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.
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.
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.
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.
WASHINGTON -- This much is clear: Whoever follows Ariel Sharon will follow Ariel Sharon. Sharon himself followed no one. In the army, he was famous for not following orders. Later, in various governmental posts, he did pretty much as he pleased -- building settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, plunging into Lebanon, deserting one political party for another (even Likud, the one he helped form) and, ultimately, reversing himself by dismantling the Gaza settlements and abandoning Gaza itself. As opposed to too many Israelis, his ideology was simple: Deal with reality.
I am responding to the letters to the editor in the Jan. 11 paper. It really disturbs me when adults blow a gasket about beauty and sexuality. Kids see images like that of Lindsay Lohan all the time. They buy Britney Spears, Hillary Duff and rap CDs by the millions. They are trying to figure out their hormonal changes, urges, and feelings. Then, when the very adults they may be looking up to for honesty and guidance openly embarrass themselves, the result is confusion.
There was a very interesting letter to the editor written by Janice Carlson recently in the West Central Tribune. In it, Carlson complained about how the new Minnesota Highway 23 is turning into a race track through Spicer. I don't know why this is such a surprise.
In Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain's letter (Public Forum, Dec. 30) he says that "marriage is strengthened by legally acknowledging commitment between partners, heterosexual or homosexual." According to what data?