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July 20, 2011     Sentinel Tribune
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VIEWPOINT Wednesday, July 20, 2011 Page 4 BETWEEN By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Tribune -- tmerchant@ncppub.com THE LINES .Budget crisis... Well it's over but it is not anywhere close to solved. About 1.5 billion is still left on the table for the next legislature to solve. The governor did the right thing by agreeing to terms with the GOP lead- ers bill. Even though the majority of Minnesotans, about two thirds, will not be happy with the final budget, which counts on borrowing from the tobacco fund and delay- ing school payments for another year. Sooner or later these things are going to have to be taken care of. Shoving it down the road is no answer. It is ironic that the new GOP leadership crafted a bill that they knew the governor would not sign. It was loaded with all kinds of social agenda items. If they wanted to send him a bill they knew he would not accept, then why wait until the last hour to do it. Political one-ups-manship at work here? The governor refused to sign it making him responsible for shut- ting down state govern- ment. Well that was pretty smart, 1 give them credit for that. But it could come back to haunt them in the next election. Federal Budget There is a bigger crisis in the federal govern- ment, if the federal gov- er'nent does not raise its debt limit by AuguSt 2, a lot of bad things will hap- pen. It looks as though the president and con- gress will no doubt end up raising the debt ceil- ing. Of course this does not address the core of the problem. Too much spending, and not enough income. It's sim- ple math really, most people can figure out. If you spend to much then you either have to cut back on spending, get a second job, or put it on a credit card. Of course so called entitlements are one of the things that ultimately come up for discussion. I really am not thrilled with the word entitlement, because what they call entitlements most of us pay for as individuals, from payroll taxes. Of course there are those that receive entitlement payments from these pro- grams who did not pay into the entitlement funds. However, those people are also victims of unfor- tunate circumstances of being born with severe disabilities, disease, acci- dents and so forth. Oil companies on the other hand get generous entitlements for really not doing anything to merit them. 'At any rate, I have a simple solution for entitle- ments. Simply make peo- ple pay the same per- centage as the rest of us on their entire earnings. There would be enough money to keep those entitlements going indefi- nitely. \\;\\ \\; AI BaH... "Stories from the Batt Cave" Backaches, buses, and barbed wire I had a headache in my back. I claim not to have headaches and that I am just carrier. That's not completely true. I am a car- rier but I have suffered from dis- abling headaches for much of my life. A concussion resulting from a punishing tackle by a vicious linebacker after I had done a silly thing and caught a pass during a football game apparently was the origin. No matter the source, I often fall prey to migraines. I recall getting headaches while on cabless tractors work- ing the field. I would shut the iron horse down, climb from its uncomfortable seat, and would lie down under the tractor in the only shade available. There rd ...... remain until the pain subsided. Have a good week and Back to the headache in my do good! back. I was traveling over rough roads while seated in a bus. The back of a bus is no place for an experienced back, but what did I EDITOR know. rm a headache guy. The bus deposited its passen- gers near a prairie where we would be walking and seeing amazing things. What isn't there to be amazed about? The prairie was fenced so that it might be pastured. I have been climbing over, under, and through barbed wire fences most of my life. I slide under one to watch timberdoo- dies perform each spring. This bird, the American woodcock, does a dorky dance on the ground. It is so dorky, the bird should be wearing bellbottom pants or a leisure suit. It makes "peent" sounds. The timberdoo- would result, and have generally ignored the best advice of those who know, in favor of some specu- lative, "pie-in-the-sky", mentality from crackpots and pundits whose only aim is avoiding the real issues. Their obvious disdain for unions has translated into a dislike for kids and their futures. Here's a news- flash for each and every one of those individuals. "Schools need adequate funding to run properly." They don't need a promise that funding will be coming later or in a side door by another name. If you want to invest some money where it might do some good and create jobs for educated people, think about fulfilling your contractual obligation to schools and take care of business. Dennis Phelps Schools need ade- quate funding The recent government shut- down and its subsequent fallout, gives rise to the question, "Where is the legislature's responsibility/ accountability in all of this?" As in many years past, the legis- lature has decided that the state of education funding is such that they can afford to delay payments or alter the way they do business with the schools. Within the past ten years the state of education in Minnesota has slipped from one of the top five states in the nation to an abysmal, middle of the road reflec- tion of a conservative group of leaders who seem to have felt that schools were a good place to bal- ance the budget. They have failed to address the obvious problems that educators have told them ...... ii ,r Mission Statement The Sentinel Tribune serves the residents and business community of Cottonwood, Redwood, Murray and Lyon County and southwest Minnesota by apply- ing its available resources to accurately and consis- tently produce a quality newspaper which thoroughly! covers the news of the area, stimulates thought and conversation, delivers advertising messages in a time- ly manner, and provides information of general value to its public. In so doing contributes to the overall quality of life and economic health of its readers, advertisers and community in general while stimulating the profes- sional development of its employees. Sentinel Tribune die takes to the air, spiraling overhead while twittering and chirping before descending to the earth like a dead leaf. It's like a good episode of American Idol. I don't dislike barbed wire. I grew up surrounded by it, as if I were pastured. Our farm had cattle. A friend, Phil Morreim, col- lects barbed wire and I find his collection fascinating. I've built fences-dug postholes, stretched wire, and hammered in staples. Traversing our farm came with its own exercise pro- gram--maneuvering past fenc- es. Being tall, I am able to step over most barbed wire fences. I find that easier than going through. There was a gate somewhere but no one knew where: We found no stile. No problem. We practiced barbed wire etiquette: ' It was the buddy system. One or two people would hold the top strands up with hands or a stick (some old-timers used rifles or shotguns, but that might not be the best idea) while stepping on the bottom strands, This offered a door or window to climb through. Making an opening in a barbed wire fence is what we do if we've been raised right. I like to be one of those opening the win- dow. It's like holding a door for others. It gives my life purpose. On the way out, others beat me to the job. I waited for every- one else to escape the pasture first. Curious cows watched our exit. No one showed the evi- dence of a life gone to waist, so there was no gouging of belly flesh. No one wore baggy pants, but a British woman tore her pants. The pants she had pur- (ISSN 8750-3905) Thomas Merchant Managing Editor Junette Merchant Office & Production Joan Spielman Office & Production Jessica Noding Marketing Specialist Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE FOR THE SENTINEL TRIBUNE WILL BE: In the following counties: Cottonwood, Redwood, and Murray $38.00 per year. EIsewhere in Minnesota $42.00 per year. Out of the state $48.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office. If wrong amount is submitted subscrip- tion will be pro rated accordingly.  il. __ ..... ... ----:.. . IIWIIjrjHIHll chased for the express purpose of walking pastures and dealing with barbed wire fences. Some call it "bob wire," I think she called it "devil's rope." After I had commiserated with her misfortune, it was my turn to make good use of the kindness of others and move to the other side of the five-strand barbed wire fence. I bent parallel to the ground in order to fit into the pas- sageway. I have torn both cloth- ing and flesh on barbed wire often, usually because I rushed. Several times, because a bull hurried me. When you climb over a fence, you occasionally dis- cover the reason for the fence. Haste makes scars, so I took my time. A helpful hand kept me low- ered to a position of no harm. I had one leg over and wasabout to pull the other through when it happened. That's when I g0t the headache in my back. I didn't know backaches. I knew head- aches. When I straightened up, I didn't straighten up. I had acquired a hitch in my getalong. I immediately went onto the Minnesota Twins' disabled list due to lower back soreness. Concessions could be made for a stiff back. A well-placed gate is a wonderful thing. A walk to a gate would do me good. The good thing about having a sore back is that when I think back, I don't have far to think. AI Batt 2011 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 http://albatt.net/ "Snowbirds" may put their paper on hold at no extra charge while they are gone, or pay $5.00 extra to have it mailed out of state. Missed copies cannot be furnished because the cost of mailing single copies is about $2.00. Any request for a back copy must include $3.00. Newstand price is $1.00 per copy. Copyright 2011 Sentinel Tribune a New Century Press Newspaper Mail Change of Address Notice to: P. O. 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