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Seriously, get up on the soapbox in the comments section and tell us what’s on your mind.

  • Big Dog

    Thanks Bob, now my day is shot to hell. I suppose I will have to do some real work.

  • Heather

    Can BP get it together to stop their gigantic leak already? For Pete’s sake!

  • JackU

    What would George Washington think?

    Yesterday’s story about the MN Supreme Court implied that the next time the Governor’s unallotment actions come before the court they will be upheld. The structure of the Executive branch of the Federal Government and one would think many of the states, is in many ways a model of George Washington’s belief in how it should operate. The 22nd Amendment codified 150 years after Washington the precedent that he set for a president serving 2 terms then stepping down. Until FDR the precedent had stood without the force of law.

    So I wonder what Washington would think of an executive that attempts to usurp the power of the legislature, the peoples branch, when it comes to deciding how to spend the peoples money.

  • Ben Chorn

    Summer is nearing and soon I start work at a Boy Scout camp in Park Rapids… it worries me that participation is dropping and money is starting to run out for these programs. Who are our children going to grow up to be without these opportunities around?

    That is what’s on my mind.

  • Al

    Ben, it worries me that the Boy Scouts feel the need to perpetrate bigotry against homosexual people. Who are our children going to grow up to be? Maybe poeple accepting of those not like themselves. Maybe straight boys won’t have the opportunity to learn bigotry from the BSA leadership.

    Maybe if homosexual boys aren’t able to be Boy Scouts they won’t hear the hundreds of homophobic comments at meetings and camp. Maybe these boys won’t be forced into shame-filled, closeted lives. Maybe they won’t contemplate, and even commit, suicide as others have done.

    I was in the Boy Scouts until I was 18, even made it to Eagle Scout. I could choose to support scouting. But, I heard the comments from scouts and leaders. I’ve known gay people forced into the closet by these comments. I know the pain they have experienced. I could support the Boy Scouts, but with the bigotry at the top of the organization, I refuse to.

  • John

    @Al

    I’m with you on that one. I was a troop leader in various capacities for many years, and Scoutmaster for a few more, and a Unit Commisioner for the district after that.

    I love the core mission of the scouts, and intended to continue with that work. Then I read the statements on gays and God from their web site related to the court battles they have had. It said gays are a bad moral influence. Since I didn’t agree with that, it seemed to me that I must be considered immoral by impication. I just couldn’t ignore it any more. in addition to the gay problem, they have a very narrow view of God and religion. After much soul searching, I finally decided that I had to resign in protest.

    Scouting has been a terrific positive influence on me and my sons. I would go back if they returned to being a civic organization instead of the youth arm of the religious right.

  • bsimon

    I am wondering when our political leaders will ask us to start making the difficult choices that must be made. I am wondering when they will begin to treat us like adults, not to mention each other, and start having fact-based discussions about the tradeoffs of our limited options. I am wondering when, at the state level, they will own up the errors of ‘shifting’ spending, which is a defacto kicking of the can to the next governor / lege. The budget of this state has been a mess for nearly a decade, and they’re still unable to address the fundamental shortcomings of the budget’s structure, which must be borne by us all, if we’re to have a hope of fixing the problem. I guess I should follow their example, lighten up, and just go fishing.

  • Bonnie

    Who needs Bob, you guys are interesting reading. Take as much time as you like, Collins 😉

    I had an interesting discussion the other day about philanthropy, volunteerism and the younger generations ( 20 – 40 yr olds)

    Conclusion was they need to be more engaged, hands on, if they are donating money. Not as much interest in giving just because its a good cause and the right thing to do. Your thoughts?

  • Kevin M

    @Bonnie: If I read you correctly I agree with more hands-on. But I would take it beyond ‘if they are donating money.’ I live on the north side of Mpls, and have adopted my block (for litter pick-up), support local community gardens and arts programs, etc. I give what I can financially to causes that are close to my heart, but I have an underwater mortgage too, so most of my charity is in labor hours. What I would tell my fellow 20-40 year olds (I’m flattered that you consider us ‘younger generations’) is this: In most places you can’t swing a cat without hitting a charitable program that needs actual human help rather than money. That is what I mean by ‘hands-on.’

    @Ben, Al, John, Et Al: I spent quite a few years in the Cub and then Boy Scouts, and cherish most of the memories from those days. I was lucky to have a liberal-leaning university professor as a scoutmaster, and most of our time was taken up by the outdoors and enjoying nature (they always called it that, not ‘creation’) than anything else. I never made it to Eagle – or even Star – because even at age 14, and even with such an open and fun and accepting troop, I could still recognize the difference between a) teaching any boy how to be any competent, ethical man, and b) teaching any boy how to be a specific, culturally homogeneous man.

  • Ben Chorn

    It upsets me that people view Boy Scouts from their single experience or what the top of the organization supports.

    I have spent a lot of time with different troops and working at different Boy Scout camps. Some are die-hard, to the point no homosexuals. However, there are plenty of more open troops. I myself was the Senior Patrol Leader in a troop that was open to almost everything. Kids did what they wanted to within reason and we held true to the boy-lead, boy-run mentality. The adults would set up reservations at the camps and made sure we didn’t kill each other and us the scouts simply filled in the rest. We did religious services of non-denomination and accepted every kid in our troop no matter mental disability, size, or race.

    It worries me that so many people view the Boy Scouts as completely against homosexuality. The camp I have spent the past few summers at has hired (possibly without knowing) homosexual counselors. From what I have heard, since the Boy Scouts are in financial trouble they follow the money to stay alive. Since the Mormon Church requires all boys to participate in Boy Scouts, they stated that if the Scouts allowed homosexuals then they would withdraw all their membership. Being the hard times that has affected the Scouts for a decade, the Scouts introduced the no homosexuality policy.

    If you are against the policies, write to the National Office, donate to troops and camps and councils that are more open and against intolerance. Or better yet, become active as an adult in your local troop.

    *steps off soapbox*

  • Al

    \\From what I have heard, since the Boy Scouts are in financial trouble they follow the money to stay alive. Since the Mormon Church requires all boys to participate in Boy Scouts, they stated that if the Scouts allowed homosexuals then they would withdraw all their membership.

    Great Ben, so I should donate to an organziation that is willing to sell it’s values for a buck and turn its back on some of its young boys (estimated to be about 10% of them)?

    I, too, was a Senior Partrol Leader of my troop, Junior Leader Training program, and our Natl Jamoboree troop. I was a camp staff member, an OA Vigil member…I could go on. I learned a lot from the Boy Scouts, both skills and leadership abilities. I certainly wouldn’t be who I am today without my experiences in the BSA. The national decision to support rather than oppose something so devastating to people has caused me great pain. This organization that gave me so much and seemed founded on strong principles…

    I, too, served with leaders I was sure were gay. One in particular was one of the best leaders I knew. It pains me to know that the national ruling on gay leaders probably hurt him to the core because he loved the organization so much.

    And I did hear the homophobic and sissy slurs from both kids and leaders. They weren’t necessarily directed at me, and it wasn’t much different than what I heard at school. They weren’t directed at me because I knew enough to hide in the closet, where I remained until it was too late. Now the consequences of coming out would have devastating effects on others due to the point of my life that I am at. I remain in the closet and the pain of it never leaves me. And I’m one of the fortunate ones who never seriously considered or attempted suicide. The best estimates are that as many as 30% of teen suicides are GLBT kids.

    You really want me back, Ben? You want to spare your gay brothers the pain of the closet? Stand up for gay kids and leaders and make your position known to those at the national office. Encourage your fellow camp staff members to do the same. I stand up to this injustice all the time, and I have written to the local and national scout offices about it. I use the skills I learned working on those citizenship merit badges.

    Another thing you could do, Ben, and this is actually more important and takes more courage than writing a letter – but then ‘Brave’ is one of the points of the Scout Law – next time you hear a scout call someone a fag of a sissy call them on it. Tell them it’s not appropriate.

    Thanks, Ben, for trying to help scouts learn leadership and life skills. I understand how important it is. It was important for me. Please make sure they understand that they need to respect all people, not just the straight ones.

  • BJ

    Ronnie James Dio – dead. Not huge fan, but still great artist.

  • kennedy

    I echo bsimon in wishing that our elected leaders would tone down the political theater and be the leaders we need. Less rhetoric, more governing. That means developing a sustainable budget. I’m not sure the recently passed budget qualifies.