The late John Denver sang of West Virginia, the Blue Ridge mountains and the Shenandoah River as "almost heaven." If he were alive today he would likely bemoan the state as almost lunar.
Since Lord Fossil Fool (Bush) appointed Christine Todd Whitman to the top job at the Environmental Protection Agency, she wasted no time hopping in bed with the coal mining industry to help them get around regulations. Now that is no great surprise, but what is utterly shocking is the rate at which flat-top mining practices are decimating the once beautiful countryside. Aerial views look like moonscapes.
The mining industry is quick to add that the mined land is being reclaimed for useful purposes such as airport runways and schools. True enough, but reclaimed land accounts for a mere 1 percent of the mined mountaintops.
You might argue that mining provides valuable jobs. Again, true enough. But the U.S. would do well to emulate Denmark. The Danes derive nearly one fifth (17 percent) of their total electricity from wind power. This is achieved with current technology and it is not only pollution free -- it is sustainable and efficient as well. Producing the hardware takes a labor force and brain power. Fossil fuels pollute and nuclear waste takes hundreds of millions of years to decay.
As Chief Seattle knew: We belong to the earth. -- The earth does not belong to us. Our fossil foolish leadership will not embrace that as long as they are joined at the waist with fossil fuel industries.
I've been reading the back and forth arguments about Planned Parenthood and I must admit that I am very frustrated. I am all for "sticking to your guns" and standing up for what you believe in. The key word in that sentence is what "you" believe in. I would hate to see what this world would be like if any group got to decide everything for everyone else. (Isn't that what we all came to this country for in the first place?) On that note, the people complaining about abortion are barking up the wrong tree. They should be voting not griping. I, for one, am glad that I live in a place where I can do what I want, within the law. It really doesn't matter to me if people disagree with it or not. But, I am also tolerant. I don't smoke and yet I don't degrade and berate those who do, even though there is medical fact that they are endangering their lives and mine. I wage my battles in the voting booth. If the people I vote for lose, I realize that those things I was pushing are not important to the majority, and I try again next time. I urge others to quiet down and do the same.
The anti-store club
Liberalism comes from a fine tradition closely associated with the word "liberty." As a child of the Sixties, I recall being swept up with libertarian delirium that government was becoming far too intrusive. We heard Woodstock folk singer Richie Havens singing about freedom with one word, "freedom" sung repeatedly. We wanted equal rights for everyone.
How far we've come. Now rather than protesting some kind of social injustice, liberals in Brainerd have formed a club to protest stores! Unreal. They don't have anything better to do than try to decide for me where I can shop. This is truly an amazing country where the most important issue liberals oppose is stores. Many of these same busybodies also want a more intrusive government seeking various new laws enacted from our local governments and expanded up to the UNelected United Nations.
They often call for higher taxes to support expanding regulations and for additional government programs and departments. One recent Dispatch writer derided conservatives for whining about taxes. This from the party of Joe Lieberman. If you don't fault ol' Joe for whining, your credibility is too suspect to accuse anyone else.
Now liberals seek unequal rights for everyone. They want affirmative action preferences that judge the color of your skin rather than the content of your character, the exact opposite of Martin Luther King's dream. They value a woman's choice of abortion over a baby's right to live. They want higher penalties for crimes against homosexuals than others and health insurance for same sex couples while excluding opposite sex unmarried couples. Dividing groups and classes for political gain, that's what liberals stand for, and now the anti-store club wants to decide what kind of stores they'd allow us to shop in. Well, enough already. I've got to go shopping, at Wal-mart.
The death tax
Recent television advertisements have me confused. As the son of a Brainerd lakes area small business owner and now a small business owner myself, how can Sen. Wellstone call himself a friend of small business? When it comes to taxes, he can't seem to hit us hard enough.
The death tax hits the estates of successful small businessmen and family farmers particularly hard, and proposals to cut or eliminate this unfair tax have reached the Senate floor seven times while Senator Wellstone has been there. He's voted against every one of them.
In 1993, only five senators voted against raising the amount that small businesses could deduct for machinery and equipment to $20,500. Paul Wellstone was one of the five. He even voted against allowing self-employed people to deduct all of their health insurance premiums, the way big companies do. He voted for the biggest tax increase in history in 1993, and has voted to raise taxes more than 200 times since coming to the Senate.
With friends like Paul Wellstone, my small business doesn't need any enemies.
Automation & Control Systems Solutions, Inc.
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