Calling Torture — and “Torture Lawyers” — to Account

Dec 09

Calling Torture — and “Torture Lawyers” — to Account

This column first appeared in the Star Tribune in 2005. Robert Delahunty, a St Thomas School of Law professor mentioned here, remains at St Thomas. The debate over the use of torture — and the lawyers who justified it in official government memos — continues.   Torture doesn’t always start in jail. It starts in memos from “torture...

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A Failed Bishopric: The Servants Strike Back?

Dec 16

A Failed Bishopric: The Servants Strike Back?

Update: With comic good timing, the Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has now been accused of playing patty fingers with the Holy Water…only it’s nothing that amusing. Instead, the Saint Paul police have opened an investigation into an allegation that John Nienstedt fingered a boy inappropriately (there are not really many ways to finger a kid...

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11Years After: Paul Wellstone, Gone But Not Forgotten

Oct 25

11Years After: Paul Wellstone, Gone But Not Forgotten

Paul Wellstone died 11 years ago today, along with his wife, Sheila, and 6 others when their plane went down in northern Minnesota during the final days of an angry, contentious and politically charged election fight against Norm Coleman. Wellstone died, Coleman became a one-term U.S. senator, and Minnesota lost its beating heart. I wrote this for the St. Paul...

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RIP Rod Grams: Once A Senator, Always A Senator

Oct 09

RIP Rod Grams: Once A Senator, Always A Senator

Former U.S. Senator and Twin Cities newscaster Rod Grams has died. In this 2001 story — one of the last informal interviews he gave — Grams rued the loss of his Senate seat to now-Gov. Mark Dayton, and tried to make peace with his past and return to his farm roots. He never seemed comfortable in his skin. From the Pioneer Press: The Summer of His...

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RIP Tom Clancy: He Thought Owning the Vikings Would Be A Public Trust

Oct 02

RIP Tom Clancy: He Thought Owning the Vikings Would Be A Public Trust

Tom Clancy has died, the guy who wrote a book that became one of my favorite movies –”The Hunt for Red October” — and another book that became one of my least favorite films — “Patriot Games.” But the book Clancy DIDN’T get to write is the one that intrigues me most…The story of how he might have run the Minnesota...

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“Redskins” No More? Most Offensive Name In Sports On The Ropes

Sep 25

“Redskins” No More? Most Offensive Name In Sports On The Ropes

Underscoring both the lack of experience and the absence of character in much of today’s media, the recent return of the effort to eliminate the disgustingly racist name of the Washington D.C. NFL team has been treated by many “reporters/writers” as some kind of weird issue that came out of nowhere. Lotsa heads up lotsa butts in the media these...

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St. Thomas Wins The Fight For Its Soul: Gays, Straights, Christians

Sep 16

St. Thomas Wins The Fight For Its Soul:  Gays, Straights, Christians

Virtually no notice has been given to the amazing fact that — after several years of ugly battles, controversial decisions, apologies and hostility — the University of St Thomas in St Paul has stopped brawling. In a remarkable address, new UST president Julie Sullivan, the first woman and first non-clergyman to head the school in its 128 years, signaled...

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Candy Ass Gun-Slingers

Jun 20

Candy Ass Gun-Slingers

The gun-slinging flashers who threatened to bring their guns to town and parade them around openly in Minneapolis and St. Paul have put their warm guns back in their happy pockets and backed down, running away at the first signs of gun-control Mommas and urban bicycling activists. As someone said on my Facebook page: “Buncha candy asses!” The story...

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The Edufication of a Minnesota Catholic Boy

Jun 10

The Edufication of a Minnesota Catholic Boy

My old Catholic grade school, St. James, on Randolph and View in the West Seventh neighborhood of St Paul, is on the ropes: School and church both in mothballs, offered for sale or rent to the next crappy charter school to come down the pike, unless it’s Muslim (Rumor in the neighborhood is that inquiries from a Muslim school were rebuffed). St. James was a...

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Tears, Cheers, High-Fives, Hugs and Sobs

Jun 09

Tears, Cheers, High-Fives, Hugs and Sobs

The 5th and 6th Grade classes at Groveland Park Elementary in St Paul, Minn., left school for the final time on Friday, June 7, 2013, including our son, Mac. The first Leave-taking in their young lives, a big day that is not quite a graduation but still a moment of mixed emotions, basking in the warmth of friends and families, facing the uncertainties of the...

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When Minnesota Groveled for Gorbachev and Lost Its Soul

Jun 03

When Minnesota Groveled for Gorbachev and Lost Its Soul

I wrote this critique of Mikhail Gorbachev’s June 3, 1990 visit to Minnesota two weeks in advance of the actual event. Although I am a well-known Commie (mouth-breathing righties think so), this piece still stands up well: Minnesota’s leaders will go to bed with anyone if it inflates their prestige, and pads their bottom lines. GORBY-GROVELING A BIT...

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God, We’ll Miss Her: Michele Bachmann Turns MN Capitol into House of Gay Bashers

May 29

God, We’ll Miss Her: Michele Bachmann Turns MN Capitol into House of Gay Bashers

I wrote this in 2004, when then- State Sen. Michele Bachmann turned the Capitol into a den of homophobes. Satan raised a hideous hand in the State Capitol on Friday. But the faithful fought back with prayer. State Sen. Michele Bachmann ‘s 10-year-old daughter had taken sick and had been rushed to an emergency room. Bachmann , R-Stillwater, is the author of a...

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Bushwhacking: Michele Bachmann’s Greatest Hits: Spying on the Gay People

May 29

Bushwhacking: Michele Bachmann’s Greatest Hits: Spying on the Gay People

Michele Bachmann has announced that she will not seek re-election to Congress in 2014, bringing joy to many Minnesotans, especially the GLBT community that has so often felt her scorn. From the vault, I reprint this 4-17-2005 column about one of Bachmann’s most notorious antics: Spying on gays from the bushes in front of the State Capitol in St Paul. You may...

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Free At Last: Same-Sex Marriage Victory Rocks St. Paul, Not To Mention Church and State

May 19

Free At Last: Same-Sex Marriage Victory Rocks St. Paul, Not To Mention Church and State

This post is re-published here from www.theuptake.org An estimated 7,000 people partied down in St. Paul Tuesday, coming to the Capitol lawn and braving record 98-degree heat to celebrate the dawn of a new era: Same-sex marriages are now enshrined in law — a law signed under the blazing sun by Gov. Mark Dayton after a week’s worth of impassioned debates...

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Happy 50th to the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band

May 19

Happy 50th to the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band

Over the years, I’ve had a close relationship with the Brian Boru Irish bagpipe band of St. Paul, a band named after the High King of Ireland who defeated the Vikings (defeating the Vikings used to be more difficult in olden times than it is today) at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. I had these good guys play at my wedding reception. They ate all the food...

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