I am darn mad about the way the U.S. troops come home from war; that they are all Army, Navy and Air Force and not treated to a grand review parade in Washington, D.C., with colors, the flag and service bands and with the president and all officials in attendance on the reviewing stand. As far as Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of State, advisors from the Pentagon and anyone else with the necessary courage, they might, sadly, have to be behind bulletproof glass.
WASHINGTON -- Feeling, evidently, flush with (other people's) cash, the Senate has concocted a novel way to spend $3 billion: Create a new entitlement. The Senate has passed -- and so has the House, with differences -- an entitlement to digital television. If this filigree on the welfare state becomes law, everyone who owns old analog television sets will get subsidies to pay for making those sets capable of receiving digital signals. If you think America is suffering an entitlement glut, you may have just hurled the newspaper across the room.
There is a move afoot in Congress to pass a bill that would allow the United Nations to tax American citizens in order to help them support their global ambitions. Why should we have to fork over money to Kofi Annan and his greedy, corrupt cronies at the U.N.? This tax proposal has been kept fairly quiet until recently. Some powerful members of Congress, like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, have already voiced their support for global taxation. Up to now, President George Bush has opposed a global tax, but he is under tremendous pressure to favor the U.N.
I see that conservatives, Republicans and Christians are, once again, carrying on and on in protest about the theory of evolution (survival of the fittest) being taught in school. At the same time that they protest evolution, they are still subscribing to the theory that poor people must pull themselves up by their bootstraps (survival of the fittest); no matter that some people may not even have bootstraps. I say this at the risk of more anonymous calls self righteously assuring me that I will be going to hell.
If, as Samuel Johnson said, "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel," then "support our troops" is very close by. It is being used to deflect criticism of the war in Iraq, or to rebut those who call for a pullout or question how incompetents seized control of the government in a coup by ideologues. In the lexicon of some, the only way to support our troops is to ensure that more of them die. The utter tastelessness of this approach was on display Tuesday when Vice President Cheney spoke to the 10th Mountain Division and the National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.
The remaining members of Company C of the 1-151st Field Artillery of the Minnesota National Guard are back in their homes today in west central Minnesota. As one soldier said Monday, it is "a dream come true." The company is made up of soldiers from Morris, Madison, Ortonville, Montevideo and Appleton. We would like to say welcome home to each of these 146 returning soldiers. They went to Iraq, they served and completed their mission. For that, each soldier is to be commended. Three soldiers of this unit did not return: n Sgt.
Rural Minnesotans have an excellent opportunity to improve our highways by voting "yes" on the proposed constitutional amendment in the November 2006 election. That's why we're perplexed by the decision of Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities to oppose the measure (West Central Tribune, Nov. 19). If the amendment is approved, all money collected from the existing 6.5-percent sales tax on the sale of new and used motor vehicles would be dedicated to highways and transit. This was the intended purpose when the tax was enacted almost 30 years ago.
Murtha, Murtha, Murtha, Murtha, Murtha, Murtha, (Lieberman), Murtha, Murtha, Murtha. That's about how news coverage has gone the past several weeks concerning Rep. John Murtha's call to withdraw from Iraq versus Sen. Joe Lieberman's call to stand fast. And the media wonder why newspaper circulations are dropping and why Fox News dominates television ratings over the networks and other cable programs. It's not that Murtha doesn't deserve airtime to voice a point of view many Americans share.
SAN DIEGO -- In most U.S cities, public officials are commonly referred to as "the honorable" this or that. But here in San Diego, they're often referred to simply as "the defendant in the above named action." The U.S. attorney's office, the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission have separate and ongoing investigations into the city's pension scandal, which resulted in a nearly $2 billion shortfall in the municipal employees' pension fund. Six former members of the pension board have been charged with corruption and are being prosecuted by the district attorney's office.
The celebrity rush to save the life of convicted murderer and gang founder Tookie Williams may be the best argument yet for eliminating the death penalty. Dead, he's a martyr; alive and confined for life, he's just another nobody. I have no wish to further elevate Williams in the public eye, but the circus surrounding his Dec. 13 execution date forces reflection. First my bias and other disclaimers: I'm a relatively recent convert from the slow-gas-leak solution to death row crowding to a reluctant capital punishment opponent.