Short takes for Sept. 20

Is anything private anymore?

THUMBS DOWN: We’re deeply troubled by this week’s news that private driver’s license information of people in Minnesota is being illegally searched by government workers. KSTP anchor and reporter Jessica Miles, who is one of nearly two dozen people to file a federal lawsuit, reportedly had her information searched more than 1,300 times. According to her lawsuit, the Department of Public Safety notified her that state employees from 180 different departments and agencies reviewed and improperly obtained or used her private data. Her husband’s information was looked up more than 90 times, according to the Associated Press. Identity theft and having “private” information searched are scary things, and it makes you wonder – if you haven’t been wondering already – just who can be trusted.

Wake up on gun violence, Washington

THUMBS DOWN: Perhaps now that major gun violence has come to their doorstep, elected officials in Washington will wake up and get down to business on the gun control issue in this country. It’s clear to the rest of the nation that something needs to be done about gun violence whether it’s stricter gun control laws or a renewed focus on mental illness. Gun rights advocates and those against guns surely can agree that something needs to be done and have lobbied on their respective behalves for years. Hopefully there will be some silver lining to Monday’s tragic shooting – that being Congress steps to the plate, puts politics aside and moves on this. We need more than just lip service on this one, we need action.

‘Pursuit’ is hot

THUMBS UP: Move over football and volleyball players, this weekend belongs to the marching band. The 18th annual Pursuit of Excellence takes place Saturday at Mattke Field at the Schwan Regional Event Center at Southwest Minnesota State University. If you want to see high school marching band at its finest, head to the REC Saturday evening where 19 of the top marching bands in the Upper Midwest will compete in front of judges. You won’t be disappointed.

Shutdown looming?

THUMBS DOWN: We’re hearing that word againshutdown. With Republicans vowing to defund President Barack Obama’s new health care law there could be a stalemate looming in Washington, and with less than two weeks to go before a partial shutdown could become a reality, issues like health care, the debt limit and the Keystone XL oil pipeline are major hurdles Congress is facing in its attempt to keep our government running. “There should be no conversation about shutting the government down,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said earlier this week. “That’s not the goal here.” We take that more as stating the obvious than reassuring Americans that a shutdown won’t happen. Both sides say they’re working for Americans, but if they don’t agree to compromise and give a little, how exactly is that helping us?