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Our responsibility: sacrifice now for a better future


Fri, Jul 24th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

A few weeks ago on June 26 the US House of Representatives narrowly passed the Waxman-Markey bill (H.R. 2454). It is formally dubbed "The American Clean Energy and Security Act," which concentrates on energy efficiency, conservation and the replacement of high green house gas emitting fuels like coal as much as possible. This "cap and trade" bill may not be even near perfection, but the direction the bill gives is a bitter pill the country needs to swallow to help preserve the health of the planet. We need to move toward more energy efficiency, cleaner energy, and the production of less green house gases. The question is, how big of steps need to be taken baby steps or a big leap? Baby steps could be ineffective and a big leap could rock our economy and standard of living, risking a hard landing.

The bill as written mandates the production of 15% of the nation's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020. The goal is to reduce overall greenhouse gases 17% from the baseline of 2005 by the year 2020, with a long-range goal for an 83% reduction by 2050. Forty-four Democrats and one hundred and sixty-eight Republicans voted against the bill with the final tally being 219 for and 212 against.

The formula written into the Waxman-Markey bill may favor parts of the country that are reliant on nuclear and hydroelectric power. The Midwest, which is in large part powered by coal, which produces more carbon dioxide, will be at a disadvantage with the formula. The bill places limits on the emissions of carbon dioxide. If a company exceeds their allowances, they would be required to purchase allowances from other businesses.

Farmers would not be directly regulated by the bill. However, there would likely be increases in fertilizer prices, fuel and electricity costs. Experts don't expect spikes in gas and diesel costs like those experienced last year. Farmers would be offered incentives in the form of emission allowances through the USDA. The bill encourages the production of biobased energy. US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has admitted there "may be additional costs associated with a farming operation."

The Washington Post stated it would cost the average family an additional $1600 per year. The cost of living increases will be the result of higher energy costs, which in turn affects the cost of food and other products. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the additional cost per household per year would only .....
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Healthcare swan song

Fri, Jul 17th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

It's pretty frustrating to be interested in health care reform and live in Southeastern Minnesota. Minnesota has been one of the most progressive states in giving its citizens health care safety nets. I feel like I'm preaching to the choir while the ..... 
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One Moment Please: Don't ruin a good thing for families

Fri, Jul 17th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Congratulations to Harmony for their outstanding July 4th parade! I especially enjoyed the cavemen of Niagara Caves -- very creative and entertaining.

Probably the only thing that was a concern was while I was videotaping the entire parade t ..... 
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Judicial appointments

Fri, Jul 17th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

As we know, the Untied States Senate has the responsibility to advise the president and consent (or not) to his nominations of federal and Supreme Court judges and other officials. When the judicial candidates testify before the Senate Judiciary Com ..... 
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Yards of food and flowers

Fri, Jul 10th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Over the years that my husband and I lived in the Big Woods, our mowed lawn decreased in size. We gave up gardening after the first five years because we didn't want to fend off the deer and other creatures. We loved the encroaching trees, shrubs an ..... 
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Climate change and energy bill

Fri, Jul 10th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

The House Agriculture Committee concluded its first public hearing to review the Waxman-Markey climate change and energy bill (H.R. 2454) on June 11. Dubbed "cap and trade," it would impose new energy taxes on all American energy users, raising the ..... 
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One Moment Please: Obituaries and E-mail Alert System

Fri, Jul 10th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Over the years, I've heard a few people say the Internet is a bad thing. And, I've heard the flip side from people stating the Internet is the next best thing since the toothbrush.

The individuals who are concerned about what the Internet in ..... 
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A couple of ways to help yourself

Thu, Jul 2nd, 2009
Posted in Commentary

In cases of emergency medical services there is often a degree of confusion even when there are alert knowledgeable relatives and friends at the scene. This is especially true about two things, medications and, to a lesser degree, end of life direct ..... 
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One Moment Please: Open enrollment

Thu, Jul 2nd, 2009
Posted in Commentary

On the cover of the June 29, 2009 issue of the Fillmore County Journal, we ran a story about the impact of open enrollment on Fillmore County.

Without a doubt, this has had an influence on school budgets and interaction between area schools, ..... 
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