The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 15, 2013

Our View: Ted Nugent a provocative State of the Union guest

The Free Press

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To Texas Republican Steve Stockman for inviting Ted Nugent to the president’s State of the Union address last week.

Following the last election. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told his fellow Republicans that “We’ve got to stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults.”

People like Stockman apparently didn’t take the advice to heart.

The problem isn’t that Nugent’s a gun advocate. It’s that he verges on unstable.

He once told the president to “suck on my machine gun.” And he’s the man who recently said: “I’ll tell you this right now: If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

When the gallery was full of victims of gun violence and family members who’ve lost loved ones, Nugent’s presence wasn’t intended as a reasonable Second Amendment counter to gun control advocates — it was a provocation.

Many in the GOP know they must regain control of their party and expand its appeal if they hope to be relevant. Stunts like this don’t move them in that direction.

Boehner puts out the challenge

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Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, urged — more like challenged — Senate Democrats to pass the agenda offered by President Obama during his State of the Union address. It included such things as more stimulus spending on infrastructure, a national cap-and-trade energy tax, increase in the minimum wage and spending for early childhood education.

If this truly is the progressive agenda the president feels will bring America back and America can get behind, it is important for the Senate Democrats to either show their support or show which disagreements need to be worked out. To lay out the agenda and “dare” the Congress to come up with something different is merely a blame and shame game.

Papal announcement was classy

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To Pope Benedict XVI, his record of service to his Church, and the courage taken to announce his retirement. The pope’s stunning announcement Monday of his retirement caught the world by surprise. After all, 600 years had passed since the last Catholic pope had voluntarily resigned from office.

But Benedict’s reasoning was hard to argue with. He’s 85. The duties of his office are great, and he said he no longer has the energy to do the job. His “strength of mind and body” had diminished, he said.

It is never easy to voluntarily step down from a position of great importance. That Pope Benedict XVI did shows a selflessness that puts the office above himself.

Youth Summit a good step

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To the first Community Summit on Youth held in Mankato this week.

The summit was an opportunity to learn about what youths value in the community and what they think is wrong with it. In addition, research and survey results were presented that had to do with youth issues.

It was a lot to take in and the youth who attended added much to the dialogue of what should lead to some planning and goal-setting. The newly established Youth Voice has the mission of making this area the best place for youth to grow up and live. The summit is a good step in trying to make that happen.

Epitome of bad sportsmanship

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To Farmington High School boys hockey goalie Austin Krause for an incredible act of poor sportsmanship that embarrassed himself,  his family and his community.

Krause, a senior, apparently upset about getting beat out at the starting job by a sophomore, played on senior night waited until the last three minutes, took control on the puck and deliberately scored for the other team.

The game with Chaska then became tied, and Chaska went on to win.

But that’s not the worst of it. He left the ice after scoring on himself and flipped off his coaches. A video of the act went viral across the Internet.

Unfortunately, this selfish act of revenge harmed the high school game, his school, his teammates and his community.