Short takes for May 17

Feds went too far with AP records

THUMBS DOWN: The U.S. government grossly overstepped its bounds by obtaining two months of phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors. The AP called it “massive and unprecedented intrusion.” That’s an understatement. The records included outgoing calls for work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. We’re talking about potential confidential sources the government has no businesses of getting its hands on. The government is often criticized for over-stepping boundaries and this certainly qualifies. What a disgusting abuse of power.

Gas prices here we go again

THUMBS DOWN: Heads up cashiers at gas stations you’re about to – if you haven’t already – get an earful from drivers about gas prices. Prices at the pump have been steadily rising all month and topped at out $3.94 in Marshall and Tracy (as of Thursday morning). Prices range from $3.69 in Moorhead to $4.35 in Golden Valley, according to . The temporary shutdowns of two oil refineries in Illinois are apparently to blame this time. But save your venom, drivers. Complaining about gas prices is like complaining about the weather – there’s nothing we can do about it. Prices go up when refineries go down. Prices go up when something happens in the Middle East. Prices go up when oil prices rise. Unfortunately, it sounds like little relief is coming – at least until July. Until then, as the late Freddie Mercury sang, get on your bikes and ride.

Cancer institute fundraising

THUMBS UP: The Avera Foundation moved closer to its cancer institute fundraising goal this week with three more substantial donations. So far, the Building Hope Capital Campaign has raised more than $2.3 million, which puts the foundation at about 43 percent of its goal. Ground-breaking for the $12.9 million facility, which will be an addition to the existing medical center, could take place late this summer.

Transit at the library

THUMBS UP: Good move by Marshall Transit for testing a new route that makes a stop at the Marshall-Lyon County Library. The move comes a few months after a Marshall woman petitioned Transit to explore the idea of getting a permanent stop there. We applaud Transit for taking this request seriously and working to enhance public transportation in Marshall.

One party, no accordon minimum wage?

THUMBS DOWN: The Minnesota Legislature appears headed toward kicking the can on a minimum wage hike. That fact alone isn’t what gets us as much as why it won’t be implemented sooner rather than later. Simply put, the House and Senate couldn’t compromise. Where have we heard that before? For some reason, House Democrats wanted to take a huge leap from the current $6.15 per hour all the way up to $9.50 per hour – not exactly a baby step. Senate Democrats, on the other hand, targeted a more conservative bump to $7.75 per hour, which sounds more reasonable. The kicker is, the Dems control both chambers and still couldn’tt come up with a number they could all agree on. We can see the issue get hung up on partisanship, but what does it say about our state government that lawmakers from the same party can’t even agree. How can common ground not be found here?