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What do they really mean?


Fri, May 30th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Several days ago I had a conversation with a friend and professional colleague. We've known each other about 5 years and have enjoyed many interesting exchanges. Our topics this day ranged a bit and finally settled on the economy, specifically, the price of gasoline at the pump.

As most of us do when this subject comes up we complained about the ongoing price hikes. I then said something about the tremendous profits the major oil companies are making and how the government should stop their subsidies and consider applying windfall taxes on these profits.

My friend replied with the usual come back of supply and demand and how the oil companies need these profits to stay in business. He then said that if the oil companies were allowed to drill in areas that are now environmentally protected there wouldn't be such a great problem.

He went on to say that I was of course opposed to this because I'm a "tree hugger". I told him that I accepted his name-calling in good spirit, that being a tree-hugger is not all bad, and that it really depends on the issue as to whether I am indeed a tree-hugger.

This exchange got me thinking about code words and labels used to described people and the positions they may or may not espouse. Who or what exactly is a tree-hugger?

As I interpret it, the term tree-hugger is a somewhat derogatory label used to describe one who is environmentally focused to the extreme. Can one believe in sound principles of environmental protection without going to extremes, or being a tree-hugger? I think so. But, I fear, the cartoonish picture the term brings to mind will always be in the general consciousness of most of us.

What of other labels? What comes to mind when one hears the term "compassionate conservative". Of course, I immediately think of President Bush and how he used the label to describe himself. But, at least for me the term never really had a definition.

Taken for what each word means I'd expect that the first part, compassionate, would describe an awareness of the suffering of others with a desire to relieve that suffering. Conservative, on the other hand, could be interpreted in a variety of ways. Conservative could be thought of favoring traditional views or values. Conservative might also be thought of as being cautious or moderate, as in a conservative estimate. Then there are fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, religious conservatives, and cultural conserva .....
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Our Energy, Our Future

Fri, May 30th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

It seems like every time America discovers it has a crisis on its hands, our government wakes up and proposes a crash program to fix it. Henry Ford was one of the first to observe it and even coined a name for it: "the crisis-crash syndrome."

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Baloney! It's not your fault

Fri, May 23rd, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Last week a politician in a radio interview said unless Americans change their ways the cost of health care would soon consume 20% of the GDP. The inference was our unhealthy life style is responsible for the rise in costs.

He was the secon ..... 
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The next seven generations

Fri, May 16th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." And there are none so blind as those who will not see... or are blinded by fear and greed...."

But, of course, it's "depressing" to watch the documentaries: An Inconvenient Truth or The Planet. ..... 
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Beautiful, suspicious, hospitable

Fri, May 16th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

The city of St. Petersburg, Russia, is so unbelievably magnificent it is difficult to describe, and truly a study in contradictions. We were only there for ten days, so these thoughts and observations are far from comprehensive. I do not choose to w ..... 
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INC. for President

Fri, May 9th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

I figured out the problem with political races- human beings are just too flawed to withstand such scrutiny and pressure. We get to see all their weaknesses, their peculiar family members that remind us of our peculiar family members. We hear about ..... 
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Why Bio?

Fri, May 9th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

In an increasingly competitive world marketplace, every region must identify and build upon areas of strategic advantage. Here in southern Minnesota, the bio-sciences offer us that edge. What is bio-science?

Bio-science applies biological te ..... 
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Farmers aren't to blame for increased food costs

Fri, May 9th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

In a world of finger pointing, farmers have had to shoulder the blame for the increased costs of food, when in reality, the facts point to other influences that contribute to the rising costs. I would like to share some statistics with you:

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Why not a greater Rushford?

Fri, May 2nd, 2008
Posted in Commentary

It is worth mentioning, that according to the Minnesota Design Team, of all the greater Rushford residents who took part in the recent brainstorming exercise, R-P students made the most lasting impression.

High school senior, Carina Schiltz, ..... 
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