Author: Sean Scallon (Sean Scallon)

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We Did It to Ourselves

In June 2009, Alberta’s former minister of finance Iris Evans commented to the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto that, “when you’re raising children, you don’t both go off to work and leave them for somebody else to raise.”  Essentially, Mrs. Evans suggested that parents might need to sacrifice financial well-being for stable families. Needless...

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Ave Maria

Tammy Ormson gave much of herself to Catholic education, both as a student and as a teacher.  And yet so much was taken from her. Ormson lost her alma mater, Mount Scenario College, when the Ladysmith, Wisconsin, school closed a few years back because of financial trouble. She then lost the school at which she...

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Forgotten Corners

Minnesota celebrated its 150th birthday in 2008.  This occasion drove news reporter Boyd Huppert from KARE–TV in Minneapolis to travel to the corners of the state for a four-part feature series. In the far northwest corner sits Kittson County, bordered by North Dakota and Manitoba.  (Winnipeg is about an hour-and-a-half drive.)  The landscape is flat...

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More (Local) Government

A 1992 Wisconsin law limits the revenue a school district can raise through property taxes.  When operating costs exceed that limit, districts have to ask voters to make up the difference.  The idea behind the law was to control skyrocketing teacher salaries and benefits by holding annual increases to 3.8 percent per year.  The state...

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More (Local) Government

A 1992 Wisconsin law limits the revenue a school district can raise through property taxes.  When operating costs exceed that limit, districts have to ask voters to make up the difference.  The idea behind the law was to control skyrocketing teacher salaries and benefits by holding annual increases to 3.8 percent per year.  The state...

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Diversity Through Sport

Because spectator sports play a dominant role in American culture, many have tried to use them to change our society.  Such social engineering happens in America’s inner cities, which would come as no surprise to most people.  But it also happens in such unlikely places as the Arrowhead Region of northeastern Minnesota and, specifically, in...

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Letter From Quebec: Talking About Culture

The Action Démocratique du Québec (ADQ) is a conservative party—at least by Quebec standards.  It is led by 35-year-old political wunderkind Mario Dumont.  In the recent elections for the National Assembly, the ADQ shattered Quebec’s two-party system (the federalist and centrist Liberals and left-wing sovereigntist Parti Québécois), winning 31 percent of the vote (up from...

The Company Town
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The Company Town

The city of Arcadia, Wisconsin, population 2,400, recently became the town that roared in the immigration debate.  Its new mayor, John Kimmel, barely four months on the job, made several proposals in a letter to the editor of the Arcadia News-Leader.  The letter brought so much notoriety to this place, nestled in the Trempea-leau River...

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Life in the Iron Range

At Mineview in the Sky, a tourist attraction in Virginia, Minnesota, you can see, with binoculars that cost a quarter to operate, white smoke rising from the top of hills laden with iron ore that are still being mined, while the towns around them sit nestled in the valley below. Three decades ago, no one...

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Diversity Bites Back

After September 11, the word blowback was frequently heard.  It is a CIA term describing operations that come back to haunt the agency (e.g., Afghanistan).  Unlimited immigration has its own form of blowback: people like Chai Vang, who, on the afternoon of November 21, 2004, shot eight deer hunters in the northwoods of the Indianhead...

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Last Call?

It was quiet at Drea’s Tavern on St. Patrick’s Day.  It might seem unusual for an Irish bar to have so few souls stop in the third week of March, but there were reasons. “It’s tough to have it during the middle of the week,” bartender Larry Drea said.  “So few people can get time...

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Darkness on the Edge of Town

I became aware of it as I was walking our dog in the neighborhood around our new home in Arkansaw, Wisconsin: the utter silence around me under the shroud of a clear winter’s nighttime sky.  The darkness on the edge of town where my home is located underscored the reasons we had chosen to live...

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Sovreigntist Movement

Quebec’s sovreigntist movement could learn a thing or two from Liberal Party leader Jean Charest.  His return to the premiership of the pro-vince should be a lesson to the sovereigntists that it is always darkest before dawn. The sovereigntists’ night, however, will last a while longer, as the provincial Liberals have smashed them to pieces...

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Finding the Right State for States’ Rights

It seems ironic that a man identified with the cause of states’ rights and the South’s quest for self-determination attended a school in the heartland of Yankee centralism.  Yet John C. Calhoun was Yale man, a graduate of the Congregationalist institution that formed part of the intellectual center of New England’s eventual domination over the...

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DFL, R.I.P.

Tuesday, November 5, 2002, will be remembered as the day that the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party died.  On Election Day, the Republicans swept most of the state’s constitutional offices and elected Norm Coleman to the U.S. Senate, Tim Pawlenty to the governorship, and John Klein to the U.S. Congress.  The GOP also gained seats in the...

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Holding Onto Your Views

Paleoconservatives often refer to “the limits of permissible dissent” in describing the struggle to hold on to their views in the realms of the media and academia against the censure of both the left and the “mainstream” right.  Now, this struggle has been extended into the realm of the internet, the supposed last frontier of...

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Blizzard

Storms and other phenomena of nature have their own distinct sounds.  Those who have survived a tornado often say that it sounded “like a train.”  A volley of cannon fire accompanies every thunderstorm.  The gale-force winds of a hurricane howl at nearly 200 miles per hour, as the rain strikes objects with the velocity of...

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A Pocket Full of Sovereigns

Downtown Montreal was full of revelers last March 10.  Despite subzero temperatures, they hit the streets, some wearing little more than a smile.  But each had a maple leaf somewhere, on a flag, a piece of clothing, a sign, or even in place of the proverbial fig leaf. Such was the scene described by Macleans...

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A Political Career

Jean Chrétien, the prime minister of Canada, is perhaps the best embodiment of Coolidge’s statement that, when it comes to success, persistence is better than talent, intelligence, connections, or money. Chrétien was literally the man who wouldn’t leave.  Since beginning his political career in 1964 as a Liberal MP from Quebec, he has been around...

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Holding On to a Culture

For a political party that celebrates diversity, it is certainly an odd choice.  The Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party of Minnesota, like the Democrats nationwide, has celebrated its role in promoting multiculturalism and massive immigration.  Yet the ticket the DFL has nominated to run for governor and lieutenant governor this fall—State Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe and...

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Micro-Farming

Last year, I wrote in favor of establishing a Midwestern dairy cartel (“One Man’s Idea is Another’s . . . ,” Vital Signs, August 2001).  As a call for controlling one’s regional, economic, and cultural destiny, it was well received.  As a matter of economics, however, it was not a very practical idea.  A man...

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A Jack-of-All-Trades

Jesse Ventura’s election to the governorship of Minnesota marked the apex of the full-fledged merger of politics and entertainment.  When it came to celebrity, “Jesse Ventura” (his stage name, which, tellingly he used at his inauguration) was a jack-of-all trades: actor, professional wrestler, announcer, talk-radio host, football broadcaster.  All of these professions, held in some...

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Sans Frontiers?

“What is the purpose of your journey to Canada and how long do you plan to stay?” That is the question anyone traveling across the Canadian border has to answer to the border guards, no matter where he crosses.  For myself, it was at the Pigeon River (which divides Minnesota and Ontario near the beautiful...

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Will America Truly Change?

“America has changed” has been the media’s new mantra since September 11.  But what has America changed into?  Reporters have fanned out across the country seeking those changes, and they have filled the airwaves and pages with their findings.  Some who have been interviewed talked in the abstract about how they do not take as...

Non-Partisanship
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Non-Partisanship

“Here in North Dakota, people vote Republican for president or for local offices because they’re seen as the white party,” North Dakota State University political science professor David Danbom told me.  “But they’ll vote for the Democrats for Congress and some local offices to look after their economic interests in Washington or here at home.”...

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Harvest Moon

I first noticed it as I drove past, heading for one of those small-town Wisconsin festivals, this one celebrating the largest earthen dam in the Midwest (by their claim, of course) nestled in the stanitsa of Spring Valley. The whole lawn was filled with antique tractors, the kind you might see at a local fair...

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One Man’s Idea Is Another’s . .

Let’s say you have an idea. Any old idea. No matter how big or small, grandiose or simple. You naturally want to share that idea with someone, anyone, maybe no one. Maybe you want to keep it to yourself, fearing negative reaction. Or maybe you think your idea is so good, so great, so broad...

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Going Dutch

I was disappointed. Here I was at “Let’s Go Dutch” Days in the little western Wisconsin town of Baldwin, on an overcast August day, and I could not find any wooden shoes. Sure, Dutch flags were flying on Main Street, and I doubted if I could find another police department in America that had Holland’s...

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CRAP Happens

My summer vacation along Lake Superior’s western shore into Canada took place just before the anniversary of a milestone, although it was marked by no celebrations or remembrances, and nobody I saw on mv quick stay in Thunder Bay showed any sign of acknowledging it. The anniversary was not the subject of conversation in the...

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A World Series?

St. Louis Cardinals slugger and homerun record holder Mark McGwire had a bone to pick with Major League Baseball. He was none too happy that the first regular season game of the 2000 campaign, matching the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets, was played outside the United States—in Japan, no less. The major leagues...

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Standing for Pat

“We don’t have anyone else from the third congressional district. We need you to fill out our slate,” said the voice on the other end of the phone, a dispatcher from Pat Buchanan’s national headquarters. I couldn’t believe it. The third district of Wisconsin stretches over a sizable portion of the western part of the...