Congress played dueling banjos last week over the issue of immigration reform, using the backdrop of the Independence Day week to do nothing more than pure electioneering. And that's too bad, as the nation desires secure borders and immigration reform is seen as an important part of that. Holding congressional hearings to gain public input on pending legislation is of course a good idea. How else will those who live and work within the Beltway understand what the rest of us seek? But in this case, both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate have already passed their immigration reform bills.
A decision Thursday by New York's highest court hopefully should restore some balance to what has become a hot-button issue in Minnesota politics -- the push for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages. The New York Court of Appeals, that state's highest court, ruled 4-2 that the state's law allowing marriage between a man and a woman was constitutional.
After the events of the past few days, it should become crystal clear: North Korea as a threat to world peace must be contained. It must be disarmed.
While Congress for some unknown reason remains stalled on reauthorizing the Civil Rights Act, the state of Minnesota has moved ahead in assuring another level of civil rights to a segment of its population in guaranteeing access to the polls on Election Day. One of the many provisions of state law, enacted by the 2006 Legislature, which took effect Saturday is one which will make it easier for American Indians to use tribal identification cards to register for voting on Election Day. Minnesota has long led the nation in voter participation in elections, and part of that can be credited by a
Gloria Slagle has scored, not only as a General Equivalency Diploma student graduate, but as an example to enquiring minds everywhere. With plentiful difficulties to overcome -- physically, emotionally and age-related -- at 70 years old, she beat the odds, aced the tests and will celebrate this Fourth of July holiday with family members who recognize the opportunities out there for all who truly tuck in, buckle down and persevere.
Teacup poodles, mini-Yorkies, Chihuahuas -- teeny-tiny, pocket-sized dogs have been on the hit list lately as dognap victims. Calls have suggested the nappings have been related to captures for nefarious animal testing. There is probably no connection among most of the dog and puppy thefts, but owners of little doggies should pay attention to where their pets are at all times. Their tiny size makes them prey not only to human thieves, bit also to our welcomed growing population of eagles.
Tom Heffelinger, former U.S. Attorney General, and one of the founders of the Family Advocacy Center of Northern Minnesota, will now, as a private legal representative, serve as a member of the Family Advocacy Center Board. Now in private practice with his former firm of Best & Flanagan, which conducted the pro bono work to set up the Family Advocacy Center, Heffelfinger is a natural to continue the work to help families, and especially children, who are victims of violence and sexual assault.
Earth work has started for First National Bank Bemidji's new building to be completed next year at 1600 Paul Bunyan Drive N.W. The groundbreaking was held at 7:30 a.m. last Wednesday, early in the morning so that staff -- the people President Tom Welle pointed out have made the community bank successful for 109 years -- could attend the ceremony.
This July Fourth holiday presents a unique opportunity for many people, offering a four-day weekend as we move past Monday into Tuesday, Independence Day. It can provide extra time for an enjoyable summer holiday, but it can also provide plenty of time to over-celebrate and cause tragic results. Relatively new to Minnesota is the lawful availability of non-aerial, non-explosive fireworks, which by no means are any less dangerous.
Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling should serve notice to the Bush administration that it must do something with the nearly 500 detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba. The ruling also serves to put the brakes on an expansion of Executive Branch powers unheard of since World War II. The court, in a 5-3 ruling, denied President Bush's plan to try detainees through military tribunals, saying that doing so violates both U.S. and international law.