WASHINGTON -- In democratic countries, the true mark of a politician's triumph is not whether he transforms his own political party. It's whether he forces the opposition to renovate itself and become tweedledum to mimic his own success as tweedledee. Thus did British Prime Minister Tony Blair this week earn his place in the Politicians' Hall of Fame. In electing the flashy, moderate, bike-riding 39-year-old David Cameron as their leader, the opposition British Conservative Party decided it would draw its slogan in the next election from the venerable rock band The Who: "Meet the new boss.
The people of rural Minnesota who shop at Wal-Marts puzzle me. At a bare minimum, if you like shopping at "big box" retail stores, could you at least do it at Target, which is a Minnesota-based business? Secondly, when you bypass local stores in your community which already have the same products as the Wal-Mart that's 30 miles away, you are not doing your local community any favors.
It seems that news from Washington is a mixture of dishonesty, corruption and bribery. One is the resignation of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) along with his confession of having accepted bribes of $2.4 million from defense contractors. (After his public confession, Minnesota Congressmen John Kline and Mark Kennedy decided to donate to charity the money they received from Cunningham's PAC.) Texas Judge Pat Priest has upheld the charge of money laundering against Tom DeLay (R-Texas). If convicted, DeLay's sentence could be from five years to life.
President George Bush, the hero of the religious right wing, gave a speech, saying, "This economy is strong and people are working." Meanwhile General Motors is laying off workers and Ford Motor Company is closing plants and 9 million people is the figure I heard of people still out of work. Bush also said our involvement in Iraq was done as of May 1, 2003. Since then, over 2,000 Americans have died in Iraq. This guy isn't even a good liar. I always thought God-fearing people told the truth. Maybe I missed something and there are exceptions to the rule.
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Lord Impersonator is back again. This fella reappears every couple of years and causes no end of trouble. The jokester goes around persuading feeble-minded persons he is the Lord Almighty and that they are to do or say some perfectly idiotic thing under his instructions. One of the worst cases we've had in Texas was the time the Lord Impersonator convinced 20 people in Floydada to git nekked, get into a GTO and drive to Vinton, La., where they ran into a tree.
A Willmar teenager and a Grove City legislator are teaming up in an effort to help fund treatment programs for methamphetamine addictions. Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, Wednesday announced a plan to fund meth treatment through special car license plates, similar to the plates that support natural resource programs. Meth is an addictive stimulant drug that strongly activates certain systems in the brain. Meth releases high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which stimulates brain cells, enhancing mood and body movement.
Once again our Legislature has forced law enforcement officials to work overtime during the holiday season in order to turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into enemies of the state. What is the crime that must be eliminated? The "crime" of choosing to drive unbuckled. A defining hallmark of freedom is the right to make personal decisions about accepting risk. Government's role in a law-and-order society is to protect person A from harming person B.
I find it interesting in this day and age of computers and data-base management systems, that Mr. Horn, Wal-Mart's company spokesperson, is unable to specify how many of the Montevideo Wal-Mart's employees are full-time as stated in a Dec. 3 story in the West Central Tribune. I would also be interested to know what specific percentage of Montevideo Wal-Mart employees make the company's stated average wage of $10.53 per hour.
Minnesota's superintendents want to add five weeks to the school year over the next four years, while shortening the summer break. This proposal is one worth some serious consideration by the Minnesota Legislature. The Minnesota Association of School Administrators adopted a legislative platform Wednesday that calls for a gradual buildup to 200 days of school per year. Teachers would work a 230-day schedule to provide additional development and student evaluation time. The current school year calls for 170 to 175 days per year.
The Pentagon is investigating allegations that the military paid to have positive stories about the war published in Iraqi newspapers. Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a military spokesman in Iraq, believes the program is "an important part of countering misinformation in the news by insurgents." Johnson said in an e-mail, "This is a military program initiated by the Multi-National Force to help get factual information about ongoing operations into Iraqi news.