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Them that serve


Fri, Mar 7th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

It must be difficult to be an elected government official. They must be responsive and accountable to various constituencies including themselves. These include the people whom they represent, which also includes people from their state or district who did not vote for them, members of their own party or caucus, and various special interest groups and lobbyists. Keeping all of these people happy or at least not courting their disfavor would be quite the balancing act.

Elected officials vote on many issues. At the state and federal levels most of the bills discussed and voted upon are low on the radar of the average citizen. While it is relatively easy to find out about the bills being considered most of us pay little attention. We are too busy with our everyday lives to spend time and energy tracking Congress or the State legislature. And, we have faith in our representatives that they will, for the most part, make the right decisions on our behalf.

There are, however, certain bills or pieces of legislation that receive considerable attention from the public and the media. These bills usually are the gut issues of the day such as taxes of different kinds, health care, abortion rights, transportation, foreign trade and policy, and funding and bonding issues. Most legislators probably spend considerable amounts of time learning what they can about the issues upon which they must vote. They hear from the people of their districts, interests groups, lobbyists, and others how these folks think they should vote. In addition, an elected official has to deal not only with their party or caucus position on an issue, but with their own conscience as well. When the call to vote comes what do they base their decision upon? Information and the will of special interest groups, what is best for the people for their district, their party's public position, or how they themselves feel about an issue?

The few legislators with whom I have spoken to over the years say when they campaign for their office they try to inform the voter what their positions will be on the major issues of the day. By being elected they then feel they have been given a mandate from those who have voted for them to adhere to these previously announced positions. Certainly, things change with time and what seemed right then may not be so right now. With appropriate explanation to their constituents a legislator could and perhaps even should change their position.

T .....
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Death by a thousand catastrophes

Fri, Mar 7th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

One day in the not so distant future, the Discovery Channel will air a documentary detailing the life and death of the Conservative Movement, that all-white tribe of bible-thumping, war-mongering, rich folk, who, for a brief period in American histo ..... 
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My forbidden fruits (and vegetables)

Fri, Mar 7th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Rushford, Minn. - If you've stood in line at a farmers' market recently, you know that the local food movement is thriving, to the point that small farmers are having a tough time keeping up with the demand.

But consumers who would like to b ..... 
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Speaking out: The Muni is a win for all of us

Fri, Feb 29th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

It is a fact that a resolution to rebuild the Rushford Municipal Liquor Store (the Muni) with both on and off sale has been brought up for vote before and after change of council members and passed both times. There remains a small group (mostly bus ..... 
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What happened to the R word?

Fri, Feb 29th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

What happened to the R word? You know, that old fashioned word called Regulation. Government regulation to be specific. With the sub-prime mortgage crisis and it's shady lenders about to put us into a recession for the second time in 20 years, isn't ..... 
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The ugly stain of torture

Fri, Feb 29th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Morris Davis, a bird colonel in the Air Force, and until October the chief prosecutor in Guantanamo Cuba, related the story of Tom Ahern in the New York Times ten days ago. According to Davis, Ahern was the Tehran station chief during the Iran hosta ..... 
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Is it time to change how we campaign for President?

Fri, Feb 22nd, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Eight months until November 4th! Can we bear it?

How many of us are honestly sick of political ads, phone calls, polls, attacks, claims, and sound bites?

Maybe it is time to consider putting some limits on how we campaign for preside ..... 
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Hey, just take a pill

Fri, Feb 15th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Winter TV watching is a special health hazard- guaranteed to increase weight and decrease IQ in direct proportion.

Sandwiched between ads for extra cheese pizza and All-You-Can-Eat buffets are ads for cholesterol medications. Dr. Jarvik is ..... 
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How much change do we really want?

Fri, Feb 8th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

As the number of presidential hopefuls gets smaller an interesting field of candidate's remains. Each in their own way represents a certain segment of the electorate. Left in the race is a person of African-American heritage, a woman, a Mormon, an e ..... 
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