WASHINGTON -- Americans owe a debt to Dubai Ports World for the storm the company has created with its pending takeover of operations at six U.S. seaports. Let us count the hypocrisies and the inconsistencies, the blind spots and the oversights that this controversy has revealed. Until this fight broke out about a week ago, it was impossible to get anyone but the experts to pay attention to the huge holes in the security of our ports. Suddenly, everyone cares.
The explosive and divisive words of state Sen. Dean Johnson concerning the supporters of the marriage amendment have troubled me to the point that I must respond. In the West Central Tribune on Feb. 22, Johnson was quoted as saying, "I do not wish to have this state capital become downtown Baghdad on the gay marriage issue." What he was implying in that statement is clear: Supporters of the marriage amendment are out-of-control radicals who have the potential to cause harm to others for the sake of their cause. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Where has the civility, often referred to and known as "Minnesota nice," gone in this state? Our political discourse has become so politically polarized that both Republican and DFL legislators have to attend a workshop to learn how to get along. Thursday, two long-term Minnesota political leaders -- one Democrat and one Republican -- called for legislative reform to bring back better government. The truth is Minnesota citizens want good government and they haven't been getting it.
Supporters of a marriage amendment to our state constitution rallied to win support for their cause in Willmar recently. I hope they fail, and here's why: First, the marriage amendment is nothing but a distraction from the real issues, and it represents a waste of our legislators' valuable time and attention. Last year we lived through an unnecessary government shutdown, and the Legislature has yet to deliver on issues that actually affect the lives of Minnesotans, like rising health care costs and property taxes for hard-working citizens and families.
Everybody seems to know the mind of God these days. Lately, we are being endlessly subjected to various interpretations of his words on who can marry whom. Plus, God supposedly delivers messages to presidents, preachers and poll takers about war, sexuality and the next election. But, to tell the truth, I suspect these people are listening to the inside of their own heads, where echoes of what they want to hear tumble freely. It seems to me that you would get to know the mind of God by reading the New Testament to see what Jesus says.
The story is told of the moron who lost a quarter in the alley, but chose to look for it under the streetlight because it was easier to see with more light. The simple reason evolutionists have a problem with a creator is that the theory of evolution has for its foundation a theory. These so-called scientists depend on the five empirical senses -- see, hear, touch, taste and smell -- to prove their theory.
How can Sen. Dean Johnson dismiss the marriage rally on Feb.11 as the divisive work of Republicans and fundamentalists? Is it because he is playing politics with the definition of marriage? Almost 300 people came to support the definition of marriage-- people from almost every denomination including Lutheran and Catholic churches. There were also many in the audience identifying themselves as Democrats. The polls show that 78 percent of District 13 voters are in support of the marriage amendment and want the right to vote. What part of a majority of Minnesotans does Johnson not understand?
Who is he? Does he rue the day when he picked up the phone, dialed the number, waited a ring or two -- and then quickly hung up. He called later that same day, this time getting a voice, and in panic hung up again. He had stuff to tell a reporter about how the Bush administration was distorting intelligence about Iraq, but he worried: Could the reporter protect his identity? This person of my fervid imagination surely exists.
The West Central Tribune seems to have nothing but praise for the Willmar Public Schools for holding public forums regarding increased funding for operation and bonding for a new building. I wonder why the paper has not asked more questions? Since 2001-2002, when the district went from severe debt to a fund balance, enrollment has decreased over 250 students (6 percent), revenue has increased a projected $4.5 million (13 percent) and expenditures have increased a projected $8.5 million (26 percent increase).
As I sat watching President George Bush make his State of the Union speech the other night, I kept wishing he would say what he should have said from the start: We've got this catastrophe on our hands because of the hurricanes that have been hitting our shores and whether the Iraqi people are ready or not, we are ending our three-year stay in their country. We are bringing our troops home to help in recovery from these disasters.