Thursday, December 15, 2005


On my ride into work this morning I was listening to an MPR story on how the voting was going in Iraq. One of the reporters mentioned that there were very few women seen voting in Fallujah and that this was in part because men were being allowed to vote for their wives, despite rules requiring in person voting. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy about the democratic process doesn’t it?

Then if that weren’t depressing enough, they also ran a story about Minnesota State Representative Jim Knoblach, a republican from St. Cloud. Knoblach is running for Mark Kennedy’s US Rep seat in 2006. Knoblach is also an extremely anti-immigrant knee-jerk conservative who is planning to introduce legislation stripping Minnesota cities of their immigration ordinances. These ordinances forbid cops from asking people about their immigration status unless it is directly related to a legitimate state need. The policy behind this is that state officials should not be stand-ins for federal immigration authorities. Federalist principles aside - if the police collect immigration information that has a chilling affect on immigrant victims reporting crime. This is a huge issue. Many of the officers in Minneapolis and St. Paul have been working hard to try to make inroads into the immigrant communities here so that people will turn to them when there is a problem. Knoblach however thinks since we’re at war police should be stopping immigrants (or people who look like immigrants) on the street and interrogating them about their status, after all they could be terrorists. Call me crazy but I strongly doubt there is an active cell of Al Qaeda in St. Cloud.

On a more positive note the US House voted 308 to 122 to include John McCain’s anti-Torture amendment into the defense appropriations bill. (No thanks to Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) of Macon – the only Democrat to vote against it). This compliments the 90-9 vote it received in the Senate. These are not binding votes but should guide the reconciliation of the House and Senate versions of the larger appropriation bill. The White House after previously promising to veto any bill with this language (you know the language already in the Constitution as well as the Convention Against Torture and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights) has now succumbed to political pressure and agreed to the anti-torture policy. Thanks Shrub, way to begrudgingly back something that was already completely well established binding law.

-A. Monkey