Opinions

Wed
08
Mar
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Pass Law to Ban Phone Use in Vehicles

Pass Law to Ban Phone Use in Vehicles

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

Driving between Benson and Clontarf we met three consecutive cars - not one of the drivers saw us pass by them. All three were glued to their phones not even glancing up as we flew by one another.

A deer jumping out of the ditch would have been in their windshield before they even saw it. Another driver approaching also on his or her phone could drift over the centerline and the two vehicles would hit head-on. A bicyclist on the side of the road could be hit and killed by a distracted driver drifting to the shoulder.

These aren’t made-up scenarios; they’ve happened and tragically they will happen again.

Wed
01
Mar
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Editorial Cartoonists Essential To Editorial Pages

Editorial Cartoonists Essential To Editorial Pages

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

It has always been difficult to convince people that the editorial page of a newspaper is meant for opinions. Many think that it should be neutral on issues, but it is a place for the expression about what we observe and think about what is going on in our community, state and nation.

It looks at the challenges we face, and at how competently or poorly they are being addressed. It is meant to hold our leaders accountable. It is meant to make readers think more deeply about issues. It is meant to give us perspectives about the way others in the community think and feel.

Fri
24
Feb
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Trump's Presidency Demands A Vigilant Press

Trump's Presidency Demands A Vigilant Press

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

This past week’s attack on the news media wasn’t the first by a U.S. president, but it was what many consider to be the most disturbing.

It started last Thursday during an impromptu 75-minute news conference called by Trump at which he blasted the press, ridiculing its organizations, and treating its reporters with obvious disdain. Seven times during the press conference he claimed that some of the nation’s most respected news organizations were nothing but “fake news.”

“Much of the media in Washington, D.C. — along with New York, Los Angeles, in particular — speaks not for the people but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system,” Trump said. “The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people.”

Fri
17
Feb
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Digital Disconnected From The World Around Us

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

We fear for the creative spirit of our younger generations. They spend so much time constantly digitally engaged with their phones, iPads, and computers that they have little freedom or mental energy for creative thought.

Those very same tools that have opened up the world to them with unfathomable information at their fingertips is also being used to immerse themselves in the trivial. They endlessly check on the latest Facebook post, the text that arrived 2 seconds ago, an Instagram photo that was posted by a friend, or a Snapchat post. And, most certainly, this isn’t just an affliction of the young.

In a recent The New York Times column writer Jane E. Brody tells of an interview she read featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the Broadway musical sensation “Hamilton.”  In it he is asked where he finds the time to be creative.

Wed
08
Feb
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Stifling The Freedom To Assemble

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”

Thomas Jefferson
Third President of the United States
1801-1809

It was March 5, 1770, when a squad of British troops responded to a report of a sentry being heckled and pelted with snowballs by a group of colonial men. When confronted by the protesters, the British troops fired, killing four people. That day became known as The Boston Massacre and represented a pivotal moment on the road to the American Revolution as it “galvanized the colonial public to the Patriot cause.”

We are sure that British crown loyalists thought the men got exactly what they deserved and that a few more should have been shot that day to make sure the rebellious colonials got the message.

Fri
27
Jan
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Trump’s War With The Press And Truth

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

“Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”
- Groucho Marx, 1933

President Donald Trump’s crowd at his inauguration was smaller than Obama’s was in 2009 – significantly smaller. There weren’t 1.5 million – more like 500,000 or less. Though Trump won the Electoral College and the presidency, he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton by nearly 2.9 million votes. His loss of the popular vote was not due to massive voter fraud.

Trump was highly critical of the nation’s intelligence agencies, denied Russian involvement in trying to sway our election, and did compare CIA officers to Nazis. He did say he would be willing to believe WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over his own intelligence agencies. He has belittled them in refusing to take the daily intelligence briefings.

Fri
13
Jan
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Legislators - If You Want Our Support Do This

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

With the 2017 session of the Minnesota Legislature underway, Republicans control both the Minnesota House and Senate primarily for one reason – the voters in rural Minnesota. Republicans have a commanding hold on to the House with a 76-57 majority. In the Senate, Republicans took control away from the Democrats, but by the barest of margins – one seat. They have a 34-33 majority.

As you look at the Legislature, Republicans who have promised to look after rural voters to reward them for their support heavily represent rural Minnesota.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has another two years left in his term and will be butting heads with Republicans on much of what they propose. But Democrats also recognize that they need to do a much better job of connecting with rural voters if they want to win back the House and Senate in two years as well as hold on to the governorship.

Fri
06
Jan
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Benson Temperatures Reflect A Warming Climate

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

2016 made it three consecutive years that the Earth has broken its all-time heat record based on data that goes back to the 1880s. It also means that 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred from 2000 to 2016.

More than 95 percent of the world’s climate scientists agree that there is one primary cause for the warming planet – heat trapping greenhouse gases that we pour into the atmosphere by burning of fossil fuels like oil and coal.

Climate scientists also say that as the Earth warms the atmosphere can hold more water vapor. That is going to mean more flooding downpours. The “Northeast, Midwest and Upper Great Plains have seen a 30 percent increase in heavy rainfall events,” Seth Borenstein, science writer for the Associated Press, reports. However, at the same time California and some other western and southwestern states have seen extended droughts.

Fri
09
Dec
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Our World’s Animals Are Rapidly Disappearing

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

In an election year that was abysmal in tackling subjects of substantial importance there was one story that was entirely missed. A story with implications for the future of humankind. But instead, the nation’s media focused incessantly on Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails or Donald Trump’s outrage of the week.

Television, by far the biggest source of news for most people, did by far the worst job of giving us meaningful news. They sought ratings that would bring in advertising dollars. They didn’t seek to inform the electorate on critical issues.

What was this critical story that was missed?

Few people have probably heard of something called the “Living Planet Index.” It is a measure of the condition of biological diversity in the world. It is a look at trends within species of vertebrates around the globe. A vertebrate is an animal that has a backbone.

Fri
02
Dec
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Time For Action On Rural Policies

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Since the Nov. 8 presidential election a lot of stories, columns and editorials have been written about how starkly the lines of support for Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump were drawn throughout America. But the lines they all focus on aren’t the ones between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, but between rural Americans and big city Americans.

Rural America is less educated, more down and out, losing the promise of the American dream, more white, older, less diverse, less tolerant, more prejudiced, and less accepting of change. The list goes on.

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