The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Editor's blog

February 5, 2013

News review and comment: guns, Keystone pipeline, filibuster

President Obama's strategy team seemed to think Minneapolis was a good place to find a supportive crowd for his gun proposals.

That might be related to the deep blue nature of the state, though Gov. Mark Dayton pointed out to Obama and others that the folks in rural areas do not have the same ideas about gun restrictions as they might in Uptown Minneapolis.

Dayton's comment was a bit surprising, suggesting once again there will not be consensus on a lot of these guns issues except maybe for increased background checks. There were to be several bills introduced today and the next few days addressing those very issues in the Minnesota Legislature.

Speaking of rural folks and their attitudes about guns, we can look to Rep. Tony Cornish, who appeared in a front page Free Press article on Saturday. Cornish didn't say anything surprising except that he will be playing defense on guns instead of the offensive approach he used when he was Chair of the Public Safety Committee.

The picture that goes with the story shows a coyote hanging from a tree next to Cornish. The Good Thunder lawmaker points out it was shot with an assault weapon used for hunting. Range was 225 yards. Not a bad shot.

Editorial board pushes for approval of Keystone Pipeline.

Obama said he was concerned about environmental impact of the Keystone Pipeline in Nebraska. Now that the company has rerouted that pipeline around the Nebraska Sand Hill area, Nebraska governor approved it.

Direct environmental concerns seem alleviated at this point. A bipartisan group of senators has urged Obama to now approve the deal. The State Department says it can finish its review by end of first quarter, though an anonymous source told Reuters it wouldn't be before June.

We urge it be approved as soon as possible. It fits with Obama's "All-of-the-above" energy policy and delays seem purely political  now, as Obama tries to appease environmental groups.

Bring back Jimmy Stewart

The deal struck by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on filibuster reform is far from ideal and won't help gridlock much as our editorial today indicates.

We'd have prefered a throwback to days when senators had to have the guts and the stamina to stand and talk for hours to get attention for their cause, like Jimmy Stewart did in "Mr. Smith goes to Washington."

We know that's asking politicians to talk more, forever, endlessly, a dangerous thing to ask, but in the end, it would be more fun for political theater and more of a pain for senators who seem to be in and out of Washington a lot more nowadays. Nobody seems to be working a 40 hour week.

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