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Another day, another missed Minnesota legislative deadline

Open Forum: Why compromise with Obama the Marxist?

Was the Tea Party willing to tank the economy to get their way? Was the Tea Party using the debt limit crisis as an opportunity to demand their own solution? The negotiations were between a debt limit increase and tax increases on one side, and spending cuts on the other. Would returning government spending to 1966 levels tank the economy? Only to those who believe that government spending builds the economy. Why should anyone compromise with Obama, a Marxist who is trying to destroy America’s economy? The debt limit bill was a push. Obama got his cash to spend up to a higher debt limit, the Tea Party got no tax increases and America got a promise of future spending cuts that will probably never happen.

The 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ...” This was understood, at the time, to mean that the U.S. could not have a national religion. The 1st Amendment then says: “or abridging the freedom of speech ...” Does advocating the violent overthrow of the U.S. count as “free speech?” Can a community block the building of a church that calls for violence?

If 100 years ago was a time of unlimited profit, little or no taxes, and little or no regulation or oversight, it was also a time of growth and opportunity. Economic euthanasia has always been needed to weed out unprofitable companies. It’s like cutting dead limbs off trees; it makes the economy stronger and healthier. But, when rotting limbs, like unprofitable companies, are propped up, like GM and the banks were, the whole economy sickens and withers.

Bill Maxfield


Midsummer moment

Last Sunday a magical midsummer moment occurred in Brainerd. The final concert of the Lakes Area Chamber Music Festival began with Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream inspired by the Shakespeare play of the same name. It was a magical moment, wonderfully performed by the young musicians from across the nation and delightfully conducted by Scott Yoo.

It was a moment of magic, of beauty and of community.

As they moved into the Mozart, I began to think of what was going on here.  Here were a group of musicians who were willingly and eagerly following the direction of a puck-like director to interpret musical ideas from another time, using the resources at their disposal, to add their voices and their energy to follow the vision of the director as he almost danced that vision before us all to guide them to a place of harmony and beauty.

As I watched I began to think that this was a perfect expression of American democracy at its best. It was about community. It was about everyone willingly giving what they could and adding their voices and talents to create something that changed the energy of the community in a wonderful way.

Those with more financial resources added the funding to make it all possible.  Others gave of their time and energy to take care of the organization and the myriad of details and logistics. Still others gave what they could to support the venture. The young musicians gave of their talents and time, adding their musical voices to the process, and the director, Scott Yoo, added his vision and direction.

And it was all presented to the public as a gift. That was community and true democracy in action.

Bob Passi


A vision realized

The Lakes Area Chamber Music Festival has come to an end for this year.

Three years ago, Scott Lykins and Taylor Ward had a vision. They wanted to share their musical talents along with some of their friends from Eastman School of Music with our community.

They had about 100 people attend their first performance at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Brainerd. Three years later the final concert at Tornstrom Auditorium on Sunday, Aug. 21 had 600 people in attendance. To say their vision has been a success is an understatement.

Thousands of volunteer hours have gone behind these six performances. One of the festival co-workers told me that he alone spent about 130 hours during these past two weeks. That doesn’t count the innumerable volunteer hours for those who provided meals, lodging, transportation, advertising, fundraising, program organizing and detail responsibilities.

About 60 musicians traveled many miles to attend the festival. The hours of practice by each of these performers to reach this high level of accomplishment simply would have too many zeros for me to estimate.

I personally would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to everyone who made a contribution making the 2011 Lakes Area Chamber Music Festival so amazingly fabulous.

Luann Rice


Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.