What If?

Consider a scenario in which partisan roles are reversed:

What if the election process in Ohio and Florida was supervised by the chairman of the Kerry campaign in each state?

What if the computerized voting system was designed and built by Apple Computer, where CEO Steve Jobs is a known Kerry supporter? What if there were countless “irregularities” involving these machines, all favoring Kerry?

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Two Kinds of Christians

I am an atheist, but I grew up with enough Catholic indoctrination to recognize that there are both good people and bad people who call themselves “Christians”.

The “Good Christians” can be found feeding people, comforting the sick and their families, or working for peace and justice. They spend more time practicing than preaching, and they don’t impose their faith onto others.

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Taxpayers should not pay for campaign rallies

When George Bush travels to read to kids or to lay a wreath, he always pops in to a party fundraiser afterwards. It’s as if he’s doing a fundraiser because he happens to be in town. In truth, the ceremonial appearance is an excuse to bill the taxpayers for Bush’s round trip on Air Force One, which would otherwise be billed to his campaign.

This kind of thinking is in play locally, where the richest campaign organization in the history of the world is passing its expenses onto local governments who can least afford them. Mayor Medinger must be applauded for standing up on behalf of local taxpayers in the face of shameless Republican operatives on the Common Council and mean-spirited ranters on the letters page.

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Highways and Neighborhoods Don't Mix

Among people who commute regularly between New York and Los Angeles, there is a small clique who refer to the rest of us as “fly-over people.” I think of this every time I cross West Avenue, when I have to face down aggressive suburban traffic charging through our city. Too many of these drivers show the same arrogant disdain on those of us who live here as their jet-setting counterparts.

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Treasonous Liars and Gullible Morons

According to the latest edition of the American Heritage Dictionary, a lie is defined as “A false statement deliberately presented as being true”, or “Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.”

Members of the Bush regime have been showering our airwaves with so many lies that responsible and astute citizens can no longer trust a word they say. Unfortunately, the lies are still effective on Bush’s most important constituency: America’s vast population of loud and gullible morons.

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Low-wage WalMart jobs erode tax base

Too many people in La Crosse have been bamboozled into the belief that a south side WalMart would be a good thing.

We keep hearing about the hundreds of jobs this monstrosity might create. What keeps getting overlooked is that these jobs typically start at $6.50/hour or less, and precious few people see a double-digit hourly wage. Furthermore, WalMart seems to have a nasty habit of pressuring employees into unpaid overtime, and has even gone as far as to lock employees in the store after they’ve clocked out. (New York Times, June 25). (This story was carried by many papers nationwide. I wonder why the Tribune has neglected to pass along this important and locally relevant story?)

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what will happen to the local tax base when these hundreds of overworked and underpaid WalMart employees can’t afford to buy, improve or maintain decent homes.

We have a decent locally-owned supermarket and a respectable Wisconsin-owned discount store up the street from this proposed blight. Why do we need to abandon our fine local businesses just to send our money to a predatory corporation from Arkansas?

WalMart drones will go on about “low prices”. They confuse price with value. WalMart is infested with cheap junk from third-world sweatshops. In terms of value, we are far better served at “Main Street” stores, where the staff actually know and care about their products and their customers.

If this obscenity gets built, it will create a traffic nightmare. Those of us who fought so hard to keep a new highway from being shoved down our throats will have to contend with the WalMart people when they come crying for more concrete (as they always do).

Every way you look at it, this WalMart deal is bad news. But I don’t think the city should walk away from it … they should run like hell.

Giving the People a Meaningful Voice

Anyone who is loyal to the spirit of democracy upon which this nation is built must be disturbed by the barriers our current electoral process presents to third parties. A party which represents a significant “swing vote” should be represented as such in the electoral college, but the rules in place today make that nearly impossible.

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