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How many zeros?


Fri, Dec 19th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Know why they always print 70b or 700b? Because only mathematicians know how many zeros are in a number so large. The reason our math teachers taught us up to the thousands and then used those "to the power of" and algebraic letters was, they had no expectation that we would ever need to deal in things larger than our checkbooks needed to know.

Who gets the chore of writing out that check, drawn on the account of our grandkids, with all those zeros? Are the lines longer on the Treasury Account checks than mine are? It's clear, my bank won't let me write really big numbers or they would allow more space.

As a family, America is into really huge sums of dollars.

It's pretty clear, something had to be done. All those outrageous mortgages for outrageous houses, had to be dealt with. McMansions were sprouting up like dandelions on every hill and valley across the nation. They all needed furniture and window treatments. What good is a four car garage without four cars, a boat, a motorcycle and an odd assortment of doo-dads that don't match the drapes? A good time in American history to own a bit of rental space. "Place your stuff here- your kids might come for it one day"

Then there were the banks. Promising young families that they could afford a house with sixteen bedrooms and an in ground pool - and furthermore, that they deserved it. Didn't we all believe in teachers, clergy, and bankers?

For sure, the bankers will get reimbursed. The buyers of all that American Dream might now be learning that despite the Reagan rhetoric about the working class being the middle class, in fact, the working class is still making payments to the upper class. And, the upper class has the ear of the government. Did the government care when GM closed its plants in Flint, Michigan in the 1970's? Not too much, as long as the auto making corporations could make mega bucks elsewhere (like Mexico).

Now the Big Three are sitting there, trying to look like kids caught with a cigarette in their back packs, asking for twenty five or thirty four billion (do the numbers matter at this point?) and promising to build cars that should have been engineered while Jimmy Carter was wearing a sweater and talking about energy in the 70's.

I have an idea. Let's blame the UAW. Imagine, cars made money and the poor schmucks who did that boring job for forty years or so, should be taken out and hung because their pensions and health care are k .....
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What will happen when wind turbines arrive in Fillmore County?

Fri, Dec 12th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Earlier this year EcoEnergy, a French-owned corporation with a regional office in Harmony, erected several wind measurement towers between Greenleafton and Harmony. More than 30,000 acres of Fillmore County farmland has been signed up to allow 400' ..... 
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Forgetfulness and counting ballots

Fri, Dec 12th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

If you're like me the mind plays little tricks on you from time to time. Chalk it up to age, too many things to think about; in your mind one second, gone the next.

Is there a difference between forgetfulness and not remembering what you we ..... 
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An Invitation to Democracy

Fri, Dec 5th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

It's practically an American sport to criticize our elected officials. I probably did my share of thoughtless criticism, too, until I took a job "moonlighting" as a reporter and started regularly attending my local school board and city council meet ..... 
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Corporate Welfare in the Medicare Program

Fri, Dec 5th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

How would you like to have a health care insurance plan that allows you to help pay for your neighbors' healthcare insurance plans? That includes neighbors who have six figure incomes. Welcome to the world of Congressmen who succumb to the blandishm ..... 
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A Time to be Thrifty

Fri, Nov 28th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Because I was born in southwest Iowa in the very middle of the Great Depression, and have never been even moderately wealthy, some of my favorite places to shop are the Salvation Army stores, Saver's, Saint Vincent DePaul, and the Depot. Having grow ..... 
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Meet me in the poetry section

Fri, Nov 21st, 2008
Posted in Commentary

I must confess, I was a nerdy little kid. I didn't much like other kids; they always wanted to play outside, go to the park, and organize teams and clubs. My family forced me to answer the door when kids came to play, and made me go outside at least ..... 
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Political ruminations on Southeast Minnesota agriculture

Fri, Nov 14th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

As American families sit down at the supper table these next few weeks and chew over the collective political decisions we made in the voting booth this year, can we also take a moment to ruminate on agriculture?

It's a good time to realize ..... 
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Change is more than a word

Fri, Nov 14th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

It's over. The long, long, long campaign for the Presidency is behind us. The run for the top spot seemed to be a lifetime in length. Now we can relax. Or, can we?

The lightness of spirit many felt immediately after the election has been te ..... 
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