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Commentaries

Jul 23, 2013
Everyone agrees that Trayvon Martin’s death was a senseless loss of life. While we’ll never know all the facts, it seems likely that George Zimmerman did “profile” Martin when he first saw him. What happened after that will forever be unknown, and, in my mind, the facts were insufficient to convict Zimmerman.
Jul 19, 2013
But instincts and doubts, no matter how deeply rooted in Jim Crow and lynching, should not be more determinative than facts, and based on what I believe to be factually true, I would argue that race did not play a role in Zimmerman shooting Martin or in a jury’s decision to acquit him. On one side of our nation’s most divisive current divide are people who believe that race – mostly Trayvon Martin’s – was the prime reason George Zimmerman followed and shot him that night in Florida 17 months ago. And that race once again – in this instance, both Zimmerman and Martin’s – led to the not-guilty verdict last week. On the other side of the line are those who contend that race simply had nothing to do with either the shooting or verdict.
Jul 2, 2013
The 2013 Omnibus Tax Bill signed into Minnesota law a new gift tax that went into effect Monday, in addition to the estate tax we already have.
Jun 26, 2013
Dane Smith has been my worthy counterpart at Minnesota’s major progressive think tank, Growth & Justice, since he assumed the presidency there six years ago. In the same way he generously has written approvingly about some things I’ve written in recent years, I’m pleased to write approvingly about a recent commentary of his in the Star Tribune.
Jun 17, 2013
Kim Crockett’s Remarks at the Annual Dinner, June 13, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza in Saint Paul, featuring Dr. Ben Carson: Our Mission is to Build a Culture of Prosperity. Why? Because a culture of prosperity is one where big things are possible; people can pursue their dreams because prosperity creates opportunity and American-style social mobility.
Jun 5, 2013
The noise and excitement of the legislature being over for the year, it's a good time to reflect on the institution itself, how it has been strengthened, how it has been weakened and the prospects for both.
Jun 4, 2013
The city of Red Wing, Minnesota, has a rental property inspection program—one that’s unfortunately not unusual—whereby landlords and tenants must routinely open their doors to government agents. These searches take place even if both the landlord and tenant believe it not to be necessary. The owner of the property even has to pay a fee for the unwanted search to receive a rental license! The city only sometimes makes initial requests for consent as a mere courtesy, because it proceeds with an administrative warrant in the event of a refusal—without a showing of probable cause to believe there’s a housing code violation or other problem. The inspection ordinance doesn’t even attempt to prevent the disclosure of information revealed during the search; the whole neighborhood may find out the contents of your medicine cabinet or choice of DVDs.
May 28, 2013
For the first time in a good while, we are about to be asked to stop some of what we’re doing, pay attention and take measure of various allegations of wrongdoing in high Washington places. You know — Benghazi “talking points,” the IRS’ special attention to Tea Party groups, the Obama administration’s snooping around reporters.
May 21, 2013
Even as the Minnesota Legislature passed a bitterly contested bill Monday authorizing a vote among home-based child care business owners and personal health care attendants on a collective bargaining unit, union opponents already were preparing to mount a constitutional challenge.
May 21, 2013
Despite significant opposition from affected citizens, the Legislature rewarded a multi-year campaign by public unions AFSCME and SEIU to open the door to the unionization of both day care workers and personal care attendants (PCAs or home health care aides).