News Day – February 5: DHS and MN Somalis, Snyder closing stores, World/National notes

Maybe more news later … working to finish a freelance article today, in addition to the usual TC Daily Planet editing, so I’m in even more of a time crunch than usual.

Homeland Security “engages” with MN Somalis The Department of Homeland Security has an Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. (Who knew?) That office is coming to MN to “engage” with the Somali community, reports Laura Yuen on MPR. The feds will talk to key local government officials this week, and plan a community roundtable for some time in March.

The FBI has recently suggested that about a dozen young MN Somali men may have gone to Somalia to fight with the Islamist Al Shabab militia. According to BBC Al Shabab “are the youth and military wing of a group of Sharia courts known as the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) – who controlled Mogadishu and much of southern and central Somalia in 2006.”

Somalia has not had an effective government since 1991, but the UIC stopped much of the violence, crime and banditry in the areas they controlled. They were driven out by an Ethiopian invasion, supporting a Somali transitional federal government with the political backing of the United States.

Abdullahi Yusuf served as president of that transitional federal government for four years, but resigned in December as Ethiopian troops pulled out of Somalia. Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein has attempted to reach a peace agreement with Islamist militants, and a former leader of the UIC, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, was elected president in January. During its six months as the effective government of most of Somalia, the UIC was seen as comprised of moderates and hardliners, and Ahmed was identified with the moderates.

MN Job Watch Minnetonka-based Snyder Drug Stores will close 19 of its 47 corporate stores in Minnesota in March, reports MPR. Thirty independently-owned Snyder store will not be affected. The closings will leave “hundreds” of Snyder employees jobless.

GOP legislators are pushing legislation mandating a wage freeze for all public employees, according to Mark Brunswick in the Strib. The two-year freeze would apply to lump sum and cost-of-living adjustments as well as salaries for state, local, MNSCU, and school district employees — which sounds like no collective bargaining for two years and nullification of contracts already in place.

WORLD/NATIONAL NOTES – Gaza, DTV, Children’s Health Care, Half a Million?

Gaza aid intercepted by Israel Israeli military forces stopped a Lebanese ship bearing medical supplies, food, clothing and toys for Gaza, along with ” eight activists and journalists, as well as the former Greek-Catholic archbishop of Jerusalem, Monsignor Hilarion Capucci, who had served time in an Israeli jail in the 1970s for his membership of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO),” reports BBC. Yesterday, in Gaza, UN officials said that Hamas seized “thousands of blankets and food parcels that were meant to be distributed to Palestinian civilians in Gaza” that the UN was preparing to distribute to civilians.

DTV on hold until June–mostly The House agreed to delay DTV implementation until June 12, removing the last barrier to delay. Despite the delay, some broadcasters may still turn off their analog signals on the original February 17 date, as they are not required to continue broadcasting on analog, reports Julio Ojeda-Zapata in the PiPress. In other media-tech news, the Minnesota Daily reports that Minneapolis wi-fi should be completed by the end of March. The Daily report recalls earlier promises that the system would be complete by April 2008.

“Only” half a million dollars The Obama administration plans to cap exec salaries at half a mil for those companies receiving new federal bailout money. That’s more than the presidenet of the U.S. makes, but not enough, according to a business salary experts quoted in the NYT:

“That is pretty draconian, $500,000 is not a lot of money, particularly if there is no bonus,” said James F. Reda, founder and managing director of James F. Reda & Associates, a compensation consulting firm. … Mr. Reda said only a handful of big companies pay chief executives and other senior executives $500,000 or less in total compensation. He said such limits will make it hard for the companies to recruit and keep executives, most of whom could earn more money at other firms.

The Daily Kos puts the case for salary caps succinctly:

Remember, it was the guys making $20 million and more per year who created this mess.

So, what’s required to get competent managers in these positions? Remember that McCaskill pegged her maximum CEO salary to the salary of the President of the United States. Are we to believe that a CEO making $20 million per year is 50 times more impressive and talented than the President of the United States? (OK, granted, the answer to that question is different today than it was three weeks ago.) And are we to believe that the only reason anyone does a job, in particular these high profile, very powerful jobs, is for the money?

Score one for the children President Obama signed the children’s health bill yesterday, expanding coverage for uninsured children, reports the NYT:

The Congressional Budget Office says the bill will enable states to cover more than four million uninsured children by 2013, while continuing coverage for seven million youngsters. The bill will increase tobacco taxes to offset the increase in spending, estimated at more than $32 billion over four and a half years.

In a major change, the bill allows states to cover certain legal immigrants — namely, children under 21 and pregnant women — as well as citizens.

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One response to “News Day – February 5: DHS and MN Somalis, Snyder closing stores, World/National notes

  1. Pingback: News Day 2/11/09: MN to Somali / Salting the lakes / Schools slash spending / more … « Mary Turck

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