Friday, February 04, 2005


Dateline: Red America

From the Grand Forks Herald:
Brian O'Shea of East Grand Forks stood outside the Bison Sports Arena in a protest group yelling slogans at the 7,000 people filing in to see President George W. Bush.

O'Shea was among those on a so-called "black list" of people banned from the event. The list, which included a group of Democratic party activists that O'Shea had organized a couple of years ago, was a big topic among protesters and a curiosity to Bush supporters lined up for blocks around the arena.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead published the list Thursday, which their sources said was a list of those who were to be banned from getting tickets. Neither White House officials nor state Republican officials confirmed the existence of the list, and Gov. John Hoeven's staff said no one had been denied tickets.

About 33 of the 42 were members of something called the Fargo-Moorhead Democracy for America Meetup Group. The group's Web site says the group has 141 members who describe themselves as a "Local Progressive" organization, dedicated to "electing fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates in the Fargo/Moorhead area."

Others on the list were people who had simply written letters to the editor of the Forum, criticizing Bush policies.

"I think it's ridiculous, if you publicly express your freedom of speech, if you write or talk against the president's policies, that you're banned from being here," said O'Shea, a political science major at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, whose family lives in East Grand Forks. "It's a strange way to promote democracy, by not promoting civil discourse."
The Fargo Forum provides a full list of those banned from seeing the President of the United States. Here's a sampling:
Eric Bobby: The Fargo man wrote a letter to The Forum last fall asking, "Doesn't anyone see how this (Bush) administration is attacking everything we cherish while our country is the most vulnerable?" ***

Tim Borchers: The associate professor of communication, film studies and theatre arts at Minnesota State University Moorhead gave Bush "Cs" for clarity and support of his claims in the 2003 State of the Union address. Borchers was asked to rate Bush's speech with two other area speech instructors for a Forum article. ***

Linda Coates: The Fargo city commissioner wrote a letter to The Forum in November saying, "When the richest 2 percent of Americans are showered with huge tax cuts during wartime while our children and grandchildren are stuck with the tab - that's morally wrong." ***

Mark Folse: The Fargo man wrote a letter to The Forum in November saying Bush has created greater division of the country than ever. ***

Annie Krapu: The Fargo Shanley High School senior helped organize a youth rally in October against the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions. ***

Chad Raymond: The Fargo man wrote a letter to The Forum in December saying, "If you think separation of church and state is a bad idea, you've got an ally in that thinking: his name is Osama bin Laden." ***

Nathan Schoenack: The Moorhead man wrote a letter to The Forum last spring calling the Bush administration's reasons to go to war "disingenuous at best, if not outright lies." ***

Cara Taylor: The Fargo woman wrote in a 2002 letter to The Forum saying, "The pursuit of equality for people of all orientations may be considered a more noble calling." ***

Jon Offutt: The Fargo man is a glass artist.
Apparently all of North Dakota's freedom has already been rounded-up and is packed away for shipping to Iraq.

(emphasis added)

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