- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Free Press of Mankato, Nov. 11

Approve Keystone pipeline

There’s no good reason for the Obama administration to continue holding up approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Environmental questions have all been answered. Even Obama’s State Department determined the project would not add significantly to global warming, alleviating the last and mostly political objection. Bipartisan support in the House and Senate has existed for more than a year. Two-thirds of the American public favor the project.

While the Obama administration delayed the project with excuse after excuse, Congress eventually voted to go over the administration’s head. The House approved the project with a bipartisan vote in May 2013. The Senate had a standalone vote ready until it was bogged down by procedural issues. Still, many Democratic senators have been on record to approve Keystone.

While the Obama administration tripped up approval with delays in its environmental reviews and said it was waiting on other entities, political observers made the case that Obama was holding off on the project until after the election for fear of upsetting the environmental wing of the Democratic Party.

Well, the election is now over. And if there ever was a reason to hold the project in order to gain support from the Democratic base to win elections, those considerations have vanished.

Other Democratic constituencies, including unions, have long favored the pipeline that will transport Canadian tar sands oil to Gulf Coast refineries. Experts say if the pipeline is not approved, the tar sands crude will simply find another way out of Canada and its U.S. economic benefits will be lost.

Domestic oil production has risen 60 percent in the United States since 2008. We’re on the right track for reducing our dependence on foreign oil. While Keystone will transport from Canada, we’ve long had strong political and trade ties with our neighbor to the North.

New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have the votes to approve the Keystone pipeline when the next Congress convenes in January. It will have bipartisan support. Obama should approve it. It will be perhaps the first effort by the newly divided government to show it can get things done for the American people


Star Tribune, Nov. 10

Clueless behind the wheel

We’re reintroduced to them each year when the first snow falls. For lack of a better name, we’ll call them the Submariners.

Most Minnesota motorists prefer to have the best possible rear- and side-view visibility on the road, especially when the weather turns bad. Not Submariners. They clear off only enough windshield snow to create a small porthole to the outside world.

Submariners leave their side and rear windows covered, either ignoring the obvious dangers of limited visibility or hoping that the snow will eventually melt or blow off. If not, who really needs to see where they’ve been anyway?

Those of us who brush, scrape and defrost until our windows and mirrors are clear find it difficult to understand how Submariners think. We know they should be avoided, though. In particular, no one wants to be behind a Submariner on a highway, where in certain conditions sheets of ice can fly off their rear windshields, trunks and roofs.

Submariners are part of a growing group of common-sense-challenged motorists who, along with impaired and distracted drivers, put themselves and others at risk by making bad choices. And we all pay for those miscalculations - in injuries, lost lives and higher insurance rates.

Submariners also are likely breaking the law, which states that “no person shall drive any motor vehicle with the windshield or front side windows covered with steam or frost to such an extent as to prevent proper vision.”

So take off your blinders and be more considerate on the road, self-absorbed Submariners. You’ll see the world in a whole new light.


The Journal of New Ulm, Nov. 10

President’s intentions on immigration

For months, President Barack Obama and his aides have been suggesting he would take executive action to repair the nation’s broken system of regulating immigration. Then, weeks ago, it was revealed the president would wait until after the midterm elections to do so. Clearly, he was afraid steps unpopular with the public would hurt Democrat candidates’ chances in the election.

Now White House aides are hinting Obama may issue executive directives on immigration before members of Congress elected Tuesday can take office.

Obama’s intent in that would be clear: to act before Congress in which both chambers are led by Republicans from thwarting him.

No one knows precisely what the president has in mind, though there have been suggestions he is considering some sort of blanket amnesty for many immigrants who came to the United States illegally.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday it would be a mistake for Obama to act before Congress can address immigration issues. McConnell will take office as Senate majority leader next year.

“Mistake” is putting it mildly. McConnell and other conservatives should inform Obama that if he takes objectionable action on immigration this year, Congress will reverse it early in 2015.

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