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Gag order lifted in Brodkorb case

We may soon be deep in TMI. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib reports: “A federal magistrate judge decided that the gag order, imposing silence on all sides in the case of ex-state Senate employee Michael Brodkorb, should be lifted. ‘While confidentiality in settlement negotiations is important, the Court is not of the opinion that all communications regarding the lawsuit in general should be prohibited,’ said the order. … The gag order was imposed when the parties were in settlement talks. According to the order, they met in settlement talks but ‘no settlement was reached and no further settlement discussions are presently scheduled.’ The new freedom to talk may mean the case will take on a higher profile, just as Republicans and Democrats are scramble to win control of the Senate in the Nov. 7 election.” On behalf of everyone in the local press, “Thank you, your honor.”

You’ll be able to rack up about 10,000 frequent flier miles if you attend a Vikings home game next year. ESPN’s story, by Adam Schefter, says: “The Minnesota Vikings will play a home game at Wembley Stadium in London sometime in September next season, according to league sources. The announcement is expected to be made at Tuesday’s NFL owners meetings in Chicago. It also could be the first of more Vikings home games in London, though the league still wants to see how this game with Minnesota works out before giving the team another home game in London in 2014 as part of the NFL’s expanding International Series, according to the sources.”

Did you catch Frank Bruni’s New York Times column on Michele Bachmann’s half-sister, Helen LaFave, who is gay? “The two women once shared confidences. They’re family. Some 40 years ago, Michele’s mother married Helen’s father, and when Michele was in college, the house she returned to in the summer was the one where Helen, then finishing high school, lived. Helen craved that time together. ‘I remember laughing with her a lot,’ she told me in an interview on Thursday in her home here. … Michele, now waging an unexpectedly tight re-election campaign for her House seat, didn’t respond to a request for an interview for this column. She and Helen have seen each other at family events twice in the last year or so, Helen said, but Helen hasn’t insisted on a talk, because it seems pointless to her. On one of those occasions, she recalled, Michele said ‘I love you,’ and Helen said it back. But Helen’s more confused by that than ever.”

Veteran Republican Annette Meeks can’t say enough bad things about the North Star rail line in a Strib commentary: “Five years ago, I served as chairman of the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Committee. I have to admit I was very skeptical about spending precious transit resources to test commuter rail in the Twin Cities. And now, after nearly three full years of Northstar service, it appears that the skeptics were right: Northstar has failed to meet ridership projections, even during its first full and widely promoted year of operation. Starting in 2010, Northstar Commuter Rail debuted with 183,000 fewer passengers than projected. I realize that no transit-rail line in the country comes close to covering its operating costs. But Northstar continues to defy even the most modest ridership expectations.”

The GleanJim Spencer of the Strib has a story on Cargill paying attention to the fuel efficiency of ships it uses to transport commodities: “Cargill will determine which vessels to charter using a seven-tier rating system. The system ranks individual ships in each class of the world’s commercial fleet. Ratings go from most to least energy efficient. Cargill and two other pioneers — Huntsman Corp. and UNIPEC UK — have pledged not to use vessels in the two least efficient categories. ‘There are some [energy-efficient] technologies out there,’ said Tom Beney, president of Cargill Ocean Transport USA, a Cargill subsidiary. ‘We want to put a stake in the ground and say let’s try some of these things. There’s a lot of talk and not a lot of action.’ ”

Also in the Strib, Lutheran Bishop Herbert Chilstrom writes an open letter to his “friend,” Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt. “On the marriage amendment, you are described in the media as having ‘drawn the line.’ In my judgment, you have drawn the line at the wrong place. I recognize your authority in formulating positions for your own flock in Minnesota. That is one thing. But for you and others to campaign for an amendment that imposes your stance on all citizens in Minnesota, including other Christians, believers of other faith groups and nonbelievers, is overstepping your bounds.” The part where he compares Archbishop Nientstedt to Pope Innocent II is a particularly sharp jab.

Peter Nelson of the Center of the American Experiment has a thumbs down attitude toward requiring Xcel Energy to continue subsidizing solar installations. In an MPR commentary, he says: “[Commerce] Commissioner [Mike] Rothman ordered Xcel to continue spending money on Solar Rewards. This order is an astonishing abuse of power. No fair reading of state statute can justify Rothman’s actions. The absurd legal justification Rothman put forward is even thinner than the Dayton administration’s day care unionization arguments that a judge tossed out last spring. The order is also just plain bad and counterproductive policy. Rothman’s order argues that ‘there is a significant public interest in continuing Solar Rewards.’ He claims the program provides economic benefits by creating jobs in the solar industry and provides environmental benefits by adding cleaner, renewable energy to Minnesota’s energy portfolio. There is no question that Solar Rewards is a jobs killer for Minnesota.”

How’d you like to grow a 1,450-pound pumpkin and … lose the fattest pumpkin contest? Emily Cutts of the PiPress reports: “A little rain couldn’t keep the giant pumpkins away at Saturday’s Stillwater Harvest Festival. The winning pumpkin, grown by John Barlow of Gays Mills, Wis., weighed in at 1,462 pounds. Barlow beat out 31 other giant pumpkins for the title. The second- and third-place pumpkins weighed 1,450 pounds and 1,444 pounds, respectively. The average weight of the 10 heaviest pumpkins ranked among the top five pumpkin weigh-offs across the nation, said Joe Ailts of the St. Croix Growers Association.”

Paul Demko at Politics in Minnesota has a story cautioning opponents of the constitutional gay marriage ban against undue optimism. He writes: “[B]efore marriage amendment opponents pop the champagne, they should consider another wrinkle unique to the issue: In states across the country, pre-election polls have consistently underestimated support for gay marriage bans. A 2010 study by New York University political science professor Patrick Egan looked at a total of 167 surveys conducted in the six months prior to Election Day on 32 different gay marriage ballot measures around the United States. He determined that, on average, the polls underestimated support for same-sex marriage bans by 7 percentage points. In North Carolina, for instance, the most recent state to adopt a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage, the final pre-Election Day poll conducted by Public Policy Polling determined that the measure was backed by 55 percent of likely voters. It ultimately prevailed with 61 percent of the vote. ‘North Carolina had a result that was almost perfectly predicted by that paper in the first place,’ Egan noted. ‘For all intents and purposes, our best guess is that that dynamic is still in place.’ ”

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Comments (18)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/15/2012 - 07:08 am.

    Center for the American Experiment?

    Is, in reality, better described as the center for preserving the profits of last century’s energy companies (who likely fund most of it’s efforts).

    After all, why should America more forward to deal with the needs and realities of tomorrow when some of us are making so much money keeping it locked in the past (and ignoring the known future problems that will inevitably occur if we are successful at preventing progress).

    Some of those big money maker’s grandchildren are very likely to curse their grandparents for the problems those grandchildren have to deal with all because their grandparents loved money and power more than honesty, integrity, or preserving this beautiful world for their own grandchildren to live in.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/15/2012 - 09:22 am.

    The opportunity

    …to see M. Brodkorb dragged through the mud is appealing, but watching leftist muckrakers get down in the pit to dig for the juiciest dirt will be a real bonus!

    With all due respect, former bishop Herbert’s authority to lecture Catholics ended in AD 1521. Also, it occurs to me that his own flock could use some attention.

    • Submitted by Jim Camery on 10/15/2012 - 02:15 pm.

      don’t type too quickly

      And who pops up as an unlikely “leftist muckraker?” Cyndy Brucato!

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 10/15/2012 - 08:06 pm.

      And Nienstadt’s authority to lecture

      Anyone ended in 1521, if not earlier. As far as “flocks” I think local Catholics would prefer the money spent on Nienstadt’s crusade to have gone to local parishes.

  3. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/15/2012 - 09:56 am.

    Mr. Brodkorb’s attorney

    might want to put that gag back in place. Brodkorb was quoted in the Press this morning claiming that he was fired as part of a power grab conspiracy, intended to dethrone Amy Koch.

    Which is it Mr. Brodkorb, illegal discrimination or politics?

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/15/2012 - 10:21 am.

    A Parallel in the Practice of Communion

    Since the leadership of the Catholic church feels so completely justified in forcing their own religious perspective on marriage on those of other faiths (or no faith), how about we consider the possibility of how that might be done with them?

    There are currently several different perspectives regarding what happens during the rite that some churches call communion and others call the eucharist,…

    however, by the traditions of their church and the language they use, my Catholic brothers and sisters practice symbolic cannibalism each week as part of their mass.

    I count myself among thousands of people who find cannibalism to be completely offensive and prohibited by the Bible, itself. It is HIGHLY offensive to me that Catholics include the symbolic practice of cannibalism in their worship. The very idea runs the risk of corrupting our society to the point where we come to believe that cannibalism is not only acceptable but honorable.

    Therefore, I believe we need a constitutional amendment to prohibit any churches or other religious organizations from using language and symbolism which refers to cannibalism in their ceremonies and rites. Only by such a constitutional amendment can we protect ourselves and future generations from the corrupting influence of cannibalism on our society.

    Just because it was many centuries ago that the Catholic church converted “do this in remembrance of me,” from a simple reminder of Jesus’ life, ministry and actions in First Century Judea into a cannibalistic magical rite by which those who consume the body and blood of Christ might win their salvation (while all those who do not do so or who are denied the Eucharist by the church are relegated to eternal damnation),…

    does not make it any less barbaric.

    Of course such a position as I’ve described, having been held by several different stripes of Protestants during The Reformation, and many other branches of Christianity, here in the US not so long ago, has been laid to rest in the name of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence, and I certainly would not support such a position, myself,…

    but it does represent what could easily happen if we allow our “conservative” friends to dictate, in this year’s constitutional amendment, that ONLY their perspective on marriage be allowed in the State of Minnesota.

    The same could be done TO them on many aspects of Catholicism and/or Conservative Christianity that more moderate people find offensive.

    I would suggest that, for the protection of their OWN faith, our “conservative” friends might want to vote NO on this amendment because of the precedent it sets – enshrining one particular religious perspective in our constitution, a precedent which is likely not to serve ANY of us religious folk well in the long run.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/15/2012 - 11:45 am.


      I hope Mr. Kapphan doesn’t mind if I share this soon-to-be classic with a few of my friends.

      • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/15/2012 - 01:50 pm.

        Be My Guest

        But please remember that I would never support such a hypothetical restriction on my Catholic friends and neighbors as I proposed in my example.

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/15/2012 - 02:36 pm.

          Sure sure

          But you *do* stand by your opinion that the Catholic communion is barbarism, right?

          • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/15/2012 - 06:50 pm.

            I Find Such a Deep Need to Misquote Quite Sad

            And clearly a defense mechanism used to push away and not consider points of view that are too uncomfortable for you.

            I remain completely agnostic regarding the Catholic version of communion. I don’t believe it makes even the slightest difference to God or to Jesus what we say or what we believe when we partake of communion (no matter how much difference it makes to “the church”). I have taken communion in Catholic and other churches with no ill effects (for the universe, for the God of the universe, for God’s son, Jesus of Nazareth, for the officiating clergy, for the well being of the congregation or denomination, nor for myself).

            What makes a difference, is whether I do as Jesus asked his disciples to do at their last supper together, “remember me,” which I take to mean that, to the best of my ability, under God’s direct inspiration and guidance, through the ever-present Holy Spirit, using Jesus as my example, I am to embody Jesus in the way I live my life, minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, year-by-year,…

            in the full knowledge that, with all other humans, I am always limited and incomplete in my ability to remember and honor Jesus in this way.

            To live a Christian life, then, requires my constant PERSONAL effort in seeking to sense and respond to God’s inspiration and guidance while comparing those things that seem to be inspiration to what I know of Jesus from the Gospels.

            Anything you, or I, or those we accept as leaders, both current and historical might like to refer to as “truth,” is, at the very least, incomplete, often time-limited, (as Jesus, himself, made clear in the corrections of earlier interpretations of scripture and beliefs he offered the Chief Priests, Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees in First-Century Judea – who also believe themselves to be the arbiters of eternal, unchanging truth). Human “truth” is just as often misguided, and far too often based on what those expounding “truth” desperately want that “truth” to be.

            In my experience of faith, we do not gain entry to preferred positions in the life which follows this one by choosing to believe any particular human interpretations of “truth.” We are not called to place our faith in such “truth” but in God and God alone (while keeping in mind what Jesus taught us about the nature of God as a loving, caring, merciful dad, (NOT an angry, dysfunctional, tyrannical old king).

            Placing our faith in anything but God, including wonderfully charismatic leaders and/or ancient religious denominations is a lazy person’s way out, and amounts to idolatry in that we make those institutions or leaders primary, and cling to them while we ignore whatever God might be inspiring us to be and do personally among the people who surround us each day and, thereby, leave the work we, ourselves, should be doing as Christians up to those others.

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/15/2012 - 10:35 am.

    An open letter to my Roman Catholic friends.

    I had posted the following to my FB page this morning, before encountering Bishop Chiulstrom’s letter here. For what it’s worth:

    I attended my sister-in-law’s wedding this weekend, in Wahpeton, ND, where I was struck by the obvious commitment to and love of his religion displayed by Father Pete, a tall, gangly, bearded priest who’d flown in from Hot Springs, SD, to officiate. As I sat there, wearing my “Vote No” wristband, it struck me that he might be a priest with whom I could have a discussion on the church’s position on gay marriage.

    Unfortunately, Father Pete had to get back in the air before dark and I didn’t get a chance to start that discussion. Among the things I wanted to know was whether any pope has ever spoken “ex cathedra” or “from the chair of Peter” on the subject. It is only when a pope does so that he is believed to be speaking infallibly.

    I did some research of my own this morning and was surprised to learn that no pope has spoken on gay marriage in this fashion. In fact, I learned that popes have so spoken on only two issues, both about Mary: her
    immaculate conception and her bodily assumption into heaven. See

    I’m obviously no theologian and I understand that the Roman Catholic Church has any number of other methods of promulgating it’s doctrines. I pass this along, however, for those Roman Catholics among my FB friends here in Minnesota who are wrestling with how they will vote on the proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution which would define marriage as between one man and one woman.

    If the pope has not spoken infallibly on this issue, must you follow his command? I leave that to you to decide. But if the church has left the door open to the possibility of error on the subject, please consider whether you can in good conscience close the door to civil marriage for others who do not share your beliefs.


  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/15/2012 - 11:53 am.

    It’s called the Magisterium

    It is the teaching authority of the church.

    Ex cathedra is used when the Pope feels the church needs the direct guidance of Christ. It is the fulfillment of the promise Christ made to Peter.

    In the case present, I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to suggest that the informed conscience of faithful Catholics doesn’t need an emergency intervention.

    The truth is prima facie.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/15/2012 - 02:32 pm.

      I see that Mr. Swift is now a (Catholic) theologian…

      Actually, Mr. Swift, there are at least two “flavors” of magesterium…

      There is the fallible or ordinary magisterium as well as the infallible sacred magesterium.

      You might want to do a little more research on this matter before pontificating.

      And of course, despite church teachings on such matters as contraception, the faithful vote with their feet in overwhelming numbers on such matters. It would be a small Catholic church, indeed, if everyone hewed to the party line you preach.

      As for the truth being prima facie:

      Same sex marriage is found around the world, including in Canada. The predominantly Catholic (70%) country of Spain permits same sex marriage, having enacted such legislation in 2005.

      Our constitution provides for separation of church and state and the archbishop should not be attempting to interfere in civic – not religious – matters.

  7. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/15/2012 - 12:31 pm.

    Till I’m Blue In The Face

    I’ll not be holding my breath until The Center For The American Experiment calls for removing all government subsidies from the petroleum industry, not the least of which is billions of dollars spent by the Pentagon in Middle Eastern and Asian adventures.

    After the local stadium debates in recent years, I know not to expect consistency in conservatives’ criticism of private industry feeding at the public trough.

  8. Submitted by Sara Fleets on 10/15/2012 - 02:35 pm.

    Catholic with an informed conscience

    I am Catholic. Much of my education was via Catholic institutions. I am devastated at the hurt the marriage amendment is bringing to families. I am very weary of the argument that “if you don’t like the rules, then leave.” It is MY church, too. WE are the church.

    God and the Holy Spirit work in miraculous ways. The message I hear from God after much study and soul searching is “vote no”. Why is it that if I have made this decision, some Catholics say I am automatically wrong? How could this discussion be happening in the Catholic Church if not for the work of the Holy Spirit?

    As Rep. Steve Simon said in last April, “How many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves if he wants them around?” If you believe we are all made in the likeness of God, then people who are gay are also made in the likeness of God. There is no caveat to that. Would God really create a person with the intention that they would not be able to be authentically true? That they would not be welcome and entitled to a loving, committed and intimate relationship?

  9. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 10/15/2012 - 02:37 pm.

    On navedwellers, clergy etc…and the voting booth.

    Seems like religion still clings like lint on a clerical collar, to warn the nave dwellers what to think; what or whom to vote for?

    Chilstrom is far a more open-minded – or is the word, “liberated” – yet he uses the term “flock’…archaic indeed? So who’s the shepherd ; Herb or J.C…and whose the ‘sheep’?

    And always wondered too, when Lutherans added a dog collar…isn’t that old European hierarchy revealing past hierarchical natures of the church; whichever ‘the church’?

    God is great and god is good…god, I wish I understood…Vote in the voting booth,. Pray in an upper room,hey?

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