Short takes for Feb. 1

Olsen pays a special visit

THUMBS UP: Hats off to Larry Olsen of the Larry Olsen band for making a special trip to Marshall on Wednesday to play his accordion with Prairie Home Hospice resident Elmer Grimes, a pretty good accordion player in his own right at age 98. We commend Olsen for taking the time to make the day a little brighter for one of our seniors and one of Olsen’s biggest fans.

Help out East what

took you so long, Congress?

THUMBS DOWN: Hurricane Sandy killed 140 people and caused billions of dollars in damage. It will go down as one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Three months, later, East Coast residents are still waiting for financial relief from the feds. That’s more than sad, it’s disgusting. Imagine you and your neighbors losing everything and getting nothing more than condolences from politicians for three months. Hard to fathom. Eventually, they will get their relief despite congressional conservatives’ complaints about how much it will add to the nation’s debt because Congress on Monday night finally passed legislation to send more than $50 billion to Sandy victims. It continues to baffle us that this country’s leaders and elected officials seemingly have no problem spending billions upon billions of dollars at the drop of a hat in other countries, yet when it comes to taking care of our own, they let political agendas stand in the way. Not exactly the type of maneuvering that will boost Congress’ bottomed-out approval rating. Yes, disgusting pretty much covers it.

Addressing the state’s gun laws

THUMBS UP: It might be considered reactive, but it’s good to see our state Legislature take on the very important issue of gun safety. It’s become quite clear some of our gun laws need to change in Minnesota, and we hope the Legislature is up to the task in making these important decisions.