SAN DIEGO -- Discussing the Jack Abramoff congressional lobbying scandal, some have invoked the colorful saying -- often attributed to Eric Hoffer, a longshoreman-turned-philosopher of the 20th century -- that every great cause begins as a movement, degenerates into a business and winds up a racket. I can't help but think how beautifully, and how tragically, that phrase sums up the moral trajectory of the United Farm Workers union over the last 40 years. What began as a worthwhile cause -- to bring dignity to farm workers -- eventually became a national movement, then a family business.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced his 2006 bonding plan Monday totaling $897 million for public works, but said he was open to spending more. That is a positive step in the process compared with two years ago when the governor refused to consider going over his announced bonding proposal total and no bonding agreement was reached. After all, Pawlenty and legislative leaders are not that far apart this year.
Because she has led countless billions and billions of people to the promised land of books, because she preaches self-help and self-sufficiency and not least because she has shown that even a middle-aged person can keep weight off, I must tiptoe up to the amazing Oprah and merely whisper to her that in the case of James Frey, the liar whose memoir turns out to be as much fiction as fact, she is not only wrong, but deluded. What she needs is a session with Dr. Phil.
SAN DIEGO -- Senate confirmation hearings are supposed to teach us things and, sure enough, the hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito Jr. taught us plenty. Not about the nominee, who at times couldn't get a word in edgewise as Democrats and Republicans blathered incessantly, either attacking him or defending him against the attacks of others. I couldn't decide which was more painful to watch. Rather, the lessons were about the system and the people it is supposed to serve.
Monday was a national holiday and a day of reflection about the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I am appalled at the notoriety that Wayne Cook seems to be achieving through his one-man letter-writing campaign to the West Central Tribune. Trying to will your own personal morality on the public can be a fascinating, attention-grabbing subject. What does he hope to achieve by threatening to cancel his newspaper advertising because of one questionable photo? Even if this dubious threat were to work, is he really na?ve enough to think that by censoring one local newspaper the threat is removed?
Hats off from Debbie Busta's "You and the Law" at New London-Spicer High School to Jason Keith, Ace Bonnema and Rob Reitsma for the tour of the Kandiyohi County Law Enforcement Center in Willmar. The tour was impressive and educational and the guides were very professional. Hats off from Connie Wanner to Goodwill for providing wheelchairs, walkers and other items people need on a temporary basis.
"Money talks and propaganda works" best describes today's Republican Party. It started with Ronald Reagan. He cut taxes, went to Berlin and said, "Tear down that wall," and became famous. While we were enjoying his tax cuts, he was borrowing money to run the government. Our country was $1 trillion in the hole when his term was up. The Clinton administration spent eight years paying that debt. When George Bush became president, he copied Reagan. He cut taxes and was back running the government on borrowed money almost immediately.
The only thing standing between Joe Biden and the presidency is his mouth. That, though, is no small matter. It is a Himalayan barrier, a Sahara of a handicap, a summer's day in Death Valley, a winter's night at the pole (either one) -- an endless list of metaphors intended to show you both the immensity of the problem and to illustrate it with the op-ed version of excess. This, alas, is Joe Biden. The reviews for Biden's first crack last week at Samuel Alito, the humorless Supreme Court nominee, were murderous.
WASHINGTON -- A listless intellectual fog had fallen over the Senate hearing room on Tuesday, the first full day of questioning for Judge Samuel Alito before the Judiciary Committee. As one Democratic senator strode out to the hallway during an afternoon break, he leaned my way and said: "We have to hit him harder." The senator was expressing frustration over a process that doesn't work. It turns out that, especially when their party controls the process, Supreme Court nominees can avoid answering any question they don't want to answer.