Listen to our musical parodies here!
Governor Mark Dayton and the Legislature's top Democrats announced a budget deal on Sunday that guarantees income tax increases on wealthier Minnesotans and a cigarette tax increase. The deal calls for raising about $2 billion in new tax revenue in the next two years.
DFL leaders say alcohol and gas tax increases are still possible, and that pay raises for legislators are still on the table too.
On Friday, an Internal Revenue Service official disclosed for the first time, and by way of apologizing, that the agency that wields the taxing power of the federal government had targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny during the 2012 election season.
The stunning admission didn't emerge in an official statement by a senior official at the Treasury Department, which supervises the IRS. Instead, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner disclosed it on Friday in response to a question from the audience at a meeting of American Bar Association tax lawyers in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Lerner acknowledged that the agency had flagged groups with the words "tea party" or "patriot" to have their tax returns inspected, presumably with an eye on the legality of their tax exemption. Ms. Lerner called this "inappropriate," which it certainly was, and she said it wasn't done "out of any political bias," which is hard to believe. If there was no political bias, why were only conservative groups targeted?
Perhaps I’m not the person to be asking the question since I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman for the primary purpose producing children who will carrying on a moral and productive society. Nonetheless, someone needs to ask the question: Why does Minnesota need a law redefining marriage to include both heterosexual and homosexual relationships limited to two people?
Setting aside, for the moment, my belief and definition of “marriage,” shouldn't someone question what the proponents of homosexual marriage are really fighting for . . . are they really against discrimination?
I hear the advocates for homosexual marriage argue that Minnesota’s current definition of marriage is discriminatory. These advocates argue that such discrimination is the civil rights issue of our day . . . and yet, how to they propose to resolve the discrimination they are fighting? They want the state to redefine “marriage” to include a relationship between two persons of the same sex.
If you really believe the fight about the definition of marriage is about a state law that discriminates by defining one acceptable relationship in favor of another, then why would you propose to pass another law that, in theory, will discriminate? What will you say to the heterosexual couple living out-of-wedlock? Why must they be “married” to get the same benefits bestowed by the state and their employer as the benefits made available to “married couples?” What will you say to the polygamist who believes that marriage should involve multiple spouses?
Again, if you really believe you are fighting against discrimination, then why propose a law that will enhance the very discrimination against which you claim to be fighting? Wouldn't it make more sense to propose the state get out of the business of defining a legal "marriage" in the first place?
There is another question: If the legislative advocates for homosexual marriage pass and the Governor signs their proposed law redefining “marriage,” how will they protect and respect the rights of those who believe homosexual marriage is wrong? Will they respect their neighbors' beliefs? Will they respect the right of others to pass their beliefs about right and wrong on to their children?
I ask these questions understanding very well the advocates' arguments about “live and let live.” However, those who portend to be fighting the state’s involvement in defining acceptable relationships by passing a law defining their acceptable (legal as defined by the state) relationship, hopefully understand that while you may have the right to live your life as you see fit, you will never have the right – even if you put it in law – to deny others the right to teach our kids to love thy neighbor but, at the same time, that marriage is and always will be a relationship between one woman and one man intended to carry on a moral, healthy and productive society.
When you end up on the kiss-cam, better just go with it!
Some people are claiming this was staged... what do you think?
NBA-icon-turned-diplomat Dennis Rodman has asked Kim Jong Un to "do me a solid" and release US prisoner Kenneth Bae.
"I'm calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him, 'Kim', to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose," Rodman tweeted on Tuesday.
Bae, a devout Christian who worked as a tour operator near the China-North Korea border, was sentenced to 15 years hard labour this month for undisclosed "hostile acts" against the hermit kingdom.
In an early poll conducted in Iowa, the state that holds the first presidential nominating caucus in the country, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul far outpaced his potential Republican presidential opponents.
A poll conducted by Illinois-based pollster McKeon & Associates for Freedom to Choose PAC, a pro-gun group, found Paul with an early lead over other possible presidential contenders.
Among voters who said they usually took part in the Republican presidential caucuses, 39 percent said they would vote for Paul if the caucuses were held today. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was in a distant second place with 20 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was at 11 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was at 10 percent, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was tied with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at three percent.
Among self-identified Republicans, Rubio and Paul ran close, with Rubio getting the support 24 percent and Paul getting the support of 30 percent. Christie’s share of the vote fell to four percent among such voters.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a commanding lead with 43 percent of the vote. Twenty-seven percent said they would support Vice President Joe Biden, and 11 percent would vote for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Nine percent said they would support another candidate.
The Colorado legislature passed and sent to the governor on Wednesday a bill to establish what would be the first tax ever collected on commercial sales of marijuana purchased for recreational use in the United States.
The measure, which would impose a 15 percent excise tax plus a 10 percent statewide sales tax on retail pot purchases, was approved as package of measures to implement Colorado's landmark marijuana legalization law enacted by voters last fall.
Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper was expected to sign the legislation.
A "ring of fire" solar eclipse will darken skies on Thursday as the black silhouette of the moon will appear to glide across the face of the sun until only a bit of sunlight is visible. (See annular eclipse pictures.)
Though the celestial phenomenon will be visible mostly in remote areas in the Pacific, armchair astronomers can watch a live feed of the eclipse, thanks to SLOOH.
The Internet-based space-tracking service is broadcasting the annular eclipse via a telescope from Australia starting on May 9 at 5:30 p.m. ET (21:30 UT).