"Attention, Wal-Mart shoppers. Attention, Wal-Mart shoppers. There is a terrorist in Aisle 4." As ridiculous as it may sound, that's the direction we're going with our national security. Just when you think the government has gone far enough with groping "junk" in airport security lines, now the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is asking Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, to serve as the front line for stopping domestic terrorism. Recently, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolintano announced a partnership with Wal-Mart to have the retailer in its 600 U.S.
It was a somber former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton who took to the podium on Wednesday afternoon to make his first remarks as governor-elect of Minnesota.
The compromise tax package brokered this week by President Barack Obama is wrong for America -- but it's the best one that can be reached on the eve of the advent of a Republican-controlled House and a weakened Democratic Senate. The president, sensing the time is near for the lame-duck Congress to end, worked hard to seek a bipartisan answer to a number of issues that needed deciding before adjournment. Liberal Democrats in the House say they will oppose the package because the president gave away too much -- and he did.
The state's latest budget forecast, released Thursday, shows the budget deficit slipping even further into the hole than last forecast last February -- now standing at $6.2 billion or nearly $600 million more than the $5.6 billion forecasted earlier. The Legislature will have its work cut out for it when it convenes next month to figure out the next two-year state budget.
A democracy works best when its government is the most transparent to the people it governs. But there are exceptions. The first duty of government is to protect the people whom it governs.
Now fresh off its Thanksgiving break, the U.S. Senate will soon take a vote in the lame duck session on the Food Safety Modernization Act, a bill that has wide bipartisan support and offers the first major update to food safety laws in more than 70 years. It is a bill that needs swift passage to provide that our food supply is subject to the strictest regulation to ensure it remains the safest in the world. We've had enough trouble spots in recent years, from hamburger to eggs, and Congress has been at work on food safety legislation.
All rested from turkey and football? Good, now it's time to start shopping! Today is know in the retail vernacular as Black Friday, the traditional kickoff for the holiday shopping season. Even without worries of the lingering recession, the time between now and Christmas is always crucial for many retailers, some of whom make a fifth to a third of their net profit for the year. It will be especially key this year as holiday shopping could be an indicator of whether we're out of the recession or not.
As families gather around the table Thursday for Thanksgiving dinner, the usual prayer of thanks includes a plea for world peace and understanding. We can have that within our reach, if the U.S. Senate acts soon to ratify a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia. Last April, President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which must now be ratified by the U.S. Senate and the Russian Parliament to take effect. Here in the United States, the ratification is being held up by Republicans - primarily Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.
Try to explain to the more than 5 million unemployed Americans that the Great Recession ended a year ago and better times are ahead. Then try to explain to 2 million of them that their jobless benefits will expire in a few short days, during the holiday season. Merry Christmas. After the Nov, 2 election, Congress is back for a lame-duck session with a lot on its plate before turning the reins over to Republicans in January.
Americans want to feel safe when taking commercial air flights, especially after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. But there is a limit. That limit has apparently been reached in recent days with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's installation of scanners at most major airports, accompanied by "pat-downs," a manual process of patting down a passenger. Some are calling for a boycott of air travel on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, to protest the heightened security measures. It's the pat-downs that have crossed the line.