Government shouldn’t try to censor social media

Mike KnaakEditorial, Opinion, Print Sartell - St. Stephen, Print St. Joseph0 Comments

Misconceptions about free speech and the First Amendment are getting tangled up in the growing controversy over the role of social media companies in public debate. Don’t let confusion about free speech, companies’ business decisions and technology lead to government regulation. Let’s start with the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the

‘Nobody’ wins when you don’t vote

Mike KnaakEditorial, Election 2018, Opinion, Sartell – St. Stephen, St. Joseph0 Comments

Do you want to overthrow the government? Or maybe you think things are going just fine. Either way, Tuesday’s primary election is the time to take a stand. Midterm elections generally attract a low voter turnout. Primary election turnout is historically even lower. Voting is always the most important action of civic engagement, but because of a unique set of

New ruling opens courtroom doors just slightly to cameras

Mike KnaakEditorial, Print Sartell - St. Stephen, Print St. Joseph0 Comments

An open-government debate that has gone mostly unnoticed for the past 30 years cleared another milestone in early July. The Minnesota Supreme Court filed an order permanently opening up Minnesota’s criminal courts to cameras. The decision comes after a 2-1/2-year pilot program on camera access to criminal proceedings. The permanent rules take effect Sept. 1. The U.S. Supreme Court held

Voters do have a choice in future Supreme Court cases

Mike KnaakEditorial, Opinion, Print Editions, Print Sartell - St. Stephen0 Comments

The debate about how Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Supreme Court seat should be filled and how an expected “conservative” justice might rule on past issues misses the point. Voters don’t get to decide who Donald Trump nominates or who the Senate approves. But voters do have a voice. Many issues that reach the high court end up there because of a

Transparency questionable in recent council decisions

Janelle Von PinnonEditorial, Opinion, Print Editions, Print St. Joseph0 Comments

Let us be perfectly clear. In no way is this meant to tarnish what we’re sure is an impeccable reputation nor is this meant to cast aspersion regarding the capabilities of Dwight Pfannenstein as St. Joseph police chief. That being said, we do seriously question the motives behind two recent decisions by the St. Joseph City Council. Newly christened council

Don’t let the fall election be all about Trump

Mike KnaakEditorial, Opinion, Print Editions, Print Sartell - St. Stephen, Print St. Joseph0 Comments

Two names you probably haven’t heard until recently, if at all, should set the agenda of issues for the midterm elections. While the elected leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties frequently frame the choice as a referendum on Donald Trump, there are urgent issues that need action and that will shape the United States long after Trump is gone.

Ask candidates if they are ready for compromise

Mike KnaakEditorial, Opinion, Print Sartell - St. Stephen, Print St. Joseph0 Comments

Which political environment produces results? Some people argue that divided government – one party controlling the executive branch and the opposition controlling the legislative – works because the opposing parties serve as a check on the extreme stands of the other and the result is a middle-ground compromise. The alternative viewpoint – one party controls both the executive and legislative