With improvements in sports officiating such as allowing challenges, appeals, and/or reviews of calls on the field, will any major sport do away with human officiating?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Instant replay has become ubiquitous in all refereed sports. Coaches and managers can challenge calls by referees and umpires, and the number of calls subject to challenge is expanding. Technology can show us the outline of a baseball strike zone, allowing viewers to judge for themselves if the umpire called a pitch correctly. Football passes can be ruled a catch or a no-catch based on reviewing numerous videotaped camera shots. Sensors in tennis are used on the court lines to prove if a shot was in or out. Because of the money involved in winning or losing games, tournaments, and championships, it’s logical to want biased or inconsistent officiating to have as small an impact as possible on the outcome of the game. Continue reading

Considering the growing power and influence of technology companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, are we at risk of becoming a Big Brother society where our every move is observed, and every detail of our private lives is accessible to those who wish to manipulate or exploit us in some way?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-I don’t think we’re at risk of becoming a Big Brother society, I think we’re already there.  Big Data has infiltrated every part of our lives, and the ability of hackers to take over smart devices in our homes, listen in our baby monitors and even turn on the cameras in our computers and cellphones remotely has made an illusion of privacy.  It’s the price of being part of the digital world. Unless you want to live in a yurt and burn cow dung for heat, you’re going to have to surrender some of your privacy in exchange for entrée into the modern world. Continue reading

Canada recently legalized recreational marijuana. Will this increase the chances that recreational marijuana is legalized in the US?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-The world is finally waking up to the fact that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol and shouldn’t be outlawed. Canada is the latest in the growing trend of countries and states who are legalizing pot for recreational use. Although Canada’s decision to legalize sends a clear message to other nations that the trend is growing, it won’t necessarily push the US government to legalize marijuana nationwide. Continue reading

Is cutting taxes without cutting spending—as happened with the passage of the 2018 federal tax bill—a viable long-term economic strategy?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-The feds passed another massive tax cut bill in 2018 that will push the annual deficits up toward the $1 trillion per year level yet again. We are the largest debtor nation in the history of the world and will probably never be challenged for that honor by any other country. Continue reading

Will Californians succeed in dividing the current state into three separate states?

Owatonna, NC Correspondent-A ballot referendum in California this fall will decide if Californians will be able to petition the Federal government to split the state into three separate states: (new) California, Northern California, and Southern California. Polls show that a large majority of California voters oppose the referendum (an April 2018 poll by SurveyUSA.com showed that 72% are opposed). Even if the referendum miraculously passes, I strongly doubt the Feds will allow California to split itself into three smaller states.

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How can we solve the growing labor shortages and get foreign workers into US jobs where they are needed?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-There are tens of thousands of businesses across the U.S. hanging out help wanted signs for technical and professional jobs that are going unfilled. We simply don’t have the talent base in our native workforce to fill them all, and it will be decades before we’ve got enough workers trained to meet the need…by which time the opportunity will be gone. Continue reading

The Supreme Court recently upheld President Trump’s travel ban on people from primarily Muslim countries. Will this encourage Trump and future presidents to become more autocratic?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Until recent decades, the Supreme Court upholding an executive order (EO) issued by the President wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy. Challenging EOs is a normal, healthy component of this country’s system of checks and balances used to ensure none of the three branches of government acquires too much power. But now that politics has become the overriding factor in choosing Supreme Court justices, this decision is troublesome for several reasons. Continue reading

Is it time for legislators to adopt an Animal Bill of Rights in the United States?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Taken at face value, an animal bill of rights sounds like a good, humane, decent idea. Most of us like animals of one kind or another. Most American households have a pet. And if a bill of rights is good for people, shouldn’t it be good for animals too?

My primary reservation about implementing an animal bill of rights is whether all animals found in this country would be included. An animal is defined in simple terms as any living organism that is not a plant. Will this bill of rights include dust mites? Mosquitos? Protozoans? Jellyfish? Earthworms? Probably not, but where do we draw the line? Will society waste time and money with endless debates, lobbying, and lawsuits about which animals will be included in the bill of rights? Continue reading

Should the US work to stop or at least reduce urban sprawl in its major cities? Why or why not?

Cartwright- I’m not sure that is feasible. How are we going to stop urban sprawl? Tell people they can’t move to this city or that city? Tell the people in those cities that you can’t move to the suburbs? We can’t stop development and progress. That’s not productive or logical. Urban sprawl is going to happen, and there’s little we can or should do to stop it. Continue reading

Do large wind farms with huge turbines have a net positive or net negative impact on the environment?

Cartwright-I haven’t done any type of research into wind farms to be able to say whether there’s a net positive or net negative impact. As long as the economics work, I think wind farms have tremendous potential and merit. I have long thought that we should have windmills along the coasts and offshore where you seem to always have a breeze. In addition, I would love to see smaller windmills placed on the roofs of buildings on somewhere on the property to help generate power for the facility. Wind is a great renewable energy source and has been used throughout history. Continue reading