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Friday, May 27th, 2016
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Those who know Congress best are shaking their heads


By Lee Hamilton

Mon, May 23rd, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

I had the good fortune last week to spend some time in Washington, D.C. with about a dozen former members of Congress. As you’d expect, we got to talking about the current Congress. Very quickly it turned out that the same question was troubling all of us: Why is it held in such low public esteem?

We represented both parties and a variety of eras, and had a range of experience under our belts. But we all found ourselves chagrined by what we’ve been witnessing. You have to understand that most former members of Congress believe deeply in the value of the institution for American representative government. We might take opposite sides of particular policy debates, but on one point we all agree: we want the institution itself to succeed and thrive. These days, it’s doing neither.

For starters, we were hard-pressed to come up with any real accomplishments for this Congress. It did pass a revision to No Child Left Behind, and a controversial expansion of cyber-surveillance capabilities — which it slipped into a must-pass budget bill. It also took the entirely uncontroversial step of broadening sanctions on North Korea. But that’s pretty much it.

In the country at large, people are fretting about control of our borders, stagnant wages, college expenses, the cost of health care, the opioid addiction crisis, the spread of ISIS, the strengthening effects of climate change. The administration is trying to keep the Zika virus from gaining a foothold in this country, and congressional inaction has already caused Puerto Rico to default on one set of obligations, with a much bigger default looming – and doomed airline passengers to longer and longer waits as the TSA struggles. Yet on Capitol Hill, no one seems particularly concerned. Instead, its members left town to campaign.

This may be unfair, but I can’t help but think about my first year in Congress. We enacted 810 bills, including the passage of Medicare and Medicaid, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Water Quality Act, and setting up the Departments of Transportation and of Housing and Urban Development. Not every year was like that, but the contrast is inescapable. Among the group of people I was with last week — people who watch Congress closely — there was unanimity: this will go out as one of the least productive years in congressional history.

Worse, members show little intere .....
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Dayton the mediator

Mon, May 23rd, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

Governor Mark Dayton is trying “the art of the deal” in an effort to finally produce a comprehensive state transportation funding package for the next 10 years. At the time of this writing, there is less than a week left of the truncated 10-week ..... 
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Will May 25 mark a turning point for Kingsland facilities?

By Jeff Erding

Mon, May 23rd, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

The long and difficult journey regarding Facilities configuration at Kingsland may be on the verge of a milestone decision. A Facilities Committee meeting will take place that night in Spring Valley at 7 p.m. in the District Meeting Room at the High ..... 
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All gave some and some gave all in Vietnam

Mon, May 23rd, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

While the Vietnam War lasted from November 1955 to April 1975, a black cloud seemed to hang over Fillmore County from 1965 to 1970.Out of the 58,307 U.S. soldiers who died in the Vietnam War, 11 of those men came from Fillmore County. The first yo ..... 
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How we got here

Mon, May 16th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

By Donna Buckbee When people go to rallies and hearings to speak up for our beautiful planet and against frack sand mining, inevitably some smug fool will ask, “How did you get here?” We are all part of the problem and we all need to change. ..... 
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The road to perdition

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Mon, May 16th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

I am a Christian and must not hate people. As Christ said, “I give you a new commandment. Love one another.” Pretty straight-forward I think. But I really despise liberalism. Let’s start with this. Liberals do not trust us. At all. Th ..... 
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Entertainer and chief

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Mon, May 9th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

Saturday night I enjoyed watching President Obama perform at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. It was an opportunity for him to demonstrate his skill at delivering a joke. His timing is flawless. We were also shown a film strip which allo ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Internet speed not a high priority

Mon, May 9th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

There’s been a lot of chatter about how our Internet speeds are too slow in greater Minnesota. Without a doubt, as a point of comparison between Rochester and small communities in this region, there’s a tremendous disparity. In the big city o ..... 
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Baby owl season

Mon, May 2nd, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

By Karla Bloem Executive Director of the International Owl Center There isn’t much that’s cuter than a fuzzy baby owl. When people encounter these balls of fluff on the ground they naturally want to help. “Helping” these owls, however, i ..... 
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