Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (9-29)

It's open thread Friday. Place your comments below.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Banned, Challenged, and Assigned 2006

I almost forgot it was Banned Books Week! Here is a link to last year's post. My guest posting gig at SCSU Scholars included this entry. There is a weird story from Woodbury, Minnesota that happened since last year's celebration. Finally, I reviewed a supposedly banned book and compared it to The Lottery.

Seasons Greetings and Happy Banned Books Week!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

Check out this website covering 5000 years of history.

Hat tip, Janet Beihoffer.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Race, Color, or Creed

Here is a link to George Will's column on the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Himself, His Unit, and the United States Army

SFC Paul Smith would have turned 37 today. Read more about the posthumous Medal of Honor here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (9-22)

Your turn. What are your thoughts? If you have a comment, enter it below. Not a request for me to comment on something, but your own thoughts.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Reading, Writing, and Flag Burning II

Here is an update to my post about the teacher who burned a flag in the classroom to get his students to write about free speech. It appears that he will not face criminal charges.

Still no answer to my question about another form of protected speech in the classroom.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Reading, Writing, and Flag Burning

I meant to write about this story a few weeks ago. Dan Holden, a teacher in Jefferson County, Florida, burned a flag in front of his middle school students to "motivate his students for a weekend writing assignment on the freedom of speech."

What is your opinion of the legality of his actions. Free speech, right?

Let's say that Mr. Holden decided to exercise another one of his First Amendment rights. What if he decided to pray in class to demonstrate Free Exercise of Religion?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Chevy, Gilda, and John II

Was the post below too obscure? Did anyone get the reference? A shark that uses its fins to "walk." Never mind (another SNL reference).

In other popular culture news, The Price Is Right celebrates an anniversary. There are many things to remember about Bob Barker and his pricing games. One seemingly small aspect is the number of military personnel who wear their dress uniforms to the studio. If they are called to "come on down" to contestant's row, Bob will note their rank, branch of service, and how many years the enlisted have served based on the hash marks on their sleeves.

In this era of "I support the troops," it is important to remember that servicemen were not always applauded as they walked through airports. In the 1970s at a soundstage in Hollywood, Bob Barker made it cool for the troops to wear their dress uniforms. Ding, ding, ding. Bob is a winner.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Chevy, Gilda, and John

Black, White, and Red-Handed, Part III

The "shrimp boil" controversy continues. Here is a letter to the editor in today's Minnesota Lawyer newspaper:

This week I read with dismay the article in the Star Tribune about the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL) shrimp boil gathering as explained by Katherine Kersten, the Star Tribune columnist. How is it that in 2006 we as lawyers can tolerate discrimination of any kind in our legal community?

The MABL celebration and summer social was described by Kersten as being limited solely to minority attorneys, minority summer associates and minority law students ... no other guests please! If this association receives funding from our bar association, it should be eliminated if the statement is accurate that the group is practicing blatant and inexcusable discrimination and bigotry. We must not accept bigotry at any level in the legal community and funding and tolerance must stop for any segregated activities.

It is hypocritical of Jerry Blackwell to oppose Maslon’s application to Diversity in Practice, when he apparently is helping sanction discriminatory activities by our local bar groups.

— Jodi Langhorst,

Prior Lake, Minn.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (9-15)

Hey Gang. It's Open Thread Friday once again. Give me your own thoughts (as opposed to a demand for what I should blog about) in the comments section below.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Old, Borrowed, and Blue

I got a link from Marty Andrade. He is looking at Amy Klobuchar's record as Hennepin County (Minneapolis and Suburbs) Prosecutor. Nothing to add, except to link to his post.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

September, October, and November

I don't know what to think about the primary election results. This is a rare mid-week open thread. Give me your thoughts about the primary and general election in the comment section below.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Blois, Quarters, and Bob Newhart II

I forgot to post about the latest in the Blois Olson drinking game. Every time that Blois is on some sort of political panel and says that Governor Pawlenty is "in trouble," you drink a shot.

Designate a driver if you are going to watch the "At Issue" episode from a week ago Sunday. Asked by host Tom Hauser whether it was inevitable that Governor Pawlenty would exceed the spending limits, thereby forgoing public funding for his campaign, Blois had this to say:

"It's inevitable because he's in trouble and he knows he needs as much money as possible to bail himself out of this."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Black, White, and Red-Handed II

I know, I'm a troublemaker. Kathy Kersten of the Star Tribune picks up on the story of the exclusion of the Maslon Edelman law firm from Twin Cities Diversity in Practice. The rationale was that minority attorneys would not want to join a firm that fought affirmative action on behalf of a client. The objection to Maslon was raised by the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, who held a controversial "Cajun Shrimp Boil" in July.

Larry Purdy, a Maslon attorney who helped try the Michigan cases, shakes his head over the double standard at work here. "The idea that any group, particularly a group of lawyers, could be sponsoring an intentionally racially segregated event in 2006 is astonishing to me," he says.

Peter Swanson is a black Twin Cities attorney who was instrumental in bringing this sorry episode to light. He sees a larger problem with the two organizations' views on race.

"They seem to promote a stereotype that all members of certain racial groups think alike," he says. "Apparently, these organizations aren't interested in diversity. They are not interested in recruiting and retaining all minority lawyers -- just the ones with the proper attitudes."
As I stated in this post, the irony is that the Michigan Law School ruling (viewed as a victory for affirmative action supporters) was based, in part, on the notion that you need sufficient numbers of minorities in a law class to prove to the majority that minorities don't all think alike. Therefore, it follows that some minorities would be excited to work for Maslon because they would agree with the challenge to affirmative action.

Another irony is that one of the Maslon attorneys in the Michigan case (not Larry Purdy or Kirk Kolbo) represented the state bar association in a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court petition to require attorneys to take sensitivity training.

The Cajun Shrimp Boil homepage link has been removed from the MABL website, but the PDF file is still there as of this posting. There is a google cache and yahoo cache of the homepage link, as well.

Whew. I promise to return to light-hearted stuff soon. Right after Banned Books Week is over at the end of this month.

SwanBlog home.
Star Tribune, Endorsements, and Bias III

After the Star Tribune's endorsement of Mike Erlandson to be the Democrat nominee for Minnesota's 5th congressional district, there was this:

Editor's note: Today marks the first of the Star Tribune's endorsements in a handful of primary races in districts with open seats. Our comments are reserved for primary contests that are unusually hard-fought or decisive for the November general election.

Translation: They use the endorsement when it could affect the outcome. Nothing for informational purposes -- just the important stuff. That is the theory I advanced here. In a general election, they will only endorse a Republican if it doesn't make a difference in the outcome. No Republican endorsements in close races.

As a follow-up to yesterday's post about the Star Tribune's candidate page, Alan Shilepsky reports that a candidate could fill in the blanks with a group endorsement, but that most of the choices offered were left-leaning.

I assume that the Strib keeps better tabs on group endorsements after the 1992 election in which kooky candidate Mary Jane Rachner listed a fake endorsement which, when read aloud, was an anti-homosexual slur. Scroll down this page to read it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Star Tribune, Endorsements, and Bias Part II

In this post, I talked about the bias in the Star Tribune's candidate endorsement process. Essentially, the Strib will endorse Republicans only if the outcome is not in doubt. This means that the GOP is worthy of endorsement if the candidate will win easily, or if he/she will lose easily. There shall be no endorsement of Republicans in close races!

Local candidate Alan Shilepsky completed the questionnaire for the Star Tribune website. A candidate can list endorsements of various organizations. Alan noted a certain ideological disparity among the organizations listed:

Abortion Rights Council
American Federation of Teachers
Building and Construction Trades Council
DFL Feminist Caucus
DFL Party
Education Minnesota
Freedom Club
GOP Feminist Caucus
Grassroots Party
Green Party of Minnesota
Independence Party of Minnesota
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life
Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association
National Association of Social Workers
Progressive Minnesota
Republican Party of Minnesota
Sierra Club
Stonewall DFL
Taxpayers League of Minnesota
Teamsters DRIVE
United Auto Workers

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday

Labor Day open thread. Tell us what's on your mind in the comments section below.