A fact is an actual thing. It is an object that can be seen and heard and felt and usually can be measured. An event that actually occurred is fact. An action that was actually accomplished is fact. Fact can usually be verified in our present world. Fact is elusive. In the legal trial world we had the standard quip that every driver in an intersection accident contended that he had the green light in his favor. What was, in fact, a fact for one driver became factoid, or believable or not so believable, fiction for another.
Some say this is the year for radical change. We have contending candidates running for the presidency of our country, proposing and promising radical change. One would wall off Mexico, and send Mexico the bill. Another makes a proposal (and promise) so radical that every other developed country in the world has it - single payer health care. How radical can you get, say the entrenched insurance companies. Let me make another, less bold, suggestion for change. Only women would be allowed to vote.
Every few years, attempts are made to change our party selection process in Minnesota from the caucus/convention system we have to a primary system we discarded because it was deemed unsatisfactory back in the 1950s. The arguments bounce back and forth depending upon who and how many are dissatisfied over the current or most recent run through.
Our local gas prices just jumped 50 cents over the last week or so with no discernable cause. You don't know and I don't know whether it will jump back up over $2 a gallon, sit still or drop lower in the coming weeks, months or years. What happened to competition? In our " old days," there was considerable "free market" competition for gas sales in our area. That was back when we had "real" service stations.
In 2015, a few caring Republican and DFL legislators co-sponsored a bill to minimally raise payments under the existing Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) by $100 a month for the 28,000 covered Minnesota families. Before we get too caught up in the big issues down to the trivial of the political campaigns of the year, I hope we can commit to correcting an urgent problem in our midst. If, over the past 30 years, you have been among those actively working and raising a family, you know how much more intake you need and how much more money you have to spend.
A guest editorial by a recently retired professor in a recent Minneapolis StarTribune sparked this column. I believe I've seen some writing of Chuck Chalberg in past years but never knew or picked up on the fact that he is a product of our lake country. He writes of his lifetime as a student and then professor in our two-year college "movement in Minnesota."
As I continue to enter or crawl into the techie age, I try to read incoming emails a bit more regularly. One from yesterday caused pause, humorous reaction and this reflection. The email advises us of advanced years that we seniors, oldsters, old duffers or whatever are none other than SEENAGERS. We are reminded that, in many respects, we have now been blessed and cursed with most of what we so intensely wanted and deemed of such importance back when we actually were teens. It just took us 60 years or more to get here.
Thursday eve and Friday are the most important days of the year to a great many of us in the lake country who are of Christian faith. It is a celebration and commemoration that has repeated itself for over 2,000 years. Let us observe it, celebrate it and enjoy it. Let us also remember, during this week that is so significant to many of us, that there are more people in this world who are of other faiths, who do not believe nor hold the Christmas tradition.
Most people will receive and read this the day after Veterans Day. For a lot of wrong reasons, Veterans Day tends to get downplayed in our present society. There isn't near as much hoopla nor genuine recognition of Veterans Day as there is with Memorial Day earlier in the year. That is probably due to Memorial Day getting a whole weekend versus the single day. My first strong memory of what was then called Armistice Day was the infamous Armistice Blizzard of 1940. I would have been 5. What I remember is that I was home from school.
At the end of this month, approximately 50 prisoners are scheduled to be released from the two federal correctional facilities in Minnesota. That is not very earth-shattering in and of itself. The number seems less significant when one is informed that it is just Minnesota's share of the 6,000 who are expected to be released nationally. That can also be compared and considered, in that some 45,000 to 50,000 federal prisoners are released annually. The publicized releases are taking place pursuant to a federal punishment reduction plan.