Opinions

Mon
03
Apr
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Fighting For Rural Economy A Constant Battle

Fighting For Rural Economy A Constant Battle

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

Sometimes you need a little luck. When you get it you had better be prepared to make the most of it through hard work.

It was a stroke of luck that the City of Benson found out in a roundabout way late last week that a bill was moving through the Minnesota Legislature that potentially could have led to the closing of the Benson Power, LLC, plant.

Its closing would be a substantial economic blow to the community. We would lose 45 direct jobs at the plant. Another 50 to 60 jobs would be lost in support of the plant. We would no longer have the people coming and going from the Benson area who are affiliated with the plant in one way or another, staying at the local motels, eating at our restaurants, buying gas, and spending money in other ways.

Wed
22
Mar
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Minnesota Voters Spoke; Daudt Not Listening

Minnesota Voters Spoke; Daudt Not Listening

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Minnesota Republican Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt is rumored to be considering a run for the governorship in 2018. As with all politicians considering a run for higher office, he is carefully calculating his actions in light of how they will play with citizens across the state next year. Such calculation often puts politicians in untenable situations where common sense and political courage take a back seat.

Last fall Minnesota voters overwhelmingly chose to give the authority to raise legislator salaries to the independent citizen Legislative Salary Council. The constitutional amendment granting the authority passed with 76 percent approval –an amazingly high percentage considering all ballots on which a person didn’t check a box were considered no votes.

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.

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