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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SAN DIEGO -- When battling terrorists, President Bush likes to talk in terms of good versus evil. What a coincidence. That's the same choice that confronts Republicans as they confront immigration reform. In the "good" camp, you'll find those Republicans who aren't afraid to condemn immigrant-bashing.
BOSTON -- This is the week when wise men bearing gifts are replaced by wise guys bearing lists. The news is full of the Best and Worst, the Ins and Outs, the Screw-ups and Fess-ups of 2005, not to mention the Predictions for 2006. We have long followed the tradition by cleaning our slate of old mistakes in preparation for a fresh crop. But this year our mistakes seemed piddling compared to the whoppers made in the name of Katrina and Iraq, Harriet Miers and Judith Miller.
Regarding Kandiyohi County Park 2, selling the park will not improve the quality of the lake. Is it the cost of camping or the reliability of the quality of the lake water? I believe if you have a choice, you will choose a better quality lake at one of the other campgrounds in the county. Grass Lake will help to improve the situation. The Kandiyohi County Board could buy back the dredge and dredge the lakes -- Kandiyohi, Wakanda, and Lake Lillian. This was done at Willmar Lake with good success. If we put our mind to it, we can restore the clarity to these lakes.
WASHINGTON -- In one of the biggest successes in the history of organized labor in the South, the 4,700 janitors working for Houston's four largest cleaning companies recently joined the Service Employees International Union. The janitors, mostly immigrants, currently earn an average of $5.30 an hour -- 15 cents over the minimum wage -- without health care benefits. The mobilization of the janitors is one sign of why Andy Stern, head of SEIU, is today's most important -- perhaps the only really important -- labor leader.