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3/9/2005 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

Postscript: When I returned to Minnewaukan from my extended five-day vacation last month, I found 1,031 e-mails on my computer. It took me four hours to wade through them, deleting more than 90 percent as spam.
Harold Morris of Menlo Park, Calif. sent a receipt from the Equity Elevator & Trading Co. at Warwick. In February of 1939 his father-in-law, C.H. Carlson of Tokio, bought 1690 pounds of coal and it cost him $3.59.
The coal, probably lignite, was selling at that time for $4.25 per ton.
Today, $4.25 will buy a little more than two gallons of gasoline.
At the senior center Friday night dance, an elderly gentleman (90’s), very well-dressed, hair well-groomed, great-looking suit, flower in his lapel, smelling slightly of a good after-shave lotion, presenting a well-looked-after image, walked into the "cocktail lounge" section at the center.
Seated at the bar is an attractive elderly lady (mid-80’s).
The gentleman walks over, sits alongside her, orders a drink, takes a sip, turns to her and says, "So tell me, do I come here often?"
Ole, wanting to earn some extra money, decided to hire himself out as a handyman and started canvassing a nearby well-to-do neighborhood. He went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had any odd jobs for him to do. "Well, I guess I could use somebody to paint my porch,"
he said. "How much would you charge me?" Ole quickly responded, "How about $50?"
The man agreed and told Ole that the paint and everything he would need were in the garage. The man’s wife, hearing the conversation, said to her husband, "Does he realize that our porch goes all the way around the house?" He responded, "That’s a bit cynical, isn’t it?" The wife responded, "You’re right. I guess I’m starting to believe all those Norwegian jokes we’ve been getting by e-mail lately."
A short time later, Ole came to the door to collect his pay. "You’re finished already?" the husband asked. "Ya," Ole replied, "and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats." Impressed, the man reached into his pocket for the $50 and handed it to Ole. "And by the way," Ole added. "It’s not a Porch, it’s a Lexus."
A photographer for a national magazine was assigned to get photos of a great forest fire. Smoke at the scene was too thick to get any good shots, so he frantically called his home office to hire a plane.
His editor said, "It will be waiting for you at the airport!"
When he arrived at the small, rural airport, sure enough, a plane was warming up near the runway. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, "Let’s go! Let’s go!" The pilot swung the plane into the wind and soon they were in the air.
"Fly over the north side of the fire," said the photographer, "and make three or four low level passes."
"Why?" asked the pilot.
"Because I’m going to take pictures! I’m a photographer and photographers take pictures!" said the photographer, with great exasperation.
After a long pause the pilot said, "You mean you’re not the instructor?"
A letter writer notes that President Bush receives a lot of criticism on this page. That’s true. He deserves it.
Most of his actions are based on the flawed conservative philosophy which in a nutshell is this: government is bad and private business is good. That is simply not so. Government and private business can be either bad or good. When one marries a flawed ideology with the incredibly poor judgment this president has demonstrated, is there any wonder disaster is probable?
Take Agriculture. Ag budget cuts are more than twice as deep as the president had originally said, according to a non-partisan review of the budget, Senator Kent Conrad said last week.
When the president released his budget last month, he said he was seeking
$7.6 billion in farm program cuts over the next 10 years. However, a just-released analysis of the White House budget by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows a far deeper cut of nearly $18 billion. The cuts are outlined in the president’s budget for Fiscal Year 2006, starting on October 1. Farmers are getting their payback for voting for Bush.
"It is absolutely clear the proposed cuts for farm country are far more severe than we were first led to believe," Senator Conrad said. "Farm cuts of this magnitude would hurt not only farm families, but the Main Street businesses throughout North Dakota. All North Dakotans should be asking, ‘What on earth did we do to deserve this?’ "
Conrad said the president’s plan would cost North Dakota farmers and ranchers at least $20 million a year.
And then there’s the Social Security fiasco. The program will run into problems in 2018 if something isn’t done. If President Bush gets his way with private accounts for Social Security, the day of reckoning will be here much sooner than 2018. You can’t strengthen a program by taking money out of it and borrowing trillions to finance the private accounts.
Medicare is in even more serious difficulty, but Bush concentrates on Social Security. Another example of his incredibly bad judgment.

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