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The class of 1968


Fri, May 25th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

When I graduated from high school in early June 1968, Lyndon Baines Johnson was president. The awkward Texan had completed John F. Kennedy's unfinished term and was elected president over Barry Goldwater in 1964, with the highest margin of victory in American history at the time.

Despite his courageous leadership supporting civil rights and the War on Poverty, Johnson was a hugely unpopular president. Then as now, the United States was engaged in a protracted war thousands of miles away.

By 1968, things were going badly in Vietnam. Earlier that year, the Tet Offensive showed that the enemy could operate with impunity anywhere in the country regardless of what the United States' military could do to intervene. To complicate matters, we didn't know the culture, speak the language and had no way of knowing if a Vietnamese, regardless of age or gender, was an enemy or a friendly. And without US support, the South Vietnamese government would have collapsed.

The whole Vietnam War started on specious intelligence in the first place, which had the North Vietnamese firing on a US warship in August 1964; this came to be known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

Johnson quickly got Congress to grant the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave the President the power to send troops to southeast Asia without a formal declaration of war.

1968 was a year of discontent, leading up to the presidential elections that November. Martin Luther King was killed in Memphis on April 4 and Bobby Kennedy on June 5; anti-war demonstrations were the norm across college campuses, culminating in the protests outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August. Mayor Richard Daley sent Chicago police in with batons after unarmed protesters, all of which was played out under the glare of national TV.

Minnesota's own Hubert Humphrey emerged as the Democratic candidate for president, only to lose by 500,000 popular votes to Richard Nixon, who ran on the platform of restoring law and order; he also had a "secret plan" for ending the Vietnam War.

Nixon would leave office in 1973 disgraced with the Watergate scandal; most US troops would leave Vietnam that same year.

When I graduated that June 1968 at the age of 17, I didn't realize that the Vietnam War would have such a tremendous impact on my generation. Three years later, at the age of 20, I would be a pall bearer at a classmate's funeral - killed in action in Vietnam .....
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Finally, someone is in charge of the Iraq War

Fri, May 18th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Czar or Tsar - an Emperor or in more modern usage a Monarch or King. The word originates from the deified Roman dictator Caesar and came to represent the Roman Emperor. (Wikipedia)

We have been waging the Iraq War or Debacle for over 4 years ..... 
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Springtime renewal

Fri, May 11th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Spring is a time when we throw open the windows, clean out the closets, and get our hands back into yard work. It's all about taking advantage of fresh air, reevaluating your needs, and nurturing the green space in your life. Most people look forwar ..... 
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Buying the War

Fri, May 4th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Bill Moyers calls himself a "citizen journalist."

He is also an ordained Baptist minister, one-time aid to President Lyndon Johnson and, of course, a journalist with PBS.

Moyers is first and foremost a seeker of truth. That he work ..... 
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The power of words

Fri, Apr 27th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Could there be some good to come from the Don Imus foot-in-the-mouth scandal?

In the aftermath of Mr. Imus's unfortunate utterances some are now questioning the public use of terms most would find offensive. These offensive words and phrases ..... 
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Handicapping the Republican presidential candidates

Fri, Apr 27th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

John McCain's stay the course speech about the War in Iraq on April 11 certainly sealed any hopes of his becoming the next president of the United States. For the past several months he has been soldiering on for George Bush and the Republican Party ..... 
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Hospice care provides end of life options

Fri, Apr 20th, 2007
Posted in Commentary



About a month ago Charles Krauthammer wrote an article in Newsweek titled "The Good Death". It called to be read because the magazine printed a picture of Mohammed Atta (the leader of the 9-11 attack) juxtaposed with Sister Theresa. Shortly ..... 
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America's hired guns in Iraq

Fri, Apr 13th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Mercenary - a person who takes part in an armed conflict and is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain.

As a young student studying the United States War of Independence I remember having a part ..... 
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99 bottles of beer in the ditch

Fri, Apr 6th, 2007
Posted in Commentary



Ahhh...must be spring in the Root River Valley...flood warnings, chocolate brown water cascading over the Lanesboro Dam, and beer cans leaving a trail in the ditch as if I were Gretel following them home. And by the way, on my last count the ..... 
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