More Election Rehash: Citizens United, Gay Marriage, and Republican Democrats

Justice Anthony Kennedy

I’ve got to think that no one breathed a bigger sigh of relief on election night than SCOTUS justice Anthony Kennedy. Having been excoriated by all but a few on both left and right for the Citizens United decision — Kennedy was the swing vote in that decision and wrote the majority opinion — he must have been sweating this election season. A breathtaking amount of money poured into the coffers of start-up PACs and Super PACs, not to mention the millions (billions?) raised by the candidates themselves.

SCOTUS had previously and repeatedly ruled that money is speech; in Citizens United, the Court reaffirmed that “Corporations are people, my friend.” Corporations could form for the exclusive purpose of funding campaigns, and go on to fund them anonymously.

Tuesday’s election proved that, regardless of how much free speech you can buy with billions of dollars, you cannot buy an election. I’m guessing that was in Kennedy’s gut when he wrote the decision — that he has more faith in the American electorate than many of us who condemned the decision. Well, if that it what he was thinking, then he was right.

Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS had a $175 million-dollar strikeout:

Minus the millions spent against the president, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS were invested heavily in congressional elections, spending the most in Senate races. Including Obama and Romney, American Crossroads spent money for or against 20 federal candidates in 14 races, while Crossroads GPS focused on 27 in 24 contests.

By our calculations, American Crossroads came out on the winning side in three of its 14 races, with one still too close to call — that’s about 21 percent. GPS did only slightly better, getting its desired outcome in just seven of the 24 elections it spent on; one contest also remains undecided. GPS’ success rate comes to 29 percent.

But at least Sheldon Adelson is $50 million poorer, and we can all rejoice in that.


One of the dumbest philosophical blunders in the losing campaign to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage was the quote  you’d hear and read on signs, “Marriage is marriage.”

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In Praise of My Parents

Andrew Jones, Ted Sampsell-Jones, CJ Johnson, and Yours Truly

When my parents retired, they didn’t throw in the towel.  Instead, they took in a underprivileged African-American boy to live with them.  Over the past few years, CJ has become part of our family.  My parents, in their late-60s, now spend many evenings at high school sporting events and parent-teacher conferences, surrounded by parents who are the age of my brothers and me.

This week, our local paper — possibly with visions of The Blind Side — ran a story on CJ and my parents:

Johnson previously attended school in Hopkins, but before ninth grade he moved to Edina to live with his “grandparents,” Doug and Sarah Jones.

They have encouraged him in sports and academics and provided a stable home life.

The Joneses are not Johnson’s biological grandparents, but they have opened their home to the young scholar-athlete, who was basically without a stable home when they met him.

Sarah Jones, who served 13 years on the Edina School Board, provided a home for Johnson’s aunt during the time the aunt attended Edina High as an ABC student.

ABC is a program that offers minority students with a passion for academics a chance to attend Edina High School. One day, the aunt told Sarah Jones about her nephew.

“What raised my attention was the fact that C.J. was advanced in math,” said Sarah Jones. “He attended Hopkins West Middle School when he first came to live with us. When he started high school, he began attending Edina. The main emphasis in our household has always been academics, and C.J. accepted that.”

Read the rest at: Minnesota Local News – > Edina > Sports > Edina athlete stays busy year-round

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Dumb, Dumberer, and Unelectable: My Gubernatorial Choices

So, I’ve pretty much figured out for whom I’m going to vote on Election Day:

City Council

State House of Representatives

State Senate

U.S. House of Representatives

But when it comes to governor, I’m not pleased with my choices.

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Why I'm Staying Put

I’ve known a lot of people who’ve belonged to “intentional communities,” known in its most intense form as New Monasticism.  And I know very few who’ve stuck with that way of life.  One of them is Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and he’s recently released a book about staying put, The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture.  Jonathan lives at the Rutba House in Durham, North Carolina.

My own experience of living in an intentional community is basically limited to the three years I spent at the Bresee House in Pasadena, California while a student at Fuller Theological Seminary.  Therein, five single guys lived and shared food, but we didn’t go so far as to share finances or make any other more intense vows to one another, as do many monastic communities.

But Jonathan’s book is not a call to the monastic life — it’s a call for people to stay put, which, as the subtitle states, runs against the mobility of our contemporary culture.  Scot, interestingly, has stayed put in the same house for 23 years, yet declined to endorse the book since, “I can’t say I’m committed to stability in the way this book advocates.

Well, I can.

I currently live two blocks from the house in which I was reared, and, other than educational stints in Hanover, New Hampshire, Pasadena, California, and Princeton, New Jersey, I have lived my entire life within five miles of that house. On the block on which I currently live — and on which I plan to spend the remainder of my days — three families live in the same house in which one of the adults grew up.  The women living next door and behind me are not among them, but they were in the same class in Edina High School.  That’s some serious stability.

I consider it a virtue that I have sunk down roots where I was planted, in Edina, Minnesota.  But it’s surprising how much grief I get about that.  People joke with me about being afraid to move away.  And the fact that I’ve chosen to stay put not in the rough inner-city (like Jonathan), but in a nice suburb, only serves to increase the ridicule sent my way.

Honestly, have you ever heard someone make fun of a person for moving?  I haven’t.  But I can tell you that if you live two blocks from your parents, you’ll have people poke fun at you on a regular basis.

Why have I stayed put?  There are several reasons:

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