When can gays speak for themselves? (5×8 – 9/27/12)

The messaging in the same-sex marriage campaign, when people do good… and bad, an ungrateful nation, the Boogaard’s lawsuit, and dead or dormant.


The Associated Press’ story about the lack of gay people in ads urging a “no” vote on the proposed same-sex marriage ban in Minnesota reveals a private debate: Is burying gays in order to win support for gays sending the wrong message?

”If we don’t show ourselves, people aren’t going to get comfortable with who we are,” said Wayne Besen, director of Vermont-based gay rights group ”Truth Wins Out,” one of many that presses gays to live openly with pride in who they are.

But others counsel deference for the complexities of public messaging, pointing out that the ads are designed to speak to the fears and values of the heterosexual majority, whose vote will decide the issue.

”The moderate tough guys we need to flip to win a couple of these races are still the ones who say that gays are gross,” said Andy Szekeres, a Denver-based fundraising consultant who has worked on several state campaigns and had access to focus group data. ”Pushing people to an uncomfortable place, it’s something you can’t do in a TV ad,” said Szekeres, who is gay.

In six of seven ads in states where same-sex marriage is being debated, gays were absent.

This is the one exception

At least on TV and on this issue, gay people can’t speak for themselves.

Like in Britain, for example…



We admit we don’t know exactly how to react to this story in the Hastings Star Gazette.

Last week, a man lost an envelope with $1,100 in cash in it. He retraced his steps from the bank but came up empty. This week, Hastings police got an anonymous letter from the person who found the envelope. “the person returned $900 of the $1,100 and in the letter the person wrote that they ‘really needed’ the $200 and that they were sorry they had to take some of the money,” the paper says.


“Support Our Troops,” makes for a nifty bumper sticker, but it doesn’t include giving the generation that helped save the world a proper send-off.

The Star Tribune reports today that because of budget cuts, the number of military funerals will be cut in half. The one bugler in the state has been dumped and “taps” will be played by a digital gizmo inserted into a bugle, instead.

The government will save about $445,000 by saying “no,” and providing the funerals it provides on the cheap.

“We were extremely disheartened to hear that the playing of Taps is being viewed more as an expense item than a necessary tribute to a fallen American patriot,” the VFW told FoxNews earlier this month when the cuts were announced in New York and elsewhere. “It’s disrespectful to the families because our military and veterans ask for so little in return compared to what is risked and often given.”

In Oregon this month, a Pearl Harbor veteran was buried with full honors, including a bagpiper. His son paid for it after the government backed out…

“If it hadn’t been for them, their perseverance and their sacrifice, we wouldn’t have a country,” his son said. “That’s me thanking my father, not the country thanking my father.”


The family of former Minnesota Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard may shake up the NHL, the New York Times reports. Boogaard died while in the league’s substance abuse program.

The lawsuit, at its emotional heart, alleges that the Minnesota Wild and the Rangers, the two teams for which Boogaard served as a designated fighter, contributed to Boogaard’s death. The lawsuit says doctors for the Wild and the Rangers repeatedly prescribed painkillers and other drugs to Boogaard, even after his addiction to those very kinds of drugs was known.

It’s an allegation first publicized in a series of articles in the Times last year, ignored by the Wild, and not pursued by the local hockey media.

The paper says the lawsuit could force the league and team to do something it hasn’t wanted to do since Boogaard’s death in 2011: talk.

Related: Former Bears (and Vikings) quarterback Jim McMahon says he has early onset dementia. “Had I known about that stuff early on in my career, I probably would have chosen a different career. I always wanted to be a baseball player anyway.”

You don’t read many stories of baseball destroying the brains of the people who play it. Maybe that’s why its popularity is in decline.

Or not: A Chicago Cubs player whose dream of playing Major League Baseball ended when he was beaned in the head, will get the at bat he was denied.


Up until this morning, I was feeling pretty superior while walking the Blog Dog [tm] past the neighbors’ lawns. They’re pouring hundreds of dollars of water on their lawn to keep it green. I’m not. I know that the grass is only dormant and if it ever rains again, mine, too, will bounce back at a fraction of the cost.

Except, apparently, it won’t, the Associated Press says. It may actually be dead.

Bonus I: The national nightmare is over. So, nevermind.

Bonus II: A public campaign is underway to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities. One solution: Stop walking drunk. (streets.mn)

Bonus III: Does being shamed about your weight encourage you to lose some of it? This new ad campaign, hatched in Minnesota, has sparked a debate.

“What our research shows is that people feel much more motivated and empowered to make healthy lifestyle changes when campaign messages are supportive and encourage specific health behaviors,” a Yale researcher tells NPR. “But when campaign messages communicate shame or blame or stigma, people report much less motivation, and lower intentions to improve their health behaviors.”


During a campaign season, neighbors, friends and family members discover political differences they didn’t know they had. Today’s Question: Are political differences putting a strain on your personal relationships?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: A new study published this week in Nature is reshaping the scientific understanding of breast cancer. The findings divide breast cancer into four distinct types and researchers expect the study will lead to treatment innovations.

Second hour: The record drought is affecting more than crops – it’s also projected to make water levels in Lake Superior soon reach an all-time low. How is this affecting the economies of the cities and people who depend on the shipping industry?

Third hour: Talking Volumes: Junot Diaz

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): A live broadcast from the Westminster Town Hall Forum, featuring Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs, authors of “The Presidents Club.”

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – A look at China in transition. Plus, the parent trigger. What really happened when parents mobilized to take over a failing school?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Anishinaabe/Finnish-American and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa member Lyz Jaakola had a dream years ago about singing and playing a hand drum. She knew it was the beginning of a journey. She did not, however, foresee how far the journey would take her and the women’s Native American music group she founded, the Oshkii Giizhik Singers. MPR’s Dan Olson will have the profile.

Rep. Tim Walz and Republican challenger Allan Quist debate at Somerby Golf Community in Byron today. MPR’s Elizabeth Baier will be there.