Bill Maher visits Northfield as part of ‘flip’ effort

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Bill Maher

Well, he’s getting publicity for his cause. Kyle Potter of the AP is getting in on the Bill Maher v. John Kline action. “Maher, a self-described liberal, visited Northfield on Tuesday to make his case that voters should dump their six-term GOP congressman this fall. With Republican- and Democrat-leaning panelists flanking him, Maher ridiculed a handful of Kline’s votes and policies — including his support of a proposal to scrap the income tax and replacing it with a 20-plus percent sales tax — as he tried to drive home his message to a friendly crowd. ‘He never says anything crazy, but he votes exactly like crazy people,’ Maher said Tuesday from the Grand Event Center.” 

For the Hollywood website The Wrap, Maher talked with Travis Reilly. “Is the Flip a District experiment only a success if Representative Kline is unseated? No, absolutely not. Going in we knew it was a bit of an uphill battle — by the way, we could’ve picked an easier candidate — but we wanted to pick the guy who is representative of what we think is the biggest problem in Washington. He’s not [Tex. Rep.] Louie Gohmert, he’s not [Minn. Rep.] Michele Bachmann, he’s not [Iowa Rep.] Steve King. He’s not one of these guys who says crazy stuff about legitimate rape or immigrants with calves the size of cantaloupes. That’s not John Kline. He’s a quiet back-bencher who doesn’t say crazy things, who doesn’t draw attention to himself. That’s how he wins — people just don’t know who he is. But when you look at his voting record – it’s exactly the same as the lunatic triumvirate of Bachmann, Gohmert and King.”

In endorsement monitoring: Allison Sherry of the Strib notes, “In a debate early Tuesday in Duluth, GOP House candidate Stewart Mills said it wasn’t accurate to portray him as aligned with the Tea Party. ‘I keep getting accused (of) being a Tea Partyer and I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate,’ Mills said, when answering a question about the virtues of the Keystone oil sands pipeline in a debate with Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan and Green Party candidate Ray ‘Skip’ Sandman. A few hours later, the Tea Party Express threw its support behind Mills.” Which begs the question, “Are you known by who your friends are?”

Also, here’s Strib columnist Jon Tevlin on yesterday’s Nolan-Mills debate. “Despite the rancor of the ads, the debate was generally respectful, though candidates and audience members were shamed into being civil through fliers with rules handed to them before the event. Only in Minnesota. … I didn’t count how many times Nolan referred to ‘millionaires and billionaires,’ but it was a lot. He was implying that Mills’ wealth somehow prohibited him from understanding the middle class. Don’t most voters know that nearly all members of Congress are wealthy?”

Then there’s the Tim Walz-Jim Hagedorn debate in Rochester. MPR’s Catharine Richert says, “at every turn, Hagedorn, who won the GOP primary in August after failing to win his party’s endorsement in June, sought to link Walz to President Barack Obama, who is struggling with low approval ratings. For instance, Hagedorn called Walz a ‘cap-and-trade extremist,’ saying he’d voted against free market principles by supporting environmental regulations. ‘The United States became a great economic power because of abundant reliable, low-cost energy,’ Hagedorn said. ‘[Walz] believes in restricting fossil fuels on public lands, he’s voted to bankrupt the coal companies through EPA regulations.’” That’s the kind of thinking you usually only see in fire-breathing blogs.

More on the likelihood that the Diocese of Winona and possibly others in the state will file for bankruptcy to drive down the cost of the myriad lawsuits filed against them. Martin Moylan at MPR says, “A bankruptcy would freeze litigation against the church, including upcoming lawsuits involving sexual abuse. … [Diocese spokesman Joel] Hennessy indicated assets of Winona parishes, the Catholic Charities of Winona and other legally separated entities would be protected from creditors. He said contributions to local parishes would not be touched.”

And some specifics on the matter, from Jesse Marx at City Pages. “In 2003, a man met with church officials from the Diocese of Winona. When he was younger, he said, Father Sylvester Brown had been his spiritual advisor, but the counselling didn’t last long. The priest’s first session hung on the topic of sexuality and led to questions about whether the man was circumcised. At a later session, Brown asked him to strip naked and get an erection. And when he did, Brown prayed over the man’s genitals. … He’s dead now, but if you’re so inclined you can resuscitate this part of his life in documents. Attorney Jeff Anderson released Brown’s private personnel file Tuesday along with 13 other ‘credibly accused’ priests from the Diocese of Winona.” 

Meanwhile, and for the record.  The PiPress’s Emily Gurnon reports, “The University of St. Thomas has completed its investigation into sexual abuse allegations against former professor the Rev. Michael Keating but insists that before a lawsuit filed last October, neither the current nor former president knew of the allegations, according to a statement Tuesday. Top officials also were unaware of recommendations the Clergy Review Board made in 2007 regarding suggested supervision of Keating … .” Ohhh kaay.

The latest on Viking Tom Johnson’s pepper spraying/tasering/arrest in downtown Minneapolis over the weekend? a video. Again from TMZ, your one-stop shop for NFL news. “Vikings player Tom Johnson says cops left out a big part of the story surrounding his arrest — which is that officers physically assaulted him before taking him into custody … and he’s now come forward with video. … Johnson’s reps say there was no reason for officers to tase him … and they feel that’s obvious from this video the Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle shot on his phone. In the clip … Johnson is recording two officers as they leave the club, and he asks them, ‘Do you feel good about it’? He’s referring to the fact he had just been pepper sprayed.”

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Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/08/2014 - 07:58 am.

    Catholic Diocesan Bankruptcies

    It may, indeed, be the case that Diocese of Winona and other MN Catholic Dioceses are going to end up functionally bankrupt and, therefore, have the right to file for bankruptcy protections for things which were done in the past, sometimes in the very distant past…

    but all of that would go down a good deal more easily if those of us who are NOT Catholic had any sense that the features of Catholic dogma and practice which made abuse of children far too common in the Catholic Church,…

    and made covering up such abuse while allowing priests who were known (or should have been known) to be abusing children to continue to serve,…

    had been identified and CHANGED so that abuse would not start up again as soon as the spotlight has been turned off.

    Unless and until the Catholic Church identifies what it is about their theology of the priesthood, and their theology of the church (both priests and church being seen not as HUMAN individuals and a HUMAN institution,…

    but rather as sacred and holy and, therefore far holier and closer to God than it is, in reality, EVER possible for any human individual or human institution to be)…

    its desire to maintain that illusion of holiness and substitute itself for God’s direct presence and guidance in the hearts and minds of its members and the general population,…

    will mean that anything that might tarnish that illusion will be carefully kept hidden (as it always has been).

    A very great deal of evil can be and is done by those who regard themselves and the institutions they serve as too holy to be capable of evil.

    Meanwhile, I can’t help but wonder why appropriate counseling to heal the wounds of those who have been victimized by the Catholic church and other institutions and individuals has come into play (healing of past wounds rather than revenge-based), not to minimize the church’s liability, but to relieve the continuing suffering of those who have been victimized,…

    some of those victims being the very priests who later went on to abuse children who resembled themselves at the age when their own priest abused them.

    Why has no useful and effective help ever been found for those we hear and see interviewed who are clearly in such anguish, even decades later, over the abuse they suffered,…

    and is the well-known attorney, Mr. Anderson, really seeking to help these victims find appropriate relief for their suffering in order to improve their lives and their quality of life,…

    or is, he, too exploiting these suffering individuals for his own purposes just as surely as their priests did many decades ago?

    Cash settlements and even admissions of guilt on the part of the church and the priest involved, even though appropriate and necessary, do NOTHING to relieve the internal suffering of these victims, and often only enable them to further damage and destroy themselves by enabling them to rehearse whatever dysfunctions and addictions have arisen in response to that abuse.

    • Submitted by Robert Beutel on 10/08/2014 - 10:26 am.

      Non-monetary bankruptcy decisions

      Some of the eleven Chapter 11 bankruptcies of Catholic dioceses included non-monetary mandates. The bishop of Fairbanks was required to visit each of the victim survivors of priest abuse to apologize in person. I believe it was in Davenport that the bishop was required to lobby the Iowa Legislature to lift the statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims; so the civil courts are taking some steps to change the culture which fosters abuse. MPR has a nice summary of the bankruptcies.

      There are First Amendment arguments against forcing the church to change practices such as celibacy, but the counter-argument is that a religious body which puts itself under the protection of civil, secular courts also subjects to the court those practices which interfere with civil, secular interests such as the protection of vulnerable children and avoiding future insolvencies.

      Other Chapter 11 bankruptcies are likely, so stay tuned.

      Member of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, Accountability and Transparency Committee

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/08/2014 - 12:02 pm.

      “…that the features of Catholic dogma and practice which made abuse of children far too common in the Catholic Church…”

      The practice which made abuse of post-pubescent boys far too common in the Catholic Church was that of admitting “celibate” homosexual men to the priesthood.

      That incontrovertible fact, I assure you, is not now and never was held within the dogma and it is a practice which is being quickly stopped.

      As to the sacredness of the church, well, allow me to defer to someone better qualified to explain:

      • Submitted by Tim Walker on 10/09/2014 - 07:07 am.

        Mr. Swift,Many, many

        Mr. Swift,

        Many, many “celibate” heterosexual priests sexually abused girls.

        So instead of focusing on the sexual orientation of the abusers, let’s just call them all sexual predators.

        And, as criminal as the acts of the abusers was, the bigger picture has always been the massive cover-ups by the church hierarchy, which was, and is, also criminal.

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/09/2014 - 07:30 am.

          90% of abuse cases involve pederasty. The cover ups are indeed criminal, and those that are twisting the truth to protect a politically favored sexual minority are as guilty as anyone.

  2. Submitted by E Gamauf on 10/08/2014 - 08:12 am.

    Kline as a Gated Community Stealth Candidate?

    That’s a solid point made about John Kline being a kind of don.
    He doesn’t DO town halls, does he? He doesn’t mingle with the public much.

    This is a poor democracy model if he’s too elite to have ever spent time
    with his constituents en masse.

  3. Submitted by E Gamauf on 10/08/2014 - 08:19 am.

    Tazing & Erectile Prayer

    The assemblage is bizarre today.

    What is going on with the cops in Minneapolis.
    Pepper spray & taze the Vikings player – over what, exactly?

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/08/2014 - 10:29 am.

      Chris Lollie

      Ask Chris Lollie – he might have some thoughts on the matter! (At least where the perceived need to resort to tazing is concerned.)

  4. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 10/08/2014 - 08:25 am.

    Thank you tea party

    Thank you for helping Mr. Mills clarify who he is aligned with. It is hard to deny, when he gets endorsed by the tea party, that he is not a tea partyer. I guess Mr. Mills doesn’t realize that his positions are way out in the fringe of the far right where the tea party resides. Political zealots will never work for the good of everyone, only that special few. Unless your candidate is willing to work in a balanced manner nothing will change in Washington, which is awash in political zealots.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/08/2014 - 09:32 am.

      Most Ironic of All

      If Mr. Mills were to be elected under the rubric of “GOP” he would then go on to work in Washington in ways that are guaranteed to further impoverish and otherwise damage the lives of those “Tea Party” folk who endorsed him.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 10/08/2014 - 11:25 am.

      The “tea party” opportunists

      Isn’t this “movement” about getting on the train early –
      being an early adopter in a temporary movement?

      Instead of clawing one’s way up the ladder of an established party, its a leadership shortcut:
      Making a big show at the start of a marathon – then taking the bus to the finish line.

      The movement is really a fabricated entity & has had no internal structure. We can see this in Michele Bachmann declaring herself the tea party darling in her past election cycle. There was no “tea party” structure to accept or deny her declaration because in most states there is really isn’t that much cohesion.

      This has been a bankroll for radical ideas: its a way for fringe opinions & beliefs to take hold, circumventing a process that depends on vested supporters.

      We only need to notice that this wasn’t truly a grass roots movement.

      A candidate shouldn’t be allowed to reverse their tune based upon who they face, even so far as seek an endorsement & then deny they are aligned with that group.

      There are people who really wanted to believe in the tea party,
      but I don’t think they are seeing it for what it is.

  5. Submitted by Julie Worley on 10/08/2014 - 09:52 am.

    U.S. House Education Chmn John Kline R-MN kills child protection

    20,000 children seek emergency medical treatment from school corporal pain punishment each year.

    Proposed Federal bill H.R. 5005 “The Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act” Cost $0, is languishing in Congress NOW for the 3rd time thanks to U.S. House Education Committee Chairman John Kline’s R-MN belief that our nation’s children’s constitutional rights to equal protection against assault in school is a “States’ Rights Issue”!

    Every 20 seconds of the school day, a child is beaten by an educator. Every 4 minutes, an educator beats a child so severely that she seeks medical attention. According to conservative reporting to the U.S. Department of Education 223,190 students were the victims of institutionalized violence at least once in the 2006-2007 school year, of which over 20,000 sought medical attention. [source: Office for Civil Rights at the US Dept. of Education; Congressional Testimony] Huff Post article by Anthony Adams “223,190 kids legally beaten in schools

    America’s School Spanking Paddles make Adrian Peterson’s switch look like a wet noodle associated w porn! See 2008 Report “A Violent Education” by Human Rights Watch and ACLU for disturbing facts including photos of actual shaved baseball bats used by educators to hit children in America’s taxpayer funded public schools!

    10/2014 Reuters Poll: Americans, spanking is OK, implements are not

    WATCH 3 min. trailer for Documentary Movie “The Board of Education” by Jared Abrams Exposing Violent Pain Punishment of children, even against parents’ wishes, in Public Schools based on where they live, protected by law with no safety standards, no legal redress for families of injured and traumatized children! U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear corporal punishment appeals!

    7/17/2014 USATODAY: “As more schools ban paddling, others defend it”

    Top 5 states for corporal punishment in schools
    Mississippi … 41,146 (students paddled).
    Texas …. 37,290.
    Alabama … 30,061.
    Arkansas … 24,490.
    Tennessee … 16,645.
    Source: Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Base, 2009-2010

    Child Abuse in Schools Protected by Law with tacit approval of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court reported by EdWeek 3/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Latest Corporal Punishment Challenge

  6. Submitted by David Mindeman on 10/08/2014 - 12:21 pm.

    Kline debate?

    You notice that during debate talk there is no mention of a Kline-Obermueller debate? The only one on the docket is an MPR debate, the week before the election. If Maher wasn’t doing something, no one would know there is an actually election in the 2nd District. Come on media.

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