Articles By: Paul Penner

Common sense a battle on farm bill

When common sense prevails in the halls of government, there is cause for celebration in the streets. And why not make a big deal out of it and express our gratitude to those who helped make common sense prevail.

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Predictions are at best possibility

Crystal-ball gazing may not be an Olympic sport by any stretch of the imagination, but in light of recent news of alleged illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs by scores of athletes, predicting the future might stand a better chance of qualifying as a true sport. Even better than baseball.

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Christmas is for us, Charlie Brown

One of my all-time favorite holiday videos is ?A Charlie Brown Christmas.? Within the larger plot, the story of the first Christmas comes alive with purity and simplicity as told by a little child.

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Know where your farm bill is now?

Farmers, November 2007 is nearly gone and current farm bill legislation is about to expire. Do you know where your new farm bill is? More importantly, do you know why debate over the farm bill is stalled in the Senate?

From a historical perspective, the farm bill usually passes the House and Senate, not to mention out of the conference committee and through the final voting process, arriving at the president?s desk for his signature before the Christmas recess.

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High prices now don’t make us rich

  • Perception is reality. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty facts of life, whatever I believe to be true and real is more important than knowing the truth. That?s how most people view the world they live in.
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  • If only politcal debates were civil?

    Back in October 2004, I wrote about a slightly satirical, fictional debate between two political candidates. I never published it, until now.

    As I re-read this piece, I reflected on the events that transpired from then until now. It was enlightening to say the least. Perhaps it will be that way, too, for you. The column begins, slightly abridged to fit into limited space.

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    Do county critics have a better idea?

    In Marion County, the subject of economic development and the question of what to do about it draws little press these days. Not that there is any interest in the subject, however. It?s just not considered a wise move to stick one?s neck out too far for fear of finding oneself on the proverbial chopping block of public and political opinion.

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    Taking a break from the daily grind

    In the business world, a 15-minute break from work at mid-morning and mid-afternoon is the norm. In agriculture, the work at hand determines the length and timing of the break.

    A work break on my farm generally consists of stopping at the water hydrant for a refreshing drink when the need arises, or if on the tractor, a five-minute pause in the field to relax while checking machinery.

    There are other, so-called work breaks in the farming world that may or may not be justified according to the work being done. They occur at the local coffee shop, if there is one, or nearest convenience store, like the Ampride convenience store on D Street.

    One might find a gathering of like-minded folks in other locations as well. I happened upon two groups in the past month?at the dining area at Vogt?s Hometown Market (breakfast or noon mealtime) and the Lehigh elevator.

    The purpose is mostly to socialize while taking that ?much needed? break from work.

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    A season for therapeutic combining

    What a difference a year makes when talking about wheat yields. Last year was a pleasant surprise when rains saved the crop as it was approaching the critical growth stage.

    This year, the wheat had the potential to surpass all yield expectations. That is, until the fateful day in early April when the most beautiful spring snowfall foretold another story.

    This year, the harvest experience is not an encouraging one, by any stretch of the imagination. It does, however, reinforce the old notion that one year rarely repeats itself in the next.

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    Churches need more ‘dark horses’

    Two controversies that surround the church have been in the news recently.

    The first surrounds Ted Haggard, former pastor of the New Life Community Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., amid allegations of sexual misconduct and drug abuse.

    The other alleges financial impropriety and personal misconduct within the network of churches associated with nationally known Calvary Chapel and its senior pastor, Chuck Smith.

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