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Catastrophe - 6/28/10


Fri, Jun 25th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Imagine thousands of barrels of oil day after day gushing out of a Fillmore County field and spreading across our agricultural land, through our grasslands and forests and into our springfed streams. Property values plummet, businesses close, jobs are lost, tourists forsake the region and the wildlife disappears or dies. Cleanup, to the extent possible, will take years.

The BP deep-water oil drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was predictable. Such accidents are bound to occur. Now fishermen can no longer fish. Tourists are absent. Pelicans, other birds and sea turtles, some 100 years old, are covered in oil. Volunteers are washing oiled Gulf life, but can't save all of it, certainly not the algae at the bottom of the food chain. The oil seeping into the fragile estuaries and marshes along the Louisiana coast and making its way to other coasts will be nearly impossible to remove.

BP executives said they had a plan in case of a deep-water drilling explosion, but now they say the origin of the disaster so deep in the water makes stopping the gushing oil more complicated than expected. The first attempts to cap the well didn't work. Running mud, sand, golf balls and other junk down the well didn't work, burning the oil works when weather conditions allow, skimming oil from the water surface helps, but not enough. Dispersant breaks up the oil and sends it below the surface. No one is sure how toxic the dispersant may be. Booms coiled along the coast provide some protection. The most recent attempt to cap the well worked marginally and BP workers are capturing some, but not enough of the oil. They are digging two more wells to take the pressure off the gushing one, but that work won't be complete until August. In the meantime, oil continues to gush out of the depths of the Gulf and we no longer hear chants of "Drill baby drill."

What was BP's plan? Did the people in charge have one? We learn of warnings before the explosion, but bosses ignored employee's concerns because they were more worried about being behind schedule than a possible accident. For years, corporations, not just oil companies, have looked toward short-term success and ignored future consequences, leading to our present recession. Corporations are not persons, although the Supreme Court appeared to think so when it recently voted to allow them to make political contributions like individuals do. It's time to rein in corporations, but so far Congress isn't having mu .....
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There is no substitute for robust oversight

Fri, Jun 25th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

In the wake of the Gulf oil spill, it seems like every day brings new word of some calamitous failing at the Minerals Management Service, the federal agency charged with regulating offshore oil drilling. There's an inspector-general's report citing ..... 
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Foreign policy Are we safe or sorry?

Mon, Jun 21st, 2010
Posted in Commentary

It is important at this time to take a closer look at our foreign policy as to whether we, as a nation, are on a path to becoming a sanctuary against terrorism. The events of 9/11 are still looming in the background, and the attempted car bombing in ..... 
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Morse - Letter to the Editor

Mon, Jun 21st, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Letter about MN leaders

I appreciate how Minnesota legislators and the governor came together this spring with a solution for providing medical care for the poorest adults in our state through the GAMC program. I know the plan was not perfect ..... 
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Ritchie - Letter to the Editor

Mon, Jun 21st, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Letter about Protecting our Freedoms

Your piece called "Protecting our Freedoms" was inspiring and powerful. Thank you very much for this much needed perspective. If we knew more of our history and about the sacrifices made on our behalf we m ..... 
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Foreign policy

Fri, Jun 18th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

It is important at this time to take a closer look at our foreign policy as to whether we, as a nation, are on a path to becoming a sanctuary against terrorism. The events of 9/11 are still looming in the background, and the attempted car bombing in ..... 
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One Moment Please - Outsourcing to India?

Fri, Jun 11th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone number 507-251-5297

At least once a week, I receive a phone call from an "offshore outsourcing" company seeking to siphon money out of our local economy in various methods.

For exam ..... 
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If I were a Republican

Fri, May 28th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

If I were a Republican, I would be kicking walls and weeping.

When did the Grand Old Party give up on the voices of Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt, Al Quie and Arnie Carlson and start singing along with the shrill cry of the nut bars on the far ..... 
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The definition of liberal

Fri, May 21st, 2010
Posted in Commentary

First, thanks John Goucher for your great article "Bigger is Not Always Better." Second, thank you Jerry Grehl for your letter to the editor, as well. Contrasting the two articles illustrates very clearly how out of touch with reality liberals are. ..... 
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