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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Rep. Mark Olson: Victim of Biblical Assault

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/10/07 16:32, Edited: 07/10/07 18:05

by Dave Mindeman

Take a fundamentalist Christian guy, add a wife who is sick of the "The Lord says you must be submissive" BS.....add in his job as a Representative in the Minnesota House... throw in the press and ...voila!.....you have the probable background of the case of Rep. Mark Olson.

I have known several fundamentalist Christians in my life.... and I have observed how they think. Here is usually how it goes.

When a fundamentalist guy gets married, he usually marries a woman who is basking in the glow of Christian understanding of how a marriage should be.... you know, the wife can suggest things but the final decision is always with the man. She dutifully takes care of what he allows her to take care of. If she works outside the home (in rare instances), it is only because he has decided it is best for the family. Sometimes this "marriage order" goes on for a long time.... sometimes the man finally "gets it" and realizes this is not a real marriage and forgets the, my way or the highway, idiocy.

Sometimes the guy doesn't get it.... and the wife eventually rebels. That puts the two spouses at loggerheads and something has to give.

In this fundamentalist world, the man uses some absurd rationalizations to defend his behavior... after all, he is merely putting into practice what God has ordained. He makes a decision that the wife disagrees with.... generally, he simply ignores her. Of course, that will probably infuriate a woman who is fed up with this idiocy and could lead to some interesting problems.

In Rep. Mark Olson's case, it looks like he became the victim of:

Biblical Assault.

His lawyer relays some general encounter that sounds something like this: Mr. Olson is quietly reading his Bible.... (probably ignoring his wife as usual).. and she suddenly erupts. She grabs his Bible and throws it at him. GASP!

Now the severity of this ghastly act will be heavily dependent upon whether the Bible was a King James or Revised Standard Version. King James is always worse because it is closer to the original text.

Now the timeline of events is still to be determined. When the "Biblical" missle was fired or when Mark Olson "pushed" his wife is still up in the air. But in the mind of the fundamentalist, this kind of perverted act can justify a high degree of retaliation. After all, no one uses the Word of God as an assault weapon.

Maybe there was a time when Mark Olson had to physically restrain her.... maybe he had his own "reasons" for putting her firmly in the "proper place". We will find out the full background on all this during the trial.

But, a pretty good clue about Mark Olson's frame of mind comes from the defense attorney statement about his "confession":

"Clark (the defense attorney) said police misinterpreted as a confession, Olson's expression that --- because of his religious beliefs -- he was responsible for his family's behavior as head of the household."

It's OK, Mark, the rest of us are perfectly willing to hold you responsible for just your own behavior.

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Al Franken: Best Choice for the System We Have

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/09/07 16:18, Edited: 07/09/07 16:25

by Dave Mindeman

(Note: I only speak for myself when I post on this blog; this is not meant to be an official position for mnpACT! or anyone else.)

Minnesota was very lucky to get a Paul Wellstone back in 1990. It is still hard to believe he is gone. We were lucky to have him, even for an all too brief time. A person like Wellstone... a winning candidate who can thrust him or herself upon the scene by sheer force of will...will probably never happen again.

So, here we are... stuck with Norm Coleman occupying the seat of the most dedicated liberal Senator in recent history. It is an abomination.

So... 2008 is rapidly approaching. The Minnesota caucuses might be moved up to February and we have to start making decisions in the next 7 months. It would be nice if we could take a hard look at the issues involved.... to size up and examine all the serious, thinking people that have a depth of knowledge on the issues of the day.

But that isn't the way it works anymore. Money is the talking point. And money is the news.... the qualifier.... the necessity. Nearly 2 years away from the election, we were focused on bank accounts and donor numbers....and it is still the dominant story today.

It is sad, but it is also reality. We can't change it.... it is what it is.

So, it is where we have to begin. Al Franken brings in $1.9 million and he is the hot story on Chris Cillizza's The Fix. Brodkorb on MDE makes a feeble attempt to spin it down by claiming Franken raised $1.3 million in half of the first quarter, therefore raising only $1.9 million in a full quarter should be considered a disappointment. Besides being profoundly stupid, the fact that Brodkorb even tried to spin such a ridiculous line of logic should show Democrats that the GOP is worried.

Mike Ciresi brought in $750,000 for his campaign. It wasn't long ago that this would have been a respectable number. At this point in Klobuchar's campaign she had a raised $1.1 million. Now we look at Ciresi's total and yawn. Did anybody even ask about the dollar totals for Bob Olson, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, or Jim Cohen? More than likely you're just asking, "Who?" That's not fair, but again, it is the reality of where we are.

I don't particularly like this system, but if this state is going to have a chance of replacing Norm Coleman, then we will have to play by the rules as they are, not as we want them to be.

So, back to Al Franken. I actually like Al Franken. He has a depth of knowledge that is broad and in the right place. He is passionate and articulate. He hasn't just suddenly popped on the Minnesota political scene. He worked for progressive candidates all over the state in 2006.

He riles up the opposition but he also inspires the grass roots. Given the system we must work within, Al Franken looks like the best Senate candidate we have.

I have been waiting for someone to prove me wrong on that, but with 7 months to caucuses, time is running out.

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Kersten Column: She Made It Up

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/09/07 13:57

by Dave Mindeman

Just a couple of comments about Katherine Kersten's column in the Star Tribune today. Her column is entitled:


She identifies a serious problem. Northfield does have a high crime rate as the city's youth subsidize an increasing drug problem. So, I was curious about the "greater ill" this is linked to. I thought she might have a study that had been done by one of the local colleges.... or maybe some first person accounts of families affected by the drug issue and how it has affected them in other ways.... or possibly interviews with city and law enforcement officials about what they perceive as additional issues.

Nope. She made something up.

She tells us about a recent plane flight she had, where she saw a young person watching videos with "scantily clad, tatooed women" which could have been "filmed in a brothel".

As Kersten puts it, the underlying problem is a "philosophy of hedonism and radical individualism".

Now, Katherine can go into her moralistic diatribes anytime she wants....its her column. But at least be honest about what you are saying. She has no verifiable connection between Northfield's issues and the "excessive pleasure seeking" causes she outlines. No data, no study...not even conversations with anyone in Northfield.

She just used her imagination.

We certainly have problems to deal with.... but let's look for real verifiable causes to those problems. It is only then that we can find real solutions. In Katherine's world, those disgusting videos may be distasteful, but linking them to all the world's ills is not a solution.

Note to Kersten: If you want to write a column that has value, you first have to make it honest.
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