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Cyberspace, a double edged sword


Fri, May 1st, 2009
Posted in Commentary

An increasingly widespread form of child abuse and sexual exploitation is fostered by predators using the Internet. We should be aware of one of the dark sides of computer use especially the misuse by predators against unsuspecting, vulnerable children. One of the greatest dangers to children in this age of technology is the Internet.

We live in a small town rural area which lulls us into a relative sense of safety. However, the Internet is an "equalizer" which makes children as susceptible to sexual exploitation here as in any large city. The Internet is a marvelous convenience that allows us to gain a vast amount of information and connectivity to others, but it is also an avenue for the exploitation of children.

Children and youth can be victimized by expert manipulators, predators and criminals, who are sophisticated technologically that ultimately intend to sexually exploit an innocent child. Beware if your child spends much of their time on the Internet and in chat rooms. Parents need to educate themselves and their children about the potential dangers.

Predators online build and cultivate a relationship with a child. An article written by Sarah Arendt in the October 2008 issue of LaCrosse Magazine notes "the ultimate danger is when they seek to move the relationship from online to meeting in person." She warns that danger lies in chat rooms, social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace and with online games. The national Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) formed in 1999 notes that 75 percent of children are willing to share personal information online.

Criminals or predators can get themselves to be invited as a "friend" to one of the social networking sites. Many youth post pictures and schedules for their friends and classmates which can be used by predators to track unsuspecting youth. It is especially dangerous to agree to become a "friend" to anyone that is not known to them. Arendt stresses that Webcams are not suitable for unsupervised children.

What Can Parents Do?

Keep the computer your child uses in a common room, not in the privacy of a bedroom. Monitor your child's use of the Internet and be aware of the use of chat rooms and social networking sites. Discuss the dangers with your children and warn them never to meet face to face with someone they meet on line. Children need to be schooled on the potential dangers of giving out personal information or pictures to people they don't .....
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Ethics, morality and faith: What's in it for me?

Fri, May 1st, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Matthew 16: 26 "What kind of a deal is it to get everything you want, but lose yourself?" The Message (paraphrase) "What will it profit a person to gain the whole world, but lose their soul?" NRSV Bible

So many recent news stories are about ..... 
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One moment, please...

Fri, Apr 24th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



Every time we turn on the TV, we witness another floodgate of jobs lost and reports of real estate dropping in value.

The latest blow, locally, came with the announcement of TRW Automotive laying off another round of their workforce ..... 
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Can Congress cope with the communications age?

Fri, Apr 24th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



When I first came to Congress in the 1960s, dialogue between members of Congress and their constituents was straightforward. Every so often, a lawmaker would get interviewed on radio or television. Many sent monthly newsletters to the folks ..... 
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One moment, please...

Fri, Apr 17th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Growing up in Rochester quite a number of years ago, I didn't recall Lanesboro having the reputation for being a tourist destination the way it does now. My memory is slipping, but it seems that has evolved in the past couple decades to something qu ..... 
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Even in an economic crisis, follow the money

Sat, Apr 11th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Recently, Newsweek looked at Federal Election Commission records and made an intriguing discovery. The political action committees of five major recipients of federal bank bailout money, it found, made some $85,000 in campaign contributions in Janua ..... 
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History rewritten

Fri, Apr 10th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I'd like to pretend that nothing interesting happened in the world prior to my entrance but there is evidence to the contrary. I can argue, however, that there was no color at all- I've seen the photos.

Being born just after WWII, my public ..... 
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One moment, please...

Fri, Apr 10th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

By a show of hands, who actually likes receiving junk mail and e-mail spam?

Okay, that was supposed to be a rhetorical question. No hands were supposed to go up. I guess there is a fetish for everything, including indignant and fraudulant ma ..... 
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Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas

Fri, Apr 10th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



On March 19, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar released the first ever comprehensive report on bird populations in the United States, showing that nearly a third of the nation's 800 bird species are endangered, threatened or in significa ..... 
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