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We're number 37


Fri, Feb 13th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

The Obama era was supposed to begin by dealing with four issues Iraq and the Middle East and all its permutations, the economy and the recession, healthcare systems, and lastly, all other entitlements.

The economy has sucked all the air out of the room so far. Iraq and Afghanistan have been ignored for the most part. The media believes Iraq is in good shape because of an election where they had to shut down the country and essentially declare martial law to get 50-percent of the vote out. Even closing the borders and allowing no motor traffic, several provinces were felt to be too unstable to allow them to vote, so they will vote later.

Great strides we are making in Iraq.

Six months ago meaningful healthcare reform finally seemed to be within reach. Consensus was building that the healthcare system was a train wreck that cost too much and delivered too little.

T. R. Reid produced a documentary for Frontline last April and is publishing a book next May. The title of the book, "We're Number 37!" This refers to the United States ranking by the World Health Organization. We do fairly well on outcomes, especially for cancers. For interventions that require ongoing care such as diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerotic diseases of the heart, brain and kidney-not so well. The reason we don't, is these require early and continuing care and is a measure of our access to care. It points out that we ration care now in the U.S. by the most cruel and venal way - the ability to pay.

Since I subscribe to many newspapers over the internet and receive blogs from both left and right leaning think tanks and pundits, I see a frightening thing arising. The discussion around healthcare is becoming too strident and sclerosed into extreme fixed positions. Both sides have extremists that are all ready monopolizing the discussion and defining terms of engagement.

Some of us remember the deceiving ad put out by the healthcare insurance companies featuring Harry and Louise. They were the couple concerned their healthcare would be run by Washington politicians; they would not be able to see their own doctor, or go to the hospital of their choice and there would be rationing of care.

Taking a page from that intellectual paragon "Joe the plumber" those on the right are redefining socialism as any government program that benefits individual citizens. Crying socialism also brings up images of communism, and to the population over 40 t .....
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One moment, please...

Fri, Feb 13th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I keep hearing how the current state of affairs is being compared to crises of the past, which is understandable -- since economists often theorize that history repeats itself.

Most recently, I heard that our finanicial woes were comparable ..... 
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On ethics, morality and faith: The Redeemed Shall Walk

Fri, Feb 6th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Do you remember when you, your parents, or grandparents, saved Gold Bond stamps or S & H Green stamps, given as an incentive to buy from a certain store or gas station? After we filled the required number of books, we could take them to a Redemption ..... 
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Stop taxpayer funding of ethanol

Fri, Feb 6th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Ethanol, in any form whether grain or cellulosic, will never economically replace petroleum. There just are not enough BTUs to justify it. Ethanol is about 20 to 30-percent less efficient than gasoline and about 50-percent less efficient than diesel ..... 
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One moment, please...

Fri, Feb 6th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I really don't enjoy debating politics, because I'm too competitive and I always WIN; just like in the board game Monopoly against my wife and Karla Appel. I am kidding on all accounts, in case you were ready to challenge me.

In spite of my l ..... 
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Food Support cases up dramatically

Fri, Feb 6th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

PRESTON - On January 20, the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, the Fillmore County Social Services front desk logged 200 contacts - phone calls and walk-ins from residents in need.

Gail Bunge, Financial Assistance Supervisor ..... 
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Spending our money, Round II

Fri, Jan 30th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



It might be a stretch but it seems to me that the economic situation we now see around us is similar to being attacked by an unseen enemy. Like the 9/11 disaster, seemingly out of nowhere comes an unimaginable catastrophe. Sure, we know now ..... 
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A 'Welcome' Home

Fri, Jan 30th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



As my wife, Amanda Sethre, and I embark upon the adventure of publishing a weekly newspaper in this beautiful area of Southeast Minnesota, we would first like to thank you for being so welcoming.

The people and scenery of Fillmore C ..... 
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A Question of Energy

Fri, Jan 23rd, 2009
Posted in Commentary

On the night of January 10, we had the biggest and brightest full moon that we will see in 2009. A walk under this moon would have made streetlights unnecessary.

A big change for my husband and me with our recent move from the Big Woods into ..... 
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