WASHINGTON -- Rob Reiner, director and producer whose success defines the term "box office" is on a dual crusade: to change the direction of politics, and to improve the performance of kids in schools. He hopes, someday, to be the Democrats' answer to Ronald Reagan. He is, like Reagan, the opposite of a political dilettante. He's thinking of the long term -- he's decided not to run for anything this year. He wants to end conservative ideology's long run that the Gipper inaugurated.
I found the front-page article calling for more pay for our legislators interesting. Does that mean that the ones we have now don't pass muster? Maybe we could do better? Carl T. Lundell Granite Falls
Constitutional amendments are costly, time-consuming, and very serious business. If we really need to protect the institution of marriage with an amendment, it is very important to cover all possibilities with this effort and treat marriage with the sacredness it deserves. Has anyone thought deeply enough to decide what the amendment should say about transsexuals that want to get married?
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's top education initiative -- requiring 70 percent of schools' budgets be targeted in the classroom -- passed its first test Thursday. The classroom budget limit bill survived a Republican-friendly House committee Thursday by a narrow 15-14 vote. In fact, the committee did not recommend the bill at all; generally a committee approval includes a recommendation. Rep. Bud Heidgerken, R-Freeport, recognized a weakness of this proposal when he voted against it Thursday.
My husband and I subscribe to the West Central Tribune and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I want to thank you for the Feb. 24 headline in the West Central Tribune concerning Sasha Cohen receiving a medal in the Olympics -- "Cohen brings home a silver in figure skating." Your headline was positive and put the correct perspective on Sasha's winning the silver medal. By the Star Tribune saying her "dreams of gold dashed," it made it sound like she didn't accomplish anything because she took the silver medal. She should be given accolades for participating and winning the silver medal.
Sen. Dean Johnson's promise for a marriage vote in committee creates the perception that District 13 voters have a chance to vote on the marriage amendment this fall. Don't be fooled. A past history of votes in the Johnson-controlled committee shows that his promise is actually a guarantee to kill the bill and block it from reaching the Senate floor for a vote. In 2004, the bill was "debated" and killed in committee by the Democratic majority. A few Democratic senators prevented the amendment from coming before the full state Senate for open debate and vote by every state senator.
We have seen the caliber of three of Bush's cronies -- Joe Allbaugh, Mike Brown and Michael Chertoff -- but what happens to the civil service employees in the wonderful world of W? A woman with the improbable name of Bunnatine Greenhouse worked her way up to chief overseer of contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers. Bunny, as she is called, had earned a reputation for being a stickler for regulations during 20 years of receiving outstanding job reviews. Then she made "mistakes" that caused her to be demoted from the Senior Executive Service to a lower job. Her "mistakes"?
How about a little support for our Kandiyohi County Board? These people sacrifice a lot of their time, and for what? All the money? Hardly. I don't believe any of them have future political ambitions or are looking for anything more than a little community service and respect. If the West Central Tribune keeps going after these individuals, we may find ourselves with no one willing to run for the job.
Recently the United States House of Representatives voted 216-214 to pass the federal budget reconciliation bill that cuts nearly $40 billion from mostly student loans and human services. The Republican leadership argued this bill was necessary to slow the growth in entitlement spending and thus control the ever-expanding federal deficit. It seems both mean-spirited and shortsighted to make cuts in programs for the weak and vulnerable in our society. This will include drastic cuts to the already tight budgets supporting our foster care system and other vital human services.
Hope for a bipartisan approach in this year's legislative session may be fleeting considering recent political moves by some politicians and political activists. We hope that single-issue agendas, such as a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage, will not hamstring the Legislature from dealing with the critical issues of the state. Some political ploys on the gay marriage issue, which have been rampant in recent days, have been disappointing. House Speaker Steve Sviggum visited Willmar last month talking of the need for a return to bipartisanship in the Legislature, only to return to W