"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Thursday, September 18th, 2014
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Are we doomed to polarization?


By Lee Hamilton

Thu, Jul 10th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

We Americans are trapped in a political dilemma. We all like representative democracy, but we don’t much like the way it’s performing.

The reason for this dissatisfaction is clear. Polls in recent years detail a polarized nation, divided both ideologically and politically. This is, as the Pew Research Center put it recently, “a defining feature of politics today.” In the public’s eye, Washington gets most of the blame for this.

Yet Congress and the political world around it reflect the rest of the country more than we’d like to believe. Our nation is divided ideologically. It’s also segregated politically, with many Americans preferring to associate with and live near people who share their views; gerrymandered districts and closed primaries intensify the effect. Our media is more partisan than it used to be. Interest groups — many of them funded by ordinary Americans who want their voices magnified — are more engaged than they were a generation ago. And though we deplore negative politics, we respond to it and even encourage our favorite partisans to engage in it.

Anyone who becomes President today does so with nearly half the country opposed to him the day he takes office. Moreover, we face a long list of issues where decisive action may be impossible: abortion, gun control, climate change, a host of budgetary and economic problems, the death penalty, tax reform, immigration, drug laws. These issues don’t just divide Congress; they divide the nation, with no clear path forward.

Our admired political system, in other words, is not working well. In Pew’s survey, the extremes make up just over a third of the American public, but because they’re disproportionately active they drive our politics. The larger, more diverse center can’t agree on a direction for the country, but its members are united by their distaste for the tone of politics and the unwillingness of politicians to compromise and break the stalemate. We are not getting the politics we want.

So how do we resolve our dilemma?

There are many procedural steps that can ease the gridlock on Capitol Hill. Among them, the House and Senate could schedule themselves so that they’re in session at the same time. Congressional leaders and the President ought to meet at least once a month. Congress needs to work the same five-day week that the rest of us do, and reduce its centralized leadership by .....
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Time to "Pay it Forward"

Mon, Jul 7th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Our life span is a mere moment in time in comparison to the age of the planet we live on. It is our responsibility to pass on this gift of a life sustaining planet to those that come after us. We disrespect the rights of future generations by not p ..... 
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One Moment, Please... A conflicted state

Mon, Jul 7th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

We have a conflicted state here in Minnesota. Our state government preaches so positively about economic development while at the same time making it harder for businesses to stay in business. What I am referring to relates to small town America. ..... 
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Paint the Town

Mon, Jul 7th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

By Tim Penny Since 1998 Valspar Corporation, headquartered in Minneapolis, has partnered with the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations for the “Minnesota Beautiful” program. This grant provides free paint to communities and nonprofits for beaut ..... 
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The lesson congress should learn from the VA scandal

By Lee Hamilton

Fri, Jun 27th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Like other federal scandals before it, the mess involving VA hospitals has followed a well-trod path. First comes the revelation of misdoing. Then comes the reaction: a shocked public, an administration on the defensive, grandstanding members of Con ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Welcome to Whiner-ville?

Fri, Jun 27th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

To be quite frank, while I greatly appreciate our Democracy, I loathe elections. It’s not the process itself, or even the outcome. It all relates to how some candidates interact with media. I’ve been dealing with this for over 20 years, so I ..... 
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The Future belongs to those who show up!

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Fri, Jun 20th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

“The future is decided by those who show up!” On this premise I packed up my lack of expertise, my self doubts and headed to the DFL Convention in Duluth May 31, 2014. Saturday morning it was raining so I was delighted when a smiling young woma ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Never give up

Fri, Jun 20th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

All around us we can find inspiring individuals who encourage us to find our passions in life and never give up. With Team U.S.A. taking center stage in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, proudly limping away with a 2-1 victory over Ghana -- America’s nem ..... 
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Brutus is an honorable man

Fri, Jun 13th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

It has been a wonderful treat over these past few weeks to hear from the area’s own State Representative, one Greg Davids. It’s not often we get a chance to see inside the mind of our elected officials, and it’s even rarer to get to see into t ..... 
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