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October 9, 2013     Sentinel Tribune
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October 9, 2013

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE VI]EWPOINT Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Page 4 B E T W E E N THE LINES By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Tribune -- Government shutdown ... Sometimes I think it is hard to tell the difference whether the government is working or not. When you come to think of it, isn't "Government working" an oxymoron? Kidding aside, the shutdown of the federal government is not such a big deal for government workers (another oxymoron?) who actually get paid for not working. Because when they do get back on the job they will get back pay for doing nothing. Of course I can see where it would be a bigger problem if this were to drag on for several days, it could create problems for those people who have mortgage payments and other regular bills to pay. Also with government offices closed people often cannot get the services they need, and funding to states will be cut off. That would probably affect a lot of people on various forms of public assistance. Thank goodness they are keeping on enough IRS employees to handle tax payments. Oh by the way, if you had a tax extension the government shutdown is not an excuse to not pay your taxes. Hmm... what if you are a government worker and owe taxes, do you still have to pay them on time? Of course the people who got us into this mess exempted them- selves from not receiving their pay! How convenient! Why does con- gress get to enact laws that exempt them from obeying them? Shouldn't we all be treated the same? I thinkso, but it will be a very cold day in a very warm place before that happens. Long before this happened I had always felt congressional law- makers should not be able to tack on any sort of bill that is not directly germane to the proposed legislation. We still have that in Minnesota, but we also have line item veto, so the Governor has the right to veto portions of a law he doesn't agree with. I think that would help if the President had the same power. Presidents from Ulysses S. Grant to Ronald Reagan fought for line item veto power to help eliminate "pork barrel spending. Finally in 1996 Congress passed a law allowing line item veto to then President Bill Clinton. By using the newly approved power Clinton slashed 625 million in his first use of the line-item veto. However two years later the Supreme Court, in their infinite wisdom, struck down the measure declaring "there is no provision in the constitution that authorizes the president to enact, to amend or repeal statutes." Then last February, in a moment of bipartisanship, Congress voted to give President Obama that power. However the Senate never brought it up for a vote. To me that probably was a waste of time anyway as the Supreme Court had already struck it down before. Oh well if at first you don't succeed give it up. The only thing that really scares me about the shutdown is the precedent it is setting, what is going to happen the next time a party, or a faction of a party, does not like a law that has been legally passed to use this tactic to hold the American public hostage? That is why I feel some rules need to be made and enforced to pre- vent this sort of thing from happening in the future. No one benefits when you shutdown the government. In my view it is akin to anarchy. It's a little like one of country singer Jerry Reed's lyrics in "She got the gold mine, I got the shatl" "Can't we all just get along!" Have a great week and do good! Coats for Kids gears up for winter season It's time once again to think about the weather that will be just around the corner. It won't be long and a warm coat, mit- tens, scarves and boots will all be part of daily attire for most people; unfortunately it won't be for everyone. This year, Western Community Action is once again collecting winter apparel for local youths and families. We hope you will help us make this winter warmer for people in need by donating new or gently-used winter items. Every year we especially need boots and snow pants for youths of all sizes. Donations will be accepted through Nov. 1. If you have a donation of a winter coat, mittens, boots and snow pants, please join us in making this winter a good winter for a local child by dropping your donation into a bright blue "Coats For Kids" barrel placed at the fol- lowing businesses: Marshall HyVee K-Mart County Fair WalMart YMCA Sears Wells Fargo Bremer Bank USBank First Lutheran Church Western Community Action Runnings Corporate Office Runnings Store Hoganson Chiropractic Subway Restaurants Grace Life Church St. Stephen's Lutheran Church Shopko Menards Other Locations Tracy Food Pride Tracy Hospital Minneota Elementary School Minneota St. Edward's School Cottonwood Hardware Hank Swan Lake Church in Cottonwood Are your own children in need of a coat or winter outer- wear? Please contact Western Community Action in person at 1400 S. Saratoga Street in Marshall, or by telephone at 507- 537-1416 or 800-658-2448. All that is required to receive winter outerwear is need. Coats will be distributed Nov. 9, 10, 12 and 13. A notice of time and loca- tion will be distributed following registration. THIS 15 FRED. THE DAY HE '! ;7o7".:" THEDAY //II WAS raere, iB AND WHEN FRED PASSE5 AWA'I', WE'LL THERE AGAIN. & THE (.T; -12 AI BAH... "Stories from the Batt Cave" Beware of Thursday the 12th It was jet lag without involving a jet. I was slightly overdone, like a pork chop simmering on the stove for hours. It had been a good day, but a long day. I'd spoken at a delightful gather- ing and had encountered a shirt- tail relative there that I'd not met before. "I believe I'm your first cousin three times removed," she said. "But now that I've met you, I think I'm going to move you up to my first cousin twice removed." Something like that leaves a fel- low chuckled. I drove to another speaking engagement, stopping to see some American golden-plovers in'a mud- flat. Is it pronounced plover; or plo- hver? I say "plover" as in "lover" because there must be 50 ways to leave your lover not your lohver. I walked into the building to the accompaniment of buzzing cicadas. I have a smartphone. It's smarter than I am. No great accomplish- ment, even for a phone. I still try to hang up a cellphone. It's impos- sible. I completed my yapping duties at a thing on the shores of a lovely lake. It had been a twerk-free occa- sion. I'd left my cellphone in my car. I placed it in the glove box or cub- byhole or glove compartment to make sure it wasn't heard from during my talk. It was dark as a middle linebacker's heart as I headed for home. I need- ed to stop there for a few hours of sleep before heading to Lincoln Nebraska for work. My glove compartment began to ring. Not really a ring but a ringtone. I opened the glove com- partment, expecting to fred my cell phone. I didn't fred it. I'm a creature of habit. I put things in the same place. Not just the same place as if I'd put it in the same drawer, I put it in the same part of that drawer. That applies to suitcases, briefcases, and glove compartments. It makes it easier to find things, but causes a panic of epic proportions if the item isn't in its proper habitat. The glove compartment has an opening at the top of its backside that allows any overflow to tumble over and out. My cellphone had done that. It was proof of engineer- ing genius at work. I pulled over into a gas station and searched for the phone with no luck. I removed the glove compartment under the glare of a flashlight. I found proof of auto insurance from 2009. What I didn't f'md was my cellphone. The phone rang. I'm thinking of changing my voicemail greeting to, "My phone is tinging. I'm hope I'm not in a public place." It rang several more times on the journey home. A disembodied voice. The phone was a ventrilo- quist that made itself sound like it was coming from the floor mat. It wasn't there. It was as if I were part of a Twilight Zone episode featuring a bodiless cellphone. Arriving at home and finding better light, I located the cellphone. It had lodged itself perfectly into a bit of the framing behind the glove com- partment. It was cleverly hidden in a dark comer. A perfect storm of disappearance. Sometimes people and things fall into places where they fit, but don't belong. By the time I'd arrived at home, it was Friday the 13th. Triskaidekaphobia is a fear of the number 13. Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the superstition related to the specific fear of Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th was a great day. Thursday the 12th had provided a challenge. I fall for it every year Great egrets stood out like sore white thumbs rimming the edge of a wetland. The word equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal night." There are two times during a year when the sun crosses the celestial equator and the lengths of day and night are approximately equal. There is the vemal equinox and the autumnal equinox,The sun sets a little earlier each.evening, it's this changing amount of light that sets off a chemical reaction in trees and causes leaves to change color to the stop and go lights of autumn. It's too early to rake and too late to mow. Fall is a flagman warning us to slow down because winter is just ahead. A good fall is when you've finished raking leaves before beginning to shovel snow. Here, outside the Batt Cave, wind is the chief method of leaf disposal. We fall back. Sometime during the fall, we fred an extra hour. It had been hiding with the cell- phone. A1 Batt 2013 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 iiir ................ Sentinel Tribune Thomas Merchant Junette Merchant Joan Spielman (ISSN 8750-3905) Managing Editor Office & Production Ad Representative & Office 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 $42.00 per year. Elsewhere in Minnesota $46.00 per year. Out of the state $52.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office. If wrong amount is submitted subscrip- tion will be pro rated accordingly. "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. 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