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Members of congress need to travel


Fri, Sep 25th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Spooked by the public outcry, the House of Representatives has cancelled its order for four new military jet aircraft that would have been used occasionally to ferry members of Congress around the world. Even so, you shouldn't expect for a minute that the next time you fly, your seatmate in coach will be some duly humbled congressman on a fact-finding mission.

For the most part, when members of Congress head overseas on government business, their experience is a bit different from travel as most of us know it. To begin with, there's no need to worry about schedules or wait at the ticket counter or fret about missing a flight because you're stuck in a security line. If you're flying courtesy of the government, the Air Force will have a plane waiting whenever you're ready to go. Someone picks you up at your house or on Capitol Hill and takes you to Andrews Air Force Base, where they seat you in a very nicely appointed VIP lounge with plenty of refreshments. At some point along the way, they also take charge of your bags; the next time you'll see them will be in your hotel room. You carry on board only those papers and belongings you need in flight.

In the air, members of Congress fly with more room and amenities than first class on commercial flights, with plenty of legroom, excellent meals and attentive service. There's usually a doctor on the flight, offering tips for staying healthy on long jaunts. Quite often, spouses are included in the trip, "for protocol purposes," as the phrase goes. At your destination, you're met by an embassy official who not only has all the details you'll need on your itinerary, but also a wealth of information on restaurants, entertainment (tickets available upon request), museums, and sightseeing, along with information on the politics, personalities, economy and culture of the country you're visiting.

It can sound a lot like one of those tours to exotic locales that colleges now arrange for alumni, except that the taxpayer is picking up much of the bill. And let me assure you, it's not a modest bill. A military plane costs an estimated $10,000 an hour to operate - and that's before you factor in the costs of the actual visit on the ground.

Given Americans' distaste for letting their public officials enjoy unusual privileges, you might be tempted to deride government-sponsored travel as a waste of time and money. But despite everything I've just described, I don't think it is.

The reaso .....
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One Moment, Please... Pride in heritage

Fri, Sep 25th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

By Jason Sethre

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

Pictured above is the Preston High School Class of 1949, celebrating their 60th year reunion. I actually had a chance to join them at the Branding ..... 
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Hijacked

Fri, Sep 25th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

"What is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents." Robert Kennedy

It's time for all of us to take a step ..... 
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Limits of growth

Fri, Sep 18th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Yellows, reds, blues and their accompanying greens enticed us on a walk before entering the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The colors were of flowers in yards, sometimes encompassing entire yards, sometimes in the company of trees, shrubs and vegetab ..... 
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One Moment, Please... State testing

Fri, Sep 18th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

In the past couple of months, our newspaper has dedicated research and pages to report the 2009 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) test results for all Fillmore County schools. Education is of utmost importance to me for the sake of our future ..... 
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An ode to cows

Fri, Sep 11th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I have lived and worked with cows my entire life; in fact I would go so far as to say that cows have always controlled my life and my family. I don't know what it would be like to be without our cows. I grew up on a dairy farm and taking care of the ..... 
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One Moment, Please...Dems & Reps: Please kiss and make up

Fri, Sep 11th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Last Monday, I received an e-mail from an individual questioning the developments leading to two Letters to the Editor running in the August 31 Fillmore County Journal. One letter was from Robert L. Sauers questioning the content of Greg Davids' heal ..... 
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Maybe next century

Fri, Sep 4th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I am ready to promise you, no more conversation about health care. Have you ever attended a dinner party where one fool stands up and says something so outrageous on a topic that the room goes silent until some gracious aunt clears her throat and re ..... 
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One Moment, Please...S.A.D.D. changes

Fri, Sep 4th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

My late grandmother Mary Jane Sethre always said "If you don't learn something new each day, then you have wasted that day."

Well, I learned something new last Thursday.

Vicki Eide contacted me about the Fillmore Central Activity Day ..... 
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