— Thumbs down
To Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) who, when reacting to President Obama's inauguration speech, said the goal of the president is to "annihilate the Republican Party" adding "And let me just tell you, I do believe that is their goal -- to just shove us into the dustbin of history."
While we can't begin to peer into the real intentions of the president, we do know what will shove the GOP into a dustbin of history will be its inability to be relevant. The GOP has nearly disenfranchised the Hispanic vote, has painted itself as the Party of No by failing to advance a positive platform, is seen as protectors of the rich and treats some of its own moderates as traitors to the cause.
There are a number of present Republicans who are hungering for positive leadership with a clear mission for change and who are turned off by the party's seemingly extreme position on too many issues. If there's any shoving going on, it's coming from inside its own party.
Pine Co. sheriff showboats on guns
To Pine County Sheriff Robin Cole who vowed to not enforce any new federal regulations on guns because he would consider them to be illegal.
The sheriff's exhortations seem more like a publicity stunt and showboating than something he put a lot of serious thought into. We don't even know what new gun laws might entail. Presumably, it doesn't matter what they would involve, Cole would be able to determine all were illegal.
Cole sent his non-enforcement missive to residents of his county first, citing Second Amendment fundamental freedoms. A Pine County Board commissioner wasn't amused, saying Cole is a "sheriff riding cowboy saying he's going to do what he's going to do."
The sheriff's attitude is troubling because it shows a disdain for the law and that he, is, in fact, somehow above the law. Let's hope the criminals don't take note.
Walking in some other shoes
To United Way's board of directors and their informative budget-conscious shopping trip, which won't solve hunger by a longshot but ought to make all of us a little more aware of the plight of many families who find it hard to put enough food on the table. This week the United Way board tried to make $120 stretch in order to feed a fictional family of four for a week.
What they found: It's stressful. It's limiting.
Most of us aren't stressed in this way. We have enough money to buy what we need to put food on the table for our families. But others don't have enough, and not all of those are on the lowest rung of society. Bread-winners lose their jobs, and it can be difficult to find suitable work in these economic times. There is help available, but some find it hard to ask for help.
How many of us go to the grocery store without worrying what the final bill will add up to? Oh, we're always on the lookout for bargains. But the hungry, and the nearly hungry, agonize over every item. Thumbs up to the United Way for going the extra mile for a more personal perspective.
Gifts bring joy
I wanted to thank fellow Mankato residents who generously gave of their time and means to help impact thousands of hurting kids this Christmas. Together we were able to pack 4,109 of shoe boxes -- filled with toys, school supplies and basic necessities -- for Operation Christmas Child. Our gifts, joined by millions of others, are now on their way to needy children in 100 countries. During the 2012 collection season, Operation Christmas Child reached a milestone -- more than 100 million children have been impacted by the power of a simple gift since 1993.
I would like to thank the volunteers at our local collection sites and all those who packed an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift. For many of the children who receive these gifts, this shoe box will be the first gift they have ever received.
Upper Midwest Regional Director
Operation Christmas Child