EDITORIAL BRIEFS COL Will Kerry address DM#x0026;E?

The Bush administration has offered Sen. John Kerry's campaign an opening to gain votes in Rochester.

Last week a Bush administration official offered support for the Dakota Minnesota and Eastern Railroad expansion. Rochester has been fighting the railroad's mainline rebuild that cuts the city in two because of the impact on the Mayo Clinic and other concerns.

When he visits Wednesday, Kerry should tell his audience whether a Kerry administration would support DM&E's; plans.


; MPCA reverses itself again


First, officials in charge of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency invited a leading scientist to deliver the keynote address at an upcoming environmental conference. Then the agency uninvited him. Finally, when a little sunshine was shed on the issue, the scientist was reinvited.

Why the convolutions? Possible conclusions from the research might have created discomfort among some in the agriculture, farm chemical community and the government.

A Star Tribune report told how professor Tyrone Hayes, a scientist who studies the influence of farm chemicals on amphibians living in the farming environment, was told that unless he edited his findings he was no longer welcome at the conference. The professor refused. Good for him.

However, renewed invitation is not as a keynote speaker. The professor has graciously declined. He did say that he would give his speak anywhere he was asked, from a coffee house to an auditorium.

It was a political move of maximum dishonesty. Instead of using the setting as a chance for a discussion on scientific research the agency chose silence. It showed a weak-willed agency. Even reversal of position proves that the MPCA simply tilts in the direction of prevailing breezes.


; Some are more equal than others

America, the land of equality. Where class is but a foreign concept -- except in Congress.


While millions of Americans are being told they will be denied a flu shot, Congress, it seems, has all the flu vaccine it needs.

In fact, the U.S. Capitol attending physician has urged each member of Congress to get a shot. Why? What makes them a protected class?

The Capitol doc said members of Congress should get a flu shot because they have extensive contact with the general public. Apparently this is a newly defined "at risk" group -- the extensive public contact group.

By definition, such a group, along with Congress, would have to include convenience store clerks and bus drivers, retail sales people and receptionists, anyone who comes into contact with another person.

Most members of Congress immediately understood that accepting the shot separated them from the unwashed masses in a way that tends to strain voter affection.

So, with some foresight, Congress could have changed the situation for the better. It had the vaccine when hospitals were turning people away.

The implication here is that some are more equal than others.



; Pawlenty raises stakes against casinos

Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants the state's Indian tribes to give the state a $350 million cut from tribal casino operations.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported during the weekend that the amount might be as much as one half of tribal take.

Is the amount fair? At one half it seems high, but the amount might be just an opening position for the governor. However, Pawlenty has also put some muscle behind his position.

Pawlenty continues to, from the tribes' point of view, "threaten" that the state will develop its own casino. What else would bring the tribes to the table? An offering to allow a gaming expansion in tribal casinos might work.

Could a deal in which tribes are given a chance to increase gambling-generated revenue intended to offset a state payment work? Sure.

First, though, Pawlenty and the tribes need to sit and talk. Threats make it hard for open communication. Especially if Pawlenty is looking to capture half of the tribes' gambling revenue. Still, obstinate positions by the tribes that ignore the needs of the state or the state infrastructure that supports the gambling facilities are a non-starter.

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