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Wild Ethics


Fri, May 29th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



The cyclist, earphones in his ears, zooms by me, looking neither right or left, intent on speed and endurance and I wonder why he bothers to bike on this section of the Harmony / Preston Trail that runs along Camp Creek where fish swim and through woods where wildflowers bloom and the birdsong never ends. Why ride here among all this beauty and music and not see or hear it? We humans have so many devices--bicycles, fishing rods, boats, guns, ATVs, snowmobiles, radios, recreational vehicles, bats and balls--we think we must have to enjoy the outdoor world.

When I walk this trail, the people I see are mostly on bikes, some are running, very few are walking like me, admittedly with my own device, a pair of binoculars. I would miss my binoculars, but would still enjoy a leisurely walk listening to robins, rose-breasted grosbeaks, yellow warblers, orioles; seeing an orange and black redstart flitting among branches, a fox squirrel, golden in the sun, a spider spinning a web outlined by drops of dew, patches of ginger, rue anemones and wild geraniums; or feeling the magical touch of fog and then suddenly the warm sun at my back.

Recently I attended a presentation at Luther College by David Abram, a cultural ecologist, philosopher and performance artist, who is the founder of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (www.wildethics.com), a group of individuals and organizations working to ease environmental devastation through a transformation of culture that looks back to a time of human integration with the non-human world and forward to the possibility of that integration occurring again.

Abram is the author of "The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World" (Pantheon / Vintage) and he spoke about these subjects in his presentation. An encounter with growling, aggressive sea-lions while in his kayak far from human habitation suggested to Abram that he might be in real trouble until he tried communicating with the creatures by swaying and singing a chant and the sea-lions swayed back. Those of us who have pets know the significance of interspecies communication. Bird enthusiasts know that different species will respond to humans mimicking their songs. Some of us believe that our plants respond to our presence.

As part of its work to integrate humans with the non-human world, the Alliance for Wild Ethics promotes oral cultures in the belief that our literate and digital culture, necessarily abstract, .....
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A religious conversion: I don't think so

Fri, May 29th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



This week the American Health Insurance Plans organization (insurance trade organization), along with 5 other health care groups, notified the administration they were on board for healthcare reform. The one caveat they have notified the adm ..... 
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One Moment, Please...

Fri, May 29th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

As I indicated shortly after my wife and I purchased the newspaper on February 2, 2009, this is YOUR newspaper.

Last Monday, May 25, I opted to publish a commentary piece at the request of Art Callanan, a resident of Preston and long-time Jo ..... 
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Pawlenty and Legislature fail to best serve the people

Fri, May 22nd, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Sadly, the Republican governor and the DFL-led legislature were unable to compromise and play "let's make a deal" and do what is in the state's best interest as their session ended on May 18th at midnight. Pawlenty had given the legislature an ultim ..... 
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Foxes in the hen house

Fri, May 22nd, 2009
Posted in Commentary



The foxes are not just in the hen house they want to build the next hen house complete with an easily breached fence. The American Health Insurance Plans, the American Medical Society, PHARMA and other healthcare organizations that have pros ..... 
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It costs too much

Fri, May 15th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



The conventional wisdom is that now is the time for healthcare reform. Of course, the Republicans are saying we cannot do it now because of the economic crisis. We couldn't do it before because of the economic boom and anyone that wanted to ..... 
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One moment, please...

Fri, May 15th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



It's not often that we'll have two editorial cartoons on these fashionably sequenced pages, but today is a special treat.

OK, let's not get carried away. Just relax and keep the excitement to yourself.

The reason for two too ..... 
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One moment, please...

Fri, May 8th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



Remember SARS or the West Nile Virus? Ah, those were the good old days.

Back when viruses left food sources alone.

Throughout my 15 years in the media business, it will never cease to amaze me how the national media feasts on ..... 
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Folks we don't know

Fri, May 8th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



Heroes and Villains share an important commonality; they are always outside of our personal social systems. When I was a kid, all the boys wanted to be cowboys even if they had never seen a horse up close. Girls wanted to be Princesses thoug ..... 
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