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The Winsted Journal Opinion/Viewpoint

Introducing David Walker

If You Ask Me

This year, the first baby boomers are celebrating their 65th birthday, and their generational birthday/retirement parties will continue until 2029 when the last of them, those born in 1964, reach 65. Seventy-six million in all.
There will be aging baby boomers around, devouring monthly Social Security checks and Medicare payments, if there still are such things, well into the second half of the century.

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105 years ago, coast to coast

Historic Bytes

The April 18, 1906, edition of the Winsted Evening Citizen contained interesting articles both locally and nationally. Here are the highlights:
Headline: “San Francisco Destroyed, Holocaust Following Terrific Earthquake Early Today Killed 3,000 People. Fire Still Raging, Thousands Fleeing From City”
When this headline was written, the full extent of the damage was not known; the fire alone was to rage for three days, destroying everything in a 2,000-acre area, or 514 city blocks. Twenty-eight thousand buildings were reduced to ashes.

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Non-intervention is not isolationism

The Sheldon Richman Column

The media have picked up a new buzzword: “isolationist.” They jumped on it after Sen. John McCain, who seems to want the United States to be at war everywhere, said after the last Republican presidential debate, “I do want to send a message, and that is that we cannot move into an isolationist party.”
He was soon joined by his fellow advocate of empire, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who told his party’s critics of President Obama’s Libyan intervention to “shut up.”

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Rare earth elements: Let’s invest in America

Insight

According to a recent report of the Washington-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), China controls approximately 97 percent of the world’s rare earth elements market. Some 3 percent is controlled by a handful of other countries, such as Australia, India, Malaysia and Russia. The U.S. share is perilously close to zero. Should we be worried? What’s the problem? What’s the solution?

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The unchanging imperial paradigm

Despite President Obama’s trumpeted force drawdown in Afghanistan, by the end of next summer more than twice as many U.S. troops will be fighting in that country’s civil war as there were when he became president in 2009.
His soothing words notwithstanding, a force of about 70,000 will remain there at least until the end of 2014. We can be sure, however, that that won’t stop the president from campaigning for re-election on a peace platform.

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Soulless sports

In The Public Interest

Why do many serious readers of newspapers go first to the sports section? Maybe because they want to read stories about teams playing fun games, written by sports journalists and columnists, who have more freedom to use imaginative words and phrases than others in their craft.
The trouble is that ever-more organized and commercialized sports are squeezing the fun out of the games. I’m not just referring to struggles between multimillionaire players against billionaire owners — as in the current NFL lockout and the looming NBA imbroglio.

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History of the famous Colebrook flagpole

Historic Bytes

It no longer stands, and indeed the very location has all but been forgotten, but Colebrook once boasted the largest flagpole in the state.
When you hear superlatives such as this, there is always a little voice in the back of your head that reminds that there might well be a larger one somewhere, perhaps the one in front of the state capitol, that had escaped the attention of the raisers, isolated as they were up here in the hills.

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New faces are needed in local government

The Winsted Journal Editorial

The Winchester school system is in crisis. The town’s roads are crumbling. Promises to renovate and revitalize old factory buildings have gone unkept and petty political fighting has repeatedly stalled progress in town. In short, there are many reasons to be discouraged about the state of affairs in the Laurel City. But make no mistake — this is no time to give up. It’s time for people to get involved.

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Challenging perceptions at Town Hall

Town Manager's Note

Last week, I was invited to speak at the United Methodist Church’s monthly community dinner. The dinner is typically held on the third Thursday of each month, but some vagaries of the calendar occasionally alter that regular schedule. The food was outstanding and the company very enjoyable. Contact the church for more details.
I was asked to speak about my job as the town manager. Not many people are familiar with the role of the town manager. The town manager is hired by the Board of Selectmen, not elected (by either the board or the townspeople).

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Politicians

Editorial Cartoon

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