When does a politician's travel junkets at private expense develop valuable knowledge or create the perception of a conflict of interest? That is a question now facing Minnesota voters. The Star Tribune reported Friday that Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., is the second-most traveled member in the Senate in privately financed trips. Since his 2003 election, Coleman has accepted 46 privately funded trips. The most traveled member is Sen.
I am a senior citizen with a lifelong interest in politics and the antics of politicians. Consider the bag of tricks many politicians use to get elected and to stay in office in a lucrative job. I watched most of the lengthy questioning of Judge Samuel Alito on television to try to disqualify him from an office he is more than qualified for.
Glenwood is without a doubt a unique and beautiful city, located on Lake Minnewaska, and a defining part of the history and geography of our part of Minnesota. The citizens of Glenwood should take stewardship of this great resource seriously. My family has had the pleasure of living near another unique, historic town, located on equally beautiful Lake Minnetonka for many years. The people of Excelsior, to this day, are thankful their founding fathers in the 1850s had the foresight to set aside the most precious, beautiful and most desirable shoreline for all of the people.
WASHINGTON -- I underestimated the viciousness of the right wing. Last November, Rep. John Murtha, a Democrat and a decorated Marine combat veteran, came out for a rapid American withdrawal from Iraq. At the time, I wrote: "It will be difficult for Bush's acolytes to cast Murtha, who has regularly stood up for the military policies of Republican presidents during his 31 years in Congress, as some kind of extreme partisan or hippie protester." No, the conservative hit squad didn't accuse Murtha of being a hippie.
My frustration with Gov. Tim Pawlenty's 70 percent solution for school spending is twofold. First, the front page story in the West Central Tribune on Jan. 10, while factual in content, turned the tough job of keeping rural schools in the black into a competition between local districts. The Tribune, with its red ink "scores", rated area schools like teams in a basketball tournament. It would seem that a rural newspaper would do better to support rural schools. On the face of it, Pawlenty's proposed 70 percent solution for school spending sounds like a win-win situation, i.e.
Roundabouts require one to drive in a circle, looking for traffic on the right and looking ahead for signs for your turnoff to the correct street. The milk separator concept to draw off the cream -- the downtown customers -- and to send the skimmed milk -- the through traveler -- further down Highway 12, may result in confused drivers spinning off in directions they don't desire, bringing unwanted traffic into the downtown. One can get used to a traffic circle if you use it regularly.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced his 2006 bonding plan Monday totaling $897 million for public works, but said he was open to spending more. That is a positive step in the process compared with two years ago when the governor refused to consider going over his announced bonding proposal total and no bonding agreement was reached. After all, Pawlenty and legislative leaders are not that far apart this year.
SAN DIEGO -- Discussing the Jack Abramoff congressional lobbying scandal, some have invoked the colorful saying -- often attributed to Eric Hoffer, a longshoreman-turned-philosopher of the 20th century -- that every great cause begins as a movement, degenerates into a business and winds up a racket. I can't help but think how beautifully, and how tragically, that phrase sums up the moral trajectory of the United Farm Workers union over the last 40 years. What began as a worthwhile cause -- to bring dignity to farm workers -- eventually became a national movement, then a family business.
The following is in comment to the ongoing dairy/feedlot debate in Swift County. Why did both Redwood and Renville counties ban open manure pits? Are they anti-agricultural or do they care about environment and the people more than they do about the almighty dollar? When the Swift County Planning Board meeting was held on Jan. 9, I believe some members of the planning board knew beforehand how they were going to vote. One didn't vote because he was involved, and others had already decided.
I would like to praise Gov. Tim Pawlenty's desire to take on the immigration issue that seems to fail time and time again due to the government's bungling. Pawlenty now seems to be riding the fence and moving away from the direction he first took. The big problem with immigration is the companies who hire illegal immigrants. Companies don't do enough to check on those applying for work. In my opinion, they even go so far as to recruit workers whether they believe they are illegal or not. Many companies don't do enough background checks and do not have the ability to spot bad IDs.