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Paying the price


Fri, Jan 21st, 2005
Posted in Commentary

George Bush’s second term as President upholds the notion that people get the kind of government they deserve. A fractious America, divided on everything from morals to pre-emptive war, did the best it could with the archaic two-party election apparatus it had available. This last election was truly the case where money was used to sell a candidate no differently than a company sells a brand of soap.

In the last election, George Bush sold fear better than John Kerry could sell reason; the war on terror had more appeal than finding the peace in Iraq; the fear of gay marriage played better than treating all people fairly; and the fear of abortion had more appeal than letting women make health choices.

While we are a country divided in values, there are also great cultural divides that separate us. We are a country influenced by geography and ethnicity. The exurbs, enclaves of prosperity with six figure incomes, McMansions, and super churches where you can wrestle, bowl and jujitsu for Jesus, are as different to us in Fillmore County as rain and snow.

Here we are grounded in our connection to the land and our small-town reliance on each other - a support network of family, friends, community, and church. In this regard, we probably have more links to our Canadian cousins, church going people of the Prairie, than our siblings to the south and their Armageddon style Christianity grounded in the absolutism of the old testament.

While we are a country divided, we are also a nation diminished. The world no longer expects great ideas from us.

Our response to 9-11 was to turn symbols like freedom, liberty and patriotism on their heads, to merge government and corporations into fascist enterprise, and to throw our armed forces into a bungled war thousands of miles away in Iraq.

The irony is that the UN weapons inspectors were right, there were no weapons of mass destruction. But our President, presented with the facts on WMD, would have invaded Iraq anyway, or so he says. Today he sees an experiment in democracy taking place, while others see the brink of chaos and civil war. He calls it “spreadin’ freedom”.

On the economic front, the US deficit forces the government to pay $168 billion in annual payments, approximately 7 percent of the federal budget. This is more than the government will spend on education, hou .....
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Heartland pollution the worst known to mankind

Fri, Jan 21st, 2005
Posted in Commentary

Editor’s note: Loni Kemp of Canton served on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizens’ Board from 1990 to 1994. This is the comment letter she sent to the Citizens’ Board regarding the proposed Heartland Energy & Recycling tire-burning plant ..... 
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Renewable fuels and livestock production go hand in hand

Fri, Jan 21st, 2005
Posted in Commentary

The legislative session has begun, and much attention has been focused on Governor Pawlenty’s Livestock Advisory Task Force. While Governor Pawlenty has not yet formally reviewed the recommendations of the task force, I expect the final report to be ..... 
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An EIS is necessary for Heartland

Fri, Jan 14th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

On Tuesday, January 11, the Winona County Board became the latest in a growing list of area governments calling on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to require an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Heartland tire-burning plant. Word ..... 
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Let’s think ahead on energy

Fri, Jan 14th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

Did you know that every year $12.6 billion (yes, billion) leaves Minnesota to import coal, petroleum, natural gas and uranium in order to support our energy needs? This purchase costs each Minnesotan almost $2,500 every year. This message was deliver ..... 
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The Quality of Mercy

Fri, Jan 7th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

The size and scale of the tsunami disaster in South Asia is without doubt the largest natural catastrophe of our time. The loss of life is overwhelming. To complicate matters, the damage is spread over several countries making relief efforts difficul ..... 
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Musings from a long life

Thu, Dec 23rd, 2004
Posted in Commentary

Begin with the Epic of Gilgamesh, a cycle of poems composed perhaps three thousand years ago. It is a tale of heroism, morality, a struggle against the fear of death. Call it the first novel. Leap across millennia to the epic of the unraveling of DNA ..... 
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The other side

Fri, Dec 10th, 2004
Posted in Commentary

The conservatives in Fillmore County are going to have to come up with a way of identifying themselves to each other. It could be a simple secret handshake, or a wink and a nod. Come to think of it, it shouldn’t be that difficult to spot each other; ..... 
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For the love of the game

Fri, Dec 10th, 2004
Posted in Commentary

This time of year, when the harvest is stored and winter begins to show its hand, there is a primordial call that beckons me, and a few other local men, to gather for just one more season.

“I’d like to play one, maybe two years ..... 
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