Politics & Policy

Creating Councils that matter

On March 14th, the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor released a report that slammed the effectiveness of the Councils on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, Black Minnesotans, Chicano/Latino


United States get over yourselves! (To better understand Ukrainian situation)

Imagine you are a young woman walking down a street in the US when a group of young men starts hooting and whistling at you. It’s probably annoying, even infuriating, but you keep walking and ignore them. Now imagine the same thing happening on a street in Kiev or Odessa. You should probably run for your life because you may have just become a target to be kidnapped and sold as a sex slave in a distant land.


Desperate times and transitions of global dimensions

This trip to Ethiopia is coming to an end in a few days from now. In the moment I feel some sadness about that need to say goodbye, but it’s also about the state of things here, Africa as a whole and how that reflects the state of the world. I know that I have a certain perspective influenced by the environmental, peace and human rights movements I have actively been a part for most of my life...no apology for that really. From my perspective, and I am not alone on this, there is a catastrophe unfolding now that has not peaked yet. It is like watching an accident in slow motion with silent screams that cannot interrupt our slide into chaos.


Live from Geneva! It's crunch time for the United Nations' examination of the U.S. human rights record

The Advocates for Human Rights has a booth at the Minnesota State Fair every year. We have a wheel that fairgoers spin to take a shot at answering a question on a human rights topic. Last year, one question was a real stumper: “When will the United Nations next review the human rights record of the United States?” “Never” was the common response. The correct answer? Now. This week, a 32-person delegation of U.S. officials will appear before the UN’s Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss human rights here at home.


Lots of work left as committee deadlines loom

(House Public Information Services file photo)

House leaders on Friday praised the body’s quick work in passing $500 million in tax relief this week, but cautioned much work remains on major bills as a March 21 committee deadline draws near.


Farm-to-Food Shelf bill advances in House committee

Rob Zeaske, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland, answers members’ questions during a March 6 presentation to the House Agriculture Policy Committee of Rep. Jeanne Poppe’s bill, HF2538, which would establish the Farm-to-Foodshelf program. (Photo Paul Battaglia)

A couple summers ago, Apple Valley vegetable grower Gary Pahl had more sweet corn in his fields than grocery stores would buy. But rather than disposing of the excess, he worked with a Twin Cities hunger relief organization to get the food to Minnesotans who struggle to put food on the table. Pahl on Thursday told the House Agriculture Policy Committee that his participation in Second Harvest Heartland’s farm-to-food shelf program has grown so that in 2013 he donated 847,000 pounds of food.


The next frontier for liquor: Microdistilleries

Liquor was the name of the game on Tuesday in the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee. Eight bills were heard from allowing on-sale wine and malt-liquor licenses for professional junior hockey games in Richfield to reinstating sacramental wine sales by religious stores and expanding microdistillery sales. All bills were laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus liquor bill.


Cuba sanctions sustained by inertia

Really, it’s inertia. Why do we maintain sanctions on Cuba? Because we maintain sanctions on Cuba.


Wherein I witness Air Force One land and see the POTUS

I got the notice from my editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet on Monday. It said, in essence, “Hey! Anyone want to cover the Air Force One arrival at the airport?” The President of the United States was scheduled to land at 12:50 pm, February 26, and I could have an invitation to see it.

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