News of the new White House vegetable garden got us thinking about our own plot. We're pleased to be able to find seeds for some of our favorite veggies, including the White Princess eggplant, a slender Asian variety.
Reader Becky Byrn-Schmid writes to the editors of the Mankato Free Press that Unions are not the problem:
I am offended by the thought that “government workers” are arrogant and that we believe we deserve better benefits than others. I feel fortunate to have good health insurance and a retirement plan (for now, anyway). These costs are figured into our “employment package” and are considered part of our salary. We take these benefits in trade for cash. Some businesses have better benefits than I do, and some do not. It all depends on ownership and organizational goals.
Government workers have not created this economic crisis. School, human service staff and public administrators are some of the most frugal people I know. It seems that when there is an economic downturn, blame is tossed at workers, or consumers, or both. Either workers get too much or consumers want too much. I believe those with power are highly skilled at shifting blame to hard-working Americans, diverting attention to where the real problems lie (corporate greed).
In these times, I believe it is better to shed old prejudices and grievances and positively pull together as people to figure out how to make this country stronger. Our politicians and government administrators have some serious thinking to do about the founding philosophies of our country. There is much to correct, and hopefully, the pendulum of economics will swing towards honesty, loyalty, integrity and sensibility.
But it likely will be years before any additional trains roll through La Crosse, Wis., or Winona.
Included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law last month was $8 billion to develop high-speed passenger train systems. Obama’s budget proposal includes $1 billion a year in grants to states for high-speed rail over the next five years.
“That was an important acceleration of this whole years-long quest,” said Jim Hill, executive director of the La Crosse Area Development Corp.
The rail funding comes at a time when ridership — driven largely by Amtrak’s popular Chicago-Milwaukee service — is surging. Wisconsin rail use rose more than 23 percent in 2008. The number of passengers getting on and off the Empire Builder in La Crosse was up 13 percent. . . .
High-speed rail boosters across the country are vying for a slice of the $8 billion for high-speed rail that was included in the federal stimulus package. Leaders in St. Paul, Winona and other Minnesota cities want to tap those funds to create a St. Paul-to-Chicago high-speed route along the Mississippi River, with a stop in Winona. That route has been studied for years, though Rochester leaders recently have pushed for a route that connects to their city.
In Monday’s edition, I wrote about a bonding bill in the Minnesota Senate - which may be voted on this week - that would fund a study of routing high-speed trains along the Mississippi River. Another proposal to study routing the trains through Rochester has been sidelined, at least temporarily, in the Senate, said Sen. Sharon Erickson Ropes, DFL-Winona.
But in yesterday’s Star-Tribune, Rochester advocates made it clear they haven’t given up:
Go visit and comment at the WDN blog. And, since it's such a lovely day, how about a song about summer transportation from Flipsyde: