This is a turning point for America


There are deep currents at play this week with the Supreme Court health care case. Six hours of scheduled arguments is unheard of in this age.

As a conservative, I would like to see the bill overturned. I agree with George Will that if Obamacare becomes settled law, there will be no limit or check on federal powers. But this decision is going to have repercussions. Win who will, the losing side will become energized over this one.

Lincoln said that only events can make a president. This is the event, folks. One party is going to win the battle but lose the war. Just like in 2000, the outcome of this election may depend on the Supreme Court.


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I was amazed by the commentary by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius ("Health care reform has helped many," March 23). The secretary listed all the benefits but did not explain how the Affordable Care Act would be paid for.

Where was the information on how it reduces costs of an MRI or CRT? Or of a doctor visit or surgery? Where is the cost reduction for $400 visit to the emergency room for seven stitches? How does "reform" address the true cost of health care?

Nothing from the secretary on those topics -- just ice cream and candy for everyone without any worry about calories and tooth decay.


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The Ryan budget

The costs of cuts vs. the costs of inaction


During my volunteer stint at my local food shelf recently, I noticed a SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called Food Stamps) poster on the bulletin board. I was pleased that our clients would learn how and where to apply. The food we pack lasts our once-a-month recipients four to seven days, while the SNAP benefit can cover almost three weeks. Using both, plus whatever other resources they have, a family can stave off hunger for children and adults until the jobs return.

Later that day, I read about U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's proposal to cut the deficit. The Wisconsin Republican's solution is to cut taxes for the wealthy so they can create jobs. (Has anyone ever seen that happen?) The money for this tax cut would come from cutting funds for SNAP and moving it to a block grant to states. This provides much less funding and removes the ability to expand when a recession brings more unemployment.

Ryan also proposes cuts to WIC (Women, Infants and Children), a broadly popular program that is a valuable asset for poor women and their children providing dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables from pregnancy to age 5. These foods help in brain development during the most crucial years.

Reverse-Robin-Hood Ryan deserves an outcry from parents and teachers across our country.


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Ryan, one of our country's few honest leaders, released a plan to attempt to avoid a debt crisis and was met with the typical smears rather than any real debate. This is unfortunate, because whether or not the United States is headed for a debt crisis isn't even up for debate. The federal debt and its unfunded mandates for the welfare state are astronomically high, far beyond what it's possible to pay for. (And don't bother with laughable claims about being able to pay for our pending crisis just by soaking the rich. Do the math.)

Unfortunately, politicians rarely cut anything until there's a crisis, and then it's too late. Thus, enough with the nonsense about evil fiscal conservatives cutting unsustainable spending because they are mean. Your choices aren't between having fewer government goodies with fiscal conservatives and everything you want with Democrats. Your choice is between having sustainable government goodies with fiscal conservatives and having potentially nothing with Democrats.

Yes, you read that correctly. When our federal government has its debt crisis, who do you think is going to pay for Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, the military, corporate welfare, etc.? Over the next few years, you are going to be watching Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and probably Italy going through nightmare fiscal scenarios and possibly outright default. If we want to avoid this, hard decisions must be made. The math doesn't lie, so enough with the demagoguery.


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'Stand your ground'

A situation that could have gone wrong


Imagine this scenario: It's 10 p.m., and a strange man with a shaved head and a shaggy beard has just opened your front storm door. He is now lingering outside, looking around the side of your house. Would you feel threatened? Would you feel the need to stand your ground?

It happened not that long ago. As I was coming home from a Timberwolves game, my wife called and asked me to pick up a book for her book club at her friends house. Her friend was going to leave it inside the front storm door, since it was late and she was going to sleep.

I went to what I thought was my wife's friends house and opened the front door. Finding no book, I walked around to see if maybe it had been left at a side door. Only after the light came on in the house and there was a frightened looking woman who I did not recognize did I realize that I was at the house next door.

Luckily for me, she didn't take out a gun and feel the need to stand her ground.


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Every time one enters an airplane


I wonder if film director James Cameron has ever had the pleasure of flying coach on an overseas flight. To prepare for his underwater voyage ("Cameron back from ocean's deepest trench," March 26), he says, he trained for the nine hours of keeping his knees bent and body largely immobile by practicing yoga. The flight from Minneapolis to Tokyo is 12 hours, 35 minutes -- welcome aboard!