As the nation nears paying $3 a gallon for gasoline, the panic button has been pushed and a call for action initiated. But will it do any good? Probably not. President Bush joined the fray on Tuesday in calling for a halt for the summer to filling the nation's emergency oil reserve. But analysts believe that the amount of crude oil going into the reserve is so small the suspension of shipments will have no impact.
As the rush to the May 15 deadline approaches, it's becoming more apparent that seniors are flocking to sign up for the new Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Administration officials reported last week that another 1.7 million seniors signed up in the past month alone, and that numbers have exceeded their goal even with three weeks left. But too many concerns remain, and we fear that eligible seniors will be left out when the deadline comes.
U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman is no fan of the United Nations. In fact, several times he has called for the resignation of Secretary General Kofi Annan over abuses found in the U.N.'s oil-for-food program by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations which the Minnesota Republican chairs. Coleman this week launched another tirade against the United Nations -- and rightfully so. It seems the U.N. Disarmament Commission has elected Iran is its vice chairman.
State lawmakers often complain that the halls of the State Capitol are filled with lobbyists. While it's understandable that those with special interests in the outcome of legislation -- such as utilities, pharmaceutical companies or sports teams seeking stadiums -- would hire lobbyists to work legislators, it just seems wrong that the taxpayers have to do the same to be represented in St. Paul. That's the case, however, as Minnesota local governments spent $7.8 million in 2005 to lobby the 201 legislators on their positions -- of course, using taxpayer dollars to do so.
This time of year, with the ice barely off the ground and nothing yet green, common sense should dictate care in the outdoors with materials that may start a fire. As evidenced by dry conditions, the danger of wildfire in the Bemidji area and elsewhere remains high. But to help us remember that wildfire danger is high this time of year is Wildfire Prevention Week, which is noted this week. "In Minnesota, hundreds of fires are accidentally started by people every year," says the state Department of Natural Resources.
Monday marks an historic moment in Minnesota history as the 150th anniver-sary of the creation of the Minnesota Na-tional Guard. It is especially fitting to note the date as some 2,600 of our fellow Min-nesotans and many from our community are now on active Guard duty in Iraq. U.S. Sens. Norm Coleman and Mark Day-ton co-sponsored a resolution commemor-ating the anniversary, and a similar resolu-tion was also approved in the U.S. House. We would like to share the remarks made on the U.S. House floor by Rep. Collin Peterson, DFL-7th District, himself a former National Guardsman: "Mr.
The announcement Thursday that Ford Motor Co. plans to close its St. Paul truck manufacturing plant in 2008 comes as a devastating blow not only to the St. Paul economy, but also to the Minnesota economy. The Twin Cities assembly plant employs about 1,750 hourly workers and 135 salaried. The maker of the Ford Ranger com-pact pickup, the St. Paul plant has been struggling with sales of the vehicle declining sharply in recent years. Still, the state of Minnesota, behind Gov. Tim Pawlenty, has been active in convincing Ford to keep that plant open even if under a different mission.
With last year's federal government response to Hurricane Katrina universally accepted as a disaster itself, we hope lessons learned will mean disaster preparedness this year at a heightened level.
Getting a check back from the government is always appreciated, but not always the best policy. The House GOP would do just that this year under the guise of property tax relief. In a plan unveiled Monday, House Republicans proposed that all homesteads receive a rebate equal to 10 percent of their net property tax, excluding special assessments, shown on their 2006 property tax statement. The total estimated cost of the plan is $307.3 million, which is currently in a tax relief account.
Stymied by inaction by Congress, President Bush on Friday issue the threat that he'd use his power to veto spending bills if Congress doesn't eventually do a federal budget with his recommendations. The only problem -- it may be an idle threat, as in more than five years in office, President Bush hasn't vetoed anything, spending or otherwise. That's why it's important that the president be given additional tools to work with in guiding Congress down a path of controlled spending.