WASHINGTON -- A decade ago, just after Thanksgiving, my son James was diagnosed with Kawasaki syndrome, an unusual immune disorder that affects the heart and the heart arteries. My wife and I had never heard of this strange disease, and we were scared. We took James to the Children's National Medical Center in Washington where we encountered Dr. Gerard Martin, a lanky pediatric heart specialist who combines a matter-of-fact honesty with a playful attitude toward kids. It didn't surprise me to learn that he and his wife have five of them.
What a funny world. Where once it was scandalous to be unmarried and pregnant, now it is scandalous to disapprove of another's being unmarried and pregnant. The latest episode in these morally confused times occurred in New York recently when a Roman Catholic school fired a teacher because she is single and pregnant. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn claims that teacher Michelle McCusker violated "the tenets of Catholic morality" and thus could not be employed by the school.
I have to comment on columnist Cal Thomas' recent visit to Willmar. He is a strong conservative and I question his comments on education and religion. Thomas noted that the judicial and intellectual elite (whoever that is) have removed God and morals from public education. He also added that education without a biblical base is inadequate. When I hear this, I wonder what is taught or not taught in their churches that they need the public schools to teach religion? Their churches must be lacking in religious education.
Minnesota faces a growing concern of politics creeping into special election dates selected by the governor. Certainly, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's announcement Tuesday of a special election Dec. 27 in Senate District 15 and House District 15B raised concerns. The election date is just two days after Christmas. This date selection right after Christmas will find the majority of voters more focused on family visits and gift returns. This date selection is even more suspect when one considers that both districts are home to St. Cloud State University, which will be on winter break.
I found the item in the paper Nov. 23 about President George Bush pardoning the turkey ironical, to say the least. In his reign as governor of Texas, he signed the execution orders of 152 prisoners, giving clemency to none. Even the case of Karla Fay Tucker, who turned her life around and became a real Christian witness in prison, didn't move his heart. Petitioners for clemency or commutation to life sentence included the Pope, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and one of his daughters.
Sen. Dean Johnson has called the marriage amendment "the great divider of the state." Where does he get his information? A Mason Dixon poll shows that 65 percent of Minnesotans oppose same-sex marriage and 63 percent want to vote on the amendment. The same poll shows that 76 percent of Senate District 13 -- Johnson's home district -- want the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. If he truly believes his own headline that "the people are always right," then what group is he listening to?
After the Spicer City Council heard the disappointment voiced by Faith Lutheran and others at the Nov. 9 assessment hearing, the proposed assessment for the frontage road located between Faith Lutheran Church and State Highway 23 was reduced from $84,000 to $56,000 (from $108 per foot to $70 per foot). Normally that sort of reduction would be grounds for a big celebration -- you know, cook up a little lutefisk and roll out a batch of lefse -- until you realize that just down the road, United Prairie Bank paid a pittance in comparison -- $9.50 per foot! Why the huge difference?
SAN DIEGO -- It's not just during presidential elections that Americans have to put up with the annoyance of politicians evoking Vietnam for their own benefit. This brand of political gimmickry is never dormant. It can erupt at any time -- like now, for instance, as the country debates what to do in a new war, the one in Iraq. The latest eruption has me feeling conflicted. You see, I normally get fed up with politicians who bring up their service in Vietnam to prove their machismo or challenge the machismo of an opponent who steered clear of Southeast Asia.
The question is: Do Americans really want to live in a world without newspapers? If you're reading this, chances are good you don't. Yet almost daily we read reports of more buyouts and budget cuts at America's papers owing to fewer readers. Newsrooms, now cubicled and corporatized, have become the morgues they so closely resemble, filled with ghosts of the departed and those who await the next ax to fall. Who's next? A copy editor here, a columnist there, or -- most endangered of all -- a cartoonist?
I enjoy ice fishing as much as the next guy, but I am becoming concerned about the debris that is washing up on shore each spring after the ice is out. We are lucky to have so many outdoor recreational opportunities in the area and we should do what we can to keep them clean. Our lakes are an important part of the quality of life in Kandiyohi County. I spend a lot of time on our beautiful lakes and I would like to keep them that way for the next generation.