Thursday, April 14, 2005

Is Sen. Michelle Bachman gaining empathy for gay people? 

I doubt she'll see the connection, but I like John Medeiros' point.

Fear and loathing
"Having read your April 13 front-page article 'Gay-marriage issue finds lightning rod,' I can only say that I think it is a shame that state Sen. Michele Bachmann has to live in daily fear of her personal safety simply because of someone else's hatred.

But then again, now she knows what the rest of us feel like.

John Medeiros, Minneapolis"

Maybe Sen. Paul Koering can explain to Sen. Bachman why he's felt he had to live in the closet and VOTE AGAINST HIS OWN CIVIL RIGHTS in order to be a 'normal' Republican?

GOP Sen. Paul Koering reveals he's gay: "On April 7, the second anniversary of the death of his mother, Koering said, he was faced with yet another vote on the gay marriage issue. This one was an effort by state Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, to call up the bill on the Senate floor, even though it had not been approved and sent to the floor by the appropriate committees. The effort failed, and many observers noticed that Koering for the first time voted with foes of the marriage ban.

'I was very emotional that day. My mom always taught us, my three older brothers and my older sister, to do the right thing. ... And I was thinking that it was just wrong to go away from the normal procedure we do in the Senate.'

Although Koering insists that procedure was the main reason for deviating on that vote, he does acknowledge that his sexual orientation "might have" been a factor in at least a slight evolution on the issue recently."

So, the problem wasn't Sen. Bachman's effort to further discriminate against gay people in Minnesota, but breaking from Senatre procedures? Sen. Koering, you're out of the closet now, you're going to have a HARD time getting relected in Brainerd. Loosen up, be candid, vote your concience, and start looking for a home in Minneapolis.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

What about the workers? 

Interesting observations by Jonas LaMattery-Brownell about the Mill City Museum. Along the same lines, there is copy on a sign along the Stone Arch Bridge stating that unions had a hard time getting started at the mills because they workers were treated so well. Sounds like the mill's inheritance may be suffering from revisionist history-itis.

What about the Workers

I recently visited Minneapolis for the first time, just for a few days to see my sister and get a break from my mold back in Oakland, California. I ended up going to one museum repeatedly (the big free one; we don't have such things where I live in the Bay Area), and another just once - the Mill City Museum. They do like their boosterism thick there, now, don't they? The virtual eradication of any sliver of a notion of labor strife, discontent, or worker self-organizing for change at the exploding-factories-won't-stop-me Washburn 'A' Mill, the evident primal powerhouse for the economy of Minneapolis, was one thing (it is hard not to wonder whether the over-14-hours-a-day workers really were purely "steady, industrious men with no bad habits and small ambitions"), but invoking lines from Sylvia Plath and Jean Toomer in a . . . chapel of wheat. now there's an absurdity that can really rival reality!

-Jonas LaMattery-Brownell
Oakland, CA

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