"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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"The Graduate" revisited


Fri, Jun 22nd, 2007
Posted in Commentary

"Benjamin...I just want to say one word to you...just one word...are you listening......switchgrass. There's a great future in switchgrass...think about it. Will you think about it?" Imagine if Mr. McGuire had uttered "switchgrass" into Benjamin Braddock's ear instead of "plastics" in the classic movie, The Graduate.

If "plastics" was the visionary investment of the 1960s, I contend that the visionary investment for Minnesota in the 2000s is switchgrass. "Switchgrass" is the new "plastics." Switchgrass, a major component of the perennial grasslands that once covered parts of this U.S. has exciting potential to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. U.S. energy dependence is intricately tied to the military situation in the Middle East as Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and economic/foreign affairs correspondent, Thomas L. Friedman, has elegantly described.

"We are financing the U.S. armed forces with our tax dollars, and, through our profligate use of energy, we are generating huge windfall profits for Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan, where the cash is used to insulate the regimes from any pressure to open up their economies, liberate their women or modernize their schools, and where it ends up instead financing madrassas, mosques and militants fundamentally opposed to the progressive, pluralistic agenda America is trying to promote." [New York Times, February 2005]

Extricating ourselves from the Middle East energy-wise may help give the U.S. the position of detached impartiality that restores us to our role as an effective world leader. Minnesota has the economic and agricultural potential to aid in this extrication through the production of biofuels. Increased production of domestic biofuels would have an immediate geo-political and environmental benefit along with the potential for local financial benefit. Corn ethanol, Minnesota's current leader in biofuels, has proven itself as a successful contributor to domestic energy needs and as a profitable local investment. While corn may always be a major ethanol component, cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass has greater promise to benefit Minnesota.

Switchgrass is a native grass that can be planted on land unsuitable for other crops. It has a high carbon sequestration capacity; meaning it can absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide from the air, a known contributor to global warming. With an extensive root system pushing 10 feet into the ground, switchgrass reduces erosio .....
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We're all mad here

Fri, Jun 22nd, 2007
Posted in Commentary



Alice: But, I don't want to go among mad people.

Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can't help that. We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.

Alice: How do you know I am mad?

Cheshire Cat: You must be. Or you wouldn't have come here. ..... 
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Truth, consequences, and responsibility

Fri, Jun 15th, 2007
Posted in Commentary



So, Paris Hilton doesn't like being in jail. Who would? She obviously broke the law and was incarcerated. Then, by some strange means she is released. Then, due to a public outcry of preferential treatment, she is sent back to the slammer, s ..... 
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It's not and never will be free

Fri, Jun 1st, 2007
Posted in Commentary

There are in excess of 47 million uninsured and 12 million under-insured under age 65 in the U. S. One in three non-elderly will go without insurance in the next two years. Half of all bankruptcy is due to medical bills. Most people in bankruptcy ha ..... 
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This was one field trip well worth attending

Fri, May 25th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

On Tuesday, May 22, 270 fourth graders from seven schools in Houston and Fillmore counties converged on the Mabel Steam Engine Grounds in Mabel for a Farm Safety Day Camp. The seven schools participating in the event included Caledonia, Chatfield, H ..... 
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The class of 1968

Fri, May 25th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

When I graduated from high school in early June 1968, Lyndon Baines Johnson was president. The awkward Texan had completed John F. Kennedy's unfinished term and was elected president over Barry Goldwater in 1964, with the highest margin of victory i ..... 
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Finally, someone is in charge of the Iraq War

Fri, May 18th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Czar or Tsar - an Emperor or in more modern usage a Monarch or King. The word originates from the deified Roman dictator Caesar and came to represent the Roman Emperor. (Wikipedia)

We have been waging the Iraq War or Debacle for over 4 years ..... 
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Springtime renewal

Fri, May 11th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Spring is a time when we throw open the windows, clean out the closets, and get our hands back into yard work. It's all about taking advantage of fresh air, reevaluating your needs, and nurturing the green space in your life. Most people look forwar ..... 
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Buying the War

Fri, May 4th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Bill Moyers calls himself a "citizen journalist."

He is also an ordained Baptist minister, one-time aid to President Lyndon Johnson and, of course, a journalist with PBS.

Moyers is first and foremost a seeker of truth. That he work ..... 
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