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Minnesota Catholics asked to pay up for anti-gay marriage ads

Rabbis have a word for this. It’s “chutzpah.” Rose French of the Strib reports: “Minnesota Roman Catholics will receive a letter this week from the state’s bishops, urging them to donate money for television ads asking voters to say yes to a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. For many of the more than 400,000 Catholic households expected to get the letter, it marks the first time they’ve been asked by church leadership to make a financial donation to Minnesota for Marriage, the chief group campaigning for passage of the marriage amendment Nov. 6. … In trying to reach every Catholic household in Minnesota, the mailing is “unusual” compared to Catholics’ roles in marriage amendment campaigns in other states, said John Green, a political science professor at the University of Akron (Ohio), who studies politics and religion. ‘I can’t think of anything as direct and as explicit,’ Green said. ‘I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it legally, but certainly I’m sure it’s very controversial. Catholic leaders have been involved in fundraising. I know of examples where they have reached out to parishioners, but I’ve never heard of anything quite this comprehensive.’ ” Now you have.

Joe Senser doesn’t think much of certain prosecuting attorneys. Abby Simons of the Strib writes: “Amy Senser’s attorney argued Monday for her freedom as she appeals her criminal vehicular homicide convictions, while her husband made an even more vocal case for his wife in a defiant statement that accused prosecutors of manipulation and lies. … Joe Senser left the courtroom shortly after the hearing began and was waiting for reporters afterward in the atrium of the courthouse. He repeatedly referred to Freeman as ‘Elected County Attorney Freeman’ and Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Deborah Russell, who prosecuted the case, as ‘Complicit Russell.’ … Joe Senser ended his speech by urging Attorney General Lori Swanson to ‘keep an eye on this.’ He was emotional when he added that although Phanthavong’s family requested he no longer apologize, ‘I want them to know that my family will always honor the memory of Anousone Phanthavong.’ ‘And we are good and decent, hardworking people and I don’t apologize for hard work’, he said. ‘They tried to paint Amy Senser as this rich, white Edina housewife, and nothing could be further from the truth.’

The latest opposition to expanded mineral leases in northeast Minnesota is a citizens’ petition. Steve Karnowski’s AP story says: “Citizens in northeastern Minnesota plan to file a petition Tuesday objecting to the state’s plans to auction off more metallic minerals exploration leases, saying the potential for new prospecting and mining could have a significant impact on the environment. A copy of the petition provided to the Associated Press on Monday asks for the Department of Natural Resources to prepare an environmental assessment worksheet before awarding the leases, saying they could affect trout streams and other sensitive natural resources, drinking water wells, popular recreational trails and property values. More than 140 people have signed it. The DNR announced plans to auction the mineral rights to 64,000 acres earlier this month amid growing interest in the large untapped reserves of copper, nickel and precious metals under northern Minnesota.”

The GleanHigh corn prices have a lot to do with a temporarily closed ethanol plant in Fairmont. Mark Steil of MPR says: “Denver-based BioFuel Energy says it will idle its plant in Fairmont. It’s the second facility in the state to shut down. Last summer Central Minnesota Ethanol in Little Falls halted production. BioFuel Energy last month reported a quarterly net loss of over $12 million. BioFuel Energy says the Fairmont plant, which produces 110 million gallons of ethanol per year, will remain idle until corn prices decline. A second ethanol plant in Nebraska will remain open. In another ethanol development, Gevo will resume fuel production at its plant in Luverne. Gevo began producing isobutanol, another corn-based alcohol, at the facility earlier this year. But Gevo says it has run into some unspecified production problems and will temporarily go back to ethanol.”

Related … Cargill got scammed. Dave Shaffer’s Strib story says: “Cargill Inc., one of the world’s largest commodities traders, says it’s a victim of an obscure type of business fraud involving the sale of fake renewable energy credits. In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New York, Minnetonka-based Cargill said it arranged to buy 1.2 million biodiesel credits, known as RINs, from a New York broker in 2010, only to learn later that the credits were invalid. RINs are part of the federal mandate to blend ethanol and biodiesel into the nation’s motor fuels. Each gallon of biofuel produced gets a renewable identification number or RIN. Companies can use RINs as proof of compliance with the federal biofuel blending mandate.”

The Court of Appeals has rescued an HIV-positive man. Amy Forliti of the AP says: “ [T]he Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of an HIV-positive man who was accused of passing the virus to another man through unprotected sex, ruling that the statute was ambiguous. Daniel James Rick, 31, was convicted last October of attempted first-degree assault under a statute that makes it a crime to knowingly transfer a communicable disease through ‘sexual penetration with another person without having first informed the other person’ of his positive status. … Rick was acquitted under the first part of the statute, because the jury found he disclosed he was HIV positive before having sex with his alleged victim in 2009, but was convicted under the second section.”

Righty blogger Ed Morrissey lays into the Strib and its most recent set of Minnesota Polls: “Over the past couple of years, I’ve been doing a lot of analysis on the “Minnesota Poll”; to put it bluntly, it’s been a travesty since the late 1980s. Its most annoying — or fraudulent, if you’re feeling less charitable — habit is the fact that it always under-reports Republican performance, especially in the polls it releases the Sunday before election day every two years, for Senate, Governor and President as well as key Constitutional referenda.  While the Strib writes this off to statistical noise, analysis shows that this phenomenon has been a universally one-way thing since 1988; it shorts Republican performance at three times the rate it shorts the DFL.  And the closer the election eventually turns out, the more pronounced the tendency; in other words, if the DFL is heading to a complete blow-out (as in the 2006 Senate race), the more accurate the polling turns out to be, whereas in razor-close races (like the 2010 gubernatorial race, in which Mark Dayton beat Republican Tom Emmer by four tenths of a point) the more ludicrously inflated the margin of the poll the Strib drops in that last, vital pre-election paper.”  All those substantiating links are to … Mitch Berg’s “Shot in the Dark” blog.

A word of warning: Do NOT use an ATM in City Center in Vegas … Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib says: “At $2.20 a pop, the Twin Cities has the lowest average ATM surcharge in the nation. A new report out Monday found that ATM operators in the metro area charge 30 cents less than the national average of $2.50 for people other than their own customers to use their machines. The national average, a record, rose 4 percentage points from 2011, according to‘s 15th annual checking survey. It’s the eighth consecutive year the average has increased. The Denver area posted the highest average at $2.80, even higher than New York’s $2.70.”

This is rich. An attack ad by Our Favorite Congresswoman against her DFL opponent, Jim Graves, has been voted as being so outrageous, it earned Graves almost $8,000. At The Daily Kos, the editors write: “Daily Kos really wants to boot Rep. Michele Bachman out of office. That much is clear by your vote yesterday, when out of a field of five candidates, you gave her opponent Jim Graves 41 percent of the Hell to Pay vote. … Bachmann is sometimes an entertaining sideshow in American politics. But what Minnesota, and the nation for that matter, needs right now is not a sideshow. We don’t need a person like Bachmann, speaking from a position as a government official and a member of the Intelligence Committee, to be making such dangerous and crazy allegations. We’ve seen what a poorly produced, obscure YouTube video can do to incite anger and violence in the mid-east. The last thing we need is a representative of the U.S. government saying this kind of [bleep]. That deserves an answer. Hell, being as crazy as Bachmann and spending money on the airwaves to prove it deserves an answer.”

Comments (23)

  1. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 09/25/2012 - 07:27 am.

    It should be noted also

    that Mr. Morrison and Mr. Berg are co-hosts on a Saturday program – with appropriate right wing orientation – on so-called “Patriot” radio.

    When his credentials as a poll critic were questioned this morning, Mr. Berg tweeted:

    “how are you qualified” – because I can read, do math, reeason [sic] and use logic.

    Mr. Berg regularly criticizes any poll that does not give results in line with his political views, e.g. Nate Silver’s New York Time’s Five Thirty Eight results.

    So for those unaware of Mr. Berg’s political leanings, Mr. Lambert’s caveat may not mean much.

    Please consider the source.

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/25/2012 - 08:38 am.

    …I want all Minnesotans to know that at no time during this process did Amy Senser ever try to hide, did she try to get away with an accident that caused the death of Anousone Phanthavong…

    Whoodathunk the 10 day delay, the dancing around of who was driving, the prolonged investigation required, and the trial were all a sincere attempt to accept responsibility? Most people would think waiting at the scene of the accident, or turning oneself in the next morning because of the blood and body bits on the car and a guilty plea would constitute acceptance of the responsibility. Now we know it doesn’t.

    …They tried to paint Amy Senser as this rich, white Edina housewife, and nothing could be further from the truth….

    And she is…???

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/25/2012 - 04:04 pm.

      She played her hand

      and has to live with it. Mr. Senser seems to be having some trouble doing so.

      I suspect that the family lawyers had advised that it was up to the state to prove who was driving and that each of the family members was entitled to stay silent if asked whether theyd been driving. That course is certainly consistent with the way they managed the rest of the defense. Had they all done so, it would have been very difficult to put Amy Senser behind the wheel, much less convict her. When the daughter broke ranks, Amy Senser had no choice but to identify herself, so that’s exactly what she did and no more.

      Both the defense and the prosecution can stand up and take some share of the credit (or lack thereof) that comes with having played to the press/potential jurors/electorate.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/25/2012 - 08:49 am.

    Hard working?

    Did I miss something? Who’s asking the Sensor’s to apologize for hard work? Are the rest of us slackers supposed to be so impressed by their work ethic that we’ll ignore vehicular homicide? This is taking responsibility?

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/25/2012 - 09:05 am.

    I Can’t Help but Wonder At the Bishop’s Lack of Awareness

    In assuming that their moderate-to-liberal members who still cling to the church as a source of spiritual succor and inspiration where they can feel close to God and seek God’s inspiration as to how they should be living their lives, as people have done for two millenia,…

    and who are still there, despite the church structures (little changed from the past) that allowed (and, all things considered, almost guaranteed) a very few dysfunctional members of their clergy would abuse a few of their children with complete impunity,…

    might seek those things elsewhere, now that the Bishops have turned the “mother church” into nothing more than a lobbying arm for their favorite political cause.

    As we so often see in individuals, so it can be for institutions, that the markedly obsessive pursuit of particular, incongruously peripheral issues serves as way to provide distraction from other, far more important issues with which you’d rather not deal (or which you feel incapable of dealing with or lack the authority to deal appropriately with).

    In their individual churches, this makes as much sense as forcing each priest to demand of his parish(es) that they make installing a large new pipe organ their only spending priority, while ignoring that all the roofs that had recently been replaced by the only roofing company the dioceses would allow their churches to use were now leaking like sieves.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/25/2012 - 11:28 am.

      With all due respect, Greg

      You seem to specialize in criticising the religious beliefs of Catholics, which is your right, but I object to your attack on our clergy.

      The Bishops have not “turned” the Church into anything. They are powerless in fact, to “turn it” into anything other than that which Christ Himself made it.

      Fact of the matter is, that uncompromising fidelity is what makes leftists hate the church so profoundly.

      Finally, I realize you have not claimed the authority to speak for all leftists in deciding what constitutes an “incongruously peripheral” issueor what “far more important issues” the Catholic Church should be following, but I question the authority by which you do so even for yourself.

      • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/25/2012 - 12:15 pm.

        Must Have Struck Too Close to Home

        My criticism of SOME Catholic clergy and leadership (though only a very small percentage) is based on my own faith, my reading of scripture, and my strong sense of the presence and action of the Spirit of Christ in the world.

        What I find most offensive in those Catholic leaders (and those of other faiths) whom I criticize is their tendency to hide behind the traditions of the institution they serve (far too often in place of serving the God of Jesus Christ, it appears to me) or their tendency to hide behind particular interpretations of scripture, as if those interpretations, themselves, have, somehow, attained a superhuman position of understanding so far above the limitations from which we humans all suffer as to give them absolute authority in place of the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit,…

        in both cases, (always wrongly) believing that their traditions, their institutional authorization, or their “inerrant” interpretations of scripture give them the right to declare that whatever they believe (or are told to announce on behalf of their sponsoring institution) is God’s own truth, whole and complete,…

        and their tendency to believe that no one, not even the God of Jesus Christ, has the right to ask them to think more deeply or broadly than their already-held positions.

        For any of us to act as if the words we speak come directly from the mind of God and are, therefore, beyond further consideration or question is not an act of faithfulness, but an act of utmost hubris. When we make such claims and act as if they are true, we mock God by leaving no room in our lives, our thought patterns or our prayers for listening to the God we claim to worship and seek to follow.

        To blindly, unquestioningly, follow such leaders is not to worship God, but to worship those leaders, themselves, and the institutions who authorize them. It is nothing short of idolatry.

      • Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/25/2012 - 07:24 pm.

        The Church

        as Christ Himself made it vanished millenia ago, in my opinion. But then, I’m no doubt considered a leftist simply by virtue of holding that opinion.

        The RCC is well within its rights to speak out on any issue it wishes, or to raise funds to advocate for any position it wishes, so long as it does not endorse either a candidate or a party. The fact that its position is dictated by its spiritual doctrines is irrelevant to that point. If it chooses to enter into the public fray, however, it has to stand ready to bear the heat of battle, including the relatively minor irritation of someone questioning its priorities.

        Myself, I ask that public policy not be based on the superstitious extrapolation of the contents of documents put into final form 1600 years ago, which were themselves based on writings some hundreds of years older.

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/25/2012 - 09:27 am.


    The churches mass mailing looks like an act of desperation to me, they must be running low on cash and having difficulty with the usual channels of fund raising. In addition it’s not too smart, it may well trigger equal or even greater donations to amendment foes.

  6. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 09/25/2012 - 09:46 am.

    Joe STILL doesn’t get it

    As Neal outlined, it was the Senser Media campaign to repeatedly reminded us how “moral” they were (in spite of the facts) that turned the public against them. It wasn’t until the daughter held the proverbial gun to their head that the Sensers came forward. Amy had every legal right to take the course of action she did, but by doing so she proved to be anything but “good and decent”. And now using terms like “Elected Official” and “Complicit” it just sounds like Joe’s completely lost it. No one’s arguing that this has been a tragedy for the Senser family, but unless Phanthavong can walk into the courtroom the same way Amy did, there will always be a bigger victim.

  7. Submitted by Susan McNerney on 09/25/2012 - 11:51 am.

    This church seems determined to make itself smaller

    Given how that turned out in places like France, where the churches are tourist attractions and little more, I wonder why they would want that.

  8. Submitted by Rosalind Kohls on 09/25/2012 - 03:42 pm.

    the lies

    When I heard Joe Senser went on a rant about “the lies” the prosecutors told. I was expecting Senser to be specific. Nope. So far, I’ve heard nothing but that, in general, the prosecutors were gulity of lies and manipulation.
    And why one earth would Senser apologize to the Vikings? Senser wasn’t the one who was found guilty, his wife was.

  9. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/26/2012 - 07:29 am.

    “If it chooses to enter into the public fray, however, it has to stand ready to bear the heat of battle..”

    Interesting choice of words James, considering how many Catholics have been burned alive for refusing to disavow their faith.

    I think the church is up to the challenge of leftist boycots and drum circles.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/26/2012 - 08:46 am.

      I can’t help but wonder

      whether the Church has lost more to persecution and bias than it’s taken over the centuries, Mr. Swift. (I was raised on the tales of the saints, but the tales of the Inquisition and other campaigns went unmentioned.) BTW, care to clarify your reference to drum circles? It seems a non sequitor to me.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/26/2012 - 11:06 am.

        Certianly, James…

        I’m alluding to the fact that since Catholics, and clergy as representatives the Catholic church itself, have been subjected to violent, bloody repression throughout much of recorded history, it’s ability to withstand the usual reaction from the left (boycots and drum circles of the sort that have been conducted daily at the Wisconsin state capital), the “heat” which you speak, can be virtually guaranteed.

        Of course the clergy has been guilty of violent repression of it’s own, but in the present context is itself a non-sequitor, or more properly a red herring.

        • Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/26/2012 - 06:03 pm.

          Not at all, Mr. Swift.

          You can’t whine about mistreatment of the Church, as you perceive it, without acknowledging the role of the Church (not simply some clergy) in abuses of past and present, particularly as the effect of its sins continue to be felt today. If nothing else, they point up the fallibility of both the organization and its representatives.

          By the way, I fully expected you to try to distinguish between the Church and the clergy. Yet many of its crimes, recent and otherwise, were committed with the full knowledge and support of the Vatican and, in some cases, at its express direction. How is it that we are to accept its position on this matter as guided by God when it has committed so many sins in God’s name?

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/27/2012 - 06:45 am.

            “How is it that we are to accept its position on this matter as guided by God when it has committed so many sins in God’s name?”

            James, a brief lesson in the majesterium of the church, and it’s relationship to the infallability of the Pope as Christ’s representative on Earth will answer your question.


            • Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 09/28/2012 - 01:00 pm.

              Papal Infallibility

              So, then, everything Pope Alexander VI did (making one of his illegitimate sons an Archbishop and another a Cardinal, endowing his other illegitimate children with rich Church properties and marrying them into the ruling families of Europe to forge alliances for his own benefit, created twelve new cardinals from whom he received 120,000 ducats in return, openly keeping his mistress in the Vatican) was Christ’s Infallible Vicar in action?

              As to your claim about Catholics being burned for their faith, how about some real numbers of how many Catholics were killed by Protestants and vice versa? “Bloody Mary” (Queen of England before Elizabeth 1) got her name by burning 280 Protestants at the stake for refusing to convert to Catholicism, and the horrors of the Inquisition are so well-documented that even torture-porn maven Mel Gibson won’t touch them.

              The Church has a bloody and mucky history which you ignore at your own peril. Find what consolation you can from its teachings; nobody will deny you that. But do NOT presume to set up Catholic dogma as some sort of moral authority over the rest of is who can perhaps see it more clearly than you do from the inside.

  10. Submitted by J'M S on 09/26/2012 - 01:30 pm.

    Catholics and anti-gay marriage ads

    Time for the Catholic Church to start paying taxes – – NOW!

  11. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/26/2012 - 02:12 pm.

    One man’s observation….

    Leftists, frustrated with an inability to “put the boots” to the Catholic church in the usual fashion (protests, boycotts, whisper campaigns, intervention of left leaning, activist jurists & etc), most often reach for taxation as an instrument of punsihment for the church, and succor for themselves….I couldn’t agree with the underlying philosophy more, but oh, the irony!

    • Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 09/28/2012 - 01:03 pm.

      “taxation as an instrument of punishment for the church”

      The contract of America with its churches goes two ways: Churches stay out of government, and government stays out of the churches. WHAT THIS MEANS is that churches aren’t taxed, in return for not meddling with government (this nation was, after all, founded by people fleeing an iron-fisted combination of entwined Church and State). So, if the church can’t keep up its end of the bargain, it should not expect to continue to receive the attendant benefits for no return. Talk about a lack of Good Faith!

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/01/2012 - 07:03 am.

        Actually Steve,

        This country was founded by people fleeing iron-fisted persecution against their faith. I know this is hard for many leftists to understand, but the idea of the church\state seperation was, and is, to protect people of faith from government intrusion, not the other way around.

        The mission of any church is to influence the behavior of the people in order to ensure good character. That most definately includes influencing the direction of the government we vote for. The rules under which it accomplishes that goal are clear, and the Catholic church abides by them.

  12. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 09/27/2012 - 10:15 am.

    Old thoughts may still be relevant here, maybe?…

    I have watched little men with glad eyes squatting like children… pounding away, complete with steel hammer, an untarnished nail and two lengths of polished mahogany. They have crossed the two boards and each, in his individual manner is struggling to form a stable form of carpentry.

    One fellow hits his thumb and a drop of blood stains the polished surface of the board. Feverishly he cleans it with his pink felt cloth. His glad eyes lose their glow for only a moment. He returns to his labor and with his companions, continues to pound…for every man is determined to surpass his friend. Every man is determined to bear the better cross…B J-K The Little Men With Glad Eyes, 1953

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