I am going in to the sixth grade next year. I've heard that there will be no swimming. I hope I am mistaken about what I've heard. I care about the rumor about swimming, because many kids like to swim. Another reason I care is because many kids need to learn how to swim for their safety. All the children should care about swimming because it is something to enjoy while you're at school. Another reason they should care is because so many kids drown from not being taught properly about swimming. Some things that could be done about the problem are, they could bring us to the high school for the one period. One other thing we could do about it is maybe they could possibly build in a new pool for the school. Thank you for listening.
Let's have a gentle Christmas
The year-end holidays are upon us: Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice. They conjure visions of families gathered by a warm fireplace, opening presents, sharing their love, and... feasting on ham and turkey. It's the happiest time of the year -- for some.
But, for the millions of factory-farmed pigs and turkeys our holiday season portends only agony, despair, and death after a lifetime of caging, crowding, deprivation, drugging, and mutilation.
Each of us can refuse to subsidize such wanton violence and cruelty during this holiday season by choosing plant-based foods that abound in every supermarket. There are fresh fruits and greens and soy-based deli slices in the produce section, veggie burgers, soy nuggets, and ready-to-eat dinners in the frozen food section, and a variety of soy-based milks, cheeses, and ice creams.
This year, let's have a gentle Christmas. Let's send the message of "peace on earth" to all living beings.
Dispatch cartoon was over the top
The political cartoon by Glenn McCoy on your Dec. 16 Commentary page was way over the top. It portrays the ACLU kicking baby Jesus out of his manger and clubbing animals and the wisemen to death.
There is an insidious movement in this country to portray anyone who is left of center as a non-Christian and of being against Christian ethics and Christian holidays. There is no doubt that this movement has been started by conservative "think tanks" to undermine the ACLU and anyone else who disagrees with the their reactionary viewpoints. It's a shame that the Brainerd Dispatch feels the need to perpetrate the conservative rhetoric that further divides an already divided nation. McCoy's message, obviously, was to show how the ACLU is trying to destroy Jesus and the celebration of His birth. I doubt that Christmas will be "destroyed" but laying the blame on that organization for the spiritual demise of Christmas is ludicrous. If there are problems with Christmas, it can be blamed on corporate America and the way that they've marketed their wares to us. And we can take the blame for buying into that marketing.
McCoy comes across as arrogant and hostile to Christian Americans who don't agree with his creed. Our Puritan forefathers were much the same. When some of the early immigrants wouldn't agree to worship God their way, the Puritans kicked the "heretics" out of Massachusetts. The "heretics" moved to Rhode Island and established the first Baptist Church in America. And the beat goes on.
Perpetual Deficits Part II
Continuing a discussion on deficits and the accumulating debt from my Dec. 4 Open Forum, I cited a lot of statistics in that letter and I just want to make it clear that the majority of the federal debt has been accumulated under three Republican Presidents. Reagan, Bush, and GW. The only budget surpluses we've had in the last 34 years occurred during the end of the Clinton presidency.
I know that it is sometimes necessary and even unavoidable to have a budget deficit, but we've only managed two surpluses in the last 34 years and when they occurred people were clamoring to get "their money" back without realizing that there was debt to pay off. People want tax cuts when times are bad and they want them when times are good. Where does it end?
It may be difficult to fathom just how big the debt is. To put it in perspective, if the federal debt was distributed equally to each person in America, using 2000 Census data, each man, woman and child would owe $27,000. If you distributed it to only those in the work force we'd each owe $54,000. I don't know too many people who could come up with that kind of money. If we managed a $100 billion surplus each year, it would take 75 years to pay it off. After 4 more years of Bush deficits, the debt would take 99 years to pay off at that rate.
This problem is a lot like having your parents leave you with credit card debt that you'll spend your whole life paying off, but you can't even manage to pay the interest, so the balance keeps climbing, and the interest keeps growing. Not a nice gift for one generation to pass on to others.
Low-income home ownership
There has been a lot said about creating "affordable housing" in the Brainerd area. Well, mobile homes exemplify the most affordable type of home ownership. Approximately 700 people live in the seven mobile home parks in Brainerd.
However, this type of home ownership is endangered by the skyrocketing value of real estate. If the landowner sells, where can the home owner go? There are currently no vacancies in any of the parks within a 25-mile radius of East Gate, and the cost of moving a mobile home in the Brainerd area is estimated at $2,000 -- $3,200. Residents will likely see a 100 percent increase in their housing costs if they are forced to move into an apartment.
State law gives cities the authority to require park owners to compensate residents for reasonable relocation expenses due to park closings. Fourteen Minnesota cities have passed park-closing ordinances to compensate residents in their community if their parks ever close. The Brainerd City Council voted against a park-closing ordinance in 2000, but agreed to reconsider the issue of passing a park-closing ordinance in the future.
Another option would be for the mobile home owners to band together and buy the park with their deposit money, as did another group of mobile home owners recently in Minnesota.
The option of low-income home ownership needs to be preserved.
Patricia W. Scott
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