DETROIT -- Michigan has a problem: Its prosperity is withering as America's automobile industry withers. So Gov. Jennifer Granholm has a problem: She is seeking re-election in this cold economic climate. Her likely Republican opponent, Dick DeVos, has a problem: People are appalled by the state's condition, but they like Granholm. As does DeVos: "She's a really nice person." The result may be a rarity -- an outbreak of gentility in politics. Debates about economic policies involve splittable differences, so civility might actually be served by the seriousness of Michigan's crisis.
An odd thing happened in Washington this week. The Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on whether the president has the authority to intercept international phone calls without first seeking a warrant. Very few people believe that the president has that authority -- which is different than asking whether he should have that authority -- but Gonzales, who is almost entirely a creation of George W. Bush, insisted the president does. He presented, by way of proving his point, this overwhelming piece of evidence: Bush has done it.
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of political cartoonists. Not this time for the ones losing newspaper jobs, but those whose lives are literally on the line thanks to outraged Islamists offering a bounty for their heads. The cartoonists in question are a dozen Danish artists who drew Muhammad-themed cartoons last September for the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten during an exercise to test the limits of free speech. The cartoon-a-thon was conceived in response to complaints from a Danish author who couldn't find anyone to illustrate her Muhammad children's book.
Kandiyohi County's Board of Commissioners is once again considering broadcasting its meetings on the local cable access channel, WRAC 8. The board has declined all previous attempts to televise their meetings. We commend County Board Chairman Dean Shuck for bringing the question up for consideration. The county has lagged far behind the city of Willmar and Willmar Public Schools, as both have broadcast their meetings for years. It is time the county catch up with the city and school district.
It is refreshing to see a local government unit openly discuss its issues in public, solicit input from the public in addressing its challenges and seek public consensus. The Willmar School District's open government example should be a lesson for all. The school district is facing some significant budget as well as facility issues.
The West Central Tribune's latest assault, directed toward the current county administrator and commissioners of Kandiyohi County, concerning the hiring of a new county administrator, can only be described as editorially ridiculous. How can they pretend to take the high ground in asserting that the County Board was wrong in how they selected the new county administrator when they fail so often in pointing out the failure to represent the people when it comes to other locally elected officials? Case in point. When Sen.
SAN DIEGO -- A few weeks ago, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff stopped by the editorial department of The San Diego Union-Tribune to provide an update on what his department is doing to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. No surprises there. Politicians and public officials always run to the border for chest-thumping and photo-ops. Yet the story line down there never changes.
BOSTON -- This is what I remembered when the news of Betty Friedan's death on her 85th birthday came over the Internet. I remembered Aug. 26, 1970, the Women's Strike for Equality. I remembered Betty Friedan parading down New York's Fifth Avenue, in the front row, with tens of thousands of exhilarated women behind her. I also remembered the afternoon edition of my paper illustrating that march with two front-page photos. On the left was the pretty, blonde, smiling figurehead of some unknown group of Happy Homemakers.
Is it over? I think it is, but I thought it was over before and then suddenly it all starts up again and someone comes up and says they saw me and I was wonderful -- and then asks, What is she really like? It has been this way now since I appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" about two weeks ago. With Oprah, the 15 minutes of fame could last a good half-hour. This is disheartening to a writer such as myself. Writers write for others, for readers, and so we seek an audience. I have had one for many years now and so I have experienced a dollop of fame.