MCDM rips off anti-gay flyer for new site

The Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage's hateful anti-gay Gang of 12 website rips off an infamous anti-gay flyer from the 2004 election.

Look familiar?

(Read more about the RNC "Bible Ban" flyer.)

(Update: I initially attributed this site to the MN GOP. Oops.)

Dimed, then nickeled

America's younger workers losing ground on income. As always with articles like this, a dark thicket of conflicting data obscures the trail we're walking. But there is this:

• Rising debt levels. Over the past decade, the volume of federal student loans tripled, reaching $85 billion in new loans last year, according to a new book by Anya Kamenetz, "Generation Debt." Nearly a quarter of college students are using credit cards to pay some of their tuition costs, she writes.

• The median income for men under age 44 was significantly lower in 1997 than in 1970, after adjusting for inflation, according to a long-term analysis by the Census Bureau in the late 1990s. For those over 45, incomes barely held their own during that period.

• The entry of women into the workforce in those decades has helped push median family incomes up over time. But even when men and women are included together, younger workers (age 25-34) are earning well below what they did in 1970. And at all ages, evidence suggests that families are putting in more hours of work to make their household incomes rise.

• Even with extra time at work, median family income has barely budged since 1995 for householders below 45, up about 5 percent after inflation through 2004.

For similar news, read why consumer pocketbooks had a rough start [sic] this millennium, an article that includes this Mark Weisbrot quote: "Globalization is part of the process by which the bargaining power of most employees in the United States has been drastically reduced so that they don't capture most of the gains from the economy."

To which I respond: Bargaining power??

MNGOP Distributes Spyware

Think Progress: The Minnesota GOP’s Stealth Attack On Privacy. Wow.


South Dakotans overwhelmingly oppose abortion ban law

More evidence that this is a pro-choice nation: South Dakota Legislature Bucks Public Opinion:

With the South Dakota legislature passing a bill that challenges "Roe v. Wade" by virtually banning abortions, Survey USA examined how South Dakotans viewed the measure. They found that only 37% of respondents agreed with the law; 61% disagreed.

(Via Tom)

Update: Via the comments, it looks like this is actually a poll of Colorado residents (see the Breaking News Polls at Survey USA). I'd be interested to see a poll of South Dakotans, but this ain't it. Instead, check out this insightful essay by PZ Meyers. What good is the right to choose if there's no place to get an abortion? And don't think this isn't part of the anti-abortion strategy. The City Pages had an article about this a few years ago: No Choice.


Bus Rapid Transit on 35W community meeting

If you're interested in the Metro area's transportation future, this sounds like a good meeting to attend.

I don't think BRT is a replacement for LRT, but the Twin Cities do need better bus service.

Representatives from the City of Minneapolis,
the State of Minnesota, and the Metropolitan Council have asked Transit
for Livable Communities (TLC) to inform members of our Transportation
Choices Network of an upcoming meeting discussing...

Transit Options For I-35W

Date: Monday, February 27, 2006

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Martin Luther King Park,
4055 Nicollet Avenue South , Minneapolis

Join your municipal, state and regional leaders to engage in a
community dialogue about Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on I-35W—what might it
look like and how can it serve our neighborhoods?

Nacho Diaz, Director of Metropolitan Transportation Services for
the Met Council, will be a featured speaker.

Sponsored by:

* State Senator Scott Dibble;
* State Representatives Frank Hornstein and Neva Walker;
* Minneapolis City Council Members Elizabeth Glidden
(8th), Robert Lilligren (6th), Ralph Remington (10th), and Scott Benson
* The Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood Group;
* The Kingfield Neighborhood Association; and

Questions: Call Andrea Jenkins, 8th Ward City Council Office,


Chavez should set a democratic example

BBC: Chavez could seek further terms: "'If there is no opposition candidate, I would consider signing a decree to hold a referendum asking "Do you agree Chavez should be allowed to seek a new term?" and let's let the people decide.'"

Chavez should set a good democratic example for Venezuela by stepping down in 2012 as the constitution -- his constitution -- currently requres.


GOP asks for church directories

The GOP is starting early with the same abysmal tactics as the last go around. They are attempting to coopt Christian churches as organizing centers for Republican campaigns.

In N.C., GOP Requests Church Directories

The North Carolina Republican Party asked its members this week to send their church directories to the party, drawing furious protests from local and national religious leaders.

"Such a request is completely beyond the pale of what is acceptable," said the Rev. Richard Land, head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

During the 2004 presidential race, the Bush-Cheney campaign sent a similar request to Republican activists across the country. It asked churchgoers not only to furnish church directories to the campaign, but also to use their churches as a base for political organizing.

The tactic was roundly condemned by religious leaders across the political spectrum, including conservative evangelical Christians. Ten professors of ethics at major seminaries and universities wrote a letter to President Bush in August 2004 asking him to "repudiate the actions of your re-election campaign," and calling on both parties to "respect the integrity of all houses of worship."

This is a tactic that can be reasonably called "Bushist." What do you think...Will that prompt the IRS to issue warnings that such cooperation will endanger the tax status of participating churches, or will the vengance of the state be reserved for those who resist?


Truth vs. Beauty

Robert Shetterly's Americans Who Tell the Truth is an essential picture book which popped up months ago in the mostly vacant lot of new juvenile non-fiction, with no warning and little promotion (at least, I'd never heard about it before today). I recommend it for the usual patriotic reasons, but also because the paintings will astonish you, portraying with grave accuracy the non-iconic faces of haunting, happy, serious, sad, reckless, and brave Americans. Though it's always a mistake to paint the unpaintable Abraham Lincoln, I still admire Shetterly for the attempt.

Now I know what you're gonna ask: what is "truth"? Well, I'm guessing Shetterly subscribes to the correspondence theory of truth, which allows for no tinfoil hats or teary-eyed staring at flags. This is the Truth that inludes true conservatives like Mark Twain, Margaret Chase Smith and Dwight Eisenhower alongside the rebels, reformers, and outsiders.

Plus, there's these two Minnesotans:


More Trouble in the Bubble

Besides the rather humorous story of Cheney shooting his friend and keeping it secret (hate to see what he'd do to his enemies! *rimshot*) -- here are a few links:

Unclaimed Territory:"Do Bush followers have a political ideology?"
A must-read! Also, recall this.

AP:Senators: Cheney Should Be Probed in Leak
Newsweek:Bush's Bad Connection
Republicans calling for a full investigation of Libby's leaks? Banish these traitors and their liberal law-abiding ways!

Times Online:CIA chief sacked for opposing torture
Funny, the CIA still doesn't seem happy about replacing expertise with neocon ideology.

AP:Gingrich Cheers Frustrated Conservatives
"When you see an American body on an American street sitting there for three days on television because the government can't collect the dead, something has failed." Speaking of Katrina...

WaPo:Katrina Report Spreads Blame - Homeland Security, Chertoff Singled Out
The hefty report find failures at all levels of government (duh) but "lays primary fault with the passive reaction and misjudgments of top Bush aides," namely Chertoff.

Abramoff and Bush, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g

The first of a supposed dozen photographs featuring Bush and Abramoff was released yesterday. The initial reaction from Bushco was , "huh?" You're kidding me:

A senior Bush official insisted the administration does not know how Abramoff got into the meeting or on the White House grounds that day.

But then, they, like, you know, remembered:

Originally, the White House said it had no record of Abramoff's attendance at the meeting.

"We now know that Mr. Abramoff attended this meeting," Abney said Sunday."

It's worth noting that their are 548 Bush Pioneers or Rangers in the whole country. Abramoff is one. It's no wonder the White House doesn't want those pictures out. The liar-in-chief took Jack's calls.


Scandal Sheet

Libby is going to cough up Cheney. Is any one surprised by either a) the fact that Cheny drove the outing of Plame or b) that Libby is rolling over? Libby isn't the only one stepping up, either. Jason Leopold is interviewing insiders that say Cheney spearheaded the effort to discredit Wilson and out Plame.

Here's another thingI am not surprised about: Abramoff says he knows the president better than the president lets on. Abramoff says that George invited him to the ranch. That's a lot different than Bush's: "I don't know the guy."

While we are at it, have you ever seen a more arrogant, smug little ..... on display than Gonzalez defending the nasty little spy program Bush has going:

GONZALES: Well, Senator, I'll repeat what the president has said, and that is to the extent that Congress wants to suggest legislation, obviously, we'll listen to your ideas.

Oh, and Tom Brown testifies again today. Since it came to light this morning that the White House knew the levees were breaching a day before they said they did, it should be interesting to watch Heckofajob explain why him and his boss sat on their thumbs while people died.

It is way past time to fire these people.

NOTE: Ordinarily, I don't re-edit my posts after I publish them. However, I realized I forgot to link to the Abramoff story. I added it in.



Brian Hokanson has called me a racist idiot because I advocated publishing and re-publishing controversial Danish cartoons in yesterday's post. I have to confess some surprise. At the risk of leading with my chin: I have never been called either an idiot or a racist in my entire life. I never knew it was possible to be simultaneously offended and amused.

But let's talk a little civics; let's talk logic, too. Heck, let's talk both.

First civics: My position is informed by The Bill of Rights. Shortly stated, I believe in it to the bottom of my American soul. In this particular case, I believe the Danish Newspaper has the right to publish the cartoons. I do not believe any person or government has the right to threaten or carry out violence against the artists and editors for doing so. Believing that, Brian, does not make me racist.

The ACLU certainly doesn't think so. Of course, using your tortured logic, the ACLU would be the most racist organization in the world. Afterall, they regularly defend racists' right to say what they need to say. They defend racists, therefore they must be racists. An attorney defends a serial killer, therefore he must be a serial killer. Oh I don't know, You decide, Brian, is that logical or not?

Please, I urge you to read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on why the ACLU defends free speech for racists and totalitarians. In particular, "But isn't a demonstration in an intensely hostile area the same as falsely shouting "fire" in a crowded theater?" and, "Hasn't the Supreme Court said that certain kinds of communication – like hurling epithets at another person – are so likely to lead to fighting that the speaker, and not the audience, is responsible? Isn't the display of a swastika or the burning of a cross the same as such "fighting words?" Read this Brian. Pay your membership dues. Develop an understanding of why free means free.

The truth is, the civics of the matter support my position. Nobody on earth has the right to restrict my speech with a threat of bodily harm. If you don't believe that, I guess we can agree to disagree, but believing that does not make me a racist or an idiot.

Finally, Brian, I find it extremely interesting that you seem to say one thing with your words while doing quite another with your actions. You contend the following:

I have to wonder if the many people on both the left and right who want to see these cartoons published again and again have actually seen them. Evidently Chris has, because he links to them here. They are extremely offensive and extremely bigoted - even beyond the fact that simply depicting Mohammed in any way is offensive to Muslims, these are drawn in the same way I imagine cartoons of African Americans were drawn in the 1940's and 50's. One shows Mohammed in a police lineup; one saying, "Stop, we ran out of virgins," one with a bomb on his head, one with his tongue hanging out. They have no artistic merit whatsoever and make no point.

How did you arrive at those conclusions, Brian? Did you perhaps look at the cartoons? Did you avail yourself of a free press and evaluate them for yourself? I most gratefully did. By the way you don't have to imagine how black people were depicted in the 40's and 50's. Unless the thought police on the left and right finally get their way, we continue to live in a free society. You you have access to fountains of information. There is no need to remain ignorant.

Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, if you are so opposed to publishing the cartoons, why did you publish them? You link to them in your post. Do you think you should have your head cut off for doing so?

I thought not.


DFL blog re-launched

The DFL blog has been re-launched. I helped start DFLers.org in the run-up to the 2004 election, where it attracted some interest. However, after the election it really withered. It's nice to see the DFL staff take leadership in delivering an active blog. They've already got more posts today that it had in the last few months.


Publish the cartoons

The Danish Cartoons of Mohamed brouhaha has me thinking. I don't think we can ignore the elephant in the room. The rioting in response to the publication of cartoons of the prophet Mohamed is an indicator that the original cartoons were spot on. The dark side of the Islamic world responded to the portrayal of themselves as terrorists by...terrorizing.

Meanwhile, Iran's largest newspaper has announced a contest to see who can create the "funniest" cartoon lampooning the holocaust. Radical clerics (no not that one) are calling for the severing of the heads of the cartoonists responsible as well as all the editors of the papers that published the cartoons. Oh joy.

And what about the Danes? The Danes are dissapointed in the the tepid support for free speech from the EU and the United States. No wonder:

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, condemned the decision by some media outlets in Europe to republish the cartoons, calling it “insensitive, disrespectful and wrong”.

Here's the US:

The US State Department called for European media to act more responsibly and not to offend Muslims. Kurtis Cooper, a department spokesman, said “We all respect freedom of the press but . . . inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.”

Oh, how I disagree with that approach. There are very few exceptions to absolute rights. We are free to speak, or we are not. We should brook no threats - especially threats from terrorists - here or abroad to our fundamental rights. If we are going to fight for freedom we could at least have the courage of our convictions and come out swinging against exactly the kind of zealotry that resulted in 9.11.

Observe the results of the search for Jesus Bush. I think some of those images are accurate and funny reflections of the Hijacker Bush atop the good ship Christ. You might not agree. You might publish something different and equally thought provoking. Together, we can celebrate our right to do both.

Publish the cartoons. Publish them again. Publish them again.


Olbermann KOs O'Reilly

I gotta say, this is an excellent evisceration of Bill O'Reilly.

Challenging NSA and FISA

Local political filmmaker Matt Ehling just started a blog. In his first post, he interviews attorney Peter Erlinder, a defense lawyer in the case of U.S. vs. Mohammed Abdullah Warsame about the legality of admitting evidence obtained from NSA surveillance or FISA warrants in a domestic criminal case. It's an interesting read.

Q: The challenges that you’re raising to the wiretap evidence - can you talk about those? Are you making a direct, constitutional challenge to FISA itself?

A: Yeah. There are two levels of challenge. One - of course - is that if there’s NSA evidence involved, as the New York Times suggested that there is, then we’d be challenging the electronic surveillance without the FISA order. But in addition to that, we’d be challenging the Constitutionality of FISA itself, because under the Fourth Amendment ... because it’s quite clear that the FISA warrants, or orders, don’t meet Fourth Amendment requirements. And the question then is, if they don’t meet Fourth Amendment requirements, whether that evidence can be admitted in court. Now there’s no question that if the President carries out this surveillance for the purpose of foreign intelligence, and uses it for foreign intelligence purposes - we’re not challenging that. But we are challenging whether or not that information can be used in a criminal prosecution, because the Fourth Amendment governs criminal prosecutions. And our assertion is that if the evidence is going to be used in a criminal case, then it has to meet Fourth Amendment standards.


Flora Bush - The Third Bush "Twin"

What if Laura Bush had triplets? And the other girl was a Democrat? As Flora Bush puts it, "Hurricanes and black people aren't all my dad ignores."

Check out her music video, "Out of Iraq (And My Room)". It's pretty amusing. Via the Power Liberals.

("Flora" is actually actress/comedienne Karen Weinberg.)


Torture All-Stars

Who are the Notorious Nine who voted for torture? Collect 'em all with the Torture All-Stars!

James Inhofe


SOTU Reaction

You're gonna love it! (Okay, a few of you will despise it. C'est la vie.)