Not too long ago in our frontier days, snake oil salesmen roamed the land claiming cures for "everything that ails you." Now the Republican-led Congress, which claimed it would heal us from 40 years of "corrupt" Democratic Party rule, has gone into full "reform" mode, promising to cure the disease from which too many of them now suffer. "Step right up, my fellow Americans, here's what I'm gonna do.
Monday was a national holiday and a day of reflection about the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I am appalled at the notoriety that Wayne Cook seems to be achieving through his one-man letter-writing campaign to the West Central Tribune. Trying to will your own personal morality on the public can be a fascinating, attention-grabbing subject. What does he hope to achieve by threatening to cancel his newspaper advertising because of one questionable photo? Even if this dubious threat were to work, is he really na?ve enough to think that by censoring one local newspaper the threat is removed?
SAN DIEGO -- Senate confirmation hearings are supposed to teach us things and, sure enough, the hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito Jr. taught us plenty. Not about the nominee, who at times couldn't get a word in edgewise as Democrats and Republicans blathered incessantly, either attacking him or defending him against the attacks of others. I couldn't decide which was more painful to watch. Rather, the lessons were about the system and the people it is supposed to serve.
Because she has led countless billions and billions of people to the promised land of books, because she preaches self-help and self-sufficiency and not least because she has shown that even a middle-aged person can keep weight off, I must tiptoe up to the amazing Oprah and merely whisper to her that in the case of James Frey, the liar whose memoir turns out to be as much fiction as fact, she is not only wrong, but deluded. What she needs is a session with Dr. Phil.
Hats off from Debbie Busta's "You and the Law" at New London-Spicer High School to Jason Keith, Ace Bonnema and Rob Reitsma for the tour of the Kandiyohi County Law Enforcement Center in Willmar. The tour was impressive and educational and the guides were very professional. Hats off from Connie Wanner to Goodwill for providing wheelchairs, walkers and other items people need on a temporary basis.
"Money talks and propaganda works" best describes today's Republican Party. It started with Ronald Reagan. He cut taxes, went to Berlin and said, "Tear down that wall," and became famous. While we were enjoying his tax cuts, he was borrowing money to run the government. Our country was $1 trillion in the hole when his term was up. The Clinton administration spent eight years paying that debt. When George Bush became president, he copied Reagan. He cut taxes and was back running the government on borrowed money almost immediately.
The only thing standing between Joe Biden and the presidency is his mouth. That, though, is no small matter. It is a Himalayan barrier, a Sahara of a handicap, a summer's day in Death Valley, a winter's night at the pole (either one) -- an endless list of metaphors intended to show you both the immensity of the problem and to illustrate it with the op-ed version of excess. This, alas, is Joe Biden. The reviews for Biden's first crack last week at Samuel Alito, the humorless Supreme Court nominee, were murderous.
WASHINGTON -- A listless intellectual fog had fallen over the Senate hearing room on Tuesday, the first full day of questioning for Judge Samuel Alito before the Judiciary Committee. As one Democratic senator strode out to the hallway during an afternoon break, he leaned my way and said: "We have to hit him harder." The senator was expressing frustration over a process that doesn't work. It turns out that, especially when their party controls the process, Supreme Court nominees can avoid answering any question they don't want to answer.
WASHINGTON -- This much is clear: Whoever follows Ariel Sharon will follow Ariel Sharon. Sharon himself followed no one. In the army, he was famous for not following orders. Later, in various governmental posts, he did pretty much as he pleased -- building settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, plunging into Lebanon, deserting one political party for another (even Likud, the one he helped form) and, ultimately, reversing himself by dismantling the Gaza settlements and abandoning Gaza itself. As opposed to too many Israelis, his ideology was simple: Deal with reality.