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Find the center ground


Fri, Oct 2nd, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Every ten years as provided for in the US Constitution the Census Bureau gathers data which will be used to determine how many of the 435 US representatives each state will have. Next year the 2010 census data will be gathered and provided to the states by April 1, 2011, for that purpose. States will then have the opportunity to redesign their districts.

Our political system led by two strong political parties pulling in opposite directions, has, to some extent, put the country in a box. Both parties are responsible. The extreme elements of both parties tend to be in control. The country shifts power from one to the other in recent decades about every eight years. The effect is a tug of war with one pulling to the right and gaining advantage until the public gets fed up and then the other pulls to the left gaining advantage. The result is a shifting right and left with neither taking the country forward effectively and efficiently recognizing a center ground.

Democracy is messy. However, the way many states draw up their districts by a process often referred to as gerrymandering reduces the value of each individual's vote. Gerrymandering, or the drawing of districts to give unfair advantage to one party or the other, results in contorted geographical districts and makes so-called "safe" districts, where the party of the incumbent can't realistically lose. Safe districts allow incumbents to disregard whole portions of their constituency, effectively making many of these voters underrepresented.

The term gerrymandering was born in 1812 when then Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a law to redistrict his state to benefit his party, the Democratic-Republican Party. It was said that the district looked like the image of a salamander on a map, "Gerry-mander." The tactic now referred to as gerrymandering was used years prior as early as 1789 in an effort to keep James Madison from winning a seat in the US House of Representatives.

In my opinion, the inability of some of our legislators to work together in the best interest of the public is a direct result of the way many house districts are drawn. Districts should be drawn without regard to party affiliation, race, or religion of the residents. Unbiased commissions or perhaps better yet mathematical formulas could be used to draw the districts more fairly. Human nature, as it is, makes state legislators with a political agenda the most inequitable method of determining .....
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One Moment, Please... Volunteer emergency response

Fri, Oct 2nd, 2009
Posted in Commentary

By Jason Sethre

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone number 507-251-5297

If you listen to a scanner on a regular basis, you probably heard a variety of ambulance and fire department dispatches this past week in the area ..... 
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Members of congress need to travel

Fri, Sep 25th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Spooked by the public outcry, the House of Representatives has cancelled its order for four new military jet aircraft that would have been used occasionally to ferry members of Congress around the world. Even so, you shouldn't expect for a minute th ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Pride in heritage

Fri, Sep 25th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

By Jason Sethre

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone number 507-251-5297

Pictured above is the Preston High School Class of 1949, celebrating their 60th year reunion. I actually had a chance to join them at the Branding ..... 
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Hijacked

Fri, Sep 25th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

"What is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents." Robert Kennedy

It's time for all of us to take a step ..... 
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Limits of growth

Fri, Sep 18th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Yellows, reds, blues and their accompanying greens enticed us on a walk before entering the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The colors were of flowers in yards, sometimes encompassing entire yards, sometimes in the company of trees, shrubs and vegetab ..... 
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One Moment, Please... State testing

Fri, Sep 18th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

In the past couple of months, our newspaper has dedicated research and pages to report the 2009 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) test results for all Fillmore County schools. Education is of utmost importance to me for the sake of our future ..... 
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An ode to cows

Fri, Sep 11th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I have lived and worked with cows my entire life; in fact I would go so far as to say that cows have always controlled my life and my family. I don't know what it would be like to be without our cows. I grew up on a dairy farm and taking care of the ..... 
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One Moment, Please...Dems & Reps: Please kiss and make up

Fri, Sep 11th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Last Monday, I received an e-mail from an individual questioning the developments leading to two Letters to the Editor running in the August 31 Fillmore County Journal. One letter was from Robert L. Sauers questioning the content of Greg Davids' heal ..... 
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