An anthem evolution: Minnesota colleges adapt as ‘Star Spangled Banner’ stirs dissimilar emotions

Ruth Sinn didn’t know what her players were going to do last Saturday, when they lined up on the Schoenecker Arena court and faced the American flag. The St. Thomas women’s basketball coach had offered just one instruction: Follow your conscience. Before tipoff against Concordia (Moorhead), as they awaited the national anthem, Sinn and her team listened intently as the public address announcer read a statement. “The MIAC and the University of St. Thomas would like to recognize that the American experience has not been the same for everyone under the flag,” it said. “As we continue the fight for equality and justice for all, we now invite you to respectfully express yourself for the playing of our national anthem.” Some

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Walz tax cut for 1 million families doesn’t reach lowest earners

More than 1 million households would see a tax cut — albeit a small one — under the piece of Gov. Tim Walz’s tax plan that would directly affect the most Minnesotans. When the Democratic governor debuted his budget for the next two years, he presented the expansion of the state’s first-tier income tax bracket as a way to help vulnerable Minnesotans financially weather the pandemic. But that proposal would not cut taxes for the state’s lowest-income residents, who are already taxed at the lowest rate. And the million families that do benefit would get, on average, an annual tax break of $36. Some Republicans quickly derided the small amount, with Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt calling it “a

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Gov. Walz’s tax cut for 1 million families doesn’t reach lowest earners

More than 1 million households would see a tax cut — albeit a small one — under the piece of Gov. Tim Walz’s tax plan that would directly affect the most Minnesotans. When the Democratic governor debuted his budget for the next two years, he presented the expansion of the state’s first-tier income tax bracket as a way to help vulnerable Minnesotans financially weather the pandemic. But that proposal would not cut taxes for the state’s lowest-income residents, who are already taxed at the lowest rate. And the million families that do benefit would get, on average, an annual tax break of $36. Some Republicans quickly derided the small amount, with Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt calling it “a

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Biden’s unity pledge already looks like nothing more than words

In his inaugural address, President Joe Biden said that “unity is the path forward” to overcoming our nation’s challenges. If the president’s $1.9 trillion virus stimulus plan is any indication, however, that spirit of bipartisanship is purely optional for his “side.” On Feb. 3, the House approved a budget resolution that would trigger a procedure known as reconciliation, which would allow Democrats to avoid a filibuster in the Senate and pass the stimulus bill with a simple majority — without Republican votes — in the upper chamber. The resolution came just two days after Biden met with Senate Republicans to discuss their concerns with the legislation. As the Washington Post reported, the 10-member GOP group led by Sen. Susan Collins

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A new consensus on the minimum wage? Yes, but …

“The Right Minimum Wage: $0.” That memorable free-market battle cry was the headline on an editorial in a famed American publication on Jan. 14, 1987. “The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable — and fundamentally flawed,” thundered the Reagan-era oracles. “It’s time to put this hoary debate behind us. … There’s a virtual consensus among economists that … raising the minimum wage … would price working poor people out of the job market [and] increase unemployment.” In this particular case, the editorialists writing for … the New York Times! … were quite right. They were correct, that is, about the “virtual consensus” that prevailed among economists 34 years ago where minimum wages were concerned. Fact

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Readers Write: “The ‘woke revolution’ in schools, Christian …

In the first sentence of her Feb. 7 commentary “Woke revolution looms for schools,” Katherine Kersten asks a good question: “[A]re you ready for the coming ‘woke’ invasion of your child’s public school?” Such an easy answer: Yes, and it’s about time! As a product of Minnesota public schools, I can say there was much good about my education, but there was so much left out. The same was true for my children. My hope now is for my grandchildren, that they will learn much of the information Kersten fears. Unlike Kersten, I am not fearful of this change. We can and must do better. Todd Biewen, Golden Valley • • • Let me preface this with “I’m white with a college

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Don’t travel, the CDC warns, but if you must …

Infectious-disease expert Dr. Peter Bornstein understands well the midwinter yearning for palm trees and ocean breezes. Most years, the Twin Cities physician has a family trip booked to a tropical getaway. He’s often advised new doctors who’ve moved to Minnesota from elsewhere to do the same. This year, Bornstein is checking the powerful urge to buy plane tickets even though he’s been vaccinated against COVID-19 as a front-line medical provider. He’s alarmed about new viral variants and travel’s role in spreading them. “The concern is that the variants may make 2021 look like 2020,” Bornstein said, referring to the past year dominated by disease control measures. “I’d like 2021 to look like 2019.” While air travel and hotel bookings lag

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Voter ID is back to haunt Minnesota democracy

Not all of last month’s scares for democracy had a D.C. address. In St. Paul, the state Senate’s Republican majority unleashed an election-policy zombie that may not be able to cause much trouble this year but is clearly not as dead as many democracy-loving Minnesotans thought. I’m talking about state Sen. Scott Newman’s bill that would require Minnesota voters to present an up-to-date government-issued photo ID in order to cast a ballot. That old thing? Didn’t Minnesota voters kill a proposed voter-ID constitutional amendment in 2012? Voters eight years ago did indeed strike the amendment with what I thought was a killer blow, defeating it by a solid 54-46%. But for Newman, R-Hutchinson, and all the other Republicans on the

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Don’t travel, CDC warns, but if you must …

Infectious-disease expert Dr. Peter Bornstein understands well the midwinter yearning for palm trees and ocean breezes. Most years, the Twin Cities physician has a family trip booked to a tropical getaway. He’s often advised new doctors who’ve moved to Minnesota from elsewhere to do the same. This year, Bornstein is checking the powerful urge to buy plane tickets even though he’s been vaccinated against COVID-19 as a front-line medical provider. He’s alarmed about new viral variants and travel’s role in spreading them. “The concern is that the variants may make 2021 look like 2020,” Bornstein said, referring to the past year dominated by disease control measures. “I’d like 2021 to look like 2019.” While air travel and hotel bookings lag

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Trump acquitted, denounced in historic impeachment trial

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump was acquitted Saturday of inciting the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, concluding a historic impeachment trial that spared him the first-ever conviction of a U.S. president but exposed the fragility of America’s democratic traditions and left a divided nation to come to terms with the violence sparked by his defeated presidency. Barely a month since the deadly Jan. 6 riot that stunned the world, the Senate convened for a rare weekend session to deliver its verdict, voting while armed National Guard troops continued to stand their posts outside the iconic building. The quick trial, the nation’s first of a former president, showed how perilously close the invaders had come to destroying the nation’s deep tradition

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