ST. PAUL - Welcome to 2006, a year that promises to be very politically active. It seems that the year started months ago. The 2006 campaigns began when U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy announced on Feb. 11 that he would run for the U.S. Senate seat Mark Dayton is vacating. That set off a series of announcements, not only for Dayton's job, but also for governor. By year's end, most candidates running for major office already had made formal announcements. The big exception was Gov. Tim Pawlenty, but he has left no doubt he is running again.
I've been trying for several days now to get upset about the National Security Agency's eavesdropping program. No, wait, make that President George W. Bush's illegal, warrantless, domestic spying scandal. That sounds more darkly nefarious, more richly conspiratorial and, most important, more impeachable. But is it true? Is Bush spying illegally on Americans? As usual, it depends on whose head is talking and how one spins the yarn. "The president has authorized a domestic spying program without court approval" sounds like Big Brother is breathing down all our necks.
We need more senators like former senator William Proxmire (D-Wis.). Proxmire, who died in December, was a foe of frivolous government spending. He looked for wasteful spending of taxpayers' money for his "Golden Fleece Awards." He gave an award to the National Science Foundation for spending $84,000 to determine why people fall in love. This was more appropriate for "poets and mystics, to Irving Berlin, to thousands of high school and college bull sessions, Dear Abby, Ann Landers..." Imagine what Proxmire would have said about Rep.
Duininck Brothers' request for a permit renewal and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' objection revives old memories. After Duininck, Hodgeman, Rupp, Mathewitz and other road builders completed quarrying in a family quarry site, it was "reclaimed": pushed in; trees, ponds, berms, everything. Local deer and partridge hunters and dirt bike riders lamented, "Why?" The answer was short. Ask the DNR. Duininck Brothers isn't the problem.
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. -- Boy, are we angry about politics these days. And that's true on all sides. This is a testament to our freedom and it's exhilarating in its way, but it's not always pretty. It's the time to give thanks to the thousands of people who have written their passionate responses to columns over the year. Critics, bless them all, are good for your sense of humility. I learned from a reader from Boulder, Colo., that my "hypocrisy is disgusting," while another reader couldn't "help but wonder which elementary school Mr.
The year of 2005 was certainly one to remember. It was a year of tragedy as well as success for west central Minnesota and Willmar. This year the war in Iraq struck close to home as the region mourned the deaths of three National Guard soldiers in February. The three -- Sgt. Jesse Lhotka, 24, an Appleton native, 1st Lt. Jason Timmerman, 25, of tracy, and Staff Sgt. David Day, 25, of Morris -- were killed by a roadside bomb on Feb. 21 in Baghdad. Sgt.
2006 makes the ninth year in a row the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 an hour. It's bad economics, it's bad policy, it's stupid, it's unfair, and it's high damn time to do something about it. It is also, as Sen. Edward Kennedy says, a moral issue. The Democrats have a new strategy that may finally get the Republicans off the pot. They're working to get a minimum wage increase on state ballots, including Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Arkansas and Montana.
2006 makes the ninth year in a row the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 an hour. It's bad economics, it's bad policy, it's stupid, it's unfair, and it's high damn time to do something about it. It is also, as Sen. Edward Kennedy says, a moral issue. The Democrats have a new strat egy that may finally get the Repub licans off the pot. They're working to get a minimum wage increase on state ballots, including Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Arkansas and Montana.
More than 39 percent of Americans now live in areas where statewide or local laws exist that limit smoking, including Meeker County. Six states enacted indoor smoking bans in 2005 as public sentiment increasingly sees the light in the smoking debate. There were fewer than 200 state and local laws in the United States banning smoking in 1985, USA Today reported Thursday. Now, more than 2,000 governmental units have some type of smoking restriction.
Brent Waldemarsen (Public Forum, Dec. 24) suggests that those opposed to bringing the marriage amendment to public vote lack basis for intelligent debate. OK, I'll take the bait. Lawmakers are responsible for upholding the state constitution. The marriage amendment sets precedent by using the constitution to restrict citizens' rights.