapies work. They want studies that assume that these therapies work and then simply look at utilization and cost-effectiveness. They want funding of fellowships in CAM (taught, of course, by true believers). In brief, they want CAM promotion.

This is why we can only hope that the NIH really is trying to bury NCCAM. There's nothing that NCCAM does, other than its advocacy for CAM therapies in academic medicine, that couldn't be done as well or much better by other Institutes and Centers of the NIH appropriate to each question. This is particularly true for the study of herbal remedies and dietary interventions, neither of which are "alternative" except when claims are made that diet or herbs can, for example, cure cancer. Unfortunately, as protected as it is by powerful legislators, the best we can hope for is a career scientist like Dr. Briggs trying to slow NCCAM's descent into pseudoscience. It can't last forever, though. Sooner or later a true believer will be appointed Director at NCCAM. It's virtually inevitable. The only thing keeping that from happening, I'd guess, is that the most prominent CAM practitioners (like Andrew Weil, for instance) make far too much money to be easily willing to take a huge pay cut to work for NCCAM. When that day comes, any pretense of rigorous science taking into account scientific plausibility will fly out the window.

I put this in the same category as funding boondoggles like Minnesota Teen Challenge.